These are an effective way of removing smoke due to cooking from your kitchen. They typically are better than exhaust fans as they suck the smoke immediately and presence of several international brands like Glen, Elica, Faber and Gilma give various options at suitable prices.
It saves the ceiling above the cooking area to get damaged and also smoke spreading to other rooms.
They come in two types - traditional and designer. The traditional ones are a utility removing smoke. The designer ones on the other hand also enhance the decor of the kitchen.
Based on installation
This is located against the wall with the cooktop adjacent to the wall on the countertop.
This is located in the middle of the room, this is typically meant for island kitchens. The ducting will need to be done from the ceiling.
It will extend along the walls, the cooktop is located in the corner between them.
The cooktop is located beneath a wall-unit.
Avoid buying chimeys made of wood as these can catch fire.
The alumunium mesh filter also known as aluminium cassette filter is made of several layers of aluminium mesh for effective purification. The mesh retains the grease particles in the fumes. This filter can be washed by hand.
The aluminium mesh filters contain very small holes and small particles like masalas and oil can form a coating and block the filters and stop suction. Because of this reason, mesh filters are not very useful in Indian conditions.
Baffle filters separate oil and spices from smoke. Thus they are useful in Indian conditions as the suction power does not get affected due to oil and spices. They are more effectuve than mesh filters and cleaning the filters is also very easy.
Materials of Baffle filter
The baffle filters are available in stainless steel or alumunium. Alumunium filters are lighter than steel and hence easier to handle. However, alumunium baffles may rattle, or even be drawn back into the hood. Also, you should be careful when cleaning an aluminum baffle. as most caustic solutions can and will scar, burn or even melt the aluminum.
Charcoal filter is mainly used for absorbing odor. This is used when the unit is in recycling mode and the air gets recycled. The thickness of this filter defines the purification and absorption capacity. The filter needs to be replaced periodically as it is not washable. Also this filter might not be built in most appliances.
Air Suction Capacity
This refers to the motors capacity to suck the odour and oily vapour and is measured as m3 per hour. The unit with a higher air suction capacity is ideal for an Indian home as the cooking involves a lot of frying. For heavy cooking such as non vegetarian food or deep frying go for HIGH SUCTION above 401 m3/hr. For normal cooking go for MEDIUM air suction capacity at 400 m3/hr and below.
Number of blowers
The blowers exhaust the smell and oil and it runs with the motors. The higher the number of blowers the more effective it will be in removing unwanted smell and oil vapour.
These are generally available in two sizes - 60 cms and 90 cms.
Thermal Overload protector
Overheating of motor can be a danger However they nowadays come with thermostatic protection mechanism which cut off power supply and prevent motor burnout.
Two high performance motors rotating in opposite direction create a special low pressure zone. This low pressure cavity forces the fumes to rush in,resulting in a much higher airflow compared to conventional systems.
Because of this reason a twin motor unit is better than a single motor one.
Elica comes with external motors - this is called split chimney. The motor is installed outside the kitchen and hence this reduces noise considerably compared to other brands.
You can check more about this at: http://www.elica.com/ww/en/External_motor2
For suspended ceilings some of the chimneys come with concealed hoods which is built into the ceiling. This come with glass panels, ambient lighting and other aesthetics for a visually attractive design.
Island chimneys typically go with island kitchens where the countertop is separated from the walls.
There are various features in the auto clean chimneys in the market today. This are from viewpoint of Indian cooking which uses oil and also easing maintenance and cleaning. The basic features to look for in these are:
Auto cleaning facility which implies zero or least maintenance
Motor is sealed not allowing any dust or smoke to get in
Aluminum non-stick turbine blower to prevent oil clogging. Motor also use non - stick material like alumunium, and thus there is no need of periodic servicing of internal parts.
Filter less - hence no regular scrubbing of filters is needed.
Detachable oil collector to collect oil particles
In the ducting mode, heavier particles of Oil/grease/spice are trapped in the baffle / mesh filter, and the smoke/fumes are ducted out of the house. Ducting requires pipes and this is a typical one time investment to set up. This is an alternative to using charcoal filter which needs regular spend to change them.
For ducting details the pipe parameters should be checked to ensure reliability and longevity.
In recycling mode, heavier particles of Oil/grease/spice are trapped in the baffle / mesh filter and the smoke/fumes are filtered through the activated charcoal filter. The clean, deodorized air is then re-circulated into the room.
OTHER TIPS LIKE CLEANING ETC.
A few tips to remember though, before you buy:
Cleaning depends on the type of filters -
Mesh filters have to be washed in in warm water with detergent every 8-10 days when running.
Baffle filters have to be in warm detergent water evey 2-3 weeks when running.
Charcoal filters have to be changed every 3-4 months when running.
Noise level is high, more than in an exhaust fan
Install at heights where it can be cleaned as well the smoke can effectively be removed
The chimney should be 4 feet above the cokking appliance.
These are the brands of electric chimneys available in India.