Ever notice a mildew or mold smell in your house? It’s usually a sign of a moisture problem. A check of your exhaust vents can rule out household appliances and everyday activities as the source of the mold.
Moisture in your home
Your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room exhaust fans remove excess moisture that you create in your house from everyday activities like cooking, showering, and drying clothes.
Making sure these exhaust fans are properly venting the moist air out of the home prevents mold issues, breathing problems, and wood decay.
Looking at your whole home as a system, your trained HVAC professional can rule out the exhaust fans as a source of the moisture problem.
Prevent mold with an exhaust fan check
Exhaust vents are one part of the whole home heating and cooling system, and they may explain why you have a moisture problem.
There are three types of vents important to whole home comfort.
Exhaust vents that are connected to appliances like your dryer, stovetop, or an exhaust fan in a bathroom typesetting.
There are the vents you see throughout the house on your floor, wall, and ceiling that control the airflow to make rooms more comfortable.
Return vents are the third type you’ll see in your home. You want air flowing in and out of your room to keep the air you breathe as healthy as possible.
When it comes to mold and moisture, we want to look at the exhaust vents. These are most commonly connected or associated with your dryer, bathroom, and kitchen cooking surface. A proper vent check can help spot proper temperature and moisture regulation.
Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
Your bathroom exhaust vent may be a primary source of your moisture problem.
A properly vented bathroom exhaust fan removes moisture from your bathroom that builds-up during a hot shower or bath.
If your bathroom fan isn’t vented properly, or it develops a leak or other problem over time, it can lead to a moisture problem in your home.
Think about your bathroom when you take a shower. The hot water creates steam. That’s why exhaust vents are so important in the bathroom. You don’t want steam filling up your bathroom or you could develop a mold problem over time. Your bathroom fan and exhaust vent remove the steam preventing problems like mold.
Unlike the mold you can see in your shower or tub, you can’t see the mold in the air that accumulates from repeated hot showers. The mold can make its way onto and into porous surfaces. You may or may not see this. You’ll know you have a problem, though, when you smell the mold.
The other major exhaust fan is in your kitchen. Your kitchen exhaust fan removes smoke, odors, heat, steam, and fumes produced while cooking. The fan pulls out the old air and vents it outside. That way your kitchen doesn’t fill up with steam and smoke – yet another source of moisture.
Excess moisture can stay in your home through daily activities like cooking and showering. That’s why you should routinely check the exhaust vents to make sure they are working properly and preventing moisture from building up in your home.
Home safety connected to exhaust vents
Exhaust vent checks are also important for home safety reasons. Your dryer vent removes the warm, moist air and pipes it outside. While it has a useful purpose, the dryer vent gets dirty.
Over time, lint builds up in the dryer vent and causes fires. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are over 7000 dryer fires every year. They cause an estimated $91.8 million in property damage and lead to deaths.
Blocked dryer exhaust vents are a safety issue and may cause higher electric bills. Your clothes won’t dry as quickly with a clogged vent so you’ll have higher utility bills. Plus, your dryer will work harder which could decrease its life.
That’s why you should have the dryer exhaust vent and exhaust duct cleaned at least once a year. With the dryer running, walk outside your home and put your hand near the dryer exhaust vent. You should feel the air escaping. You may have a clogged vent or duct if you don’t feel any air coming from the vent outside.
Like your bathroom and kitchen, you need to make sure the dryer exhaust vent is working properly or the warm, moist air from the dryer will stay inside your home. Over time, it can cause a mold issue.
Free air vent check to prevent mold problems
There are DIY kits and videos to clean your own exhaust vents. However, a trained and certified heating and cooling company use their expertise and sophisticated tools to get the job done right and keep your family safe.
Remember, it’s not just about cleaning the exhaust vents. You need to make sure they are properly venting the moist air outside.
If this extra moisture creeps into the home through your daily household activities like laundry, cooking, and taking a shower then your heating and cooling equipment won’t work as efficiently and you may develop a mold problem.
By the time the mold reaches a level where you can smell it, you may have breathing and allergy issues.
Look for free vent checks from heating and cooling companies leading up to the summer months. These free vent checks are often included as a free check with an air conditioner tune-up service call.
With so many different types of vents in your home, it’s important to have a trained, certified, and licensed professional make sure your family is comfortable and safe. Checking your home’s vents will help you breathe easier, feel more comfortable, and reduce mold problems.
Rob Minnick is the CEO & President of Minnick’s. His family-owned company specializes in heating, cooling, plumbing, and Whole-Home Comfort. With more than 63-years experience, the company prides itself on having the top HVAC technicians. They follow strict standards and earn top-notch credentials. Customer satisfaction is a top priority. Minnick’s proudly serves Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Baltimore, and Baltimore City counties. Ask a Minnick’s technician how they can make your HVAC system smart!