Are Ductless Bathroom Fans Any Good?


Under some circumstances, running an exhaust line out of the building is impossible. However, it is essential that you do, no matter how you choose to ventilate your bathroom. This is to ensure that all of the moisture from shower isn’t trapped in the bathroom. If there is moisture trapped in the bathroom, it can create mold, warp wood, or peeling paint and wallpaper off the walls.

Ductless bathroom fans are good at their intended purpose of mitigating odors. Ductless bathroom fans are quiet and energy-efficient solutions but they will not remove moisture.

What are ductless bathroom fans for, and what can they do?

Related article: Are Ductless Range Hoods Any Good

Do Ductless Bathroom Fans Remove Moisture?

Ductless bathroom fans do not remove moisture. They circulate the air through a activated charcoal filter to remove dust particles and odor. The only ways to remove moisture is to vent it outside or use a dehumidifier to collect it in a container.

To remove moisture you should install a ducted bathroom fan. I have written an easy 6 step guide to finding the correct bathroom fan for you.

They are intended for rooms without showers or bathtubs where it is impossible to install an entire duct system to get the air outside, but because of that, they lose the ability actually to remove the moisture from the room.

Instead, the best they can do is keep the air circulating inside the room. If this is the only option you have for your bathroom, your best bet is to pair this with an open window or bathroom door so as not to trap the moisture in the room after a shower.

Related Article: Are Bathroom Fans Necessary(find out how they could save you thousands)

This can help keep the air moving, fresh, and avoid the growth of mold or unwanted moisture damage to items inside your bathroom.

Some form of moisture removal/ventilation is essential in the wellbeing of a bathroom. This is because built-up moisture can cause serious damage to wood, wallpaper and other items inside the bathroom if left unchecked. This could mean spending money to repair these items more often than you would have needed to if the room had proper ventilation.

Worse, however, is the potential for mold to grow in the bathroom, causing respiration issues, allergic reactions, and other potential illnesses just through using the affected room. You can learn more about mold in the bathroom in my previous article.

When trying to remove moisture from a room, the open door or creating a cross breeze between a combination of an open door and window is the best way without an exhaust fan. However, it does create a severe problem around privacy. If there are others in the home or apartment at the time, an open door on its own may not be the best option.

However, it may be enough to keep the room adequately ventilated if you leave the door and window open after you finished your shower paired with the ductless bathroom fan.

Ductless Bathroom Fan For Shower

A ductless bathroom fan should never be installed in a shower. As we discussed earlier they do not remove moisture.

Using a ductless fan in a bathroom with a shower will give you a false sense of security. This can even lead to hidden mold and milder in the construction.

This means that they are totally useless when installed in a shower cabinet/corner.

In a shower, the bathroom should be vented to the outside. Never to the attic or another room.

If your bathroom has an exterior wall you can avoid installing ducts in the attic by installing a through wall bathroom fan.

They are quite rare in North America, but some can be found on Amazon.

Be aware though, most are very loud. This is the only one I found on Amazon that was reasonably quiet.

If you live in a cold climate consider using one with heat recovery system.

What is the Point of a Ductless Bathroom Fan

If ductless bathroom fans don’t ventilate like their counterpart, then what is the point of them? The most simple answer to that is to help mitigate and eliminate bathroom odors. Ductless bathroom fans help “clean the air” of any unpleasant/unwanted smells, but they don’t meet “code” when it comes to removing moisture from the bathroom if it also has a shower or a bath in it.

Here is a ductless fan from amazon. They work great for closets, toilets without showers and pantry’s.

However keep in mind they will not remove moisture from the air, even when some product descriptions say so. It is simply impossible.

These types of bathroom fans work best with restrooms that don’t have showers or baths in it, like a small toilet and sink only room as the bathroom is one of the rooms in the house that needs a bit more attention in the ways of odor control.

Whether you use air fresheners, candles, or what have you, the best way to constantly keep the odors in the bathroom under control is through a ductless bathroom fan if there is no possibility for an exhaust fan.

Here are 8 alternative ways to keep your bathroom smelling fresh

How does a Ductless Bathroom Vent Work

Ductless fans use a fan to circulate air through an activated charcoal filter. The charcoal filter will trap some of the contaminants and filter the air. Although it will remove some of the pollutants it will not remove any of the moisture from the air.

Charcoal filters have long lifespans and are incredibly easy to replace.

Here you can learn

Here you can learn more about how carbon filters work

Activated charcoal is able to do a lot of things, from whitening teeth to purifying water, and of course, for bathroom ventilation fans. Activated charcoal air-purifying filters are great for getting rid of any unpleasant/unwanted odors wherever you need them.

It doesn’t just need to be used in the bathroom; it can also be used to purify smells from the garbage, fridge, and even rooms you are repainting to help make being in the area bearable. Activated charcoal is proven to be able to clear out odors and toxins from the air.

Activated charcoal works by absorbing gases and odors. Activated charcoal is incredibly porous, and attracts the gasses and odors to trap them. They’re also even used in military gas masks because of how well the activated charcoal can attract and trap the toxins in its millions of tiny, porous cells.

Find out how does a vented bathroom fan work.

Why do You Need Bathroom Ventilation?

As stated multiple times so far, a bathroom without some form of ventilation can cause serious issues and damage to the bathroom as a whole.

Also, keep in mind that some form of ventilation is required by building codes in most areas.

The bathroom code doesn’t mandate the use of bathroom fans in all building codes, surprisingly, but it does cover ventilation in other ways.

All municipalities will have different building codes and bathroom code requirements; some may say that a ventilation fan is required; some may say that a bathroom window is enough. However, some may say that as long as you have some form of ventilation, that is all you need.

Before building a new bathroom or planning new ventilation for your bathroom, you need to consult your community bathroom code as it will be different everywhere. This is because each community may have different needs based on the age of buildings, climate and other factors that would make them different from one municipality to the next.

It is recommended to have an exhaust fan, even if your municipality doesn’t specifically mandate it, to help eliminate odor and moisture.

As stated, multiple times above, without the movement of moisture, the condensation building on the walls and building in the corners of the bathroom will cause severe damage to the bathroom and grow mold. It could even weaken rafters and joints, and create many issues over time.

However, some bathrooms don’t have that ability. As such, it is strongly advised that you consult your municipalities building code to find a ventilation solution to avoid all of these future issues.

Conclusion

Ductless bathroom fans are good at absorbing odors and toxins but don’t do much in the ways of helping absorb moisture. When finding a ventilation solution in a bathroom, ensuring that you are not trapping moisture inside the room is essential to ensuring that your bathroom is up to code and is generally safe from the damage of the condensation.

Ventilation is your bathroom’s best defense against the growth of mold and damage to the other parts of the room.

Charcoal filtered ductless bathroom fans work to remove unwanted odors and keep the air in the bathroom moving, while being energy efficient and often quite quiet.

They work well in rooms that already have an alternative means of handling the build-up of moisture, or rooms that don’t see much humidity and moisture, to begin with.

As long as your bathroom is up to your municipality’s code for bathroom ventilation, a ductless bathroom fan is a good choice for odor mitigation and keeping the air moving in the bathroom.

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Joonas Pütsepp

I like it when I'm able to fix everything that needs fixing around the house. In order to do that, I have to do a lot of research. This site will cover everything I learn and maybe help others do the same.

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