Bathroom ceiling vent fan, heater, light combination (C) Daniel FriedmanBathroom Exhaust Fan Heat Recovery Ventilator Installation
Q&A about installing an HRV over a bathroom shower

  • BATHROOM FAN HEAT RECOVERY - CONTENTS: can you use a heat recovery ventilator system in a bathroom? Are there moisture handling limitations? How should a HRV system be selected when used in a bathroom, over a shower, or in other moist or humid areas.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about heat recovery ventilator systems for bathrooms

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Heat recovery ventilator installation in a bathroom:

This article describes the installation of an HRV over a bath shower. A reader questions handling the high moisture level created by the shower and whether or not this will be a problem for a conventional heat recovery ventilation system.

This article series explains how to install bathroom exhaust fans or vents, the vent ducting, the vent termination at the wall, soffit or roof, vent fan wiring, bath vent duct insulation, bath vent lengths, clearances, routing, and we answer just about any other bathroom ventilation design or installation question you may have.

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Bathroom Exhaust Fan Heat Recovery Ventilator Systems

Question: installing a heat recovery ventilator over a bathroom shower: Brink Climate Systems Renovent HR installation specifications

Eugene said:

[Click to enlarge any image]

Have you any views on whether the ceiling exhaust valve should be located directly over the shower area or more centrally in the bathroom? I am installing a HRV system and I read on one company's web site that the exhaust valve should not be directly over the shower area. I have not come across this view anywhere else and I don't see why it should be an issue but I would be interested in your opinion.


Eugene, I think we're discussing ceiling exhaust vents; placing one directly over the shower is fine and probably increases the ease with which it picks up moisture. Naturally one would presume that the installation is electrically safe from touch etc. (e.g. no switch is located where it can be touched from within the shower) and that water is never going to be sprayed onto the device.

An exhaust fan system that could not tolerate moisture would be one I would toss in the trash.

As an example we looked at Panasonic's installation manual for their ceiling mounted ventilating fan models FV05Q3 - FV15Q4. These models are UL listed for tub and shower enclosures.

That fan should not be installed where temperatures exceed 104 degF. and its duct runs should not be constricted (the instructions show examples of that snafu).

But there is no mention of NOT locating the fan where it is in fact most needed and most effective - over the moisture source.

You are discussing a different piece of equipment, not a bath vent fan but a heat recovery ventilating fan. That type of product is discussed at BALANCED VENTILATION found at

If you want to give us the brand and model we (or you) ought to be able to find the manufacturer's installation instructions to see what constraints apply. Certainly I could *imagine* that a HRV fan that has to handle high levels of moisture might not be designed for that application.

Reader Follow-up:

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I have read as much as I could about ventilation before doing this install at home and no other source has made an issue about putting an exhaust valve over the shower area but I just wanted to get another opinion just in case I missed something

I intend doing this tomorrow and I would not like to have to redo it later! The unit is a Renovent made by Brink Climate Systems with a heat recovery efficiency of about 90%. Their installation manual has nothing in it specific to bathrooms. There are no electrical connections at all associated with the valves as the air handling unit does all the work.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond.



Looking at the Medium/Large installation instructions for the Brink Climate Systems Renovent HR, you will see that the unit has built-in frost protection that should mean it can handle moisture in the vented air.
There are some installation restrictions that I quote here, none of which mentions a shower installation.

• The appliance must be placed level.
• The installation room must be such that a good condensate discharge with air trap and pitch for condensate can be made.
• The installation room must be frost-free.
• Make sure there is a free space of at least 70 cm at the front of the appliance and a free headroom of 1.8 m

But this feature may be important for your installation:
The Renovent HR appliance can be equipped with an option pcb (article code 289990). This add-on feature is of interest because of the moisture sensor function:

Input 0-10 V for a moisture sensor: When the moisture content in the dwelling increases, for in-
stance when someone is taking a shower, this sensor automatically increases the ventilation quantity.

Now I read that as rather clear that the manufacturer anticipates handling moisture generated by a shower.

Some common sense about unit location to protect it from water, say from shower splashing, would of course be pertinent.

If you are considering the smaller Renovent you might want to review the features I've described with the manufacturer directly to see if they are needed for your installation.

You didn't indicate where you are located, but this may help:

For Ireland and Great Britain
Ubbink (UK) Ltd, 81 Cherry Orchard Industrial Estate, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10.
Tel: 01 – 626 2600

Address Brink Climate Systems B.V.
P.O. box 11
NL-7950 AA Staphorst
+31 522 46 99 44


Reader follow-up:

(Apr 8, 2014) Eugene said:

The optional PCB with moisture, CO2 and other features is something I might consider in the future. I don't think these features will be needed but I can always do it later if necessary. In terms of space to access the unit this will not be a problem as it is going into a store room rather than the attic as the latter is little more than a crawl space. I put the exhaust valve in today more or less centered over the shower tray (it turned out to be trickier than expected in part because for some unknown reason the ceiling there had two gypsum boards doubled up).

I have still a long way to go but at least I can take one more thing off the list.

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