Having ventilation in your kitchen is essential even if you're not cooking frequently. If you don't have a range hood, you could be dealing with pollutants, splatters and smells that stick around. If you're in a rental property without a range hood, you likely have limited options when it comes to kitchen modifications.
Fortunately, you still have plenty of options from added appliances to non-permanent installations to help compensate for this lack.
What to Do If You Don’t Have a Range Hood
Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to maintain a healthy kitchen environment even without a range hood. These are some of the things you need to take care of:
First, you need to get some air circulating. There are a number of ways to do this, and it’s better to employ a couple of methods if you can. Open some windows near and in the kitchen to bring in some fresh air. If you have a fan in your kitchen or an adjoining room, turn it on to help move air around.
The best practice when you open windows to get rid of air borne pollutants and odor is to pay attention to air flow. Open a window in your kitchen and open a window in a nearby room that allows a cross-flow of wind.
Beyond windows and ceiling fans, exhaust fans are a great tool to pump that air out of your house. Some kitchens have these already, but if yours doesn’t or it’s ineffective, use the exhaust fan in the nearest room.
If you do a lot of aromatic cooking, look into buying a standing filter fan. These are designed to not only circulate air but also to remove tiny particles.
Don't Neglect Splatter Issues
Cooking produces a lot of splatter that can accumulate on your cabinets. Even if you can't install a range hood, you can still get a splatter guard. This will significantly reduce the splatter or gunk that gets on surfaces when you cook. They're generally inexpensive, easy to put above your splattering pans, and easy to clean.
Make sure you wipe down kitchen surfaces frequently, especially porous surfaces like granite and wood cabinets. The longer leftover splatter stays on, the more the surface absorbs them. A 50/50 solution of water and vinegar is safe on nearly any surface, and it eliminates residue and odors quickly.
When cooking, clean your stovetop frequently. It’s best to clean it as soon as it cools down sufficiently, which also prevents stuck on messes. If you’re cooking doesn’t involve a messy stovetop, still clean it weekly.
Even boiling food with uncovered pots leaves a film after a while, and even if it’s not visible, it can still make your kitchen musty.
Consider Non-Range Hood Installations
There are some simple and inexpensive installations you can add to your kitchen to help compensate for a lack of a hood range:
Install a Window Fan
If you have a window in your kitchen, a window fan makes a big difference when you're cooking. It fits right in your window and can be unplugged when you're not airing out your kitchen. It’ll bring in fresh air quicker than a breeze and suck out stale air better than the exhaust fan in the next room.
If you cook a lot of meat, this is an especially attractive option as though smells tend to stick around longer.
Change Your Air Filter
While this is something you should do regularly in maintaining your home, the air filter you use can make a big difference in how pollutants circulate through your home. If you use a HEPA certified air filter, you’ll notice a reduction in kitchen smells that linger in other rooms and at the same time, it would have a good impact on your lungs, something you'd not notice immediately.
The HEPA filter helps to pick up small particle, microbes, and allergens (as is its main purpose). As a result, less cooking aftermath is left to circulate through your home’s air ducts.
If you don’t have a range hood, you can still keep your kitchen in optimal shape. You just have to find some good substitutes to pick up the slack. All of these solutions I’ve provided are rental friendly and relatively inexpensive. Just about anyone can set them up.
The most important things you can do for your kitchen are provide good maintenance and plenty of ventilation. Please note that gas cooktops emit Carbon Monoxide and it is therefore not important but necessary that you get some kind of circulation going on and do not cook in a completely enclosed space.