5 Things You Must Know About a Bath Fan

July 8, 2020 | Starr Tingle

Bath Fans

Buying a bath fan for your bathroom can be overwhelming. This list of 5 things you should know about bans fans will help you.

If you have a lot of steam in your bathroom after a shower, you need a quality bath fan to remove moisture from the air, walls, and ceilings. Healthy indoor air quality depends on installing a good bath fan.  

This post is all about bath fans.

Why a Bath Fan?

  1.  To remove the condensation from your shower or bath. Excessive moisture can cause mold growth, peel paint and wallpaper, rust fixtures, and warp doors.
  2. To remove fumes from strong bathroom cleaning products.
  3. To remove, uh, other odors.

5 Things You Must Kow About a Bath Fan

  1.  Buy a high-quality fan for bathrooms that get a lot of use. These are well over $100, but worth it, in my opinion. For master bathrooms, a couple of my favorites are the Panasonic FV-0511VQ1 WhisperCeiling. I would buy it with a wall-mounted. humidity sensor, and I love this one, and the Air King E120SH, which has an added bonus of a built-in humidity sensor.
  2. When you are purchasing for a remodel, know the size of your ceiling joists before you order! I recently worked on a bathroom that had 2×4 ceiling joists. I was able to find this Panasonic fan that fits perfectly and has a built-in humidity sensor!
  3. Do not install a bath fan inside your shower – most bath fans are not approved (UL rated) for damp locations. Instead, situate the bath fan in the ceiling outside the shower door.
  4. Buy your bath fan early in the process. Be sure your electrician and HVAC contractor knows what you bought. (Fans with a heater may require a dedicated circuit that will cost a few hundred extra dollars to install).  
  5. Clean your bath fan grill and housing (pop off the cover and vacuum up in the unit) at least twice a year.  

Bath Fan Options

  1.  Ceiling or wall mount? Always try for ceiling mount. The fan needs to be in the highest spot in the bathroom to work optimally.
  2. How much airflow do you need? Airflow is measured in CFM’s (Cubic Feet per Minute). A good rule of thumb is 1 CFM per square foot, and then I round up to the next highest fan size. For example, if I’m buying for a 5’x8′ bathroom, I need 40 CFM’s so I’ll round up to the 60 or 80 CFM size (mostly because that’s what is readily available.) If in doubt, go with more CFM’s than you think you’ll need.
  3. The size of the body of the unit. It has to fix between your joists if there is living space above your bathroom, so you will need to know if you have 2×4, 2×6, 2×8, or 2×10 joists and buy a fan that will fit.  
  4. How quiet do you want the fan to be? The lower the sone, the quieter the fan. A lot of Panasonic models are less than 1 sone. I see others that are 3.5 sones – that’s pretty loud. I buy very quiet ones if they are going to run a lot. For water closets and half baths, I buy louder fans to help cover up bathroom noises and make your guests a little more comfortable! Lol. Funny, but true! One I often buy for its louder qualities is the Air King BFQ110.
  5. Do you want a light on the bath fan? They come with regular lights and nightlights. Be sure to discuss with your electrician how the fan and light will be controlled. Failing to plan in advance, may cause a situation where the fan and light both have to be on simultaneously.
  6. Do you want a heater on the bath fan? It is an option! I do not install bath fans with heaters often, and I don’t really recommend it because they use a ton of electricity.  
  7. Condensation sensor. Anytime you can purchase a bath fan with a built-in condensation, humidity, or moisture sensor, DO IT. If not, I HIGHLY recommend you buy a wall control that senses humidity. For Kentucky, we need to set ours on 55% relative humidity. If you do this, your bath fan will run until the humidity level in your bathroom is 55%, then it will shut off. This is a great option if you are like me and out of the bathroom quickly before the fan has had a chance to remove the air’s humidity. The other option is to let the fan run all day, but that just doesn’t make sense.  
  8. How do you want your fan to look? Are you okay with seeing the grill (by the way, if I paint the ceiling a color, I have my painter paint the bath fan cover to match), or do you want a more designer look? This bath fan appears to be a can light, pretty clever design. Insert picture A and B

Who Hooks Up Your New Fan?

The electrician installs the fan and hooks it up to electricity, and the switches and wall mounted humidity sensor.  

The HVAC contractor (the “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation) installs the insulated duct from your new fan outside your home. Outside your home means damp air must be vented through the roof, through a side wall, or through your soffits. My least favorite is to take the vent through the roof – I don’t believe in putting anything through the roof that you don’t need to.  

I hope you understand the vital role a bath fan plays while planning your bathroom remodel. For optimum indoor air quality, you should pay attention to and carefully select your bath fan.

This post is all about bath fans.

Wrap Up

So, I hope I have armed you with enough information to make the right buying decision for bath fans. I’m committed to educating homeowners and helping them love the process of remodeling their home. I believe taking the time to learn about the bathroom components will make your rebuild go faster, smoother, and help keep costs down. If you have a specific remodel question, send me an email at Starr (at) starrtingle.com. I would love to help you out!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook @Sanctuary Homes, Instagram at @sanctuaryhomes, and Pinterest at Sanctuary Homes. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!! Chow for now!