Upon first glance, when someone hears the phrase, ‘The Toilet Paper Test’, it would not be uncommon for the still undeveloped far reaches of one’s brain to automatically default to imagining imagery that would fall in-line with that paralleling the thoughts of the great 90s thought leaders Beavis & Butthead.
As facetious as this may seem on the surface, it is probably not far off.
The toilet paper test however is one that can be critically important to the functionality of the air flow in one’s bathroom, while not necessarily having anything to do with the toilet itself.
One of the more common items that we get called upon for advice about is how well one’s bathroom fan is working.
A bathroom fan is a fan, often coupled with a light fixture and attached to the ceiling, whose purpose is to suck air out of the bathroom and guide it to the outside of the home.
The purpose of the bathroom fan is multi-faceted as its aim is to guide as much moisture, humidity, and yes, odors as possible from the bathroom to the outside of the home.
Ideally there is a hose attached to the backside of the bathroom fan that brings the air which is being drawn out from the bathroom to the home’s exterior, preferably out through the roof (as the higher the exit point, the better), though many times through an area of the home’s soffit (the ‘overhang’ area of the home).
As surprising as it may seem, I can’t tell you how many times we find the bathroom fan is simply venting out into the attic itself with zero attempt visible as to making an effort to vent it outside.
This is problematic on a number of levels.
In these types of cases, in particular with regard to moisture and humidity, having a bathroom fan that is vented into the attic can be the catalyst of a breeding ground for mold.
While it may take a period of time for this to occur, it is almost a sure thing that mold will begin to form somewhere in the attic in the vicinity of the backside of the fan, creating potential health challenges for those unsuspecting residents in the floors below.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with a ‘toilet paper test’.
Whether a bathroom fan is correctly vented or not, sometimes people are just wondering in general if their bathroom fan is truly working or not, because in all honesty, it can be hard to tell.
Enter toilet paper.
To test if your bathroom fan is even close to viably working, turn the bathroom fan on.
Next, take a piece of toilet paper and position it directly under the bathroom fan.
If the toilet paper sticks to the fan, the fan is most likely drawing in air as it should be.
If the toilet paper does not stick and instead falls to the ground, the fan is not working properly and should probably be replaced.
Super scientific, I know.
Ensuring one’s bathroom fan is operating properly, and vented to where it should be vented to, is a small exercise which every homeowner should check up on at least once or twice per year.
To me, it is fun that something known as a ‘toilet paper test’ can be super helpful in aiding to determine whether one’s bathroom may have proper air flow, or if a conversation should be had as to what has to be done to improve things.
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