A Guide to Measuring CFM for Your Range Hood
A range hood makes an excellent addition to any kitchen, helping clean the air and keep everyone safe and healthy. But just because they’re an excellent addition doesn’t mean they’re easy to add. To find the right range hood for your kitchen, you have to measure and calculate the cubic feet per minute (CFM). Keep reading to explore a comprehensive guide to measuring CFM for your range hood.
What Is CFM?
We’ve already explained that CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, but what does that mean? How can you measure cubic feet per minute in an appliance that doesn’t move? The answer is that you’re not just measuring and calculating the size of the range hood. Instead, you’re measuring how it moves the air in your kitchen. CFM measures how much cubic feet of air a range hood can exhaust per minute when operating at full speed. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the range hood, the higher the CFM since larger range hoods have bigger fans and can move more air. However, you don’t just want to buy the biggest range hood possible in order to achieve the highest CFM. You want an appliance that’s the right size for your kitchen so that it can perform at its best and help your kitchen function well.
How Do You Measure CFM?
You need several pieces of information to find the right CFM for the size of your kitchen. Since range hoods are designed to go above stovetops, you need to know the strength of your stovetop, or how many BTUs or watts it gives off. Gas stoves are measured in BTUs while electric stoves are measured in watts.
A British Thermal Unit (BTU) measures how much heat is required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. Most stovetops create around 10,000 BTUs, although some can create as few as 500, and some can create over 100,000. When you purchased your stovetop, the retailer should have told you its BTUs, but if you can’t remember, it should be written on your stove. You can always call the distributor or manufacturer if you can’t find the BTUs anywhere.
Once you know how many BTUs come from the stovetop, you can start calculating. Your stove will require at least 100 CFM for every 10,000 BTUs. So, a gas stove with 20,000 BTUs needs a range hood with 200 CFM.
A watt is a unit of power that quantifies the rate of energy transfer. Since electric stoves use electricity instead of flames, this unit of measurement makes more sense than BTUs. If you want to calculate the power of an electric stove, the conversion rate is 1 to 3.41 BTU/h. To convert watts to BTUs, you must multiply the number of watts by 3.41.
Luckily, you don’t have to do all that math to calculate CFM. Instead of using watts or BTUs, you can measure the width of your electric stovetop and multiply by 10. So, a stovetop that’s 50 inches wide would require a range hood with 500 CFM. If your stove has a high wattage, you may want to get something bigger than the bare minimum, but you don’t need to know the wattage of an electric stove to choose an appropriate range hood.
Can You Measure CFM for Your Whole Kitchen?
The strength of your stove tells you the minimum CFM requirement for your kitchen. However, if you have a medium to large kitchen that you use often, you should also calculate the minimum CFM for your kitchen size.
To do so, you need to calculate the cubic feet of your kitchen. This requires calculating the length, width, and height measurements of your kitchen. Make sure to measure height from the floor to the ceiling, not from the countertop to the ceiling. Multiply these numbers together to find out the cubic feet of your kitchen.
Once you know the cubic feet of your kitchen, you need to divide the number based on how much you plan to use your range hood. Most people use their range hoods enough to need an appliance that will exchange the air in their kitchens 10–15 times an hour. Multiply the cubic feet by how often you expect to need that air exchange; this will tell you how many cubic feet per hour your kitchen needs.
Divide that number by 60, since there are 60 minutes in an hour, to discover how many cubic feet of air need to move per minute. This is the minimum CFM based on your kitchen size. It might be the same as the CFM from your BTU or measurement calculations, or it might be different. Always choose the bigger number to make sure your stovetop and kitchen get the air exchange they need.
What Is the Ideal CFM?
The measurement and calculation guides that we’ve given you all explain the minimum CFM you need for your stovetop and kitchen. But what is the ideal CFM? The tricky answer to that question is that there is no universal ideal. An ideal CFM for one kitchen, even with the same stove and same measurements, isn’t ideal for another because lifestyles are different. You don’t need as high of a CFM if you don’t use your kitchen much or tend to cook on low heat with little grease. While your stove and kitchen still have a required CFM for safety reasons, the minimum accepted level will probably suffice in that scenario.
If you cook a lot and tend to use high heat and a lotof grease, you’ll want a more powerful range hood. The minimum CFM won’t be enough. You don’t need to find the largest range hood on the market, but you do need to pick something a few hundred CFMs above the minimum to make sure you don’t burn your range hood out by running it so much.
If you’re not sure what’s ideal for you, go with something bigger. This will keep your kitchen safe and help keep your air clean, even if it turns out to be a little more powerful than what you need.
Our guide to measuring CFM for your range hood covers gas stove tops, electric stovetops, and the CFM of your entire kitchen. Take the time to measure and calculate everything properly, ask someone else to look over your work if you’re unsure, and find the range hood that gives you the CFM you need. Here at Robam, we offer kitchen range hoods for sale that will work well with various stove and kitchen sizes. You can find what you need and add this helpful appliance to your home with ease.