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The importance of venting key areas in your home

Our houses have to put up with a lot of hot air. From the pots boiling away on the stove and our teenagers’ endless hot showers, to the humidity seeping into our attics, there’s a lot of moist air in our houses, and most of it needs to get to the outside. That’s why it’s important to hire a home inspector to double-check the inner venting of your home.

Moist air that gets trapped in the attic can lead to mould. You may not have ever really noticed or thought about them, but on your roof there will be a few attic vents. Their job is to draw the air out. If they’re undersized or there are not enough of them, they can’t do the job sufficiently.

If your house was built more than a few years ago, it can often be a good idea to get up there and add more insulation to help prevent the heat from seeping into the attic in winter, and block the heat from filtering down in the summer. But DIYers (and the odd uniformed pro) often throw or blow extra insulation carelessly and end up blocking the soffit vents. The more airflow you have over the insulation, the better it will work.

Cooking and cleaning

With all the steam generated by cooking and showering, kitchens and bathrooms require their own ventilation measures. While some might think that the hood over your range is intended to draw food smells out of the house, its actual role is to collect and channel all the moist air coming off the stove.

Just don’t oversize it too much. Everybody’s going for these giant industrial ranges and they want the big commercial hood towering over it. But they suck up all the air in the room. (You’ll know it’s too strong when your dining room chairs start sliding towards the stove!)

There are some pretty cool downdraft vents that you can hide away, then raise and lower with the push of a button. They’re not as popular as they used to be but they’re a good option for open-concept islands where you don’t want a big hood hanging over everything. Whichever style you choose, don’t forget to periodically clean the filter(s).


Ensure your air vent is in proper working order. Use our directory to find an appliance repair and service specialist to inspect the unit regulary.

Smart venting

In the bathroom, you can get fans that are strictly designed to move air. But some models have built-in lights and even heating lamps. Others are equipped with timers to shut off after a set period of time so you can leave them running to ensure the humidity is removed, even if you have to rush out the door right after showering.

You’re going to want to make sure the unit has a large-enough capacity to handle the volume of air you need to circulate. Fans are rated on the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air that they remove. Standard fans typically range from about 50 to a little more than 100 CFMs. A decent rule of thumb is one CFM per square foot of bathroom.

bathroom fan


You’ll also want to look into the sound level. Fan noise is rated in “sones.” The lower the sone rating, the quieter the fan will be.

There’s at least one other appliance in your home that needs a vent: the dryer. Most of us know to regularly clean out the lint trap—if you don’t, it’ll take longer for your clothes to dry, causes the motor to wear out early and, in extreme cases, can be a fire hazard.

But the hose leading from the machine to the exterior wall can get clogged as well. During the demolition phase, we often pull out hoses that are almost completely blocked. If you reach behind the machine and lift up the hose and it weighs a lot, you’ve left it too late.

Is the venting properly set up in your home? Don’t rely on your DIY skills. Instead, hire an experienced home inspector. They have the knowledge and expertise to understand if the key areas in your home that need venting are properly vented.

More in Venting

Everything you need to know about bathroom ventilation

Finding the best ventilation for your kitchen

Visit Reno and Decor online for more inspiration!

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