Jul 31, 2013 12:00 PM  PST

GreenPointers: Kitchen & Bath Ventilation Fans


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GreenPointers:
Kitchen & Bath Ventilation Fans


Are you taking advantage of kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans for healthier air and avoided moisture damage? Our latest post in the GreenPointers series for a healthier, greener home explains why fans make so much sense, and how to choose the right one.
Green Pointers

WHY VENTILATION FANS ARE A SMART CHOICE

Kitchens and bathrooms produce odors and a lot of moisture that can cause problems if the rooms are not properly ventilated. Excessive moisture resulting from poor ventilation is one of the main causes of mold in homes, and can lead to rot and other damage to the building's structure. Also, gas ovens and gas cooktops produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and other pollutants that should be vented out of the kitchen.

Venting kitchen range hoods and bathroom fans to the outdoors reduces the amount of moisture inside the home and helps keep the indoor air healthier. Energy Star–qualified exhaust fans have durable, high performance motors and on average, they use 65% less energy than non-Energy Star models. Bonus: They're also less noisy.

3 GREENPOINTERS FOR BUYING FANS

Follow these tips from Build It Green to choose the best ventilation fans for your home. Or go online to read the full GreenPointers on Kitchen and Bathroom Ventilation Fans.



Step 1

DON'T SUPERSIZE.

  Don't buy overpowered range exhaust hoods; they can cause backdrafting of fireplaces and other combustion appliances. Backdrafting can occur when an exhaust fan, clothes dryer or leaky ducts negatively pressurize a house; this negative pressure can pull carbon monoxide into the house from the flue of a fireplace, furnace or water heater. See our know-how feature on Carbon Monoxide and Combustion Safety for information about preventing backdrafting.

Step 2

CONTROL FANS AUTOMATICALLY.

  Choose bathroom fans that are controlled by a timer or humidistat to ensure that the fan stays on long enough to adequately ventilate the room. Timers are triggered when the fans are turned on, and then run for a set time; 15 to 30 minutes usually works well. Humidistat controllers are even better, as they automatically switch on when moisture in the air reaches a threshold level, and shut down when the moisture level subsides.

Step 3

RESEARCH DETAILS BEFORE YOU BUY.

  The Home Ventilating Institute has detailed information on what to look for when purchasing a bathroom or range hood exhaust fan, including recommended ventilation rates based on bathroom size, kitchen size, oven/range output and location of hood. View the Institute's publications.


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