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Bathroom Ventilation: What are My Options?

Bathrooms, due to the nature of their space, are easy victims of moisture build-up. The lack of adequate ventilation to dry up these spaces can lead to a myriad of different problems including chipped paint and peeled wallpaper. Worst of all, an inadequate air supply can promote the growth of mould and mildew, which not only produce foul odours but can cause harmful health problems.

For this reason, it’s crucial to explore various bathroom ventilation options and decide which one will work best for your home.  From the traditional roof exhaust fan to a vented bathroom skylight, here’s a list of the available options that can regulate ventilation in the wettest area of your home.

5 Best Bathroom Ventilation Options

Multiple bathroom ventilation options promise to maximise ventilation in humid spaces, but each comes with its benefits and drawbacks. Let's explore them together!

roof exhaust fan being installed for bathroom ventilation

1. Roof Exhaust Fans

First up, we have roof exhaust fans , a mechanical ventilation system with a roof cowl on the roof or vent in the soffit. These fans discharge appropriate quantities of stale air from enclosed spaces and circulate fresh air to get rid of moisture and bad odours.

Pros for Roof Exhaust Fans

Although they require professional installation and electrical work to get started, roof exhaust fans’ availability in a variety of sizes and power levels makes them a good option for bathrooms of all dimensions. They can also be installed with additional features such as heaters or lights to maximise their functionality.

Cons for Roof Exhaust Fans

Roof exhaust fans require regular cleaning to maintain their efficiency. These appliances are also usually noisy to run and at risk of moisture build-up and mould growth in the pipes due to their horizontally installed ventilation tube.

2. Vented Skylights

Suntrenz’s vented bathroom skylights are not only a reliable source of natural light but can also be used to get rid of contaminated air. The installed 150mm thru-roof outlet is on the roof compared to the soffit, providing a natural exit path for steam that as it rises to the ceiling. Thus eliminating condensation and providing a healthier environment.

before and after options for a toilet with a vented skylight

Vented skylights also work well in a separate toilet

Pros for Vented Skylights

Suntrenz vented skylights are an all-in-one natural light tunnel and ventilation system!

Inside you wouldn't know it was an extractor fan as it looks just like a light fitting. Outside, the exterior vent features a modern design with a low-profile look and comes in colours to match your roof to boost the overall aesthetic appeal.

vented skylights are a seamless and discreet bathroom ventilation option

The design of Suntrenz' vented skylight is so subtle it looks just like a light!

A big plus for these sun tubes over exhaust fans is their ability to provide an all-in-one system. The vent is part of the sun tube diffuser so there's no need to cut additional holes in the ceiling. If you already have a sun tube installed in your bathroom, we can easily upgrade it by integrating the ventilation feature.

A major point of difference for a Suntrenz vented skylight is the vertical venting. Vertical vents vs horizontal vents prevents moisture from collecting in the pipes and running the risk of mould building up and back flowing into the house. 

Sun tube vented skylights operate quietly with a top-of-the-line mechanically vented fan unit. They can be wired to a light switch to turn on automatically, or be set with a timer, so there's no risk of forgetting to turn the fan on once you're in the shower!

Cons for Vented Skylights

A vented skylight needs to be fitted with a sun tube skylight, so this won't be an option if you prefer an electrical light in your bathroom or toilet.

The initial installation cost of a Suntrenz bathroom skylight is slightly higher than other options, but the benefits of a vented skylight extend beyond ventilation and promise adequate ventilation and light for years to come.

Get a free consultation from Suntrenz to help you decide on the placement and design of a vented skylight based on your bathroom layout.

3. Window Ventilation

Windows are the most conventional and low-cost solution to bathroom ventilation problems. They provide a gateway for natural light and fresh air without consuming an ounce of electricity.

However, these vents are reliant on external conditions and not effective during cold or rainy weather. Windows also compromise your privacy and safety if they are not frosted or covered properly. Make sure to open bathroom windows regularly to optimise the flow of air inside your bathroom.

an open window is a bathroom ventilation option

4. Passive Bathroom Ventilation

Passive or natural ventilation is a system that uses multiple vents in the bathroom’s exterior walls or windows to allow outdoor air inside and dispose of stale air in a controlled manner. They do not require electricity to operate, instead make use of natural factors like thermal buoyancy and wind to achieve this purpose.

Passive bathroom ventilation needs proper planning, design, and installation before it can be used. Although the system provides limited control over the airflow, it can be combined with other systems to enhance the performance.

Natural bathroom ventilation systems are one of the cheapest systems to install and are easy to maintain, but they aren't as effective as mechanical systems at getting rid of moisture present in the pipes.

5. Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) Systems

Heat recovery or mechanical ventilation recovery systems make use of two different airstreams to recover energy and regulate airflow in closed spaces.

It works by drawing in the pollutant, warm air inside the bathroom and crossing its path with the much cooler, fresh outside air. A heat transfer occurs due to the temperature difference which fulfils the heating and cooling demand of closed spaces.

hrv vent in a ceiling vs skylights with ventilation

Pros for HRV Systems

HRV provides continuous ventilation and recovers heat from exhausted air, improving energy efficiency and overall indoor air quality. It is also a reliable system to keep humidity and mould growth at bay.

Cons for HRV Systems

The system is expensive to install and requires a professional along with regular maintenance. It can also be complex to retrofit the HRV mechanism into existing homes and therefore may not be the best option for all bathrooms.

Which Bathroom Ventilation Options Meet Healthy Homes Standards in New Zealand?

Having explored various bathroom ventilation options, how do you determine which one is the safest and most effective for your needs? In New Zealand, ensuring healthy living conditions, particularly for rental properties, involves checking compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards. This regulation mandates proper ventilation to maintain a healthy environment.

From our list, the ventilation options that meet the Healthy Home Standards include:

  • Roof exhaust fans that are vented outside and have a minimum exhaust capacity of 25 litres per second

  • Openable windows of at least 150mm²

  • Passive ventilation system

  • Suntrenz vented skylights

Whereas, options that don’t comply with these safety requirements include:

  • HRV, DVS and other recirculating systems.

skylights with ventilation of a roof. Modern design vs a traditional roof cowl

Low profile design of Suntrenz bathroom ventilation and skylight

Choosing the Best Bathroom Ventilation Option For You

Pick a ventilation option that offers you the best of both worlds - reliable performance and aesthetic design. For bathroom skylights, aim to invest in a renowned product that fully meets the HHS requirements in New Zealand like that at Suntrenz.

Suntrenz’s skylights’ vertical vents ensure that the ducting is well protected from moisture and mould build-up; meanwhile, the all-in-one vented diffuser looks low-profile and discreet in normal lighting.

Get in touch with our friendly team to learn more about skylights with ventilation or to book a free quote. 


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