The Fort Lauderdale, Florida unit is on the top floor and there is a duct for the unit's central air in the bathroom, but it doesn't have a window or exhaust fan. Is this not to code? What are my options if an exhaust duct isn't available or the association doesn't allow installing one? The condo has been completely remodeled and I'm afraid the bathroom (or the rest of the unit if I have to leave the door open) will get ruined in no time without a proper exhaust for steam, since the weather here is already constantly humid.

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    So here's the situation. I assume you own the condo. Building code obviously didn't require one at the time of construction, and any tenant-related codes probably don't apply. You should start by looking into adding a fan. If that doesn't float, interior circulation might be your only option.
    – isherwood
    Nov 13, 2020 at 16:59
  • How good are ductless exhaust fans compared to a regular one? I own the condo but it is technically a co-op, so getting the association's approval for anything outside my unit may prove difficult.
    – Apav
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:01
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    Please don't ask new questions in comments. Feel free to post a new question. Take the tour when you get a chance.
    – isherwood
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:29
  • You might also revise to either ask about code requirements or a solution, but not both. It's difficult to provide a good Q&A answer with that ambiguity.
    – isherwood
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:30
  • I believe your concerns are valid as excess humidity can indeed cause mold, mildew, and property damage over time. Have you actually requested approval for adding an exhaust fan with your condo association?
    – jwh20
    Nov 13, 2020 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


Codes differ between areas and across time. The International Residential Code requires SOME form of venting, either a fan exhausting to the outside with at least 50CFM or a window with at least 1-1/2 sq. ft. of opening area. Whether or not your locality adopted those standards at the time your condo was built is not something we can help with. But code or no code, an un-vented bathroom (with a bath or shower) is a bad idea and ESPECIALLY in a humid part of the world.

"Ventless" bathroom fans are only for fart control by blowing the air through a carbon filter, they have zero effect on humidity and the likelihood of mold and mildew formation.

  • Thanks. So if installing a fan and a duct is not possible, I hope a dehumidifier will be enough. The bathroom is small, albeit not tiny.
    – Apav
    Nov 13, 2020 at 18:04
  • It can't hurt. If there is no way to vent, that would be your only option I think.
    – JRaef
    Nov 13, 2020 at 20:56

This gets into an interesting discussion as to when something has to be "brought up to code". This might be worth its own question/thread, but I'll put it out here anyway.

In many areas (your mileage may vary), your local jurisdiction/inspector may require that as part of a major remodel of a bathroom or kitchen for example, that the bathroom/kitchen be brought into compliance with the current codes. For a kitchen, this might mean having to provide 2 20-amp GFCI protected circuits for counter outlets, even if there was only a single 15-amp non-GFCI circuit there originally. In a bathroom, it might entail providing the proper venting.

OP says his condo was completely remodeled. To me that means it needed to be brought up to current code requirements, which means having the bathroom properly vented. But being a condo unit, this may not have been practical.

The gray area is what differentiates a minor update from a major renovation. Tearing a bathroom down to the studs is definitely a major reno. Replacing a toilet - no. Painting the room, NO.

  • The Building Code does not require a room be brought up to Code when you remodel a room. Where did you get that? (However, the Code does require what you do must be to Code.)
    – Lee Sam
    Nov 13, 2020 at 18:56
  • I didn't say the building code required that, but that the jurisdiction does (or may).
    – SteveSh
    Nov 13, 2020 at 19:12
  • Thank you for the insight. They completely remodeled it in 2017 with permits, including the electric. The floors, molding, cabinetry, countertops, kitchen tile backsplash, and appliances are all new. I never managed to ask what was new with the electric specifically, but I know a few of the kitchen outlets are GFCI. As for the bathroom they replaced the bathtub with a shower, put in a new toilet, sink and tiling. Bathroom sink has a GFCI outlet as well. Here is a picture of it from the listing to give you an idea: i.imgur.com/8tei3a4.jpg
    – Apav
    Nov 13, 2020 at 19:13
  • And a new lighting fixture in the bathroom.
    – Apav
    Nov 13, 2020 at 19:19
  • @SteveSh Your first sentence in the second paragraph says “code compliant “. That is not true. You should change that to “jurisdiction”.
    – Lee Sam
    Nov 13, 2020 at 20:06

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