Bathroom Ventilation is Underestimated in Most Homes
Bathrooms are some of the most important rooms in a house and are one of the first rooms that home buyers check when looking for a new home. Gone are the bathrooms of yesteryear that were simply a place to freshen up. Now, many homes have evolved into lavish places, some taking on the look and feel of spas. With this evolution has come the potential for increased humidity.
Do you know how important proper ventilation can be in a bathroom? It's quite important! Would we be writing this article otherwise? Thankfully, manufacturers are developing better ventilation systems that perform better, are quieter and pull more air than ventilation systems of only ten years ago.
Some homes have no bathroom ventilation at all and still many more have inadequate ventilation. But what happens when the humidity level in a bathroom, or any room for that matter, gets too high? Aside from the damage the water can do as it slowly seeps into the walls, ceiling, paint and wood, there is the potential for mold and mildew.
Mold and mildew form very quickly in warm, moist environments, making the bathroom one of the best places to find these organisms. While it may seem harmless at first, these pesky little organisms often lead to allergies and sometimes serious health problems when they release toxins into the air. The damage these organisms do to the house can send potential home buyers packing. Depending upon the severity of the mold and mildew problem, your house might even be deemed a hazmat zone and be uninhabitable. To make the problem worse, some insurance companies are denying these types of claims or paying out very little money. But the damage can be prevented and corrected.
Bathroom fans come in many different shapes and sizes for nearly any kind of bathroom you can imagine. The key is to pick a fan that is properly sized for the bathroom. Remember early how we said that many bathrooms are inadequately ventilated? The bathroom fans in these situations are often too small and pull very little air. How are you supposed to know if your fan is up to the job? A very easy way is to calculate the square footage of your bathroom. If you have a bathroom that is 9 feet by 7 feet, you have a 63 square foot bathroom and would likely need an exhaust fan around 63 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or greater.
Is your current fan doing the work it's supposed to do? To get a good indication of your current fan, turn on the fan just prior to entering the shower and leave it running. If after a few minutes a good portion of the bathroom mirror is fogged, you may want to do some investigating work. Perhaps the fan is getting old, needs to be cleaned, or has an obstruction between the fan and the outside wall? All fans die with time. Some may last five years and some many last twenty years. The average life expectancy of an exhaust fan is ten years, so consider some high performance replacements if yours are getting close to that age. If you do replace a fan and decide to go with the cheapest model, you may even find that it performs better than the one you have now!