What I'm Seeing Now

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Can Air Conditioning (And Heat) Exit Through A Bathroom Vent?

What you say, a final answer to the age-old question - can air conditioning (and heat) exit through a bathroom vent? 

Well, in a word YES!

But even if you already knew that, here is proof!

After seeing what is in this photo, I had to prove it to my client.

That bathroom vents its exhaust into the attic space.

You can see that this is a fan added much after the house was built.

During that era, if a bathroom had a window it was not required to have a vent fan.

Someone thought to add it later.  You can see from the cropped photo on the left that it was installed and tied directly to the plumbing vent.

Perhaps it was installed by the same person who thought to add extra insulation, also incorrectly, to the attic!

How do I know it's sucking out air conditioning?

Because toilet paper is sticking to the bath vent grill, but the fan is not on!

There is dust sticking too!

That means the stopper door inside the fan is broken or wrong.

And that exiting air represents a pretty solid stream of energy loss for the house!

And all the time!  Winter and summer!

This is a big deal. 

Now, during showers, when the fan is on, all that moisture is entering the attic space.

In winter it is warm moisture, added to a cold space.

In summer it is cool moisture, added to a hot space.

Mixing hot and cold like this creates condensation!

What does such condensation do over time?

The left photo is the roof sheathing right where that tube is pointed.

There were four or five different colors of such "fuzz" on the roof sheathing in various locations!

And the rusty metal plate connector for the roof trusses is nearby as well.

In fact, all the metal plate connectors were rusty!  That represents A LOT of moisture over a long period of time!

This has been a long-term problem!

My recommendation:  houses are composed of many systems!  These systems interact!  A failure in one can cause failures in others!  A problem with one can create problems with others!  The house has to be looked at in terms of how EVERYTHING interacts.  When such large systems are not installed properly, or "remodeled" improperly, it affects the house very negatively, including the house's life span.  When properly installed and properly maintained these systems work in conjunction one with another and the house works long term!  I recommend the latter.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 40 commentsJay Markanich • July 25 2013 02:49AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay..... this is a common occurrence that surfaces often during home inspections..... many original vents were dumped into the attic space and that was acceptable decades ago....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 5 years ago

I don't know if this has been decades, Barbara, looking at the age of the fan, but it has been a while!  And dumping into the attic space is not acceptable, that I know of, in any era!  Big yuckers!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

That does not look good.  Looks like it may be easy for mold to grow, too.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

Wow!  Good morning Jay.  Great information, as always.  I guess we could say "a stitch in time saves nine"

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 5 years ago

Morning Jay sounds like a simple enough fix. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

That's the multi-colored fuzzy stuff Debbie!

Ken - so does a properly-installed fan!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Vent the fan through the roof, dry up the moisture to kill the molds and replace the insulation James.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Dear Jay,

You always give us practical suggestions! Thanks for the constant teaching.

Have a happy day -
Lynn

Suggested and Re-blogged

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 5 years ago

Thanks Lynn, for your ever-kind words and support!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Mmmmm, Looks tasty. Did you perform the lick test?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Lots of vents we see in home inspections that produce attic issues....and no one looks...until an inspection by an eagle yed inspector...lucky buyers !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

Jay, multi colored fuzzy stuff? Oh boy, that is cool! And to grow that, all you have to do is to vent stuff into the attic? Even more cool! It's like those tiny little toys you put in water and they GROW!

So, I guess this is proof, the old saying is right. Just because you can doesn't mean you should?

I'm still stuck on the multi colored fuzzy stuff... sounds like something Billy Jays could do something with.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 5 years ago

No doubt the home owner genius who did this work felt very good when finished.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Jim - did you know that different colors of sheathing fuzz has different flaves!?  Neither did I!

S&D - wasn't too hard to see.  I had to walk around on that fluffy insulation stuff to get the good views though!

Andrea - you mean the little Water Monkeys?  I thought I'd treat you with another color, and flavor (!), in the same roof!

Problem solved Lenn!  We have a bath vent honey!  Great job, dear!  You're soooo handy around the house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay you make it look so simple and the handyman wantabe look so stupid. It so obvious the damage being caused.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 5 years ago

Good morning Jay - you do such a great job explaining all of this to us laymen :) The "fuzz" is disgusting, and any way you could avoid that is good to me!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 5 years ago

Jay, who ever did this didn't realize the damage that can be caused over a long period of time. More than likely never went up in the attic again after this was done.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 5 years ago

Jay,

 This is very common in our area. Some communities I know it going into the inspection. It is amazing how many home inspectors do not even check!

Posted by Donna & Larry Johnson, Chester & Delaware County (Keller Williams Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Fireplaces when not used even with damper closed howl and suck out the air inside the home too. Natural draft happens because chimneys need one to exhaust smoke. Seal up the open holes, gaps, cracks in your home to keep it warmer winters with lower energy costs. Cooler summers for the same reason. To save money and be more comfortable.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 5 years ago

The telltale of fuzz. .it never lies. .Now I know what to look for 

Thanks Jay!

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 5 years ago

Jay-Houses are supposed to breath but this is a case of too much exhaling in the wrong places.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 5 years ago

It is a shame that the product was installed incorrectly, that is why you need to hire experience tradesmen.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 5 years ago

LICK TEST!?  Different Flavors!?  Laughter is the Best Medicine and a great way to exercise ... Keep Smilin'

Posted by Brian Schulte, SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ (Allison James Estates & Homes) over 5 years ago

That was an interesting read Jay. Thank you for sharing. It's a good thing to learn how to recognize some 'defects'.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) over 5 years ago

Jay, Looking at your post brought one question to mind, How did toilet paper get to the exhaust fan? Is that a Dyson fan? I have never seen that.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, Got to love these installations. Seems like it a universal item everywhere.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Thanks for the informative information. It is practical and truly is good for us to know.

Betty

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) over 5 years ago

Could you - Yes, should you - preferably not I would assume!

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) over 5 years ago

House systems that create positive pressure inside the house will have no trouble at all pushing back draft dampers open to relief the pressure. Modern thinking on these things involves stratigies to control pressure differences and control ventilation.  If we do not---the result is what you have shown.  Great stuff.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

I always enjoy your informative posts, Jay, and they often leave me shaking my head. While my husband and I are not terribly handy, at least we know our limitations and aren't afraid to ask for or hire help so we don't end up with fuzz (or worse) in our home!

Posted by Julie Bentley, Saint Johns, FL REALTOR (Watson Realty Corp, Jacksonville, FL ) over 5 years ago

Chuck - that boy might have been the homeowner's husband!

W&J - and amazingly all the different colors have different flavors!

Mike - why go up?  Problem solved!

D&L - with proper venting so much condensation should not happen!  It must be common not to have proper venting there!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Andrew - right, air escapes everywhere it is allow to!  Prevent the escapes!  Like Colonel Klink?  Sergeant Schultz knew notink.

Fernando - the yellow fuzz tastes like adobo!

Wayne - as with everything, balance is essential!

Lots was wrong there David.  And all unprofessional.

Brian - yep!  See my response above to Fernando!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Richard - that is why I come to AR - I learn something nearly everyday!

I put it there Chef, to demonstrate air exiting without turning on the fan!

Don - for sure that guy is getting around.  He should offer classes.

Betty - that is a truism!  And why I come to AR - the learning is great.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

We can assume quite a bit here Gerard!  And most without creating anything of U or Me!

Charlie - when he got the fan installed and found the flap still left in the box, not only did he not know what it was, he thought it worthy of the trash can.

Julie - fuzzy, wuzzy was a roof.  Or something like that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

It is important that these systems be installed correctly by a professional Jay. Thanks for giving us a good example of that.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 5 years ago

One thing sure does lead to another, right Tom?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, I'm going to check my vents right now!  I've often wondered how bad the damage from a faulty vent could have on an attic.  Small things can cause big problems. 

Posted by Christopher Campa, Northern VA Realtor (LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE) over 5 years ago

Run Chris, run!  If your bath vent has a flap (and probably does) you won't have this same problem.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay - I always see attic insulation installed wrong, it's to the point that I almost want to celebrate on the very rare occasions when it's installed correctly.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

That's so true Eric!  And so often, like on this house, the insulation was done the wrong way long ago!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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