What does HVAC stand for? Mostly, we talk about heating (H) and cooling (AC), but ventilation (V) is important too. That’s especially true in your bathroom. But what many people don’t realize is that beyond disagreeable odors, there are also significant health risks associated with improper bathroom ventilation.
Here’s a very common scenario. You step out of a nice hot shower and you have to wipe off your bathroom mirror to see yourself because of all the steam. You chalk it up as a minor inconvenience. But consider this: if your bathroom mirror is fogging up, where else is all the excess moisture from your shower going?
The answer, of course, is that it accumulates behind the walls and tile work as well as your tub or shower, not to mention underneath your bathroom floor, with potentially bad results. Think mildew and mold. And while a lot of people really like all the steam that results from a hot shower, most people don’t like the mold spores that often follow.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up hot showers to protect your family from the health risks associated with mildew and mold. Instead, install adequate fans in your bathrooms – and keep them running long enough to achieve proper ventilation.
Twenty years ago, building codes only required bathrooms to have a window or a fan. There was no consideration for getting rid of indoor pollutants, never mind excess moisture.
Now there is more information and standards are more stringent. Specifically, the Home Ventilating Institute established standards for bathroom fans.
The bathroom is a big problem area in homes because there’s so much moisture from showering and baths.
Even if you have a bathroom fan that vents the steam outside, it may not work properly.
We also see situations where the fan isn’t the right size. You might wonder how that can happen? It’s because bathroom fans are rated based on factory conditions that often don’t exist in actual homes. So, you may need a more powerful fan to properly remove all the bathroom moisture.
Some homes feature powder rooms near the main living areas, which is really convenient for entertaining or for guests. You may assume that a powder room isn’t an option for your home due to the need for getting fan exhaust to the outside wall.
An HVAC contractor can run the proper ductwork, and insulate it, to make an interior powder room an option. He can also identify if your bathroom fan is venting moisture properly.
But having the right fan won’t completely solve the exhaust problem.
Here’s a secret to ventilate your bathroom the right way.
Many people only run their bathroom fans while they’re actually in the bathroom – averaging between 10 to 30 minutes. To get the best results, you should allow the fan to run for at least an hour after a shower to ensure that excess moisture is vented out of the room.
You may resist the idea of running your bathroom fan for that long because of the noise. But today’s fans are much quieter than older fans.
For an extra $50 to $150, you can purchase a quiet bathroom fan that can run as long as it needs to run to get the job done. It’s the best move to improve your family’s health.
Remember to allow your bathroom fans to run after taking those hot showers. Your family’s health depends on it.
Are you running your bathroom fan for an hour after your shower?