Kitchen Feature

Let off Steam

Lucy Baker-Kind extracts the latest information from the experts on how to remove cooking smells and steam from your kitchen

Lucy Baker-Kind
22 August 2016

The enticing smell of cooking a meal is part of the enjoyment of food, but once our plates are clean, we like the odour to disappear, too. This is where good extraction comes into play. Furthermore, UK law states that there must be a way to remove steam and condensation in a new-build kitchen.

Cooker hoods and extractor fans are developing in look and efficiency. Luke Waller, owner of North Devon Kitchens in Barnstaple, says that his clients prefer chimney hoods, which has been the case for the last 15 years. “These tend to blend themselves into the sleek designs that have been the trend, not just in appliances but in the whole kitchen layout, while not taking up too much space,” he says.

The popularity for hoods is also acknowledged by Sam Cockcroft, director of Wisteria Kitchens in Kingsteignton, who finds his customers also look for a sleek, minimal design.

The most important aspect when choosing an extraction method is how efficient it is. Luke recommends a venting-out, high-extraction hood, be it chimney, visor, or integrated. The extraction rate is an important factor, with the high-powered models removing smells and steam swiftly. However, with a higher rate comes a higher level of motor noise, so Luke recommends checking the decibels, and purchasing the highest quality you can. “So, combine extraction and decibels and you’ll end up with what I call ‘quiet power’. Opt for high quality that will give both high extraction yet a quieter motor.”

Wisteria Kitchens recommends Silk Act, which is a silent hood new to the market. Another advance in technology is a remote-controlled hood that can be activated at the touch of a button.

Mike Richards Showroom Manager from Bradburys in Exeter adds: “The latest innovation in extractors is the Bora - a combined hob/extractor. To see it in action, we will be installing in our Exeter showroom in September.” 

If space and funds allow, a newer technology available is downdraft extraction – a retractable unit that disappears into the worktop when not in use – which is popular with those who don’t want a hood. These are suitable for island units, as well as cookers placed close to a wall. They have a sleek design with a smooth opening and closing mechanism, and inject a little bit of ‘wow factor’ into your kitchen. Luke warns of choosing a downdraft model purely on looks, however: “There has to be a deep enough unit and access to the floor void so it can vent out, otherwise it can’t be fitted.”

Sam is also keen to point out that the type of extraction available is reliant on its position. “Where you want the hood is dictated on how it can be ventilated.” 

If space is at a premium and, due to the design and position of the kitchen, the air cannot be ducted out, then a recirculation unit can be fitted, which cleans the air before recycling it back into the room. These can be pendant-style, so are popular hanging over a peninsula or island. 

Once the practical side has been determined, thoughts turn to design. These days it’s not purely stainless steel hoods – glass is a popular choice, and a new trend is emerging for powder-coated hoods, which can be finished in any colour to match a room’s scheme. Sam advises customers to consider the hood at the early stages: “Incorporate them into the kitchen at the design stage. Use clever lighting and glass splashbacks to complement the hood.”

Most extractors have lights fitted, for the dual purpose of practical cooking and aesthetic detail, and this can lead to interesting designs that become focal points in the room. “The need for extraction, coupled with lights, leads to a real design winner,” adds Luke.

The most important aspect when choosing an extraction method is how efficient it is
A combined hob/extractor, available from Bradbury’s
Extractor available from North Devon Kitchens
Nest by Faber
Skylift by Faber

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