Bathroom Mold: How to Avoid

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How to Control Excessive Bathroom Moisture and Avoid Mold

LESLIE: Now we’ve got Robin in Oregon who’s dealing with some mold issues. Tell us what’s going on.

ROBIN: In our bathroom, there just seems to be a lot of moisture. I don’t know if the exhaust fan is working properly or not. On one of your shows, you’d mentioned Concrobium, so I sprayed that in the shower and that seems to help stave it off. But we use a fan, we use the exhaust fan and we use a dehumidifier.

And I noticed on the outside, I guess, outtake vents, there’s a whole bunch of black stuff. And then, also, in our sinks, underneath the faucet, there’s mold back in behind that hole. So I’m wondering, is this going to be a health concern or how do I stop some of this mold?

TOM: Well, the solution comes down to managing moisture and it sounds like you’re doing the right things. But one common mistake that people make with exhaust fans is that they don’t leave them on long enough after you take a bath or a shower. They really have to stay on, sometimes, 15 or 20 minutes to properly dry out the room.

ROBIN: Well, I know – well, I can’t speak for my husband but I know that I do, just because I’ve got a fan running, I’ve got a dehumidifier and I’ve – we’ve also got the exhaust fan and it is the biggest one that you can have. And I’m wondering if just because of our moist area we need to get two of them so it’s directly over the shower? I don’t know. But I’m worried that through the whole pipe that leads to the outside, is that all filled with mold in there if the outside vent shows mold?

TOM: Well, the vent that’s taking the air from the bathroom out, is that what you’re seeing on the outside wall?

ROBIN: I’m not seeing on the wall, just on the vent itself, where the – I guess where the air goes out to the outside? That whole vent is all moldy looking.

TOM: Well, a lot of people look at vents that are dirty and call it mold. I think it would be unusual for it to be moldy, because you would have to have a pretty strong food source there. And the only thing you’re going to have coming out that vent is a bit of dust, which could be a mold source but it’s very unusual for it to really develop. So I think you might just be seeing a dirty vent. It’s much more likely that what you’re seeing there is dirt and not mold.

But I would say this: if you want to eliminate the possibility of moisture inside the bathroom, what you want to do is you want to make sure that the exhaust fan – the bathroom fan – is wired to a humidistat.

And if you take a look at the fans that are made by Broan-NuTone, they actually have a new one coming out, I know, that has a humidistatic control. And I think they have some others, as well. But we just saw one last week, though, at a major trade show called the International Builders’ Show that they were releasing for the first time.

But if you get one of these fans that’s got a humidistatic control in it, then you don’t have to worry about whether or not somebody’s leaving it on or not. It just stays on until the moisture goes down and then automatically goes off. So, it kind of takes you out of the equation.

ROBIN: OK.

TOM: And your husband. Because he could be the problem.

ROBIN: I don’t have to be a grouch and say, “Turn that back on.” OK.

TOM: You do not. You do not.

ROBIN: Alright. Well, I will try those. And the Concrobium is working great in the shower, so that was an excellent tip from before.

TOM: Our pleasure. Glad it worked out for you. Robin, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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