Are you planning on buying or renting an apartment?
You have probably already considered the rooms, material of the building, and other elements that can make your home comfortable.
However, people often forget to look into one of the most important elements of an apartment – the bathroom vents.
They can make all the difference between a comfortable apartment and a smelly and humid one. Let’s find out where apartment bathroom vents go.
Where Do Bathroom Vents in an Apartment Go?
Building codes for apartment complexes are different compared to the requirements of a house.
Therefore, it is important for your apartment to abide by the building codes.
Not doing so puts your apartment at risk of being flagged by the authorities. This would then require you to pay hefty fines and bear the costs of urgent work to be done on your bathroom vents.
In apartments, bathroom vents are required to lead either to the roof or towards an external wall.
This is different from a house, where vents are simply connected through the walls of the roof.
Since apartment bathroom vents aren’t connected to any other structure, people think they don’t really go anywhere. This isn’t true.
Bathroom vents discharge the air directly to the external environment through the connection to the roof. The connection leads to the external walls functioning in the same manner.
Moreover, if you have exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen, their vents will be connected as well.
The exhaust systems of individual fans in the entire building are connected. This creates a streamlined path for the air to be discharged to the external environment through the soffit.
Are All Vents in Apartments Connected?
Yes, they usually are.
In most apartment complexes, all of the air vents are connected to a common ventilation system or shaft.
This is quite similar to how hotel bathrooms are vented, as they follow a similar system.
However, it is important to note that the ventilation shaft must be separated using dampers.
Dampers are highly effective in blocking the ventilated air from traveling in-between the connected apartments.
As long as your dampers are air-tight, the ventilation system will work efficiently.
But, if you notice strange sounds and unpleasant odors coming from your vents, it is a sign that the dampers are damaged. This can be due to regular wear and tear or any form of damage.
In such circumstances, your building authority should be notified.
They will replace the dampers with new, air-tight ones to ensure the ventilation system continues to function well to dispel the air.
Do Bathroom Vents Require an External Connection?
While bathroom vents usually don’t require a direct connection to the outside environment, your exhaust fans might.
If you have a high-powered exhaust fan in your bathroom, it is best to ensure that it has access to an external ventilation system.
This connection is usually made through the sidewall of your apartment.
Ensuring an air-tight and interruption-free connection of your exhaust fans to the ventilation system is important.
This prevents moisture build-up on the underside of the roof and behind your walls.
It also allows proper ventilation of your bathrooms without any unpleasant odors or strange sounds.
Where Does Bathroom Fan Air Go?
Bathroom exhaust fans are generally installed within the ductwork around your apartment.
This leads straight up to the roof by connecting to a roof vent cap. Another way for bathroom exhaust fans to be connected to the roof is below the roof’s overhang.
For both of these methods to work effectively, you will need to ensure that the ductwork is professionally installed.
The ductwork would deposit the moisture and air outside the apartment.
Do make sure that the ductwork dispels the vent’s air away from the apartment structures.
Otherwise, it can cause mold and moisture build-up within your walls and roof.
How to Tell if Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan Connects to a Vent
Your bathroom exhaust fans need to be connected to a vent to ensure optimal performance.
Unfortunately, people are often unaware of how to tell if their exhaust fans are connected to a vent.
The good news is that it is exceptionally easy to spot.
Firstly, you need to make sure that the wall cap venting flaps of your bathroom exhaust fans open and close freely.
This is the first sign that it is properly connected to a vent.
Secondly, the wall cap should be tightly sealed against the apartment. This can be done through insulation or by the utilization of caulking.
Lastly, you should inspect the area and see if your exhaust fan is vented out or connected to any external structures.
While doing the last check, you should ensure that your bathroom fans aren’t venting into space inside your apartment.
Make sure that the vents aren’t connected to your living room or the bedrooms.
Can Bathrooms With No Outside Access Be Vented?
Yes, they can be, and they should be!
Every bathroom needs a ventilation system to ensure the proper discharge of air and moisture.
Without it, the bathroom can become a hub of germs, dirt, and bacteria floating about in your bathroom air.
Therefore, the best course of action is to seek out professionals who can vent any bathrooms. This includes a bathroom with no access to the outdoor environment.
The ventilation experts will examine your apartment design and take the necessary measures to vent your bathrooms.
This usually includes installing a form of ceiling or roof vent to ventilate your bathrooms.
Ceiling vents are quite unique because they act like windows, despite not having an external environment to dispel the air too.
Your ceiling vent is a machine that discharges all of the air and moisture building up in your bathroom, allowing it to escape.
This ensures a comfortable and safe space for you to use.
Tips to Improve Your Bathroom Ventilation
Now you are well aware of where bathroom vents in an apartment go, as well as numerous other factors to consider.
Let’s move on to the second part of this post.
You have probably established the importance of proper bathroom ventilation in an apartment already.
But, how do you improve your bathroom ventilation to prevent mold and germs?
Read on to find out.
Pick Out the Right Exhaust Fan
If your bathroom exhaust fan isn’t doing a very good job, it might be time to install a bigger and better fan.
As per building codes, your exhaust fans need to be sized appropriately to be able to exchange all of the air in the room.
They should work at a minimum frequency of 5 times an hour or more.
To pick out the right exhaust fan to achieve this, you should start by measuring your bathroom size. The capacity of the exhaust fan should be almost equal to the floor area of the bathroom in sq ft.
So, for example, you pick out a fan with a CFM rating of 50, but your bathroom is 100 sq ft.
The fan would need to work twice as hard to exhaust all of the air in the bathroom. It would also need to run for a longer time, making it inefficient.
You will even notice increased power bills due to this.
Therefore, buying a fan with a CFM rating equal to the size of your bathroom is the best decision for your bathroom ventilation.
Get it Professionally Installed
If you’re simply replacing an old exhaust fan, the project can be easily DIY-ed.
However, to install a completely new exhaust system in your bathroom, it is best to acquire the services of a professional.
Ventilation experts have the right knowledge of existing vents, electric connections, and how to join your system to the ventilation shaft.
They can do a better job of placing and installing the exhaust fan in a way that it performs optimally for a long time.
Moreover, the extensive wiring and roof connection are also best left in the hands of an expert.
Leave the Doors Open
It might seem like a rather insignificant thing, but leaving the doors open can actually have a major impact on your bathroom ventilation.
Leaving the shower doors open and the curtains drawn after showering should be made into a regular practice.
It helps the exhaust fans do their job better and allows quicker drying of your bathroom.
All you need to do is leave the doors opened for 15 minutes after showering or running hot water in the bathroom. This is sufficient time for all of the areas of the bathroom to become fully dry.
You should keep in mind that shower curtains also accumulate water as they are made of fabric or plastic.
This material holds on to water and can cause mold formation due to excessive moisture.
Therefore, you should keep the curtains opened at least 3 inches to allow proper air circulation.
These steps will help you stop mold from forming. It also prevents mildew spores from entering your bathroom air and making it unsafe to breathe in.
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