The bathroom is the one room in every home that requires more attention with regard to moisture. Some people underestimate this when moving into a new home, which often leads to unpleasant results a few years down the line. The question of whether to install an air conditioner or leave the bathroom as it is often comes up.
A bathroom doesn’t need air conditioning by default. As long as there’s enough circulation available from the windows and an optional fan, the bathroom should not retain enough moisture to cause problems. Special care needs to be taken in situations like bathrooms without windows, especially when living in an area with particularly hot weather.
Do Bathrooms Need Air Conditioning?
Whether you should install air conditioning in your bathroom depends on where you live and how your home is constructed. In many cases, the layout of your home will provide enough air circulation to make air conditioning unnecessary. If that’s not the case for you though, this is something you need to address as soon as possible.
When Does Installing Air Conditioning in Your Bathroom Make Sense?
Your local climate and the layout of your home are the main factors that determine whether you need air conditioning or not. If you live in an area with particularly hot weather, this can lead to additional moisture building up in your bathroom after you’ve showered.
You usually won’t have enough time to wipe down all surfaces before most of the water has evaporated and made its way to the ceiling.
The layout of some homes leaves no windows for the bathroom. This is often the case when the bathroom is in the middle of the home and isn’t connected to any exterior walls. This can exacerbate moisture problems as it means that all moisture will remain trapped within the bathroom.
This can lead to some unforeseen problems down the road. A study that inspected the homes of 291 children at the age of 6 years revealed a pattern of systemic inflammation in those living in households with severe moisture problems.
Can a Regular Fan Do the Same Job?
A fan might sometimes be sufficient without the need for full-blown air conditioning. This is another choice tied to your weather and home layout. If you can easily vent a fan to the outside, and your bathroom is not that large, it may be possible to use a fan to get the job done.
However, a single fan will rarely suffice for a larger bathroom, especially one with no windows. In this case you will need to install two or even more fans, at which point it might make more sense financially to just go with air conditioning instead.
What’s more, the performance of bathroom fans can decrease with differences in pressure between the inside and outside areas. According to recent research, the decline can be as much as nearly 20%.
Does Your Home Already Have an HVAC System?
If you already have a central HVAC system, it should be an easy job to just hook up your bathroom to it directly. Otherwise, if you have to install everything from scratch, it might not make too much sense to go through all that trouble for just one room.
Of course, it’s possible to take advantage of the situation and install centralized air conditioning that covers your entire home. This is a costly operation though, and it’s only recommended if you can afford the initial installation and the ongoing maintenance that comes with HVAC.
Where Should You Place Your Bathroom Air Conditioning Vent?
If you can choose the location of your air conditioning vent freely, you should always go with the ceiling. If that’s not an option, placing it high up on a wall – as close to the ceiling as possible – is also a viable alternative.
The general idea is that the vent needs to be placed as high as possible. Since water evaporates upward, it doesn’t make much sense to place your bathroom AC vent at a low position. It might be able to suck out some of the steam after you’ve showered, but the rest will escape to the ceiling and will start causing moisture problems over time.
What if I Have Multiple Bathrooms?
Having multiple bathrooms is a good reason to go with air conditioning instead of relying on simpler solutions like fans. If you can connect all bathrooms to a single AC unit, that can allow you to spread the cost across all of them instead of only paying for one room.
Whether this is suitable in your situation depends on the layout of your home. If the bathrooms are too spread apart and/or there’s no convenient structural access between them, you may still have to get a separate AC unit for each bathroom. The cost of doing that can add up quickly, especially when you factor in electricity consumption.
Are There Cheaper Ways to Deal with Moisture in the Bathroom?
If you don’t want to make any modifications to your bathroom but still have moisture to deal with, your only option is to give the bathroom a thorough wipe each time you take a shower. This is not the most convenient solution though, and it’s far from perfect either. You will never be able to catch all of the moisture before it escapes to the ceiling and above it.
Q: How powerful should a bathroom air conditioner be?
A: AC units intended for bathroom use don’t need to be very powerful. Most bathrooms are smaller than a regular living room and have a layout that makes it easy for an air conditioner to thoroughly cover the entire room. If you’re installing a brand new AC unit just for your bathroom alone, it’s advisable to go with a low-powered model to avoid incurring a large power bill.
Q: Should a bathroom AC unit run all the time?
A: You should only run your bathroom air conditioner when there’s moisture in the room – usually after you’ve taken a shower. Otherwise, it can help dissipate unpleasant smells but it’s largely not necessary to keep it running 24/7. If you want to go the extra mile, you can connect your air conditioner to the light switch so that it only runs while someone is using the bathroom.
Installing an air conditioner in your bathroom can help simplify its maintenance with regards to moisture accumulation, but it’s not always strictly necessary. Sometimes a simple fan will do. In other cases, you may be able to utilize the layout of your home and your local climate conditions to minimize the amount of moisture building up in your bathroom after a shower.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.