Published at Sunday, 03 February 2019. Kitchen Window and Ventilation Hood. By Osvald Henriksen.
If you have a huge family, and you indulge in commercial-scale cooking that requires a powerful exhaust fan, you’ll need to install a powered makeup air unit like those manufactured by Electro Industries of Monticello, Minnesota or Fantech. These units move a lot of air; in winter, the incoming air is cold, but it can be heated with 10,000-watt electric resistance elements if you want. Be prepared to suffer a huge energy penalty. The model EM-WH1025K from Electro Industries will supply 632 cfm at a 50 F° temperature rise. If you want a 1,200-cfm range hood, you’ll need two of these makeup air units; they cost about $1,800 each.
Concerning the reference to NFPA standards, I tried to pin down what GE was hinting at. I contacted Allan Fraser, a senior building specialist with NFPA. After hearing me read the relevant paragraph from the GE instruction booklet, Fraser said, “That is a bad reference. As far as makeup air for range hoods is concerned, NFPA doesn’t cover it. Frankly, it is not an issue on our radar screen.”
So where does a powerful range-hood fan get its makeup air? If the house doesn’t have enough random air leaks around windows, doors, and mudsills, the makeup air is often pulled backwards through water-heater flues or down wood-burning chimneys — a phenomenon called backdrafting. Since the flue gases of some combustion appliances can include carbon monoxide, backdrafting is dangerous. In some cases, it can be life-threatening.
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