Most bathrooms have some sort of ventilation system. Many people overlook the importance of proper ventilation in the bathroom. Your exhaust fan removes excess moisture and nasty odours, keeping mould and mildew from becoming a problem and keeping your air healthy.
To keep it running its best check out these tips:
- Clean your exhaust fan twice a year. Most exhaust fans have covers that simply pull off or are held on by just a screw or two. Remove the cover and clean the vent slots. Also, check the fan for dust build-up. Either brush or vacuum off any accumulation that may have attached itself to the fan. You'll be surprised how much dust will be in your fan. Just a light covering of dust on the fan can reduce the fan's performance by 20-40%.
- Keep the doors or windows open a bit. If the bathroom is sealed off tight while the fan is on, then the fan has no place to draw air from, thus it can't put the moist air outside. No air flow into the bathroom will take away 90% of the fan's power to exchange in the bathroom.
- After a shower, let the fan run another 5 minutes or longer.
Remember that the primary function of a ventilation fan is to get rid of moisture, so it's crucial that the unit be vented all the way to the outside of the house. Venting a fan into the attic simply takes the moisture from the room and puts it up into the attic, where it can do just as much long-term damage to your house - it's also a violation of the building codes.
Fans are available as a fan only; a fan/light, which combines an incandescent or fluorescent ceiling light with the fan; a fan/heat, which combines the fan with or one or two heat bulbs; and a fan/heat/light, which combines all three.
You'll also have a number of options for how to control the unit, ranging from a single switch that turns on the fan and light at the same time to multiple switches that control each function separately. You can use a timer to ensure that the fan shuts off after a certain number of minutes.
The aim of locating the fan is to get the air to flow across the room, without taking a shortcut and leaving an area unventilated. This means if there is a window; the air shouldn't come in the window then straight to the fan without passing across the room first. It is really a matter of common sense. Put the intake as close to the problem as possible, which normally means over the top of the shower stall.
The Best Fan for Your Situation
There are really four things you need to be concerned about in the selection and installation of a bathroom ventilation fan - air movement capacity, noise level, ducting and optional accessories. Each plays an important role in the fan's proper operation.
Air Movement Capacity
Fan exhaust capacity is rated in litres per second (L/s) or cubic feet per minute (cfm). A normal bathroom needs a good-quality fan that draws 25 L/s (50 cfm). A poor-quality fan won't exhaust enough air and will be too noisy for regular use. Large bathrooms, or those with bigger fixtures, such as spas, need larger fans. Place a bathroom fan as close as possible to the source of the moisture or odour.
Building Code Requirements (SUMMARISED)
- "Buildings shall have a means of collecting or otherwise removing: cooking fumes and odours; steam from laundering, utensil washing, bathing and showering; odours from sanitary and waste storage spaces; poisonous or flammable fumes & gases"
- where fans are used to remove moisture and other contaminants from kitchens, bathrooms and laundries in housing, the exhaust air must be ducted to the outside, whether or not the fan is a requirement of the Building Code.
- For internal rooms without natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation (extraction fans) must be installed to extract the air at given rates. Residential kitchens; 50 l/s, bathrooms and toilets: 25l/s, laundries 20l/s."