The metal hood over most ovens and cook top ranges serves several different purposes in most modern kitchens. Almost all range hoods include a lamp or bulb which shines direct light down onto the stove so that you can more easily see what you are cooking and almost all ranges include a fan or venting system to draw up vapors, steam and smoke away from the cook top.
I recently replaced my aging range hood and it is a relatively simple task as long as you are replacing your existing range hood with another one that is th same size and offers the same functionality as the old one.
- Electric Drill
- Wire strippers and cutters
Removing The Old Range Hood
Before putting up a new range hood you obviously have to remove the old one. But while the old one is still in place you should take careful measurements to see how big it is and how it’s mounted to the wall or under the cabinets in your kitchen. You should also note if it’s vented or vent less. Vented range hoods will have an additional step or two, but the vents are pretty standard in size and location.
Cut the Power: Before you even start to work on removing the old range hood you should be sure to turn off the power to the unit. That will make it safe to remove and will eliminate the chance of you accidentally electrocuting yourself. Even once I am sure I’ve turned off the right breaker I still use a circuit detector to be sure there is no stray juice or unexpected surprises waiting in the wires I find.
Disconnect the Wires: Now that the power is off you can disconnect the elctrical wires from the fan and light in the old range hood. The wires for this are usually located in an enclosure that can be found tucked up and under the range hood, usually out of sight unless you stick you head under it.
If your hood has anything other than a simple “black to black” and “white to white” wiring scheme you may want to take note of how it’s wired. I usually take digital photos. If your wire ends are corroded or in bad condition you may also want to cut off the ends and strips down the wires a little bit so they are bright and ready for your new range hood.
Loosen the Mounting Screws: Again, most range hoods are fairly standard and you’ll usually find mounting screws in each corner of the hood. The most common way of securing a range hood is by simply attaching it directly to the underside of wall cabinets that are found over the stove top. Sometimes you’ll also find the hood is screwed into the back wall for support as well. You want to find all these screws and loosen them, but don’t take them out quite yet.
Disconnect the Vent If You Have One: If you have a vented range hood then you’ll want to disconnect or at least figure out how you’re going to disconnect your ducts from the hood before you go much further. It sometimes helps to have the hood loosened or able to wiggle a little bit to figure this out. If you can detach the hood from the duct work easily do it now. My range hood was ventless, so I didn’t have to worry about this.
Remove the Hood: Now that everything is disconnected you can usually slide the hood out from the mounting screws if they are loose enough, but more likely than not you’ll need an assistant to help hold the hood up while you go around and remove the mounting screws completely. You can do this on your own if you’re tricky and the old hood isn’t too heavy. Once the screws are removed and there are no wires or vent attachments to hold it in then your range hood should come down quite easily.
Once the old hood is removed you’ll want to clean the walls and wipe away any grime or grease that’s built up over the years. You’ll also want to see how the old hood was mounted to the cabinets. Some cabinets have recessed bottoms and in those cases they will sometimes have wood slats fitted to them to help assist with holding the range hood up.
Installing A New Range Hood
Putting up the new range hood is basically like removing the old one, just in reverse.
Unboxing Your Range Hood: First you’ll want to unbox the new range hood, making sure you have all the parts and tools needed to install it. You’ll also want to double-check the measurements of the hood you have and make sure it will fit in the space left by the old hood. Sometimes even a measurement different of an 1/8 of an inch can make a big difference. You’ll probably want to lift your hood and do a “test fit” to make sure everything lines up where you think it should with your existing kitchen cabinets.
You’ll also want to look over the instruction manual that came with your range hood. Sometimes they will offer extra tips or detail features of your hood which you may not have known about. That being said, don’t expect them to be too detailed.
Drill and Install Screws: While you’re test fitting your range hood you may want to use a marker or ballpoint pent to “trace” out where your screws need to be installed under your cabinet. They new holes did not line up with the existing screw holes from the old range hood.
Most simple range hoods can be installed with screws that are drilled into your cabinet (I always drill pilot holes to be sure I don’t split the wood) and then putting the range hood directly over the screw heads and the sliding the hood back to the narrowest part of the hole. You can then tilt and shift the range hood appropriately and then tighten the screws once the duct work is in place, the wiring is complete and everything is aligned.
Wiring and Ducts: For my new hood I had to twist out a metal knockout from the back of the hood to run in the electrical wires. I didn’t like my wires just floating there, so I grabbed a spare wire clamp connector that happened to fit into the knockout hole and secured my wires to the hood. Again, an assistant is sometime helpful when installing a new range hood because it’s useful to have one person holding it up while another runs the electrical wires through the appropriate holes at the back and connects the ductwork. How you do this step will depend on your situation and what needs to be done with your particular hood model.
If you are going to be replacing an old standard “light and fan” range hood with a microwave or other type of over the stove appliance you will want to take the additional precaution of making sure the existing circuit is able to handle the additional electrical load. In an ideal situation any sort of heating or cooking appliance should probably be on its own dedicate circuit because of the amount of electricity they draw.
For my range hood the wiring was pretty simple. First I attached the ground wire to the ground screw, then I used a wire nut to tie the white neutral wires together and another wire nut to tie the black hot wires together. I then just slid a little metal box cover into place so that none of the wiring was directly exposed to the stove top.
Once everything is in place you can do a final tighten of your screws and then stand back and take a look at your handiwork. The last step is to go back and turn the power back on and give it a test. If there are any problems then you’ll want to stay safe by turning off the power again before going back to troubleshoot.
Removing an old range hood and installing a new range hood is not a very difficult job. In most cases replacing a range hood is very similar to replacing a large light fixture with the added complexity of attaching a vent in some cases. Overall it’s an easy do-it-yourself project that shouldn’t take your more than an hour or two.