Stoves are an essential kitchen appliance. But when they begin leaking water, this essential device can become a real nuisance.
Your stove is likely leaking water due to poor insulation. The hot steam rising off the stove comes into contact with the range hood’s cooler areas due to condensation and evaporation. Once there, it condenses back into liquid water and drips onto the stove top.
To learn more about why your stove is leaking water – and how you can fix it – read on.
Where Is the Water Coming From?
As we mentioned, the water you find dripping on and around your stove results from condensation and evaporation.
- The water used in cooking becomes steam and rises into the extraction hood. The steam builds up in the ducting if an extraction hood is not functioning properly.
- The difference in temperatures between the hot steam and cool, metal ductwork causes the steam to condense. This process is more prominent in cold weather areas in the same way that your breath fogs up a window when it is cold outside.
- As the condensed water accumulates, it will drip onto the stove, run down the oven’s sides, and often end up as a puddle on the floor. Water always finds the path of least resistance and will continue to trickle down until it finds a solid barrier, like the stovetop or kitchen floor.
How Does a Stove Extraction Hood Function?
A common component of most domestic and industrial stoves is a properly functioning extraction hood essential for a safe and pleasant cooking experience. Whether ducted or ductless, stove extraction hoods function similarly.
- Smoke and steam generated from stovetop cooking rise into the air.
- The hood captures the smoke and steam with the help of a fan.
- The fan pulls the smoke and steam away from the cooking area.
Whereas a ducted extraction hood will channel smoke and steam out of the house through a series of tubes, a ductless system uses a filtration system to clean the air and recirculate it back into the kitchen.
This makes ductless extraction hoods higher maintenance systems as the filters require regular cleaning and maintenance.
How Does Stove Top Insulation Function?
Companies that produce stoves have a few ways to counteract this natural process, the most important being proper insulation.
While several different insulation methods have been utilized over the years, the most effective is the air-sealed system. Air-sealed refers to the process of sealing any leaks with non-fibrous insulation, such as caulking or rigid foam insulation, to prevent cold air and drafts from returning into the kitchen.
The process of installing an air-sealed extraction fan goes something like this:
- Openings are cut in the ceiling or cabinet above the stove. These holes should be just big enough to allow the ducting, leaving only a small gap to fill.
- The fan and accompanying ducting are installed. This ducting often runs through unfinished attics that are not temperature-controlled before exiting the house.
- Caulking or pre-made gaskets are used to fill any gaps in the input and output sections. This step is essential to prevent water from dripping back down the ducting exterior and onto the stove.
- An added level of insulation is created with an insulation box. A sealed box is created around the fan unit, using a rigid material such as gypsum board. That creates a cushion of air that separates the fan from the attic’s cool air and further reduces condensation.
What Are Other Reasons for a Leaky Stove?
Poor insulation is undoubtedly the most common cause of water leaking onto a stove, although some other causes can contribute to this kitchen problem.
- A broken or inadequate fan. The fan is the heart of an extraction system, and if it is not providing sufficient suction, steam can collect in the ducting and condense before it exits the house.
- Extreme environmental conditions. More of a factor of poor insulation than a cause all its own, extreme cold outside can enhance the effects of a condensation problem in an extraction system. This is especially true if snow and ice are built upon the roof.
- Obstructions in the ductwork. A clear path is vital to a properly functioning extraction system, and any obstructions can lead to significant problems, including water leaks. The most common cause for a blockage is grease buildup. However, birds and other animals have been known to build nests in exterior vents.
What Are Other Problems Caused by Poor Insulation?
A leaky stove can inconvenience anyone who loves cooking at home, although this problem can actually have some more significant implications beyond a wet stovetop.
While it is unlikely that the amount of water generated by a leaky stove due to condensation will contribute to issues with the integrity of a building’s foundation, rust on metal surfaces and mold growth are situations that can arise.
Beyond damaging linoleum and floorboards, household mold can pose a serious health risk, especially to infants and children.
The poor insulation that can lead to a stove leaking water can also contribute to higher energy costs. These same gaps allow water to drip back onto the kitchen and hot air to escape and encourage cold air to enter, creating an energy sink that will become evident in heating costs.
Once again, this is especially true in areas with colder weather.
How Can You Fix a Leaky Stove?
Now that we have identified the common reasons why a stove is leaking water, what can we do to fix it?
For those with a knack for home improvements, this project can be completed with the right set of tools, although it is not a simple process. As we discussed in a previous section, this task requires cutting holes in wood and drywall and knowledge of safe electrical practices and proper planning.
A simple step-by-step guide to installing a new extraction hood can be found here. However, it doesn’t touch on the more elaborate process of replacing ducting, and the associated insulation required. It is also worth noting that in some areas, permits may be required to perform this type of installation.
Most people prefer to hire professionals to retrofit an existing extraction system or replace it entirely.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Extraction Fans?
If you choose to upgrade instead of retrofitting your existing extraction system, several great choices are available on the market. When properly installed, it will eliminate any leaks and their associated problems.
- FOTILE V Series Range Hood: Featuring a unique 90° baffle plate and dual fans, this is a top of the line choice that wouldn’t be out of place in a high-end restaurant kitchen.
- KOBE Brillia 30-inch Under Cabinet Range Hood: This is a slightly less expensive and great choice for those with cabinet space incorporated into their extraction system.
- BV Range Hood: This is another more affordable option that stands out for its high air-flow fans, LED lights, and dishwasher safe baffle filters.
Without a doubt, poor insulation of the hood and ductwork in a kitchen extraction system is the most common cause behind your stove leaking water, although not necessarily the only reason for this annoying problem.
By examining this common issue, we have gained a better understanding of how these systems work, ways to solve this moist problem, and more serious implications beyond the simple inconvenience of a wet stovetop.