Mold in Bathrooms

Countless calls come in about mold growth in one or more bathrooms.  The calls go beyond the normal mold in caulking and generally are in the same spot.  The issue and the location is seemingly the same with mold on the ceiling and no apparent leaks or previous conditions.  Without even seeing these bathrooms, the first question I ask is, “Do you have an exhaust fan?”  More than ninety percent of people answer this question with a, “No,” but let’s focus on the individuals who do and see why they may still be having issues. First and sometimes most importantly is the location.  A lot of old and new construction homes place the fan in the center of the bathroom.  When a person takes a shower, the steam goes up above the door/curtain and makes it’s way to the fan.  But not all of the steam is exhausted.  Rather some of it does make it’s way into the system and the rest just fills up the bathroom leaving behind a dampness on the walls and surfaces.  The other issue is that almost every fan installed is too small for the room.  New Construction homes especially use over-sized bathrooms as selling points and put in a small three to four inch fan to accommodate the big room, when in fact two fans are needed.  What’s the solution? Placing the exhaust fan directly over the shower will trap most of the steam before it escapes above the curtain/door and causes moisture throughout the bathroom.  In large bathrooms, installing a secondary fan above the shower is ideal since it will do it’s job while the other one can take care of the rest.  And using the right sized fan is vital, because even two smaller units may not do the job in large baths with excessive dampness.