Bathroom exhaust fans are installed in the ceiling of a bathroom and vent the moist air outside. The exhaust fan pulls air from the bathroom and then pushes it out through the roof or through an attic hatch. There’s a problem though.
If you look at the diagram of your home above, you’ll notice that there is no vent for bathroom fans to get rid of moist air. There are stacks for dryer vents and furnace vents, but not one for a bathroom exhaust fan, or bathroom vent fan.
Where Do Bathroom Vents Go?
One possible solution is to connect the bathroom fan directly to an existing stack. You’ll need a vent cap for that, and you may also have to get your exhaust fan professionally installed.
The second solution is to install an elbow for the bathroom exhaust fan. The elbow will create a vent for the air from the bathroom exhaust fan, and make it easy for you to install.
Bathroom exhaust fans can be vented through windows or doors in the home if they are installed properly.
Does a Bathroom Extractor Fan Have to Run to the Outside?
Yes, the bathroom fan should vent outside via an exhaust duct or similar.
A common misconception is that you can run a bathroom extractor fan without venting it to the outdoors. Remember, your goal is to move moist air and odours out of the home ASAP. That means into an open window or door, down through pipes in your house, away from apartment buildings or from a septic tank in rural areas with detached homes.
Regardless of how many hours you use your extractor fan each day – whether 10 minutes each day or 15 hours each day – it needs one way of getting rid of moist air: through an existing vent opening in the upper part of an exterior wall, a ceiling or roof vent cap for fifth-wheel or final vents on rafters, over far side from the ridge cap.
What is an Extraction Fan?
An extraction fan is a ventilation device that removes air that becomes moist and odorous when the toilet bowl is flushed or water is used in the shower, bath, sink or washing machine. The bathroom vent fans draw the air out of your home through a pipe that leads to an open window, door – whichever works for you.
Exhaust fans are not designed to clean bathroom surfaces (such as your shower curtain), but they can help dry your wet hair quickly after you’ve showered by exhausting warm, moist air from a room; however, some manufacturers claim their product’s exhaust fans do dry surfaces.
A bathroom extractor fan serves these purposes:
- it refreshes a small area with fresh air and ventilates wet odours
- it helps to prevent mould and mildew from developing behind walls and under floors – especially after a steamy or humid shower, bath or sink usage.
- A fan that exhausts moist air should be installed in each bathroom. It does not have to take up the entire closet space – if you’re short on space, there are fans available with handy built-in mounting kits. They vary in size from cubicle to cubicle and can hold one of these units easily.
- Finally, remember this advice: don’t try to work around an exhaust fan by keeping your windows closed year-round.
- You’ll make your bathroom damp, muggy and ripe for the growth of mould.
Great times you could keep the windows closed are:
- When it’s extremely cold outside and using an extractor fan is a waste of energy because your house will be too cold to heat up again
- On days with high levels of air pollution (for example is an area of high ozone or smog levels), so that the misty, moist air from a bathroom doesn’t further pollute the air outside your home
- If you live in a humid area where temperatures are consistently above 26C degrees year-round, lots of moisture build-up inside most homes in Winter months, and using an exhaust fan is unnecessary for venting wet odours out into open areas outside your home or building
Bathroom exhaust fans can be vented through windows or doors in the home if they are installed properly: Yes, the bathroom fan should vent outside.
A common misconception is that you can run a bathroom extractor fan without venting it to the outdoors. Remember, your goal is to move moist air and odours out of the home ASAP. That means into an open window or door, down through pipes in your house or from a septic tank in rural areas with detached homes
Regardless of how many hours you use your extractor fan each day, whether 10 minutes each day or 15 hours each day, it needs one way of getting rid of moist air. Through an existing vent opening in the upper part of an exterior wall, roof vent cap for fifth-wheel or final vents on rafters, over far side from the ridge cap.
Does a Bathroom Fan Exhaust Have to Vent Outdoors?
No, a bathroom extractor fan does not have to vent outside
If you live in a house with a brick facade, it may be possible to install an outlet just outside the home where the fixture can connect to a section of pipe that is vented through the roof.
If you choose to set up your extractor fan in this manner, make sure it is properly installed and approved by your local municipal code authorities – some codes require that fans be supported by their own weight rather than being nailed directly into walls or ceilings so it is always worth checking with your local building codes and state planning office for exact rules regarding bathroom exhaust fans
. Also, make sure the unit isn’t located too close to other mechanical systems within the house (for example heating ducts and plumbing).
Steep roof pitches in some areas will also negate an installation like this as well
Smoke alarms should not be located near ventilation devices such as bathroom fans because they can cause false alarms. You should always check your smoke alarm once a month to ensure proper operation; replace batteries when necessary
As long as there is access to fresh air these types of connections are completely doable and can be very effective in adding a small amount of moisture removal to your home ventilation
Bathroom fans should always have an open window or door venting them outside. This is the safest way to remove moist air from bathrooms as it avoids creating negative pressure against walls or ceilings throughout your home, which could lead to mould buildup
If you want to use your bathroom fan for a long period of time, it is important that the exhaust be directed outside. If you have houses built before about 1970, there should already be a vent installed that leads to open-air
Some jurisdictions have building codes that require bathroom fans to vent directly outdoors; others don’t address the issue.
How do I Know Where to Vent My Bathroom Fan?
You should make sure to vent your fan so that there is a clearance of at least 18 inches from where bathroom ceilings meet walls or windows and 6 inches beyond any obstacle above the top of the fan. Also, make sure to allow for a 1-inch clearance on each side of your fan.
The only thing you will need to do in order to follow the above recommendations is place tape around the vent pipes at certain intervals and then observe where it connects with surfaces. Measure the distances between taped points (pipes) and record them on a piece of paper. Draw an X over any point that makes contact with a surface you want 6 inches away from. This should provide a clear idea of exactly where your pipe needs to exit from within your drywall during installation.
How Much Bathroom Ventilation Do I Need?
Older homes may be lacking in ventilation, but keeping a bathroom ventilated is important for reducing humidity and airborne moisture. If you find that your home’s ventilation system isn’t working efficiently and maybe see mould growth, read the next section on how to increase bathroom fan airflow.
If you already have an exhaust fan installed, it should be able to remove about 1 cubic metre per minute (cmm). To gauge the efficiency of your current setup, turn on your exhaust fan at its highest speed and time how long it takes until the air inside reaches “outside” or neutral conditions (this should be somewhere between 15-30 minutes). If this duration is more than 30 minutes then your bathroom likely needs increased ventilation capacity.
Where Do Bathroom Extractor Fans Need to Vent Outside?
An extractor fan doesn’t have to vent outside, but it is recommended that the vent pipe should be at least 1.2 metres in length, and 2.4 centimetres in diameter, as well as at least 6 inches away from any windows or doors.
Bathroom exhaust fans bring in outside air and vent it back outside.
You can get a more powerful bathroom extractor fan by replacing your existing model. You could also add in another extractor fan, but this may not always be the most practical solution.
Most bathrooms are naturally vented via cracks between window and wall frames, or underneath doors. To increase the amount of air already being drawn into these locations, you can try installing weather stripping around them or even caulking where necessary.
In some cases, vents that bring fresh air into your home aren’t working properly and need to be set up correctly in order for replacement fans to function effectively. This type of situation arises when there is direct access from outside to inside at certain points on your property.