With summer temps soaring across the country, many people are closing their windows and running their air conditioners around the clock. While your air conditioner is helping to keep your home air temperature at a comfortable level, keeping your windows closed is restricting your ventilation. If you cook indoors with your windows closed, you may be polluting your indoor air with hazardous levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and chemical particulates.
Gas burners give off high levels of nitrogen dioxide which can cause respiratory problems. Those suffering from respiratory related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of nitrogen dioxide. Electric burners can also pollute your home air by producing ultrafine chemical particles by volatilizing dust once ignited.
Here are some tips on proper ventilation when cooking indoors:
Tip #1 Turn on your hood vent every time that you cook
Make sure you turn your hood vent on before you light your range and leave it on the highest setting. Keep the vent on for a little while after you are done cooking to help ventilate any lingering smoke or particles.
Tip #2 Make sure your hood vents outdoors and that the vent is always cleared of debris
Periodically check the exit point of your kitchen exhaust hood and make sure there is no debris blocking the air from venting to the outdoors. An obstruction in the vent will recirculate the exhaust right back into your home.
Tip #3 Use your back burners
Many range hoods do not fully extend over all your front burners. By utilizing your back burners you will see a reduction in the amount of exhaust from your stove that escapes from getting sucked up into the hood.
Tip #4 Upgrade your range hood
Upgrading your ventilation hood will help ensure your home air quality is not compromised while you are cooking. Purchase a large hood that covers all of the burners on your range. Invest in a model capable of moving 200 cubic feet of air per minute or higher.
Tip #5 Open your windows when cooking for long periods of time and when frying with oils
If you are hosting a holiday party or spending a day cooking in your kitchen, open a window to increase your ventilation. Frying and searing foods will also generate a lot of smoke and it is always best to open a window and run your exhaust fan for optimal ventilation.