A downdraft appliance redirects steam and grease from the cooking surface down through the product itself or via a separate blower to the outside.
First, let’s discuss ventilation or how to remove bad odors and heat out of your house (so your house doesn’t smell like bad odors). Ventilation is a simple concept. In order for the bad stuff to be removed, you need the following:
Downdrafting should be considered a last option only. Look at island hoods manufactured by Zephyr or Faber because downdrafts have zero capture area and the duct runs are usually bent a couple of times and are too long to be effective.
Still a downdraft is sleeker and many times is the only option for ventilation, so let me show you best practices.
How to downdraft a range:
This is easy. Jenn-Air is the only manufacturer of downdraft ranges as GE, Roper, Amana and Modern Maid have long exited this niche. It is integral in the middle of the unit and available in electric and dual fuel. The blower is roughly the same as an over-the-range microwave at 310 CFM, so keep the cooking on the light side (or open a window).
How to downdraft a cooktop:
Jenn-Air has a downdraft as well, which is identical to the range in blower speed, but the better option is a separate downdraft unit with a cooktop. You can choose any cooktop, as well as have a more powerful blower up to 1500 CFM.
One word of caution, don’t try this at home…
A few manufacturers still recommend this type of installation of a pro cooktop with a downdraft, but it is not an appropriate solution. If you are facing this quandary, consider induction, which is more powerful than a professional cooktop but emits much less heat.Downdrafts were first manufactured 30 years ago, and the blower speeds have been improved in the last few years. However, they are not equipped to handle the heat output of a professional range. Remember, there is almost no capture area in a downdraft, so the smoke will almost bypass the downdraft completely.