A Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is Necessary
To Have a Healthy Environment, and a Healthy You!
A bathroom or laundry room exhaust fan helps you maintain clean air, an important part of an environment that helps to keep you and your family healthy. Stale, moist air, and contaminated air caused by personal-care and bathroom cleaning products is hazardous (see the blog about how to clean bathroom grout). Experts in the remodeling and building industry have been warning homeowners about the effects of mold, mildew, and trapped pollutants that contribute to the sick building syndrome.
Questions To Help You Find The Right Fan
1. How powerful does the exhaust fan have to be to achieve eight air exchanges an hour? 2. How quiet do you want the fan to be? 3. Is a straightforward fan okay, or do you want more features for a higher investment?
> Overhead lighting
> Motion sensor
> Humidity sensor
To select the right bathroom exhaust fan, you need to know how powerful it must be, and how quiet you want it to be, what features you need, and how much you can invest. The final decision in this process, if the installation of a new exhaust fan is a stand-alone project, is your choice to install the fan yourself or hire a contractor to install it.
Exchange Bad Air For Good Air
Old exhaust fans from the 1950s through the 1970s don’t get used because they’re noisy and ineffective. Older homes relied on windows — great for bringing fresh air into a space, but miserable for removing moisture, odor, and chemicals. The Home Ventilating Institute recommends eight air changes per hour. Ceiling- and wall-mount exhaust fans are available in 60-600 cfm (cfm = cubic feet per minute). You can learn how much power you need for your bathroom fan in three easy steps:
1. Determine the volume of your bathroom. Multiply the width times the depth times the height to calculate the total cubic footage.
Example: 6’ wide x 10’ deep x 8’ high = 480 cubic feet
2. Divide the total cubic feet by 60 (60 minutes in an hour)
Example: 480/60 = 8
3. Multiply the answer from Step 2 by 8 (HVI recommendation)
Example: 8 x 8 exchanges = 64
In the example above, a 60 cfm fan will provide less than the recommended eight air exchanges per hour, so it’s best to round up to the next available size — 70 cfm or 80 cfm, depending upon the manufacturer.
Quiet Operation Is Important
Relative loudness of exhaust fans in your home environment is a subjective perception of sound intensity. It’s not decibels or volume, but how you sense the sound, which can make you feel more stressed than relaxed. It’s not a good way to start or end any day. The sone rating of an exhaust fan tells you how loud it measured at the factory under perfect conditions. One to two sones is comparable to the noise produced by a refrigerator motor. Older bathroom fans can have a sone rating of five or more, which is the reason that homeowners don’t use them. The good news is that there are many bathroom fans available with a low sone rating of .3 or less.
The Price Range for Fans
Good basic exhaust fans that provide reliable, quiet venting start at about $100. Add more bells and whistles and more power, and your investment for a new fan can jump to $400 (or more). For the best six exhaust fans under $150, see “The 6 Best Bathroom Fans For Under $150“.
To remove moisture and pollutants from your bathroom or laundry room, the exhaust fan should operate for 10 to 20 minutes after you leave the room. Timer switches aren’t expensive, and many manufacturers offer them as an accessory. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, lighting control manufacturers make fan control switches that are visually compatible with their systems. Several manufacturers have humidity-detecting switches to ensure the best removal of moisture and pollutants automatically.
D-I-Y Or Hire A Contractor?
After you have selected the exhaust fan that fits your needs and your budget, the final step is to decide whether you can install the fan and switch yourself, or hire a professional to install it. If you have an existing fan, switch, and vent (either a roof penetration or an exterior wall penetration), you may be able to install the new fan yourself. If you are installing a new exhaust fan in a bathroom that currently doesn’t have one, it’s best to pay a professional contractor to do the work for you.
Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ, has been a bathroom design specialist for over 30 years. She will be happy to help you with all details of a bathroom remodeling project, including appropriate ventilation. Call her to talk about your remodeling needs: 503-632-8801, or send an email to Diane with any questions about remodeling. Guaranteed, no sales pressure — ever!
© Copyright 2015 D. P. Design “See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”