Friday, December 16, 2016

Duct it right – how to properly duct your exhaust fans

You did your homework, picked the perfect exhaust fan for your room and are now ready to install it. You have now entered a make or break crossroads in the installation process - how are you going to connect the ducting to the fan.

Okay maybe that is a bit dramatic, but the ducting is a key element to the installation process. There are basically two scenarios you will be faced with, existing ducting and new ducting. If you are replacing an old fan, there is probably ducting already in place. It is very important that the ducting be the same size as the new fans duct collar. Many older homes utilized 3 or 4 round ducting. Many newer fans are utilizing 6 ducting. Duct reducers are available to make the transition to smaller ducting, but this will increase the sound level of the fan and decrease the performance level – so that perfect fan you just bought, might not be so perfect after all. The best thing to do is to replace the ducting to match the size the fan requires.

With a new installation, you will need to run ducting anyway, so make sure it is the size required by the fan. It doesnt end there. You also want to use the shortest and straightest ducting possible. This allows the fan to perform at an optimal level. The longer the ducting and the more twists and turns, the less effective the fan will be. While rigid ducting is the best, if you need to use flexible ducting, make sure it is cut to length and as straight as possible. If the ductwork looks like some mythical sea creature, it is probably not an optimal installation. Each twist and turn builds up Static Pressure (SP), which causes the fan to work harder to push the air through. Think of blowing air through a large straw. If it is straight, its not all that difficult, but if you bend it a few times, it is a lot harder to blow air through it. Insulating your ducting will also help with any condensation issues. In colder climates, as the warm air passes though the cold ducting, condensation builds up and can actually cause water to come back through the ducting and into the room.

To finish the ducting installation, you want to make sure the air is making it outside of the home. The worst thing you can do is have air blowing directly into your attic or wall cavity. Air coming from a bathroom will most likely be hot humid air, over time that will build up in the form of mold and mildew. Making sure all seams are sealed is also critical. If air is leaking out of the ducting as it comes through, it is not making it to where it needs to go. Using a properly sized roof, wall or gable mounted cap will ensure that the air is going where it needs to go.

To learn more about exhaust fans and ventilation visit

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Take it outside – Exhausting your fans outside of the home.

Youve read all the articles about proper ventilation and improving indoor air quality. You went out and purchased the perfect exhaust fans for your home and are now ready to install them. Good for you, great job. As you start the installation you realize that you will need to run ducting for these fans and there isnt any existing ducting. No problem, youll just run it into the attic, away from the living area. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! We are going to need to stop you.

Making sure you exhaust the air outside of the home is one of the most important steps when it comes to ventilation. Even if you have existing ducting that you are connecting to, you want to confirm that it is running outside the home. If you are like most people, the first question is why, whats the big deal.

The most commonly mistaken place people run their exhaust fan into is the attic. Now stop and think about your attic. It is not the most pleasant place to begin with. In the summer it is probably very hot, even if it is properly insulated. Now take that hot area and add almost 100% humidity to it as the moist air from your shower is pumped into the space. Before long you will have what feels like a rain forest in your attic. This will quickly turn to mildew and then mold. Because it is an attic and not a common living space, it might be years before you detect that mold is growing (think of those renovation shows on TV where the host finds mold that has been growing for years – not a pleasant sight). Anytime you find mold growing in your home, it is not a good thing. All that can be easily prevented by just exhausting the fan outside the home through a wall, roof or gable mounted cap.

To learn more about ventilation visit

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Get ventilation sensitive – using a motion sensor with your exhaust fan

If you have spent any amount of time reading through our website or these blog posts, it is probably clear that we think (along with many organizations) that proper ventilation is a fairly big deal. A properly ventilated bathroom can benefit you and your home by removing odors and more importantly, humidity that can cause the build up of mold and mildew.

A big issue is that the fan needs to be turned on to be effective. There are host of reasons why it doesnt get turned on, but there is a way to override almost all of them – adding a motion sensor.

A motion sensor works by turning the exhaust fan on when it detects the room is being occupied. Once it no longer senses motion in the room, it will stay on for a preset amount of time and then turn off. It will run for longer than the room is occupied to make sure any residual steam or moisture from a shower is exhausted out of the room. The automation is the key part of this. There is nothing to turn on or off. This is especially great for rental properties where occupants might not be as diligent as you might want them to be with the ventilation of the home.

Adding a motion sensor can be done fairly easily. If you need to install a new fan or replace an existing one, there are many options that have a built in motion senor. If replacing the fan is not something you need to do, motion sensing wall switches are available. These simply replace the current switch the fan is wired to.

To learn more about integrated motion sensing fans or motion sensing wall switches, visit

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Get ventilation sensitive – using a humidity sensor with your exhaust fan

Thinking about how to improve your bathroom might not be something you spend a lot of time dwelling on and if you do it is probably how you want to replace the vanity, that new shower head or even how you are going to completely remodel. Even when you clean the bathroom, probably more thought goes into what a hassle it is and how much mildew is building up after just cleaning it.

While a complete remodel of the bathroom might be out of reach, there is a fairly simple upgrade you can make to your bathroom that will at least help with the cleaning process – adding a humidity sensor to your exhaust fan.

A humidity sensor will automatically turn the exhaust fan on when the humidity level of the room reaches a preset point and will stay on until it falls below that point. Here is how it works; you start the shower, which instantly raises the humidity level of the room so the fan turns on. After your shower, there will still be residual humidity in the room, so the fan will continue to run until that humid air has been exhausted out of the home. This helps prevent the build up of mold and mildew, both like warm humid environments. As an added bonus, it is all automated, nothing for you to do.

Adding a humidity sensor can be done fairly easily. If you need to install a new fan or replace an existing one, there are many options that have a built in humidity senor. If replacing the fan is not something you need to do, humidity sensing wall switches are available. These simply replace the current switch the fan is wired to.

To learn more about integrated humidity sensing fans or humidity sensing wall switches, visit

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Time it right – using timer switches with your exhaust fan or heater

Have you ever had a conversation with your children or spouse about leaving lights on in the house? Okay maybe conversation isnt the correct word but I think we have all been there and probably on both sides of it.

While we might not be able to help in all rooms, the bathroom is definitely one that has an easy solution – timer switches. A timer switch is an excellent and usually very easy upgrade to a bathroom that allows you to control as little or as much as you want.

Because bathrooms are used for a limited amount of time, timer switches make a lot of sense. Switches come in all forms and functions, from the traditional dials to programmable electronic ones. When choosing a timer switch, you want to consider a few things. 
  1. Can the switch handle the power requirements needed. If you are using a timer switch to control a heater function (and we highly, highly recommend you do) you want to make sure the switch is rated for it. Switches will have a rating on them with the maximum amount of watts or amps it can handle. Simply match that to what you are controlling with the switch. For instance if you have a heater that uses 1350 watts - makes sure the switch is rated for at least that amount. 
  2. What type of features do you want on the switch. When using with a combination fan and light, a useful function is a timer switch that turns the light off but allows the fan to run for an additional amount of time. This allows the fan to complete the ventilation process without having to have the light on during the entire time.
  3. Make sure the switch can accommodate the amount of time you typically spend in the bathroom. If it takes you 40 minutes, a 15-minute timer is probably going to be more of a hassle for you than help.
To learn more about timer solutions, visit