Does A Laundry Room Require an Exhaust Fan? (Solved!)

Exhaust fans are manufactured not only for commercial use but also for residential use. They bring just as much value to a home as they do to a factory or commercial plant.

Laundry rooms contain electronics like dryers, irons, garment steamers, and washing machines, which diffuse or emit some level of heat. Hence, an exhaust fan is not an unusual addition to these spaces.

Kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms with chimneys are also areas in a home an exhaust fan can be installed. These devices are best used in spaces that constantly have high humidity.

This article is for anyone and everyone considering or already making a move to install an exhaust fan in a laundry room or any other part of a home. It contains all the information you need to make well-informed decisions.

Should a Laundry Room Have an Exhaust Fan?

Laundry rooms should have exhaust fans for the following reasons; they prevent mildew build-up, save homes from lint fires and lower the moisture content in the air, therefore improving air circulation.

In many homes, laundry rooms are poorly ventilated, which is distressing, especially when one considers the amount of heat-producing activities that go on in these areas.

We all know that a laundry room is where clothes are ironed and washed with different laundry chemicals, but most people rarely ever give much thought to the health risks a stuffy and poorly ventilated laundry room poses.

Laundry chemicals can make you sick if inhaled over time without fresh air intake; this is why you should at least install an exhaust fan in your laundry room if you can’t install new windows.

When the equipment in a laundry room is used continuously, they produce a lot of heat, making your laundry room hot, stuffy, and sometimes suffocating.

This is where an exhaust fan comes in to save the day. Turning on this device while you work will help cool the room by passing the heat out, making the air less saturated and more breathable.

Exhaust fans take out moisture before it accumulates, high moisture content in the air can lead to the buildup of mildew and mold, which can cause damage to the walls in a room.

Over time, mildew can cause allergic reactions, while mold can cause cancer. You can install an exhaust fan either on a ceiling or through a wall.

Exhaust fans are often mistaken for ventilation fans. Here are the significant differences between these devices.

  • A ventilation fan brings in and circulates air in an enclosed space from outside, while an exhaust fan removes hot air from space to allow cool air circulation.
  • A ventilation fan is made of plastic, while an exhaust fan is made of iron.

Code Requirement for Laundry Room Exhaust Fan

An aspect of the 2015 IRC that applies to date is the exhaust fan specification for a laundry room. According to this residential code, a 50 CFM (cubic feet per minute) exhaust fan is required in a laundry room.

If you think a 50 CFM exhaust fan isn’t ideal for your laundry room, consult a professional before you get one with a lower or higher CFM rating.

When purchasing an exhaust fan, look out for the ones with filters; these models last longer than regular exhaust fans as they prevent lint from accumulating. Maintaining these types of exhaust fans is also quite easy.

There are certain things you should consider when buying an exhaust fan for your laundry room.

  1. Consider exhaust fans with high-efficiency ratings and positive reviews.
  2. Choose a fan with the right CFM for your laundry room. The following formula can be used to calculate the right CFM needed for your room.

L×W×H CFM = Room Volume ÷ Min/Change

  • How much sound the exhaust fan produces when it’s turned on should also be taken into consideration.
  • The amount of static pressure an exhaust fan is capable of is also really important.

The below table contains the best models of exhaust fans, their CFM, and sound levels.

Broan-NuTone L4004342.3
Panasonic FV-0880/1100.8
AC Infinity AIRLIFT63167 dBA
Broan NuTone QTXE800.3
Aero Pure CYL901.9
Delta Electronics1002
ESD Tech Quiet800.7
BV Ultra-Quiet900.8
iLIVING82045 dbA

a dba stands for decibels A, which means the louder the noise, the higher the decibels.

The exhaust fans with a sound level that ends with “dBA” are relatively loud. They emit sounds that are sensitive to the human ear.

Does California Require Exhaust Fan in Laundry Room?

California does not require an exhaust fan in a laundry room. It is not part of the code requirements in this region. Here’s a more detailed explanation of why it’s not a requirement.

The ventilation requirements in the California building and residential codes already ensure that there is free passage of air in and out of the rooms in a home.

It’s common knowledge that a home should be naturally ventilated by openings such as doors, windows, and louvers.

The information above can actually be found in the California building code, to be precise Section 1203 of the code.

The rule is no less than 4% of the floor area of a dwelling space should be taken up by outdoor openings.

So, if your laundry room does not have windows that take up to 4% of the room, exhaust fans must be installed for better ventilation.  

Although an exhaust fan can be done without in a laundry room, vent hoods are a must in this part of your home.

A vent hood must be up to 100 CFM; this specification ensures proper air circulation. Interestingly, dryers are great substitutes for exhaust fans as they can suck out hot and humid air.

However, a vent should be attached to your dryer. Using a dryer without a vent increases the chances of a fire breaking out in your home and reduces the machine’s ability to dry clothes.

According to the International Building Code (IBC), the dryer vent duct must be made of smooth metal; this material makes it hard for lint to build up in the duct.

Dryers require special venting for fire safety and to maintain proper air quality. It’s important that lint doesn’t get into your home through the duct, as it can cause serious health complications when inhaled.    

Also, ensure that all the appliances you use in your laundry room are properly vented. If they haven’t been vented, they can release dangerous fumes both inside and outside your home.

If, for some reason, you can’t get an exhaust fan in your laundry room, here are other devices you can use as a substitute.

  • A Two-Speed Fan:

This type of fan works on two different levels of speed; high and low. When the laundry room is not in use, the fan works on low speed to keep it cool. When the laundry room is in use, it works at high speed to eliminate the heat produced while working.

  • Energy Recovery Ventilators.

EVRs conserve energy, thereby saving you from high electricity bills. EVRs remove the bad air in a room and replace it with clean air from outside.

Final Thoughts

If you want your laundry room to be a super functional space with proper airflow or circulation, you should consider installing an exhaust fan. Exhaust fans are reasonably priced and not too complicated to install.

We hope we were able to answer whatever questions you may have on laundry rooms and exhaust fans and know without a doubt that you’d make the right modifications in this part of your home.