I recently inspected a new build where the laundry room had a continuous exhaust fan. In other forum posts the inspectors stated there was a ghost switch or a switch that was located in a special location like higher than normal on the wall. In my case there was no switch, this brings reason for concern during poor outdoor air quality events such as wild fires( I’m in Oregon). Should there be a manual override switch to allow the occupants to deactivate this fan during such events?
It may be a continuous ventilation fan. Designed for newer “tighter” homes to allow air to circulate. I typically see them in bathrooms, maybe in your case they put it in the laundry room.
I think you need to research HRVs and ERVs, as that is likely what you have. Chris’s link above discusses them.
Recommend you become familiar with the proper terminology know industry-wide, not just local jargon. Remember, people Google everything they are not familiar with. Google won’t show very much credible information using local slang terms.
Welcome to our forum, Austin!..enjoy participating.
He’s not the first one to run into this…
Ok let me be clear. The fan in question is not a HRV or ERV. The fan in question is a typical bathroom exhaust fan installed in the laundry room, vented to the directly to the exterior with no way to turn it off. The builder states that this fan is to improve IAQ. My question is should the homeowner have a way to easily turn it off? I wouldn’t consider the breaker an easy way to turn it off. I didn’t check but very likely its not on a dedicated circuit.
I understand, however the article Chris shared used “continuous running exhaust fan”, This is my first time using the forum. I want my client’s to understand what I’m saying, not have to decipher acronyms.
The builder might be right. Here’s an article I quickly found. Be sure to do your own research.
Edit: Sorry, I didn’t see Chris’ article.
I appreciate the information. I just thought based on the other forums that there should be a switch to turn it off. I’m not saying the builder was wrong, if it were my house I’d want the availability to turn it off. Especially during wild fires.
Recommend installing a switch. Also, check the panel and see if it is identified.
Nothing wrong with your recommendation in my opinion.
(Open question, if air is going out … Then where is it coming in? The system would need to be balanced?)
That’s exactly what I did this is why we are even discussing the topic! This is a weird inspection client has no representation on a new build… so tons of questions that would otherwise be directed to the agent. Thanks for you thoughts Brian
My question for installs like this would be, “where does the home get the make-up air?” Is there an open duct from the exterior somewhere? Does the system just rely on general cracks and gaps?
I did not observe any make up air during the inspection. Great point! I have a re-inspection scheduled for Thursday, I’ll update the post when I have more information.
In the older thread @ruecker posted above, one person stated these fans sometimes have a switches behind the fan cover. You might want to pop it off to see.
Brian, this is from the site you posted. maybe he didn’t read it?
Can I turn the fan off?
The effectiveness of the system to provide proper Indoor Air Quality is based on it operating continuously so it is recommended that the fan stay on. However, there may be times when the fan needs to be turned off for servicing. Some units will be installed with an override switch while other units will need to be turned off at the service panel. You should contact your builder/installer for the specific details of your installation.
So the next time you are tempted to blame someone for not turning the exhaust fan off, stop and think that you might actually want to thank them for keeping it running and ensuring the quality of the air you are breathing. Visit additional pages on this site to learn more about Exhaust Fans, Fresh Air Intake and more. Also visit the ashrae.org to learn more about the ASHRAE 62.2 standards.
Yeah I seen that I’ll take a closer look at the re-inspection. I’ll update the post on Thursday.
This may help:
“Where Does The Air The Fan Is Exhausting Out Come From? The fan is pulling air from air leaks, cracks in your home, and/or a combustion air inlet (a flexible ductwork tube that goes into your mechanical room).”
And he is correct.
I my area the recommended form is a switch, with a permanent label stating it should normally be left ON.
Ventilation. Generally, they, units’ habitable space, require ventilation rates of about “5 to 10” L/s of 'outdoor air’ **for each house - occupant - or roughly a complete house air change every three hours. These rates MAY/CAN vary according to the number of occupants, house volume, occupant activities, and the presence of indoor sources of pollutants.
Apartment Building-Multi Unit Condo +5 Units. Make Up Air Exchange. Typically in the bathroom, Hallway but Laundry room will do.