Bathroom Ventilation Is Important

June 9, 2016

Ventilation is often a neglected strategy for improving air quality in an airtight home. And nowhere is ventilation so important as in the bathroom. An air-sealed bathroom becomes a repository for volatile organic compounds, mold, bacteria and other unpleasant pollutants.

Sources of Pollution in the Bathroom
When you're looking for pollutants in the bathroom, you don't have to look far. Here are just some of the sources:

  • Mold - Mold originates from trapped moisture from long showers and leaky plumbing, resulting in damp surfaces on shower curtains and bathroom tile. Mold can destroy drywall and wood and creates an unpleasant odor.
  • Bacteria - When human waste is flushed in the toilet with the lid open, the bacteria-laden spray settles on the floor and other bathroom surfaces.
  • Volatile organic compounds - Airborne particulates escape from improperly stored bathroom chemicals. VOCs can aggravate allergies and cause respiratory problems.
  • Dust mites - These can flourish in damp towels and bath mats.

All these pollutants may be breathed in when they are stirred up and enter the air through human activity.

Ventilation
Obviously, controlling the pollutants at the source is the best way to deal with them. But another important strategy is to improve ventilation. Ventilation lets fresh air in and pollutants out. If there's no window in the bathroom, it's recommended that you install exhaust ventilation to the outdoors. Exhaust ventilation fans remove moisture, mold spores and odors. The newer models tend to be quieter and more efficient than those of the past. Some may even include heat recovery ventilation (where the energy is extracted from the heated or cooled air before it's exhausted to the outdoors, and used to heat or cool the home) and motion-activated lights. For best results, select the fan with the right moisture-removing capacity for your bathroom's square footage. Installation note: Bathroom ventilation should not be exhausted into the space between ceiling joists or into the attic, where it might contribute to mold buildup. Make sure it is exhausted to the outdoors.

Curious about how bathroom ventilation could improve your air quality? Contact Lozier Heating & Cooling of Des Moines. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Kevin_Hsieh/Shutterstock"