I have a window and no exhaust fan. This is a great example of how building codes are only a minimum standard. Most areas only require one and not both. I thought about this while installing a couple of can lights in my bathroom. When I take a hot shower in the cold months the window stays closed. Who wants to be cold after a shower? Not me. The problem I have is that there are water droplets everywhere in the bathroom and condensation on most of the windows in my house. Standing water leads to mold and then leads me to clean the shower.
Bathrooms need exhaust fans, this helps prevent moisture problems, plain and simple.
The idea of someone actually opening a window on a cold winter day in Chicago to help reduce moisture in the bathroom is pretty far-fetched. If you live in a house without an exhaust fan in the bathroom, you would do well to install one. Your house and the cleaning lady (at my house that’s me) will thank you for it.When you take a shower or bath, moisture is released into the air, during the colder months this moisture condenses on your windows and walls. Often the moisture makes its way into the attic space, where it will create frost which is a whole other problem for your insulation.
If you’re going to have an exhaust fan installed, here are a few tips to consider for your home.
- Choose a good fan. You’ll want to balance noise level and performance. If you buy a cheap noisy fan that’s exactly what you’ll have, you won’t even want to turn it on. On the other hand, if you’re installing the fan in a half bath near the living spaces, you might want to install a noisy fan on purpose…..
- Make the duct work short. A proper exhaust duct will be as short as possible and make as few turns as needed. The longer the duct and the more twists and turns it has, the less air flows. A fan rated for 80 cubic feet per minute (CFM) assumes the fan has no duct. As soon as a duct gets added, the actual CFM goes down.
- Insulate the duct work where it runs through unconditioned spaces, such as the attic or unheated basements. If you don’t, moisture will condense it the duct, and drip down and stain the ceiling. I was in an attic installing a whole house fan and moved the bathroom exhaust duct. To my surprise there was at least a ½ gallon of water in there. So much moisture had accumulated in the duct that I had to get a bucket and punch a little hole to drain the water.
- Don’t use a standard switch to control the fan. When a single switch controls the fan, the fan usually doesn’t end up running long enough to remove enough moisture. A better solution would be to install a timer that runs for at least a half hour, giving the fan enough time to remove moister and odder without leaving the fan on all day.
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