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?
firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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.
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.
On 30 Oct 2004 01:10:08 -0700, email@example.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.
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, 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
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.
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