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I really want to install a vented range hood in my kitchen. It currently is one of those units that vents inside, and is just not powerful enough to get all the smoke, so it often triggers the fire alarm.

This is the list of things I think I have to do -

  • talk to the HOA to see if they will let me cut the hole on the outside wall
  • find someone to get a quote on how much it would take to do this work? (will that be a general contractor? )
  • uninstall the existing range hood
  • get a permit (do I need a permit for this? location: Boston, MA)
  • buy a new range hood, and get someone to install it

Did I miss anything?

I want to be able to come up with a plan with quotes and get buy in from my husband. but this list seems a bit overwhelming to start. Could you give me some advice to where to start? Thank you!

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    Consider posting your project on thumbtack to get quotes. You obviously have no experience and would benefit from having a competent professional helping you.
    – JGallardo
    Jul 28, 2023 at 1:44
  • HOA? Are you in a condo or other multi-unit building? If so, it gets potentially more complicated as you need permission to go through the wall and all electrical must be done by a licensed electrician and not by the homeowner. If you mean a "don't paint your house the wrong color or let your grass get too tall" type of HOA, they should have no say in the matter as a vent through the wall is standard equipment. Jul 28, 2023 at 2:06

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To plan your vented range hood project consider the following

Timing

Have a time in mind of when you want this work done. Contractors may not respond or deprioritize you if you have a late start date and worse if you have no clear timeline. Do you want this done this month, this season, next year?

Budget

Get a realistic idea of highly probable costs by asking an associate at a local home improvement store. First get an idea of what you like then have multiple stores price it out. Knowing this adjust your budget if the materials that you like are above your budget, or take time to save more money so that you do not have to compromise quality.

Only after you have a realistic budget should you reach out to a contractor. Otherwise you are wasting each others time if for example your budget is $1,500 but the materials alone cost $2,000.

Permits

If you live in a condominium or apartment you will need to reach out to your HOA if construction will cause you to make changes outside of your unit such as running new exhaust vents.

Reach out to your local building department of your city and briefly ask what permits may be required.

Materials

Decide on the range hood and get competitive pricing. Your installer will have other materials that they will need for your installation. These are often not very negotiable as they are charging you at cost from their supplies, contractors usually have better commercial pricing.

Site prep

Decide if you want your contractor to do all the prep or if you are willing and able to help with site prep such as cleaning, moving items, covering nearby furniture and appliances with plastic sheets, etc.

Make sure to discuss this with your contractor or you may end up with a very messy area that you are left to clean up, and may even get damaged.

Demolition

Discuss with your contractor what they plan on demolishing. You might be able to save money if you uninstall and dispose of the old hood.

Installation

This should be done only be qualified, licensed, and insured professionals. Have a work order printed with a clear set of deliverables and scope of work.

Cleanup

Your contractor may (but often not required to) clean the mess afterwards. Be very clear who is responsible for cleaning what, and where the trash will be disposed. They might expect to throw this in your trash container, which may not have sufficient space. So have a clear understanding of where the waste will be disposed of, by when, and by who.

Administration

If you hired a professional, you should get a receipt along with a warranty.

A downfall of hiring an unlicensed handyman or part-time worker is that you may not get receipts and could run into issues when reselling your house. Or it may at least be listed as a negative in your home inspection and the buyer may ask for a credit.

If you live in a condo with HOA, if the contractor caused issues for neighbors then you may carry the legal burden.

City building department might have questions, so you will want to keep records of the work done and information about the contractor.

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