A bathroom fan performs many functions, from helping to air out the hot moisture when taking a shower to getting fresh air in the bathroom and getting rid of toilet odors. All bathrooms should have a fan for proper ventilation. If you need to upgrade yours or have a brand new one installed, this may be something you can do on your own. Here are some tips for installing your bathroom fan:
Where to Install the Bathroom Fan
The best place to install a bathroom fan is usually close to the shower and as high on the wall as you can get it (or on the ceiling). The fan will need to be attached to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). However, if the bathroom fan vent is going to also include a heater, you do not want to install it over or too close to the shower. In this case, choose high up on another wall and not directly above the shower. Also try to install it on a wall that does not include the door or window, as these already provide ventilation sources.
How to Install the Bathroom Fan
Now that you have chosen the right location, it is time to install your new bathroom fan. Here are the basic steps for installing the fan:
- Remove the old fan. If you have an older bath fan still installed, you will need to remove it first. Turn off the power that goes to the fan before doing anything. Remove the cover with a screwdriver, then remove the motor. Remove the mounting screws and slide the housing over to disconnect the vent duct. Disconnect the wires.
- Cut a hole for the fan. If you did not already have a bathroom fan in the location you are installing the new one, you will need to first cut a hole. Then, frame part of the hole with a piece of wood and ceiling joists, using screws to secure it. The vent side needs to be clear.
- Mount the fan. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for mounting the fan in the hole. Because every model varies slightly, this step requires looking at the instructions. Be sure it is vented properly and is tightly in place as you mount it. Secure it tightly with the mounting screws. If it is a top-floor bathroom, you may need to complete duct work in your attic.
- Hook up the wiring. Remove the junction box cover and connect the fan wires to the house wires. They should go hot black to hot black, neutral white to neutral white, and ground to ground.
Contact an electrician if you are not comfortable dealing with the wiring part of installing the fan.