Having a chimney is a must in Indian households as with the frying and spices typically involved in Indian cooking, it is of paramount importance to have a kitchen chimney to channel the smoke out of the house. The aromatic blend of Indian tadka may make you love your food however, it does leave a greasy layer on your kitchen tiles and ceiling.
A kitchen chimney helps absorb all the odour and smoke and protects your kitchen tiles and ceiling from excessive grease. Not only that but a modern chimney also accentuates your kitchen décor therefore, it becomes essential that you make the right choice while buying a chimney.
Before selecting a chimney for a kitchen, it is important to understand the purpose and selection criteria. The primary role of a chimney is to efficiently extract the fumes, oil particles and aroma residues from the source and transport it to another destination hence, the factors may differ across residential sector to hotel and restaurant kitchens and industrial kitchens.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Sapna Aggarwal, Creative Director at Ansa Interiors, listed some important things you must consider when choosing a chimney:
1. Most important in a chimney is the filter. They’re classified into three categories – mesh, baffle and carbon. Mesh filters, also called cassette filters, consist of multiple layers of stainless steel or aluminium mesh filters that not only allow the smoke to escape but also trap the solid particles that the chimney catches during the cooking process. However, such a filter requires high maintenance. You need to wash it regularly or get it serviced quite often. Any blockages in this filter can reduce the suction capacity of the chimney. Baffle filters are the more commonly used type in Indian kitchens and are considered to be 30% more effective than mesh filters. A baffle filter contains panels with multiple curves. They need to be cleaned every 3-4 months and the detachable variety can be cleaned easily at home. The carbon filter is made of charcoal and is effective in removing the bad odour from the kitchen. Carbon filters need to be replaced after every six months. Regardless of that, they’re very popular in India.
2. The second most important factor to consider while buying a chimney is its type. There are four types of chimneys – wall-mounted, built-in, island, and corner. Corner chimneys are rare in India. A wall-mounted chimney fits against the wall and cooktop whereas built-in chimneys fit inside the kitchen’s wood furniture and they work against the wall. The decision of the type of chimney depends on your kitchen’s existing structure, location of the platform, stove & hob, and where you can fit the chimney.
3. The next most important thing is the suction power. It’s the capacity of the chimney’s motor to suck the oil particles. For an Indian kitchen, a chimney with suction power between 400 m3/hr to 1000 m3/hr is suitable. The exact figures depend on the size of your kitchen.
4. You also will be better off with a chimney in which the motor is sealed else dust and grime will stick to the motor and will require periodic servicing.
5. The size of the chimney must be according to your kitchen size. For example, a 3ft stove should have a 3ft chimney.
6. It’s also a good idea to install the chimney at a lower and easily accessible height. This will make it easier to clean.
7. A chimney for an Indian kitchen can range from ₹3000 to ₹1,00,000. The actual cost will depend on your budget, your kitchen décor and your cooking style. Many brands now allow you to customise your chimney to match your kitchen’s decor theme.
8. It’s also advisable to have a chimney with a silent kit installed if you want a chimney that makes lesser noise.
9. Most of the chimneys have a warranty of 12 months. Chimneys with lifetime warranty options are also available in the market.
According to Manu Goel, Director at Novarch Consultants, the client must first differentiate between their needs and desires. He suggested, “The first and foremost criteria should be machine efficiency. The width of the chimney should be larger or equal to the cooktop. The motor capacity is something that most customers ignore but it defines the suction capacity of the machine. Various types of filters are available. First being aluminium mesh filters. These are high maintenance and more difficult to clean as the pores get clogged. The Baffle filters, made up of alternating curved flutes, effectively collects the oil and grease, and are easy to clean regularly. The last is the charcoal filters. Although quite effective at collecting aromas, these cannot be cleaned and have to be replaced after a few months. Hence, the client needs to assess their requirement and preference of machine and filters. On the basis of this, they can shortlist some models before finalizing.”
He added, “Aesthetics are of prime importance in front kitchens, like residences. Chimneys are available in both glass and in metal, and with varying designs. One factor to consider while selecting is the language of the kitchen. While a minimal design with glass may be more suited for a contemporary kitchen, there are models that look better with classical design language. Lighting colour and sound should also be considered before finalizing. Warranties, prompt service and brand reliability are the key factors that should be considered before setting out to purchase the product. No matter what the advertising or the sales person promises, the best method is to study the above stated technical factors and then proceed with the shortlisting before finalizing as per your criteria. While in commercial kitchens, maintenance cost and efficiency may be the prime factors, in residential sector the aesthetics are the first criteria.”
Clarity of thought is the key to clear and informed decision making and if above factors are considered, the choice of any product will be breeze. Keeping these things in mind will allow you to buy the right chimney for yourself.