Ventilating bathrooms is of extreme importance. Improper ventilation hampers both your health and home. With proper ventilation, you can improve air circulation; remove unpleasant odors and excess moisture in the bathroom. Exhaust fans are a dominant bathroom ventilation option available in the market. As per building code requirements, exhaust fans seem to be the most effective way to ventilate bathrooms. So does that mean you are short of options? Absolutely no! There are methods other than exhaust fans that will let you achieve proper bathroom ventilation. The article deals with alternative to exhaust fan in bathroom for achieving bathroom ventilation. The method which is going to work the best for you will in a way depend on your bathroom. So let us see which alternatives you can have for ventilating your bathroom other than exhaust fans.
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Bathroom without Ventilation- Bad Idea
As per the building code requirements, it is necessary that every bathroom must have proper ventilation which will not only regulate the moisture levels but also removes the bad smells. Without proper ventilation, your hot showers may cause moisture to build up on the window and the walls and makes the mirrors get foggy.
Most municipalities set out clear building code requirements that need bathrooms to be vented through an open window or exhaust fan. So when it comes to proper ventilation in bathrooms, open windows act as a bare minimum requirement.
How Good Bathroom Ventilation Helps?
At first, let us see the benefits of bathroom ventilation. When using your bathroom to take showers, wash your hands or while you flush the toilet, all these add moisture to the air in your bathroom. Proper ventilation removes this trapped moisture. It also improves air quality and circulation. All this leads to numerous other benefits.
You can stay more comfortable
The main problem with high humidity is that it makes you feel colder in low temperatures and hotter in high temperatures. Proper ventilation ensures better humidity control which will make you feel more comfortable after showers and as you prepare for your day.
Improved Air Quality
Proper ventilation reduces the contaminants in the air, which improve air quality and also removes unpleasant odors. This ensures your good health.
Minimizes the growth of bacteria
This is also another benefit you achieve with better humidity control. Lower humidity conditions minimize the growth of potentially harmful bacteria like staphylococcus causing staph infection and streptococcus causing strep throat.
Reduces mold and mildew, thereby protecting your bathroom
It is the excess moisture in your bathroom that results in mold and mildew formation causing harm to your bathroom walls and ceiling. So as you let your bathroom breathe by improving ventilation, this will stop mold from appearing, making your bathroom squeaky clean! This helps maintain good bathroom aesthetics as well as your respiratory health.
When the excess moisture in the air is brought under control, there will be less condensation on your windows, mirrors, and shower walls.
Are Exhaust Fans Necessary?
It is a known fact that it is the building code restrictions that govern the installation of anything and everything on your building. This can vary from region to region. But in most cases, the building code requirements envisage the need for an exhaust fan or some other outdoor ventilation in case of full-sized bathrooms. But for half baths having just a sink and toilet, exhaust fans are usually not a requirement. This leaves you with opportunities for having many alternatives. Anyways, you surely need something to fight the moisture levels in your bathroom so that the bathroom does not get eventually damaged by mold and mildew. You need to check the building codes specific to your area so that you do not have to face issues later on.
Alternatives to Exhaust Fans in Bathroom
Now let us see some of the best alternatives you can have in place of exhaust fans in bathrooms.
This is the simplest and the most straightforward option you can have as an alternative to ventilating your bathroom. You can open the windows after bathing. The method is however more effective when it comes to small bathrooms than the large bathrooms. In the case of small bathrooms, you can keep the windows open for like a few hours after showering. The effectiveness of this alternative also depends on the kind of windows in your bathroom. For example, the large windows are set to ventilate much better than the smaller ones. However, there are bathrooms with no windows or windows that do not open and in such cases, the method will not work.
If there are no bathroom windows or if the bathroom windows cannot be opened, then you can surely try this method as every bathroom will surely have a door for entry and exit. You can also open the bathroom door like you open the windows in the previous step. This is another great alternative to using exhaust fans in bathroom. By opening the bathroom doors, the moist air gets a way to escape. This method, when combined with some sort of fan can be truly effective. However, this can affect your privacy and also there is chance that the unwanted bathroom odors may travel to other parts of your home.
You can make use of any normal household fan used elsewhere in your home to serve the purpose of an exhaust fan. It can be any household fan like an oscillating fan or a box fan. When using a large household fan, there is a better chance of proper ventilation and odor removal. For better results, you can try this method with open windows or doors. You can also make use of some other small portable fan, but it may not be that effective.
After you bath or shower, you can plug in the household fan and turn it on to serve the purpose of ventilation. After your job is done, they can be taken out of the bathroom as needed. However, as these fans have cords that may touch the ground and come into contact with water, you may need to be cautious of electrical hazards.
You can also consider installing a ceiling fan as an alternative to an exhaust fan in the bathroom. It will control the odors by removing them. It will also remove the humid air. A ceiling fan will help regulate the bathroom temperature, making it a well suited alternative for bathrooms with hot showers and heat-generating lights.
A damp rated ceiling fan will be typically good for use in the bathroom. When clubbed with open window, the method can work wonders. Open windows will regulate the airflow and will help in venting out the moist air.
Ductless Bathroom Fans
Installing a ductless bathroom fan is another alternative to exhaust fans. This method also works well in case of small bathrooms. These easy to install bathroom fans need no ductwork. So there is no need to cut holes in the roof for creating a ductwork route. You just have to attach the ductless bathroom fan unit to the wall or ceiling and plug it work.
Also known as ventless bathroom fans, ductless bathroom fans require no vents to remove odors. So if you wonder how they work, the answer is that they kind of process the air and remove the odors easily and quickly. Equipped with a charcoal filtering system, they remove the unpleasant odor without needing vents. They have a lower blade speed enabling to capture a large quantity of air into the charcoal filter, through which the air is circulated so as to eradicate the dust particles and the odor. This makes the air fresh. After removing the odors from the air, the air is then recirculated into it.
However, the ductless bathroom fans are not capable of removing moisture from the bathrooms. As it is practically impossible to remove moisture from bathrooms using ductless bathroom fans, they are not actually designed for bathrooms with showers or bathtubs. If to be used in bathrooms with baths or showers, you may have to pair it with open windows or open doors which can actually eliminate the trapped moisture after you bath or shower. However, this can result in privacy issues. Another option is to try and use it with a dehumidifier which can work to remove the moisture. However, the ductless bathroom fans are found to work well for small toilet and sink-only rooms, where the need is odor control.
Also, check with the building code requirements of the area and be sure that you are permitted to have them installed as per these codes. With professional help in installation procedures, you can prevent any electrical hazards.
Introducing Plants in your Bathroom
You can reduce the moisture and freshen up the air by putting plants in your bathroom. This is because plants will help circulate air in the bathroom and absorb moisture. Plants like Boston fern and English ivy are the best in the category among many others. By putting plants, you can also beautify the bathroom space and also improve the oxygen flow in the bathroom.
However, you need to place less hopes as plants may not remove as much moisture as the exhaust fan would. Hence, the option is better for smaller bathrooms. Also, additional work is involved in taking care of the plants. You need to invest time in watering them and also ensuring proper sunlight which can make it tiresome, especially if you’re not into plants. Also, not all bathrooms are suitable for plant life.
Dehumidifiers can work well as an alternative to exhaust fans in the bathroom. They are intended to reduce the humidity levels in your bathroom plus also maintain it. As they dry the air, they also prevent mold growth. The humidity sensor keeps track on the humidity levels in the air. Upon sensing high humidity levels, the dehumidifier turns on reducing the levels and maintaining them. It is a great choice for use as an alternative to exhaust fan in your bathroom space, although expensive. However, good quality dehumidifiers will indeed work great for your bathroom space. They require low maintenance efforts. You may only need to empty buckets every one or two weeks, depending on the shower frequency. You can also invest in some good portable bathroom dehumidifiers. Options like Pro Breeze Dehumidifiers and Afloia Mini Dehumidifier are great affordable options to have.
Using air conditioner is another alternative to the use of exhaust fans in bathrooms. By keeping the bathroom cool, air conditioners help to remove moisture from the bathroom air. This is somewhat similar to a dehumidifier. The air conditioner used should be such that it pulls air from outside and release it into the bathroom after cooling it. This will force out the warm, moist bathroom air which can then be considered to provide the necessary ventilation. However, if the air conditioner draws in air from the bathroom and releases it into the bathroom after cooling it, then this causes condensation of water out of the air and into the water tray which is not what makes way for proper ventilation. Thus they are actually means of relieving the bathroom humidity, they will not bring bathroom air out of the home like exhaust fans do. They can reduce mold and mildew formation by lowering the bathroom temperature.
Bathroom exhaust fans helps in removing unpleasant odors from the bathroom. They also remove other air pollutants. Air purifiers have a similar job. So you can make use of an air purifier as an alternative to a bathroom exhaust fan. However, as air purifiers are not capable of removing the moisture from the bathroom, you may need to club this method with some effective moisture removal methods. This will bring about the most effective results.
Wiping Away the Excess Moisture in the Bathroom
You can dry up the bathroom after use to effectively eliminate the humidity in your bathroom. This may involve wiping and moping and some good effort on your part. After showering you can make use of a clean, dry towel or squeegee to wipe away any water or other condensation left within the different parts of the bathroom. You need to concentrate on the tiles, walls, ceiling, mirrors, and windows. This method will make your bathroom completely dry, thereby reducing humidity levels and hence will work as an alternative to the use of an exhaust fan in your bathroom.
This method is a cost-effective way of getting rid of excess moisture. You can try warming up the overall house temperature by turning the thermostat up to a few degrees. This will also warm the bathroom air. As air gets warm, it will help reduce the condensation on mirrors, walls and other cool surfaces.
The article provides insight into the possible alternatives for exhaust fans in bathrooms. There are many cost-effective ways to try out before investing in other methods like dehumidifiers and air conditioners. You can also try taking a cooler shower, which will reduce heat and condensation in the bathroom, in case you lack a bathroom exhaust fan. Overall, you are if your exhaust fan is down, you are never short of options as the list of alternatives seems indeed promising. You can surely find help from any of the mentioned methods. Surely something or the other will definitely work for you.