Without a properly functioning bathroom exhaust fan, bathrooms regularly build up excess moisture, which has the potential to warp doors, destroy paint finishes, and lead to unhealthy levels of mold accumulation. Over time, neglected units build up dirt, dust, and hair that insulate the motor and ultimately hinder its ability to efficiently divert moisture and odors out of the bathroom. Regular maintenance ensures longevity. At a minimum, homeowners should disassemble and thoroughly clean bathroom exhaust fans every six months. The process takes fifteen minutes on average. Nonetheless, there comes a time in every homeowner’s life when their bathroom exhaust fan needs to replace or change.

How to replace bathroom exhaust fan

Diagnosing The Problem with Your Old  Bathroom Exhaust Fan

  1. The unit makes a loud clanking sound. It indicates either malfunctioning bearings or misaligned fan blades. Unfortunately, bearings cannot be lubricated or replaced since they often seal within the unit. Malfunctioning bearings eventually cause the fan to stop working altogether.
  2. The fan takes too long to power up. This may indicate that the fan will stop working sooner rather than later.
  3. The fan fails to power up at all even though the switch works just fine. This likely indicates malfunctioning circuitry within the fan. The unit needs to replace.


Choosing the Right Bathroom Exhaust Fan For Replacement

1.) Select a fan with the most appropriate airflow rating. An airflow rating indicates how capable a fan will be in ventilating a room based on its size. This is measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. For example, a fan with a CFM of 50 can ventilate 50 cubic feet every minute. Before purchasing a replacement bathroom exhaust fan, homeowners will need to measure the bathroom to figure out its square footage. The current recommended airflow rating is one CFM per square foot, with nothing less than 50 CFM.


2.) Take noise into consideration. Sones indicate how much noise a bathroom exhaust fan will make when in use. Fans can have a level as low as one sone or as loud as four sones. Since best bathroom exhaust fans typically take up to 30 minutes to remove excess moisture from bathrooms, it is best to choose a unit with a noise level that is tolerable for that length of time. However, quieter fans cost the most, so budgetary concerns must also take into consideration. Squirrel-cage fans tend to make less noise than blade fans.


3.) Upgrade features. Since fans with on and off switch often get turned off prior to the recommended ventilation time, it is the most ideal to purchase units with timers or humidistat that adjust the fan’s operation to the bathroom’s humidity level. Some models even include lighting or heating capabilities.


How much will it cost?

On average, bathroom exhaust fan replacements cost $253, but prices can range from a little over $80 to $600. Quieter models tend to have higher prices tags. Additional features such as timers, humidistat, lighting, or heating also increase the price of bathroom exhaust fans.


How to Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Step 1. Cover the Area

Use a drop cloth to cover the area underneath the fan. Bathroom exhaust fans attract a lot of dirt, dust, and hair. A drop cloth contains the mess that results from these particulates being knocked loose during the replacement process. It makes the cleaning part much more comfortable and quicker.


Step 2. Switch Off The Circuit Breaker

Turn the fan off at the circuit breaker. It minimizes the risk of electrocution. A circuit tester should be used to ensure that no power is flowing to the fan. A simple circuit tester costs as little as $1.39.


Step 3. Remove the old unit.

Unfasten the fan cover by pressing the spring loaded clips together then removing them from their slots. Use a powered drill or screwdriver to loosen the nuts and screws holding the fan and motor in place, then remove the motor assembly by twisting it lose. Remove any mounting screws holding the housing in place, keeping in mind that some may locate in the attic. Once the housing has loosened accurately, move it to the side, then uninstall the vent duct. Now whenever the vent duct has disconnected, the entire housing will become very easy to remove. It is a good practice to label any wires before disconnecting them.

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Step 4. Install the new unit.

What to Do if You New One is Larger Than Old One

If the new bathroom exhaust fan is larger than the previous unit, a hole will need to be cut into the drywall to fit it in place. Use the new fan housing to trace the appropriate size of the new hole into the ceiling. Cut along the lines with a drywall knife. A drywall knife costs as little as $3.42.

When Old Bathroom Fan is Larger Than Newer One

On the other hand, if the new bathroom exhaust fan is smaller than the previous unit, the hole will need to be patched to ensure the new unit stays in place. Measure the size of the new unit and the old hole to determine how much drywall is necessary. Cut an appropriately sized piece of drywall and a 1-by-2 piece of wood. The wood piece will need to be slightly longer than the hole opening. Use screws to fasten the drywall piece to the wood piece, then slide it into the hole opening. Then, use drywall screws to hold the drywall piece in place. Cover the seams with joint compound, then allow it to dry completely. Once dry, sand the seam smooth, then apply another layer of joint compound. Again, allow the joint compound to dry completely, then use a sander or sanding paper to smooth it. Cover the seam with primer and paint to blend it with the surrounding area.

Remember that, If the unit is not installed beneath an attic, a frame must require around the hole. Use screws to attach a 2-by-4 piece of wood between the ceiling joists.

Next Steps To Do After Fixing The Hole Issue

Once the ceiling hole is sized and framed correctly, place the new fan housing into the hole. Make sure the duct connector is positioned correctly so that it lines up with the appropriate slots. Hold the housing level to the joists. Using the mounting holes as placement guides, screw holes into the joists.

If the unit is installed beneath an attic with adequate access, enter the attic near the fan. Connect the brackets to the joists, then use screws to attach the fan body to the brackets. Use HVAC tape to ensure a secure connection between the ducts and the connector on the fan housing. Next, take off the junction box cover, and carefully connect the wires. Return the junction box cover to its proper place, then turn back on the circuit to the bathroom exhaust fan. Listen to make sure the fan works properly. If it sounds odd, turn it back off and make sure the unit is mounted correctly. If the fan sounds like it should attach the cover. The installation process is complete.

Wrap it Up

So, You learn how you can replace your old or broken bathroom fan with a brand new model. You do not have to be an HVAC expert to replace a bathroom exhaust fan. Now it is your time to do it yourself and save money.


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Mohiuddin Shawon

Mohiuddin Shawon is the Chief Editor and Content Researcher of topcoolingfan.com. He is also the chief editor of The Blazing Home . Mohiuddin Shawon is a professional Electrical Engineer. He is the main pillar of Top Cooling Fan. His engineering skill and research help us to find the top quality fan for the general public.