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How to Change Your Range Hood Filter

In March of 2019, a Melbourne woman found herself lucky to be alive after her range caught fire while she was sleeping.

One of the firefighters who rescued her reminded everyone that you should keep your entire cooking area free of grease buildup, including the range hood.

Changing your range hood filter is easy. And, you’ve probably cleaned a range hood filter a time or two. Though, after a while, they need to be replaced.

Most of us forget about the range hood or oven vent filter. Here is a step-by-step guide for hood filter replacement.

What Your Range Hood Filter Does

Range hood filters catch grease, particles, and smoke that rise during cooking. If you have a vented range hood, it channels the air out of your home. If it’s ductless, it has a charcoal filter that recirculates the air.

Exhaust hood filters are essential to your kitchen exhaust system. They keep debris and from getting into your oven’s ventilation system. Filters maintain proper environmental quality, reducing the risk of fires.

Though filters only work if they are in working condition. Most of us forget to clean the filters, despite the importance of doing so. Even if you are diligent about keeping the range hood filter clean, you will need to replace it eventually.

Hood Filter Replacement Schedule

There isn’t a fixed schedule for replacing range hood filters. The life of your filter depends on the type of filter you have and the degree of use. If you use your oven extensively, the filter will collect debris and grease faster.

Filter life also depends on the material it’s made from. For example, stainless steel filters last a lot longer than aluminum or galvanized ones. Investing in heavy-duty filters is worth the money.

Regardless of filter type, you’ll want to clean your filters regularly and replace when needed.

For example, restaurants replace their commercial exhaust hood filters every six months or so. You may not need to replace the filter in your home over for up to two years. 

Stainless steel filters need replacing only if they become warped. Though, you should replace activated carbon filters every 6 to 12 months.

Cleaning Before Replacing

You can extend the life of your hood filter by maintaining it properly. Don’t use bleach or other harsh chemicals when cleaning. They can corrode the filter. Aluminum filters are subject to corrosion more so than other types.

Handle the filters carefully to prevent dents. Handwashing is best, rather than placing in the dishwasher. Keeping them clean not only extends the life of the filter, but it improves the function of the kitchen exhaust system.

Whenever you clean your hood range filter, inspect it for damage or other signs that you may need to replace it. Check the filter for dents, holes, and corrosion.

If the filter is warped, it’s not going to fit as it should in the hood opening. If you spot any damage, it’s time to replace the filter. A compromised filter allows grease to enter in your oven’s exhaust system.

Range Hood Filter Replacement Procedure

Before you remove your range hood filter to either clean or replace it, be sure you have everything you need. Even the simplest of tasks take longer than needed if your materials are scattered.

Whether you are cleaning or replacing the filters, the procedure is the same. Meaning, you should clean the range hood and hood assembly before replacing the cleaned or new filter.

For cleaning stainless steel filters, some of the things you’ll need include dishwashing liquid or degreasers. A soft-bristle brush is also a must along with rags to remove the grease. Baking soda can help cut tough grease.

Remember, you can’t rinse and reuse activated carbon filters. So, have replacements on hand for those.

How to Remove Range Hood Filter

Here are the simple steps to removing a range hood filter.

1. Turn the range hood off. This includes any powered features like the fan and light. If your hood plugs into the wall (as opposed to being wired directly), unplug it.

2. Grab the filter from the center and pull it down. Slide the filter out. If you have a baffle filter, lift it slightly then tilt the filter so that the back-end lifts higher than the front. Then you can pull it out.

3. If your range has a grease filter, take it out from the back of the hood. Watch out for the sharp corners.

Cleaning a Reusable Filter

If your filter can be cleaned, here are some simple steps. Don’t forget to inspect it for signs of corrosion or other damage. If the filter is warped or dented, replace it rather than clean it.

1. Soak your filter in hot, soapy water. You can agitate the filter to loosen the grease. Use the soft-bristle brush as needed. Scrub gently to avoid damage. Replace the water if necessary to clear the grease and keep the water hot.

2. While the filter is drying, check the fan inside your range hood. Be sure it’s clean and free from any obstruction. Grease can steep through the filter and lodge itself inside the fan.

Note: Your range may have a second, activated carbon filter between the intake assembly and fan. You may need to remove and replace that filter as well.

3. Using a damp rag and degreaser, clean the fan. If the grease is heavy, use the baking soda. Make a paste with the baking soda and water. Apply to the grease and scrub in a circular motion. That should take care of the buildup.

4. Continue cleaning the inside of the vent hood with rags and degreaser. Rinse and dry all surfaces.

Installing Vent Hood Filter Replacements

After you’ve finished cleaning the range hood, it’s time to insert your filter.

1. Once the assembly is dry, insert a new activated carbon filter, then snap the assembly back onto the fan.

2. Slide the hood filter back into the range hood. Depending on the design, line the filter up and insert any tabs, catches or hooks (if any) to hold the filter in place.

That’s it. Your range hood system will work more efficiently and safely now that the vent and filter are clear of debris. 

Don’t Wait for Spring Cleaning

Replacing your range hood filter isn’t something that should wait until Spring cleaning season. A clogged hood exhaust system is a fire risk, as is a worn-out filter.

If you have any questions about selecting the correct range hood filter replacements, please contact us.

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