What are the Best Ways to Improve Bathroom Ventilation?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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Bathroom ventilation is an important matter. Most bathrooms are small and can get too smelly or steamy. Even cleaning or dyeing the hair can prove challenging when there is no way to get rid of the odors created by chemicals. This makes it necessary to find ways to improve bathroom ventilation if it is poor.

For lucky folks, a bathroom will be located in an area that allows for placing a window in it. Drawing fresh air in is useful, though this can create a certain amount of chill in colder parts of the year. Even with this downside, putting a window in to improve bathroom ventilation is a good idea, when possible.

Others take a different approach because the bathroom’s location or design doesn’t allow for access to the outdoors. Alternately, they add a window and still want more. The next best bet is to install an exhaust fan, which can draw air, and the odors that go with it, and moisture out of the bathroom. This may be a great solution for some people and doesn’t come with the same chill associated with an open window. In fact in many regions, building code requires some form of fan or vent for bathroom ventilation; exhaust fans are typically recommended as being most effective.


Exhaust fans may be attached to a switch that turns on the bathroom light, or a separate electrical switch could control them. If people are given a choice, the latter arrangement may be preferred because it might save power and a little money. While it is sometimes necessary to vent the bathroom when using it, a quick trip in to briefly wash the hands doesn’t always require ventilation, but it can require light. Occasionally, people might want the light on, especially if a bathroom is located in a dark hallway, without having to turn the fan on. Alternately, they could leave the fan on but save power by turning off the light.

Degree of effectiveness of an exhaust fan can vary and there may be a few more ways to improve bathroom ventilation. Open windows and fan use at the same time tend to prove very effective. Even simply opening the door after use of the bathroom while running the fan could prove helpful in getting rid of odors or steam. Leaving the door open partially when the bathroom is not in use, and when the fan is not on, may give the room access to other ventilation systems in the house, too, such as open windows in other rooms.


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