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Attic black mold does not necessarily cause your house environment contamination, but under some conditions it might. However, attic black mold usually becomes an issue when discovered during the home inspection.
In case the black mold has already contaminated your attic, I will show you how to stop it from further spreading. Pre-cut piece of a blanket insulation glued to the hatch will do the job – if it has a paper facing (or any other vapor retarder type), apply paper to the hatch material surface. If there is no pipe, and you cannot see the fan enclosure itself, turn it on before you step into the attic, and try to locate it by following the sound, exhaust fan might be under the layer of insulation.
There is a chance that vent discharge pipes are in the soffit or connected to the vent ports installed inside the soffit. During the cold season warm air will return to the attic through the soffit vents (some jurisdictions permit it and even recommend such installation). Extend it through the roof using a dedicated port or at least install it close to the attic vent (just make sure that vent screen is clean).
Kitchen vents should have dedicated ports (don’t use attic ventilation ports), and smooth interior, single wall, galvanized steel pipes should be used for discharge, not plastic or aluminum flexible hoses.
A dryer vent discharging into the attic is a huge source of moisture and heat – requires its own dedicated port (just like the kitchen vent). Plumbing vents terminating in the attic area – extend them through the roof, repair or replace cracked plumbing vent pipes. Furnaces and water heaters installed in attic areas should be contained inside a separate and insulated room – code requirement in some jurisdictions.
Heating ducts – insulate their surface to help your heating and air conditioning system perform more efficiently. Leaking roof – fix it as soon as possible because the mold feeds on moisture, and in this case will grow at any temperature. I’m listing it as a last item, but it is actually the most important thing that causes attic black mold growth – lack of proper attic ventilation. The above standard might work if everything else is perfect, but in reality, the attic vents will eventually become clogged with lint, insulation, bird nests, etc. Please visit Attic Ventilation Problems to learn more about this # 1 (10) reason causing attic black mold growth.
I hope that the above 10 paragraphs will help you to stop or prevent attic black mold from growing.
It’s extremely common to find stained ceilings around bathroom exhaust fans while conducting home inspections in cold climates, such as Minnesota.
While the knee-jerk reaction from most homeowners is to call a roofer, this type of staining isn’t the result of a roof leak.
Reuben Saltzman works for Structure Tech, a Minneapolis home inspection company that has been in business since 1987. Hi im about to finish my attic remodel and i have read several posts on the chatroom about venting . I talked to a contractor and he was telling me the show that I am watching takes place further north and being in Chattanooga TN you really do not need to exhaust out of the house(no hose is needed).
Can you believe someone using what was said during a TV for entertainment only show as a true how to do it? How should the bath vent fan duct terminate, how should it be closed, screened, & at what clearance distances from other vents? BATHROOM VENT DUCT TERMINATION - CONTENTS: how should the bathroom exhaust fan duct terminate at the buildnig wall or roof?
We also review recommended clearance distances between the bath exhaust duct end opening and other building features such as a gas fired water heater exhaust opening. This article series explains how to install bathroom exhaust fans or vents, the vent ducting, the vent termination at the wall, soffit or roof, vent fan wiring, bath vent duct insulation, bath vent lengths, clearances, routing, and we answer just about any other bathroom ventilation design or installation question you may have.
Don't terminate your bathroom exhaust fan ductwork as we illustrate in the photographs shown at left and below.
Our photo at left and two additional examples seen at below left show two typical bath vent fans that spills directly into each building's attic - both are improper vent fan installations. Terminate the bath vent duct outside at gable end or eaves: horizontally through the building wall at a building gable-end wall (first choice), or if the gable end is too distant, terminate the bath vent down through a building soffit at the roof eaves.
Don't just blow the bath (or kitchen) vent exhaust into an attic, nor, even more crazy, into a ceiling or wall cavity or into a crawl space. If you were not convinced that failure to properly spill bath vent air and moisture outside can lead to attic mold, notice our photo (below left). Brown mold was found growing on the attic side of roof sheathing in this new home only where the bath vent moisture was spilling into the soffit (but not outside).
Reader Question: what kind of ductwork can be used to terminate the run of piping from the fan to the soffit? For soffit ventilation, what kind of ductwork can be used to terminate the run of piping from the fan to the soffit?

When we install a vent fan out through an attic and down out of the soffit, we like to use solid metal ductwork (photo above left) to maximize air flow and minimize resistance, keeping the run as short as possible. And I would buy a proper rodent-proof vent opening cover (photo above right) and cut a hole in the soffit to install that device, connecting it to the duct.
In my photo at above left we had not yet trimmed the metal duct to proper length to protrude through the roof overhang or eaves at the proper distance to fit the vent opening cover )shown at above right). If you just drop the end of the duct into the soffit bay that is in turn covered by perforated panels, I worry that a substantial portion of moisture and vented air will just blow back into the attic.
Venting bath fans through up the roof surface?: While we agree that building exhaust ventilation is most powerful and thus effective when it is routed vertically, we prefer to avoid venting bath fans up through the roof, both to avoid an extra roof penetration (and leak risk) and to avoid condensate leaks into the bathroom ceiling. Terminating exhaust fan duct at the ridge vent: our photo (above left) shows a typical attempt at venting a bath into or actually just below a ridge vent - this direction of vent exit may seem convenient but we don't like it much. In the photo (left) the droopy flex-duct will certainly invite bath moisture to condense and run back to the home's ceiling rather than exiting at the ridge. Terminating exhaust fan duct on the roof surface: at above-right we show an ugly bathroom exhaust vent installation through the roof surface using a laundry dryer sidewall vent cover.
Venting a bath exhaust fan straight up: Our sketch shows a bath vent fan exiting up through the roof. The through-roof vent approach gives us another roof penetration, a possible leak spot, and it almost assures that condensing moisture will drip down the vent duct and into the bathroom ceiling. A direct through-wall bath vent fan design may be preferable if the building roof shape, bath location, or other details make it difficult to exhaust a ceiling-mounted bathroom exhaust fan.
In other words, some bathroom locations and designs such as first floor baths in a multi-story home, are vented out thorough the building sidewall not up through the attic. Do not vent bath fans into a crawl space: you're only putting more moisture into an area where it is already going to be a problem, inviting mold growth on wood surfaces and hidden mold growth in building insulation. Protect the bath fan duct outlet at the building exterior, using approved screening or a louvered fitting so that you do not invite birds or rodents into the building through the ductwork. While we don't want a (lint collecting) screen over a clothes dryer vent termination (that's a fire hazard) we do screen bath or kitchen exhaust vent terminations to keep out birds, bats, and rodents.
Watch out: an improperly installed bath or kitchen vent fan can draw sewer gases or other odors from outdoor sources right back into the building. Watch out: inspect the kitchen (KITCHEN VENTILATION DESIGN), bath (BATHROOM VENTILATION DESIGN), and especially laundry dryer vent outside screen regularly and clean or clear any blockages such as by debris, dust, lint, leaves, or anything else. See CLOTHES DRYER VENTING for examples of vent duct terminations, screens, and safety concerns.
Are there any restrictions on how close an exhausting bath vent may be placed to an exhausting vent for a gas water heater?
You will see that the required distances range from 1 foot to 7 feet depending on what's being cleared-from. If I ran my bathroom exhaust fan duct outlet out of my soffit is there any minimum clearance from the bathroom window so it will not draw in the odors if someone happened to open the window.
Ryan you'd want to be 10 feet from the nearest operable window if you want to avoid odor intake; that is not a code specification it's an opinion. Continue reading at BATHROOM VENT DUCT PROTECTION or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. We are attempting to replace a bathroom fan in a first floor bathroom (full bath) in a two story home.
To complicate matters, we are sure the fan was installed with the original construction and is attached directly to the cieling beam with no easy access to remove without significant damage to the ceiling. You need to try to determine your joist pattern in the ceiling and the look for walls in the bath which have your plumbing in them as an option. In addition, depending on the contamination extent, correcting the problem could make a significant hole in your budget. If there is no mold, just follow the same guideline to ensure that everything is the way it should be. Roof-decking section located above the attic entrance might be your first encounter with attic black mold. If using any other materials – make sure that they are not flammable and can be exposed. Again, smooth interior wall metal pipe should be used (no plastic permitted and flexible aluminum not recommended). This would allow for warm and moist air discharge into the attic, thus creating a perfect environment for attic black mold. Without that clearance that allows for air circulation, mold might start growing on the roof-decking surface.

Sewer gases vapor adds additional unwanted moisture to the attic which can condensate on decking, start dripping onto your ceiling, and become breeding ground for the attic black mold.
Besides wasting expensive energy, heat released from the air ducts surface might condensate on the roof decking surface and cause mold growth. When that happens, any combination of the first 9 items from my list increases chances for mold in your attic.
I also highly recommend to check  my other attic black mold concerning posts for more valuable information on this subject. I dont want to go thru my roof and ive read not to do that because of moisture coming back into bathroom. Exhaust air from bathrooms and toilet rooms shall not be recirculated within a residence or to another dwelling unit and shall be exhausted directly to the outdoors. Does the existing soffit mesh of a newer home need to be cut away and replaced with some other register, or will the existing mesh allow a 110cfm fan to operate efficiently? Certainly use of flexible metal ducting and even plastic flex duct are permitted in many jurisdictions but in our opinion those are less effective choices. That device is automatically opened by pressure of the exhaust fan and snaps shut when the fan is off, avoiding possible back drafts through the bath exhaust vent fan system.
Not only were the roof shingles torn up and sealed again to leave a leak-risk around the vent penetration of the roof surface, but because this roof exhaust vent was installed on a home in a snow-climate, in winter with snow cover on the roof the vent is likely to be blocked. Below this home the clothes dryer, bath vent fans, and even a dishwasher drain all were dumping into a soaking wet crawl space below the building.
My house came with a bathroom exhaust fan that automatically turns on when the overhead shower light is turned on. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Does anyone know of any replacement fans that might have a recirculation feature for hard to vent areas that might work as well? If the venting was disconnected during the room addition as we suspect, it seems that the problem should have been caught in the local inspections, but that doesn't seem to be the case. There appears to be no logical path to vent to the exterior of the home without encountering major structural elements. While your vent pipe is larger, the principal is the same and I have a main floor half bath in my home with the same issue as you. When moist air is carried through a duct that passes through a very cold attic space, moisture will condense inside the duct.
Ive also read not to vent thru my soffit cause it can cause damage to the roof plus mold and moisture issue under eave . Going out the side may not get moisture away from the house, esp if you are near the eaves. Exhaust air from bathrooms and toilet rooms shall not discharge into an attic, crawl space or other areas inside the building. Usually when you remove the grille of the fan you will see a set of screws or nails going sideways through the box into the floor joist in the ceiling above.
If you locate these they will be a start in finding a pathway for proper ventilation with hopefully minimal cutting.
When enough condensate accumulates, it will drain to the bottom, leak throught the fan, and stain the ceiling.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Depending on the age and brand, if your fan motor is bad you may find a replaceemnt motor to fit., however this does not solve the vent problem. If you are really lucky you may have a pipe chase where several pipes and heat ducts run in a hollow wall pocket perhaps with your bathtub plumbing.
Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. To prevent these stains from occurring, take these steps to help prevent condensation inside the duct. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.

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