Help with exhaust fan
Posting this in several areas...
Let me start off by saying that I am not nuts, and yes, I'm sure of everything I'm posting here, so please don't ask, "Are you nuts?" or "Are you sure?"
1999: Upon purchasing and moving into a 1950's-1960's Philadelphia duplex, girlfriend decided that the wall-mount exhaust fan in the 1st floor bathroom was "big and ugly, stuck out pretty far from the wall, and someone is going to bang into it when they get off the toilet". After it was removed, newspaper was shoved inside the duct, and it was plastered over. The power switch and the old electrical outlet the fan was connected to were left there. Nobody would be using the first floor shower, so we didn't worry too much about ventilation. The second floor bathroom has a skylight, and therefore, doesn't need a fan. We figured we'd put a new fan in when/if we ever needed it.
2005: During the remodel of the 2nd floor bathroom, we now use the 1st floor shower. After paint begans to peel and mildew begans to form, she finally believes me that it's due to no ventilation (after quadrupile-checking with other people) and has commanded me to put in a bathroom fan.
PROBLEM: When I chop away all the plaster, what I find is a two-inch diameter pipe, absolutely flush with the surface of the wall. Yes, PIPE, threads and everything. I chop away more around it and find the pipe is about 8" long. It goes into an elbow joint, and then goes straight up from there, presumably up through the second floor bathroom wall and presumably out the roof.
I have been to local hardware stores, Home Depot, and Lowe's. Everyone first looks at me like I'm nuts, then they ask me if I'm sure I know what I'm talking about, then they tell me that they've never heard of such a thing, ask if I am I sure it's not a natural gas line instead of an exhaust duct, and I'm S.O.L., since the absolute smallest fan they've seen has a 3" output, and it's a side-exhaust (meaning if I mounted it in a wall, the duct would have to run perpendilular to the floor). They have absolutely NO idea how I would modify an "current" exhaust fan to fit such a duct, and tell me that even if I did, a 2" duct wouldn't allow enough air flow to be worth a whole helluva lot.
Keep in mind, while I want to get some kind of air flow, I REALLY (let me emphasize) **REALLY** do not want to go nuts and replace whatver is there. It would cost me thousands of dollars and knowing me a hundred hours to fix, and I can't afford either. I also know that removing mildew isn't fun and easy either. I'm at the point though where I'm ready to say that 2" is better than 0", and just get some kind of small fan (like a RadioShack 3" fan or something) and find a way to mount it to the wall and make a grill from scratch.
I guess I'm asking if anybody's seen such a thing, how was it fixed, and does anybody have any better ideas than mine? Thanks, and have a great one.