Going to purchase a home? Think through your bathroom vents. Upstairs bathrooms are required to have 100% exhaust ventilation, but where does that vent go? It can be common for homeowners to assume that the vent is connected directly outside. Unfortunately, this is never the case. All bath and shower exhaust fans must independently discharge to either an approved exterior wall through a wall or roof penetration or into attic space and then out through a soffit.
Bathroom exhaust fans commonly have one of two types of equipment: a fan with ducting attached to it, or a fan that is installed in the attic with its discharge piped down to the outside. In both cases, proper ventilation cannot be achieved if the bathroom fan is situated in an unventilated attic space.
All bathrooms that have a stall shower or tub/shower combination require 100% exhaust ventilation. If you plan to update your existing bathroom by removing some of the walls, keep this in mind while designing your new layout. Make sure no one will be standing in the path of the exhaust – standing in the flow of air can be very uncomfortable.
Exhaust fans should never discharge straight into another living space; this is against code and quite unhealthy. To protect your home, all bathroom vents must either lead to an attic or outside through a roof or wall penetration. If there is no exterior wall near the bathroom area, consider installing an attic fan on the roof with a roof penetration to achieve proper ventilation.
The exhaust goes through your roof or walls and vents to the outside instead of into your room.
But where do bathroom vents lead in an apartment building?
Building codes are different for an apartment building. Bathroom vents must lead to either the roof or an outside wall, not through your roof/wall like a house.
The bathroom vent is simply not connected to anything else which is why you might think it goes nowhere (it goes somewhere).
Bathroom exhaust fans must discharge directly outside of the dwelling through a roof or wall penetration and never into an attic.
Make sure your bathroom fan is vented properly by checking the exhaust pipe to make sure it’s not blocked off, and that there isn’t insulation covering it. If you’re unsure of anything, ask a licensed plumber to help you. Don’t risk your family’s safety.