Erin Doman on April 13, 2016 7 Comments An important part of any kitchen is a well-functioning range hood. This is especially true if you are consistently doing heavy cooking that produces a lot of smoke. Range hoods, also known as vent hoods, come in a wide variety of different sizes, styles, designs and features. But despite these distinct differences, cleaning and maintaining your range hood is rather similar across the different products and styles. If you’ve ever shopped for a new range hood, you know that there are many different sizes that come with many different settings. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your vent hood covers at least half of your burners. It should extend along the width of your whole range. Click Here to View All Range Hoods & Exhaust Fans The following seven cleaning and maintenance tips can serve as your go-to guide for your questions about range hood care. Read and implement the following to keep your vent hood running in tip-top shape so that it can do its job of keeping smoke and grease out of your kitchen. 1. Diagnose Range Hood Problems There are some important signs that will indicate when your vent hood is struggling to do what it is meant to do. It is typical for a vent hood to wear down over time as a result of grease building up or the machinery wearing down from constant use. Make note of the following situations that will tell you it’s time to make repairs or conduct maintenance. Smoke is not clearing from your kitchen even when the vent hood is on the highest setting: If this happens, it could be that the duct on your vent hood is obstructed or clogged with grease. It could also be that the fan is not functioning properly due to a greasy or worn-out motor. Finally, the issue could be traceable to the air filter needing to be cleaned or replaced. The motor is humming or is excessively loud: If your motor is making weird sounds, it probably needs to be cleaned. It may be rubbing against an object obstructing its proper function. This symptom could also be a sign that your motor needs to be replaced. The lights or buttons are not working: These problems could be electrical and can usually be traced to the control board of your vent panel. This kind of problem often requires an expert to come fix it. 2. Cleaning the Air Filter The air filter is the part of your vent hood that removes particulates and smoke from the air before pushing it outside of your house or recirculating it. There are two kinds of filters: a metal filter and a charcoal filter. Both of these kinds of filters can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement. If you have a metal filter, simply remove it, and then put it in a small bin or appropriate container filled with enough degreasing solution to cover the filter completely. Once all the grease has been dissolved, give it a thorough wash in warm, soapy water. For good measure, put it in the top rack of a dishwasher. Before reattaching it, make sure it is completely dry. If you have a charcoal filter, the removal process will be much the same. The only difference is that you can’t clean one of these filters. It is a good idea to replace a charcoal filter annually, or whenever it begins to lose effectiveness. 3. Cleaning the Range Hood Itself This process is rather simple. Make sure you have the unit turned off and your stovetop is not hot or turned on. A household cleaning spray or degreaser will be perfect for regular clean-ups. Just remember to use a non-abrasive variety. Do not spray the cleaner on to the light bulb or any other electrical components. Click Here to Shop Range Hood Filters and Accessories 4. Cleaning the Vent You should check the vent leading from your hood to outside on a regular basis. Grease can sometimes build up in this vent, impairing functionality and potentially causing a fire hazard. If the grease is building up in this part of your vent, it is important to contact a cleaning professional as soon as possible to clean it properly. 5. Cleaning the Fan or Replacing the Motor The fan motor is generally durable enough that it will not need maintenance, but you should still examine every part of your vent hood when you do check-ups. Sometimes the motor or even the bearings themselves can be exposed to excessive humidity and grease, and will not function properly. A definite sign of this is if the motor is acting up as described in the first tip above. More often than not, it is the blower wheel that has collected dirt and grease. You can remove this part and clean it with a degreaser. If this does not solve your problem, you will most likely need to get the motor replaced. 6. Troubleshooting A good way to test the vent on your device is to cut a small square of newspaper and hold it over the vent. If the newspaper is sucked up and held in place, your vent hood should be fine. Every specific model of range hood is unique. If you are having difficulty diagnosing issues on your own, try looking up the model number of your unit. This way you’ll find information about common problems that will occur with your particular model. 7. Preventative Measures The last tip on this list of range hood maintenance information focuses on stopping issues before they happen. To prolong the health of your range hood, you should: Clean your fan blades on occasion to prevent buildup of dirt and grease. This will help avoid excess stress on your motor and keep it from overheating. Wash the exposed metal often. Warm suds will usually suffice. If surfaces get really greasy, a solution of ammonia and water will do the trick. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly after using this method. Regularly check the vent to keep air flow unrestricted. If you allow grease to build up, it can pose a fire hazard. Clean the filter frequently as it is the part that will collect grease the fastest. By following this advice, you will have a vent hood that lasts a long time and effectively does the job of keeping your kitchen smoke free and clean.