Posts Tagged ‘Renewaire’

The secret lives of bath fans

June 28, 2011

90% of your time may be spent indoors.  Not in a bathroom I hope, but indoors for sure.    

Most of us understand some of the benefits of having a good fan in the bathroom.   I’ll just say it, odor is one.  So is moisture, but it goes beyond avoiding foggy mirrors after a shower.  That much moisture in a home shouldn’t stick around for a number of reasons.  Mold is a big one.   (The kitchen is another place where moisture adds up and should be exhausted.)  The moisture needs to be pushed outside of building , there’s no sense of just moving it to the attic to cause problems there.

Too often, the cheapo fan, a.k.a. rattle boxes or noise makers, can certainly be heard but don’t really move much air.  And some older fans draw a lot of electricity even while they’re not helping much.  Every home assessment we do includes health and safety testing for carbon monoxide, for example.  We also determine if there is adequate ventilation for the home.  I’m often asked why after tightening up a home we would recommend running a fan, essentially make it leakier—it has to do with indoor air quality something I’ve talked about lately.  I’ll touch on that next week. 

Exhaust fans like those from Panasonic  or Renewaire can take care of more than spot ventilation.  In cold or dry climates, they can help make the whole house better.  If you don’t have a bath fan yet maybe it is time make it part of your healthier home.  Consider having your house assessed by a BPI accredited company.  Our certified advisors can help determine how safe your home is and what kind of ventilation you need.  You never can tell what secrets may hide right under your nose.

 photo from


Vent those bath fans to the outside–NOT into the attic

July 25, 2010

One of the things we look at in homes is the ventilation.  I’ll write more about that in the coming months.  The short version is that good ventilation is necessary to protect your health and your home.

Wait! You say.  Aren’t you making my home tighter with all that air-sealing?  But I need ventilation to bring air in? 

Yes, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.  In my view, the perfect home would be perfectly tight, with no “natural” exchange of air—but allow you to determine both the rate of air-exchange, and where an how it comes from.  But we’ll save that for another day.  Right now, I’m going to focus on the bathroom—in part because GreenHomes Advisor John Scipione just found another doozy, this one in Fresno, CA.

Bathroom ventilation is particularly important to remove excess moisture (and heat in the summer).  Pulling out this moisture at its source helps prevent the mold and mildew from growing, and that a good thing.

Most of the bathrooms we see have poor ventilation, either no fans or cheap rattle traps which make a lot of noise but don’t move much air.  Adding a well-functioning exhaust is something I highly recommend.

I’ve talked before (maybe putting the cart before the horse?) about the Panasonic and Renewaire bath fans that I like.  Excellent choices.   And keep making good choices by exhausting the air directly to the outside via ducts, and not just into an attic or some other space in the house.  If your contractor says it’s OK to vent into the attic, the best solution may be to find a new contractor.   Dumping moist bathroom air into the attic can help rot your roof.  And remember those ice dams we’ve talked about?  In snow country, exhausting your bath fan into the attic—with all that warm air—is a recipe for ice dams (and more on ice dams).  Don’t do it!

Three bathroom fans exhausting into an attic

Please don't exhaust your bathroom fans into the attic!

Which brings me back to what John found in Fresno.  Exhausting one bath fan into the attic is bad enough.  How about three?  And if you’re going to do three, why not tie them together to concentrate the problem?  At least the installed helped with a well-organized bad practice.  Don’t do it!  Vent to the outside.


Renewaire’s new bath fan is a winner!

September 11, 2009

As mentioned previously, Renewaire has a new line of bath fans.  As promised, I’ve installed one in my own home, and the preliminary results are in.  The fan is a winner.  Solid performer.  While I obviously don’t have longevity data on it yet, this is a fan I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend or install for our clients.  The one is definitely worth checking out.


Renewaire’s new bathroom fan line

September 2, 2009
Renewarie's New Bath Fan Line

Renewarie's New Bath Fan Line

Back in July, I mentioned my preference for the Panasonic bath fans.  Well, Renewaire, a company out of Madison, Wisconsin, has introduced a very promising line.  I just got a demonstration model.  The specs are every bit as good as the Panasonic, with  lower (better!) sone and watt ratings.  At first glance, it appears well built and good attention to detail.  I’ll install it by this weekend, and we’ll see how she blows.  Based on initial impressions, though, this looks like a worthy alternative to the Panasonic.


Panasonic Bath Fan Recommendation

July 28, 2009

Must be product review day!  Some friends just had a question about what fan to get for their bathroom.  Great question.

Bath fans are important because they can remove the tremendous about of water vapor created by showing and bathing before it has a chance to create mildew or mold issues.  And they can be part of your home’s overall ventilation and indoor air strategy.

Too often, though, the cheapo fan—rattle boxes or noise makers, I call then—make a lot of noise, but don’t really move much air.  And some older fans can suck a lot of electricity even while they’re not helping much.

We use the Panasonic Whisper Series fans.   First and foremost, they work!  They have a great energy-efficient motor that really moves air very close to the nominal rating.  And as the “Whisper” implies, they’re very quiet—some models you really have to listen hard to hear at all.   And they’re reliable.  They are built to last and run a long time—continuously if needed.  An excellent choice.

I should mention that regardless of the type of exhaust fan you use, the fan should be ducted to vent directly outside.  Do not vent them into your attic—that’s a potential mold farm waiting to happen.  And even venting out a soffit isn’t a great idea, especially soffits designed to pull air up into the attic.


Addendum, Sept. 11, 2009:  I’ve just finished an initial evaluation of Renewaire’s new bath fan line, and it appears every bit as strong as the Panasonic line.  I can recommend it, too.

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