How to Install a Kitchen Exhaust Fan

A small, white, plastic exhaust fan.
What You'll Need
Stud finder
Drywall saw
Vent pipe
Duct elbow (four-inch)
Foil duct tape
Flashlight or work light
Exhaust fan
Cable connector
Flex duct
Cordless drill
High speed drill bit
Wall cap
Rubber gasket
Silicone sealant
Wire nuts

A kitchen exhaust fan can be very useful and effective in getting rid of smoke, moist air, and unpleasant smells that are produced when using your stove top. Most newer homes are constructed with a range hood already built in over the stove, but for an older home that might not have one, or in the event that the hood does do enough to ventilate your kitchen, you may need to know how to install an exhaust fan yourself.

Step 1 - Plan for Your Ceiling Exhaust Hole

First, you'll need to cut a hole in your ceiling between the joists, through which your exhaust pipe will fit. Locate an open space in the drywall using a stud finder, and mark it. Then, push the tip of your drywall saw through the ceiling far enough that you will see the tip poke through into the attic or crawlspace above. Also, if there is insulation around the saw blade, remove it at this time.

Step 2 – Insert Your Vent Pipe

Hold your vent pipe end against the ceiling where you inserted your saw blade. Use a pencil to draw a circle around the edge of the pipe. Take your drywall saw again and use it to cut this circle out, and then insert the vent pipe up through the hole.

Step 3 – Attach a Duct Elbow

Return to the attic or crawlspace and attach a four-inch elbow to the exhaust port you cut, using foil duct tape to secure the seam. If light isn't readily available in the attic, use a flashlight to see.

Step 4 – Attach the Vent Fan

To the fan housing, attach a cable connector. Then, place your new vent fan and brackets into the ceiling hole. Attach the brackets to a nearby ceiling joist with screws, and feed the cable through the cable connector. Secure flex duct to the elbow you connected to the vent fan with duct tape.

Step 5 – Cut an Exhaust Hole

On an attic wall, close to the vent fan you inserted into the ceiling and between exterior wall joists, select a place for your exhaust hole. Using your cordless drill and a long, narrow bit, drill a hole through the wall, leaving the bit protruding into the outside space. At the outside wall, cut a hole into the exterior wall where you find the bit protruding.

Step 6 – Attach Connector Duct to Outside Hole

Back in the attic, attach the connector duct to the wall cap and insert the cap through the exterior wall hole. Add a rubber gasket, seal the edges with silicone, screw the cap to the interior wall surface, and connect the exhaust duct end to the wall cap using foil duct tape.

Step 7 – Finish

In the kitchen, connect necessary wiring to the fan, and attach the front grill. When finished, test your setup by turning the power on, and switching the fan on.