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How To Check If Kitchen Exhaust Is Working

Exhaust fan above the stone top.

When you are purchasing a home or upgrading your appliances, be sure to consider the necessities. If you want to keep your kitchen area and the surrounding walls free and clear of grease buildup or any steam damage, you will want to ensure the right kitchen exhaust is working properly. How to check if the kitchen exhaust is working? Look for the exhaust fan vent and determine if it leaves the interior of the home.

Let’s look below at what’s involved with your kitchen exhaust.

What Is A Kitchen Exhaust

Wherever you spend time cooking on a stove, you most likely have a kitchen exhaust above the stove area. In some cases, it comes as a hood fan and in other cases, it is beneath your microwave that is hung above the stove. The kitchen exhaust is a fan motor blade that turns in order to increase the airflow rate in the kitchen. Also, the kitchen exhaust removes contaminated, old, and humid air from the kitchen area, so that it doesn’t stick to your walls.

In many cases, when cooking with grease, smoke is created and goes into the air. This could be potentially harmful to breathe in. Your kitchen exhaust fan blade will suck the smoke out of the air and keep it from sticking to walls and cabinetry. If steam or smoke does collect in your kitchen, check it to see if the kitchen exhaust is working. Often times the grease filters or charcoal filters will get clogged and your hood will need to be worked on

Why Are They Important

The importance of a kitchen exhaust fan should not be understated. The benefits of an exhaust fan in your home are highly important to keep your air quality up to par. Make sure to check if your kitchen exhaust is working correctly. Let’s take a look below at some other positives to having a kitchen exhaust fan.

  • Your exhaust fan is installed to manage air quality in your home. The concept is to remove smoke, foul odors, contaminants, carbon monoxide, and humidity from the home. A quality exhaust fan vents air outside of the home and filter the circulating air properly.
  • Whenever you are cooking on the stove, an exhaust fan is great. The hot air gets sucked out of the air and reduces the temperature in your home, without using the ac unit. This makes the home more energy efficient.
  • The idea of an exhaust fan is to pull the excess moisture from your home. Also, they help remove moisture buildup on your walls and other surfaces. This substantially reduces the possible growth of mold.
A beautiful stovetop hood exhaust fan.
A stovetop exhaust fan hood.

What Are The Potential Issues

Believe it or not, there are a few potential issues that could arise if you don’t use your kitchen exhaust fan. Let’s take a look below at some of the risks.

  1. Not using the fan – many people forget to use their exhaust fan when cooking. The stove heats up and steam starts to rise. As the steam rises, it begins to stick to your cabinets and other surroundings. If you used the exhaust fan, the steam would get sucked out of the room. It is a great idea to turn on the exhaust fan at all times of cooking.
  2. Disabled kitchen exhaust fan – always keep in mind that just because you turn the exhaust fan on, that doesn’t mean that all is working properly. In some cases, the exhaust fan doesn’t move the necessary air and is way nosier than it should be. Additionally, if your range hood isn’t where it should be, it becomes ineffective at sucking out the bad air and recirculating new fresh air.

How Much Does It Cost

The biggest discrepancy between an exhaust fan and an exhaust hood could be the size of the kitchen. There is standard and then there is gourmet. So, if you have a large gourmet exhaust fan in your kitchen, you are likely paying upwards of $4,500. However, keep in mind that the standard exhaust fan over and over will typically cost you around $450. The goal is to have a range hood installed so that the range hood exhaust can increase air flow and the amount of air is circulated through the kitchen range and out of the exhaust duct.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an understanding of what a kitchen exhaust is and who you can call to get it serviced, consider checking into other kitchen appliances. For example, the refrigerator is just as important as your stove. Make sure that you know how to reset your refrigerator compressor. If the refrigerator starts to make a bunch of noise, it is likely the compressor. Save yourself time and money and read up on the maintenance of your refrigerator.

Next, you might encounter an issue with your dishwasher. In some cases, they can become clogged or even completely fail. Homeowners with very busy schedules often do not have time to sit at home and wait for a new dishwasher to be installed. If you need a new dishwasher, make sure to read up on how long it takes for one to be installed. This allows you to plan ahead for your day.

Lastly, mold can grow in many places in the home. If your kitchen exhaust or bathroom exhaust fans fail, mold has a great opportunity to grow. Additionally, have you ever thought to check your washing machine? There is a rubber gasket inside the door that often traps water and allows mold and dirt to grow and collect. Be sure to read up on removing mold from your dishwasher’s rubber gasket. Otherwise, you could risk contaminating your clothing as they soak in the water that has mold in it.

Check to see if your kitchen exhaust fan is working.
Call an electrical contractor to assist in any kitchen exhaust fan repairs.

When Do I Call A Professional

The moment that you realize your kitchen exhaust is not working should signal you to call on a professional. Hire a professionally licensed electrician to test your exhaust fan in your kitchen and determine what is working or what might need repairs. Also, if you aren’t sure who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your exhaust and test your home’s humidity. Also, they can recommend a reputable professionally licensed electrician.


Understanding how to utilize all of your appliances in the home is very important. If you start to cook and steam or smoke arises, you should definitely use your kitchen exhaust at that time. Also, if you aren’t sure where your kitchen exhaust is or what it does, you can reach out to your local home inspection team. Call Alpha Building Inspections and they can inspect your kitchen exhaust and make sure that it is working properly, in Merrimack, NH, and surrounding areas.