Just Venting

The kitchen vent which had been on order these last three weeks arrived and we spent last weekend trying to install it. For reasons unknown the previous owner of our house had removed the kitchen vent. In the attic, the hole for the vent pipe was still visible and pieces of pipe lying where they’d been pulled out. The good news was that the hole cut through the wood planks was visible making it, theoretically, a small job to punch through the new metal roof.

First, though, we had to punch through my newly-repaired and painted ceiling. Finding a spot between the 2x4s in the attic was the first task. Our roof has a very gentle slope and the attic area above the stove is about 24 to 30 inches. Luckily for our team, I’m very flexible and can curl myself into a small ball to squeeze between struts. And even before my years in Japan, I’ve been able to sit on my heels in a squat position for relatively long periods. This was essential for working balanced on the attic’s 2x4s in a very small space.

attic crawlspace

On the left is the new junction box. The shining light in the middle is the new hole in the roof. I had to crawl through the struts–being careful not to put my foot through the ceiling beneath me–and lie on my back to drill the starter hole.

After successfully cutting the hole in the ceiling we hit problem two. Our electrician left wire the wire intended for the new vent sticking out of the wall. It needed to come out of our ceiling. I couldn’t pull the wire either because he nailed it to the stud or because he wired it to the outlet first. So, with some trepidation and much regret, I cut the new wire and installed a junction box in the attic. There is very little play in the wire, not enough to nail it down; I’ll have to be very careful not to trip over that wire in the future. I’m not too worried though as I’m the only one who can fit in that part of the attic and I’m aware of the problem.

We got the vent mounted. The only thing that went right in this project is that underneath the drywall is some planking where they had hung the old vent. So we are satisfied that the new vent is securely attached to the wall. I wired it in and turned the power on. Yay! It worked.

Day 2 we tackled making a hole in the roof. Five years ago when a tree fell on our garage we replaced our leaky asphalt shingle roof with metal. Neither of us was happy with the idea of putting a hole in our new roof. I thought I could punch a through from inside (where I could see the cutout in the wood) and then we could cut the rest of the hole from the outside. Wow! Our new roof is tough. Lying on my back in a 24 inch crawl space didn’t provide me with enough oomph to punch through the ceiling with punch and hammer. We tried the cordless drill and it wasn’t powerful enough either. We resorted to the electric drill. After much sweat and frustration I made a small hole. The rest was up to AJM.

kitchen remodel new vent

AJM spent the rest of the afternoon balanced on the roof with metal shears and a reciprocating saw. If you’ve ever seen a reciprocating saw kick, you’ll understand why, for the most part, he chose to use hand tools to carve out a hole. Sometime before early night fall (on this first day of standard time) he managed to get the hole large enough to install the flashing and make a temporary vent cover.

Now all we have to do is fit the vent pipes together and cut the stainless steel chimney to fit. Oh, did I mention that the chimney comes in two telescoping pieces, the smallest of which is too long to accomodate our short 1940s ceiling?

4 Responses to “Just Venting”

  1. ShellyB Responds:

    Just popping in on your “life” blog. Not that your life is a “life” – but I mainly know you from your gardening blog.

    We are also thinking about doing some kitchen remodeling. We have a stove that we want to keep but have been living without a vent hood for almost 5 years. It looks like we have a similar kitchen set-up. Free-standing stove, outside venting hood. I would love to know where you found one that was in the period-appropriate ballpark, who is going to install it, etc.

    If you wouldn’t mind posting more about it–or emailing me privately–I would be most appreciative.

    Shelly, we didn’t go for anything period-appropriate. In fact the entire kitchen is completely unlike the rest of the house and looks more like it should be in some modern downtown loft than in a 1940s cottage. However, the place we ordered our vent through, Appliance Associates, has a lot of reconditioned old/antique ranges. You might look there. They are off north Lamar across from the DPS at 814 Romeria Drive. As for installation, we’re doing it ourselves. Some of the more skilled work like the major electrical and plumbing we’ve hired out. But we’ve done most of it ourselves, partly because we’re cheap and partly because we’re picky. –mss

  2. M2 Responds:

    Oh my god. Just reading that makes me frustrated and light headed. I can’t imagine.

    I still remember realizing that what I thought was the vent could not possibly be blowing out of the house — there was no pipe — and therefore must be just shunting out over my head. Not a happy day.

    And was it? Or was yours a ductless one with a recirculating filter? I suppose my biggest frustration was having to undo work that I paid professionals to do. Overall, though, the work went well. We can hardly wait to finish it and try it out. –mss

  3. Annie in Austin Responds:

    If you’re trying to impress your readers with your daring and determination, M, this post sure did it. Rolling up in small balls is a useful talent, not possessed by anyone in my house. Good luck with the next step–we’ll be waiting for the ‘done’ photo of the great looking hood cone.

    We have the standard flat all-in-one hood that fits under the soffit in our seventies-era house, venting to the outside. It replaced an old inefficient model, and has lights built-in, badly needed at that spot.

    Incandragon, did you ever get an outside exhaust put in? Our last house had a downdraft built into the cooktop. Another previous house had the recirculating/filter hood fan like yours, but it worked in tandem with an exhaust fan built into the outside wall. With both fans running it was noisy, but got the steam and heat out.
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    I’ve added a photo so I can really stun you with my daring. This weekend, weather permitting, we will be hooking up the duct-work so that the air will vent outside. –mss

  4. bill Responds:

    I am impressed. I hate being in the attic. Even in our old house, which had an attic you could actually stand up in (in the center, at least) and plywood to crawl over, I could not stand it. The dust bothered me and that yucky insulation stuff. Whenever I was up there for any extended period I would be sick afterwards with respiratory problems.

    I don’t know what kind of insulation is in our attic but it is black (years of dust and mold?) and it’s nasty loose stuff. I have to wear a mask the whole time, or I also get sick too. AJM can’t go up there because he suffers from asthma anyway. — mss

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