Bathroom comfort is important all year around. When warm weather arrives, your client will expect measures to be incorporated into the bathroom that will ensure a comfortable environment that is void of excess heat and extreme humidity. Although cool air can be chilling when stepping out of a shower or bathtub, it might be welcomed after a sauna or in an exercise or grooming area.
Climate will have a substantial impact on necessary cooling measures. In northern climates, little, if any, mechanical cooling may be necessary if summertime temperatures are not extreme. In warmer climates, mechanical cooling is essential for the most part.
In addition to cooling, some mechanical units can help remove excess humidity, which is important in the bathroom where so much extra moisture is added to the air during showering and bathing. If a closet or dressing area is part of the bathroom suite, less humid air in this area will help clothing slip on and off more easily. Air conditioning units are not, however, a replacement for good ventilation.
Home orientation is another factor that can affect cooling needs. If the bathroom is located on the east or west sides of the home, windows on these walls, especially large windows or those unprotected by landscaping, can allow a large amount of heat into the space. More cooling will be necessary during certain parts of the day. Northern windows and properly protected southern windows should not have heat gain problems from direct sunlight.
Lastly, cooling needs are affected by the home’s level of insulation. Just as good insulation will help keep a home warmer in the winter, it will also benefit it in the summer, keeping the entire home cooler and requiring less mechanical cooling.
There are two main types of cooling methods you might plan into the bathroom project: natural and mechanical. Depending upon the climate, you may decide to incorporate one or both methods.
If you have operable windows, the most basic method of natural cooling is to open windows to let in fresh air during the cooler part of the day or night. Even on fairly warm days, allowing in cool night air and then closing windows during the heat of the day may be enough to keep a home or bathroom space comfortable. If you have windows on two sides of a room, opening these windows will set up cross ventilation to increase air circulation. Windows with low-e coatings can assist by reflecting the heat back out. Surface materials can also assist with cooling. Ceramic tile, stone, concrete, and other massive materials can provide a cool touch to the room. However, these materials will also feel cool in colder weather and may lead to discomfort during that time of year.