When we had our 25 year old kitchen cabinets refaced, it was time to update the range hood as well. This sleekly designed stainless steel hood looks great with the new cabinet doors, which are a light maple.
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Our old range hood was also a Broan product. We'd selected it because it had a continuously-variable fan speed, which allowed us to "tune" the noise level somewhat. But it raised quite a racket, and worse yet, the underside of the hood had all kinds of nasty spots for grease and goop to collect. After the first few months, it looked downright unsanitary. Over the years, we had simply learned not to look too closely.
The Allure I had two features we agreed were essential: it was stainless steel, and had a relatively smooth underside. There is one groove where stuff might collect, but that's it. Prior experience taught us that brushed-chrome finishes are not durable enough to stand up under years of being scoured. Our previous range had a brushed-chrome top, and cleaning it eventually wore off enough of the plating that the steel underneath rusted. On the other hand, the old hood had a white enamel finish, and scrubbing it left it looking less-than-attractive.
Besides the smooth underside, the Allure I does not have much plastic trim around the two switches, and there is no plastic diffuser over the two halogen lamps.
Our installation is ducted, and although it was a tiny bit complex, understanding the instructions for installing the Allure, I managed without making a mistake. As it comes from the box, the hood is set up to be installed unvented, except that you must buy the charcoal filter separately. For a vented installation, you have to unfasten a baffle inside the hood and reposition it, so the air is re-routed.
The impeller-type fan in this hood does not look impressive, compared with the two squirrel-cage blowers in the old one, but in our installation it works quite well.
The quality of the vented connection makes a difference in how well an externally vented hood works. The length of the vent pipe, sealing of any joints, number of bends, and the external weather baffle all contribute to performance. As it happens, our duct system is pretty straightforward, and with only a little jiggering I was able to fit the old rectangular collector to the opening on the new hood, duct taping it afterward.
Once you are through monkeying around with the conversion to external venting, the installation is pretty straightforward. I made it more complicated than necessary by leaving the range in place. Had I moved our slide-in gas range out of the way, I would have saved an easy half hour's struggling. But moving the range would have dictated a new flex gas pipe, and I was too lazy to go through that step.
On the low fan speed, the blower is barely noticeable, and it's a good thing that Broan incorporated a little green L.E.D. to indicate that it's running. High speed seems to be more than adequate for our needs, although we no longer do any canning, which might require a bit more air-moving capacity.
The maximum recommended lamp size for this hood is a pair of 50-watt PAR 20 halogens. The "low" setting of the two-level switch provides enough light for working, and with the bulbs at full capacity, you might actually be able to use it as a food warmer! When these lamps need replacing, I will step down to 35 watt halogens, which will be more than adequate. You might even substitute tungsten incandescent lamps for the halogens, as long as you don't exceed the 50 watt upper limit.
We paid well under $200 for this hood at Lowe's, and it is worth every penny.
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