Bathroom Fans

Get the perfect fan for your bathroom

Bathrooms are generally high-humidity rooms because of the moisture produced by showers, bathtubs and sinks. Bathroom fans are an excellent way to keep this moisture under control before it can cause problems with mold, mildew and odors.

Types of Bathroom Fans

Bathroom exhaust fans are the most common type of fan installed in residential bathrooms. Also known as a bathroom ventilation fan, it pulls moist air from the bathroom and vents it outside. Some exhaust fans also include a bathroom fan light and/or a heating light, both of which add convenient amenities without taking up additional space. Many people have a negative image of exhaust fans due to the noise they make, but today's models include many quiet bathroom fans.

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To estimate the size of the exhaust fan you will need, measure the bathroom's square footage. The Home Ventilation Institute recommends that a fan should have an airflow (measured in cubic feet per minute, or cfm) of 1 cfm for each square foot of bathroom space, up to 100 square feet. If the bathroom is larger than 100 square feet, the exhaust fan should have a total of 50 cfm for each shower, bathtub and toilet, and 100 cfm if there is a whirlpool tub in the bathroom. The largest bathrooms may be better off with two smaller bath fans rather than one extra-large one.

Some homeowners like to install bathroom ceiling fans with three, four or five blades to increase air circulation as well as positively contribute to the bathroom decor. While these fans are effective in moving the air and providing a cooling breeze, they are not vented outside, so they may not be beneficial in lowering the humidity level within the bathroom. For safe operation of a bathroom ceiling fan, it is recommended that there be a minimum of 7 feet between the fan blades and the bathroom floor.

Bathroom Fan Installation Instructions

Installing a bathroom ventilation fan is a fairly easy job for the competent do-it-yourselfer. After selecting a fan based on the cfm required and other features (such as noise level), locate an area in the bathroom on the ceiling or high up on one wall that provides a clear route for venting. Use a small handsaw or a reciprocal saw to cut an opening, following the template tracing in the fan's installation instructions. Connect the fan's wiring to the main bathroom light's wiring, using the wiring schematic in the instructions. Finally, install the ventilation duct from the fan to the exterior of the house.