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February 24, 2021

How to Improve Poor Bathroom Ventilation

Proper bathroom ventilation isn’t just a matter of comfort — it’s a code requirement in most municipalities. That’s because something simple like taking a hot shower can cause massive amounts of excess moisture build-up in your bathroom. Every bathroom that doesn’t have an openable window must have an exhaust fan, and in some places, the fan is required even if there is a window. Proper ventilation keeps air moving and controls moisture that allows mold and mildew to grow, peels wall paint, delaminates cabinets and rots framing. It also improves air quality and controls bathroom odors.

Adequate bathroom ventilation prevents excessive humidity that can contribute to mold growth and spread throughout your home. Furthermore, constant exposure to excessive humidity can weaken drywall and discolor paint. You and your HVAC pro can improve air movement in your bathroom by using one or more of these recommendations.

  • Install a quieter fan. If you and your family members don’t run the fan because of the noise, consider replacing it with a quieter model. This will encourage everyone to use the fan to whisk away excess humidity. Look for the decibel (dB) rating on the fan and the amount of air it removes in cubic feet per minute (CFM). High CFMs and low dBs are preferable for bathroom fans.
  • If the fan in your bathroom doesn’t seem to be doing its job, it may be undersized.
  • Ask your HVAC expert to verify that there’s enough clearance space beneath the bathroom door, so your forced-air HVAC system can pull air out for optimal bathroom ventilation. The base of your door should have at least an inch of clearance, so that when it’s closed and your furnace is running, air can leave the bathroom and mix with the rest of your home’s air.
  • If you’ve noticed that interior doors hang above the floor, chances are your forced-air HVAC system requires this type of return ventilation. If the bathroom door fits tightly on the floor, you can either cut off some of the base or install a ventilation grate without interfering with privacy.
  • Use a small dehumidifier in your bathroom to pull excess humidity from the air. HVAC pros can test the GFI (ground fault interrupter) devices in your home for proper operation to prevent electrical shocks in wet areas, like your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom.
  • Check the height of your shower door and curtain. A shower enclosure that tops out at the ceiling will trap moisture your fan won’t be able to remove easily.

Mold can often grow in parts of a bathroom that are hidden and have poor air circulation,  like behind the toilet or under the sink. You can improve circulation to most parts of the bathroom with a table fan placed in the doorway to draw outside air into the bathroom. If mold grows in the vanity, check for leaks and repair any that you find and keep the doors open while the ceiling fan or table fan is on.

If you’re having trouble with moisture and the fan seems to be working, check the exhaust vent outlet to make sure air is coming out. There should be enough airflow to make a piece of paper flutter. If there’s no air, checking the ducts and making necessary modifications aimed at improving bathroom ventilation should be your next home improvement project.

If you are still experiencing issue with moisture build up in your bathroom, then give us a call! Our expert plumbers are trained to tackle on any bathroom plumbing project, big or small.