I cross posted this in "remodeling" but this version is slightly different, since there is a question about vent pipe installation through a flat roof:
We are at the tail end of a bathroom renovation. When we contracted for the job, we told the contractor we wanted a bathroom vent, since our circa 1920s bathroom did not have one (only a previously vented skylight that some previous owner sealed shut). The contractor added a vent to our list of specifications. After signing the contract I inquired re: the difficulties of venting through to a flat roof (we are in a rowhouse, center unit, so venting out the side of house not an option) since one of the other contractors we had dealt with had mentioned that flat roof installation would be tricky. Our contractor said, to our surprise, that he had no intention of venting through the roof. I immediately said "you aren't going to vent to our attic are you?" since I know enough to know that's a mold-inducing nightmare. He poo-pood my concerns saying "We install a heat-vent-a-light fan that recirculates the air, warming it, which encourage evaporation and doesn't require exterior ventilation. This didn't sound ideal, but it sounded better than having nothing. (And our bathroom also doesn't have a heat source since a previous owner had had the radiator removed.) So the idea of heated air sounded good to me, and I was satisfied. My husband and I weren't familiar with the product he was talking about (and he didn't mention a specific brand name) but assumed there was a fan that existed that did as he described and did not require ducting to the outside.
Yesterday we were told the job is over and to make a list of final points. We were surprised to note that the fan installed is the same Broan type my husband and I were looking at when we thought we were choosing a ducted fan. We got up on a ladder and got the model number and it is: 655-C/655F-C. We looked that up on the Broan site, http://www.broan.com/display/router.asp?ProductID=571
noting their installation instructions and from all that we can see this fan has a duct attachment and the installation is assuming ducting to the outside. (Or can it be installed, optionally, without outside ducting?)
Additionally, we have this long switch panel, three switches of which are supposed to operate the fan (the light, the fan, the heat). The switch for the heat does nothing (heat coils don't heat). The light switch did work, then stopped working mysteriously (not the bulb; we checked). The fan switch works fine, in that a fan sound is heard. However, no air is blowing out of it. We tested it using a peacock feather and the feather is sucked in lightly on one side, but is not blown at all from any vent opening, like we would expect if air was being circulated into the room, as our contractor told us it would be.
What's going on here with the controls is an electrical thread question, I realize, just mentioning it to see if others would agree it's looking like this contractor doesn't know what he is doing? We're concerned about this since A) we don't want to have mold in our attic, B) we don't want an improperly installed fan to set our ceiling/house on fire, and C) we feel like we may have had some BS thrown our way which makes us feel cheated and not very trusting of this contractor in general.
If we insist on venting to the outside (if we do this, we will go with another contractor I think!) how much trouble will we have with a vent pipe installation on a flat, tarred roof?
Any feedback? Below are pictures. Thanks!