Kitchen comes “stocked”—-noodles included.
You know those staged kitchens with the tall glass jars full of noodles?
Are those “real” noodles?
As a Seattle Home Inspector I see my fair share of down-draft vented ranges. For these vents to function properly they have to move a lot of air because the natural flow of hot air is upward. To counter this fact, the blowers on these things are considerably more powerful than an exhaust fan in a typical hood above the range.
I am not much of a fan of these vents, but if you have an island installation and don’t want the look of a hood above the range, I guess they are OK. They are more problematic with gas ranges than electric ranges. The ones on gas ranges can really make the flame dance.
At a recent vacant home, that had been completely repainted and cleaned before it was put on the market, it seemed a little incongruous that the grease screen and components of the range exhaust had not been cleaned as well. The “inside” of the oven had been fairly well cleaned, but this opening for the down-draft vent had been overlooked. Perhaps it was deemed too disgusting to clean?
My buyer was not impressed—and neither was I—but at least it did show the noodles were indeed included. Right in plain view above the noodles one can see the instructions about keeping the screen clean.
When I checked the connection of the vent under the unit it did not surprise me to find the vent pipe was disconnected. This lack of connection would result in most of the exhausted air staying in the kitchen—and in particular, staying inside the cabinet under the range.
Of course the grease screen in this unit was so packed with grease it likely was not venting out of the kitchen anyway.
Range exhaust vents should always be smooth wall metal pipe, and should be routinely professionally cleaned.
When was the last time you cleaned the grease screens in your vent hood or down-draft vent?
Depending on one’s cooking habits, lots of grease laden air gets pushed through these vent pipes and the grease can solidify on the inside of the pipes. This is also why the vent pipe should be insulated to reduce the risk of condensation inside the duct. Of course at the exterior, it goes without saying, there should be a cap with a back-draft damper and the screen needs to be maintained clean. If there is a small mesh screen, eventually, it will look just like the grease screen at the entrance to the exhaust unit.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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