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bookssy

Vent-A-Hood Ductless ARS range hood Update

bookssy
11 years ago

Has anyone used one of these for a while? I am in an apartment in Brooklyn, and can't vent to the outside (although I do have a kitchen window and no, I cant vent through the window either). I am wondering how effective they are and also if they are difficult to keep clean/maintain. Thanks!

Comments (165)

  • picassososo
    2 years ago

    When I ordered mine in 2018, it was $1028 for the 36” hood and Ars12 duct cover for $900. So total just under $2000. My ceiling is 9 feet as well, I didn’t order the extra , instead I move the hood up a bit so the duct cover meets the ceiling.

  • M
    2 years ago

    On this site, you regularly see people asking about wanting to splurge on big high-powered ranges, and inevitably the response is that they should make sure they also plan for adequate venting. Quite frequently, venting costs as much or more than the range. For some reason, nobody ever believes this.


    A post like @julieste's confirms it though. Venting isn't cheap. But it also makes a huge difference ... and that's doubly true when talking about modern open floor plans. Nobody wants greasy cabinets throughout the floor and cooking smells in the whole house.


    I suggest contacting the manufacturer or a local dealer who regularly sells VentAHood for recommendations on the correct configuration. But I wouldn't be surprised if you needed to buy the hood and the filtering system separately. That would make a lot of sense.


    No idea whether you need the extension. From what I remember reading on Houzz, lots of people decide that the extension is only decorative and isn't really needed. Your architect or kitchen designer would probably be able to advise you.

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    mike_home Your point is correct. The point I failed to make is that the ducting is supposed to be sized for minimal impingement deposition of grease particulates that aren't captured by the hood filter -- thus the intent of the velocity range specified by NFPA 96. (Also please see the reference below.) In any case, for a duct meeting velocities up to 2000 ft/min, a modest duct length will have much lower pressure loss than the baffles or mesh filters in the hood. (And, I should note, lower noise generation than the blade tip turbulence of the blower producing that velocity.) Hence the duct size does not dominate the volumetric air flow, the hood filtering does in concert with the limitations shown on the hood blower's fan curve plot. I would recommend against a duct size so large that the actual, not the rated, air flow velocity is below 500 ft/min during grease particulate generation, unless the duct is so short that absolute grease collection is negligible. Ref: ASHRAE Journal, November 2002, pages 26 - 31, New Rules For Kitchen Exhaust, William D. Gerstler
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    >>>So, what do you suggest?<<< If that was directed to me, sorry, but I can't help on finding effective ductless hoods beyond pointing to the ARS thread as a resource for the OP. No help to you since, IIRC, you already knew about that thread from having recently participated in that discussion and I have no personal experience with the ARS units. My experience from when I have occasionally worked in kitchens with less expensive ductless units ( a Broan hood and several brands of OTRs) was that their undersized charcoal filters were mostly ineffective. IMO, those units well deserved the epithet of "forehead greasers" bestowed by one of the LBNL (Lawrence-Berkeley National Lab) reports that Opaone mentioned. ETA: As I think more about my previous ductless hood experiences, I'm thinking that most of them only had mesh filters and not charcoal filters except for the Broan model which had a rather weak fan and didn't seem to do much more than the OTRs. Maybe better than nothing, but not by much.
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  • Steven Farish
    2 years ago

    Ended up getting the 30” ARS with 8’ duct cover since I have a 1’ HVAC drop down on 9’ ceilings. You have to get a duct cover FYI.

    The vent works insanely well. I made burgers on it the other day which was basically a campfire under the hood, and there was very little smoke that escaped in the kitchen. Anything other than high heat sear has no residual smoke or smell whatsoever.

  • tcscwi
    last year

    Great thread here and lots of info! Has anyone done an ARS system with a 48" range such as Wolf or Thermador? We are running into a ducting issue during planning and an ARS system was suggested but skeptical it will actually do what its supposed to do. Ducting is always better of course, but we have some issue on our design phase trying to work out. Thanks!

  • garyvp
    last year

    Update - It is now more that 8 years with our Ventahood with no complaints. As of late I have been noticing a slight vibration and the air flow at the exhaust seemed diminished. I had replaced all the filter guts at about 6 years so I didn't think that was the issue. I pulled the grease pan and inspected the fan cage - on the outside the individual vanes appeared fine but on closer inspection I could see that that the interior of the vanes had an accumulation of caked grease and (dust? cat hair? who knows?) which had 'flattened' the normal curvature of the vanes and this obviously affected the aerodynamics and suctiotion ability of this most important part. I usually cleaned the inside surfaces thoroughly every 6 months with degreaser but had never addressed the inside of the fan. So...with a small crochet hook, a chopstick, a 1" bottle brush, a tooth brush, good flashlight (a head mounted one helps) and lots of degreaser, (Dawn's brand is best), I cleaned each vane out thoroughly. A little gross at times with the tufts of material that get pulled out. Once you start you have to finish all the vanes or the fan will be unbalanced. I would clean a section, run the fan to clear the debris, and then do another. It took about an hour to do them all. It now runs like new and is very quiet with great airflow. Knowing this, it will be easy to keep them clean as part of my normal 6 month maintenance.

  • Kendrah
    last year

    I read this entire thread and a few others. We are renovating our newly purchased NYC coop kitchen - strict gas only no exterior venting coop board rules. We are making our open concept into a galley kitchen with two pocket door entrances. We are keeping the current Bertazzoni range. Questions that still remain and advice I'd love:


    1. Most of these ARS pics are of contemporary kitchens, or kitchens without upper cabinet space. We have a tight NYC galley kitchen, with a much more traditional aesthetic, and would be fitting this in between two very traditional upper cabinets. Aside from it probably looking awful, is there advice anyone can give about how neighboring painted wood cabinets hold up to vented air exhausting directly on to them from about 9" away?


    2. Can this unit be housed inside some kind of custom cabinetry and if so, where would it vent out? This is just so completely modern for our kitchen it is going to look weird and take up a whole lot of visual space in a tight galley kitchen.


    3. Yes, I want to to reduce grease and odor. But I also really care about removing indoor air pollutants from our pro-like gas range. Nitrogen dioxides, carbon monoxide, other nasty elements. I imagine that with a recirculating hood, these elements are simply recirculated rather than removed from the air. Any thoughts on this?


    What I really want someone to tell me is: "Hey, if you install an ARS it isn't going to have any health benefit, is going to look ugly, massively reduce precious cabinet space, and introduce the need to take up more precious cabinet, counter, or under cabinet space from elsewhere to accommodate a microwave. It's just not worth it. Crack your window open when you cook and wipe down your cabinets frequently."


    This is what I tell myself but I want some brutal honesty from others too. Any words of wisdom are much appreciated.

  • garyvp
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Grease and smoke are effectively filtered - but not the NOX from the gas range. It takes up space which seems a big issue. Some people hide the upper filter component (or even the whole thine) in a cabinet with a hidden or masked vent opening. I wipe down my cabinets every 6 months and there is little or no grease. Ugly is relative, but relevant to your cabinet design. There are high end under cabinet vents that may be less effective than a VAH, but also less obtrusive to your design . Your second to last paragraph is probably where you will end up.

  • kaseki
    last year

    W.r.t. the hood exhaust: Whether or not the unit is hidden in a cabinet, the vented filtered air should blow across the ceiling such that it doesn't return quickly to the cooktop area, but spreads into the room before returning. This will minimize turbulence at the cooktop and hence help keep the rising effluent headed toward the capture area (hood base).

  • kaseki
    last year

    Also, w.r.t. some of the non filtered gasses, is there some merit in subjecting the air flow to intense ultraviolet light. Ozone filtering might be needed, but NOx might be disassociated to N2 and O2 + O3. Anybody know?

  • saminac
    11 months ago

    I am renovating my kitchen in a Miami, FL high rise building. We are installing an induction stovetop. Have read through many Houzz threads and fully understand that a properly vented hood should be a priority. That said, my only option to vent is through a bathroom out to an exterior corridor. My other option is to go with the Vent-a-Hood ARS. While both options are clearly sub-par, which one is a better option? These are the only choices I have given building code and association rules.

    Attached is the drawing for my unit (C2) in case it helps. The hood will be relocated from the island to the back wall in the new kitchen plan.

  • kaseki
    11 months ago

    Where is the exterior corridor on the plan view?

    Generally, one doesn't want to vent to public areas, although venting across such areas might (!) be acceptable. Perhaps using the ARS for addressing the grease and odor and an air/heat exchanger at the corridor wall would help keep the interior air VOC content diluted (unless smoking is allowed in the corridor).

  • saminac
    11 months ago

    It is basically an outdoor balcony that gives residents access to the trash/recycling chute (circled in red).

  • kaseki
    11 months ago

    Thanks. In that case, exhausting there is not likely to be as obnoxious as a deck where people may be present for long intervals. But pulling in fresh air may have undesirable odors in that location. You are the best determiner of what trades apply to your perceived options.

  • Eileen
    9 months ago

    Hi garyvp, your VAH experience here has been very helpful! im considering the model you have and not go to get the extension, i was wondering whats the height of the unit, including the filter?

  • kaseki
    9 months ago

    @garyvp, see above.

  • garyvp
    9 months ago

    6.+18=24 inches

  • Eileen
    9 months ago

    Garyvp
    Thank you!!!! That’s super helpful in planning!!

  • saminac
    9 months ago

    Kaseki you mentioned using the ARS for addressing grease and odor with an air/heat exchanger at the corridor wall as my best option. That said, VAH says their ARS system is only compatible with a recirculating kit. Maybe I am missing something, but how can I make the ARS system vent into the corridor if it is not compatible with other blowers?

  • jwvideo
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    Not Kas, but what I think he was referring to was an air-heat exchanger which would be a separate HVAC "thing" rather something you add onto the ARS to make it into an exterior venting hood. You wouldn't vent the ARS to the corridor. Separate "exchangers" come in a range of sizes, costs and complexity from add-ons to the house/condo HVAC units (most expensive) on down to inserts that fit in a window like a portable air conditioner (least expensive.) They all are a way to try to bring fresh air inside while exhausting interior air. The "exchange" part is that they transfer the interior air's temperature to the incoming air so you freshen the interior air without losing interior heat when it is cold outside and don't lose a lot of your interior a/c cooling when it is hot outside.

  • kaseki
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    ^^^^^^^ What @jwvideo said is correct.

    What I said: "Perhaps using the ARS for addressing the grease and odor AND an air/heat exchanger at the corridor wall ..." The key concept was an ARS operating as specified by VaH as a recirculating hood, with room air exchange with the outside performed by what I believe is called an ERV. I don't have one.

    A giant conceptual ERV that could take in MUA and extract heat from a hood's exhaust without becoming clogged with grease would be a useful device for many, but I'm not aware of any being available.

  • saminac
    9 months ago

    I understand now. Thank you both for taking the time to clarify. I’m not sure if the building will allow me to install an ERV but will find out. Anyone have recs on a specific ERV that might work for my single unit in a high rise building?

    If an ERV is not feasible, should I do a stand alone VaH ARS or find a vented hood and tie it into the bathroom ventilation (which connects to the exterior corridor)? I’m not sure which is the lesser of two evils given that both options are sub-optimal.

  • jwvideo
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    >>>"should I do a stand alone VaH ARS or find a vented hood and tie it into the bathroom ventilation (which connects to the exterior corridor)?"

    The decision has been made for you. Apart from being a bad idea from a practical standpoint (i.e., another level down from "sub-optimal") , building code provisions specifically require kitchen range vents to be separate from any other vents including bathroom fan vents. I think there are numbers of applicable code provisions, but the only one that comes immediately to my mind from the last time somebody asked about this here was, I think, in Chapter 5 of the International Mech. Code {Domestic Kitchen Exhaust Equipment].

  • Russ
    8 months ago

    Is this the best ventless hood in the market in the last 10 years? Trying to invest in this appliance.

  • garyvp
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Invest is a good word - it is more expensive than the others. Mine will be ten years old in March and it is going strong - looks and operates as new. I have replaced both filters once (at six years), a 10$ switch, and one light bulb. I still see no other vent device with a filter this substantial. I live in an apartment and believe it is the best solution when venting outside is not an option.

  • kaseki
    8 months ago

    Thanks @garyvp. Here's a slightly pricier, and likely more substantially filtered unit: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/wells-wvu-48-universal-50-ventless-hood-system-for-multiple-appliances-208-240v/942VHWVU48SH.html (just for laughs).

  • Russ
    8 months ago

    @kaseki 29K for filtration system is little bit steep :)

  • M
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Seems reasonable to me for what you're getting. On the other hand, unless you're operating a restaurant, this is not at all what you want.

    This would be like taking a $6M truck to do your grocery shopping: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BelAZ_75710

    .


  • jwvideo
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Well, Kas did say the link was just for laughs. As was the thing in M's Wkipedia cite -- lends a whole new meaning to "monster truck", doesn't it?

    That Wells commercial ventless hood thing is 12-feet tall, too! Even if you could afford it, it wouldn't fit most residential kitchens any more than a regular semi tractor will fit in standard height residential garages. An amazing find, nonetheless.

  • kaseki
    8 months ago

    We shouldn't exclude the feasibility (albeit at significant cost but << $29k) of having a full sized residential hood feeding a plenum above standard cabinets that extended along the space where a soffit might be imagined under an 8-foot ceiling. The plenum would be filled with serial filters of various functionality, and perhaps blowers tailored for the pressure loss at the desired flow rate. Access panels would allow filter cleaning or replacement as appropriate. Including technologies used in ceiling plenums for grease disassociation might also be feasible. Cabinet wood facings could be used over the access panels. Induction cooking would still be recommended to avoid gas combustion products that might require a catalytic converter to fully address. The cost would be partially offset by not needing MUA.

  • Joyce Lam
    7 months ago

    @garyvp I'm in the process of considering a VaH ARS for my NYC apartment and was considering the Wall-Mounted Liner Insert with a custom hood from my cabinet maker. The cabinet maker can make top vents into custom hood itself for the recirc air, but would I also need an access panel somewhere in the side of the hood in order to clean/access the HEPA/charcoal filter? How does one access the ARS in order to check the filters?

  • garyvp
    6 months ago

    Good choice. Access to the 12 x 12 x 18 filter assembly (which sits on top of the Liner) is via removal of the entire 12 x 18 front panel which pulls straight out. Inside the filter assembly box are snap clips located in each of the four corners. Too prevent damaging the front panel with pry tools, VH provides you with a suction cup device that makes access panel removal simple. So, as long as you can get at the front panel every five years, you are ok.

  • saminac
    6 months ago

    This is my tentative plan. It provides accessibility without additional cutout lines in the cabinet panel but retains a nice/aesthetically pleasing design form. Obviously that is not a hood liner in this photo but the kitchen designer is using the same concept.




  • Joyce Lam
    6 months ago

    @saminac WOW! What a pretty design element! Does your hood design take on more of a rectangular shape or more of traditional trapezoid that follows the liner?


    Was along the lines of designing a clean, full trapezoid look with the Cabinet maker - something like the image below - but will definitely need to rethink the overall look of how to integrate an access panel onto the face of the hood itself in an aesthetically pleasing way.





    @garyvp thank you for all the information you've given to this discussion!!

  • saminac
    6 months ago

    its rectangular - it is basically indistinguishable from the adjacent cabinets. One continuous line with the middle "cabinet" housing the liner. Mine will look more like this:



  • wick158
    5 months ago

    We REALLY want to vent effectively, in part because 1) we have suffered through microwave fans for >10 years, and 2) we are considering a new 30" pro range. Unfortunately, external venting is barely possible and not at all practical in our situation. In the course of our research, we did discover an old wall vent for a 1950s pull-chain wall fan, which we could resuscitate. (This through the wall vent is stove-height, 44" away, and totally independent from the stove.)


    Which of these options do you recommend?


    1. Stick with microwave fan, add wall exhaust fan.

    2. VAH ARS (or similar), add wall exhaust fan.

    3. VAH ARS (or similar), no wall exhaust fan needed.


    I've read this entire thread as well as many others.


    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  • kaseki
    5 months ago

    Based on what has been reported here, the ARS should be superior to any likely microwave oven recirculating or even exhausting.

    Nonetheless, if the air is to be relieved of those chemicals imperfectly removed by the filtering, perhaps resuscitating the wall exhaust fan would be a good idea for general air freshening. Some corresponding means of supplying make-up air, even a window, needs to be in use when the exhaust is operating.

  • wick158
    5 months ago

    Kaseki, Thank you for your prompt and helpful reply. Clearly you are an expert. On an overall continuum, will an ARS function more like a microwave fan or more like a ducted range hood? (I suppose this is my version of asking, Is the ARS worth it? :-) )

  • regbob
    5 months ago

    wick158, I have posted on other threads on the ARS hoods. I have had one for a little over 2 years now. It is installed above a GE 30" induction range. I have had other VAH's that were vented outside but on my current home is was not feasible to run pipe outside. Any recirculating hood is not the best choice for a pro range but the VAH ARS is the best recirculating option available, and it will crush any OTR micro vent. The grease removal on the VAH is the same as their vented hoods so it does a very good job of removing the grease and the 2 stage filter does a good job of removing the smoke, steam and odors created while cooking. I had a few learning curve issues with the induction and burning things and this system did a very good job of taking the smoke and smells out of the air. If you have no other options for venting and must have a recirculating hood the VAH is the best option available.

  • wick158
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Regbob, Thanks very much. What is your vote?

    2. VAH ARS, add wall exhaust fan.

    3. VAH ARS, no wall exhaust fan needed.

  • regbob
    5 months ago

    ARS with no wall exhaust fan. Seal up the opening of the existing old wall fan and put it in a museum. Those wall fans did nothing when first installed. Now they are an eye sore and a noise maker. All it will do is pull out the conditioned air of your home.

  • wick158
    5 months ago

    Thanks Regbob and Kaseki. I think we will go with ARS only (and open window for fresh air as needed). First time posting. very helpful.


    If anyone has experience with ARS + gas or prostyle range, that would be great, too.

  • Russ
    5 months ago

    Please make sure you look at the technical designs. The top part has to be housed in the cabinet if there are any cabinets above the Range.

  • regbob
    5 months ago

    They have hoods that will have the filter in a cabinet or housed in the duct cover. It all depends on the look you are going for. I went with the CWEAH6 model and installed it under a cabinet and have the filter inside the cabinet. I pulled out an OTR so I had a deeper cabinet. I pulled the hood forward 3 inches so it covered the front burners a little better and had a filler made for the back and put the VAH wire rack system on it to get some use out of the space.





  • wick158
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    @Russ Thanks. If the VAH could not fit entirely beneath the cabinets, we would remove the upper cabinets and go with a wall mount/chimney style hood.


    @regbob Did you work with a VAH installer? That seems a lot of specific product and install knowledge.

  • regbob
    5 months ago

    wick158 I was a cabinetmaker and Corian countertop fabricator in my younger days so I made a few cabinets for VAH liner inserts and saw some really nice hoods and installations. This was what I did for many years and it is just product knowledge that sticks with you. Installing the ARS hoods is as simple as it gets since there is no duct pipe to run. All you need is having the electrical supply in the correct spot and mount the hood to an upper cabinet or the wall. It all depends on the look you want to achieve when it is all done. If you do not want the cabinet above you can go with one of their chimney style hoods. If you want to still have a little bit of storage above the hood you can keep the cabinet and have some storage. The filter system is roughly 11" x 11" so it does not take up all of the space in an upper cabinet. You will either have the filter in the cabinet or is will sit inside the duct cover of the hood. I went with the CWEAH6 hood without the duct cover because it was the look I wanted. The undercabinet models they offer were not something I liked with my range.

  • wick158
    5 months ago

    @regbob Thank you. Did you avoid gas/pro because you could not vent? In general are you OK with a gas/pro range, and a VAH ARS?

  • regbob
    5 months ago

    If you are going with gas or pro range you should vent the hood outside if at all possible. if you are a serious cook and plan on using the range as it is designed the ARS will not keep up with that much range. I had just bought a new townhome that had mid-low level builder Whirlpool electric smooth top range and OTR for the venting. I did not want the expense of running a gas line and I wanted to go with induction any way. I had a 30" Bluestar in my previous home with a 600 CFM VAH vented outside and loved it and it worked great but my serious cooking had slowed down so I did not want the expense in my new house. Again, if you have the capability to get a vent outside and plan on having a pro range and will use it go with a outside vented hood.

    The ARS hood will handle 1 gas burner at a minimum and that would be it. If this is your only option the VAH ARS hood is by far the best one available.




  • kaseki
    5 months ago

    For the exceptionally well heeled residential cook a commercial unit might be adapted. I don't know what the limitations are for gas cooking, but I would expect induction to be adequately dealt with using the technology in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86nycyxikk0

  • kaseki
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    For the purpose of pointing out a possible alternative to the ARS, in Wolf's 2021 Design Guide, page 156, I just noticed:

    Low-profile, 24" deep, and 27" deep wall hoods with an internal blower (600 CFM or less) , 30" (762) and 36" (914) widths only, can be used in a non-ducted application with a recirculating filter. In this installation, kitchen air is purified through the filters and returned as clean air into the room. A recirculation kit, available through an authorized Wolf dealer, is required.

    We haven't received any feedback here about this option, but perhaps calling Wolf will provide some additional data, sent to you by one of their friendly telephone support staff.

  • HU-894709511
    last month

    Hi all, curious about some other alternatives to VaH, particularly given $$$. This HVAC blog recommends the Broan Glacier as an option with a larger carbon filter: https://hvac-buzz.com/are-ductless-range-hoods-any-good/. This unit, apparently not yet on the market, sounds promising as well: https://www.treehugger.com/recirculating-range-hood-5180610.