Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate


To paraphrase Dirty Harry: “…'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


No kidding.  And, the fire might not get put out in time.

This happened to a friend on Christmas eve when everyone thought the smoke was from the fireplace. Yes, the fire company came but only after the house was practically gone.


Posted by Priscilla Dakin ( about 7 years ago

Good re-blog Lizette... that Charles comes up with some interesting scenarios! 

Posted by Kathy Schowe, La Quinta, California 760-333-8886 (California Lifestyle Realty) about 7 years ago

WOW!!  This happen to my Mom once!! She was ok, but the Kitchen did not survive!!


Posted by Barbara Flannery Gambrel, "Homes for Everyone In London Kentucky" (USA Realty,Inc.) about 7 years ago

Lizette - Great reblog! I'm sure cleaning the exhaust fan is not on many peoples list.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) about 7 years ago

Very good re-blog selection. I subscribe to his blogs and post most of them on my Facebook business page.

 The colors of winter in Maryland.  Life is good!

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) about 7 years ago

GOOD MORNING Lizette! This just added one more thing to my to do list-- but a good thing!  Nice re-blog and excellent information! -- G

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Great re-blog Lizette. I think we should use our heads and feel smart and not have to worry about being "lucky." Nice talking with you...

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 7 years ago

Hey Liz,

That is so interesting that he got to, in a way, see some great history of the home.  Wonderful re-blog and interesting story :)

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 7 years ago

Thanks Lizzette..Great story thanks for re blogging it=missed it first time around

Posted by Tim Peterson, Realtor Safety Training Classes (Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes) about 7 years ago

Thanks for the reblog of this story which I would have otherwise also missed! Nothing like a great home inspector!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 7 years ago

Lizette - Reading this reminds me that I probably need to clean my vent.  Thanks for reblogging.

Posted by Pam Dent, REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse (Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc.) about 7 years ago

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