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bathroom exhaust fan required?


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I had a city inspector tell me I had to have at least a 50cfm fan installed in a bathroom even though there is a window due to new California code requirements.

To make this more complicated I can not find if it can be wired with a light or needs to be on another switch. The inspector said no, then yes, then no. I can't find it in the code specifically how it needs to function.

I had an electrician out and he made it even more complicated stating that:

1) a bathroom fan must run at 50% volume all the time, and have a detector that upon occupancy increase to 100% or a minimum of 10 minutes, then automatically reduce back down to 50%.

2) A bathroom fan can be substituted by a vent running to the attic fan. (I was unclear how this would work for multiple reasons, the least of which is the attic vents are less than 3? from the eaves of the house.

3) Since I have a window, I don?t need a bathroom fan ? even though the inspector specifically said I do, because it is not in my house and the bathroom is too small for this requirement.

I don't like disagreeing with the city inspector but will if I can back it up. I can't find ANY of this in the code.

Is this a plumbing code? mechanical? building? The inspector doesn't really want to answer my questions and says to hire an electrician.

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New house? Reno of an old house? Why does the new rule apply to you?

The long and short of it is there were some expired permits and others that were never issued from previous owners (some going back 30 years). I also remodeled the bathroom to fix the plumbing.

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I don't have access to the California bathroom fan requirements.

You're being asked to comply with the most recent code because you're remodeling the bathroom.

I suggest that you just do what the inspector asks. If he's unclear about what's required, call his boss and ask for clarification.

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I don't have access to the California bathroom fan requirements.

You're being asked to comply with the most recent code because you're remodeling the bathroom.

I suggest that you just do what the inspector asks. If he's unclear about what's required, call his boss and ask for clarification.

Absolutely, I'm trying. I've asked him some questions, it still isn't clear on things and the inspector has told something different in writing, vs on the phone, vs. email. I'm trying to keep him to email or in writing now so I can show I did what was asked. It is hard when the target keeps moving, that's why I wanted to find all the applicable codes so I can understand more fully.

California apparently ran into a problem of homes being too air-tight, and not providing enough air circulation due to tough energy-efficiency rules. The code enforcement manager helped me on a visit to city hall once and he made comment about it being a bit crazy now and tough for them to keep up on all the new rules and trying to explain why to people.

I think I'm going to insist the electrician switch it separately, vent it through the roof, and use a standard 50cfm unit. I hope this timer thing doesn't come up from the inspector later (he didn't call it out previously) but two electricians brought it up. There is no room to put this kind of device in the wall in question.

Thanks for your input.

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Thanks! This document is pretty easy to understand. I like it! :)

So, I'm glad I'm going to put it on its own switch (city said it didn't matter, but I like the idea and seems to be more compliant), and may take out the light since it is within 3' horizontally and install a light/fan combo instead. Which is too bad as the fixtures all match inside the bath and the adjacent room but I'm not sure it is damp location approved.

Thank you again for finding this one!

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Thanks! This document is pretty easy to understand. I like it! :)

So, I'm glad I'm going to put it on its own switch (city said it didn't matter, but I like the idea and seems to be more compliant), and may take out the light since it is within 3' horizontally and install a light/fan combo instead. Which is too bad as the fixtures all match inside the bath and the adjacent room but I'm not sure it is damp location approved.

Thank you again for finding this one!

NJ has a statewide building code. Not sure if California is the same.

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  • 1 month later...

Suggest you look at the CalGreen Codes

2013 CALIFORNIA MECHANICAL CODE

402.5 Bathroom Exhaust Fans. [HCD 1 & HCD 2] Each

bathroom shall be mechanically ventilated in accordance with

Division 4.5 of the California Green Building Standards Code

(CALGreen).

2013 CALIFORNIA GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS CODE

CHAPTER 4

RESIDENTIAL MANDATORY MEASURES

Division 4.5 - ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

SECTION 4.506 INDOOR AIR QUALITY AND EXHAUST

4.506.1 Bathroom exhaust fans. Each bathroom shall be

mechanically ventilated and shall comply with the following:

1. Fans shall be ENERGY STAR compliant and be ducted

to terminate outside the building.

2. Unless functioning as a component of a whole house

ventilation system, fans must be controlled by a humid?

ity control.

a. Humidity controls shall be capable of adjustment

between a relative humidity range of #8804; 50 percent

to a maximum of 80 percent. A humidity control

may utilize manual or automatic means of adjust?

ment.

b. A humidity control may be a separate component

to the exhaust fan and is not required to be integral

(i.e., built-in).

Notes:

1. For the purposes of this section, a bathroom is a room

which contains a bathtub, shower, or tub/shower

combination.

2. Lighting integral to bathroom exhaust fans shall com?

ply with the California Energy Code.

You can download a synopsis of the residential mandatory measures here:

http://www.bsc.ca.gov/Home/CALGreen.aspx

You can view the code here:

http://www.ecodes.biz/ecodes_support/Fr ... _main.html

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