Ventilation Systems: All You Need to Know for a Kitchen Remodel in the Bay Area
- March 16, 2015
- Jeff King
- No Comments
Starting a Bathroom or Kitchen Remodel in the Bay Area?
Think Ahead for Air Quality and Humidity Control
Our dedication to intelligent building starts with your home’s infrastructure and extends to all details of the remodel. One of those details comes into play with every bathroom and kitchen remodel in the Bay Area: a high-functioning and energy-efficient ventilation system. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know for a healthy, safe and durable renovation project.
Proper Ventilation for Improved Air Quality and Dehumidification
An effective ventilation system serves two key purposes: to improve air quality and decrease humidity. It’s no question that optimal air quality is crucial to your family’s health and safety. Balanced humidity also adds to the durability of your surfaces and longevity of your kitchen and bathroom remodel. Bay Area homes are especially prone to the buildup of moisture due to our climate and century-old buildings.
Besides our notorious city fog, where does excess moisture come from? Cooking, bathing, cleaning and even breathing are all daily activities that increase indoor humidity. Kitchens and bathrooms are also havens for airborne pollutants, smoke and odors if not properly ventilated.
Poor air quality can lead to an excess of:
- Nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide & carbon dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds
- Outdoor contaminants as asthma triggers
- Smoke, dust & odors
- Airborne cooking grease
Too much humidity can lead to:
- Mold, mildew & bacteria growth
- Increased dust mites & allergens
- Surface damage from excess moisture
- Compromised durability of materials
Planning a Kitchen Remodel in the Bay Area
What to Know:
When considering a kitchen remodel in the Bay Area, it’s important to plan ahead for the control of smells, smoke and grease. Have you ever noticed how much steam rises from bacon in the frying pan? Without a proper filtration system in your range hood, that moisture and grease lands on your walls, appliances and cabinetry. Less noticeable is the health hazard of carbon monoxide that tends to build up in enclosed kitchen areas.
How to Choose the Right Kitchen Ventilation System
Which kitchen ventilation system is best for you? Some people see a custom range hood as a central design feature, while others prefer to use clever cabinetry to make this appliance disappear. In addition to aesthetics, consider room size and how you cook. The right appliance should have an air exchange rate that matches the amount of heat produced. Use this ratio to calculate your minimum heat exchange vs. airflow capacity:
British Thermal Unit rating / 100 = minimum guideline for cubic feet per minute rating
The best vents are ducted to the home’s exterior, and you have two ventilation systems to choose from:
Recirculation Kitchen Vents
- Most basic option
- Fairly effective at catching grease
- Doesn’t fully remove smoke & odors from living space
Ducted Kitchen Vents
- Recommended for optimal air quality & humidity control
- Motors inside range hood are cost effective & easy to clean/maintain
- Remote blowers (mounted on roof or sidewall) are quieter with larger CFM capacity
When it comes to filtration systems, you can catch airborne grease and particulates with steel mesh screens (for consumer-grade hoods) or stainless steel baffles (for larger commercial appliances). This comes down to your aesthetic preference. Either way, make sure the filters are removable and dishwasher safe.
A Bathroom Remodel in the Bay Area
Considerations of Air Quality & Humidity
Bathroom ventilation serves to regulate odors and control humidity, thereby reducing mold and mildew buildup. Bathroom fans can be on a timer switch or humidistat that turns the device on or off depending on moisture level.
You have two choices for bathroom exhaust fans:
- Installed directly at ceiling plane
- Most cost effective
- Less powerful than remote fan
- Most powerful fan option
- Can be quieter than ceiling fan
- One fan can serve multiple vents (i.e. enclosed toilet area & main bathroom)
- Aesthetically more discreet
A bathroom fan’s CFM (cubit feet per minute) rating tells you how fast the air will be exchanged. Bathrooms up to 50 square feet require a 50 CFM fan, and larger bathrooms should have at least 1 CFM per square foot (assuming ceiling is 8 feet tall or less). To find the exact fan size that is right for your room, use this calculation:
Minimum CFM rating = length x width x height x 0.13
A kitchen or bathroom remodel in the Bay Area involves special considerations for humidity and air quality. Before starting your project, talk with a local general contractor to find the right ventilation system for your specific needs. Happy remodeling!