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Wet attic around bad bath vent fan (C) Daniel Friedman Bathroom Ventilation Fan Installation FAQs
Questions & answers on bathroom exhaust vent codes, specifications, advice

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Bath vent fan installation, troubleshooting, repair FAQs:

Questions & Answers on how to design, size, install, wire, or fix bathroom vent fans, ducts, switches & controls.

This article series describes how to install bathroom ventilation systems, fans, ducts, terminations. We include bathroom venting code citations and the text also explains why bathroom vent fans are needed and describes good bath vent fan choices, necessary fan capacity, and good bath vent fan and vent-duct installation details.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Bathroom Ventilation Code, Fans & Ducting Questions & Answers

Bath vent spills into attic © D Friedman at InspectApedia.com Questions & answers about bathroom ventilation codes, ducting, termination, posted originally at BATHROOM VENTILATION CODES SPECS - be sure to review that article.

FAQs on How to install, specify or improve bathroom venting, reduce indoor condensation, avoid bathroom mold. Bathroom vent fans, required bath vent fan capacity, fan noise and sones. Bathroom vent fan ducts, where to route vent air, duct condensation, ceiling leaks; Photographs of bad or ineffective bath fan installations

On 2018-04-24 15:57:45.211112 by (mod) - How far away does a bath fan exhaust have to be from the furthest open point on a window.

Jordan

Please see

BATHROOM VENT CLEARANCES https://inspectapedia.com/ventilation/Bathroom_Vent_Termination.php#BVClearance

On 2018-04-19 15:46:10.650089 by Jordan

How far away does a bath fan exhaust have to be from the furthest open point on a window.

On 2018-03-05 12:43:21.489125 by jw

I am developing a bed and breakfast. Those that I have visited often have a whirlpool tub in the bedroom for romantic reasons. When I mentioned this to my contractor, he told me that I would need some whole house (expensive) ventilation if the tub was not located in the bathroom. Is this correct?

On 2017-11-30 23:00:44.038522 by (mod) -

If you can use solid metal ducting that will certainly have less Flow Restriction than the common expanded wire and plastic flex duct.

On 2017-11-30 02:57:41.744741 by Anonymous


Okay, that makes sense. It turns out that replacing the 3" pipe isn't going to be an option, so I'm going to just minimize friction/resistance everywhere I can get access. I also discovered that the vinyl flex connecting the fan to the 3" duct is 3' long and does a complete 360 degree turn because the end of the steel duct is almost directly above the fan housing and only has about 6" of clearance.

Ugh. The only good part about that is there are no other turns - its a straight vertical shot to the attic. Looks like I'll be going with an inline fan mounted in the attic - just have to figure out how to run the wiring.

On 2017-11-30 01:58:28.226253 by (mod) -

Interesting question Ted.

Based on information that we have posted in our article on increasing water flow rate in a building and borrowing from engineering work reported by Carson Dunlop Associates, it's correct that increasing the diameter of the vent pipe anywhere that you can in the system will improve the overall flow rate for the entire system. I'm not sure how we would calculate the point of diminishing or diminished return, but most likely it'll be just based on cost and Trouble.

The reasoning we use on water pipes is that you replace the accessible areas for example in a basement or crawlspace and you don't replace piping where it's difficult and expensive to access such as running through a wall cavity.

On 2017-11-30 01:29:21.351137 by Ted T

Hi all, I posted this question a minute ago in the building ventilation section but I think this is the correct page.

Question #1: If most of a bathroom exhaust duct run is 3" diameter steel pipe, is there any benefit to having bigger duct (4"-6" round galvanized steel) at either end, and/or a bigger roof cap? I'm guessing that there is a benefit to the average values of the run as a whole, but what would be the point of diminishing returns?

Question #2: How does one calculate air volume, flow, etc., when a run consists of differing diameter duct (i.e. 2' of 4" duct to 18' of 3" duct to 5' of 4" duct? I'm guessing you calculate the values for each section, then average for total length. For EDL, figure for each section then total?

Question #3: Aside from increased noise, what are the major drawbacks to reducing a 4" fan exhaust to a 3" duct? Or a 6" fan exhaust to a 3" duct?

I'm installing a bathroom exhaust fan in my master bathroom and retrofitting two other fans. For the master and hallway bath, both on 2nd flr, I'm installing 6" galvanized round duct and roof jacks. No issues there.

The problem is the guest 3/4 bathroom on the ground floor. I haven't traced out the duct run yet, as access is very limited, but based on house dimensions, room locations and what I can see through the ceiling opening and in the attic, it looks like it has a short length (maybe 2') of 4" vinyl flex attached to 3" steel pipe (real pipe, not thin-walled duct). I estimate the pipe runs about 8' horizontal, then about 10' vertical into the attic, with at least one, probably two, 90 degree elbows, or one 90 and two 45s. In the attic, 4" vinyl flex is attached to the pipe end and runs vertical around 5' to a 4" roof jack.

My first choice would be to replace the current stuff with 4" galvanized duct directly to the nearest exterior wall (~14' straight run) and exhaust through a wall cap, but I think this may not be feasible without tearing out major stretches of walls and ceiling.

If I'm stuck with the 3" pipe, I'm exploring what I can do to make the best of it.
The bathroom is small (47 sqft) with no exterior wall.

The current fan (Utilitech model #7108-03-L) is 110 cfm and airflow is strong at the roof jack. House framing is steel, and I live in Hawaii so there are no insulation concerns. The fan I'm looking to install is a Panasonic WhisperGreen Select FV-05-11VKSL1, which will run constant at 30-50CFM and kick up to 110CFM with a wall switch.

I would actually prefer the 150CFM model due to the length of duct run but I think that may not work well with 3" pipe. The shower in this bathroom doesn't get much use but my cat's litter box lives in there and the toilet gets used a lot, so fan is mostly for odor-control.

The bathroom opens on to a juncture of guest room, dining room and kitchen, so bathroom smells are very unwelcome.

Besides answers to my questions at top of post, any ideas or recommendations would be very welcome. Thanks much!

On 2017-11-04 02:59:55.523676 by Chris

Can I connect a bathroom fan to an air exchanger exhaust pipe

On 2017-11-03 02:48:57.120794 by (mod) -

Jane,

If you're asking whether there are combined units that provide heat, light, and exhaust venting yes there are and I'm not aware of a code prohibition of their use

On 2017-11-02 23:39:12.153042 by jane

is it code to have a bathroom vent with heating?

On 2017-10-25 13:32:33.073258 by Brett H

I am wondering if there is a way to close off the vent in a 4 unit bathroom fan and do they connect them all together? I am ending up with heavy smoke in my bathroom from some inconsiderate people smoking weed or cigars.

On 2017-10-06 01:15:38.703623 by Ruben Perez

is it safe to install a ceiling exhaust fan in a bathroom & release the removed air into the attic?

On 2017-09-27 22:41:06.489655 by (mod) -

MIranda

Depending on the country, city, province or state where you live, local and model building codes usually require ventilation by fan unless there is an operable window.

On 2017-09-27 17:10:40.512697 by Miranda

We just moved into an apt. We were told that the bathroom exhuast works but it does not.

They have yet to fix this after a whole month and they say they dont know when it will be fixed. Is there a law or code that requires the exhuast to be working? We need our exhaust!

On 2017-05-22 13:58:06.802167 by (mod) -

Don

Where a bathroom vent fan is required it must have a minimum of 50 cfm vent capacity. The bath fan can be wired to be continuously in operation or intermittently used when needed, but the vent fan must be vented directly to the outdoors - so your installation is in violation of the model building codes for bathroom ventilation. Your local building code inspector/official is the final legal authority for this question.

In the article above you'll see details of this code cited and italicized.

Thanks for asking: many contractors take the easy route. Dumping bath moisture into an attic risks future mold contamination or even roof sheathing damage.

On 2017-05-22 03:39:53.704765 by don

I had a bathroom fan installed. Instead of putting in a separate vent through the roof, the contractor placed the flex pipe 2-3 " away from an attic vent. I am concerned about moisture and whether this meets local building codes.

On 2017-05-03 21:11:10.623140 by (mod) -

IF your bath fan does not turn off in response to the switch the safest thing to do is find and turn off the right circuit breaker in your electrical panel. You'll need to call an electrician to repair either the fan or its switch and circuit. But with it off you at least don't have to face the cost of an emergency nor a fire.

On 2017-05-03 18:21:01.988078 by Ann Greenstreet

When using fan tonight, it started to make a noise, light turned off ok, but site of fan still whirring away .What should I do?
A mere woman!

On 2017-03-25 12:04:48.591604 by (mod) -

Kenji that sounds reasonable to me, provided any needed strapping or reinforcement of the wall are also addressed. But be sure to check with your local building inspector about what she or he will accept.

On 2017-03-25 08:00:27.299223 by Kenji

Hi, I am planning a ceiling bathroom vent ducted to a concrete wall penetration. Because I need to connect down through the 2x4 wall's top plate, I was curious if I could use a periscope vent for the vertical run between the bathroom fan vent and the wall vent. I haven't been able to find much information either way for if this is allowable. thanks,
|Kenji

On 2017-01-24 22:33:23.366988 by kirk

I have two soffit vents for my bathrooms. They exhaust well but allow cold air too flow back into the house. Any ideas on where to get a good vent?

On 2016-11-14 10:42:13.543093 by Randy

when i turn on my bathroom fan-- i get a foul odor. like "poo" i am thinking that since i increased the cfm's sgnificantly that i have caused a backdraft or something similar, and it is pulling air from the stink pipe.?? my old fan did not move enough air/moisture and i had condensation and mildew on the ceiling in bath room. new fan literally creates wind. shower curtain moves.

On 2016-10-29 00:08:29.585195 by (mod) -

Choose a path light fan combination proved for us in that location and make sure that it is properly wired with ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI protection.

On 2016-10-28 21:49:45.573571 by Jack

Is it ok to replace an existing can light above a shower with an exhaust fan/light?

On 2016-10-22 21:41:55.166316 by (mod) -

I'd make an acceptable looking access cover. It is both bad practice and a code violation to bury an electrical junction box.

On 2016-10-21 18:03:00.541533 by vvicci@aol.com

thanks for the info but i thought about that and having a separate light and fan. I dont like the access cover in the ceiling for looks... Does anyone know if a ceiling fan/light product exists that has a large wiring box?

On 2016-10-18 22:12:34.860598 by (mod) -

VV:

Perhaps you could install the new fan/light in a new location, moving it just 6" or so in a suitable direction, so that you can use the existing gang box for wiring connections and so that you can make the existing box accessible by a cover plate.

On 2016-10-18 22:10:40.424966 by (mod) -

joon said:
good information, thank you so much admin, i come back again this blog,

On 2016-10-14 18:11:12.979944 by vvicci@aol.com

have a problem where there is a 2 gang box in the ceiling of a bathroom on the first floor that is hidden above and connected to a fan/light combo. the box feeds other lights and switches. access, because it is embedded in the ceiling, is not available and therefore not code. i would like to install a new fan/light if possible with a larger 2 gang wiring box built in (most only have enough room for the switch/power connection just for the unit). do they exist or is there a work around?

thanks
bill

On 2016-09-12 18:44:09.816552 by (mod) - New YorkCity Bathroom Ventilation Code Excerpts

A very detailed building code guideline beyond the IRC I cited below is the New York City housing code from which I excerpt this Bathroom Ventilation Code:

§[C26-1207.3] 27-759 Bathrooms and toilet rooms.-Bathrooms and toilet rooms shall be ventilated as follows:

(a) When ventilated by natural means, the natural ventilation sources shall comply with section 27-749 of article six of this subchapter and shall have an unobstructed free area of at least five percent of the floor area. In no case shall the net free area of the ventilation sources be less than one and one-half square feet except that in occupancy groups H-1 and H-2, provided the ventilation opening conforming with section 27-749 of article six of this subchapter may be in a vent shaft provided that the net free area of the opening is not less than three square feet. The vent shaft cross-sectional area shall be increased by one-fifth of a square foot for every foot of height, but shall not be less than nine square feet in area and open to the outer air at the top; or, the vent shaft may be open at the sides above the roof with louvres providing an equivalent net free area at the top, equal to the area of the shaft.

(b) By individual vent shafts or ducts constructed of noncombustible materials with a minimum cross-sectional area of one square foot and one-third additional square foot for each additional water closet or urinal above two in number. The upper termination of such ducts shall be equipped with a wind-blown ventilator cap.

(c) When a bathroom or toilet room is not ventilated by natural ventilation as required by this section, it shall be mechanically ventilated as follows:

(1) Rooms containing only one water closet or urinal shall be mechanically ventilated by an exhaust system capable of exhausting at least fifty cubic feet of air per minute. Means shall be provided for air ingress by louvres in the door, by undercutting the door, or by transfer ducts, grilles, or other openings.

(2) Rooms containing more than one water closet or urinal, and any auxiliary spaces such as those used in hand basins, slop sinks, and locker rooms, shall be mechanically ventilated by an independent exhaust system capable of exhausting at least forty cubic feet of air per minute per water closet or urinal. The outdoor air supply shall conform to the requirements of article seven of this subchapter.

(3) Toilet exhaust systems shall be arranged to expel air directly to the outdoors.

On 2016-09-12 18:41:36.557368 by (mod) - down-vented bath exhaust

Todd:

I don't have a clear understanding of the situation. In general, you can try venting a bath vent fan "down" but the combination of down-direction, elbows, and total run length may mean that it's ineffective.

Take a look at the installation manual for your fan brand and model. The manufacturer will give guidance on the total duct length permitted. Adding elbows and bends increases the "effective" duct length (shortening what's allowed) as would blowing "down".

I've seen OPINION by some builders and web page authors that venting a bath vent "down" is "best" and that it "respects the laws of physics". I'm not sure what physics class those authors attended.

Warm air wants to rise, so pushing that air "down" and out is harder for a bath fan than blowing it upwards and out. The authors are, I think mixing up the importance of avoiding backdrafts with the importance of providing a vent duct size, routing, length that make the fan work effectively.

Perhaps some confusion about up or down venting also arises because it IS good practice for an overhead fan duct to slope down 1/8 to 1/4" per foot so that any condensation in the fan drips out of the wall vent or soffit vent rather than back into the bath ceiling.

I also prefer using solid metal duct or solid PVC piping as a bath vent fan duct rather than thin mylar or plastic flex duct - you'll get better and safer airflow.

At the wall termination you'll need to install a vent termination cover that

1. closes to prevent back-drafting when the fan is not running. Typically the cover closes by gravity and works fine.

(Unlike a clothes dryer vent (where lint clogging is a fire safety issue) you can screen a bath vent outdoor termination with 1/4" or 1/2" mesh (2006 IRC [305.5]) but that won't prevent a cold backdraft if wind is blowing towards the opening. )

2. prevents critters from entering or nesting in the duct system

It's smart to insulate the vent ducting too, reducing condensation in the duct from exposing the warm moist bath air to cooler crawl space (or attic) air.

Locate the bath vent fan high in the bathroom - high on an exterior wall when you can, or on the ceiling where it can pick up steamy air from a bath shower.
Watch out: as we warn elsewhere, if a bath fan or light is close to or can be touched by someone in a tub or shower it must be on a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected circuit lest your installation kill someone who's naked and wet.

Bath venting codes: see the 2006 (or later) International Residential Code IRC R303.3 Bathroom Ventilation - requires that when natural ventilation requirements (3 sq ft of windows 50% operable) can't be met, the bath should be vented by either a 20 cfm continuous vent fan or a 50 cfm vent fan that is intermittent (or switched). Exhausting of the bath vent fan must indeed be to the building exterior.

"Exhaust Air from toilet rooms and bathrooms shall not discharge into attic, crawl space or other areas inside building."

On 2016-09-12 18:18:54.910536 by (mod) -

Jane:

You can vent two fans through a common duct provided the duct size, length, number of bends meets the manufacturer's specs. Watch out for back-drafting out through the fan opening that is not running when the other one is. If that problem occurs your installer will need to either vent the fans separately or add a one-way backdraft preventer in the ductwork .

Fans vary in noise - measured in sones. A problem is that noisy fans tend to be left OFF so a bath may not be vented when it should be.

On 2016-09-12 18:01:25.001026 by Todd

We have built an addition to our house. The bathroom fan vent was run to the outside of the house but was removed as the addition surrounded vent. The contract nicely wrapped the exhaust hose around the fan and installed the roofing with out re plumbing it.

All the floor joists have some kind of wiring or vents running through them. Would it be alright to exhaust the bathroom fan air under the addition as there is to vents on either side of the addition. I would have to cut a hole through the wall to get to the next room to install the vent outside. This is a down stairs bath.

On 2016-09-12 16:45:57.270898 by Jane

Hi Guys

Can someone tell me whether you can run 2 fans (in the same bathroom) through one lot of ducting? One appears to be quieter and less powerful than the other.

Many thanks for any advice offered.

On 2016-06-03 16:18:25.947177 by Mark

Agreed.

Comment:

(Sept 26, 2014) James said:
I have come across your site 3 times, as I continue to get our recently purchased 1950's home up to snuff. Excellent resource, great photos, and very detailed explanations. Just wanted to say thanks for your effort!

Question:

(May 16, 2014) Kevin said:
Are there any restrictions on how close an exhausting bath vent may be placed to an exhausting vent for a gas water heater? Both exhaust vents will terminate outside through a side wall. Thanks.

Reply:

Kevin,

Clearances for gas fired appliance sidewall vent terminations are given in detail at

inspectapedia.com/chimneys/Direct_Vent_Chimneys.php - side wall & direct vent clearances

You will see that the required distances range from 1 foot to 7 feet depending on what's being cleared-from.

If the bath vent respects the gas fired exhaust (chimney / flue) vent clearances you should be ok.

Question:

(May 21, 2014) Mary. Question said:
My builder has installed a small 4" extractor fan in a newly created utility room with a door to outside, but no windows. The fan has been installed on the outside wall which is 30 cms thick. It will blow out through the old metal ventilation grille.

My worry is that he has not lined the 'duct' with anything other than plaster. I cannot see any plastic or metal material lining the hole. Is this acceptable? Won't I be getting damp air in my brickwork?

Reply:

Mary I'm not sure I've got the whole picture, but I'd agree that a metal or plastic duct liner would have made cleaning easier and would have reduced the chances of damage should moisture accumulate in or condense on the sides of the air path.

If it's easy to paint and thus seal that surface that'd help. Sounds a bit odd.

Question:

(Aug 20, 2014) rob said:
we had rough in electrical inspection and it passed and went back and seen our electrician vented ours to the attic and there it lay i live in pa how did that pass? other than their all close friends with each other?

Reply:

Rob:

about the mistake of incomplete routing of a bath vent fan I can't *know* but I can offer speculation based on experience:

1. The electrician is not someone who is going to want to cut a hole in a roof, gable end nor soffit - nor might s/he know how to properly flash and seal that opening against leaks.

2. The electrician wants to finish the job quickly and get paid and go home for a beer and to watch the World Cup on TV.

3. The building inspector doesn't want to crawl into a hot attic, and furthermore, cannot possibly inspect every detail of every job - so over time the inspectors tend to get to know individual contractors and to trust (or not trust) their work, making just spot checks on it. It's not a matter of being close friends or of bribes.

You need to vent the fan properly to avoid a moisture problem down the road.

Question: Can I vent a bathroom into the attic space that has soffit vents and a ridge vent?

(Sept 7, 2014) Anonymous said:
Can I vent a bathroom into the attic space that has soffit vents and a ridge vent?

Reply:

Anon:

Physically you "can" but it's a bad idea, sending moisture into a building cavity rather than outdoors invites mold, insect damage, rot.

Vent bath exhaust to the outdoors not into an attic.

(Sept 15, 2014) Anonymous said:
Thanks, will look to vent to the outside but was hoping that the air flow from the soffit to the ridge vent would carry out the moisture

Reply:

Anon

Well air flow may carry moisture but enroute, flowing across attic surfaces it will also deposit it on cooler surfaces - leading to mold-sorrows later.

Question: how can I keep the bath fan from sucking the heat out of my building?

(Sept 17, 2014) Redpoint said:

I want to install a four port remote bathroom fan in my house. I have a conditioned attic where the 4" thin walled PVC pipes will run. I have two concerns; first when I have this running for one bathroom i don't want it sucking all the heat out of my house (in winter) from the other 3 bathrooms.

How would I prevent this from happening? Second I have some long runs in my conditioned attic (60-70ft) is this too long and should I pitch the pipes or worry about condensation ? Thanks

Reply:

You might want to use an air to air heat exchange ventilation system instead.

Question: Can you vent a bathroom fan into the chimney?

(Nov 5, 2014) Peter said:
Can you vent a bathroom fan into the chimney?

Reply:

No. Don't do that.

Question:

Nov 13, 2014) Gene said:
We get a sewer smell in two of our four bathrooms in the fall when it turns cold and also in the spring. It's usually short lived but is lasting longer this time. The same smell is also in a few spots outside our home. Toilets are not loose and bathrooms are well vented. Any suggestions ? Any help would be appreciated. We live on an acreage but have city plumbing...no septic.

Reply:

Gene,

Even if a toilet is not loose it could have a failed wax ring seal.

You might also be facing odors exacerbated by partly clogged drains or defective vent piping.

Question: what's the best way to venta guest bath with a room above it

(Dec 8, 2014) Anonymous said:
What's the best way to vent a 1st floor guest bath that has a half story above it? Should I just go straight to the outside wall of the bathroom, through the brick? Or should I try to go around the upstairs rooms to get to the gable attic, and to a vent there? The second just seems like a long distance, but I can't find much info about venting out the side of the house.

Reply:

Anon the best answer is site specific - depending on framing and construction details such as which way ceiling joists run I might go into the ceiling and then out through the wall, or I might place a vent right into the exterior wall.
Shorter distances are of course better.

Question: stop blown insulation from entering the bathroom through the ceiling vent

(Dec 24, 2014) joyce said:
how might I stop the blown in attic insulation from entering the bathroom thru the ceiling vent when the wind blows thru the attic window vent?

Reply:

Joyce

Your installers needed to adequately seal or baffle around ceiling vents, ducts, HVAC air intakes, etc. to keep insulation in its place.

There is a more serious worry here if your bath vent is for a ceiling exhaust fan: loose fill insulation that enters a power-operated bath vent can clog it leading to overheating and a fire.

(Dec 24, 2014) Anonymous said:
Dan, thanks so much for this reply. Yes, the bath fan is for exhaust of moisture during shower, etc. I live in a home well above a lake, when the wind blows hard (often) I then note fine particles of insulation on the bathroom floor and other surfaces....I have an attic vent on a gable style roof line and hear the wind blowing thru.....at this time, I have in place plastic over the vent until I can figure out what to do. Not using the fan. Yes! conerned re: fire..thanks so much.

Reply:

Joyce

take a look at our notes about wind-washing - blowing attic insulation from air entering at soffits

inspectapedia.com/Energy/Cathedral_Ceiling_Ventilation.php#WindWash

Question:

(Dec 29, 2014) Katrine said:
We moved into a house built in 1999 in north Florida and learned that the bath exhaust fans are connected to the HVAC ductwork and not to the outside. Is this acceptable? We have had problems with high indoor humidity even when the air conditioning is running.

Reply:

Katrine

I can't be as smart as an on-site expert who will see important details we can't, but what you describe sounds wierd to me. Exhaust fans should exhaust to outdoors, not blow moisture or odors into the HVAC system. It sounds to me as if someone took an improper shortcut.

(Dec 30, 2014) Katrine said:
Thanks for your reply. I am following up on this with the buildings inspection office and getting everything rerouted properly.

Question:

(Apr 23, 2015) Jim said:
Why is the air from my bathroom exhaust fan blowing down into the bathroom instead of blowing up and out?

Reply:

Jim

Some bathroom fixtures combine a light, exhaust fan and heater. If your ceiling fixture includes a heater it may be on and blowing air down.

If your fan is ONLY an exhaust fan then it's running backwards OR there is no exhaust vent.

Question: insulation leak at bath ceiling vent?

(Aug 3, 2015) Carole said:
I have a combination light/exhaust/heater in bathroom ceiling. It looks like blown insulation in the vent blades. Hate to think I am breathing this. What do I do?

Reply:

As the bath is normally going to blow air out rather than into the bathroom, it ought not be blowing anything onto you. However if the fan is not properly-installed or if its ducting is damaged, attic insulation could be falling into the room below.

Start by identifying the suspect material; most-often you'll see gray dust accumulating on the intake louvers of a vent fan as house dust, principally fabric fibers and skin cvells, is deposited to the surface of the fan while air passes into it.

Question: birds moved into bath vent ducts

(June 26, 2016) Rgrigsby said:

Question, several years ago we had 2 bathrooms redone! The venting was redone at the time. The vent material was light weight foil. Run through the ceiling and the second floor.

Bird move's in to the cheesy duct and in the process of the bird evacuation the line is damaged and is not accessible without removing the drywall in the ceilings. What are the odds of those lines meeting code.

Reply:

I can't guess at the code compliance issues, though you could ask your local code inspector for an opinion; the installation is largely hidden by reality (the ceiling) and remoteness (e-text). However there should have been an appropriate vent guard on the exterior wall = that usually is what keeps the birds out.

Since you've got who-knows-what bird pathogens in the ceiling it might make sense to do enough demolition to remove the nasty old birded-duct and install new material.

See BATHROOM VENT CODES for details about the allowable screen size on bath exhaust vent terminations.

Question: wind tunnel and flapping noise at bath exhaust vent

(Aug 18, 2016) Toni said:

I recently had a contractor come in and replace a 20 yr old bath exhaust fan in my condo. I did not watch the process, however due to the "accessibility" of the existing ducting, he was forced to use flexible ducting to connect the new fan. I intentionally requested a 1 sone fan for obvious reasons, however the fan noise level is inaudible due to the now very low "wind tunnel" noise.

The contractor advised that because he was forced to install flexible ducting, this is what I was hearing. In order to repair with rigid ducting, he would have to open the ceiling up further. Is it likely that the flexible ducting is what is causing this flapping wind tunnel noise? Thanks

sorry my last comment should have stated " very LOUD "wind tunnel" noise...not LOW.

Reply: sources of extra or abnormal noise in a bathroom vent fan

Tony I can't know quite what's going on from an inspection by e-text, but a key word in your note is "flapping" - something is loose. I'd want to inspect and find what that is before spending a lot on a new approach to the exhaust duct.

Flex duct, properly installed in a bath fan, would be stretched out with no extra material and ought not be flopping nor flapping around.

Also check for a loose flapper door on the vent duct termination outdoors.

Noisy bath vent fans can also be traced to use of a reduced exhaust vent duct size. The duct size must be at least the same as the diameter of the fan's discharge port. Here is a typical manufacture's warning:

Duct work size must be a minimum of the discharge and should not be reduced. Reducing the duct size can increase fan noise.

To avoid motor bearing damage and noisy and/or unbalanced impellers, keep drywall spray, construction dust, etc., off power unit. - Ventilation Fan with light and Heater, Model RAD80L, Delta Breez Ventilation System, [PDF]

Question: can bath vent fans share ductwork? How does that affect noise?

2016/09/12 Jane said:
Hi Guys

Can someone tell me whether you can run 2 fans (in the same bathroom) through one lot of ducting? One appears to be quieter and less powerful than the other.

Many thanks for any advice offered.

Reply:

Jane:

You can vent two fans through a common duct provided the duct size, length, number of bends meets the manufacturer's specs. Watch out for back-drafting out through the fan opening that is not running when the other one is. If that problem occurs your installer will need to either vent the fans separately or add a one-way backdraft preventer in the ductwork .

Fans vary in noise - measured in sones. A problem is that noisy fans tend to be left OFF so a bath may not be vented when it should be.

Also see FAN NOISES in BUILDINGS

Also see AIR LEAK NOISES in BUILDINGS as duct leaks can also be noisy.

Question: OK to vent a bath exhaust fan down and out under an addition?

2016/09/12 Todd said:

We have built an addition to our house. The bathroom fan vent was run to the outside of the house but was removed as the addition surrounded vent. The contract nicely wrapped the exhaust hose around the fan and installed the roofing with out re plumbing it. All the floor joists have some kind of wiring or vents running through them.

Would it be alright to exhaust the bathroom fan air under the addition as there is to vents on either side of the addition. I would have to cut a hole through the wall to get to the next room to install the vent outside. This is a down stairs bath.

Reply:

In general, you can try venting a bath vent fan "down" but the combination of down-direction, elbows, and total run length may mean that it's ineffective. Take a look at the installation manual for your fan brand and model. The manufacturer will give guidance on the total duct length permitted. Adding elbows and bends increases the "effective" duct length (shortening what's allowed) as would blowing "down".

Please see BATHROOM VENT DOWN THROUGH FLOOR / CRAWL AREA for a detailed reply to your question.

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