How do you remove unpleasant odours from the bathroom?

57th story of the pitchbook on home electrical installations

Thursday, September 22, 2016 — Modern new homes have a ventilation system that keeps the air fresh everywhere within the dwelling. Older homes do not have this sort of system. This raises the question of what is the best way to combat unpleasant odours and humidity in the bathroom and toilet. One option is to open the window, but that causes a substantial loss of heat and excessive energy consumption. Another option is to use air fresheners, but they do not tackle the humidity issue. The solution proposed here is to install a bathroom fan.

Help! Dad just used the bathroom.

It’s only human—when you use the toilet or the bathroom, you sometimes leave unpleasant odours behind. You may not notice this yourself, but the people who use the room after you may find it nauseating. That makes it important to remove odours as quickly as possible, thereby avoiding discomfort to other occupants or visitors.

The bathroom fan

Fans specifically designed for bathrooms and toilets are available to do this job. They typically measure 15 x 15 cm, and they can be installed in the wall or in the ceiling. They generally have a circular outlet at the rear to which a rigid or flexible duct can be attached.

With a wall exhaust, the outer end is finished by a cover plate with small louver vanes. The exhaust air blows the vanes open. When the fan is not running, the vanes prevent penetration by rain or wind. With a roof exhaust, a special ventilation roof tile is used.

A simple solution

The simplest option is to connect the fan in parallel with the room light. The fan runs when the light is switched on, and stops when the light is switched off. The main drawback of this option is that the odours or humidity may not be entirely removed when the occupant leaves the room.

A better solution

However, there are also fans with a built-in timer. It starts running when the light is switched on and it continues running for about two minutes after the light is switched off to remove any residual odour.

The ultimate solution

More options are available if the home has an Integrated Home System (IHS). For instance, you can choose whether or not to have the fan start running when the light is switched on. That means you can read the paper on the toilet in peace and quiet. The run-on time can also be set under software control.

For example, the fan in the bathroom can be configured to start running automatically when someone remains in the room for longer than five or ten minutes. Extended presence increases the chance that the shower or the tub will be used. Then the moist air will be removed from the room and the bathroom mirror will not fog up. Of course, you can also use a humidity sensor to control fan operation. Put an end to damp walls and unpleasant odours—your children will be grateful.

 

Image caption 1: Example of a bathroom fan. (Illustration source: Maico)

Image caption 2: Unpleasant odours in the toilet or bathroom can spoil the good mood. (Illustration source: nuflow.be)

 

Unpleasant odours in the toilet or bathroom can spoil the good mood. (Illustration source: nuflow.be)
Example of a bathroom fan. (Illustration source: Maico)

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Guy Kasier

International Copper Association