Venting Frustration

14 Jul

This is clearly in the category of “What Were They Thinkin?”. I was sent over to a house that needed work prior to a final buyer walk through.   My work order said to attach bathroom vent to main vent. Huh? It’s always trouble when I get requests that don’t make sense.  And of course to get to get to this repair I had to crawl across the attic space on a hot July day. The blown-in insulation covered the joists. Dummy me didn’t bring a long plank for traversing open framing. Ever see those videos where someone puts a foot through a ceiling? I was at risk for that.  I did manage to find a piece of shelving that I used as a plank to partially negotiate my way across the joists. The air was very dusty. I thought I might pass out or get stuck. Of course I forgot my cell phone so if I had died up there it might have been a day or two until someone found me.

Let’s just ponder all that is wrong here. This is a bathroom exhaust vent. They aren’t very powerful. Ideally the bathroom fan is vented out the roof or a wall as close as possible to the fan. In this case straight above the fan would have been a run of about three feet. Instead they ran it all the way across the attic space. Exhaust fans require special roof vents with flaps that are pushed open by the force of the air and close when the fan is turned off to prevent outside air from going back into the house. This run is attached to a simple passive roof vent with no flap. (click on the photos for a larger view) In winter cold air will pour down this line back into the bathroom. Furthermore the moist air that is pumped up to this vent will condense into droplets of water and rain down on the insulation below. None of this is very pretty. From all appearances this was the original installation. The attic space was sealed – so out of sight out of mind. The trouble began when the sellers agent opened up the attic space for an inspection. There was nothing I could do except crawl back out and give the sellers agent the bad news. The fix starts on the roof with proper roof vent.

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