Exhaust Fan Buying Guide

When was the last time that you touched or thought about that loud, dirty machine in your bathroom ceiling? A year ago? Maybe never? A lot of people are nervous to even look at it, let alone touch it! But changing out your bathroom’s exhaust fan doesn’t have to be scary, intimidating or menacing, as long as you know the answers to a few simple questions.

  1. What is the size of your bathroom? This is important so that you purchase the proper CFM. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, and it tells you how many cubic feet of air your fan will move in a minute. You want to make sure that you’re buying a bath fan that is going to properly ventilate your space, not over- or under-ventilate it.
    1. For bathrooms 45 square feet and less, purchase a 50 CFM fan
    2. For bathrooms 46 square feet to 75 square feet, purchase a 70 CFM or 80 CFM fan
    3. For bathrooms 76 square feet to 105 square feet, purchase a 110 CFM fan
    4. For bathrooms over 105 square feet, purchase a 150 CFM fan

  2. What is the size of the opening in your ceiling? This can be easily figured out by taking off your exhaust fan’s grille and measuring the length/width of the opening. This information is important so that you buy a fan that is the same size as your current one or larger. If you buy a product that is smaller than your current fan, you’ll have some issues with installation.

  3. Do you have attic access over the bathroom where you want to replace a bath fan? This is an important thing to know because it tells you what series of fan you should buy. If you don’t have attic access, you’ll need to buy a fan that can be installed from the roomside (for example, see the Roomside Series from Broan-NuTone). If you do have attic access, then you’re in luck, and you can buy virtually any bath fan!

  4. What type of bath fan do you want? There are a ton of different types of exhaust fans in the marketplace today, so you have more options than ever when picking out a new fan. Here are some examples of bath fan types you can choose from:
    1. Fan Only: This product is exactly what is sounds like. It’s standard, with no bells or whistles. It moves air and has a cover. Some are big and others are small. Some are ultra-quiet and some allow you to change the CFM.

    2. Fan/Lights: This type of fan expands on the standard fan by adding a light. Some are bulb-lit and some are LED-module driven with the option to pick from many colors. Some even have an LED light that continuously fights bacteria, mold, and mildew. So pick whichever one meets your lighting needs!

    3. Humidity or Motion Sensing Fans and Fan/Lights: Some fans and fan/lights come with humidity and/or motion sensors built in
      1. Humidity sensing fans will sense when the humidity in the room is too high, then automatically turn on to remove excess moisture and off again when the humidity reaches your desired level.
      2. Motion sensing fans will sense when someone has walked into the bathroom and turn the fan on, so you never have to remember to do it yourself!

    4. Bluetooth-enabled Fans and Fan/Lights: One of the latest innovations in exhaust ventilation is the addition of a Bluetooth speaker inside of the fan. This allows you to connect your phone to the fan upon entering the bathroom and listen to your favorite tunes while you shower!

    5. Fans with Heaters: Getting out of a nice, hot shower into a cold bathroom is rarely a fun experience. Sure, you could turn up the heat but why heat the whole house to a higher temperature when you could simply heat the bathroom for a short period of time? A bath fan with a heater provides instant heat and powerful ventilation. Say goodbye to goosebumps and foggy mirrors.

    6. Decorative Fan/Lights: What is better than an exhaust fan that you don’t know is an exhaust fan? Decorative fan/lights blend into the ceiling and look like other typical domed or flat paneled light fixtures. Recessed fans with lights are also a great way to hide your ventilation. Caution: You might forget that you even have a bath fan after installing these types of products! Install a motion or humidity sensing wall switch and you’ll never have to worry.

    7. Upgrades: If your fan works well but doesn’t have a light, speaker, or has looked better, a quick and easy upgrade will fix any of those problems. There’s even a motor upgrade for those fans that seem to be running on square bearings or were somehow replaced with a lawnmower engine.

After you answer these simple questions, you’re ready to make your first bath fan purchase. Head on over to your favorite hardware store or check out our product lineup and purchase a brand-new, updated exhaust fan!
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