Range Hood Installation: Step-by-Step Guide for Homeowners

Last updated on April 11, 2024

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to install a range hood in your kitchen effectively and safely.

Key takeaways:

  • Choose the right size range hood for optimal performance.
  • Understand the different types of range hoods and their installation nuances.
  • Decide between ductless and vented models based on kitchen construction.
  • Ensure correct measurements for range hood size and height placement.
  • Follow step-by-step instructions to safely install a range hood.

What's Inside


what to consider before installing a range hood

Selecting the right size for your range hood is essential. It should at least cover the width of your cooktop, but for optimal performance, choose a model that extends an additional 3 inches beyond the cooktop on each side. This ensures more effective smoke, steam, and odor capture.

Comprehend the different types of range hoods: under cabinet, wall-mounted chimneys, island hoods, and downdraft systems. Each has its installation nuances and space requirements. For small kitchens, under cabinet hoods save space, while island hoods become focal points and require more clearance around the cooktop.

Decide between ductless and vented models based on your kitchen’s construction and ventilation capability. Ductless hoods are easier to install but require regular filter changes and do not expel air outside. Vented hoods are ideal for heavy cooking, but installation might be more complex if ductwork is not already in place. Choosing correctly can impact both kitchen air quality and the complexity of your installation project.

Range Hood Size

Choosing the correct dimensions for your range hood is crucial for optimal kitchen functionality and aesthetics. The width should match or exceed your cooktop size; typically, a hood that extends about 3 inches beyond the stove on each side is ideal. This ensures proper capture of smoke, steam, and odors.

Height placement is another key element—particularly how far above the cooktop the hood should be mounted. The typical range is between 24 to 30 inches above the stove. However, ensure you consult the manufacturer’s recommendations because the power of the hood and local building codes may influence this distance.

Remember, a larger hood may be more prominent and potentially more efficient, but it also takes up more space and might overwhelm the kitchen if not proportioned correctly. Careful measurement and consideration of kitchen layout will help you strike the right balance between performance and design.

Types of Range Hoods

Wall-mounted hoods act as the focal point in many kitchens, boasting a chimney-like structure extending from the cooktop to the ceiling. These units often feature powerful fans and aesthetic appeal, making them popular in open-concept homes.

Under-cabinet hoods are space savers. Situated beneath cabinetry, they whisk away smoke and steam, then vent it outside. This design is efficient for those prioritizing kitchen storage over statement pieces.

Island hoods are designed for stovetops located on kitchen islands. They hang from the ceiling and, similar to wall-mounted hoods, usually become a kitchen centerpiece. Precision installation is key to ensure adequate capture of rising vapors due to the lack of walls to contain the smoke.

Downdraft hoods, unlike their upward-pulling counterparts, draw air across the range horizontally and vent downwards. These are usually integrated into the range itself and are ideal for kitchens with limited overhead space or for those who prefer a minimalist look.

Microwave-hoods combine a microwave oven with a range hood. They save space by occupying the slot typically dedicated to an over-the-range microwave. While convenient, they may not match the extraction prowess of dedicated hoods but are suitable for less demanding cooking styles.

Ductless Vs. Vented Range Hoods

Understanding the differences between ductless and vented range hoods is key to making an informed decision for your kitchen.

Ductless range hoods, also known as recirculating hoods, filter kitchen air through charcoal filters and then recirculate it back into the room. These are adaptable to most kitchens as they don’t require any ductwork installation. Ideal for apartments or homes where ducting to the outside is impractical, they’re easy to install but require regular filter changes to maintain efficiency.

Vented range hoods, on the other hand, are connected to ducts that channel the smoke, steam, and cooking odors outside of your home. They are considered more effective because they expel the air rather than recirculate it. However, installing this type can be more complex, often requiring professional help, especially if you need to create new ductwork or modify existing structures.

Choosing between the two ultimately depends on your kitchen layout, personal preferences, and how much you cook. Those who fry foods often or do a lot of heavy cooking might lean towards vented hoods for their superior air-clearing abilities, while ductless hoods might appeal more to those seeking a straightforward, less invasive installation.


Shutting off the power is a critical first step. Ensure that the electricity is turned off at the circuit breaker to avoid electrical hazards. Once power is secured, you can safely disconnect the wiring from the old range hood.

The removal of your existing hood might seem daunting, but it’s mostly about carefully unscrewing and detaching the unit from the cabinets and wall. Keep the screws as you may need them for the new installation.

An interior hole is essential for venting to the outside. If this is a new installation, you’ll need to measure and cut a hole that aligns with the exhaust vent on your new hood. In the case of replacing a hood, check that the existing hole is compatible with your new model.

Next, it’s time to bring in the new hood. Lift it into place and use screws to attach it securely to the wall or cabinets. If the hood doesn’t align with existing holes, you may need to drill new ones.

Finalizing the electrical connection is about matching wires—typically, black to black, white to white, and green to green (or bare for the ground). Once connected, carefully tuck the wires and use wire nuts to ensure they’re capped off safely. Before you consider the job done, go back to the circuit breaker, restore power, and test your new range hood to ensure it operates correctly.

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