Why Do I need a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
A bathroom exhaust fan or vent fan will draw out moisture and odors from your bathroom. High humidity can feed mold, mildew, and micro-organisms which can negatively affect your health. Long-term excess moisture can crack and peel paint and wallpaper, ruin wallboard, warp doors, and rust cabinets and fixtures.
Do all your bathrooms already have exhaust fans?
Many building codes require bathroom exhaust fans. But, if you recently purchased your house and it does not have vent fans, you may want to add them.
In some areas, the code only requires a window that opens to the outside. If you have a room for the toilet that can close off from the bathroom, it definitely needs an exhaust fan if there are no windows!
Can I add a bathroom exhaust fan if I do not have one?
If you want to put a vent fan into an existing bathroom you will need to get one made for the job. So, even if you have narrowed down the bathroom fan with the features you want, it must be made to retrofit. Most exhaust fans are put in during construction and mount on top of the ceiling joists.
To add one after you have a ceiling in place means it has to mount through a hole you make to fit it. You may need help from an electrician to get the wires and switch where you want them. Some new exhaust fans even come with app control, but they will still need to be wired in.
Taking out an old fan and replacing it with a new fan is easy, but just check the size of the hole required.
Narrowing down the right bathroom fan
The size of your bathroom is the first consideration.
In a bathroom of less than 50 sq. Feet, your minimum fan should be 50 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)
In a bathroom of 50-100 sq. feet add 1CFM for every square foot of floor space. So, an 80 cfm will cover an 80 square foot bathroom.
In a bathroom bigger than 100 sq. feet add the requirements for each fixture
Do you want to add a light?
A dark bathroom, with only a wall sconce, can be greatly improved with the addition of a ceiling light. Gone are the days of a dusty old light bulb in an upside-down bowl light! With LED, or Light Emitting Diodes, the fanlights have advanced.
A small LED light is super bright, costs less to run, and last way longer than an incandescent bulb. And with the size savings the bathroom exhaust fan can get closer to the ceiling.
The old glass bowl and bulbs can fill full of dust and dead bugs. And who wants to get on a ladder to fumble that old bowl down when the bulbs blow!
You can get an LED light in the basic white or go for a color changing light, and have a different light for different moods.
There is even a new light out that kills germs with ultraviolet light! Made to stay on and continuously kill germs this light can help with mold growth as well.
Adding a Heater
What types of heaters come in my exhaust fan?
You can have an electric heater that uses a fan to blow out hot air.
An infrared type of heater uses a heating bulb to provide warmth. Often the infrared bulb is not included with the exhaust fan. Check first so you can get your heat and fan going at the same time. More than just a light, an infer-red bulb can be a warm addition to that chilly old bathroom.
Sound is a big factor for most people. The sound is measured in sones. The lower the sones the quieter the fan.
Sones are the industry standard for measuring the sound level of your bath fan when it’s in use. A lower sone rating means a quieter bath fan.
One sone is 28 dBA (Decibels adjusted for human hearing) which is equivalent to the sound of a whisper, so a quiet bathroom fan is1.5 Sones or less. Under 1 is measured in tenths, so 0.7 Sones is quieter than 1 sone.
Conclusions on getting the best bathroom exhaust fan.
Start with the size of your bathroom.
Choose the lowest sound level, paying more for a lower sones is worth the cost!
Choose a light, colored or germ-killing, LEDs are the way to go, or add a heater.
Upgrading an existing fan and getting rid of that ugly noisy old exhaust fan is a small job that will give you years of daily enjoyment.