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Old 03-24-2007, 03:34 PM   #1
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


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!
-J.





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Old 03-27-2007, 09:32 PM   #2
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


He's good
Heat a vent light encourage evaporation hmmmmm. Like sun on ocean.
Sarcasm aside you should check w/ the hot roofers its not getting the hole in the roof its making the roof whole again, I'm a shingle monkey and we have moisture problems but I'm sure they're worse on a flat roof. No way to go throgh the front or back?

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Old 03-28-2007, 12:09 AM   #3
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


Thanks Mike. First good laugh I've had all day! "Like sun on ocean..." Ha-ha!

Yeah, this guy has some con man tendencies. And I'm the suspicious type and I still didn't catch on. Duh. Pretty much feel like an idiot now. Oh well. He's more grey area than all bad, since he didn't take our money and go to Tahiti, but the grey area is murky indeed.

He also told us, after he installed our tub incorrectly (was supposed to be set in a mortar bed and they didn't do that) that there WAS mortar under there but the reason we couldn't see it or hit it with anything through the gap under the tub was that the mortar had shrunk! Okay... We did get suspicious then, in fact that's when we finally started to wise up and second-guess other things he had said! (We had him pull out the tub and install it correctly.)

We live in a brick rowhouse and the 2nd floor bathroom is toward the center of the house, several feet closer to the front of the house than the back. I feel like the run required to get a duct out the back would be excessive. (And it might be difficult to grade the pipe so condensation didn't run back into the fan across that distance, especially since we've only got about 3 feet of height to work with in our attic. The grade might not be an issue, but I think I read that the duct run should be as short as possible.) We might could go out the front of the house--that would be about, hmm...12 feet or so. But then we have a vent opening exiting out the facade of our house, which wouldn't look that hot probably. We don't have a soffit or gable anything to hide where the vent comes out. I'll give a look at it out there tomorrow and see if there is some detailing on the front that might hide a vent pipe hole. I'm not eager to poke a hole in our flat roof, I have to admit, since I fear that will lead to more problems than we have now.

Thanks again for the laugh! It's better than the steam that's been coming out of my ears the past few days...
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:16 PM   #4
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


I just reread your 1rst post, noticed this fan is your only heat source, wish I could help W/ the electrical but all I can tell from here is that all the screw slots are allmost perpendicular. Do you think he can fix it, he said you could give him a (punch) list of things to do? The way I see it you have 2 switches that work, 1 that does nothing, and 1 that worked once this gives him a 50.00000000001% average.Thats more than half done.
Oh one other thing is your sky light flat to your roof or angled up at the back? Cause Ive seen the vent popped out the back of the angled type.

Best of luck
Mike
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:44 AM   #5
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


why cant you vent it side wall with a dryer termination vent hood?
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:57 AM   #6
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Bathroom Vent Not Vented to Outside / Would need to vent through flat roof


Quote:
why cant you vent it side wall with a dryer termination vent hood?
harleyrider, I wish it would be so easy for us but we are in a rowhouse. The run for the duct can't be more than 15 feet for our fan. Out the back would be more than twice that and out the front might be doable but then we have an unsightly vent opening on the facade of our house (nowhere to hide this--no gables, etc.)

Broan makes an adaptor for a flat roof installation so I think that is what we are going to try.

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