If you are confused about buying an Exhaust Fan or a Chimney, firstly, you need to understand the function and working of each. Secondly, you should compare the merit and demerits of an Exhaust Fan vs Chimney before making any conclusion.
Unlike cooking in other countries, Indian Style cooking produce a lot of smoke and oily substances as cooking involves a lot of frying, grilling. In such a situation, the kitchen gets highly polluted if the kitchen does not vent the smoke out. When leftover for a long time, oily and greasy substances stick to the walls, ceiling, and interior of the kitchen making it look dirty.
Do you think that an Exhaust Fan is a solution for this?
The answer is a big NO.
But Why an Exhaust Fan is not a solution? To find the answer, you need to check what an Exhaust Fan is lacking. An Exhaust Fan has been an integral part of the old fashioned kitchen for a long time. Eventually, it was the cheapest solution too. Check how an Exhaust Fan works to understand the advantages and disadvantages of it.
How does an Exhaust Fan work?
An Exhaust fan is very similar to the ceiling fan that consists of a motor and attached blades. Usually, these are used in the bathroom and the kitchen to remove bad odors and polluted air. While the exhaust fan is good to install in the bathroom, we do not recommend it to install in the kitchen for its limited features. When the Exhaust fan is powered on, the motor starts to rotate and eventually drags the inside air to the outside of the kitchen.
From the above advantages and disadvantages, it is quite clear how an Exhaust Fan works and what are the limitations of an Exhaust Fan. If you install a Chimney instead of an Exhaust Fan, the cost will be a bit higher but can save you from the indoor air pollution that can lead to respiratory problems. Now read how a Chimney works to distinguish the limitations of an Exhaust Fan.
How a Chimney Works?
The working of a Chimney for a typical Indian Style Kitchen is not so straight forward as an Exhaust Fan. There are two types of chimney available in the Indian Market- Ducted Chimney and Ductless Chimney.
How does a ductless chimney work?
The Ductless Chimney consists of a suction unit with a blower motor, a filtration unit (with Baffle, Cassette and/or carbon filter). The Ductless Chimney basically recirculates the polluted air through the filters to take the oily/ greasy substances out.
How does a ducted chimney work?
The Ducted or Ducting Chimney does not recirculate the air, instead vents out to the atmosphere. It consists of a hood, an operating interface, a suction unit, a filtration unit (optional) and an attached vent. The blower motor sucks the smokey air, passes it through a filter to absorb sticky oil particles and vents the purified air out.
Exhaust Fan vs Chimney in India- Which is Better?
As you now have got a broad knowledge about the workings of Exhaust Fan and Chimney, we can now get a clear idea about which one is better- Exhaust Fan or Chimney. According to the efficiency of cleaning, filtering the smokey air, ease of use, safety, quality of the cooking environment we can compare Exhaust Fan vs Chimney in India to find out the best one.
1. The efficiency of Cleaning & Filtration of Air
We know that the Exhaust Fan does not filter the air, instead, it vents out to the atmosphere directly increasing the pollution. In this process, the air is displaced from the kitchen and you can get partially clean air during cooking.
On the other hand, a chimney is placed directly above the source of smoke generation. So, the smoke does not even have a chance to spread throughout the kitchen. With Ductless Chimney, the air is recirculated in the kitchen after filtration and with a Ducted Chimney, it is vented out of the kitchen.
Rating for Efficiency
Exhaust Fan: 3/5, Chimney: 5/5
2. Cooking Environment
When the environment of cooking is concerned, the chimney is far better than the exhaust fan. As the exhaust fan is mounted far away from the heating/ cooking source, the smoke and hot steam move all around the kitchen and after a certain time, it gets exhausted by the exhaust fan. In the meantime, your kitchen gets full of smoke and odor.
The chimney, on the other hand, vents out the smoke as soon as it produces. So, the kitchen gets less polluted.
Hence, we can conclude that the exhaust fan is not the best choice when your concern is mostly the environment of cooking. Therefore it is best to select a chimney.
Rating for Cooking Environment
Exhaust Fan: 2/5, Chimney: 5/5
3. The expense for Exhaust Fan vs Chimney in India
When the cost of the product is most concerned with you, you may find an exhaust fan that is most suitable for your requirements. The expense to buy an exhaust fan is at least 1/6th of the cost of a Chimney. However, you need to keep in mind the limitations of an exhaust fan.
Rating for Expense
Exhaust Fan: 5/5, Chimney: 3/5
4. Safety and Maintenance
It is a very important aspect when the concern is safety. Both the Exhaust Fan and Chimney have merits and demerits of their own.
For Exhaust Fan, it is installed away from the human reach. you need a ladder or other arrangements to clean and do maintenance of it. So, everyone does not have access to them. However, you need to do proper maintenance. The sticky oily and greasy particles from smoke get stuck to the blade and the body of the exhaust fan. you should clean it once in a month to ensure proper safety of the equipment.
On the other hand, the Chimney has many more components and functionalities than the Exhaust Fan. For Auto-clean chimnies you may have less involvement to maintain safety. So, when it comes to comparison of an exhaust fan vs Chimney, both are good for a safety point of view when the maintenance is done well.
Rating for Safety
Exhaust Fan: 3/5, Chimney: 3/5
5. Reliability and Durability
When you focus on the Durability and Reliability, it varies with brand and product for both the exhaust fan and chimney. However, to maintain the best working conditions, maintenance is very important especially for Chimney. A ductless chimney may create noise and perform badly if the filters are not cleaned regularly. The frequency of maintenance is lower in the case of the exhaust fan. But routine maintenance is indeed needed to maintain the optimum condition and make it more reliable and durable.
Rating for Reliability & Durability
Exhaust Fan: 4/5, Chimney: 3/5
From the above comparison of an exhaust fan vs chimney in India, we can see that a chimney is a way better than an exhaust fan when the cooking environment and cleanliness are the most concerned. Although the price of a chimney is a bit higher than the exhaust fan, it can provide you more comfort and a cleaner environment when cooking.
If you are planning to buy a chimney, we recommend you check our Buying Guide and Honest Review for Chimneys.
For more information about Kitchen Chimney, check Wikipedia.