Inspector missed bathroom vents venting into attic

Customer having a huge moisture issue. She wants to go after the inspector for missing this. Any suggestions?

Has the customer spoken to the inspector about it. yet?

Are you the customer or the Inspector?

What is the “huge moisture issue”?

Are there operable windows in the bathrooms?

I directed her to contact the company. Hard to believe he missed that.

When was the house built? Prior to 2003 (at the earliest) there was no requirement to direct the exhaust outside of the home.

Is this true? asking for a friend!

Contractor. No windows. Humidity is causing visible moisture. I went into the attic and could feel it. The ridge vent was closed by ice and water barrier which inspector did note. My understanding was all bathroom vents not vented outside must be reported.

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In what year did venting bathroom exhaust out of the house become a code requirement?

In what year did venting bathroom exhaust out of the house become a code…

what was the year for code for vented bathroom exhaust fan? What is the code for vented bathroom exhaust fan?

David A. Wigger

BASIS Inspections

Oklahoma’s Guaranteed Home Inspection

(918) 381-8952

Lic. #551

That’s not exactly true. If the bath vent terminates at the exterior, or in the Attic, would also depend on what year that code went into effect by the local code enforcement authority.

Though I always report bath vents that terminate in the Attic, but I also note that it may have not have been enforced at the time the home was constructed or the bathroom exhaust was installed.

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So admittedly im new. Im taking my exam Monday, but aren’t supposed to quote defects, not code. Standards of practice dictate what we report. The age of the house would be irrelevant.


But whether it is code or not if it creates an issue it should still be reported on, correct? 2. Do bathrooms without a tub or shower/half baths need to be vented outside? 2. I myself don’t think so.

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It’s definitely creating an issue. I guess I should preface it’s a 3 story condo with a tiny attic with firewalls and 3 bathroom vents emptying into that space with no way out.

The risk is regional. In the north humidity in the attic is problematic. In north Texas I have not seen it be a significant problem over 30 years of inspection. Our winters are mild and condensation under the roof sheathing is rare. Almost every home in the DFW area vents to the attic prior to 1985. Later they began venting to the eaves. Then they began terminating through the roof. I report it if I see it but I personally do not consider it adverse and material on older homes providing there is attic ventilation. In Minnesota however its a different story.


Im in Florida. We invented humidity.

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Since the original 1998 International One And Two Family Dwelling Code the section that defined this requirement has been R303.3 and has basically been unchanged since 1998. Bathrooms, water closet compartments
and other similar rooms are required to have an openable window or as an exception a mechanical ventilation system that vents directly to the outside. For prior requirements you would need to look at the various codes prior to the ICC generated code sets.

The main issue was moisture but they also took into consideration Grandpa Bob who loves to eat real Jalapeno peppers even though his stomach can not handle them (LOL)!

The local AHJ can make changes to the codes as long as they stay within the intent of the code. Unfortunately staying within the intent is not always accomplished with AHJ’s. However having said that we do have local AHJ’s here in our area that have approved a half bath (sink and toilet/water closet only) to utilize a recirculating fan instead.

To answer the other part of your question if you see an issue with it then report it no matter who says what should or should not be done.

Any bathroom mechanical ventilation system must be discharged directly to the exterior of the home as per the codes noted above. Unfortunately Builders can get creative and improperly vent them into the soffits, tape them up next to an unsealed roof ventilation termination vent point, etc. These attempts are not directly to the exterior of the home and are wrong for two reasons.

  1. The vents can discharge their moisture onto building materials not intended to be exposed to moisture (framing, decking, soffit materials, etc.). Over time this can damage them.

  2. When this is done it is generally placed at active attic ventilation points with two potential issues. First it can be reducing the required attic ventilation opening amounts (covered in the code) and secondly the discharged moisture can be drawn back into the attic at close by soffit vents when into the soffit area.

There are manufactured hoods that were made to be placed into the soffit area. These have not been specifically taken into account in the codes. For these they must be a listed and labeled product with the manufacturer specifying that their purpose is to exhaust mechanical ventilation systems to the exterior of the home. In other words you would have to look them up to determine if that vent hood was made for that purpose and it is not just an attempt at using some other exhaust vent hood meant for another purpose.

Not really! I’ve been behind plenty of Inspectors that have no business inspecting and have noted dangerous issues they flat out passed over that even a blind man could see.

If you’re taking the exam soon then you need to freshen up on the SOP. No where in the internachi sop does it say we have to be report bath vents that terminate in attics.

The age of home can definitely be relevant.

I’m not saying not to report moisture issues in attics, or that bathroom vents terminate in attics, but it is how you report it.



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