Your bathroom is the moisture capital of your house. With all the sinks, steamy baths, and toilet flushing, your bathroom will have the highest moisture level in the whole house, which could lead to big problems if you don’t have good bathroom ventilation.
We’ve created this guide to help you understand what good bathroom ventilation is, why it’s important, the tools and tips to keep the air flowing and clean, and what to do when you need help:
What is Good Bathroom Ventilation?
Good ventilation ensures there’s adequate air going in and out. Most building regulations require a bathroom exhaust fan with a cubic feet-per-minute capacity similar to your bathroom’s square footage. This is called a ‘full air exchange,’ a measurement of air movement based on square footage and time. This ensures the air is coming in and going out at a rate that won’t trap moisture and odors inside the bathroom.
Why Is This Important?
Moisture and air trapped inside your bathroom will cause issues like odors, peeling wallpaper, or even buckling your floor. It can also make the paint chip easier and crack. But most importantly, ventilation is crucial for preventing mildew and mold. Mold can cause enormous problems for your health, home, and even your ability to sell your home later.
Mold and mildew are allergens, and anyone in the home who suffers from asthma should not be exposed. Even those without allergies can become sick from mold exposure. Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars. And when it comes to your bathroom, that’s the first place an inspector will look for mold. In some states, it has to be listed on the disclosure that mold remediation was done. But by ensuring there are functioning tools for good bathroom ventilation, you can prevent most of these problems.
Bathroom Exhaust Fans
A typical bathroom exhaust fan pulls the air from your bathroom and vents the air outside your home, taking moisture, air pollutants, and odors with it. This helps keep your bathroom mold and mildew free. The placement of the fan is crucial to this effectiveness. Fans must be installed next to the shower or tub but not near a vent for your heat or air, or it will reduce its effectiveness. Bathroom exhaust fans are the best way to ensure your bathroom has good ventilation.
Windows and Doors
To keep good bathroom ventilation without a fan, you’ll need to open a window, keep your door open, or both. If privacy is an issue, leave the door or window open a crack and then fully open it once you’re finished to ensure good airflow.
Leave all shower doors and curtains open as well to get the maximum amount of moisture out. Make sure that your shower curtains aren’t sticking together and can dry evenly. A little space heater with a fan is also helpful in getting the moisture out of the air. Even a small stand-alone fan will help in clearing the air.
To prevent moisture from staying, leave fans on for at least fifteen minutes after your shower or bath ends. Make sure to open doors and windows fully and leave them open for at least fifteen minutes. If there are any puddles on the floor, clean them up to remove extra moisture. This ensures you’re doing the most to keep good ventilation going, eliminate excess moisture, and prevent problems later.
How to Keep Good Bathroom Ventilation
Make it a habit to keep your bathroom door open when it’s not in use. Make sure to clean your bathroom exhaust fan at least twice a year. Make sure to shut off your bathroom electricity before starting and remove the fan cover to remove the dust, dirt, and grime. You can use a vacuum with a hose attachment, but if you use any cleaner, make sure it’s completely dry before re-installing.
If you notice that your fan is starting to make noise, that the installation of the fan was not in a spot for good bathroom ventilation, or that you have signs of moisture build up in the form of mildew and peeling paint, it’s time to make that call and get some help.
When To Get Help
Even if you’re a do-it-yourself person, you’ll want to call in the experts who are up-to-date on current building codes and can fix any potential unknown problems. If it’s a simple replacement, you’ll still have to shut off your electrical and work with your home’s wiring. Even if your home is newer, there can still be problems with the original installation of your bathroom exhaust fan.
If your current bathroom exhaust vent wasn’t installed to vent outside, the proper materials weren’t used, or things weren’t safely installed, you’ll need someone with the expertise to fix them. Minor changes can seem easy, but the last thing you want is to start a project and have your bathroom unusable until a professional can fix it.
If you don’t have a fan currently, you’ll need someone with both design and installation expertise. Sometimes it can be as simple as installing a new fan and exhaust vent, with minor installation efforts. However, there are complexities in every home, and unless you have experience with electrical installation, insulation, and routing exhaust vents, you’ll want someone with that expertise.
Bathroom exhaust fans come in various styles, decorative touches, and features like a heat exchange to prevent heat loss during winter. There are also quiet fans and those with sensors to detect moisture, even options with night lights and Bluetooth® speakers.
Our experts at JMG Contracting help you explore your options and work with you to design the bathroom of your dreams. Our combined 50 years of experience in bathroom remodels will give you the peace of mind you’re with a trusted resource. Explore our website or call (602) 358-0661 for a free estimate.