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Can kitchen extract hoods be used in a certified Passive House home? Are recirculating kitchen hoods a good alternative to exhausting kitchen hoods? What about venting dryers as well?

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Recirculating hood fans can certainly be used, with qualifications:

  • provide sufficient exhaust air in the kitchen to provide fresh air and extract cooking fumes and humidity, which can be satisfied with an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) exhaust vent with sufficient air flow;
  • make sure that the HRV exhaust vent is far enough from the cooking surface (usually an 8 ft/2.4m string line distance);
  • make sure that the exhaust vent has a cleanable grease filter easily accessible at the vent;
  • instruct users to use the hood fan! And regularly clean the hood fans grease filters;
  • select a hood fan that can easily be converted to a recirculating hood fan (the ones made by Faber hood fans can all be converted);
  • select one that has carbon filters that offer sufficient coverage over the area it's intended to work with, over the entire duct surface at exit of the unit;
  • plan where the exhaust is going to go. Too close to a white ceiling won't be a good idea perhaps;
  • work with code officials up front to make sure that they understand the ventilation plan, so that you aren't caught at final inspection due to a strict reading of the code if it does not include provisions for recirculating hood fans. Check the code yourself as well.

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