A cooker hood not extracting correctly is a very common compliant that people have with these appliances and there is a number of simple things that you can do yourself to prove or disprove that there is a fault with your extractor.
The first thing to realise is that cheap cooker hoods are, well... useless really. Seriously they are just rubbish, we used to joke that the cheap Italian hoods buzzed a bit, lit up and did nothing else. Sadly it still holds true in many cases.
First off test that the hood is actually drawing air.
The easy way to do this is to get a banknote or another light bit of paper and put it against the grease filter grill on the underside of the cooker hood with the hood switched on, the bit with all the holes in it. If the hood is extracting then the paper should stay there, if it isn't it will fall back off with the hood switched on to extract.
Needless to say, don't be silly and do this while you're cooking!
There are, in the main, two filters fitted to a cooker hood when they are new, a grease filter and a carbon or charcoal filter. We'll look at both separately in a minute and explain more about them, but first of all it is important to understand that not all hoods have both fitted but every hood will have a grease filter of some sort to stop airborne grease from entering the motor and electrics of the cooker hood.
It is therefore imperative to the proper operation of your cooker hood that these filters are replaced periodically and many that we supply come with use indicators that tell you when it is time to change the filter, very useful.
Manufacturers usually advise replacing the cooker hood grease filter every month, which is silly in our opinion as they've no clue how much it's been used nor any clue of what type of cooking you do. For example, if you boil or steam cook a lot then you'll have to replace the filter less and, in contrast, if you flash fry (such as stir frying etc.) a lot then you will have to replace the grease filter more often. It all depends on how you use the cooker hood so, our advice is to buy filters with the indicator in it so you can see exactly when they need replaced and, it'll probably save you money as well as keeping your hood working properly.
The problem when the filters get clogged up with grease is that the motor has to "labour" to draw air into the hood to extract it. By not replacing the filter you're just making life difficult as well as having a reduced performance, in other words, the cooker hood won't extract properly.
This is the most important filter in a cooker hood and it comes in three basic flavours:
This is the oldest way of trapping the grease in the hot steamy air produced by cooking that passes into the cooker hood and, it is also unsurprisingly mega reliable as there's nothing to break or go wrong.
It used to be that you couldn't get this type of filter with an indicator but, that has changed and now you can and it is available from this link in our store
That is a simple, quality filter pack.
But you can see the difference in price when you take the indicator off and use a slightly lower grade of filter from this link. It is substantially cheaper, if not quite as good.
If you can't find the charcoal or carbon filter for your cooker hood or, you want a much cheaper alternative the this pack in our shop is a superb alternative. Basically, you take the carbon or charcoal filter out of the hood totally and simply put this filter, cut to size of course, in with the carbon filter above the paper grease filter and, viola, you have a grease and carbon filter for a fraction of the cost. Great money saving there as the carbon filters are often quite expensive.
The paper grease filter in a cooker hood is, pretty much, the same as the foam type of grease filter but thinner. Essentially it is a more dense material that is used and you can use the pack with the carbon filter in it in most hoods that use a paper filter.
But if you just need the paper filter itself then you can find it from this link in our shop
Increasingly on the more upmarket hoods we've seen a marked rise in the use of metal grease filters being used in cooker hoods. What they are is a weave of metal strands (for want of a better description) that are designed to cool the air passing through the filter allowing the tiny droplets of grease to be trapped within the weave of the grease filter.
These grease filters are often marketed as being virtually indestructible which, to some extent, is true. But we've found that repeated washing in the dishwasher will eventually often cause the plastic latch to break on them meaning that you have to buy a new one or more grease filter and, they ain't cheap!
These metal grease filters are also model specific, you must have the model number in order to get a replacement filter.
Whether they are any better than the old foam or paper type is open to debate.
Okay, the idea here is that this filter (where fitted) will remove smells and odours when the hood is in a re-circulation mode so, if the hood you have doesn't have that ability then you won't have this filter fitted.
If your hood is vented to the outside then you also don't need this filter to be fitted so, if your cooker hood is vented outside and you have a carbon filter in it, take it out and throw it away. Your hood will work much better.
If you can't find the charcoal filter you need you have a few options, one is to use the pack above (but here's the link to it in our shop again anyway) as a replacement and, that's cheap, probably the cheapest way. You can also replace the charcoal or carbon pellets if you want using this pack of charcoal pellets. But, you have to cut the old filter open and it's messy. However it does work and is pretty cheap to do this if you don't mind messing about a bit.
The easy way, especially if you don't know the model of cooker hood you have is to use the universal cooker hood carbon filter that you can find in our shop from this link.
But the easiest way is simply to buy the proper carbon filter, end of story. It is more expensive, yes, but the filter will fit perfectly with no messing about with adaptors and suchlike and will perform better as a result. To find those you're best to search the shop and, if you can't find the filter that you're after simply ask us and we'll find it as cheaply as possible for you.
Whether carbon or charcoal cooker hood filters actually work and remove cooking smells is, again, open for debate. We don't rate them especially highly but, they can work for some people.
The one overriding factor here is installation and that includes the ductin g to extract the air drawn up by the cooker hood. You can read an article all about that and the importance of it as well as choosing a hood from this link. If however your hood is not vented to the outside then you can, in almost all cases, pretty much forget any extraction going on at all.
If you have a new hood that's just been fitted then this is almost certainly going to be your problem.
You have to ensure that all the ducting is clear and you must check it if you get poor extraction which, in most installations, is a pain to do but it has to be done. We've fished all sorts of things out cooker hood venting, such as dead mice and birds to balls of fluff, dust and dirt.