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In Praise of Exhaust Fans – the Unsung Heroes of your Home

Rod Johnson Cooling and Air Conditioning, Heating and Furnaces

Exhaust fans are rarely given the credit that they deserve (or not as much as air conditioning, anyways), but being that they are critical part of your home’s ventilation system, you simply would not be as comfortable in your home without them! Not only that – the hot, moist air can even damage your home’s wood finishes! Most homes come with exhaust fans in the rooms that require them, but if yours doesn’t then it’s worth the investment to have them installed.

Let’s take a look at a few of the rooms in your home that need an exhaust fan.

The bathroom

The bathroom is the first, and most obvious room in need of an exhaust fan. When you shower, take a bath, or even run the faucet for an extended period of time, moisture builds up in the room. Interior rooms, especially bathrooms which tend to be smaller, hold onto that moisture and eventually absorb it because the moist air has nowhere else to go. This can cause an array of problems like ceiling staining, molding, and structural decay. Exhaust fans are perfect for ventilating bathrooms because they carry the moist air outside.The exhaust fan in your bathroom should, however, be routed through the roof or through the side of the house. DO NOT just put a fan in the ceiling and call it quits. Make sure that air and water has somewhere to go.

The kitchen

When you’re cooking, grease and oil tend to evaporate from pot or pan you’re using and escape into the air. This even happens when you don’t cook with oil, as fats and oils from the food itself generally tend to burn off with heat. That evaporating air, thick with grease, has to go somewhere, and that somewhere typically ends up being your ceiling, which is both off-putting and a fire hazard! An overhead range hood comes with a built-in fan that you can then connect to the outside of your home. Most of the newer microwaves also have built-in fans that carry grease and smoke out of your home.

The laundry room

This is another no-brainer as moisture can easily pile up in an unventilated laundry room, although to be fair, in this case you’d be using something a bit more like an exhaust pipe rather than a fan. Either way, make sure that your dryer is venting the air it produces outside of your home, and not into the room itself. This is a common mistake, and some dryer manufacturers have even said that you can vent into a room, if it is large enough. We’ve never found this to be is a good option however – why would you want to purposefully push hot, wet air into your house?!

Your attic

Your attic fan is the key to ensuring your HVAC system is working as efficiently as possible. Without it, your attic may not be able to move the warm air that builds up in that space, out. That means that your AC unit has to work overtime in an effort to cool down your house, all while your house is wearing a big wool hat!

“So what if I don’t have a working fan in one of these rooms?”

Get to it! As with any project that deals with electricity, ensure that your power is switched off for the area in question before you begin, and make sure you select a product that is designed for the specific area in which you’ll be installing or replacing the fan. For more complicated projects, like installing an exhaust fan in a bathroom that never had one (where you may have to open a hole in your home or roof), it’s best to call your certified local HVAC pro.