The "capture area" of range hoods should cover most of the range surface. David McNulty prefers to have the hood extend 3 inches beyond the left and right edges of the cooktop. For example, if he specifies a 36-inch cooktop, he'll choose a 42-inch hood.

The depth of the hood is also important. McNulty says if a range top or range is 30 inches from the back wall, specify a 21-inch-deep or even a 24-inch-deep hood -- or something greater, depending on the cooking requirements of the homeowner.

Ken D'Andrea, a designer with Northbay Kitchen amp; Bath, Petaluma, Calif., is especially concerned with the effect of range heat on cabinetry. He decreases the depth of the cabinets on both sides of the hood to keep them away from heat and moisture. For example, if the hood has a depth of 39 inches, the adjacent wall cabinets are 36 inches deep.

McNulty says the height of the hood should take into consideration the height of the cooks. "A 6-foot 8-inch client can't see the cooktop if the hood is too low. If clients are over 6 feet tall, instead of the standard 30-inch height, I'll put it at 33 inches," McNulty says. When he does raise the height over the standard, he specifies a more powerful blower to handle the heat and grease.


Gotcha covered: Use a hood deep enough to cover all of the rear burners and at least half of the front burners. Don't select over-the-cooktop ventilation products or custom designs that cover less than three-quarters of the cooking area.

Above standard: Increase the hood's width or depth to compensate for higher than standard mounting heights or when there are greater than usual cooking demands. Don't install a hood that extends beyond the line of cabinets below it.

The right height: Install the hood at the lowest acceptable height to maximize capture while complying with the manufacturer's recommendation for minimum height requirements -- typically 18 to 24 inches. Don't install a hood that will obstruct the user's access to the cooktop.