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Broan-NuTone Helps Building Pros Navigate Kitchen Make-up Air Requirements

  Subscribe to FREE newsletter  Jan 27, 2014

As tighter envelope construction has become the norm, the need for good indoor air quality is more important than ever. The International Residential Code (IRC) and International Mechanical Code (IMC) address the impact of airtight constructions on indoor air quality with the inclusion of make-up air regulations for larger volume kitchen range hoods, and it can be confusing for building professionals to select the best system for the job.

“As the leading ventilation solution provider for residential construction, we at Broan-NuTone believe it’s important that building professionals understand the options available for maintaining air quality,” says Brian Wellnitz, marketing manager, kitchen ventilation, Broan-NuTone. “Homes have fewer air leakage areas, and range hoods are becoming more powerful, so effective make-up air systems are more essential than ever.”

To help building professionals decipher make-up air regulations and identify appropriate solutions, Broan-NuTone conducted an online educational webinar, “Residential Kitchen Make-Up Air: Designing and Specifying Code Compliant Systems,” and developed the “Range Hood Make-Up Air Specifier” tool, both of which can be found on the and websites.

What is Make-Up Air?

Make-up air replaces large volumes of air that are removed from homes by exhaust systems in order to maintain balanced air pressure and a healthy indoor environment. When the air is not replaced, excessive depressurization occurs, meaning the air pressure outside the home is greater than the air pressure inside. This unbalance can interfere with the proper operation of combustion equipment (i.e. water heaters), resulting in potential backdraft. It also can limit the operation of range hoods and exhaust systems by preventing the proper capture and exhaust of smoke, moisture and odors, resulting in poor indoor air quality.

Make-Up Air Systems

Make-up air is introduced directly into the home through intelligent make-up air systems that are generally incorporated into the home’s kitchen and bathroom ventilation systems, The interlocked damper, like BROAN’s Automatic Interlocked Make-up Air Damper for kitchen ventilation fans and range hoods (pictured left), was the first code-compliant make-up air system. The damper automatically opens to let fresh, outdoor air into the home when a ventilation fan or range hood is turned on. When the system is turned off, the damper tightly closes to prevent unwanted air from entering the home, helping the homeowner conserve energy during heating and cooling cycles.

With a properly designed and installed interlocked make-up air damper, homeowners have the assurance that when the fan or range hood is on, the air intake and exhaust are equalized, establishing the ideal balance of air pressure levels for proper ventilation and superior indoor air quality. The interlocked damper is unique in that it only operates when necessary, which allows homeowners to control their energy costs and prevent extraneous and expensive energy usage.

Online Specifier Tool

Broan-NuTone’s online Range Hood Make-Up Air Specifier Tool helps building professionals find code-compliant solutions for make-up air. Based on factors such as geographic location, range hood type, duct characteristics, exhaust rate and home leakage rate, the online tool provides an effective code-compliant make-up air solution for a specific home. For more information on make-up air solutions and other products from BROAN and BEST, visit and

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