Solar-powered Bathroom Exhaust Fans?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RAC, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I can find solar-powered attic fans online. I can find bathroom exhaust fans online. But I can't find a solar-powered bathroom fan. Do they exist?

    I can see using a regular exhaust fan when you're using the toilet or bath/shower--more moisture-laden water needs to be moved out quickly. But could you also install a solar one that essentially runs all the time (at least during the day)? Yes, there would be some heat/cooling loss, but most people who have bathrooms with windows (this particular bathroom does not have a window) do leave them open an inch or two for ventilation, regardless of the weather, at least in 3-season climates. Would the one fan running interfere with the other one?

    Why am I asking? DH is tired of me hanging the damp towels on the exercise equipment overnight (since he does use the exercise equipment). I do hang them outside in good weather, but would prefer that they stay in the bathroom to dry between uses--especially since some of the children (even the older ones), instead of getting the dry towel off the line, just go ahead and get a new one, which creates more laundry....grrrr.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts and ideas.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I take it that you don't have electricity since you are searching solar. It would be a great help moisture wise if you took the wet towels and wash cloths somewhere else to dry. A folding wooden dryer rack would be more practical than hubbys exercise equipment.
     

  3. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    There is a small ventilator fan , solar type that would work in a bathroom. But I think your bathroom would have to face into the sun inorder for it to work. Another option is to take the think apart and move the solar panel to a place that would get some sun and then install the fan in the bath wall or ceiling to the outside to remove moisture. I have these in my green house for brining in outside air and removing stale air and they are working ok for this.
     
  4. RAC

    RAC Guest

    We do have electricity, and I don't mind running the regular high-powered fan during showers, etc. I was just thinking about using the solar one the rest of the time, just as you leave the window open--the solar one wouldn't cost anything to run. I don't want to run the high-powered fan 7x24. There is already a fan installed--probably original equipment, and we will replace it with the high-power model. It is currently on a separate switch from the light, should it be on the same switch?

    The trouble with taking the towels elsewhere to dry is that unless I put them back, no one else does (the main linen closet happens to be in that bathroom--too easy to just get a new towel), and unfortunately my other solution (hang towels from a spring rod in the hallway next to the bathroom) is unpopular with the taller members of the family (but works fine for me).

    Although I suppose another thought is to intall a flag holder near each child's room window, and let them hang the towel out like a flag....LOL. Might work if they made sliding screens for windows....
     
  5. Bret

    Bret Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I work for a company that makes Solar Powered Vents for one of our customers. I really feel it is the best. I also help market them as a value added service. I learned of once resourceful Amish patron that installed one for a bathroom with some type of air duct. The fans always run when the sun shines, however we assemble them with a small loop of extra wire for people who want to cut it and add a switch. I love this site and visit everyday. I respect that none of us likes to read advertising here, so if you want to contact me directly, I'll be glad to give you lots of information and a website. Best Wishes.
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Have you thought of using a turbine vent? They are sold for attic vents, but you could just run a length of duct to the bathroom from it. Cheap and readily available.
     
  7. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    Bret , since this info was solicited , go ahead and share the info with all of us...
     
  8. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I looked up turbine vents--they seem to need wind to operate? I don't think we get enough wind on a regular basis for them to work.

    There is already a fan in the bathroom that is old. We probably will get one that is "powerful enough to vent 2 bathrooms" as one website says. Maybe even see if we can set it to a timer, like hotel heat lamps in the bathrooms are. Right now we leave the old one on for 20-30 minutes or so after the showers, then go back in and turn it off. But, I was looking at the solar one as essentially a substitute for the window that isn't there, to run all the time. Can it be fit on the same duct as the other one? When you run the electric one, will it screw up the solar one?

    I'm sorry for not being more clear.

    And please do post the website, Bret for comparison's sake. Thanks!
     
  9. Bret

    Bret Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dear RAC, Jack and All,

    Thank you for inviting my reply on behalf of SunRise Solar and Indiana Vac-Form.


    Click Here for more information about SunRise Solar powered attic fans.

    This picture is SunRise Solar company president Bill Keith (on the right) and myself (on the left) assembling a unit today.
    [​IMG]

    Bill Keith, SRS, Inc. President, contacked me at Indiana Vac-Form a couple of years ago to make the ABS Plastic Tops and Bases for this product. Now we do the plastics, assembly, shipping and offer marketing assistance.

    Bill is a fun, hands-on manufacturer as you can see in the attached picuture. I think he has the only solar powered vent that was designed and built for the specic purpose. They are very attractive.

    These vents retail at $449.00 That is pretty consistance which my general search of competing products. SRS has been offering the products to customers where no dealers are available for $349 plus $15 Shipping. I asked Bill if he would pay for the shipping for anyone in the Homesteading Today community. He said, "Gladly".

    I don't want to overstay the welcome. If the SRS web site does not answer your specific questions I'll try to answer in this thread for as long as everyone can benefit from the information. Or feel free to call Bill directly in the phone number from his site. My telephone number is 574-269-1725.

    Do you think digital pictures make your hair look lighter or is it just me.

    Thank you for the privilege.
    Bret (Right As Rain Ranch....where I play at the end of the work day and on weekends.)
     
  10. You could do a roll-your-own solar fan solution yourself.

    Computer exhaust fans are inexpensive (around $10), and you may be able to find one in a discarded computer case for free. They typically operate on 12V, which can be powered directly with a PV panel. Look on eBay for a small used 12V PV panel.
     
  11. By the way, computer exhaust fans normally consume 140 ma (0.14 a) at 12 V, which is a little less than 2 watts power draw. That will give you an idea what size solar cell to get for the project. About 1 sq foot if solar surface should be sufficient.

    eBay normally has solar cells designed to maintain a battery charge for a boat or RV that should be fine for this application. They typically go for between $10 and $20, plus shipping.
     
  12. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Thank you everyone for your ideas. The computer fan one sounds really neat.

    In the meantime, I also looked at hat tree/coat racks (standing type) for the towels (some are next to the exercise equipment anyway for use right after the workout).
     
  13. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    supposed to vent hot air out of a parked car? I'm not sure if it would be enough capacity, but I'll bet it is. The problem mentioned above is having panel in the sun all the time.
     
  14. Since they already have an AC powered fan, they can use the AC fan for showering, etc. The computer fan is only to maintain an air exchange during the day.

    The computer fan should run during daylight hours and, of course, will not run at night. That should be a perfectly acceptable arrangement for this application.

    I don't follow the 'parked car' part of your post. I don't recall anyone posting a need to vent hot air out of a parked car.
     
  15. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the confusion - I wasn't too clear in my thoughts. I was just wondering if one of those units, which clips to the top of a car window and theoretically, removes hot air while the car is parked, could be secured to the top of your restrom window and do the same thing - vent inside air out.
     
  16. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

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    Running a vent can cause some problems. Probably not with a small fan. Negative air pressure in house can cause back drafts (higher co2 levels) pull humid air into wall cavities, Perhaps pushing air in and venting out might be an option. Read more---> Home Energy Magazine Online Index http://hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/hem_index.html Look under ventilation bathrooms, mold etc. Good website. Here is a cut and past from there. Avoiding Backdrafting
    Care should be taken to avoid backdrafting combustion appliances with negative pressure from ventilation fans. While the general IAQ (indoor air quality) system should be run for long periods, higher-CFM fans, such as range hoods, downdraft range exhausts, and dryers, will often cause larger problems with carbon monoxide (CO) and other contaminants. Gas water heater pilot lights and even supposedly airtight wood stoves with outside-combustion air can be backdrafted at only 2-4 Pa of negative pressure. The best strategy is to use only sealed combustion appliances and to avoid wood stoves and fireplaces. If the presence of combustion appliances makes backdrafting a concern, avoid large spot exhaust fans, use balanced-flow ventilation with HRVs or blending ventilators, and install a CO detector. Houses will virtually always go negative under certain conditions, even if a balanced-flow system is installed.
     
  17. RAC

    RAC Guest

    J.R., the reason there was some confusion in your car vent post (the bathroom does not have a window, which is why I was asking about a continuous source of venting, that would run when the AC fan was not being run) is that part of your paragraph was in the subject line, which is a periwinkle blue color on my screen, and a bit difficult to see.

    Ed, thanks for posting that. I know from experience that running our kitchen hood fan sometimes causes the fireplace smell (we have a Lopi insert) to come into the house. Didn't even think of the bathroom fan.

    Thanks again!