Why are your bathroom walls crying? You’ve seen it. Stains down the paint of the wall, outlined by a line of dirt as it slowly cuts through the otherwise imperceptible film of dust. But like tears cutting through make-up on someone’s face. Other indicators of poor ventilation include peeling paint, foggy windows, and moisture in the air.

If you see this, then you might not have sufficient ventilation in your bathroom. Be sure the basics are covered first. Does the bathroom have a ventilation fan? Even small bathrooms with a window need a fan. Is the fan able to spin at full speed? Old fans are noisy, if they’re quiet, somethings probably wrong. New fans tend to be quiet. Try to feel the flow and see the actual fan spin. Is the fan free of debris and build-up? Lint and dander love to cling to these fans because of the static charge.

If every thing looks good with the ventilation in the restroom, then it’s time to check the rest of the system. Most importantly, does the ducting go all the way to the outside? Bathroom ventilation ducts should reach the outside within as a short a distance as is reasonable. These ducts should have a screen or grill (slats) to prevent pests from coming in. They should be designed to avoid condensation, this means avoiding turns, ridges, and extensive lengths. In cold climates, these ducts should be insulated.

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