If your bathroom has an openable window, it does not require an extractor fan to meet building regulations. However, they’re generally required in any new build, especially if natural ventilation sources aren’t sufficient.
Legal responsibilities aside, you’ll soon feel the benefits after installing one; they provide enhanced ventilation and a long-term solution to the onset of mould and damp. Here’s some basic information on their purpose and whether they’re needed for your bathroom.
How does an Extractor Fan Work?
The function of an extractor fan is to extract humid, stale oxygen particles and expel them outside of the home. Fresh air will take its place from another opening, preferably a window. This is opposed to a standard fan that simply circulates air around the same space to create a breeze.
Ideally, the installation should be completed by a team of professionals, especially as when fitting electrical items near water, you must adhere to certain legislation. This is also to avoid undertaking dangerous work on the building exterior yourself, as well as costly repair jobs if pipes are accidentally damaged. Installations can be made in three main areas – through the ceiling, wall or window – with larger bathrooms perhaps needing more than one system.
Type of Fan
There are various types of bathroom extractor fan on the market, each manifesting in different shapes and sizes. The required extraction rate should be considered before making a purchase, so too the power supply and noise levels. Another factor is the exterior grille which depends on your chosen fan and building type. Of course, the price range will vary, although they’re not especially expensive to purchase considering the long-term benefits.
Why the Bathroom?
The main purpose of extractor fans is to exhume ‘bad’ air and prevent condensation forming. The bathroom is therefore the primary space where one is needed. As evident when mirrors fog over, steam will rise after a hot bath or shower, meaning an efficient ventilation system becomes of paramount importance. Likewise, an extractor fan will also rid the bathroom of unpleasant smells that would otherwise linger for longer periods.
Does your Bathroom Need an Extractor Fan?
Simply put, if your bathroom is suffering from the onset of mould or damp, an extractor fan is highly recommended. With regular use of hot taps and showers, water vapour will build up over time leading to excess moisture and condensation. Likewise, rising damp from the floors below or leaking roofs can also play its part. To alleviate these effects, sufficient ventilation is required.
Effects of Mould
Not only will mould or damp damage your bathroom tiles and grout, it can also have serious health repercussions if left unchecked. Mould spores produce allergens and other irritants that can aggravate symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and skin rashes. For those with respiratory problems, asthma attacks or damage to the immune system are not uncommon over extended periods either.
Legally speaking, any existing bathroom with an openable window does not require an extractor fan. However, if you’re carrying out a conversion then you must retain or replace any current fan mechanism in place. Also, because bathrooms are defined as areas of increased electrical hazard, further regulations due to bathroom ‘zones’ come into play. Check out the IET Wiring Regulations for further information on this.
Still unsure if you require an extractor fan, or are you looking for some advice from an expert? Feel free to get in touch with the friendly team at LJ Pratley who’ll be pleased to help!
If you’re concerned about mould, you might be interested in our tips for defeating mould this winter.