A bathroom exhaust fan is a perfect way to add airflow to your shower.
Increased airflow helps reduce steam and moisture in your bathroom. Also, a bathroom fan will help dry out your shower after use.
A dry shower is less likely to grow mold and other nasties. Also, with less steam you’ll have less foggy mirrors so you can actually see yourself in the mirror once you get out.
If you have poor ventilation in your bathroom with small or no windows you definitely should invest in a bathroom fan. Without a fan your shower and bath will stay wetter for longer. This gives mold and mildew a greater chance to grow and make a mess of your bathroom. Also, if you bathroom is moist and damp for a very long time, moisture can start to absorb into the dry wall. This will damage your bathroom walls and eventually be very expensive to replace.
What fan capacity (CFM) do I need?
Small (5ft x 8ft)
Standard (9ft x 11ft)
Large (9ft + x 11ft +)
CFM you need
When choosing a bathroom fan you want to pick one that is powerful enough. How much power do you need? Well I’m glad you asked.
You need a fan that is powerful enough to move all the air in your bathroom in a reasonable amount of time.
Ideally your bathroom fan is powerful enough to recycle the total cubic feet of air in your bathroom every 7.5 minutes, or fully recycle 8 times every hour.
So you need to know cubic feet of your bathroom to figure out the CFM (cubic feet per minute) you need.
Cubic feet = length of your bathroom x width of your bathroom x height of your bathroom.
For example: Most ceilings are 8ft high as standard. A lot of standard bathrooms are 9ft wide and 11ft long/deep. So the cubic ft = 8 x 9 x 11 = 792 cubic ft.
If we want to recycle 792 cubic feet every 7.5 minutes we need a flow rate of 792 divided by 7.5 or 106 CFM.
If your bathroom was much smaller, say 5ft wide and 8ft deep, you would only need a CFM of around 43. However, please note, most building codes will stipulate a minimum fan of 50 CFM.
Things to consider when buying a fan:
Cubic flow per minute (CFM). Make sure your fan is powerful enough to do its job. Read above and calculate the size of your bathroom and choose a fan to match. Too small a fan and it won’t generate enough airflow to stop mold. Too big a fan and you’ll spend money you didn’t need to.
Noise. Choose a fan that is quite to run. It’s generally good to run the fan for a little while after your shower as well as during your shower. You don’t want a noisy fan disturbing you. Check the product information and reviews to check how noisy or quiet the fan is.
Unit size. Make sure you have enough room to install the shower fan unit in your ceiling. Ideally you’d like the fan directly above your shower for best results. However, if your shower is tucked in a small corner your larger fan might need to be place elsewhere.
Color and finish. Choose a fan that matches your ceiling color to blend in, or a classy finish that matches the other fittings in your bathroom.
Top 5 Bathroom Fan Reviews
The Panasonic range of fans have all three aspects of the ceiling fan equation spot on – firstly, they actually perform at or above the flow rates that they mention in the product specs, which means you’ll be able to get the moisture out of the air in your bathroom very quickly.
Secondly, because it’s Energy Star rated, it’s very cheap to run – this particular model only consumes 14.7 Watts, which is about 10% of some other ceiling fans.
Finally, it’s quiet. There is nothing more annoying than a loud, rattling fan when you’re trying to relax and enjoy a shower.
In some bathrooms, there’s no way for a ceiling mounted fan to be installed. Perhaps you’re in an apartment building, or you’ve got a two stories home and your bathroom is downstairs? For whatever reason, there are times that you may need a wall mounted fan – and this one from Panasonic has to be one of the best.
Like the rest of their range, this one is exceptionally quiet and very energy efficient. Although it’s designed for internal to external applications, there are many people who choose to use this for internal to internal installs, such as to take the heat out of a computer room, or transfer warmth from a lounge room into a bedroom.
If you’ve got a limited amount of space, then the light/fan combination units are the best way to make use of the space. Some people also prefer them for the visual appeal and neatness of just having a single object in the middle of the room, rather than having both a fan and a light.
This unit has a solid construction, including a glass light diffuser and metal fan assembly box. The fan is rather quiet, especially considering it has 100 CFM flow rate. It even has a night light built in. The bulbs are not supplied for either light with the unit, so be sure to pick some up when you order this bathroom fan.
This ceiling fan/light combination from Broan features a flow rate of 110 CFM, which is plenty for most average sized bathrooms. Like the Air King model above, it has a regular light and night light built in, which can be handy in small spaces.
It’s a rather quiet fan, coming in at 0.7 sones, with many people reporting that it sounds quieter than their old 50 CFM fan – and with more than double the flow rate, you will find that your bathroom mirror will unfog in no time!
Here’s a product that uses technology to solve two of the biggest problems with using an exhaust fan – Firstly, when should you turn the fan on, and secondly, forgetting it is on and leaving it on all day. If you’re like me, you’ve tried turning the fan on before you get into the shower, but it’s always a bit too cold, because there’s no steam trapped in the room to keep you warm. If you leave it until after the shower, there’s too much and you can’t see anything in the mirror.
With this exhaust fan from Delta, it will automatically turn itself on when the humidity level reaches 60%, and will automatically adjust the fan speed and flow rate so that it operates at the lowest required power level. Once the humidity level drops below 60%, it will turn itself off again. It’s that simple – a complete “set and forget” solution, that is perfect for your own bathroom or the kids bathroom where they never remember to turn the fan on (or off).