How does an exhaust fan work?
Unlike large whole house fans, an exhaust fan works by sucking humid or hot air from a small localized area, then allowing fresh air to enter from any opening like a door or vent. The warm, moist air sucked by the fan is then pulled through a ducting system and released outside.
Some fans use sensors that make them activate automatically when they sense any steam or humid air in a room.
Benefits of installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom
Each part of your house requires a proper ventilation (there are special fans for basements, solar fans for attics, etc.). If you are wondering why on earth you would have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, consider the following benefits:
Improved air quality
A fan will vent the dampness and humidity that cause mold or mildew, which trigger health hazards like asthma and other respiratory problems. It also helps clear bad odor that comes after you flush the toilet.
No mold or mildew
Mold and mildew grow on showers or bathtubs because of the hot, wet, and humid air they create in the bathroom. If not controlled, they can spread to the outside of your bathroom and cause various health hazards in your home. An exhaust fan will vent out the hot, humid air out of your bathroom, leaving your home mold or mildew-free.
No foggy mirrors
You can forget the annoying process of wiping down a foggy mirror after taking a hot shower in your bathroom if you install an exhaust fan. It will vent out the warm air.
Slows fixture rust
Without proper ventilation and moisture removal in your bathroom, your precious decorative fixtures will get rust damage. A fan will make the environment unconducive for them to rust, thus increasing their lifespan.
Reduce maintenance costs
Moisture in your bathroom will cause blisters on the paint and peeling on your wallpapers. You will be forced to repair them all the time, which is not so cheap. Investing in the best bathroom exhaust fan will save you a lot of money spent on unnecessary repairs.
Features to consider when choosing a bathroom exhaust fan
For you to make the right purchase, there are certain features that you have to put into consideration before buying a bathroom exhaust fan.
Air flow capacity
This is also referred to as CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), and it is the most essential factor in choosing the right exhaust fan. It lets you know how much air the fan can move in minutes. The larger your bathroom is, the more powerful and high velocity fan you need.
You should pick airflow capacity according to the size of your room. For instance, if your bathroom is 50 sq ft, you should get a fan with a 50 CFM or above like the Broan SPK110
This is the measure of noise level. Nobody would want an annoying endless buzzing noise in their bathroom. The higher the sone rating, the noisier the fan. Go for a fan with a 1.0 sone rating or less, but you have to be ready to dig deeper into your pockets.
If you are looking to save money on your monthly power bills, then you better go for energy star bathroom fans. They use about 70% less energy compared to the standard models. Moreover, they consume low watts, are quieter, and have powerful performance.
Dimensions and weight
Personal preference plays a huge role here. Plus, if you are going to install the fan yourself, then you better go for a small and lightweight model that would be easy to carry. Heavyweight models are bigger and weigh more as well. So, the size of your bathroom will determine the size of a fan you choose.
There are ceiling and wall-mounted fans. Once you have established where you want the fan installed in your bathroom, you can go ahead to choose a model with an appropriate size duct adapter for your home’s ductwork.
It is advisable to mount your fan in a way that it will vent air outside of the home through ductwork and nearest outlet rather through the attic as this would cause more problems in other areas of the house.
Since they are not so cheap, you better go for a bathroom exhaust fan that will last you a while before getting a replacement. Ensure they are made of durable materials like galvanized steel and ABC plastic, which are corrosion and rust-resistant.
The motor should also be protected from leaks, corrosion, and overheating for an increased lifespan. The Delta BreezGreenBuilder GBR80LED reviewed above is amongst the best durable fans you can get in the market.
Anything could happen to a fan in a bathroom since it is an electrical device in a moist environment. Ensure you settle for a fan with a warranty. Other than assuring you of its quality, you can contact the manufacturer in case you encounter any problems in your usage.
Most manufacturers offer a warranty of 3 years or less on the fan. Some manufacturers also offer a warranty on the motor part of the fan—the more extended the warranty, the better.
This is not so essential, but it is a huge bonus to get a fan with lights. It will save you the cost of buying a lighting fixture separately. Plus, fans with lights will uplift your bathroom aesthetically. Most fans that come with lights use the energy-efficient LED lights, and the on/off switch usually turns both the fan and light on or off.
Some fans come with a wireless speaker that you can use to listen to your favorite jams or podcasts while taking a shower or a bath. On top of ventilating and removing moisture from your bathroom, they entertain you as well. The Broan SPK110 reviewed above is a good example.
This means that it is safe to install your fan directly above your shower or tub. It is essential, as installing the fan above the shower/tub ensures optimum removal of moisture and warm air from the bathroom.
How to install an exhaust fan in your bathroom
So, if you decide to install or replace your bathroom exhaust fan yourself, here is what you have got to do:
Determine fan size
First off, you have to choose the correct fan size for your bathroom for optimum performance. Check the CFM rating that suits your bathroom’s size.
Determine the exhaust root
The fan must vent outside. So, you have to check for a duct leading to a sidewall vent. They usually are installed when a house is being built, and if you don’t have one, you can call a professional to help you. You can also vent through the attic, but it is not advisable as moisture will build up on the underside of the roof.
Determine the electrical options
If your fan has lights, you will need to install new wiring to be able to operate a double switch. This might not be necessary if you are doing a fan replacement unless your previous fan had no lights.
Mount the fan
Make a hole in the ceiling that fits your fan. If you are doing a replacement, adjust the hole to fit the size of your fan perfectly. Then attach the duct to the fan’s housing. It will easily slide in the slots. You can then put the fan in position and secure it to the joists. The final step is finding the shortest and most direct route to the outside of the house. Remember, the longer the duct pipe is, the less efficient the fan will be.