Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate

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To paraphrase Dirty Harry: “…..you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?”

How often do you think to clean your vent for the kitchen exhaust fan?

I can remember a grease fire that was started in a vent that almost burned down an apartment building my dad owned. After it was inspected, they found out that it really did not even connect to the outside brick wall. All the insulation caught fire then the wood framing inside. That was a close call until the fire department put out the blaze.

The story below is pretty strange since we are used to the modern ones.

I found a kitchen exhaust fan the other day that was installed in 1950.

Old fan speed controlThe thing even ran when I turned on the antique controller.  Typically these old units, if they start at all, make so much noise they probably would not get used.  But not this one---this one just “purred” like it was put in yesterday.

The part that was not so cool was the ductwork in the attic---and was the reason for the Dirty Harry quote.  The thing about ductwork installed in 1950 is that it most likely has not gotten any better since 1950.  All kitchen exhaust fans need to be cleaned now and then and should always be smooth wall metal pipe---I don’t even like the flexible metal duct that lots of builders seem to like.  Of course the foil type vent pipe is a total no no.

It is possible to have a grease fire inside these vents and it is a pretty good idea to make them out of materials that can stand a little heat.  That said, you do not want to EVER have a fire in a kitchen exhaust duct---so keep them clean.

Wooden exhaust duct

Given that this vent pipe was made out of wood---it would seem to me that every time that timer was turned on you have to ask yourself one question:  Do I feel lucky?

 

 

Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 11 commentsLizette Fitzpatrick • January 28 2011 07:22PM
To paraphrase Dirty Harry: “….. you've got to ask yourself one…
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How often do you think to clean your vent for the kitchen exhaust fan? I can remember a grease fire that was started in a vent that almost burned down an apartment building my dad owned. After it was inspected, they found out that it really… more
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