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Bathroom ventilation options – A quick guide

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Bathroom ventilation provides a way for hot air and water vapour (steam) to leave the house. It prevents condensation, damp and mould build-up and is essential to any functional bathroom.

If you’ve ever lived in a home without proper ventilation, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. As steam generated by showering and bathing circulates around the rest of the house, it causes condensation. In flats or smaller homes, this can develop into a widespread damp problem.

Bathroom ventilation – what are the options? 

Interior wall bathroom ventilation

The most basic type of bathroom ventilation is a window. However, most bathroom windows are small and can’t be kept open all the time, making them an unreliable form of ventilation.

Luckily, there are more effective alternatives to consider. In fact, many modern flats and apartments are built with windowless bathrooms or en-suites and legally have to include ventilation systems.

Air vents or air bricks are another option, common in older houses. These don’t use a power source and air circulates naturally, drawing steam outdoors. However, for most homes, this won’t provide fast or strong enough results and an extractor fan is much more effective.

Extractor fans

Extractor fans are electrically powered and suck steam and hot air from the room. They can be manually switched on and off and synced up with the light switch to automatically come on when someone enters the room. In these cases, it’s useful to have your extractor fan on a timer, so it continues removing steam for a while after you’ve left the room.

Electric-ceiling-extractor-fan
Extractor fan positioned on the ceiling

Installation and positioning

There are a few different options for installing an extractor fan, depending on where your bathroom is positioned within the home or building. The main consideration is where the air is going to leave from and how it will travel there. An extractor fan can be placed:

  1. In a window pane – the air is pulled directly to the outdoors.
  2. On an exterior facing wall – air travels the thickness of the wall before being extracted outside.
  3. With air leaving via an interior wall or ceiling – these fans require an air pipe to funnel steam through the house and out through the roof or exterior wall.

The further away your fan is from the outside, the more work is required to install it. However, it’s still a relatively simple feature to fit and can easily be incorporated as part of a bathroom renovation. It’s also an essential part or any modern bathroom, so shouldn’t be overlooked.

Electric-extractor-fan-outdoor-wall
Extractor fan positioned on an outside-facing wall

Keeping a smooth appearance

It’s important that extractor fans are always positioned high up in the room, as hot air rises. This has the added benefit of making your fan less noticeable.

However, it’s worth noting that an extractor fan doesn’t need to be a huge eyesore and won’t necessarily disrupt the style and finish of your bathroom, if installed correctly. Modern extractor fans are surprisingly compact and subtle. And if it’s installed neatly and professionally, you should barely even notice it’s there.

We hope this advice has been helpful. Investing in bathroom ventilation may not be the most exciting part of your renovation, but it’s certainly worth planning for. Poor ventilation is a nightmare to live with and can cause your bathroom to be slippery, damp and smelly!

Do you have any questions? Or perhaps you’d like to arrange a free bathroom survey with us? Get in touch with us on 0800 980 6018 or by emailing bathrooms@basi.co.uk.

 

Latest PDF Guide

We talk you through everything you need to know about planning a bathroom that’s far from simply being functional. We hope you find it useful, inspiring and that it becomes your ‘go-to’ guide for all of your bathroom projects.

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