The title of this post could more accurately be titled, “what I did with my holidays!”

Discovering that our house here in Newlands is at times damp, we’ve put aside enough money to get some ventilation put in. The big job is getting a hood over the cooker (it has to be vented through the roof – a DIY I’m not willing to take on), but the bathroom was simple enough.

When we lived in Cuba Street we had vents continuously pushing air into the bathroom and toilet, and no extractor fans. Sometimes when the weather really packed in these vents would stop working and the bathroom would get very humid. “Odd”, I thought, “conventional wisdom says always extract”. Upon discovering that putting an extractor into the bathroom would be a BIG DEAL, I remembered Cuba Street and resolved to use a similar fix up here.

Now, Newlands is a strange place. We’re very high up, so at times what appears to be fog rolls across the property and past the house. I say ‘appears’ because it’s actually low cloud. Awesome.

When said cloud wafts across the house it also enters it, making the place slightly humid once it departs, which is best remedied by opening the windows (and if possible, doors). This usually dries the house out quite a bit, but the bathroom is a little difficult because of it’s location. So, realising that the dampness in the house is not a problem with the house itself (it isn’t humidity from groundwater for example), I thought that decent ventilation could be brought in, and while it might only push the water to another room, those rooms can be easily vented outside.

And that’s where all this stuff comes in

Bits for a postive pressure system

The first thing to do was to build a mounting for the fan. It’s a small, quiet, ball-bearing variety from JayCar electronics, retailing at around $50. The mounting itself is just a piece of down-pipe for a roof spouting system from Bunnings.

What I did was buy 4 small ‘angle brackets’ from Bunnings, and bolt them to the corners of the fan. I also used some regular old washers to absorb some of the vibration and keep the noise down.

Once that was completed I drilled a hole for the wiring, to ensure that this wasn’t in the airflow.

This unit was then mounted in the PVC piping by drilling into the pipe and screwing the fan and brackets on.

Once this was done I stuffed some foam into the cavities around the fan unit, and we’re done! I’ll check on this in a few weeks to see if it’s deteriorating, or worse.

The final thing to do was to extend the power cable, done with a extension cord (duh…), and have a registered Electrician install a three-point plug in the ceiling space. With these in place I used a jigsaw to cut a hole in the ceiling of the bathroom and installed a 125mm vent. The unit attaches to this vent using standard silver extending ventilation pipe, seen below.

Here’s me testing it before the vent is installed in the ceiling.

The final thing was to prepare the unit for installation in the ceiling space. To do this I put some muslin over the intake to prevent fibreglass and other dusts from entering the house (this will be improved to something a little more substantial if the unit is still working in a few weeks). I also made a sling from an old shoelace to hang the unit on.

And voila, this was suspended from a bungy cord in the ceiling space.

Not quite a Worm of Arrakis, but, beggars and choosers, right?

And, it seems to be working just fine. We have a switch in the hallway we use to turn it off if the ceiling space is too cold (I run a digital thermometer up into the ceiling from the hallway so we can monitor temperature).


Well, it’s beenrunning for at least a week now, and other than a slightly odd smell we’re putting down to the ceiling, the bathroom is very very dry. The mildew is drying out, and we’re curious to see how it goes over the winter!

Oh, and to make the most of the time off I also built this:

Trellis cum windbreak in the garden.

And, more substantially, this:

DIY Fence, 11m long, 1.90m high.

The latter with some well-timed and essential help from neighbour.