FAN-TASTIC – Fight Condensation
Tips for controlling condensation
Excessive moisture leads to condensation mildew, mold and health issues. The source of that condensation can be showers, baths and steam from the kitchen, You could consider window upgrades, but effective use of fans could be your best bet. The moisture in a bathroom is a higher absolute humidity than in adjoining spaces, so if you leave the door open, it will diffuse into the cooler room, such as in a bedroom or a closet and the coldest thing in the room is usually the nearest window or exterior wall. If you’ve had condensation issues, you know all about the water droplets it creates, the mildew around the tub, or the green mold in the corner window ledges.
Use your fans, and close the door on condensation
It’s a complicated issue, and some solutions can be expensive, such as upgrading windows to double-glazed or triple-glazed, or upgrading the insulation of exterior walls. But using premium quality exhaust fans, and ensuring that they’re installed properly and used strategically, can go a long way toward reducing or eliminating condensation problems.
If your home is equipped with a de-humidistat that turns bathroom fans on and off as humidity rises and falls, use it. If you thought that switching the bathroom fan on during your shower and for 10 minutes after is going to cut it, you’d be wrong. And if you open the bathroom door before the room is fully dried, you’re asking for trouble. , it can take 12 hours to fully dry a bathroom. Running a fan for 30 minutes after you leave home doesn’t cut it, so you need to keep the fan running.
Consider an upgrade to a quiet, efficient, multi-speed fan
- Small is better. A variable speed fan that runs (at its lowest speed) at 20 or 30 cubic feet per minute (cfm) is best for efficiency. The cost of ventilation is largely driven by continuous use of a fan, so make sure a fan can run at a low speed.
- Make sure it’s quiet. Some fan manufacturers say their product is quiet, but the evidence is in the sones, the measure of the amount of noise it makes. Look for a fan that operates at no more than 1 sone, and ideally at as low as 0.3, 0.2, or even 0.1 sones at the lowest speed. One sone is roughly equivalent to the sound of a refrigerator in a quiet kitchen.
- Sensors matter. Timers rarely offer settings over an hour, so look for motion detectors and/or humidity sensors to ensure you’re controlling humidity effectively.
- Buy ENERGY STAR®. Look for ENERGY STAR certified fans, and check to see how much the fan gets out of each watt of power. That’s measured in watts per cfm (w/cfm), and the most efficient on the market operate at as low as 13.3 w/cfm.
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