Bathroom Fans

August 9, 2023

Bathroom ceiling fans are one of life’s luxuries. Usually, we do not think about them very much. We flick the switch on to use bathroom fans, then flick the switch off when we are done. When they fail, check the circuit breaker first. However, it will most likely be a burning out or burned out motor, often covered with several inches of fuzzy dust. Repairing or getting a new fan installed is not always trivial or cheap. I am a judgment broker who writes a lot. There are at least six benefits to having a bathroom ceiling fan:

1) Bathroom fans keep your mirrors from getting steamed up after you shower.

2) Fans help to remove odors and fumes that you do no wish to linger, including number two fumes and hairspray.

3) Fans can save energy because they eliminate the need to keep a window open.

4) Because fans are ceiling mounted and do not depend on the weather, they work better than an open window.

5) Fans increase comfort during the summer because they help remove the hot air and water vapor.

6) Fans increase privacy in three ways. They allow bathroom windows to remain closed. They remove airborne clues about previously released odors, and they provide sonic privacy, masking many sounds both in and outside a bathroom. Some people install extra noisy fans just for privacy reasons.

Bathroom fans usually last a very long time. You might help them last longer by vacuuming them inside (with the power switched off) every year or two, to prevent a thick buildup of dust, which can make motors run hotter and fail sooner.

All things eventually fail, and bathroom fans are no exception. I recommend keeping the instructional pamphlet for bathroom fans in a bathroom drawer. That way, you will not have to search for the pamphlet, years or decades later when the fan fails. The pamphlet has the model number, and there is a chance the same, or a similar, model number and brand will still be available.

Often, the first sign of fan failure is they stop working. When they fail, it is not as simple as going online, or to the store and buying a new one. You might think bathroom fans are standardly sized. No such luck, there seems to be no standard size.

If you buy a new bathroom fan that is not the same size, it will be very time consuming and expensive to replace. As with most appliances, replacing only the motor is a hassle, and may end up costing almost as much as an entire new unit.

If you find a replacement fan unit which is the same length, width, and height; it will make the installation much easier. Bring the brand name and model number, and the old vent cover grille from the failed unit with you to the store (E.g., Home Depot). They can probably measure your old vent cover grille, and may have a suitable fan in stock, or can special order a new unit with the same sizing.

Replacing parts in an existing failed bathroom fan is far easier than installing an entire new unit. Often, the fan motor is attached to a fan blade assembly, and well fastened to a mounting plate. Replacing the entire plate from a new unit into the existing old fan housing can make a lot of sense, because it is easy, and usually only the motor fails.

By purchasing a new bathroom ceiling fan having the same sized vent cover grille, there is a good chance you can simply pop the new motor plate assembly into place using one screw; and plug it into the power socket, and be in business again. If it does not fit, at least the new fan will be very close to the same size as the old one, which will make whatever work that needs to be done that much easier.

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