Does a bathroom need a window? The short answer is no, a bathroom does not need a window, but it does require ventilation. Every state has their own requirements and codes, but a proper ventilation system is a must. Now, whether you achieve this ventilation through a window or a fan exhaust is up to you, but today, we will discuss the benefits of installing a window and how it can improve the quality of your bathroom.
Why you should consider installing a window in your bathroom
Below are a few of the benefits that installing a window can bring to your bathroom:
1. Prevent Mold and Mildew
Bathrooms naturally attract moisture and with poor ventilation, they can grow mild and mildew in their damp environment. Mold and mildew is a result of the moisture in a given area being trapped in a space. Without treatment, this mold can grow to damage floors and walls of your bathroom if you aren’t careful. A window helps provide proper air circulation so that moisture is less likely to build up and the excess moisture can be vented out of your bathroom.
2. Reduce Condensation
As stated previously, mold and mildew can grow as a result of condensation and excess moisture in your bathroom. A window or even multiple windows can help reduce condensation that may cloud up your shower doors or your bathroom mirror. While it may not be as dangerous as mold or mildew, condensation can be quite annoying to deal with especially if it obscures your mirror and any glass for a long period of time.
3. Prevent Bacterial Growth
Bacteria grows as a result of excess moisture in addition to a warm environment, making your shower and bathroom an ideal environment. While you can’t exactly control the overall temperature of your bathroom, you can certainly control the moisture level to an extent. Having proper air ventilation will prevent bacteria growth and help to keep your bathroom a safe area for both you and your family.
4. City Codes and Laws for Windows in a bathroom
When doing any remodeling work on your house, it is key that you follow city codes and laws, otherwise you will face fines and will be forced to re-do or demolish any existing work that has been done.
Under section 1126.96.36.199, California’s building code requires that any bathroom that contains a bathtub, shower, spa or similar, will require ventilation by an exhaust fan. In a similar vein, under section 1203, any property designed for occupation must be naturally ventilated by windows, doors and other openings. These openings must be at least 4 percent of the occupied floor area.
Texas bathrooms require that an exhaust fan must be installed in each full bath and must be energy star qualified. If an operable window is present, then an exhaust fan is not required. All fans need to vent out to the exterior, be mechanically fastened and sealed with duct mastic, insulated to R-6 and have a mechanical damper installed. Lastly, laminated or tempered safety glass is required for any glass that is within five feet of any bathtub, shower drain or pool vicinity.
New York requires that all water-closet compartments, bathrooms, and general public toilet rooms require at least one window opening upon a street, lawful court, yard or space above a setback. These windows must be at least three square feet in area and must be made so that half it’s area can be readily opened. A window is not required if one of these rooms is located at the top story or underneath the bottom of a court that is also lighted and well ventilated by a roof that can also be regularly opened. If a window is not installed, a New York bathroom requires a ventilation system that has been approved by the associated department.
Florida residents are not required to have a window in their bathroom. If they do have windows installed however, they are required to be impact resistant, which includes safety glazing or tempered glass.
For residents in New Jersey, windows must be made of tempered glass and bathrooms must provide an aggregate glazing area in windows of no less than three square feet that must be able to open. If a window is not provided, a mechanical ventilation system must be installed, circulating air directly to the outside.
A bathroom in Ontario is not required to have a window, but still requires some form of an exhaust fan and a ventilation system that leads to the outside and away from the building.
5. Natural Light
In addition to providing better ventilation for your bathroom, windows can provide your bathroom with more natural light without any additional cost.
6. No Circulation on Hot Days
Lack of windows means that you have fewer ways of bringing in cooler air into your bathroom, especially on hot days, making it very unpleasant for your guests.
7. Resale Value
Windows drastically improve the resale value of your property due to the benefits they bring to any home. Lack of windows in a property requires future additions to the home which no potential buyer really wants to go through. Typically, more windows means your property will be much more popular than a property with less windows.
Does a vent solve the problem of not having a window in a bathroom?
A vent will always solve the problem of not having a window in your bathroom. The primary aspect of both is to recirculate moisture and air from the outside into your home then expel it back outside. For any bathroom or home, you need an air system that can recirculate through your home for both sanitary and aesthetic needs. The only drawback to relying on a ventilation system only is that your bathroom will see a lack of natural lighting.
Overall, is it better to have a window in a bathroom?
In most cases, a window can provide your bathroom with a great asset-it provides a cheap and reliable way to ventilate the air and moisture in your bathroom while providing natural lighting. On the other hand, a fan is much more efficient for clearing your bathroom of unwanted moisture but can be more expensive due to maintenance costs. Ultimately your decision will lie with your local building codes and their requirements, so be sure to choose the right fit for your home.