07 March 2011

Best Little Hood House in Texas

Once upon a time, way back in Great Depression and Dust Bowl era 1933, a Texan firm patented the first-ever kitchen range hood.

Model A1 launches the industry

That gave birth to a company that, more than 70 years and 60 international competitors later, has the best technology in the industry.

Still headquartered in Richardson, Tex., family-owned Vent-A-Hood Limited vents kitchen cooking gases, smoke, heat, steam, grease and odors in a way no other manufacturer does. Its patented Magic Lung system is a work of beauty!

An early ad touting the Magic Lung

Rather than your typical hard-to-clean filter-based systems, VAH hoods use a centrifugal force process to keep its clients' kitchens cleaner. There is a significant secondary benefit, which those of us in its recent training class, heard first-hand: VAH's Magic Lung-powered vent hoods are significantly quieter than its competitors.


The major complaint cooks and homeowners have is that vent hoods are too noisy. Much of that noise comes from the force required to push air through an ever-clogging filter. Magic Lung neatly sidesteps that problem by dispensing with a filter altogether. The company's 1200 CFM hood was barely noisier than its 300 strength model, and about a fourth as loud as the competitor's hood in a side-to-side comparison.

In fact, you could actually hear the instructor speaking normally over the Magic Lung-powered hood operating at that strength. Not so much the competitor's. You know what I'm talking about! So many folks don't even turn on the hood because it's so darn loud.

Vent-a-Hood will be my hood supplier of choice going forward, unless or until someone else convinces me that their technology is just as quiet, just as safe, just as Sensibly Styled.

Form meets function

How does Sensible Style play into this? First, on the style side: They're good-looking, with great finishes and lines.

A contemporary island hood

Retro styling for a retro kitchen

The model I'll probably use in my own kitchen

Second, on the sensible side, they have an industry-leading warranty. Third, also sensibly, they offer super-easy operation and maintenance.

When I noted above that the Magic Lung technology "neatly" sidesteps standard hood grease trapping, I meant it literally. Here's the clean-up process in a nutshell: Wipe out the inside of the wide open hood canopy with a household cleaner recommended for your chosen finish while you're cleaning up your kitchen.

From time to time, unlatch the easy-to-reach blower front from its housing with two quick clicks. Remove it, wipe it out with a paper towel or put it in your dishwasher. You can do this once a month or less, depending on how you cook. Put it back on. Latch it closed, click, click. Periodically, maybe once a year or less, (again, depending on how you cook), you can detach the Magic Lung itself with a few quick turns of a long screwdriver and soak it in soapy water. Put it back on and you are good to go.

Even my domestically-challenged self can get behind a cleaning routine like this!

Customarily speaking

Another feature I really like about Vent-A-Hood is its willingness to customize its products. There are three ways to do this. One is to submit your own design, including size, shape, number of blowers, position of blowers, position of vent cut-outs, finish, etc. In other words, they'll create a hood that's completely and uniquely yours. They'll quote it for you and build it from scratch if you decide to proceed.

You can customize a color and style to match your Aga or other colorful range!

An easier way to customize a Vent-A-Hood for your kitchen (or your client's), is to start with one of their Designer series configurations, then select your accessories and finishes. I love, love, love the fact that you can "build" your hood on their web site, too! For a creative kitchenista like myself, that's some fine quality time online. Here's the link if you want to play, too.

I would looooove to see a smart phone app that not only lets you build the hood, but lets you see it in your kitchen, using technology that I described in my recent Jetsons post.

The third approach is to use one of its liner inserts to equip the mantle or hood design of your choice.

Clean lines make for easy-to-clean insert

Safely speaking

I also mentioned safety, something all of us should be concerned about. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. While leaving burners on and unattended is one major reason why this happens, another is fire spreading from the kitchen through the ducts to the rest of the house.

Turns out, the grease and dust mucking around together in most kitchen ducts is quite flammable. Magic Lung's centrifugal pressure keeps fire from entering the kitchen duct work to play in that mess, offering a tremendous built-in safety feature.

We've been schooled

We were attending "The Harvard of Ventilation," Vent-A-Hood VP Blake Woodall told our group of designers and appliance pros. So let me share a little of this valuable education with you, as one can never know too much on this topic:

  • The most important consideration in choosing a hood is the cooking equipment it will cover. This will determine both its size and strength.
  • Remote blowers are more expensive to install, service and maintain than standard blowers. They also pull air, which is less efficient than pushing it, thus requiring more energy to power them.
  • A typical family of four generates a gallon of grease every year. Without proper kitchen ventilation, that grease ends up on walls, ceilings, furniture, clothing, art and pets!
  • The leading cause of poor hood performance is improper installation, most commonly incorrectly vent connections.

What were these installers thinking???
No wonder the attached hoods wouldn't work right!

Here's some more useful ventilation info from the Vent-A-Hood site, so you, too, can get a Ph.D., (or Professional Hood Degree, as I call it), in kitchen ventilation.


  1. Jamie, it looks like it was an interesting discussion. I like using Vent-a Hood products.

    I no longer specify remote blowers on roofs once I found out appliance technicians will not climb a latter to service them (insurance reasons). An in-line blower is a better option.

  2. Hi Jamie, Thanks for the detailed informative post. I'm all into kitchen history since visiting the MOMA exhibit! Ventilation is one thing they didn't cover.

  3. Almost all appliances are now in high-tech mode. Some are being run by digital features. Company developers do upgrade their products for needs of their users. It is easy now to use these appliances.

  4. Thank you for those tips. now, I know how to fixed things in our house even for a little.

  5. Glad you liked the post, Atlanta! Please drop by again.


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