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Old 01-15-2010, 07:35 AM   #1
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


I constantly forget to turn the fan on when I shower. I am in the process of remodeling my bathroom. Do they make a switch that will turn a device on at a certain humidity level that would automate this for me?

Also, I am going to run a new 20A circuit for this bathroom. I planned to simply protect it in the breaker box with a GFCI breaker. I realize that my lighting will also be on this circuit. I don't really mind the lights going out if there's a ground fault....so is that ok? Or should I really use a GFCI outlet and bypass the GFCI for the lighting. This circuit will not be used for anything outside of this one bathroom, which is why I plan to put both lighting and the receptacle on it.

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Old 01-15-2010, 07:54 AM   #2
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Yes, it is called wiring it up, so that when you turn on the light, the fan comes on. That is how ours is wired.

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Old 01-15-2010, 07:56 AM   #3
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


I'd rather not have the fan come on every time I go into the bathroom, if possible. That's why I was looking for the sensor. Wiring the light and fan together would be my fallback.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:42 AM   #4
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


One problem with the wiring the fan to the light switch is that you are exhausting a lot of conditioned air – often unnecessarily – if you do it this way you might want to consider an “intelligent” timer switch such as the AireTrak controller.

On a more fundamental level one issue with conventional “humidity controlled” bathroom fans is that they have to be set to a very high relative humidity level (higher than is ideal), otherwise they would be activated by naturally occurring high summer humidity in hot, humid climates.

The solution used in some commercial controls is to locate a separate sensor outside the bathroom – you can then set the trigger humidity lower because you are not only controlling based on bathroom relative humidity but also on the difference between the humidity within the bath and outside it, for example you could set it to activate at 70% RH - as long as that a few percent higher than outside the bathroom .

There is a company that makes these for around $240 – probably more than most people want to pay for a residential installation, but well worth it my rental units, where tenants often don’t understand and/or care why they should turn on the fan but I only want it running when necessary,
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


They do have humidity sensing fans, not sure about switches:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=humidity+sensor+fan
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Thanks - I guess I can also just try and remember to turn on the fan when I shower.

Any thoughts on my second (unrelated, I know) question?
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:54 AM   #7
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Either way is fine. My opinion, use the GFCI outlet and connect the line terminals to the light and fan, if allowed by manufacturer.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


I believe most light/fans can be non-gfci unless they are installed over the shower/tub.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #9
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Try changing your fan switch with a timer. Once you have finished your shower, turn on the timer and the fan will shut off automatically.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:08 AM   #10
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Timer is a good idea. Then I can just hit it as I leave, or just before I get in the shower. Thanks.

I wonder if the humidity-sensing fans will turn on in the summer on a humid day, while I'm not home (a/c would be off).
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:12 AM   #11
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


Yes, most do not require GFCI, but still verify. Murphys law.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:04 PM   #12
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


I had recently posted about a delay-timer switch I had installed in both of my baths in my home, and I like these. I, as others, had a problem with either turning the bath fan off too early and not removing enough humidity, or leaving it running way too long, removing conditioned air. I didn't like the rotary timers which I found for this application. I finally found a timed switch which looks much like a normal toggle switch, the toggle is just a little different, and the timer setting is behind the faceplate when installed. Now when I turn on the bath fan/light unit, then take a shower (and I like them hot), after the shower I just flip the switch "OFF" and leave. This activates the timer, which is now set for 10 minutes after many trial runs. All moisture is removed from the bath area and the fan/light turns off by itself, it has not failed to do so yet. I plan on separating the fan and light, which will require another switch, but that is later. I think it is alright to state that this unit is made by "Mark Time", which is known for rotary timers. I had to find an online supplier to buy from as none of the local electrical suppliers carried them. They all thought it was a good idea, but they just didn't sell them. Just another option, David
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:00 PM   #13
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


check heating/cooling supply house
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:44 AM   #14
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


A thought I just had would be a switch that can detect a quick change in humidity, then turn on for a specified amount of time. This would account for humid days in the summer, where the increase would be more gradual.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:54 AM   #15
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Humidity-sensing switch for bathroom fan...does it exist?


AFAIK it's OK to post a link to a product we are discussing, as long as the poster is not selling or marketing it, at least I do it frequently, and no one has complained so far...

One source for the switch above:

http://www.energyfederation.org/cons...th/39_766_3058

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