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When Should You Replace Your Bathroom Extractor Fan?

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By EnviroVent Dec 24, 2019

If there’s one place you need an extractor fan, it’s a bathroom even a quick two-minute shower can leave the room dripping with steam and condensation. Furthermore, over time if this excess moisture is not extracted and ventilated properly, more severe issues like damp and mould will appear. However, how do you know when it’s time to replace an extractor fan, could it just be dirty, or do you need an entirely new unit?

A bathroom is a damp room by definition, so providing proper ventilation is imperative, both for the occupant's health and for the bathroom itself. Renewing the ambient air limits the emergence of any condensation and the appearance of mould all the while reducing the humidity level.

 The bathroom is usually the most humid room in the house. Hot showers, baths and running taps all contribute to building excessive moisture within the air. This circulating moisture soon condensates on any cold surfaces and leaves the room damp.

Without sufficient ventilation, the room cannot fully dry out and leads to a variety of damp related issues. Mould, mildew and rot begin to take a hold of the wood, plaster and flooring.

An extractor fan performs a fantastic job at quickly removing excess moisture in the air, along with bad smells. Moisture laden air is extracted and vented outside, balancing out humidity and mitigating damp related problems.

Many older homes around the UK are still struggling along without a fan, or currently use a tired and underpowered extractor. Yet it’s an essential appliance for keeping troublesome damp at bay.

Like most things in life extractor fans included we all need a little tlc, by that we mean cleaning and checking everything is running accordingly. A decent extractor fan shouldn’t need taking apart, meticulously cleaning and then strenuously put back together again. However, when you think that the average person creates 1/3 ounce of dead skin each week, which is about the weight of a car key. This dead skin combines with other particles to create household dust – that’s a lot of particles travelling through your extractor fan. If possible, vacuuming the extractor fan on a weekly basis is good practice, although this is probably easier said then done, especially if your extractor fan is very high on the wall or ceiling. 

If you cannot clean your fan, as the vast majority will not be able to then after a few years it is only natural that the fan blades will be covered in dust and dirt and it will need replacing. A lot of people are easily swayed by a cheap price – it’s an extractor fan, they’re all the same – wrong. The most important factor is the airflow rate and how much air the extractor fan can move. Naturally every bathroom is different, various sizes and shapes, so of course the extractor fan required will be different depending on such factors. You shouldn’t need a large fan for a small bathroom, providing it performs well. There are however, building regulations and wiring regulations for ventilation which should always be adhered to. 

Types of bathroom extractor fans;

  • 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. Now let’s find which set-up is the most suitable for your home.

Top things to consider:
  • How the fan run is controlled - Some may run off the light switch, a pull cord, while others may have PIR or humidity sensors which react when there is excess moisture in the air.
  • Noise - Naturally, the whisper quiet ones will be more expensive, but this may be a price worth paying.
  • Performance – Small fans can still be powerful, the most important thing is it removes moisture. 
Furthermore, your choice of fan will be affected by your other ventilation needs, would it be worth considering a whole-house ventilation solution? 

Ensure you are sure on your ventilation needs before making any purchase. Price will always have a heavy influence on purchase but it’s always worth bearing in mind – would you rather have a one-off price or an accumulation of expense, possible damp and mould repair costs and even a risk of affecting your home insurance renewal?

When it comes to fan fitting proceed with caution, it’s usually preferable that we tackle jobs around the house ourselves and usually think how hard can it be to fit an extractor fan? However, extractor fans do require wiring, whether that be fitting new wiring and electrical circuits or tackling existing wiring. We would advise enlisting a qualified electrician for any jobs that involve wiring or electrics.  

The Cyclone 7 is a major advancement in extractor fan technology, designed to deliver high performance in controlling humidity levels in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms using the lowest energy consumption. The Cyclone 7 is a standard size and incorporates the latest patented cyclone separation technology. This ensures that all particles, humidity and dust in the air are drawn into the fan and extracted outside the property, without the need for filters that can become clogged. 

Incorporated within the Cyclone 7 is the intelligent vapour tracking control, which constantly monitors the humidity level. As humidity rises and falls, the motor speed rises and falls in direct correlation. The Cyclone 7 IQ version is supplied with a remote control, so can be ceiling mounted and offers ultimate wireless control to the user. Pressing the button once on the wireless remote control, the unit will go into boost mode. Covered by an unrivalled 7 year warranty as standard, the Cyclone 7 offers the highest quality and the lowest maintenance requirements for utmost peace of mind, saving time, money and hassle. 

Once your fan is up you will still need to tend to it periodically and keep it operating efficiently. Consider twice per year as a minimum. Dust will build up around the filters and grills and reduce the fan’s performance over time.

Dust covers can be unscrewed or pulled off depending on the design. Then you can use a small paintbrush or toothbrush to clean the fan blades and vent slots.

Whilst you are cleaning you should also be inspecting for damage or breaches. Check the fan blades, ducting and exhaust vent. Duct tape repairs will not last long so consider replacing damaged sections entirely.