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Thread: Bathroom Vent Questions

  1. #1

    Default Bathroom Vent Questions

    I just moved into a condo in NYC, and am having an issue with my bathroom vent. There is positive pressure blowing air into my bathroom. This is a communal duct, with an exhaust fan on the roof. My guess is that the exhaust fan isn't powerful enough to do the job. I'm on the 9th floor out of 18.

    If I cannot get the building manager to address, I'm thinking about installing an exhaust fan directly in my vent opening. The issue I see is that the existing opening is only about 8 inches square. Are there self contained exhaust units that fit in that much space? I really like a Panasonic model I saw with a motion sensor, but it seemed that the opening was about 10 inches square. I would need either constant running, motion sensor, etc... as I will only be able to wire the device through the back of the duct (into my closet on a GFCI circuit) and will not be able to have it switch-driven.

    Any advice? Also- does anybody know if the fact that there is air blowing into my bathroom (instead of out of it) violate any building codes?



  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    To work, the duct must have negative pressure so air will move from your unit into the duct...there's something wrong. You'd likely need a significant blower to fix this. There's likely an obstruction in the duct preventing the exhaust blower effect from reaching your unit, or the ducts have separated or rusted out and there are holes, so it can't create the suction or flow to all units, or the motor, fan belt (if not direct driven), grill, or filter is plugged. Convection could be moving air into your unit and you are the recipent of other's exhausts...

    It could get expensive, but this would normally be considered an infrastructure/common issue that would be covered by the association, and not an individual's problem. You'd have to read your by-laws carefully, and make your case. It could be a health issue, and all bathrooms (in most places anyways) require either an openable window or an exhaust vent. Yours no longer qualifies as an exhaust in my opinion. If all else fails, the health inspector could probably force the issue, but you may be on the bad side of the condo board's opinion poll forever. Talk to your neighbors and see if they have similar problems...take your issue the to managing board; it's their responsibility to maintain the infrastructure, and that's what condo reserves are there to cover.

    I live in a condo association...it's been a constant struggle, but we have been building up our reserve account to actually have money to maintain the property and have been able to avoid extra assessments to perform actions required since this happened. Many people avoid any interaction with the board, but they are owners and represent your interests in the property...if you don't participate, or always vote down any increases in fees, there's no money to fix things and the whole property value goes down.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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