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Condensation Dripping From Bathroom Ceiling | 9 Tips to Fix It

Despite the bathroom being the one room in the house that is literally designed to get wet—well, at least parts of it are—when water appears to be dripping from the ceiling, it is something you definitely do not want to ignore.

The droplets that appear on your ceiling may be indicative of an issue that could have serious consequences on the structural integrity of your home and the health of your family. There are, thankfully, ways that you can combat this condensation and thereby preserve the structure and safety of your home and family.

Condensation on a bathroom ceiling indicates poor ventilation. To fix it:
  • Install bathroom fan
  • Move bathroom fan
  • Upgrade bathroom fan
  • Run fan longer
  • Open windows and doors
  • Run dehumidifier
  • Take cooler/shorter showers
  • Heat the bathroom when you shower

Condensation on Ceiling Is Ventilation Issue

A bathroom is the hub of moisture. Every singly time that you take a hot shower or bath, the hot water creates steam that is then dispersed into the air, quickly making the room spa-like.

When you have a window or door open or an extractor fan running either during or after your shower, the steam should dissipate relatively quickly as the moisture is able to find a way out of the room through these exit points, with the help of the airflow that is being circulated.

However, if there is poor ventilation in the bathroom, then the moisture has no where to go. Even if the ventilation system has a few flaws, it can result in condensation. This then accumulates on the bathroom ceiling (as hot air rises, naturally) and causes condensation.

9 Tips to Fix It

1. Install a Bathroom Fan

One of the most effective ways to combat condensation in your bathroom is to install a bathroom exhaust fan. Bathroom fans are effective at removing moisture from the space as they allow the warm, moist air to be expelled from the space and replaced with fresh air.

Panasonic FV-0511VF1 WhisperFit DC Retrofit Ventilation Fan, 50, 80 or 110 CFM, Quiet Energy Star Certified Energy-Saving Ceiling

However, not all bathroom fan’s are created equal, which can make choosing one quite difficult if you don’t know exactly what you need. Experts advise that your bathroom fan is doing its job if the air is being changed (completely replaced with fresh air) around 8 times every hour.

In order to ensure this, you will need to get a fan with the appropriate CFM. Having a fan with too low of a CFM means that moisture will not be expelled as quickly, which may mean that you could still experience condensation.

2. Move Bathroom Fan

In order for you to reap the full benefits that a bathroom fan can bring to your home, you need to make sure that the fan is installed in the appropriate location.

Since the shower is the primary culprit of steam production, it is best to place your fan about a foot away from your shower. This distance ensures that the steam can find the exit point quickly, without spreading around the whole room.

However, don’t be tempted to place the fan directly above the shower as this can create an uncomfortable situation every time you use the shower. Heat can be expelled a lot quicker and you can experience drafts.

You also need to make sure that there is nothing directly in front of the fan, such as a towel rack, as these obstacles can prevent the air from circulating efficiently.

3. Upgrade Your Bathroom Fan

If you already have a fan installed, and it is in the prime location as explained above, but you are still not getting the steam out fast enough, then your fan may not be sufficiently powered.

If it is an older fan, or simply one with less power, it won’t be able to handle the amount of moisture in the air as well as a higher-powered fan would.

Spending the cash to replace the fan with a newer and stronger one is definitely worth the investment. You will find that steam will leave your bathroom a lot faster and your condensation issue may disappear altogether.

4. Run the Fan Longer

Sometimes it may feel like the steam is just not going away and your bathroom is left a misty cave for quite some time after you shower. This could be as a result of not letting the fan run long enough after your shower.

It is recommended that you should let your bathroom fan run for at least 20 minutes after you shower to allow for all of the moisture to be removed from the room, and replaced with fresh air.

let your bathroom fan run after you shower

Of course, as previously explained, if you have an older fan this time may need to be extended slightly.

Remembering to switch the fan on before and off after your shower may seem like a huge chore. Luckily, you do have the option of getting an automated process with a timer switch or a humidity-sensing fan.

5. Open Windows and Doors

Another way to increase the airflow and ventilation in your bathroom is to have your windows and doors open while you shower and for a while once you are finished.

Doing this, in conjunction with running your bathroom fan, is a sure way to make sure that steam does not have the opportunity to accumulate on your ceiling. There are multiple exit points for it as well as fresh air continuously being brought in.

However, keeping the doors and windows open during the shower may not only be unideal when it comes to privacy, but during colder months you may feel an uncomfortable draft while you shower which may make the entire experience unpleasant.

6. Run a Dehumidifier

If your bathroom lacks sufficient ventilation—perhaps there is only one small window or you do not have a fan, then a good option would be to get a dehumidifier. These appliances work by removing the moisture in the air and collecting the water in a tank.

There are a variety of options to choose from, so you will definitely be able to find one that suits your budget as well as fits in your bathroom. They are also completely portable, which means you aren’t limited to only using them in one room.

hOmeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Medium to Large Rooms and Basements

Make sure to get one with the appropriate capacity as you may have to empty the tank multiple times a day if there are a lot of people taking showers during the day, which can be quite a nuisance.

You may still want to look into a bathroom fan though, as these require a lot less maintenance than a dehumidifier and, depending on your natural ventilation system, an exhaust fan may be required to bring your bathroom ventilation up to code.

7. Take Cooler/Shorter Showers

Condensation is caused by moisture accumulating in the room. If there is less moisture, then, by logic, there will be less condensation.

Taking colder or shorter showers will reduce the amount of steam that is created at a time in your bathroom. This means that the moisture can be expelled a lot quicker as there will be a lot less of it in the space.

However, colder showers aren’t really what one looks forward to after a long, tiring day at work are they? It might be worth it to look into alternative tips if you want to keep your steamy showers.

8. Air Bathroom Between Showers

Unless you are a single person living alone, a shower is likely to be used multiple times a day as each member of the household uses it.

More people means more showers, which means the amount of steam and moisture that is produced increases drastically.

To avoid the condensation that occurs due to the accumulation of moisture, it is vital that the bathroom is cleared of steam before the next person showers so that the fan or dehumidifier does not have to work super hard to get the job done.

Running the fan, or leaving the doors and windows open during the time between each shower can help in reducing the possibility of moisture accumulating on the ceiling.

Illustration of a girl leaving the bathroom door open to let out the steam

9. Heat the Room to a Higher Temperature

Condensation occurs when heated, vaporized water comes into contact with a cold surface or cold air near a surface. So, one way to reduce the amount of condensation that forms on your bathroom ceiling is to heat the room.

You will need to experiment a bit to see at what temperature the condensation problem becomes minimal.

Over a week or so, every time you shower, increase the temperature of the room by a set amount. Then, when you find the appropriate temperature, write it down somewhere so that you don’t forget.

This temperature will be different according to season. You will need to heat the bathroom more in winter because the ambient temperature and the temperature of the ceiling will be lower but the heat from your shower will still be the same.

You will not need to constantly run your heater, just turn it on 5-10 minutes before you shower and turn it off again when you are done.

There are two predominant drawbacks to this method, which you can weigh against the pro of not having condensation on your bathroom ceiling.

Firstly, the cost of running your heater every day can add up. Secondly, a heated bathroom in summer is not always pleasant.

One thing I will mention is that, in summer, if you lower the temperature of your shower, you won’t need to heat the bathroom as much or even at all to minimize the ceiling condensation.


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