If you’re a professional technician, it’s quire probably that your client (a homeowner) might have curiously asked you this question. In fact, those people who know nothing about ventilation will have to ask this question to understand the mechanism and mode of operation of bathroom fans. In reality, bathroom fans are designed to vent in various ways depending on how a house is built. For instance, if a house is designed with cathedral-like ceilings or maybe the lighting system has occupied all the space above, alternative ways of fitting a fan (let’s say on the wall) will have to be considered. On the other hand, if the roofing system is different (maybe there’s less space in the attic), then an alternative method of venting the room might be considered.
Bathrooms are particularly prone to mold and mildew caused by humidity. When heat and moisture combine, a room with less ventilation is likely to have damage to the walls, the ceiling, and the floors. In addition to that, a poorly ventilated bathroom is prone to bad odors and stinky smells caused by damp towels and wet clothes. Therefore, to counter such problems, a bathroom fan is the perfect solution as it ensures that bad odors and stinky smells are eliminated with ease, allowing precise air circulation to go through.
Just to note, when buying a bathroom fan, some of the essential factors you need to check on are the price and the rating of the air movement which is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The basic CFM rating of most fans is 80 CFM which is considered to be silent, energy efficient, and perfect for indoor use.
Before we move on into details, we need to explain the purpose of the extractor fan to those customers who don’t know much about them. A bathroom fan is designed to suck out air from the bathroom and blow it right outside through the ductwork fitted on the ceiling. Just like how a kitchen range hood operates, a bath fan functions through sucking, only this time it’s used for sucking out moisture not smoke.
Although most people may consider bathroom windows, a bathroom fan is more preferable as it sucks out bad odors and allows fresh air to flow into the room for efficient air circulation. Mold and mildew can really cost you a lot if you’re not careful. Therefore, installing quality bath fans on the ceiling will save you a lot when it comes to keeping the bathroom fresh as well as the walls, ceiling, and tile floors.
Bath fans are designed to vent outside. The reason for this is to allow continuous air flow through the room. However, there are several different ways to which a bathroom fan can be installed to ensure that it works optimally. Some people may consider venting to the attic while others prefer venting outside through the roof. In this section, we will highlight the different ways of venting a bathroom fan.
One way of venting a bathroom fan is through the wall. Let’s take an example of a multi-story building. In such a situation, you won’t expect a fan to be placed on the ceiling as there’s no space due to the concrete slab above. Also, the location of the bathroom might make it difficult to place the fan on the ceiling, forcing you to consider an alternative method. To ensure that a bathroom is ventilated well in such a situation, venting through the wall is the best option where the ductwork is done on the sidewall right outside to the vent.
This is the most common method of venting a bathroom. Venting right up involves fitting the bath fan on the ceiling, then allowing the ductwork to go right up through the roof to the vent above. This method is ideal for bungalows or those houses with perfect bathroom designs that are very easy to ventilate.
Another method of venting is through the attic. This method is highly considered by a majority of homeowners. Venting through the attic is a kind of a shortcut and should not be considered as it can damage the roofing system in your house or cause leakage through the ceiling.
When hot moisture or steam is vented through the attic, it begins to condense due to a change in temperature. During cold weather, the hot steam from the bathroom is condensed to match the cold temperatures outside. When this happens, the attic tends to “rain” inside. The water is then absorbed by the roof, leading to rotting of the wood and eventually serious damage to the roofing system will be seen. To avoid incurring such expensive repair costs, ensure that you ventilate your bathroom in either of the above two methods to ensure that you allow precise air circulation without exposing your roof to any dangers.