The colours, the size of the shower, the oversized vanity… all things that are high on our list when we are dreaming up our new bathroom – but what about the ventilation and why is it so important to properly ventilate your Sydney bathroom?
If the bathroom ventilation is not taken care of adequately, then that gorgeous bathroom or ensuite you designed can quickly become a breeding ground for mould, mildew and bacteria. Not only can you be looking at bills in the hundreds or thousands of dollars to remove mould & other nasties if they appear, but they can also lead to serious health issues.
Being a wet room, the bathroom is no stranger to water – taking showers and baths, washing hands and flushing the toilet all contribute to adding moisture into the room. So which ventilation is best for you? Today we’ll chat about a few of the different ventilation options available today.
Before we jump into it, it’s important to ensure that the ventilation complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The BCA Volume 2, 2008 states that bathrooms and toilets must have windows, which become the primary source of ventilation for the room and that those windows must be equal in size to at least 10% of the floor space, for the purpose of natural light – or 3%, for roof lights (or a proportional combination of windows and roof lights). The BCA also requires the fans in bathrooms and toilets to be capable of a minimum extraction capacity of 25 litres per second.
As discussed, windows are a requirement for ventilation but they are also free to run and maintain, they let in the glorious sun and cut back on the need to turn on the lights – so why not choose this wonderful option as much as possible for your ventilation? The larger the window, the better it will ventilate the room. If possible, position the window where another window, door or fan will create cross-ventilation for quick and efficient ventilation.
Large windows can create the feeling of bringing the outside indoors (great if you’re designing a retreat or spa-like bathroom) or can just produce an amazing view to look at – such as this stunning view of a bathroom renovation in Lindfield. The large second story window opens up to the tree tops and is situated beautifully above the free standing bath, letting all of the glorious fresh air and sunshine to enter the bathroom.
Hot air rises so send it up through the roof! Skylights not only look great and let the sunlight in, but they can also come with venting capabilities.
There are many types of skylight options to choose from:
These skylights let the risen hot air out through the vents while cool fresh air enters and circulates the room, all without the use of electricity. However, passive ventilation skylights may not be a favourable choice for those living in colder climates as they cannot be turned off.
An opening skylight functions just like a normal window and can be opened manually (with a handle) or automatically (with a remote control). This option is great for those who want to be in control.
Ideal for areas that need a lot of air expelled, a motorised skylight fan is located in the roof level and operated with a wall switch.
A common ventilation solution, many homes feature a ‘3-in1’ exhaust fan that combines a light and heat lamp with the exhaust. The size of the exhaust fan you will need will depend on your room size and it should be installed as high as possible, opposite to the room’s air intake. Airflow is measured in meters cubed (m3) per hour and generally, a bathroom with a shower will require 15-20 changes of air per hour, while one without a shower (such as a toilet or powder room) may require 6-8 changes of air per hour. Of course, these are only a guide and it will depend on your room.
Ceiling mounted exhaust fans can either expel the air directly into the roof space. In situations where this is not possible (such as a flat roof), a ducted ceiling mounted exhaust fan can help direct the air to outside of the home. Another solution is installing the exhaust fan in the wall, commonly referred to as a wall mounted exhaust fan.
The BCA states “If the roof is not lined with sarking material (silver paper insulation) and is clad with roofing tiles or decking with adequate air leakage to the outside, fans can be mounted in the ceiling exhausting into the roof space. If the roof is lined with sarking material then the air needs to be ducted to the outside atmosphere through the roof or eaves.”1
Sub floor Ventilation
Sub floor ventilation is another great way to combat moisture and works most efficiently when used in conjunction with other methods, such as an exhaust fan or skylight. Sub floor ventilation targets that gap between the house and the ground. Moisture can get trapped inside with nowhere to go and can lead to hazardous situations like fungal growth, termite nests and rotting floorboard – all issues that can cause a lot of damage, and an expensive bill to fix. Sub floor ventilation works by installing vents around the bottom of the home and allow fresh, dry air to enter which will drive any damp air out of other vents.
Ventilation is a crucial step of bathroom design and it can be much more cost effective to incorporate your choice and positioning of ventilation during the design phase. Failure to sufficiently ventilate your bathroom will lead to issues for your bathroom, as well as your health, long before your bathroom is due for a remodel. An experienced and qualified designer, such as our talented team at Brindabella, can ensure that your bathroom is happy, healthy and clean for your family and yourself to enjoy for years to come.