How to Vent a Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Venting a kitchen exhaust fan should be done to handle the worst possible scenario. Fans that vent into the kitchen through a charcoal filter only partially help with ventilation. Venting into the attic is another partial remedy that can have dangerous ramifications. Proper ventilation of the kitchen exhaust fan should vent the air into the atmosphere outside the house. This can be done through the roof or through an outside wall of the house.

Things You'll Need

  • Exhaust pipe
  • Roof pipe flashing
  • Roofing nails
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Jig saw
  • Plumb bob with string

Use a plumb bob to locate the route of the exhaust pipe. The exhaust pipe will extend from the fan output up through the cabinets, ceiling, attic and the roof. A clear path will need to be determined before drilling a hole in the roof. Drill a hole for the pipe in the top of the cabinets. Before drilling the hole in the ceiling check that no ceiling joist or trusses exist in the proposed path of the pipe. Do not cut through any rafters or structural framing that exist in the attic. Drill a hole in the roof at the exit location of the pipe.

Extend the pipe down through the hole in the roof all the way through the attic and attach it to the output of the exhaust fan. This can be accomplished with one piece of pipe if the route of the pipe is in a straight line. If the route of the pipe needs to be adjusted or offset to go around the framing members, it can be installed in sections with angled pipe connections as needed. If the pipe is angled and in sections, start at the bottom and continue attaching sections until the last piece exits the roof.

Place the roof pipe flashing according to the manufacturer's instructions. Usually shingles at the sides and top of the flashing will need to be removed and replaced to allow the flashing to be installed underneath the shingles to prevent leaks.

Place insulation around the pipe in the attic to prevent air leaks and use wood trim or panels to cover the pipe above the cabinets.


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