Question on bathroom mold/mildew

Hi, I am a renter in a 1-bedroom apartment. I moved in last spring and noticed that the apartment had a strong smell of mildew after the home had been shut up during the day. I have been able to get rid of most of the smell this past summer by ventilation and by cleaning. The bathroom has a small exhaust fan over the sink but does not seem to be able to absorb all of the moisture in the bathroom after a shower. After a shower you can see water droplets coming down the side of the walls and you can see moisture on the ceiling for up to 24 hours after a shower.
This has caused mold/mildew to grow on the ceiling and walls. I have been cleaning and leaving the bathroom window open during and after a shower but this combo does not seem to help much. I told my landlord about this thinking they might be able to do something (stronger fan) but they told me to try keeing the window closed during a shower and let the fan work, and see if that helps. I think the fan vents up to the attic, which might be part of the cause of the mildew smell that I had/have in the apartment.
Is the landlord right? Does it work best to leave the window closed and just run the fan by itself? If that does not work, should the landlord try and remedy the situation or am I stuck with the problem?
thanks LP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Of course moving air , open windows help. Does the fan pull, did you test it, does he have to fix it, not if he is lazy. Bleach in a spray bottle works best to kill mold.
Threaten to move.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote in 3132.bay.webtv.net:

Call the health department?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote in message

The fan should not be venting into the attic, it must be routed outside. If it is, it's a code violation and if the landlord refuses to fix it, contacting code enforcement in your municipality should work. Venting it into the attic just moves the moisture problem up there, where the same mold, mildew etc can affect the whole attic,
If it's vented outside, try holding a a piece of newspaper up near it and see if it is drawing air. Also, if you can access the attic, go see where it goes and how it's routed. There may be a kink in the flex hose somewhere. The landlord is stupid not to fix this, as it's relatively easy and not fixing it can lead to all kinds of problems that are harder to fix.
If it's routed ok and the only problem left is it needs a bigger fan and the landlord won't do it, you could offer to pay for it, they aren't that expensive and it would solve the hassle.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not in my BOCA code township.

The PA standard for vertical bathroom vent minimum face velocity is that the vent can support a vertical piece of toilet paper held against it :-)
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your landlord is an idiot. At this point,t he mod could be anywhere, especially if the vant goes intot he attic. That would probably be illegal, if not just plain stupid and the moisture will condense in the attic and then drip on the insulation and sheetrock above the bathroom.
I'd look at moving out. Seriously, the owner is not interested in helping and you have a health hazzard.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Luke Perry wrote:

As bizarre as it seems, when I moved into my current house, I found that the interior bathroom's fan merely returned the "exhaust" air right back into the bathroom!
Whenever you exhaust air (bathroom fan, kitchen fan, attic/whole house fan), replacement air must come from someplace. So if you keep the bathroom window closed, the air will come through the door or, if closed, the cracks/gaps around it, the window, electrical outlets, etc. The only advantage to opening the window with the door closed is you won't exhaust expensive "conditioned" air (heated in the winter, cooled in the summer) from the rest of the apartment.
If it happens that the fan, window, and door are grouped mostly at the end of the bathroom opposite the shower, the fan will do little to exhaust air at the shower end. Airflow takes the most direct path. So the fan gets its replacement air from the nearby window or door; it can't draw it from the distant shower area because that area doesn't have a source of replacement air. "Mix up" the air by using an oscillating floor fan aimed at the shower area, with the overhead fan running. And leave the fan(s) running for a while after leaving the bathroom. (Maybe the landlord will install a timer switch.)
Try wiping dry the shower walls, floor and ceiling with a towel after each use. Remove the towel from the bathroom, or the moisture it absorbed will simply evaporate and return to the bathroom air.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30 Oct 2004 01:10:08 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@juno.com (Luke Perry) wrote:

It is bad to vent moisture to the attic space (unless you plan to grow mushrooms there). Your landlord is wrong about closing the window and wants to avoid buying/installing a stronger fan. I had a similar situation (while in an apartment) and solved the wall moisture problem by running a table fan and opening the door and window while I showered. You should also dry the shower area after showering with a squeegee and old towel. Keep the fan running for at least 30 minutes. A window fan would be ideal. Water vapor constantly seeks lower temperature areas and moves away from higher temperature areas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No problem, with a bathroom fan, if the attic itself is well-vented.

Maybe not, if it's humid outdoors.

Or use Herbach and Rademan's (800) 848-8001 http://www.herbach.com nice $4.95 Navy surplus humidistat, their item number TM89HVC5203, with a 20-80% range, a 3-6% differential, and a 7.5A 125V switch that can be wired to open or close on humidity rise.

Do you live on a planet with sentient water vapor? Should we put wet clothes in a freezer instead of a dryer so the vapor can seek its way out faster? :-)
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nick, It it definatly wrong to vent the fan to the attic and not outside, in winter the water will condense on the roof deck and Rot it quick, You have heard of venting attics havn`t you, to keep temps near outside temp to prevent interior warm moist air from consensing causing rot.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
All the symptoms point to too much moisture for sure. If you see moisture on the walls so long after showering it is REALLY too damp. The cure will depend on many factors. You can try the landlord's cure for a start.
Without know your conditions completely, I'd make the suggestion to leave the bathroom door ajar while showering, provided that privacy isn't an overriding factor. That would allow moisture to migrate into the larger living space. Secondly, I'd suggest a dehumidifier if you live where the humidity is normally high.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.