Blow Off Steam the Right Way: Ventilation During the Holidays

Blow Off Steam the Right Way: Ventilation During the Holidays

Holiday cooking can mean a lot of overtime in the kitchen. When you’re preparing food for visiting friends and family over the holidays, you may have a drastic increase of steam and/or smoke in your kitchen.

Here are 7 tips for keeping your cool with proper ventilation:

  1. Don’t burn your food (or your pans!) — Lowering the cooking temperatures can help in more ways than one; it not only reduces the amount of steam you produce, but you’re not as likely to burn things. That includes food, cooking oils and pots and pans.
  2. Utilize the fan in your oven hood — When you have all your burners going, boiling foods create steam which can be efficiently ventilated on the spot by using the oven hood fan. The excess moisture (and vapors) get sucked up and circulated out of your kitchen.
  3. Open your kitchen windows — It’s old school, but it works when you just want to import a little fresh air from outside and let out the heat and moisture of cooking.
  4. Create a free flow of air — If you open two windows you’ll create a draft that can help move smoke and steam away from your boiling stovetop and baking oven. Ideally those two windows are both at opposite ends of the kitchen but opening one down the hall will be helpful as well.
  5. Fan the air in the proper direction — If you do experience some of the billowing smoke that comes occasionally along with holiday baking efforts, resist the urge to take the batteries out of your smoke alarm. Instead, place a box fan in the window and turn it so the air is blown outside. Sometimes people think it’s best to blow fresh air in, but when you’re trying to get rid of smoke it’s best to suck out that smoky air and blow it outside. Having a box fan on the ready is never a bad idea when there’s a lot of cooking.
  6. Keep temperatures low — Boiling things on high creates a lot of steam, and sometimes causes things to scorch or burn when the moisture is boiled out suddenly. Keep things on a lower temperature to reduce the amount of steam produced, and you’ll find they still get cooked just fine.
  7. Employ the services of a dehumidifier — When there is a lot of company visiting, cooking isn’t the only moisture maker. The dishwasher, washing machine, and bathroom showers put extra steam in the air, and excess moisture can corrode metal surfaces and cause mildew. Running a room dehumidifier – or having one installed on your furnace – can help maintain the right moisture levels in your home.

If you’re interested in adding a dehumidifier to your furnace or would like a general maintenance plan for your ventilation system, contact a local HVAC company to learn more.