Extractor fans can be ideal for extracting stale, polluted, or damp air out of individual wet rooms, such as kitchens, bathrooms, wet rooms and utility rooms. Without extractor fans, bathrooms can be prone to condensation, which can lead to damp and the growth of black mould. The moist, damp air in the wet rooms can also migrate around the rest of the property, causing issues in other rooms. 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 a bathroom extractor fan fitted, it is important to choose the right one and to have it installed correctly.
Advances in building materials and processes mean that new-builds are more energy-efficient than ever. This is great for reducing energy bills and carbon footprints but one element of this energy-efficiency is an increased air-tightness in the home in general. It means that less heat escapes but also increases the need for mechanical ventilation.
Building regulations stipulate the rates of air exchange that must be provided by ventilation systems but you will want to consider airflow rates even if installing an extractor fan in an older property. Experienced ventilation providers will be able to advise on the size, power and type of fan for the size, shape, and usage of your bathroom.
As well as making sure you have adequate airflow, there are several other issues to consider. Local ventilation experts can provide the advice that will help to ensure you find the right solution for your bathroom.
One issue is the noise extractpr fans produce. Cheap or poorly-installed extractor fans can be noisy. This can be annoying if you are trying to relax in the bath, or if your bedroom is close to a bathroom with an extractor fan that comes on when the light is switched on. There are ultra-quiet options available.
As well as light-switch operated fans, you may decide to install a model that operates with a separate pull cord, a timer, or a humidity sensor, which can automatically turn the unit on when it detects a certain level of moisture in the air. There are also units that run at a continuous low level with a ‘boost’ when required, and ones with infrared sensors that detect when you enter the room.
You might also want to think about power consumption, maintenance and, of course, how the fan looks in your bathroom.
Bathrooms and wet rooms are divided into zones, based on proximity to water sources. An industry standard, the IP rating, designates the zones in which any electrical fixtures or equipment can be installed.
There are special requirements for extractor fans being sited in these zones. For example mains fans must be at least IPX4 rated and a 30mA RCD must be protecting the circuit. Alternatively SELV fans can be fitted. Qualified electricians will ensure the correct type of fan and wiring is installed in accordance with IET wiring regulations.
For greatest effectiveness, your fan should be as far as possible from the source of replacement air (i.e. an internal door in a bathroom) and generally as high as possible. You can install extract fans in the ceiling but should make sure there are no joists, pipes or cables in the area above the site.
You will also need to consider any ducting and venting issues, which is usually a job best left to professionals. If you are having a fan fitted into a window, it is important to check that the window size and type is suitable for the unit. A professional glazier will be able to advise and cut the requisite hole. You will also want the fan to be somewhere it can be easily accessed for maintenance and any repairs.
Having your bathroom thoroughly assessed and your bathroom extractor fan correctly installed can help to ensure that it does what it’s supposed to and keeps your bathroom fresh and free from condensation.
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