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8 Ways to Vent a Bathroom With No Outside Access

Some bathrooms have a difficult time accessing the air outside. What are the best ways to ventilate a bathroom without access to the outside?

There are many options allowing you to ventilate a bathroom with no outside access. From simple solutions like using a household fan or open door to more extensive options like installing a ductless fan or expanding your ductwork. But some building codes will require you to vent a bathroom outside.

While there are many ways to ventilate a bathroom without outside access, some work better than others.

Just because your bathroom lacks outside access does not mean you need to go without ventilation. Read on to learn more.

bathroom dehumidifier

What Does “No Outside Access” Actually Mean

Simply put, a bathroom with no outside access means that the bathroom has no ventilation at all, or its ventilation system does not lead to the fresh air outside of your home.

This can happen for many reasons. Sometimes the ductwork was not extended to that bathroom, or a ceiling vent was never installed.

Other times ventilation was installed, but instead of leading outside, the air was ventilated into the attic or basement, which is usually frowned upon by building code regulations.

Does a Bathroom Exhaust Fan Need to Be Vented Outside?

Building codes vary from region to region but in most areas, whether you are required to ventilate a fan outside depends on the type of bathroom you have.

Usually, full bathrooms, that is, bathrooms with a bathtub, shower, toilet, and sink, are required to have their exhaust fans connected to outdoor ventilation.

On the other hand, half bathrooms that only have a toilet and sink do not need to have their fans vented outside and are even acceptable with no fans or ventilation at all.

How to Vent a Bathroom With No Outside Access

Ceiling Vent

A ceiling vent is a popular way to ventilate your bathroom without outside access.

These ceiling vents resemble the covers of exhaust fans, except there is no fan, and the air does not ventilate outdoors but often ends up in your attic.

These ceiling vents give the humid air in your bathroom a place to escape to and can be effective at reducing moisture.

Floor Duct Vent

A floor duct vent works similarly to a ceiling vent, except it’s on your floor.

Air ventilated this way will likely end up in your basement. Having both floor and ceiling vents can make these ventilation systems even more effective.

Take note that installing floor and ceiling vents can be pretty expensive.

Ductless (Recirculating) Bathroom Fan

Ductless fans do a great job of ventilating your bathroom without the need for ductwork or having to cut into your ceiling.

But if ductless fans don’t actually take your moist bathroom air anywhere, how do they work?

Ductless fans use a charcoal filtration system that removes moisture from the air and keeps the room smelling fresh. Be mindful that you need to change these filters once a year.

Expanding Ductwork

Expanding your ductwork can be a big dirty job, but the results can make it worthwhile.

You can replace your ductwork with a larger duct or just install more ducts to expand the ductwork system.

Expanding your ductwork will give air entering it more space to move around or more places to go.

But you will need some type of bathroom vent for the air to enter your ductwork in the first place.

Household Fan

Using a normal household oscillating or box fan can help ventilate a bathroom.

If you seek a simple way to reduce moisture and odors in the bathroom, having a fan dedicated to your bathroom can help.

But household fans are not the best at ventilating and need to be combined with a vent or open window to see good results.

Bathroom Dehumidifier

A bathroom dehumidifier is in a similar price range as a ductless fan. But dehumidifiers are the best way to remove moisture from a bathroom without a vent.

When a humidifier senses too much humidity in the air, it will automatically turn on and take care of it.

While dehumidifiers are a great choice to remove moisture from the air but they will not take care of any foul bathroom odors.

Plants That Absorb Moisture

Certain plants have been proven to remove moisture from the air.

Plants like English ivy and Boston ferns, among many other houseplants, can cut down the humidity of your bathroom while adding some style to the space.

It’s hard to gauge just how much moisture these plants can remove from the air, so it’s hard to know how effective they will be in certain conditions.

Keep the Door Open

One of the easiest ways to ventilate your bathroom with no outside access is just to keep the door open.

Like a vent, an open door gives moist air a way to escape instead of being trapped in your bathroom. While it is easy, an open door is not the most effective way to ventilate the room.

Additionally, leaving a bathroom door open at all times can allow unpleasant bathroom odors to travel to other parts of your home.

Adam McCoy

Adam is an HVAC expert and the owner of Mackydo's HVAC Services with decades of experience in fixing and installing air conditioning units, furnaces, and every type of cooling and heating equipment you can think of.

Adam believes that your home is your sanctuary. He loves sharing advice based on his lifelong experience and treats every HVAC problem as if it was his own.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.