Cooker hoods help to keep our kitchens healthier and cleaner, working hard to remove cooking smells, grease and steam whilst we cook. Because extractor hoods are working so hard to keep our kitchens fresh and clean, they can unsurprisingly get dirty in a short space of time.
Keeping your cooker hood clean not only helps it to work more effectively, it can also extend the life of the extractor fan.
Regularly cleaning and replacing filters is also an important safety consideration. If extractors get too clogged up with grease, airflow becomes impaired and the fan can overheat, posing a fire risk.
It’s therefore important to clean or change the filters on your cooker hood regularly, but how often should this be done?
How Often to Change Grease Filters
The majority of cooker hoods now all come with a grease filter, situated directly underneath the cooker hood.
Grease filters are the first point of contact for the cooking air sucked into the extractor hood, and they remove the dirtiest parts of the air before the internal machinery processes the remainder.
The majority of grease filters are designed to be replaced regularly to deal with the build-up of dirt, stains and grease. Most flat-style cooking hood extractors have paper grease filters that can be bought from most large supermarkets or DIY stores and cut to the correct size.
It’s always worth following the manufacturer’s instructions on how often to change the filter, but most paper grease filters should be replaced if either:
- The pattern on the filter has a reddish tint and looks discoloured.
- The filter is fully saturated with grease.
How often you change the filter can depend on how often you cook and type of food you prepare, but as a general rule it’s a good idea to replace a grease filter at least every three to six months.
Chimney-style extractors often have an aluminium mesh to filter grease and dirt, rather than a replaceable paper filter.
The aluminium mesh can be taken out regularly and washed with boiling water and washing up liquid to remove light build-up of grime and grease. Alternatively, you can put the mesh in the dishwasher providing you rinse it thoroughly afterwards and gently pat dry before putting it back in place.
How Often to Change Charcoal Filters
Cooker hoods that are vented outside only need grease filters, as the smoke and odours from cooking are removed externally through ducting.
Recirculating cooker hoods push the air through charcoal filters which remove cooking odours and smoke before the cleaned air is reintroduced back into the kitchen. Charcoal filters don’t usually need to be replaced as often as grease filters. Some manufacturers recommend changing carbon filters every three months, but other models will require changing less often – every 6 to 9 months.
Many cooker hood models now have a handy indicator that lets you know when it’s time to change the filter, and some models allow you to adjust the reminder yourself for a set number of hours based on usage.
To summarise, you should replace carbon filters at least once every 9 months.
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