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When Should a Bathroom Extractor Fan be Replaced?

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When Should a Bathroom Extractor Fan be Replaced?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Apr 19, 2022

The amount of moisture released into the air when you are bathing is surprising.  Without a good extractor fan, even a quick two-minute shower can leave your bathroom walls dripping with condensation.  If that condensation is not properly removed and aired, serious issues such as damp and mould can develop over time.

Typically, the bathroom is the most humid room in the house and without adequate ventilation, the space will not dry out entirely, resulting in a number of damp-related difficulties. Over time, wood, plaster, and flooring may begin to degrade due to mould, mildew, and rot.

Bathroom Extractor Fans

An effective, modern extractor fan in your bathroom will do an excellent job of immediately eliminating excess moisture and odours from the air, however in some older homes in the UK, the extractor fan may not be powerful enough to handle the humidity levels that are being produced by showers and baths – particularly if you are using a power shower.

Extractor fans, like most things in life, require some TLC, which include cleaning and double-checking that everything is working properly and to prevent the build-up of dust on the fan.

When you consider that the average human produces 1/3 ounce of dead skin per week, which is around the weight of a car key, it becomes clear. This dead skin combines with other particles to form domestic dust, which travels through your extractor fan in large quantities. Vacuuming the extractor fan on a weekly basis, if feasible, is a good idea, but it's definitely easier said than done, especially if your extractor fan is mounted quite high on the wall or ceiling.

If you can't clean your fan, the fan blades will be gradually become clogged with dust and grime.  Eventually this build-up can affect the motor and the fan will need to be replaced.

Not All Bathroom Extractor Fans are the Same

If you search for a new bathroom extractor fan on online retailers you’ll find a variety of different products at different prices, and it can be tempting to simply choose the cheapest - after all, it's an extractor fan, right?

As with most things, there are a number of factors that contribute to the price of an appliance like an extractor fan.  In many cases, the cheapest fans on the market are not sufficiently powerful to properly remove moisture from a bathroom, and may not even meet the building regulations for the size of room that you want to fit them in.

There are three main types of bathroom extractor fan:

  • Through the ceiling, ducting through roof eaves, out an external wall vent
  • Through a wall, ducting straight through to external vent
  • Through a glass window

Of these three, the first two are the most common and easiest to install, and as a replacement, system, it may be possible to simply swap the new one in place of the old – although it is best for a qualified electrician to handle the installation to ensure that everything is wired correctly and safely.

When choosing the right bathroom extractor fan for your home, there are several things to think about:

The Fan Control

Some fans operate with the light switch, others have a separate pull cord.  Others, like the Cyclone 7 from EnviroVent have a humidity sensor which detects moisture levels and changes the power of the fan automatically to remove the excess water vapour as quickly as possible to prevent condensation.

The Power Levels

The most important consideration about replacing a bathroom extractor fan is that it is powerful enough to remove the amount of moisture that is generated for the size of your bathroom.  In larger rooms, or if you have a power shower, a more powerful fan will be required and this is specified by the building regulations.

Your Ventilation Requirements

Before making any purchases, make sure you're certain about your ventilation requirements. Price will always have a strong influence on buying, but consider this: would you rather have a one-time cost or an accumulation of costs, including potential damp and mould repair charges, as well as the possibility of influencing your home insurance renewal?

When it comes to fan installation, approach with caution; we prefer to do work around the house ourselves and often wonder how difficult it might be to install an extractor fan.

 Extractor fans, require wiring, whether new wire and electrical circuits are installed or old wiring is repaired. For any jobs involving wiring or electrics, we recommend using a qualified electrician.

Maintenance and Cleaning

If you needed to replace a fan that stopped working because it had become clogged and damaged, you may be concerned about what cleaning is required.

Many modern fans do not require a filter, which makes them more straightforward to clean, and also, less likely to clog, although they do still have grills which will need to be cleaned.

Choosing a fan that is easy to maintain will make it more likely that you can take care of the equipment properly.  Depending on the design, dust covers can be unscrewed or pulled off. After that, it is straightforward to wipe the fan blades and vent slots with a little paintbrush or toothbrush.

While you're cleaning, keep an eye out for any damage or breaches. Examine the fan blades, ducting, and exhaust vent for any problems. Repairing damaged pieces with duct tape will not last long, so consider replacing them totally.

Speak to a Professional

If you need a new bathroom extractor fan, speak to one of our local specialists.  When you book a free home survey, they will visit your property and assess the moisture levels in different parts of your house and advise you about the best solution.  They will be able to talk you through the level of power required in your bathroom fan, and also let you know whether there is a better solution for reducing condensation in your property.

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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