Bathing in Japan is always fascinating not only because it allows you to learn from the local culture, but it’s always mind-blowing to see the technologies supporting and revolutionizing the traditional ways of bathing. From our previous articles, we have walked you through the basics on how to use a hot water boiler, this time, we will give you a guide on another important device inside a typical modern Japanese bath, the bath ventilation system.
As a newcomer to this country, you will find it extremely confusing to use most of the electronics since a majority of these devices are in Japanese only, and there is no exception for the bath ventilation system. You might think that there are way too many buttons for just a single function of ventilation. But if you look closer and give it time to understand all its functions, you might think it is one of the most genius invention of all time.
There are 4 main functions for this particular vent fan- Ventilation (標準換気、ブロー換気), Heat （暖房), Cooler (涼風), Dryer (乾燥) (from right to left). You might think that’s too many functions for just a vent fan, but first, you need to understand the Japanese are one of the world’s most bathed people and it is a daily routine for a majority of them. This means bathing is not only for the cold winter, but also during the hot days of Summer. If you happen to be bathing and felt the temperature of the bathroom is either too hot or cold, you can switch on the heat or cooler function to set a perfect and comfortable temperature for your relaxing bath.
Back to its original purpose, this vent fan provides two modes for ventilation, normal mode (標準換気) and airblow mode (ブロー換気). You can switch between the modes by pressing the respective button. In terms of usage, the normal mode is used when you want to take out humidity after your bath or shower while the airblow mode is used when you want to dry out the whole bathroom.
Last but not least, the dryer function. For a lot of people outside out Japan, this is an interesting and handy function because it allows you to dry your clothing inside your bathroom. One of the main reasons why this function is available is that Japan is known for its rainy season while there are times when it rained constantly, forcing people to dry their clothes inside their room. However, room drying is not the best method and often, it takes a lot time while leaving an unpleasant odor on your freshly washed clothes. Another reason why we see dryers inside the bathroom is that, space is limited often in a Japanese apartment. Having this function can help save space.
After guiding you through the main functions, let’s move on to other buttons. From right to left, there is the Stop (停止), 24- hour ventilation (24時間), timer (タイマー切替), time ( 時計/セット) and filter reset (フィルターリセット). You will also see different lights on the panel which we will explain a little more in a moment.
The stop button is self-explanatory and will stop everything that are running. The 24- hour ventilation allows ventilation to run for 24 hours a day. It is essential because most of the newer bathrooms do not have windows, making it a terrible place for air circulation which brings odor and other hygiene problems.
The timer button allows you to preset a timer for each of the functions. For example, if you want to warm up the bathroom before you go inside every day, you can set the timer to a set time and have it run on a daily basis.
The time button would be something that not many people would use, but in case you need to change the display time, you can press the time button and change the hours or minutes by using the arrow buttons.
Same with the time button, you don’t really need to touch the filter reset button unless you cleaned the filter. When to clean it? You will know when the light goes on.
Just like other electronics you have; this vent fan requires a little bit of maintenance. So, make sure you are cleaning the filter each month because it stores up a lot of dust within a short period of time as it runs constantly. Take out the filter and clean it with either a damped cloth or vacuum cleaner.
If the dirt is severe, you can put in a little bit of detergent and soak it in water. You can just leave to air dry inside the bathroom but make sure you are not exposing it to the sun.
If you happen to stay in an apartment with these ventilation features, please feel free to try them out as they will be super handy and will enhance your experience in different situations.