How to Install a Retractable Downdraft Vent

Michelle Hickman

Venting your stove keeps the kitchen cooler and ventilates odors, but if you have counter stove burners or an island stove, an overhead stove canopy may not work with the layout of your kitchen. Instead, you can install a retractable downdraft vent, which comes up from the counter, drawing in the heat, smoke and smells with a blower system located in a cabinet below. The blower suctions air through pipes that run down into the floor and out through the wall of your house.

Retractable downdraft vents allow for hidden ventilation ducts.

Step 1

Build the cabinet where you are placing the counter stove top. Use a jigsaw to cut vent holes into the cabinet where the main retractable downdraft system will be placed. Saw the vent slot into the bottom of the cabinet, about 3 1/4 by 10-inches wide for a square vent, or 6-inches round for a round duct pipe.

Step 2

Attach the blower motor in the cabinet. Set the power junction box in the rear corner in the cabinet on the right or left side. Run the duct work through the vent and down into the floor using 6-inch round metal pipe.

Step 3

Run the piping along the floor joists toward the nearest wall of your basement if you have one in your house. Place a 90-degree elbow on the pipe from the cabinet bottom. Put in three sheet-metal screws to secure the pipe.

Step 4

Set in a long run of round pipe toward the wall. Cut a hole in the wall and extend the pipe out. Attach a wall cap on the end of the vent. Seal around the pipe with foam insulation.

Step 5

Place piping for kitchen island stove tops under the concrete floor. Do this before tiling, while you have access to the floor without breaking up tiles. Dig the trench for the pipe, using a jackhammer if you have to go through concrete.

Step 6

Lay in 6-inch PVC sewer pipes as the main run for any piping below ground. Place transition couplings when switching from the PVC pipe to the metal duct pipe. Pack gravel or sand around pipe before sealing up the floor with concrete.

Step 7

Attach the vents to the retractable vent system placed in the back of the cabinet. Secure the brackets to the cabinet with screws. Install the counter stove top.