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Choosing Environmentally Friendly Extractor Fans

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Choosing Environmentally Friendly Extractor Fans

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Feb 23, 2023

With energy bills at record levels, finding ways to reduce your electricity use has never been more important.  While the extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen might not be the most expensive appliances in your home regarding running costs, older models can still consume much energy, which is bad for your pocket and the environment.

Why you need extractor fans


Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens are essential in controlling the airflow in your home and preventing condensation.  When you are cooking or bathing, water vapour is released into the air. When this comes into contact with cold surfaces, it forms droplets of water (condensation), which if not wiped away can soak through into the underlying materials to create damp patches.

Damp itself can damage plaster, cause paint and wallpaper to peel away from the wall, and even cause wood to rot.  Repairing damp can be expensive, but it can also damage your health.

Damp patches on walls and ceilings offer the perfect environment for mould and dust mites to thrive. As the damp spreads and matures, it releases microscopic spores which are an allergen and can cause respiratory problems for people with weakened immune systems and conditions like asthma.  Some species of mould such as Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as toxic black mould, release chemicals called mycotoxins into the air, which can cause severe reactions in susceptible people.

While you can reduce your energy costs by not using extractor fans, the longer-term costs to resolve the damp and mould problems that will develop will far outweigh the small savings that you could make.

Is your older extractor fan less efficient?

Extractor fans rely on a motor-driven fan to draw the moisture-laden air out of a wet room such as a bathroom or kitchen and vent it to the exterior of your home.  Over time, these fans can become less efficient.  This happens for several reasons including clogged filters, a build-up of dust and grime on the fan blades, and a lack of lubrication in the motor.

Blocked filters and heavy fan blades mean that the motor has to work harder will use more electricity and need to run for longer periods to move the same amount of air and reduce humidity.  This increases your electricity bill and ultimately impacts the amount of CO2 being released into the air.

You may notice a change in the noise that your fan makes over time or that it is not clearing steam from your bathroom as quickly as it once did.  If that is the case, and simple cleaning doesn’t help, updating to a more energy-efficient extractor fan can help you to reduce your energy usage in the long term.

Why modern fans are more efficient

As with any electric appliance, the design of extractor fans evolves.  Innovations in the manufacturing process and the introduction of new sensors and technologies mean that modern fans use a fraction of the energy their predecessors did, and as a result, are much better for the environment.

Filterless extractors are one such improvement. Rather than requiring a filter to protect a traditional bladed fan from becoming clogged, modern designs use an impeller which can work more efficiently and is easier to clean.

Moisture sensors which detect the humidity level in the air and adjust the power level of the fan offer the best of both worlds.  When water vapour levels are highest – such as during a shower – the fan will increase its speed to draw air out of the bathroom more quickly. As the moisture levels fall, the fan power is similarly reduced so that it runs at its most efficient levels saving you energy while keeping your home free from condensation.

Heat Recovery Extractor fans such as the EnviroVent HeatSava include a heat exchanger as part of their design.  This captures the warmth from air being removed from your home and use it to heat the air that is drawn in to replace it.  This helps to prevent energy from being wasted and reduces your heating bills.

Environmentally friendly alternatives to extractor fans

Whole house ventilation systems such as ATMOS – a Positive Input Ventilation System work throughout your entire house. Air is drawn in through a central unit that is mounted in your loft or a landing cupboard, and then distributed throughout your home.

PIV systems have highly efficient designs and cost very little to run. A key benefit of whole-house ventilation systems is that they improve air flow through your entire home.  This means that warmth from your central heating is distributed more evenly, and your rooms are warmed more quickly.  This can help to reduce your heating bills.

Find out more

If you have older extractor fans in your home and are worried that they are no longer working correctly to protect you from condensation, damp, and mould, we can help.  Enter your postcode below to find a ventilation specialist near you who can conduct a free home survey to assess whether your ventilation is sufficient and identify the causes of condensation in your home.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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