Bath Fan Becomes Background Ventilator - Fine Homebuilding

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Fine Homebuilding: The Magazine

Fine Homebuilding: The Magazine


Bath Fan Becomes Background Ventilator

comments (0) April 29th, 2009 in Blogs
RDA Robyn Doyon-Aitken, producer

The Airetrak full-function bath-controller offers multiple fan-control options including time delay, fan speed, and daily operation period; but where the Airetrak really shines is in providing background ventilation.Click To Enlarge

The Airetrak full-function bath-controller offers multiple fan-control options including time delay, fan speed, and daily operation period; but where the Airetrak really shines is in providing background ventilation.

Photo: Tamarak Technologies

by Mike Guertin

Airetrak Advantage

■ Manufactured by Tamarak Technologies
■ 800-222-5932; www.tamtech.com
■ Cost: $89


Several companies make retrofit switch-timers to allow bath fans to continue operating for a set period of time after a shower. Trouble is, the timer controls are usually hidden under the switch plate, are often a hassle to adjust, and aren’t very flexible in their setup.

The easiest-to-use full-function bath-fan controller I’ve seen is the Airetrak. Similar to competitive models, it can be programmed to continue running the fan for a period of time—20 or 40 minutes— after you turn out the light. The controller fits a single-gang box, controls the light, and offers multiple fan-control options including time delay, fan speed, and daily operation period. But where the Airetrak really shines is in providing background ventilation.

A tight house needs to bring in fresh air either continuously or periodically throughout the day depending on occupancy, not just when you’re in the shower. The exhaust-only ventilation strategy works by operating an exhaust fan (usually a bath fan) to draw in fresh air around window sashes and through other small leaks.

To give people control over how much and when air is exchanged, the Airetrak can be programmed to run at a variety of fan speeds, periodically each hour throughout the day or just at night. Programming isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Rather than a single button that you press once for this and twice for that, the Airetrak has a digital display and six buttons. Four buttons set or change the function of the fan and are covered by the switch plate. Once in program mode, the two arrow buttons (fan and light, or fan only) can be used to change settings. When programming is complete, the arrow buttons become the on/off switches for the fan and light in daily use.

—Mike Guertin is a builder and remodeling contractor in East Greenwich, R.I.


posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, hvac, bathroom

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