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Okay I actually do understand the purpose of the bathroom fan; it gets the steam out of the bathroom after a super hot shower, right? Well turns out I NEVER turn it on. I suppose I don't shower in sauna temperatures. Also we tend to shower with the door open.

Or, the point being it rids the room of odors? Thus the nickname 'fart fan'

The hose from the fan from the bathroom simply terminates in the attic space. I've been reading the threads explaining the reasons to vent it to the outdoors, but I don't want to. I have a beautiful house with new Cedar siding and I don't want to ugly it up with a big vent sitting in the middle of the gable. yuck.

So here's the question; why? Can't I simply keep from using the fan? No bother to me a little steam or stink. Do I need to put an end on the vent I don't use?

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It sounds like you're find with the consequences, so it's up to you. The biggest issue will come up if you ever want to sell the house to the normal public that dislikes mold. –  RQDQ Dec 24 '11 at 23:21
    
One other thing to think about - even if the fan isn't running, hot air rises and most of it is going to end up in your attic. Steam will just have a little more time to shed its moisture in your bathroom when the fan's not running. –  Steve Jackson Dec 27 '11 at 14:07
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Do you "want" to be sick? Because mold growth from excess humidity will definitely help there. –  The Evil Greebo Jan 3 '12 at 21:10
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4 Answers

Moisture removal.

"Every bathroom requires an openable window that provides at least 1.5 square ft of air flow area when open – 2006 IRC [303.3] OR mechanical type ventilation: 50 CFM intermittent or 20 CFM continuous operation – 2006 IRC [303.3X]"

See this related thread for other comments: How do I refinish a bathroom ceiling after it got moldy and peeled?

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thanks for quoting the code. but you didn't really answer the question. I want to know what you THINK. How is it different to have a window that I never open rather than a fan I never operate? –  Trout Jan 11 '12 at 2:10
    
@Trout I think the point is to start opening the window to remove the moisture and prevent mold, this question is a couple of years old so I hope you've started :-) –  BigHomie Dec 28 '13 at 20:22
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As others have said you don't want to let humid air into your attic space. You will not only get mold as others have mentioned, but the moisture will reduce the effectiveness of the insulation in your attic.

While I understand not wanting to have a vent on your roof, I would recommend either getting a low unobtrusive roof vent on the back slope of the roof or possible putting a vent out the eave or wall.

here is an example showing a dryer vent

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If you vent out the eave and have soffit vents pulling air into the attic (for ventilation), you'll end up sucking the moist air up into the attic anyway. You can only vent to the eave, if you do not have soffit vents for roof ventilation. –  Tester101 Jan 3 '12 at 21:06
    
Jim, this is brilliant. If I vent out the soffit it will be the most 'invisible'. I realize the drawing is a dryer, but the vent path is viable, right? Do they make 'eve vent hood' in many materials? sizes? –  Trout Jan 9 '12 at 19:27
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Since yours vents into your attic space I would never use it either. Probably the biggest use of a bathroom vent fan is to help keep mold down in bathrooms, especially in humid areas. Lots of lawsuits against housing tracks have happened in humid areas where builders just put the cheapest fan in and a couple years later the residents find mold. Most bathrooms that are bigger than a closet have undersized fans and don't really do anything but make noise.

Building code changes will happen, if not all ready changed, that homes will have to have a certain air exchange per hour. This is because the modern homes are being built pretty much air tight, or about as close to it as you can get with doors, windows and other entry points for air to get in a house. Builders are starting to use bath fans for this, and a lot of them are being designed to be used 24/7, with very little noise.

Either way, do not pump moisture into attic spaces.

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If your bathroom doesn't have a window and no fan then that all that moist air is going to create a perfect environment for mold and other unpleasant things.

Also, excessive humidity will probably make it's way into your walls and I you have a wooden house then it will start to rot.

That's why it's a bad idea for a vent to exhaust to the attic. It's just going to cause same problems there instead of bathroom

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