Development of a Tracer Gas Capture Efficiency Test Method for Residential Kitchen Ventilation

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Cooking activities produce a high quantity of water-vapor, which increases the indoor air moisture level and substantially contributes to indoor air quality problems (from the increase of water-condensation and mold) causing health problems for the occupants, such as asthma and allergies. Cooking also produces fine and ultrafine particles and a wide range of irritant and potentially harmful gases including acrolein and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Combustion products from fuels add to these pollutant sources. The purpose of kitchen ventilation is to remove pollutants, moisture, smoke and odors generated during cooking. A good overview of the need for kitchen ventilation is provided by Parrott et al. (2003). Air pollutants emitted during food preparation and burner operation include the following: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), formaldehyde (CH2O) and ultrafine particles (UFP) produced by gas burners (Rim, Wallace, Nabinger, & Persily, 2012; Singer et al., 2010); UFP from electric heating elements (Dennekamp et al., 2001); and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter – including UFP and fine particulate matter mass (PM2.5) – released during food preparation (Booth & Betts, 2004; See & Balasubramanian, 2008). Water vapor is generated by gas burners and released during many cooking activities.

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