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  #1  
Old 02-13-2012
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Fan in Head

Why is it that we have fans mounted in the ceilings of our home bathrooms, but not in our sailboats? I'll assume that some boats have an exhaust fan in their head, but it's a rarity, right? My 2007 Catalina 309 is an example of a boat with no exhaust fan in the head.

What's the deal? I think we all understand the benefit of exhausting the air from a tiny, enclosed area which serves as a place for a toilet and a shower, so why isn't a fan provided? It's needed as much or maybe more on a boat than in a house. Yeah sure, it's a cost cutter, but that's not where we cut costs in housing construction.

What is the solution? All I've come up with so far is to mount a swiveling 12v fan next to the porthole in the head. Open the port....swivel fan....presto. Unless it's raining, of course, which is probably a minor problem.

Ideally, the fan would mount overhead and exit through the deck into a dorade or mushroom style vent. Only downside is the big hole cut into the deck, but if a powerful 12v fan could be combined with a solar fan.....hmmmmm...that could make it all worthwhile.

I'd like to know:

1. What others think about this omission by the builders
2. What others have done as a remedy, if anything
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Old 02-13-2012
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We put a solar exhaust fan in both the head and the galley -- both had dorades and we took the dorade off and put the solar exhaust fan in the same hole. Also knew of friends who put a small hatch in the head and then put a small 4-way wind scoop in the hatch (that's not exactly exhaust, but it does provide ventilation).

Another option is a small computer fan perched in the porthole and set to exhaust. A friend does that in her galley -- she bought them at svHotwire.

We also put an extra Caframo 12-volt fan in the head just for "cooling" since we were cruising the Sea of Cortez in the summer -- temps usually in the high 90's and sometimes over 100. We had fans everywhere and just turned on the closest one!
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Old 02-13-2012
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Try this. Cheap and very neat.

Sail Delmarva: "A Bathroom Fan": or "No Blog Could be Complete Without a Tale of Head Repairs"
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Old 02-13-2012
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The head compartment on my boat (a Cal 2-27) also has the forward hatch. I placed a Nicro Day/Night solar vent in the center of the hatch several years ago. I have it set-up with the "out" blades in the Nicro, so it acts as a continuous exhaust. If need be, I can always crack open the hatch for a bit to air things out.
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Old 02-13-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siamese View Post
Why is it that we have fans mounted in the ceilings of our home bathrooms, but not in our sailboats? I'll assume that some boats have an exhaust fan in their head, but it's a rarity, right? My 2007 Catalina 309 is an example of a boat with no exhaust fan in the head.

What's the deal? I think we all understand the benefit of exhausting the air from a tiny, enclosed area which serves as a place for a toilet and a shower, so why isn't a fan provided? It's needed as much or maybe more on a boat than in a house. Yeah sure, it's a cost cutter, but that's not where we cut costs in housing construction.

What is the solution? All I've come up with so far is to mount a swiveling 12v fan next to the porthole in the head. Open the port....swivel fan....presto. Unless it's raining, of course, which is probably a minor problem.

Ideally, the fan would mount overhead and exit through the deck into a dorade or mushroom style vent. Only downside is the big hole cut into the deck, but if a powerful 12v fan could be combined with a solar fan.....hmmmmm...that could make it all worthwhile.

I'd like to know:

1. What others think about this omission by the builders
2. What others have done as a remedy, if anything
Um, when was the last time your house took a boarding wave?

Many (if not most) residential building codes require a fan only in a bathroom that has no window -- although it certainly makes sense to have a fan even if there's a window present. Long, hot showers at home are pretty standard, and put a lot of water vapor in the air. I heard a rumor that this is also possible on a boat, but for the life of me I can't see how. Our 6gal water heater will only produce a few minutes of hot water, and if I ever catch my wife running through the fresh water taking a "non-Navy" shower I swear I may come unglued.

Could heads use more ventilation? Almost always, but I wouldn't knock builders or designers for the absence of fans. Unless I've been digesting a huge Mexican feast, an open porthole is normally sufficient to air out the head. Unless you've got a mold problem in your head, then I'd hazard a guess and say that the ventilation good enough.
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Last edited by PorFin; 02-13-2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorFin View Post
Um, when was the last time your house took a boarding wave?
And it will happen when the hatches are open. I know this for a fact .
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Old 02-13-2012
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Head Ventilation

I installed Nicro Day/Night Powervent (the larger square one with the shut-off collar) in the heads of my last two boats; as well as generally improving ventilation, they go a long way toward making the shower usable by venting the humidity (regardless of how little water is used).

The only downside is the recurring black mildew stains on the deck around said vent exhaust, but "better out than in".

Yes it takes a certain resolve to cut a 4" hole in the deck (removing core and filling/reinforcing with West System epoxy, of course) but I've never regretted it (except maybe a tiny bit during installation on the C&C 33, when I discovered that a wire to the ceiling light was embedded in the epoxy putty between the deck and headliner.) Putting the vent in the hatch would have blocked virtually all light, so I much prefer it in the deck.

I would love to install another Powervent in the aft head which also serves as a wet locker, but that one suffers from a lack of ceiling space that isn't occupied topside by winches, stoppers, and/or shaded under the dodger. Been thinking of putting one on the cabin side next to the opening port, but I'm not sure how rain/waterproof it would be on a greater-than-45-degree slope.
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Old 02-13-2012
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I've been on a number of boats with fans, including Swans and Hatteras MYs. None were effective. I agree with the concept. I have yet to see an implementation that was useful. Maybe using an engine room blower?
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Old 02-13-2012
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I just pop the hatch when showering. Simple, hot air rises.
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Old 02-13-2012
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Don't put a big hole through the deck for that reason.

In a big storm with water crashing over the top of your ship, you will get seawater parked on top of your head and you will be left there sitting all broken-hearted, and only farted.

You are warned.
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