Range hood filters keep airborne oils, greases and debris from entering your home’s ventilation system by trapping them in the filter’s charcoal screen. Over time, however, oils and greases build up on a filter’s screen(s) and render it useless. Here’s how to change your range hood filter.
Change Your Hood Filter Regularly
Because people’s cooking habits vary, there’s no one interval for changing hood filters. In general replacing a filter every six to twelve months works well for most people. Checking and cleaning it more often (like every 3 months) will keep it working well between changes.
Remove the Hood Filter
Before removing the hood filter, make sure all power to the hood is turned off. You can either turn the circuit breaker to the range and hood off, or you can make sure the switches for the light and fan on the hood are turned off.
Once the power is off, remove the silver-colored screen from the underside of the vent. On most models, you simply have to grasp the screen and pull straight down. If that doesn’t work, push the back of the filter up slightly. You should then be able to wiggle the screen out.
Behind the silver-colored screen, there will likely be an activated charcoal filter. This filter may slide out, or you might need to lift the back end up slightly and wiggle it out.
Clean the Screen, Replace the Filter
The silver-colored screen can be cleaned, but the charcoal filter will need to be replaced. Follow these steps:
- Place the screen in a pail, and add hot water and degreasing dish soap. Dawn is a favorite brand of many.
NOTE: Some screens can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but the oils on the screen could potentially clog a dishwasher’s drain. To avoid this possible issue, soak the screen in a pail instead.
- While the screen is soaking, purchase an identical charcoal filter from the local hardware store. Bring the old filter with you so you know what to look for.
- Slide the new charcoal filter in place, reversing the motions you used to remove the old filter.
- Discard the old filter.
- Pull the screen out of the pail, and scrub it with a soft-bristled scrub brush. This should remove any grease that’s built up on the screen.
- Dry the screen off, and put it back in place.
- If you turned off a circuit beaker, now it’s time to turn it on again.
Your hood filter is ready for another six to twelve months of cooking.
Changing your range hood filter is not a huge task, but remembering to do it before grease buildup makes it more difficult can be a challenge.
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