Does my bathroom need a hot air register?


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Old 07-05-21, 06:34 AM
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Does my bathroom need a hot air register?

I have a question about my heating vent in my bathroom: basically, I'd like to ask whether I even need one. I'm asking because of some renovations I'm currently doing on this bathroom.

The bathroom is roughly 14' x 7', with the shower unit against the exterior wall. Previously, there was a 4' vanity directly over the existing hot-air pipe and they had installed a hot-air register in the bottom of the old vanity. (Pipe came up thru the floor and turned 90 degrees so the air exited out the front of the vanity base.) There's no return-air vent in the bathroom.

I'm replacing the old 4' vanity with a 5' unit, so if I use the existing piping, it will again need to be vented out the base of the vanity. The new vanity has a surround base that would need to be altered to allow air from the furnace to exit into the bathroom. (Because the new vanity has a decorative "foot", I'm not sure how hard this would be, although the decorative part can be removed, if necessary. See photo.) The reason I'm asking whether I really need the hot-air register is this: when I took out the old vanity, I noticed that the previous owners had closed off the hot-air register completely, so for the five years we've lived here, there's been no hot air blowing into the bathroom (or cold air in summer). Until I discovered that the hot-air register was closed, I had no hint that it was so: the bathroom has always seemed warm enough in winter (cool enough in summer). We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where it can get quite cold outside in the winter.

Perhaps one reason the previous owners closed the hot-air register was that it blew air right toward the toilet, so maybe it was too uncomfortable to anyone sitting on the throne?

So I have three options, as I see it:
1. Modify the vanity to allow the hot air to exit from its base.
2. Move the piping under the floor so that it exits into a different area of the bathroom. (Not sure this is even possible.)
3. Cap the hot-air pipe so that no hot air enters the bathroom. (Essentially the same state as what what we've had the past five years.)

So my question again: Do I even need hot air being pumped into the bathroom? Or can I just rely on air movement into the bathroom from other areas of the house? Obviously, that would be the simplest "solution", if it indeed qualifies as a solution.

I've also posted this question to the "Gas and Oil Home Heating Furnaces" forum on this site.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Wayne


Note the decorative foot on the base.
 
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Old 07-05-21, 06:58 AM
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Even if the vent damper is closed it is possible that some air still gets through. It could also be noisy.

It looks like the bottom to the new vanity is open. Is there a kick board that goes all the way to the floor behind the foot piece? If not then there is enough space for air to flow out from underneath. Leaving the damper open would provide warm or cold air to flow out and at least heat (or cool) the floor as well as provide some heat/cool to the room. ( A warm floor in the winter is a plus.)

There should also be an exhaust fan in the bathroom and that eliminates the need for a return grille.
 
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Old 07-05-21, 08:51 AM
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Is there a kick board that goes all the way to the floor behind the foot piece?
Yes, there is a kick board all the way across.
 
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Old 07-05-21, 01:12 PM
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Your options are:

Leave the register closed as it is and not use it for heating/cooling. No modification to vanity required.

Remove kick board (if it is not structural) or cut/drill holes in it and let air flow through the foot space.

In my kitchen some water pipes run in the kickspace along an outside wall and occasionally froze. I cut holes in the kickspace and used soffit vents painted to match to allow air flow into the space to prevent freezing.



They are not visible from normal viewing angles--only if you are lying on the floor or coming up the stairs from the basement.
 
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Old 07-05-21, 04:20 PM
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Remove kick board (if it is not structural) or cut/drill holes in it and let air flow through the foot space.
The kickboard is structural.

If I drilled holes in it, would you expect the heat to damage the wood over time? (In your case, the heat was entering the kickspace, whereas for me, the heat would be exiting the kickspace.) Or is there a way to mitigate that?

Maybe I should look into re-routing the hot-air pipe to another part of the floor.

Thanks for your help.

Wayne
 
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Old 07-06-21, 07:48 AM
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would you expect the heat to damage the wood
Hot air from a forced air heating system would not damage the wood unless the air was very humid. Plywood or solid wood is less affected by humidity. Particle board or MDF can be affected by moisture but unless there is a humidifier on your forced air furnace AND the wood is less than 10 feet from the humidifier it should not be affected. The effect on wood of humidity in the bathroom from showers, etc. should not be a problem if you use an exhaust fan and the forced air from the heating system is blowing non-humid air past the wood. In any case sealing the cut edges with paint will protect the wood. (I do not think that is necessary. The inside surfaces of the kick space under the vanity are probably not sealed or painted.)
 
 

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