Note to self - Always check the obvious!

jharkin Posted By jharkin, Jan 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

  1. jharkin

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 21, 2009
    Holliston, MA USA
    We live in an old house.
    Old houses are drafty.
    Old houses are cold.
    Old houses get damp.

    Ive probably mentioned more than once that we have been doing a tremendous amount of work to tighten up this old place. Lots of caulking, insulation, etc have made some significant improvements. But we still have had a persistent problem with mildew and mold in the bath.

    We do have an exterior vented bath fan. It never seemed to help much. I tried brushing out the the vent grill. I cleaned out and rerouted the hose in the attic to take up the slack. I adjusted the bathroom door to leave a bigger gap to let house air into the room. We run the fan for up to 45 minutes after showers!

    But still we get mildew. All over the ceiling, and the shower curtain, on top of the cabinets. Its just nasty and the place never seems to dry.

    I started to suspect that the issue was just the room being too cold. So I went up into the attic, pulled up the floor, tore out the crappy fiberglass insulation job I did 2 years ago , foamed up every crack and re insulated the ceiling with 8 inches of dense cellulose.

    So now the bath IS a little warmer but still damp!! :(

    Ive thought that maybe the fan was undersized... its a 90 cfm, but the room is only like 70 or 80 sq ft.

    Then I got the idea to put in a fan timer so we could program it to run an hour. To do that I had to get into the wiring box inside the fan housing and run a separate line for the light and fan circuits.

    And that was when I had an AHA moment - the blower unit was caked in dust! The fan squirrel cage was so packed it was probably only flowing about 20% of its rated capacity. I scraped and vacuumed it out, put it back in and viola! The bath dries completely in ~ 10 minutes now.

    I need to remember to look for the simple answer and not always make everyhitng complicated....
  2. velvetfoot

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 5, 2005
    Sand Lake, NY
    Well, the important thing is that you found the problem.
    PapaDave and Eatonpcat like this.
  3. Lumber-Jack

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 29, 2008
    Beautiful British Columbia
    We have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, but I also installed a ceiling fan to help dry the room out after showers and baths, it makes a world of difference.
    I built a walk in closet off the side of our bedroom, and because it was built on a cement slab it was getting a lot of moisture condensing along the edge of the tile floor, so much so that it would be constantly damp when the weather was much below freezing outside, and despite that we regularly wiped up the moisture we were starting to see signs of mold and mildew.
    Not too long ago I read an article about similar problems and the article suggested putting containers of road salt where the condensation was occurring. I tried it and it appears to be working. It seems the road salt absorbs the moisture before it has a chance to condensate.
  4. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 17, 2008
    Eastern Central PA
    My house is about 20-25% humidity in wiinter .Just keeping the door open between uses,dries it out in a hurry.
    zap likes this.
  5. woodgeek

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 27, 2008
    SE PA
    Dr. Gregory House could have diagnosed that in 1 white board.

    The rest of us take a little longer.
    Hearth Mistress likes this.
  6. RichVT

    Member 2.

    Mar 16, 2012
    One of our bathrooms had a fan that made a lot of noise but didn't seem to exhaust very well. I finally got around to replacing it with a quiet Panasonic unit. When I took the old fan out, I found that the original installer used a screw to hold the duct onto the fan and the screw was preventing the damper from opening. Had been that way for about 15 years and two previous owners.
  7. billb3

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 14, 2007
    SE Mass
    I'm glad you didn't move the shower outside.
  8. ScotO

    Guest 2.

    I noticed my master bath fan sounding a little it's got extra weight on one side. I noticed before that when you hear that 'cycling' vibration, it's usually due to dust buildup on those squirrel cages. It's long overdue to be cleaned out.

    This thread has reminded me and I'm going to go look at it right now.....
  9. Beetle-Kill

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 8, 2009
    Colorado- near the Divide
    This is funny, in a facepalm sorta way.
    Knew a guy about 20 yrs. ago, that had convinced himself his truck wouldn't start because the motor was blown. I asked him if he'd checked the fuses, just to make sure. Nope, he was sure the motor was toast.
    He yanked the D/T, re-built the motor, put it back in and...nothing. It was a blown fuse, he replaced it and VROOOOMM!
    True story.
  10. Swedishchef

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 17, 2010
    Inuvik, Northwest Territories
    Nice post Jharkin. Reminds me to check for simple things when I have problems. Glad you solved the issue!

  11. EatenByLimestone

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 12, 2006
    Schenectady, NY
    I had that problem on a 7x5 ft bath. I couldn't keep paint on the walls.

    When I finished off the attic I put a new, oversized humidity sensing fan. It's quieter and moves much more air. I'm thrilled with it. The new fans are so much quieter.


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