/ Outdoor Appliances

Clearing the Air

Grill with ventilation hood in outdoor kitchen on a porch.

Use a ventilation hood in your outdoor kitchen if the grill is in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space.

Your indoor cooking system needs ventilation to whisk away hazardous fumes and keep your working area free of smoke and grease. Your outdoor cooking system is no different. In fact, some gas grills generate as many as 100,000 Btus.

If you put your grill in an uncovered area, where the walls of your home don't block the smoke, you probably won't need extra ventilation. But if you've placed it in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space — such as under a portico or gazebo for shade and protection from rain — you should look into an outdoor ventilation hood.

Not only will a ventilation system keep you from setting the roof on fire, it prevents the accidental smoking out of family members, guests and neighbors.

"The most overlooked thing in an outdoor kitchen is ventilation, particularly in a covered space," says kitchen and bath designer Martha Kerr, CMKBD, of Neil Kelly Company in Portland, Ore. "When you enclose the space, the smoke can't freely go off into the air."

She adds: "Many of these grills can generate up to 80,000 Btus. In essence, if it were totally enclosed, it would require some sort of commercial ventilation system."

Designed specifically for outdoor use, these ventilation hoods come in island and wall versions and cost between $1,250 to $3,000, depending on size and power.