Condensation and moisture tend to go hand in hand. What happens when the condensation your bathroom fan is supposed to get rid of instead overwhelms your fan?
Condensation can build up inside your bathroom fan in many ways. It all begins with the moisture created from bathing or showering. If the bathroom fan is not turned on or you do not run it for long enough, condensation will develop inside the fan. Cleaning and maintenance are common ways to remove this condensation.
But there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this problem. Instead, different causes call for different solutions.
Stop water from dripping from your bathroom fan and fix this problem before it turns into something worse like mold or water damage.
Why Is There Condensation in Your Bathroom Fan?
Condensation occurs whenever water on a cold surface like your walls or window sills meets moist hot air like the steam from your shower.
Those long hot showers or baths that many enjoy tend to create more condensation than usual.
Condensation in your bathroom is normal but having it on your bathroom fan is not a good thing.
Your fan may not be strong enough to handle all the condensation created by your bathroom, or you may not leave the fan running long enough to do its job.
Bad insulation and ventilation can also cause water to build up on your fan.
Regardless, having condensation on your bathroom fan points to some type of issue that, if not checked, can damage your fan or lead to an increased chance of mold or water damage and a hefty repair bill.
How to Stop Condensation in Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning and maintenance help your bathroom fan run more efficiently by unclogging dust and debris and reducing condensation.
Cleaning your bathroom fan is a straightforward process that involves removing your fan’s cover and then using rags, a small brush, or a can of compressed air to remove the dirt and debris built up on your fan.
You can also use a clean, dry cloth to remove any condensation that is currently on your bathroom fan.
Running Your Bathroom Fan Longer
The issue you are having might be because you do not run your bathroom fan long enough.
In most cases, running your bathroom fan for 30 minutes will be enough to get rid of moisture and condensation.
But if your shower runs excessively for long periods 30 minutes won’t be enough to remove the moisture and condensation. In that case, you should run your bathroom fan for an hour or two.
Be careful not to run your fan overnight as it won’t remove any more moisture, and you will only overwork the fan’s motor and possibly create an electrical fire hazard.
Clearing Clogged Vents
The vents that carry the air from your bathroom to the outdoors can get clogged.
When these vents get clogged, they have a debilitating effect on your bathroom fan and prevent it from doing its job.
Without an open vent, your fan will leave behind a lot of moisture and condensation.
Things like leaves and other outdoor debris are usually what clog these vents.
You can generally find these vents outside on your roof or on an exterior wall.
You can then remove the vent’s cover or screen and get rid of whatever was clogging it.
Checking Your Insulation
Poor insulation in your walls and attic can cause your bathroom to become colder than it should.
The colder your bathroom is, the more condensation will be created during your hot shower or bath.
You may need to add more insulation, or if the insulation you have is very old or poor quality, you’ll need to replace it with new insulation.
Replace the Ventilation Hose
The bathroom vent hose, or ductwork as it’s also commonly known, connects your fan’s airflow to the outside vent.
There are a few things that can happen to your ductwork such as tear damage and most commonly too many bends in the duct.
When your ductwork has too many bends in its path, it creates places for condensation to thrive, which can then drip down back onto your fan.
You may need to straighten your ductwork or replace it entirely.
Heat Your Bathroom
If you have a heating system or even a decent plug-in heater, you can heat up your bathroom one to two hours before you use it.
If your bathroom is already warm before you start your shower or bath then there will be no cold surfaces.
And that will prevent condensation from occurring in the first place.
During cold winter months, your heater will take longer to heat up the bathroom enough to stop condensation.
Buying a Better Bathroom Fan
When it comes to removing moisture and condensation, your old bathroom fan might not be cutting it.
If your household has increased, your fan might be struggling to keep up with these additional showers and baths.
When looking for a new bathroom fan, take special note of its CFM number.
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is a measurement of how much air the fan can suck in based on the space of the room.
The CFM of your new fan should be equal to or higher than the square feet of your bathroom.
Ventilate Your Bathroom
Proper ventilation can cut down on both moisture levels and condensation.
Ventilating your bathroom can be as easy as opening a window.
If your bathroom has no windows, there are other options like leaving the bathroom door open or placing a household fan inside your bathroom.
Recommended read: How to Ventilate a Windowless Bathroom
A dehumidifier might also work for the purpose of removing condensation and will also fight against humidity.
Use a Condensation Trap for a Bathroom Fan
Condensation traps are usually made of PVC and attach to your ductwork in between your fan and the outside vent.
These condensation traps do just what they say. They trap condensation found in your ducts and vents, preventing it from ever getting onto your bathroom fan.
Condensation traps are inexpensive and easy to install.
While these traps work great at stopping condensation from vents and ducts, they will not solve all condensation issues.