How to create an efficient kitchen HVAC design? [2023]

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We all know that a healthy and safe environment in our kitchen is vital for us to stay healthy. Keeping the air in the kitchen clean is important too. When you design an efficient kitchen HVAC system, you can do both. There are many factors that you must consider when you are designing an efficient HVAC system for your kitchen.

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I am going to explain how to make an efficient kitchen HVAC design.

Top 10 tips to make an efficient kitchen HVAC design

Designing an efficient HVAC or air conditioning system for your kitchen is essential to ensure the health and safety of everyone in your home. Here are some tips to help you make an efficient kitchen HVAC design:

1. Determine the Kitchen Size and Occupancy

The first step in designing and building HVAC systems for your kitchen is to determine the size of the space and the number of occupants. This information will help you determine the appropriate heating and cooling capacity needed to keep the space comfortable.

2. Consider Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances generate a significant amount of grease and moisture, which can impact the IAQ, energy consumption, and overall comfort of the kitchen. Consider the type of kitchen equipment you have, such as a stove, oven, or grill, and their heat output when designing the HVAC system.

IAQ means Indoor Air Quality. It’s about the quality of the air inside and around buildings, like homes and offices, and how it affects the people inside. Good indoor air quality is important for staying healthy and comfortable. Things that affect IAQ include how much fresh air comes in, the temperature, humidity, and any dirt, mold, or chemicals in the air.

3. Consider the Kitchen Layout

Your kitchen layout will also affect your HVAC system’s efficiency. Ensure that your HVAC system’s ductwork is located away from the kitchen area to prevent emissions from the kitchen exhaust systems entering the ducts.

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4. Determine Ventilation Requirements

Proper ventilation is essential to remove excess heat, moisture, and odors from the kitchen. Consider installing a range hood or ventilation system to remove pollutants and improve indoor air quality.

5. Calculate the correct kitchen ventilation rate

The ventilation rate for a kitchen is typically higher than for other rooms in the house because of the potential for cooking emissions, such as steam and grease, to build up quickly. The recommended ventilation rate for a kitchen is 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM) per linear foot of the cook top. So, for example, if you have a cook top that is 30 inches wide, you would need a minimum of 250 CFM (100 CFM x 2.5 feet) of exhaust air.

6. Install an Exhaust Hood or Kitchen Hood

A kitchen hood is a critical component of an efficient kitchen HVAC system. It helps to remove emissions and maintain the air quality in the kitchen. Choose a hood exhaust with a high CFM rating that matches your kitchen ventilation system and rate requirements.

7. Choose the Right HVAC System or Air Conditioning

The HVAC system you choose should be based on the size of the kitchen and the specific heating and cooling requirements. A split system with a separate heating and cooling unit may be more efficient than a packaged system, depending on the size of the kitchen.

Also, the ductwork should be sized correctly to distribute the air evenly throughout the kitchen. Properly sized ductwork can also help reduce noise levels, reduce energy consumption, and save money.

8. Insulate Ductwork

Proper insulation of the ductwork can help prevent heat loss or gain, reducing energy consumption and saving money on air conditioning bills and maintenance costs.

9. Install Proper Control

Install the appropriate control to ensure that the HVAC system is running efficiently and that the indoor and outside air quality is maintained. A programmable thermostat can help regulate temperature and humidity levels in the kitchen, ensuring that it is comfortable and safe to operate.

10. Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance of your HVAC equipment is crucial to ensure higher energy efficiency and a smooth business process. Clean the range hood filters regularly and schedule professional HVAC maintenance at least once a year to keep energy costs and keep your system running smoothly.

By considering these factors and working with a professional HVAC contractor, you can design and install a perfect HVAC system for your kitchen that provides comfortable environments without grease, ventilation, and indoor air quality.

How to Install HVAC Vent Under Cabinet

Construction of a vent under a cabinet is a straightforward process, and it can be completed with basic equipment and supplies. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you install a vent under a cabinet:

Equipment needed for the construction:

Kitchen exhaust systems are made of several interdependent units, including:

  • Vent hood
  • Ductwork
  • Vent cap
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Tin snips
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Silicone caulk


  1. Measure the location of the vent hood. Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark the location on the cabinet’s underside.
  2. Use tin snips to cut a hole in the bottom of the cabinet that is slightly larger than the vent hood.
  3. Hold the vent hood in place and mark the screw holes on the cabinet with a pencil. Pre-drill holes for the screws.
  4. Secure the vent hood to the cabinet’s underside using screws and a screwdriver.
  5. Install the ductwork by connecting it to the vent hood. The ductwork should be run through the cabinet and out of the house through a vent cap.
  6. Cut a hole in the exterior wall of the building where the vent cap will be installed. Use tin snips to cut through the wall, and make sure the hole is slightly larger than the vent cap.
  7. Install the vent cap by securing it to the building wall with screws and silicone caulk.
  8. Connect the ductwork to the vent cap.
  9. Test the vent to make sure it is working correctly.

By following these steps, you can install a vent under a cabinet and improve the air quality in your kitchen by removing smoke, steam, and odors.

The Ideal Kitchen Ventilation: Cubic Feet Per Minute

The standard measurement unit for ventilation is the cubic foot per minute (CFM). A vent fan measures CFM, and CFM is equal to the number of cubic feet of air that flows out of the vent in one minute. Ventilation measures the amount of air moving out of a vent. A vent fan is rated in CFM. CFM is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Most vents range from 40 to 200 CFM, with some larger vents being 300 CFM.

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Factors that affect the volume of air moving out of a vent include:
  • size of the opening.
  • location of the vent.
  • type of air moving out of the vent.

For example, if you have a 200-square-foot kitchen, you would need two exhaust fans and a ventilation rate of 200 CFM.

Makeup Air Unit

Makeup air units are used to expel the inside air and control the outside air to enter inside the building. Negative air pressure is used in makeup air combinations during the replacement air process. Without the makeup air units, your space can have issues such as allergens, high humidity, inefficient air conditioning system, foul odor, and higher energy costs.

Typically, a makeup air unit has exhaust fans, air filters, intake, air ducts, and registers.

The air filter of the make-up air unit prevents dust and other micro-particles from entering your space. Besides, its heating and cooling parts heat or cool the intake air and make the occupants in your space comfortable.

This way, by installing a makeup air unit in your space, you can reduce the load from your HVAC systems and reduce maintenance costs and the energy bills. But unless you’re using the CKV system, you should stick to the regular ones.

CKV stands for Commercial Kitchen Ventilation. A CKV system is a special type of air system made just for big kitchens, like in restaurants. These systems help get rid of heat, smoke, grease, and bad smells from cooking. CKV systems usually have big fans called exhaust hoods, air units that bring in fresh air, and other fans to help keep the air clean and comfortable in the kitchen.

Modern make-up air conditioning units are equipped with features such as variable volume, UV light or radiant energy filtration, and recirculation features that a building HVAC system cannot even provide.

Kitchen HVAC Design ideas

For occupant comfort, the kitchen ventilation system design must get priority during design phase. For this, you can install exhaust hoods. But due to makeup air combinations and a variety of designs, the exhaust hood creates a lot of controversy in the kitchen and HVAC systems design community.

how to make an efficient kitchen hvac design phase

While selecting the exhaust hood for the system design, you’ll have to consider the product’s location and size. Besides, you will have to consider the wall height of the kitchen.

Usually, the cost of installing a kitchen exhaust hood depends on the kitchen exhaust systems and range hood. If you want to install a commercial kitchen hood, the cost can go higher than usual. However, when you install a commercial kitchen hood, hood performance will be higher and have higher energy efficiency.

Ventilation and kitchen HVAC Design Process

Designing a flawless kitchen ventilation system requires homeowner and design team cooperation. Besides, it requires a good understanding of the kitchen equipment and the owner’s menu. Apart from this, the kitchen exhaust system designing team will have to do early estimates of certain parameters such as the exhaust rate, water supply, required energy, and wastewater flow rate.

how to make an efficient kitchen hvac design cooperation

Kitchen Ventilation Mounting Height

You must place the range hood accordingly for a functioning kitchen ventilation system. For an electric cook-top, you will have to install the range hood 24 inches above the heat source to meet the design exhaust rate.

Exhaust Hoods in Commercial Kitchen HVAC Design

When you are running a commercial kitchen, it is required to have a kitchen exhaust system with kitchen ventilation hoods. It protects everyone in the kitchen from getting exposed to carcinogens and irritants.

Gases such as carbon monoxide, CO2, and formaldehyde are produced during cooking. Besides, cooking can produce carcinogens, smoke, and various irritants. Without the exhaust hood, these will make your space hazardous and pose a health risk. Moreover, it can lead to health issues such as asthma, headaches, and nausea.

So to keep the kitchen area safe, there is no alternative to installing hoods or doors for the smoke and a kitchen exhaust system.

Comfort and Efficiency through Thoughtful HVAC Design

An efficient kitchen HVAC system is essential for maintaining a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment in your home. Consider factors such as kitchen size, layout, appliances, and ventilation requirements, and create a system that effectively removes pollutants, controls temperature, and conserves energy.

Working with with a professional HVAC contractor and adhering to regular maintenance practices further ensures the longevity and optimal performance of your system. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you will be well-equipped to make informed decisions regarding your kitchen’s HVAC design and ultimately enjoy a more comfortable and energy-efficient space.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

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