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Cooker hoods and EU data: trustworthy or not?

The fundamental question is can we trust the data supplied by the manufacturers and controlled by the 28 EU member states?

The Swedish company ‘Testfakta’ has asked the German laboratory SLG to undertake certain tests in order to control the data supplied by the manufacturers. 

NeutraTEST finds that - based on the Testfakta analysis1 - the EU data (according to EU norm 65/2014) is a valuable and fairly reliable source for comparing cooker hood manufacturers. However looking at ‘absolute numbers’ readers must be careful and we note significant variations from one manufacturer to another that should be looked at, explained and in certain cases eliminated.

Let us look at one example, the area called GFE – Grease Filtering Efficiency.

Grease filtering efficiency table 1

Observations:

Only in the case of the Siemens extractor hood are the manufacturers’ test results identical to those found by the German SLG Lab.

It is surprising that the IEC standards which were implemented in the EU 65/2014 appear not to be clear enough to be reproduced in different labs. These standards were defined mainly by the manufacturers with the main purpose of being clear and reproducible, and it is our opinion that this is the case. When the 28 member states undertake the lawful control responsibility they must thus take much care to verify the test procedures and - if in doubt - demand neutral test labs to check the results (thereafter having the right to send the bill to the cooker hood manufacturers!)

In the UK the market surveillance authority is the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO). It is tested that i) datasheets are available at the sales points, ii) that these datasheets are representing valid test results iii) that these tests are reproducible according to the 65/2014 standard.

The procedures are clear, and from January 2015 the manufacturers have done a great job in improving the products and presenting the results in a way that allows a much better comparison of the different kitchen extractor hoods. Nevertheless NeutraTEST is aware that there is still some way to go before the data is fully comparable.
Finally, with regard to the large discrepancy for IKEA’s Uppdrag hood according to Testfakta and SLG. Testfakta published their study in November 2015. However, six months earlier in June 2015 NeutraTEST made public a datasheet from IKEA in Denmark for the Uppdrag wall mounted chimney hood stating the correct datasheet numbers. Why Testfakta quotes apparently wrong numbers (and why the spokesperson from IKEA does not point this out) remains unknown. Now the SLG analysis therefore actually confirms the D class status of the IKEA Uppdrag chimney model.

Details of the GFE (Grease Filtering Efficiency):

After having poured 5 cl of oil drop by drop on a hot pan inside a closed well-defined setting, measuring the part that sticks in the filters is not complicated as such. The oil must be in one of the following places:

1. The aluminum grease filters
2. On the other side of the cooker hood
3. Inside the cooker hood but not inside the filters
4. Elsewhere, that is, what you would find in your kitchen

During the test, the aluminum filters (1), the absolute filter, which is mounted just after the cooker hood (2), and the whole cooker hood without the filters (3) are simply weighed before and after dripping the 5 cl of oil onto the hot pan. What is not found in (1-3) must be in (4) and it all adds up to the 5 cl.

Only the percentage of oil found in the grease filters constitute the GFE score which is converted to the following classes: 

Grease filtering efficiency

Source: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 65/2014 

NeutraTEST notes to the GFE tests and their interpretation:

Ad 1) Some manufacturers have up to 10 layers of aluminum in order to make the filters very receptive. The air flow and the air speed are obvious determinants with regard to allowing the grease to settle in the filters. In short, slower speed means more time for the grease to stick to the filters! This is somewhat contradictory to the fact that one wants the smelly, ‘contaminated’ air out of the kitchen ‘asap’. And tests are undertaken with completely new filters (to assure reproducibility) – so the efficiency is somewhat theoretical. What happens when the grease filters are more or less saturated with a fatty substance? In that case NeutraTEST would argue that a high airflow rate is useful. The GFE test is always undertaken by maximum extraction level – not by boost and not by inferior levels where the GFE may be higher for certain models (as would probably be the case for the IKEA Uppdrag in the table above). We see a tendency that manufacturers reduce the maximum extraction level (to increase the GFE score?) and increase the boost level. NeutraTEST thinks that this makes sense, but also that the GFE isolated seen is then not a very accurate measure.

One final note to the scores for the cooker hoods from Franke and Cylinda, which are equipped with a removable ‘Easy Clean’ unit: The two manufacturers claim (rightly!) that SLG should have weighed the Easy Clean with the grease filter (1), and not considered the Easy Clean unit as an integrated part of the cooker hood (3). Testfakta and the German SLG Lab are very explicit in their methodology, stating that their tests are “undertaken according to the IEC 61591 standard”. And in the standard 61591 © IEC:1997+A1:2005, p.17, Chapter 12, about Grease absorption it says : “This test is used to measure the efficiency of the grease filter. NOTE To the grease filter belong all detachable coverings, filter frames, plates or supports, which are intended to be removed for cleaning.”

Ad 2) NeutraTEST believes in taking the odor and smoke-filled, greasy air out of your kitchen. We like efficient filters that can be cleaned fast and easily in a dishwasher. And we acknowledge the downside and fire risk of having large grease deposits inside the tubing on the other side of the cooker hood – not to mention the filthy sticky appearance you see on the roofs of some (new) houses around the ducting from the cooker hood. Still, for your kitchen comfort, nothing beats simply taking the polluted air out of your kitchen.

Ad 3) Some manufacturers seem to have forgotten to optimize the inside of their cooker hoods. Before you buy, do take out the grease filters and take a look inside the cooker hood. The motor and electrics should be well protected, and it should be relatively easy to clean should you want to do so.

Ad 4) With lower airflow rates more polluted air will have time to land and deposit the grease in your kitchen. This probably occurs more as the cooker hood loses extraction power over time and logically when the filters give more resistance, when they fill up. The main reason for buying a cooker hood is to have a clean kitchen. This makes perfect sense, and even though the GFE does not tell the full story of how clean your kitchen will be in the future, it is still a fairly comparable measure that gives some kind of an idea. This should continue to improve with more government attention and control.

1 Source: “Köksfläkten som suger fett bäst”, published November 20, 2015 by Martin Hansen, Testfakta.

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