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Old 09-11-2010, 02:33 PM   #1
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


I am in the process of installing an inline fan, and I also want to change where the existing fan vents. It vents in the soffit that is above the lower level roof which causes ice problems.

My original plan was to just move it to the the soffit on the other side where there is no roof below it. A roofer told me I should not vent it straight through the roof as condensation will occur INSIDE the pipe regardless of how much insulation I put on it, as there will be cold air in the pipe itself that will fall in from outside, even with a damper.

Now to get to that area of the attic is near impossible. I've been going in 5 minute increments to move some insulation then come back out. I'm almost at the end now, and I don't even think I'll be able to access the fan area, let alone being able to get to the soffit. the roofer suggested I cut a hole in the roof and work from there, then close it up, but then what if the fan stops working or needs cleaning? I don't want to have to do that each time.

Near that area is also the chimney of the hot water heater. There is tons of room in that wall cavity where I could drop another 5 inch tube if I wanted to. I only need 4 inch. What I could do is have the tube go from the bathroom ceiling, go in the attic (short distance, maybe 3 feet) then down that chimney area, then I could install the fan in the basement, and vent it like a dryer. I'd also have to run an electrical wire down with the tube to control the fan. I'm actually a big fan of this now instead of the soffit as I will be able to see the fan and maintain it better if needed. I've seen basement fans vented this way, but not an upstairs one, anything wrong with this?

Too bad I already made a hole in my soffit. Noticed it's plywood though so I may as well make an attic vent out of that hole and get the proper screened cover.
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Old 09-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #2
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


I think there is a max length you can run that vent. I don't know how far your run is or size of your fan ..I would refer to the fan instructions as to how long the vent can be.. can't you connect some pipe together and slide it over to the soffit area ??

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Old 09-11-2010, 05:12 PM   #3
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


My original plan was to fish it as you suggest, but the slope of the roof is so low that I can't even get within 5 feet of the edge. I think the slope is maybe like 15 degrees or so, it's a cottage style roof and the washroom is in a corner. I can barely get to the original fan without lying down, which is hard to do in an attic when you can only be on the joists. I may be small but I'm not really a squirrel. haha. Even if I manage this, servicing the fan in the future wont be too pleasant. When I sticked a long pole up the hole I made in the sofit, I could not even find it from up there.

This is the fan:

http://www.nutone.com/product-detail...roductID=10330

They don't really mention the max you can go, but they do show a static pressure graph which goes up to 50 feet. I would have maybe 2 + 10 + 6 feet (30' equiv with albows) or so if I did this (each + being a 90ish degree elbow). I can always upsize the duct too, that may help. It needs 4" I can always go with 5 or even 6. I'd use 2 foot of flex from the outlet in the bathroom, 8ish feet of solid going to the basement, and probably solid to go outside.

At this point it's probably even easier to return this fan and just get a more powerful one if I really have to.

Edit: Here's a video of a test with 25' flexduct, just for kicks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv6-9TNp4TI

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 09-11-2010 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


I would look into going out a gable end wall if it doesn't exceed the distance of pipe you can use and use a insualted flex pipe the plumbers that do all the house I build use alot of that stuff for those fans but look in your manual to see if how far you can run the pipe and what pipes you can use and cannot use maybe that pipe you cannot use on your style fan
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


Just a follow up to this thread, I ended up taking the chance and doing it anyway, posted details here:

Bathroom fan project

Not quite done as I still need to finish off the venting to go outside (venting in the basement now - got dehumidifier running) and fix up a few minor details in the attic, and lastly fix up the drywall, but overall it works quite well and is usable now with the switch, and old fan is gone.

It still feels weird to stop the shower in the morning and all I hear is the sound of air rushing into the vent, vs the horror movie slaughterhouse fan sound.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:02 PM   #6
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


Do you get condensation in the lower portion?
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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Can I vent a bathroom fan in the basement?


If I pass my finger along the inside of the pipe, it gets a little wet, but there is no dripping of water. There is a cleanout so if water does drip it should accumulate in the cleanout and not go to the fan itself. I will be installing a timer switch as well so I can let it run longer after a shower, this should help take care of any possible condensation.

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