The Bathroom Fan – Why It’s So Important
You might think that your bathroom exhaust fan is only good for one thing, but it’s utility goes well beyond venting unpleasant odors. It’s a key weapon in the battle against mold and mildew. We recommend keeping your exhaust fan on after a shower or bath for an extra 30 minutes to draw the excess moisture out of the air and prevent future mold and mildew problems. A timer on your fan is a great way to do this.
Some people think exhaust fans waste money by sucking out heat and air conditioning, but actually, fans are designed to work with a home’s central forced-air heating and ventilation system – not against them. A recent RTK client found out the hard way that using an exhaust fan properly would save you money in the long run.
“We were called in to inspect a bathroom for mold after a woman felt her toilet ‘moving up and down,’” explains Tom Taylor, an Environmental Consultant at RTK Environmental. “Turns out, the family turned off the bathroom fan right after they got out of the shower, so the bathroom stayed damp. Mold started growing in the shower and spread through the walls and floors. The mold infestation was so bad that the whole bathroom had to be ripped out.” Tom adds: “The few cents they thought they were saving by not losing air conditioning and heat cost them more than $10,000 in repairs.”
Another important tip: clean your bathroom fan every 3 months. This will ensure the maximum amount of air (and moisture) is being pulled out of the bathroom.
When purchasing a bathroom fan, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is the the right size to remove enough moisture from the room? Don’t purchase a fan based on noise, but rather how much air it removes from the room.
- Is the fan directed to the exterior or to the attic interior? If it’s directed to your attic, you still may be growing mold – just in a different place.
- Is the exhaust fan wired to a timer switch or light switch? If it’s not on a timer, it should be, as you should keep your fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower or bath.
So the next time you think you are saving energy and a few pennies, remember that exhaust fans are your friends.