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Overview

Indian cuisine is generally infused with exotic spices and it also requires many methods to cook the food; like frying and seasoning the already cooked food. All this paraphernalia can cause a lot of smoke and irritation.

This is where an electric chimney comes to the rescue. An electric chimney or a kitchen hood is a boon to many who love to cook but withdraw themselves at the thought of grimy kitchen, watery eyes, and odour.

Since electric chimneys are relatively new in the market as compared to other kitchen appliances, most first time buyers get confused. Here is a guide that will help you to make a smart purchase.

Types of Kitchen Hoods

  1. Wall Canopy – They are the most common types of hoods. They are fixed on the wall and the hood hangs above the stove, hob also located adjacent to the wall. It comes in various designs and styles.
  2. Island Chimney – Cooking platform is located in the center of the kitchen, away from the wall. It is fixed from the ceiling, seems like hanging from nowhere. They are for counter-top cooking ranges and gas stove, like those western style
  3. Downdraft Chimney – This is a very sleek and stylish chimney which is installed over the stove when in use.  It has a push button which pops and the chimney retracts when not in use.
  4. Built-in Chimney – They are concealed within the kitchen woodwork and blend with the tapestry. It saves space and looks compact.

Types of Filters

  1. Mesh Filter – This filter comprises of layers of Aluminum mesh overlapping each other with a slight offset and they have very small holes. When the air passes through the filter, the mesh holds oil and grime particles to the layers. The pores get congested very soon, which affects the performance and hence requires cleaning every fortnight. Frequent cleaning and high maintenance is needed for Indian kitchens because the masalas get coated onto the filter clogging the holes and thus the suction power gets diminished. Warm soapy water/detergent can be used for maintenance and even be cleaned in the dishwasher.
  1. Baffle Filter – It is designed with layers of steel/aluminum that overlap in such a fashion which changes the direction of air flow. It uses the ‘cut and chop’ technology to isolate oil and spices from the smoke. The suction power gets minimally affected even if the oil is collected in the first layer. It is perfect for Indian style of cooking. It needs to be cleaned once in 5-6 months. The filters need to be replaced in 4-5 years as they get rusted over time.
  1. Charcoal Filter – These filters have a block of charcoal, which are primarily used for odour The absorption capacity depends on the size of charcoal granules and thickness of the filter. It is used in Ductless chimneys and it is not available as inbuilt but can be managed over extra cost. The only drawback is that it cannot be washed and needs periodical replacement 3-6 months depending upon the intensity of cooking.

Types of Installation

  1. Ducting or Extracting – In ducting mode the heavier particles of oil, spice and grease are separated by mesh or baffle filter. The smoke is expelled out of the house through PVC ducts or pipes. This is a permanent fixture and it is good for those who want easy maintenance and don’t want to waste extra money in changing the charcoal Also, the number of bends and the length of the hose pipe affects the suction power.
  1. Recycling or Ductless – The air passes through the mesh or baffle filter and then through the charcoal block, which absorbs the heat, smoke, and odour. This purified air is re-circulated in the kitchen.

Added Features to Look for 

  1. Air Suction Capacity – It is the capacity of the motor to suck oil particles, smoke, odour and grease. It is measured in cubic meter per hour (m3 per hour). For Indian kitchen, an electric chimney with higher air suction capacity is supreme. For frequent cooking, the range should be between 400 m3/hr to 1000m3/hr according to the size of your kitchen. The chimneys with a long hose have generally more suction power.
  1. Filters – The function of filter plays an important role in the effectiveness of suction. If the filter is poor it can pose a health hazard, so choose right filter for improving the performance of chimney.
  1. Size – The size of the chimney solely depends on the size of the kitchen A 3ft stove should have a 3ft chimney; standard chimneys come in 2ft and 3ft size.
  1. Motor/Blower – The motor should be concealed so that dust and grease cannot get in. Aluminum non-stick blower and motor saves you from the torment of periodic maintenance of internal parts.
  1. Noise – The noise that is heard is due to air circulation. You may like to consider this before buying your chimney as it may be a disturbing factor in your kitchen. Some chimneys have a silent-kit installed which makes it silent or quieter.
  1. Thermal Overload Protector – Thermal overload protector feature prevents the motor from overheating. This mechanism cuts off the power supply and averts the motor exhaustion.
  1. Warranty and Service – Many chimneys nowadays come with a warranty of 12 months and some with a lifetime Do check for after sales services in your area as baffle filters need a technician for maintenance.

These are the factors you should consider while purchasing an electric chimney.

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