Monday, February 07, 2005

Cough, splutter

Well, you would cough and splutter if you could not get rid of fumes from cooking and steam in the bathroom.

It is not something that I knew anything about, that is, exhaust fans in high rise or even low rise buildings. Never really thought about it. To me, an exhaust fan went in the ceiling of your bathroom and or toilet and you had a range hood over the stove. Some flats have them in windows, and a friend had much trouble when he tried to buy a new one. He could not get one to fit the hole at hole and cheated in some way that I have now forgotten.

In our apartment, and I think most similar to ours, there is one large unit located in the main bathroom. It is hidden in the ceiling space. There is a neat round vent in the bathroom, along with one in the toilet and another in the en suite. Switch the main light on in any of the three rooms and the exhaust fan comes on. Via ducts, the air is extracted and expelled via vents over the balcony.

Somewhere along the way, the duct from the range hood joins bathroom ducts. With all on, the volume of air coming out is huge. Enough to blow your hat off.

Although we have the bottom of our main door sealed, if left with the gap, the fans will pull in cool air from the landing too.

While the system works well, there are a couple of disadvantages. One is that if you don't have the bathroom exhaust on when cooking, the cooking fumes will blow back into the bathrooms.

This can be good too though. If partner is cooking me bacon and eggs for breakfast, I can awake to the smell wafting out from my ensuite. Alas, this is only theory.

It does get terribly greasy around the outlets over the balcony. It requires an annual clean. What we would do if it ever broke down and needed replacing, I don't know.

You probably have never really thought about exhaust fans in high rise building, so now you are well educated and can hold an intelligent opinion on the matter.......assuming the unlikely event happens that you ever might be discussing them.


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