Can you vent bathroom fan into attic? Sure, nobody wants to live in a house that doesn’t conform to the rules of safety or put their health at risk. However, very few people realize what role your bathroom, in particular your bathroom exhaust fan, plays in keeping a favorable environment for you. The whole indoor air quality depends on this small device.
A bathroom fan may seem such a small, insignificant part of the interior space, but in reality, it helps to keep you and your house safe and sound. A venting bathroom fan is a complicated procedure that can cause many questions and unreasonable assumptions. To sort out the issue, read this article.
Venting bathroom fan into the attic – is it a solution?
The answer is no! In no case, the bathroom vent must go into the attic directly.
According to the international residential code, certain places in the dwelling cannot be considered as a way out for the bathroom vent. Among such places, the following are listed:
- attic space,
- soffit vents,
- ridge vents,
- crawl space.
These parts of the house do not meet the requirements of safety – as you can see, the attic is mentioned there. It is prohibited to install a vent duct directly into the spaces indoors, including attics.
Apart from the attic, you shouldn’t end the bath vent in the ridge vent and soffit vent, which are very popular options among the population.
Understandably, the attic looks like a nice place to vent your bathroom fan, and the prohibitions might seem groundless.
However, they go by not only international residential code but also with good sense.
Risks that you don’t want to deal with
Yes, bathroom vents leading to the attic, ridge vent, or soffit vent are risky. The list of possible problems and consequences is too big to just brush them off. Let’s look at them more closely.
Let’s imagine a situation that is familiar to everybody.
You are enjoying your bath, warm water feels so pleasant to your skin. Meanwhile, the same hot water droplets start evaporating and turn into steam. The steam is continuously sucked into the bathroom exhaust vents.
Eventually, this vent hood leads to the attic, where the air temperature can’t be regulated by the air conditioner. As soon as warm air removed from the bathroom collides with the cold air from the attic, the difference between temperatures makes the steam convert back into water droplets.
Water that forms in the attic vents stays there. Moist air and surfaces are a perfect space for spores that in the end turn into mold. If there is a lot of mold growth in your attic, it can be harmful to your health and hard to get rid of.
The destruction of the house
Even more dangerous repercussion of the moist air movement into the attic is its deleterious effect on the house itself. When humid air stays in contact with wood for a long time, wooden parts of the house are more likely to be destroyed one day.
If your attic or parts of the building are made of wood, avoid venting the bathroom exhaust fan into the attic. Excess moisture contact with such materials leads to wood rot and further destruction.
The repairs of such damage would be costly. The best way out is to prevent this from happening and make your bathroom fan vent outdoors.
Mice, rats, and other pests
When buying a house, the last thing you would want is certainly uninvited neighbors. Especially if you want to avoid such creatures as rodents or insects that cause damage to your property.
The root of their possible appearance is the same, that is moist air. To make your life more comfortable and not let anyone unwanted in the house, properly vent bathroom exhaust fans.
Deterioration of the air quality
A bathroom vent fan not only removes excess moisture but also helps to provide air movement and refresh the air inside the house. Imagine what happens during air stagnation.
The air becomes full of contaminants and substances that in large amounts can be harmful to humans. Moreover, many bacteria and germs multiply fast in humid stuffy spaces and cause illnesses and allergies.
Foul smell and diminished quality of life
This problem is closely connected with the previous one. The same microorganisms during different life processes produce agents that might smell badly. Chemicals accumulated from the water also can be the source of unpleasant odor.
Smelling such things one time might be rather non-irritating. However, if your dwelling is not equipped with a bathroom exhaust fan or if a bathroom fan vent leads in the wrong place, the smell can become a very oppressive routine.
High expenses on other systems
If there is no bathroom fan vent in the house, its functions are partially performed by the systems of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. In this case, the load on these systems increases.
As a result, you would have to cope with increased energy costs and problems with the systems. It is very likely to work less efficiently and wear out faster.
Sometimes there is just no other way to vent your bathroom exhaust fan other than into the attic. By following our recommendations, you will be able to install a bathroom exhaust vent correctly.
Things to consider when installing a bathroom fan
As we mentioned, the wrong way to do everything is to vent the bathroom fan directly into the attic. You can install the vent pipe in the attic but it should end in the street.
There are several places to vent the bathroom exhaust fans. It is allowed to vent any mechanical exhaust system to a gable wall or the exterior wall.
Some people prefer to vent the bathroom fan into the roof. Unfortunately, the roof vent might be more expensive than the previous option. The equipment and parts of the bathroom vent are not so costly, but the labor especially works connected with the roof sheathing can cause a lot of spending.
The second aspect to consider when installing a bathroom fan is to equip it with an appropriate cover. It has many functions, one of which is to discharge the exhaust air outdoors. Another is to prevent outdoor air from getting inside the house.
With a good bathroom vent cover, you protect the vent hood from birds nesting in there. High-quality custom roof covers with protection from pests also positively influence your house and health.
Short tips and recommendations
If your bathroom exhaust fan goes into the attic and still causes condensation, there are ways to lessen it:
- Opt for an insulated bathroom vent.
- Better choose exhaust duct fiberglass insulation.
- Direct vents are safer than bent ones.
There are also some things to consider when installing a bathroom exhaust fan:
- Install the bathroom exhaust fan close to the shower or faucets.
- If the ceiling in your bathroom reaches 8 feet or more, better to install one more exhaust fan.
- If your bathroom and toilet are separated, install exhaust fans in each room.
- When choosing bathroom ventilation, remember that the exhaust fans should be quiet (no more than 2 sones of noise level).
Frequently Asked Questions
Do bathroom exhaust fans have to be vented through the roof?
Not necessarily. Bathroom fans can be vented to the gable wall – that is also a very common choice. Remember, that the exhaust duct should not end in the soffit vents, a ridge vent, or crawl space. Also, the attic is not the best place for bathroom vents.
Can a bathroom fan vent into the ceiling?
Yes, that is an option. Be careful though. The ridge vent and soffit vent are close to the ceiling, and they are prohibited used as a termination point for a bath fan.
When bath fans vent through the ceiling, exhaust air can still flow in the ceiling joists and lead to mold growth eventually. If there are wooden parts in the ceiling structure, then the risks of wood rot are also increased.
How do you vent a bathroom vent into an attic?
Bathroom ventilation should not end exactly in the attic. The option is to let its hood pass through the attic. To secure it from bathroom air, use an insulated bathroom vent and avoid bends of the pipe. Proper ventilation in the attic would protect it from negative repercussions.
How do you vent a bathroom with no outside access?
The best choice would be to install a bathroom ceiling vent that would lead to the roof or outdoors. Any ventilation is better than no ventilation at all. Additionally, you can leave bathroom doors open, so the air infiltration process starts within the house, and exhaust air can go through the street or other vents. Just avoid terminating the hood in the soffit venting or other prohibited spaces.
Proper ventilation in the bathroom is crucial. A bath fan should not vent in the attic, soffit vent, ridge vent, or crawl space, according to the accepted building codes.
Improper venting can lead to many unpleasant consequences and problems. You don’t want to deal with wood rot or mold growth.
A properly vent bathroom fan would drain warm air and remove excess moisture, thus increasing the bathroom air quality and indoor air quality in general. Just a normal vent can make your life much more comfortable and healthy!