As we discussed in our last blog post, the air inside our homes can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. We also looked at the biggest culprit – the kitchen. In this post we will look at another one – the bathrooms. The bathroom has it’s own set of challenges when it comes to indoor air quality. The two main ones are moisture and odor with moisture being the main area of concern. While odors in the bathroom are unpleasant they in themselves do not present a health risk – they just stink and we want to get rid of them. The problem comes with using air fresheners. In order to rid the room of the smells, we spray a chemical agent into the air that we in turn breath in.
Moisture presents a whole other set of challenges. There is no way around it, if you take a shower or a bath, you will have moisture in the bathroom. Anytime there is moisture, there is the potential for mold and mildew to grow. Once that starts, the air you are breathing now has the potential to be dangerous. Now before everyone goes crazy and starts wearing HAZMAT suits in the bathroom, a lot of mold and mildew can be eliminated with a consistent cleaning routine. What we want to focus on is reducing the route causes. The good news is whether it is odors, mold or mildew, the solution is the same – good ventilation. Good ventilation has multiple components to it all working together. They include:
Vented to the outdoors: The air needs to leave your home. You sometimes will see the exhaust fan vented to the attic or just inside a wall. All that is happening in this scenario is the hazard is being displaced. Instead of the mold growing in your bathroom, it will now be growing in the attic or inside your walls. At least if it is in the bathroom you can see it and might be able to mitigate it before it gets out of control. In the attic or a wall, you won’t have that benefit.
Power: Another mistake many people make is trying to save a dollar or two and installing a fan that is not sized properly. If your mirrors fog up every time you take a shower, your exhaust fan is probably undersized. When sizing a fan, you want at least 1 CFM per square foot of space.
Make sure it is turned on: The biggest complaint when it comes to exhaust fans is how loud they are. Technology has come a long way and now there are fans on the market that you can barely hear running. All of Air King ENERGY STAR® certified exhaust fans operate at quiet to almost silent sound levels. Another solution is to use a fan that automatically turns on such as one with a humidity and/or motion sensor. These are great if you have children or guests that are not as reliable when it comes to turning the exhaust fan on.
Keep it running: To make sure you are properly exhausting the room it is recommended that the fan run for at least 20 minutes after it has been vacated. Adding a timer is a perfect solution. These can be a part of the fan itself or as a wall switch.
To learn more about Indoor Air Quality and how you can properly ventilate your home, visit www.airkinglimited.com.