How to Make Sure You're Properly Venting Your Bathroom

If you are looking to renovate your bathroom, you have a lot of different boxes in mind to check off that project list. What style, look and feel do you want in the bathroom? What materials do you want to use for the countertops, the cabinets and the shower area? What colors should be selected for the space? Another box to check… safety.  Your bathroom is one of the wettest places in the house. When you are caught up in the look, feel and function you might not be thinking about the most important aspects of a bathroom renovation: creating a safe space. It is not just the water.  All that moisture creates the potential for something you really do not want: mold. Here are some simple tips on how to make sure you are properly venting your bathroom to prevent mold.


Determine The Right Bathroom Fan For The Space You Are In

This is probably the single most important thing to do when you are venting your bathroom. The fan in your bathroom is sized in terms of the volume of air that it can move. That air is measured according to cubic feet per minute (cfm). Your bathroom will need one cfm for every square foot of floor space that you have.  


While this is a general rule of thumb, it does not ever hurt to err on the high side of that measurement.  You definitely do not want to err on the low side. If your bathroom gets a lot of use, or if your ceilings are particularly high, then the right decision is to select a fan that can vent at a higher volume. Look at the sone rating of the fans you are considering.  The lower the sone rating is, the quieter your fan will be. In simpler terms, one sone is about the equivalent to the level of noise that your refrigerator makes. Try to find a fan with a sone rating of one instead of three or four. It can be a little more pricey to get a quiet fan, but it just might be worth it. 


Crack A Window, Open A Door 

Not all tips cost money!  Do not lock moisture in when you do not have to.  Being able to crack the window or open the door to let some of that moisture out always helps.  While we know it can not be done every time, it is a good practice to get in the habit of.  Do not leave your fan to do all the work every time if you do not have to.  


Most bathroom codes say that for venting, bathrooms must have windows that open. If you install a window in your bathroom, the window must be at least three square feet in area and needs to be able to open at least halfway. If you have a bathroom that can not accommodate a window, like a powder room or basement bathroom, it is actually required by code to have a venting fan in your bathroom.


Do not forget the shower curtain too! Open it up so you are not trapping the moisture all inside one area. Give it room to air out and let the fan do its job.

Vent Under The Floor

Having a bathroom that is neither located on an exterior wall or is not able to be properly vented by a ceiling fan offers a different challenge to preventing mold growth. In these situations, you will need to consider venting under the floor to move the moisture from the bathroom and to the outside. Your contractor will be an essential resource in determining this (more on that later). They may suggest creating a duct that goes from a fan mounted in the bathroom wall, extends down into the floor, and runs out to the exterior. The air will be taken down and out of the house, reducing your worries about mold in those spaces.


Choose The Right Spot For Your Fan

Your professional team (designer and contractors) will be able to make suggestions to you on the proper placement of your bathroom vent fan. In most cases, the fan should be placed next to the shower or the tub and away from any heating or air conditioning vents that might be present in the bathroom. 


Let It Run

If you turn on your bathroom fan in the hopes of preventing mold, you’ll need to let it run for some time to get the job done. Even the strongest of fans need time to remove the moisture from the air and properly vent a bathroom. Fifteen minutes is just about the sweet spot when it comes to how long you need to let it run. You can also look into installing a fan that comes with an automatic humidity sensor.  If you need to run out of the house and do not want to leave the fan running, it can detect when the appropriate levels have been reached to shut off when you need it to, or to turn on if it detects that humidity levels are too high.


Do Not Forget To Clean Your Fan

Nobody loves cleaning the bathroom, but when you decide to do it you want to do it well.  That includes your fan. It is doing a lot of work, so it needs to be cleaned at least twice a year. When cleaning your fan, you should always turn off your electrical to make sure that you are safe from the risk of shock. Brush away any dust or grime that may have accumulated in the fan with an upholstery brush on your vacuum. 


Choose The Right Professionals

Not only is this point fairly obvious for having a successful bathroom renovation in general, your contractor and other partners should all be up to code on bathroom exhaust venting code basics. They will be able to walk you through the process of properly venting your bathroom, and give you all the information you need to prevent mold. This is the time for you to ask questions on how you can minimize or stop the growth of mold through the design of your bathroom as well the products you pick for it (including fans of course).


At Reico Kitchen & Bath, we have been in the kitchen and bathroom renovation game for almost 70 years. We care about each and every one of the kitchens and bathrooms we have renovated, and the people that will be using them for years to come. With that in mind, we take every step to guide you through the process and make sure you feel absolutely safe and comfortable with your renovation. Got any questions? We are ready to answer them when you contact us here.

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