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What is the correct way to install a bathroom extractor fan

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What is the correct way to install a bathroom extractor fan

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Apr 09, 2022

Extractor fans are ideal for extracting damp or stale air from wet rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms.  Without having an extractor fan fitted, bathrooms in particular can be prone to condensation, which will lead to the growth of black mould.  Having an extractor fan in a bathroom also prevents moist air escaping into the rest of your home where it can also lead to condensation problems..

Extractor fans can also be useful for removing odours and freshening up the room, which can be important if your toilet is in the bathroom.

If you are thinking of having an extractor fan fitted in your bathroom or kitchen it is important to choose the right one and to have it installed correctly.  To ensure that you have the right extractor fan for your bathroom, it is a good idea to speak to a ventilation expert who can visit your home to provide advice about what is needed based on moisture levels and room sizes.

There are a number of things to think about when choosing and installing a bathroom extractor fan correctly:

Does the fan provide enough air flow

While new build homes are designed to be more energy efficient and prevent heat loss, their airtight design means that you need increased mechanical ventilation to ensure proper levels of air flow out of key rooms.

When choosing your fan, it is important to consider the amount of airflow.  This is stipulated as part of building regulations.  The power rating of the fan specified for a particular room is dependent on the size and shape of the room as well as the fan is to be located.  An experienced ventilation engineer will be able to provide you with options depending on the room where the fan will be installed to ensure that it is powerful enough to extract moisture without it escaping into other parts of your home and causing condensation.

Where to site a bathroom extractor fan

Bathrooms and other wet rooms are divided into zones, which are defined based on how near they are to water sources.  Electrical equipment can only be sited in a location where it is safe.  The industry standard IP rating designates which zone an appliance such as extractor fan can be installed in.

If they are fitted in a bathroom zone in proximity to a water source, mains Extractor Fans must be at least IPX4 rated with a 30mA RCD to protect their circuit.  If this is not possible, an SELV fan should be used. 

Having your bathroom extractor fan installed by a qualified electrician is important to ensure that the correct fan is used, and that any wiring is in accordance with IET regulations.

Beyond their location in proximity to water sources, an extractor fan should also be sited as high as possible and as far as possible from the source of the replacement air.  In practice, this usually means that the fan should be placed high on the wall opposite the internal door to the bathroom.  This type of placement helps to ensure that moisture laden air from the whole room is drawn out, rather than just air from a small area.

Your installer will also consider how the fan will extract air – for example whether a hole will need to be cut in the wall, and if ducting is required.  Where the only option is to fit a fan into a window, you will need to have the fitting inspected by a professional glazier to ensure that it is safe and secure.

What kind of extractor fan is right for a bathroom

Aside from airflow needs, IP rating and placement (wall mounted, ceiling mounted, or window mounted) you should also consider factors such as the noise levels of the fan you are installing.  If the fan is to be installed in an en suite bathroom or close to bedrooms you might want to discuss an ultra-quiet fan to avoid disturbing people.

The way the fan works is important.  Although extractor fans are often connected to the light circuit, this may not be ideal for you – particularly if the bathroom is well lit during the day, and you want to avoid unnecessary energy use.  Some modern fans such as the EnviroVent Cyclone 7 feature a humidity sensor which automatically determines the correct power levels to use to remove moisture.

Speak to an expert

Our local ventilation specialists can provide you with all the advice you need about choosing and siting your new bathroom extractor fan.  They can perform a free home survey which will assess moisture levels in your wet rooms and determine what is right for you.

Contact us today to book your free home survey and get rid of condensation from your bathroom for good.

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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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