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Is it time to replace your extractor fans?

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Is it Time to Replace Your Extractor Fans?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jul 04, 2023

Your bathroom and kitchen extractor fans are one of the most effective ways to prevent condensation, damp, and mould problems in your home.

Sadly, over time the flow rate of extractor fans falls.

  • Dirt can build up on fan blades which slows them down
  • Filters can become blocked with grease and dust to reduce airflow
  • Motors and bearings can wear out and stop working correctly

It is also possible that in an older property, the extractor fan that was fitted is no longer sufficient to remove the moisture levels that can build up. The airflow requirements for fans extractor fans have changed over time.

How to check if your extractor fan is working properly

An extractor fan draws air out of the kitchen or bathroom and vents it outside. This helps prevent the humid air escaping into the other rooms where it might form condensation and damp patches.

The easiest way to check that your extractor fan is working is to switch it on and hold a piece of tissue paper in front of the grille. Be careful not to fully block the intake as this could overload the fan and damage it.

If the tissue paper is not drawn towards the fan, it is likely that the fan is not pulling as much air as it should. The fan’s suction should pull the tissue against the intake and hold it there.

If your fan is not working correctly, it might not be removing all the water vapour from bathing or cooking before it switches off.

Are older fans as effective

In most cases, bathroom extractor fans will last for up to ten years. Kitchen extractor fans are used less frequently, so should last a little longer, but they are also in environments where there is more dust and smoke from cooking that can damage them.

Older fans tend to have lower power motors that take longer to extract air from a room and may also not feature modern innovations such as moisture sensors that adjust power levels depending on the amount of humidity in the air.

Can you clean extractor fans?

Most extractor fans are designed to be cleaned.

For safety reasons, you should always start by turning off the power before cleaning an extractor fan.

Start by taking off the cover and remove any dust that has built up on the air vents. A vacuum cleaner is the most effective way to remove the dust and will prevent it escaping into your room.

After cleaning the vents, you should check that there is not a build up on the fan blades themselves. Gently wipe the fan plates with a damp cloth to remove any grease.

It is also a good idea to check that the fan is rotating smoothly – if it does not turn easily, or makes a grinding noise, it is possible that the bearings or motor are worn.

After cleaning the vents and fan blades, replace the cover and turn the power back on. If the fan is still not providing good suction, it may be time to replace the unit.

Because extractor fans are typically mounted in rooms with high moisture levels, they need to be wired safely. It is best to have extractor fans professionally installed by an electrician or ventilation specialist.

Find out more about replacing your extractor fans

Modern extractor fans are powerful and energy efficient making them far more effective at preventing condensation. Innovations such as humidity sensors and automatic operation mean that condensation becomes a thing of the past.

If your old extractor fans are no longer working well and you have started to notice condensation in your home, it is important to replace the fans before problems with damp and mould start. Our local ventilation specialists can visit your home and provide a free home survey to identify the causes of condensation and assess your current ventilation. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.

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

Arrange a FREE Home Survey now