Published at Sunday, 03 February 2019. Kitchen Window and Ventilation Hood. By Osvald Henriksen.
Range hoods have at least one thing in common with combustion appliances: they also require makeup air, although the GE instructions fail to note that fact. So why do the instructions refer to the need for providing makeup air for furnaces and water heaters — but fail to inform installers that range-hood fans also need a source of makeup air?
Armed with the limited recommendations provided by GE’s installation instructions, I sought more information by placing two calls to the GE Answer Center (800-626-2000), asking, “Does GE have any recommendations on providing makeup air for a 1,200-cfm GE range hood installed in a residential kitchen?” The first GE expert responded, “What is makeup air?” An explanation was provided. She responded, “Do you mean you want to know the cfm of the fan?” After further discussion, I was put on hold. A few minutes later, the expert returned to the phone to report, “That information is not something we would have here.”
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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