Let Your Bathroom Breathe

What if your home’s design makes it hard for you to vent a bathroom fan to the exterior of your home? Here we are going to discuss some tips on how to improve your bathroom’s ventilation especially if you are dealing with a design that is complicated for proper installation of ventilation.

Photo: Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Bathroom ventilation is usually not an issue in most homes. The bathroom ceiling is fitted with a fan or fan/light combination, which is then vented through the roof, soffit, or side wall.

Bad smell and additional moisture are readily vented outside with the flip of a switch. But what if a building’s construction makes venting a bath fan to the outside problematic or impossible?

As it turns out, there are a variety of circumstances that can make installing a bathroom fan that vents to the outside challenging. To solve this difficulty, a skilled HVAC contractor will need to use some construction inventiveness, savvy product selection, and installation abilities.

Dealing with Bathroom Ventilation

It’s important to understand fundamentals and required building codes before diving into remedies for complex bathroom ventilation difficulties. People knew outhouses needed air even before they had indoor plumbing.

When bathrooms were brought indoors, ventilation was essential to remove not only odors but also excess wetness. We all know how much moisture a hot shower can produce—consider the fogged mirrors and condensation that develops on windows and walls, especially when it’s chilly outdoors.

Most towns’ construction codes now require bathrooms to be ventilated with either an exhaust. The window ventilation option is a bare minimum that is neither functional nor dependable. It’s risky to rely on someone else to open a window to vent extra moisture, especially in cold weather. A vent fan will always be more effective in removing moisture.

Signs of Poor Bathroom Ventilation

Photo: Aztil Air Conditioning

Today’s houses are more airtight and well-insulated than those of the past. The requirement to “construct tight and insulate well” has several advantages, including increased interior comfort (particularly during temperature extremes), fuel and power savings, and reduced carbon emissions.

However, tight construction increases the risk of indoor air pollution significantly. Mold spores are one of the most dangerous indoor air pollutants because mold is caused by too much moisture. Mold is a severe health concern that can cause a variety of respiratory problems as well as allergic reactions. Common building materials such as wood and gypsum board will be harmed or destroyed.

A plumbing leak might develop mold in a bathroom, but splotchy stains on the walls or ceilings usually suggest poor ventilation—too much moisture in the air. Mold can grow on wood or insulation in an attic space above a bathroom as a result of this. Even if you can’t see mold, the foul odor is a sure clue that it’s there.

While there are other reasons to fix bathroom ventilation issues, such as the discomfort of hazy mirrors, preventing mold is by far the most compelling.

General Rule for Bathroom Fans

Let’s go over some fundamental basics about bathroom fans before getting into more challenging bathroom ventilation issues and how to solve them. Understanding these components will assist you in making the best bathroom ventilation selections, whether simple or complex.

a. Getting the Right Fan.

Bath fans are sized by the amount of air they can flow, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The rule of thumb is that for every square foot of floor area in your bathroom, you’ll need 1 cfm. However, in a restroom that receives a lot of use or has a high ceiling, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Better fans are designed to be quieter than cheaper models. Instead of 3 or 4, look for a rating of around.

b. Taking Note of Special Features.

The use of a bath fan with a light eliminates the requirement for a separate ceiling fixture. While you’re generating a lot of humidity, such as when taking a long shower or using a jetted tub, a fan with variable speed control can help.

Choosing the Best Bathroom Fan

You can get a bath fan with a humidistat, which allows you to have the fan come on automatically when a specified humidity level is detected, ensuring that it works when it’s needed.

This is an excellent alternative if you’re renting an apartment and aren’t sure if the fan will be used properly. The idea is that not every fan is made equal. Choosing specific characteristics can help you deal with difficult ventilation situations.

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