If you live in a new apartment, do you have a kitchen fan with a charcoal filter? Among other things, stoves with built-in fans are often equipped with a charcoal filter.
Not everyone knows that this kind of kitchen fan not It brings moisture from food outside, but only removes food and odor from settling in the room.
DinSide previously wrote that dry air is a challenge in Norwegian homes.
However, if too much moisture accumulates in the same place, moisture damage can develop and a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria.
Slightly high humidity
Small apartments and basement apartments in particular get very high humidity very easily because you’re drying clothes inside, cooking food inside, maybe just using a charcoal filter in the kitchen fan. Then the fan blows the air backwards. Bjarte Sæthre in Humid explains that it takes the scent, but it doesn’t remove the moisture.
Sæthre works as a consultant for moisture damage, fungal damage and indoor climate in humid locations and travels daily in homes to inspect homes. Among other things, they perform indoor climatic examinations in cooperation with the NAAF.
During inspections, he regularly discovers major humidity issues in the home since the kitchen fan only has a charcoal filter and transfers all the moisture into the room.
– In a small apartment it can be critical. Sometimes in old apartment buildings there is no place to carry air, and then perhaps this is the reason for its occurrence. It’s really bad and you have to ventilate the apartment after you cook the food.
grate at the top
Whether or not you have a kitchen fan with a charcoal filter, you can easily tell if you open the kitchen cabinet above the fan.
– If there is a pipe that goes out against the wall or reaches the ceiling, then there is a kitchen fan with ventilation, if the pipe is missing, then there is a carbon filter. For those without wall cabinets, there are often vibrations on the side at the top where you can sense whether there is air or not, says Sæthre.
If there is air, there is a carbon filter and all moisture is returned to the room.
In addition, you must remember that if you have a charcoal filter, it must be replaced regularly.
– I was in a new apartment where dew leaked from the windows inside. They had a balanced ventilation system with a kitchen fan that had to be plugged in so that the air was going out, but instead a kitchen fan with a charcoal filter was installed. All the moisture from cooking was brought back into the room causing the humidity to rise, he says and adds:
– I think that probably not everyone is aware of how important it is to get moisture back into the room, but it’s easier to install and you don’t have to think about taking out the pipes.
Sæthre highly recommends that kitchen fans have air-carrying tubes and not just a carbon filter.
– Honestly, we think kitchen fans with a carbon filter are a product that shouldn’t be brought to the market, he says.
A kitchen fan with a charcoal filter is a good alternative to venting, says Siv Egger Westin, press officer for IKEA. At Ikea, they sell kitchen fans with charcoal filters and air ducts.
People live in different homes, and it’s not always possible to connect a kitchen fan to an extractor or ductwork, she says.
It also highlights the kitchen fan’s charcoal filter feature.
– So it is good to have alternatives and then the carbon filter is the best alternative. This attracts food and cutlery odors and recirculates the air back into the kitchen.
Westin says that by washing the charcoal filter about every three months, it can be reused and retain its functionality for 2-3 years.
60/40 between solutions
Eva Hannisdahl, CEO of Morten Engebretsen AS, works with BORA, which provides, among other things, integrated ventilated stoves and ovens.
She says that the use of charcoal filters in kitchen ventilation is one area of focus that is constantly being researched. This is because charcoal filter formulations have many advantages and are increasingly being used, both in the Nordic region and on the continent.
Figures from continental Europe indicate that 80% of the use of charcoal filters is in kitchen ventilation. In Norway, the number is approximate. 60% charcoal filter.
– After working for 10 years with BORA, we only have good experiences with charcoal filters in kitchen ventilation, because charcoal filters take in food air effectively, and also because of countless moisture studies done in BORA and independent laboratories. Studies document that moisture is not collected as the air is blown by carbon filters. We don’t advise people to buy solutions with a carbon filter, but we support our arguments with tested and documented facts, she said.
Hannisdahl says the reason for the increased use of charcoal filters is in part because they present a lower fire risk when you avoid perforated facades, are energy efficient, and add needed moisture in small amounts in Nordic homes which, especially in winter, indoor air is often very dry (on average There is only 1-1.5 hours of cooking throughout the day).
With the charcoal filter, you can save space in the kitchen and have a simpler and more cost-effective installation.
Emphasizes that systems with built-in fans such as bench ventilation are often sold with charcoal filters, but all BORA models are sold with both exhaust air filters or charcoal filters.
We’re seeing a roughly 60/40 split between solutions, says Hannesdale.
She explained that BORA seat fans with a charcoal filter have an “after-run” function that moves air through the system – silently – for 20 minutes after the system is turned off. Tests show that the humidity in the room quickly returns to normal levels.
Disadvantages of exhaust air
A charcoal filter requires the home to have basic ventilation that removes excess moisture from showering, drying clothes, and cooking. Underground ventilation is a requirement in all new homes. In older homes, it is acceptable to force air to open the window.
Hannisdahl also adds that there are drawbacks when choosing ventilation:
– Negative pressure resulting from the use of exhaust air. Besides open stoves, it is actually very unfortunate and many countries in Europe require a window lock connected to a kitchen fan with exhaust air. This means that you cannot turn on the fan without opening a window in the same room, she says and adds:
Exhaust air carries moisture out of the room, but it also carries a great deal of heat. Which leads to increased energy consumption.
Hannisdahl explains that historically charcoal filter solutions may have been of different quality, but charcoal filter solutions are constantly being developed and improved.
—A charcoal filter in today’s kitchen ventilation is a good solution, she says.
She emphasized that kitchen ventilation should be viewed as an isolated point solution that should only be used to decontaminate cooking – not as a complete ventilation solution.
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