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Do your Extractor Fans Need Replacing?

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Do your Extractor Fans Need Replacing?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Feb 03, 2021

The extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen is one of the most important ways in which you can prevent your home from condensation and the damp problems that it can cause. 

In the building regulations, there are specific flow rates for kitchen and bathroom extractor fans.  Fans in the kitchen should have a minimum flow rate of 30 litres per second, while a bathroom extractor fan should have a flow rate of 15 litres per second.

Over time, the flow rate of an extractor fan will decline.  This can be caused by a variety of factors including the build up of dirt on the fan blades which makes them less efficient and general wear and tear on the fan motor which will reduce its speed.

Is Your Fan Working Properly?

Your extractor fan should draw air out of the bathroom or kitchen and vent it outdoors. To help prevent moist air escaping into the rest of the house where it can form condensation that leads to damp.

The simplest way of checking that it is working properly is simply to switch it on and hold a piece of tissue paper in front of it.

If the tissue paper does not move much or at all, then the fan is not pulling air as it should.  The suction from the fan should pull the tissue against the intake and hold it there.  Be careful not to block the fan fully when testing as you could damage it.

If your fan is not working effectively, then it will not be able to remove all the moist air from your bathroom or kitchen. 

How Long Do Extractor Fans Last?

Bathroom extractor fans typically last for ten years.  Kitchen fans tend to last longer as they are not exposed to the same levels of moisture or run for the same length of time.  If your fan is relatively new, then it may not be working properly because of the build up of dust or grime on the fan blades.

Cleaning Extractor Fans

To clean an extractor fan, you should start by turning off the power to avoid getting a shock.  Once the power is off, you should remove the cover and remove any dust inside that could be blocking the vents.  These are the areas that will normally clog up with dust and prevent the fan from working efficiently.

Once you have ensured that the vents are clear of any dust blockages, you should replace the cover and turn the power back on.  If the level of suction is still low, then you should consider replacing the unit.

Replacing Your Extractor Fan

If cleaning the filters and vents on your extractor fan has not improved air flow through the unit, it is time to replace it.  Replacing an extractor fan in a bathroom or kitchen can be a complicated process and it is best to speak to an expert to ensure that the new fan is sufficiently powerful to meet your needs.

If you are finding that condensation is forming throughout your home even when you run your extractor fans, then it might be time to upgrade.  Contact us today to book a free survey to see how we can help.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

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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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