A range hood’s installation can be split into two parts. The first one consists of setting up the hood and venting it, while the other is the electrical work that powers up the unit. Both parts of the installation are equally important and require an experienced individual to be taken care of. As far as the wiring part is concerned, most range hoods these days come with a pre-installed cord that goes right into your kitchen outlet and fires the machine up. However, wiring a hood is not always this straightforward. You need to ensure that the exhaust hood is not contributing to a power overload. Lucky for you, this article is all you will need to learn about the electrical work for range hoods.
Are range hoods hardwired or plugged in?
Range hoods can either be hardwired or plugged in depending upon the unit. If your range hood had a plug when you bought it, then there’s no need for hardwiring it. On the contrary, the absence of a plug indicates that it needs to be hardwired. Range hoods that come with a plug can simply be plugged right into a standard 120-volt switch. If your kitchen doesn’t have a switch nearby the stove, an extension would help get the range hood powered up. This is for hoods that come with a plug and don’t require hardwiring.
So, why don’t all range hoods come with a plug if that’s the easy way? Well, some units are not safe to be sharing a circuit and may cause an overload. To prevent mishaps from occurring in the first place, these hoods need to be hardwired directly into your home’s electrical system. However, these units are now becoming rare as most hoods come with traditional three-pronged plugs.
Hardwiring a range hood: Step by step
For range hoods that don’t come with a pre-installed plug, you’ll have to hardwire it. Hardwiring means that you’ll need to connect it to your house’s circuit manually. For this, you’ll need to locate the nearest circuit which, in this case, would be the circuit that sits behind the stove. Hardwiring a range hood is a straightforward experience. However, before we proceed with that, you should know that having some basic experience with wiring work is a prerequisite. If you haven’t done electric work before, have a professional over for help or continue under the supervision of an experienced individual.
Things you’ll need:
- A wire cutter
- Tape/wire caps
- Tester (optional)
Step 1: Disconnecting the breaker
Before attempting to hardwire the hood, you must disconnect the breaker that powers your hood. Head towards the breaker box of your house and turn off the specific breaker. In most cases, breakers are labeled with what they power, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding the one. If it’s not labeled, you can turn off each breaker individually and see which one is supposed to power the range hood.
Step 2: Cut the hood’s plug
Once you’ve disconnected the breaker, take your range hood’s plug (if it comes with one) and cut it from an inch before its pronged end. With the help of scissors, detach the head of the plug since you won’t be needing it. Grab a wire cutter and use it to cut off the last inch of rubber from the wire. You will now see a set of exposed wires before you.
Step 3: Wire evaluation
It is important to double-check that there is no electricity coming from the circuit. Use a tester to touch the wires and confirm that it’s safe to touch the wires. Your range hood will have three different colored wires that need to be attached to the same-colored wires in the circuit.
Step 4: Connecting the wires
Connect each wire to its respective counterpart and twist the ends together tightly. For holding the wires together, use either tape or wire caps. This will ensure that the wires don’t get disrupted later on and the connection remains stable.
Step 5: Test the range hood
Now that the electric work is done, turn on the breaker that powers your kitchen. Your range hood is now ready to be powered up and tested. If the hood doesn’t turn on, do not try fixing the problem yourself. At this point, it is recommended to give your local electrician a call.
Does a range hood need a dedicated circuit?
Range hoods do not require a dedicated circuit to function. Dedicated circuits only power a single outlet which means a single electronic appliance will operate at a time. These circuits are for appliances that require a heavy volume of voltage to function, and a range hood isn’t one of those. However, one must be careful not to overload the circuit breaker. If the range hood is sharing the circuit with an electric stove, it may cause an overload. To see whether or not a circuit can handle the load, check out the range hood’s amp drawing rate.
If you have a shared circuit and are planning to bring in a microwave into the kitchen, then it would be best to give one of the electronics their own dedicated circuit. Older residential codes required range hoods to be connected to a dedicated circuit but electronic appliances are more energy-efficient these days. This means that as long as your range hood isn’t sharing the circuit with a heavy-duty appliance, it’s fine to have it on a shared circuit.
How many amps does a range hood draw?
Range hoods do not draw more than 7 amps at best. For lighter units, you can expect around 2-4 amps. A 20-amp circuit breaker is suitable for a range hood. This way other smaller electronic appliances such as a toaster, griller, or router that draw a similar rate of amps can share the load with no involvement of risk. Generally speaking, the safest way is to give heavy-duty appliances their own circuit and have the smaller ones share. If you’re not into handling wires, it’s best to let an electrician handle these matters.
Can a range hood and electric stove be on the same circuit?
An electric stove and a range hood should not be on the same circuit. Electric stoves can draw up to 40 amps, whereas an exhaust hood barely crosses 7. Having the two of these appliances on the same circuit will most certainly cause an overload. If you do have an electric stove, it should have its own dedicated circuit. Electric stoves consume a lot of energy because it’s basically doing the job of heating up your stove with electricity. On the other hand, gas stoves just use electric power to ignite the flame on the burner. So, it’s safe to have a gas stove and range hood on the same circuit, but an electric stove must have its own.
Where to put the power outlet for the range hood?
If you’re in the midst of designing your kitchen, then make sure to have the electric outlet put as close as possible to the range hood. Spots such as the side of the hood or above/below the cabinet would be ideal. Just make sure that none of the wiring work or outlet is inside a closed wall. This is a serious violation of the National Electrical Code. For further details regarding where an outlet for range hood should be, refer to the guidelines provided by the NEC.
Who does the wiring for the range hood?
Your range hood’s entire installation should usually be handled by a professional. This includes the electric work as well as the mounting of the hood. Even if you’re experienced in DIY projects, you shouldn’t take the risk especially if it’s your first time installing a range hood. Range hoods need to be given a proper installation in order to work correctly. The same can be said for the wiring part. HVAC contractors are best for handling the overall installation of a range hood. Since they are experienced in both the venting part as well as electrical, they can handle the installation easily.
It is also essential to hire a trustworthy and reliable party for the job. Inexperienced individuals might save you some bucks, but the chances of a faulty installation will also skyrocket. Such scenarios usually end with you having to call them over and over again for fixes. If you’re short on finances and want an inexpensive range hood installation, consider doing some of the work by yourself. Leave the complicated wiring part to the professional and watch some how-to tutorial videos. Range hoods are not that hard to install, but due to the risk of improper installation, hiring skilled labor is emphasized.
We agree that the installation of range hoods might be a bit complex, but once it’s done properly, it won’t need any fixes or repairs anytime soon. You’ll be satisfied with the investment of time, effort, and money.