Bathroom Exhaust Fan Leaking Water When It Rains [Reason & Solution]

13 min read

Don’t panic when you notice that your bathroom exhaust fan leaking water when it rains outside. Keep calm as there are some easy fixes for this.

However, you need to figure out the probable reasons first to take action. This should not happen within a few years when you install a fresh bathroom ventilation fan with light and heater.

And in this article, you will learn all about apartment bathroom vent leaking in one place.

Why Bathroom Exhaust Fan Leaks Water When It Rains?

bathroom exhaust fan leaking water when it rains

The solution is different for each reason. So, when you notice it for the first time, you should pinpoint the reason first. That way, not just rain, you can take action against any dripping water problem.

Only then, you can keep asking yourself how do I stop my bathroom fan from leaking? Here are some possible reasons why it might happen in the first place:

  • Vent Cap Rubber Flashing

I don’t know whether it is applicable for you, but did you make a hole on the roof for the vent? Well, that’s what most people do and this is how it should be done.

Now, most people use a flashing made of rubber to the vent cap to create a seal. Over the years, that flashing gets damaged or cracked. If its damaged, it can’t provide seal anymore. That’s how the rainwater finds its way through the vent. If I were you, I would inspect this first.

  • Issue with The Damper

The damper controls the airflow. When it works fine, it remains closed until the warm air from the inside of the bathroom forces it to open.

But if it is faulty, it will remain open all the time without any push from the inside. That’s when the water may leak.

  • The capacity of The Fan

Did you buy a smaller fan (in terms of capacity) for a larger bathroom? If so, you are overworking the fan and the fan simply just can’t keep up.

Even if you bought the fan according to the square feet of your bathroom, the fan may have been overworking if your family members love hot showers a lot. Any fan with less capacity can’t simply exhaust such huge warm air.

  • Duct Condensation

If you notice the fan starts dripping shortly after taking a shower, there may be a condensation issue in the duct. You will notice the problem mainly in the winter.

During the winter, when the warm air meets the cold air from the attic, it leads to condensation. Eventually, the water drip back to the bathroom through the exhaust fan.

There are so many other ways for the condensation to build up.

During the warmer season, the air conditioning system will make the pipe cold and when the hot air from outside hits it, it may happen.

  • Ice Build-up In Roof

During the winter, it is a common scenario and this is what you expect to occur. But the fan starts to drip water when the warm air from the hot shower melts the ice. Yes, through the vent, the melted water will find its way to the fan.

  • You Are Doing It Wrong

Yes, there is a guideline on how to run your exhaust fan and if you don’t follow it –  there will be consequences. If you run it only after you are done with the shower, you are doing it wrong.

You should keep the fan running during the shower and for at least 20 minutes after the shower. This is so important to enable the fan to get rid of all the warm air so that it does not lead to condensation.

There are so many other reasons that may lead the fan to drip water when it rains. If you can’t find the problem yourself, call the local roofer to do the inspection for you.

How Do I Stop My Bathroom Fan From Leaking?

Okay, so you have seen all major possible reasons of why the apartment bathroom vent leaking. It’s now time to take action. Here are the easy fixes that you can do yourself.

If some of the following tips seem impossible, call a professional.

  • Change The Rubber Flashing: If you are sure it is damaged, there is no alternative but to replace it. This is the easiest fix if this is the reason why you are seeing this problem.
  • Use flexible roof sealant to fix any holes and gaps. There should not be any leak on the roof.
  • If you have to redirect the water away, think about installing ‘cricket’.
  • Replace Damaged Chimney Cover: Inspect the chimney cover and the flashing that creates the seal. If the flashing is intact, then maybe you have a damaged chimney cover. If it seems damaged, replace it as well.
  • To prevent rainwater from entering, you can install a barrier – something like screen wire.
  • Make sure the ventilation pipe has the proper insulation to prevent any condensation.
  • Old shingles tend to be damaged or missing which may cause the leaking. Think about replacing them too.
  • As preventive measures, keep the roof clean of leaves, branches, and debris.
  • Install the exhaust fan in the right place with a professional.


Possible Dangers From Leaking Exhaust Fan

Insulating Around A Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Dripping water from it is already annoying enough, but the trouble simply does not end there. You have very legitimate reasons to be concerned about it.

The real danger may be far worse than what you can imagine. Before I talk about some easy fixes to deal with the problem, let’s see some real danger that may happen.

  • The exhaust fan will die anytime soon!
  • A bathroom is already a slippery place and the leaking fan will make it even worse. Anyone call slip and fall which may lead to severe injuries.
  • The main reason why there is a roof above the ceiling is to ensure that it does not come in contact with water in any way. Because water will damage the ceiling completely.
  • You will never get rid of mold and mildew if you don’t fix it for good ASAP. They need moisture to grow and survive. And the constant leaking water is supplying them that. Don’t forget, you and your family members may suffer from respiratory problems due to such molds too!
  • Pretty soon, you won’t be worried about the exhaust fan, rather you will be worried about the entire ceiling, paint, and the damage may even extend to the walls!
  • No attic is not designed to withstand such water as well. The dripping water will damage the attic too if you have one. Whatever you keep in there will be damaged too.
  • Dripping water from the fan may be life-threatening too. You don’t see any electrical wiring that is hidden in the attic. The water may lead to short and spark; which eventually may lead to a fire.
  • All the ceiling-mounted lights and fans that are connected to the wiring are in danger too.

As you can see, this is not a tiny problem you are dealing with. It’s just the warning sign of something seriously bad that will happen sooner or later. Do not delay to take immediate action.


So, you have all the possible reasons and corresponding tips to fix them. Do not wait too long if the bathroom exhaust fan leaking water when it rains because the consequences may be severe.

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