Fan Controls in Bathrooms
The placement of a fan switch in the bathroom is a tricky question.
Photo by Russell Abraham.
We are in the process of building a house. My husband and I are arguing as to where the switch for the fan should be located in our bathrooms. I say it should be located by the door and he wants it by the toilet.
How do I answer this question tastefully? Oh, the heck with it; let’s take a cue from the popular book “Everybody Poops 410 Pounds a Year.” Usually, when you’re going into the bathroom to make a “number two,” you’re not really considering in that moment the amount of gases you will be emitting … or the length of your stay. People do not automatically think about flipping on the fan switch as they come into a bathroom. They are much more focused on the immediate task at hand. It is usually about halfway through the process that you think, “OMG this is gonna be smelly.” You can’t exactly get up with your pants around your ankles and shuffle over to the switch, so you have to wait until you are leaving the bathroom. If somebody else is there waiting to use the facilities, there hasn’t been enough time for the smells to be extracted from the space. Talk about room with a “whew!” But if the switch is located near your sitting position, you can flick it on the moment you realize that this could be an embarrassing situation. If you are still arguing, consider putting the fan on a three-way switch. Then everybody wins — by a nose.
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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