Extractor Fan Series: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bathroom Ventilation

Your bathroom is by default a damp, humid place. However, it’s really important to ensure that all bathrooms in your home are well ventilated.

If you install proper bathroom ventilation you will not only limit condensation, but it will also help prevent mould and mildew, which can lead to nasty health issues. If mould is left to build up it can lead to respiratory problems, as well as skin complaints.  

Poor ventilation doesn’t just affect your health. If you ensure you have bathroom ventilation it will prevent premature wearing of your bathroom, such as bathroom accessories, paint and plaster.  

Do you need an exhaust fan in the bathroom?

All bathrooms require some source of ventilation, which could be an extractor fan or an openable window. UK regulations regarding just how much ventilation your bathroom needs are detailed in The Building Regulations Document F.  However, this is an in-depth document and a heavy read.

So, to save you the headache of sifting through the whole official document, here are the essential points you need to know…

  • A UK bathroom must be ventilated by either a window or an extractor fan
  • If your bathroom has a toilet only, you are fine to use a window alone as your source of ventilation
  • In new-build bathrooms with a bath and shower, mechanical ventilation is required in the form of an extractor fan. This is because new builds are more airtight, so natural ventilation is much lower
  • The ventilation requirements for a bathroom are 15 litres per second/ 54m3 per hour

You might be wondering what the last point means. Basically, the 15l/s, or 54m3/hr, refers to the measurement of how much old air is replaced by new air. This is standard for bathroom exhaust fans to meet these requirements, but you must really check this in the product description before you choose it.  

If you have an old bathroom with only a window as a source of ventilation, it could still be a good idea to put in some extra ventilation, but only if mould or dampness are persisting issues, a fan can help reduce their effects.

What are the benefits of a bathroom extractor fan?

The easiest way to ensure that your bathroom meets the air ventilation regulations is to install an extractor fan. However, they also have benefits beyond your legal regulations. The main benefits of installing an extractor fan are:

  • Reduce condensation. Everyone knows how much steam a shower produces. An extractor fan minimises this. If you have a wet room, water and steam can easily disperse around the room and cause all sorts of damage, so you would find a bathroom fan especially useful.
  • Prevent mould. Condensation that your shower creates can lead to an worse problem: mould. Install proper ventilation which can help stop it from forming.
  • Extend the life of your bathroom.  Two destructive forces in your bathroom are condensation and mould. They can damage your bathroom fittings beyond repair. The best line of defence against this is an extractor fan.
  • Keep odours away. Finally, if left all that stale, damp air can lead to unpleasant odours in your bathroom. A fan helps keep your air nice and fresh!

See the next in our Extractor fan series - What types of different bathroom extractor fans are there?