Monday, September 19, 2005

Bathroom vent question

I have a house built in the early 70s in Northern Virginia. Two bathrooms are on the second floor and do not have conventional venting, only windows. The windows used to open to the outside, but the previous owner converted the second-floor deck into a sunroom, and now
the two bathroom windows open into the sunroom. The sunroom is about 10' x 30', is unheated, and has large windows to the outside that are usually open on three sides. It has very good ventilation except in the middle of winter, when we close the windows. The attic is
immediately above the bathroom and sunroom.

I would like to add ventilation fans for the two bathrooms. The easiest way to do this would be to mount them on the wall to the sunroom, and vent the air directly into the sunroom. Is this an acceptable way to do it? Another option is to run the ducts inside the wall, down and out to the outside below the deck/sunroom. A third option is to run the vent into the attic and out the ridge vent at the peak of the roof. Is this possible? I saw it done in my old house. So far I have no soffit vents for the attic, but will be adding them shortly. Soffit vents would be hard to get to, except over the sunroom, if I put any there.

What is the best way to go about doing this? Should I just vent into the sunroom, since it is large and usually open, or do I need to do something more complicated? Thanks for all help.

Thanks for your email.

The only proper answer that can be given is to pipe the vents to the exterior. The attic route sounds the best to me. All fans have a limit of piping that can be installed on them, every turn
and twist requires deductions from this footage. Long horizontal runs are hard to do, and may require in-line booster fans. You can easily cut a hole in the sheetrock in the ceiling and install the fan. Sheetrock can easily be cut with a hand saw. However, when you cut a hole in the roof decking you will need something with more power. A Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw will do the trick. Just get a sawzall with blade that will cut both metal and wood. This type of blade with make quick work of any nails you run across.

Also, most residential fans push the exhaust. Most commercial fans pull the exhaust by placing the fan on the roof and pipe to the room(s) with an exhaust grille system. The control wiring is longer, but no more complicated.

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