Majority of us don’t like the stale air in our house. Especially, in bathrooms. People try air-fresheners, room sprays and whatnot to keep the odor away. These are temporary “Fixes” as the air just remains there as we go about our businesses. Once the effects wear off, it’s all the same.
Recently, we’ve seen a surge of exhaust AKA bathroom fans taking over as more and more of us opt for an electric solution to the problem. These fans circulate air out, unlike other alternatives. I don’t need to tell you how cost-effective these are compared to a spray or a room freshener in the long run, do I?
I mean, these fans could go on for hours, unlike their counterparts. Unless there’s a motor malfunction or dirt obstructing the vents and ducts.
But there’s a problem. As beneficial as these things are, these fans are tough to set up. As much as we love the perks, setting it up is a job that we pass down to someone else.
Why? Well, it’s time-consuming and requires tinkering with a lot of intricate stuff. But, it’s not impossible. Let me take a dig at the process and see whether I can simplify it a bit for you guys.
Give this piece a read and find out how easy it is to set up an exhaust fan in your bathroom.
Why A Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
Normal exhaust fans stop at circulating the stale air outside but not these things. While getting rid of the odor, these things prevent water from seeping through the wall.
People will tell you how effective these devices are in preventing moisture and growth of the fungus.
Do you have wallpapers in bathrooms of yours? Exhaust fans are great at protecting them from peeling away. Also, they prevent the paint from getting blisters.
These things do a great job at slowing down the rust on different pieces of equipment. People mention these things defogging the mirrors and contributing to reducing the humidity in the showers as well.
Tools You Need for the Gig!
Every installation project needs its tools for the job. Here are things you need to get the job done for exhaust devices.
- The exhaust fan (Of course).
- Stud finder.
- A saw (some people use knives or cutters. That’s okay too).
- A pencil to mark the area.
- The vent (we’re going in with full setup).
- Ducts that are flexible enough.
- Drill (preferably cordless) with ½-inch bits.
- Round vent or the roof vent cap (depending on where you connect it to).
- Exterior Silicon Caulk.
- Safety Goggles.
All right! With the tools at our disposal, let’s focus on the task at hand in the next section.
How I Suggest You Do the Job?
As this gig requires you to do things in an orderly fashion, let’s divide the whole thing into sub-categories that we’ll deal briefly as we progress through each task.
Take Down the Old One/Mark the Area for New Area for New Exhaust Fan
For that, you need to shut the power first. You don’t want to be electrocuted while fitting a fan, do you? It is safe to turn off the power beforehand. Put a drop cloth under underneath your previous bathroom fan just to be sure that nothing falls or rolls out of your reach. Then, unscrew the fan as a whole.[Pro Tip: If you don’t have experience on how to install a bathroom exhaust fan and are mounting the exhaust fan for the first time, calculate the CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) rating of your bathroom. There’s a formula to do this. Small bathrooms need fans with low CFM and larger ones demand high CFM fans. While you are at it, measure the sound level of the fan too.]
Once the CFM measurements are known, you can proceed to mark the ceiling with a pencil according to the size of the fan. Try and find a joist and place the fan near to it. Use the Stud finder for the job. Then, cut the area with a knife or a saw (whichever you prefer).
Use The Drill Machine You Have
Once you have marked the area for the installation of the fan, you need to drill some holes in the ceiling. What better way to do that than with the drill machine and the bits I recommended you, right? One should choose the bits depending on the intake spots of the fan.
People often recommend 3/4 –inch bits. But let’s go with ½-inch ones. Remember the drop cloth? It should contain any debris that falls. You should support the ceiling while it detaches with your hand to gently lower it. Please, wear safety goggles while you are at it.
Position Your Fan
It’s time to get the new fan into position. But before that, remember to install a duct elbow at an angle of 90 degrees. This will help people in connecting with a duct pipe and joining the whole thing with a duct tape.
I inserted the cable connector through the removable knockout hole of the fan and connected it to the socket inside. I advise all of you to connect the wires precisely and then lower the fan into place.
Connect It to the Joists
This is perhaps one easy thing to do as part of the installation process. All you need to do is to connect the joists with the fan’s metal brackets. Extend the brackets till they reach the housing units on either side. It is not that difficult of a task if you do it patiently.
Then, just secure the fan in place with drywall screws. Now, the duct pipe should join with the 90-degree duct elbow. Use the duct tape that you’ve been saving up for all this time. Do you guys see the connector of the device? It might be the perfect time to connect the power cable to the fan’s sockets.
While connecting the cable, make sure to tighten up the screws to the max. This will secure them in place. If you have a ceiling exhaust fan with a light, you might need a cable with three wires.
Find an Exit for The Stale Air
Setting up the fan isn’t the only thing one needs to do. Part of the process is to find a proper exit point for the air too! The exit point should be at a short distance from the fan. Keep the duct pipe straight. But don’t stretch it too tightly.
Go for a duct pipe that is as short as possible. Take my advice, don’t let the fan vent in the attic. It’ll promote mold growth. Things might get too hot for some people too! The exit point I prefer is through the roof. People take the “Sidewall” route as well.
Let’s Attach the Vent Cap Now!
Vent cap attachment procedure differs based on whether you took the “Sidewall” route or are going for the roof.
For example, in the case of the sidewall, you need your stud finder again. Find a point in between two wall studs and measure the distance inside. Correlate the distance to find the points on the outside. One can use a 4-inch saw to cut through the walls.
If you are looking to carve the exit route through the roof, draw a circle on the inside wall first. Take the saw and cut out the hole from the roof. Then, clear everything in between the two openings.
Lastly, move back to the attic and attach the Vent Cap with the duct pipe. One can use the foil duct tape for that endeavor.
Wiring The Connection in the Main Housing
Trust me, knowing how to install a bathroom fan won’t do you any good if you leave the wires disconnected. Let’s connect the wires of the housing unit together.
You can either do it from the attic or from the bathroom itself. Read the manuals before you dabble with the wires. The colored wires are joined together. Then, you need to put that on the splice.
One can handle the wiring himself/herself if the wires are made of copper. However, Aluminum wiring requires expert handling. Please call in a licensed electrician for the job.
Putting in the Final Touch
Sometimes, people falter at the last step of a long and tedious process. In this case, the last step involves connecting the motor to the wiring that you did previously. For that, just place the motor into the electrical receptacle. Next, tighten the screws and you are done.
Now, put the grille on by sliding the wires into mounting slots. Tighten the screws in place once more. Finally, turn the power back on. Do some test runs. If you find anything out of the ordinary, fix it. If not, you are done setting up the fan.
Final Comments of Mine
Once you get to know the steps that lead to installing a bathroom fan, this thing becomes surprisingly easy. One just needs practice. Some of the intricate stuff is easy to handle too. For example, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to wire the fan. The wires are color coded for your convenience.
One doesn’t need to look hard for the holes made for the screws to fit in the housing. These are clearly defined and easy to spot. Manufacturers carve out holes, extra spaces for wires, and exhaust pathways. All you need to know is how to install a bathroom fan and you are all set.