Extractor fan or dehumidifier for bathroom?

by Readers Question

10:51 AM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Extractor fan or dehumidifier for bathroom?

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Extractor fan or dehumidifier for bathroom?

I have a 2 bed top floor flat in Aberdeen. The bathroom has a velux window but no extractor fan. The current tenants have asked me if I could get an extractor fan fitted as they feel there is a lot of condensation and don’t want the window open all the time.bathroom

I would like some advice on the best solution. I could get an extractor fan fitted, it would require going through the wall which is actually a slate roof, or I could get a dehumidifier, but I don’t know much about these and whether this would be a better solution or not. There are portable units but they would require a cable to be plugged in outside the bathroom, or there might be units I could have fitted and wired in by an electrician.

I could say no since there is a window, but it seems a reasonable request and can only be good for my bathroom. I am prepared to pay for a proper solution, I just need some advice on the best way forward from other landlords.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Angela



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:00 AM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Angela

On the Dehumidifier side Mark Alexander has used positive input systems from both Envirovent and Nuaire and had superb results.

Nuaire is a lot cheaper, but doesn’t come with the same level of guarantees.

If you search this site for the phrase Envirovent or Condensation you will find quite a lot of discussion threads about this subject.

Gary Nock

11:35 AM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Angela

First of all opening a window for 10 minutes while having a shower and leaving it for another 5 mins after will disperse most of the steam. And they should keep the bathroom door shut to stop the steam escaping throughout the flat and causing mould in other places. I do this in my own bathroom at home -which does not have an extractor fan. And it works.

I would not advise a portable electrical dehumidifier in a bathroom on electrical safety grounds. And Envirovent quoted me £1500 for one of their units in a one bed flat. I saw one fitted in a landlords property last year. The tenants switched it off as it was "costing them money".

If you fit an extractor in the bathroom then they will probably disable it as most tenants do as it a) keeps them awake at night when they go to the loo -and b) They perceive it costs them money on their electric bill. Honestly. A wall mounted extractor with a humidistat should cost about £100 fitted. That's an expensive piece of plastic that will not be used.

If the bathroom has a window then tell the tenants to open it! Sorry to seem blunt about it but it is their responsibility to keep it properly heated and ventilated. Download a condensation leaflet off the web - most councils and housing associations have them.

You could always advise them to buy their own condensation trap from B and Q for about a tenner which lasts 2-3 months. But most tenants do not bother. Make sure you document all this in a letter or an email so when book out time comes and there is condensation damage you can prove you told them how to stop it in the first place.

Harlequin Garden

12:13 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Well, I'm very pleased that you are not my landlord - an extractor is an essential piece of kit in the 21st Century. Open a window for 10 minutes!! come on. All new properties/refurbishments have to have extractors fitted - and what is £100 in the grand scheme of things, do you really want to go through the process of moaning about condensation damage at the end of the tenancy. If you think they will turn it off to 'save money' then they are hardly likely to open a window and all their heat fly out, particularly at this time of year. This is a landlords obligation.

Mark Lynham

12:16 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

i have an Envirovent system in a flat and its still getting mould. Had hoped for the cost, around £1,300, that it would have cured it but it hasnt.
I would tend to agree with what Gary has said about opening a window... i know it seems crazy simple but i do this in my own house (old property) and after showering the window is left open for about 10 mins tops and i have no problem with mould.. certainly would if i didnt though....
and again theres some great condensation leaflets available on the ineternet.

Harlequin Garden

12:21 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

I have an Envirovent fan in one property - works just great, still got to be clean though - mould isn't just condensation it's also not cleaning it when it starts. Extractor fans won't work efficiently if the rest of their attitude is poor - but it will work a lot better than nothing and relying on a tenant to open a window when it's -1 outside. I don't rely on my tenants to do anything, I hate disappointment.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

12:23 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Angela,

An extractor should be perfectly suitable for this scenario. I am currently replacing tired extractors with Greenwood CV2GIP which has permanent background ventilation (which I think is good for the whole flat), boosts when the light goes on or moisture is detected, and is pretty silent. I have them in my own non-opening window, outside wall bathrooms and not had any problems with condensation or mildew.

They do need to be able to draw air so it is important that there is some ventilation in the bathroom door, if there isn't already a decent gap under it (although this is the same for any extractor).

They are generally about £70 although I pick them up new for about 40-50 on ebay.

I have experienced tenants turning noisy fans off and I don't blame them. Whenever I have replaced a noisy fan with one of these they have been delighted.

Gary Nock

12:26 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Harlequin Garden" at "05/12/2016 - 12:13":

That's your opinion. And a bit of professional courtesy rather than guarded abuse doesn't go amiss even if you disagree with my comments.

Harlequin Garden

12:34 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "05/12/2016 - 12:26":

There was no intention of being abusive - I'm just really fed up with the meanness of some landlords I come across - tenants deserve to have the best option, which in my humble opinion does not include opening a window to disperse steam or ventilate a room. We are not in the Rising Damp age now and tenants can't be relied upon - so switch the bathroom light on and the fan comes on - doesn't have to be noisy as we've seen, it's also needed in the kitchen, so do they have to open the kitchen window as well?

Rob Crawford

12:40 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

An extractor fan is an essential element of any bath/shower room. From experience tenants will not open a window if it's cold outside. Make sure its a powerful extractor with humidity switch and quiet motor. Put the isolation switch in the loft so that it can't be easily switched off by the tenants. The cost is likely to be more than implied by previous responses. £140 for the fan and fitting costs by part P qualified electrician up to another £100.

paul landlord

12:41 PM, 5th December 2016
About 2 years ago

I largely go with the comments of Gary Nock.

I speak as both a portfolio landlord of 42 properties and 23 years and an electrician by trade.

Had tenants that won't open windows so fitted numerous extractors. The tenants then switch them off or tape a covering over it as it's losing their valuable heat as well as their perception of a high cost to run.

As for the other commentator who criticises the practice of opening a window- what planet are they on!! It's the same thing but more effective and without cost or disruption. Any Tenant that won't open a window in the first place in my experience is the same Tenant that will disable your extractor.

Nuaire drimaster 2000 units with heat can be purchased for about £300 give or take. Add into that a sparkies charge and the whole property can be vented for 500 which is an option I pursue when ridiculous tenants complain of mould in the house in general but won't open windows and cover vents- you can't educate pork!! I wire them so you can't disable it without losing your lighting too. Also more difficult to block up. Virtually silent in operation so they don't even know it's connected to the electrics most of the time.

Extractor? Waste of your time and money

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