Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Having a ventilation fan in your bathroom entitles you to a lot of benefits. Other than just keeping your bathroom free from mould and mildew, the ventilation fan also eliminates steamy mirrors, fogged-up windows and stale odours from the bathroom. In order to obtain all these benefits, you first need to install the bathroom extractor fan. It is worth noting that the installation process is a bit involving and might require a lot more engagement considering that it entails removing some drywall, drilling through joists and busting through an exterior wall or roof.
Nevertheless, the whole process is not brain surgery, and therefore you can see it through using a simple DIY guide which will be shared in here.
There are three venting options available for you to employ in installing the bathroom extractor fan. These include:
Whatever the option you choose, ensure that the fan expends to the outside and not just into the crawlspace, attic or any other enclosed area. Another thing you should know beforehand is that the installation process is not something you can accomplish all by yourself. Therefore, you may need an extra pair of hands; your spouse or a friend to help you while you work from the attic, below the ceiling or on the ladder. Given the fact that hot air rises, the roof is the most appropriate position to install the fan. It should be fixed right between the toilet and the shower for optimum performance. Below are the steps to follow when installing a bathroom extractor fan.
Using an extra-long spade bit of 3/8 inches in diameter, drill a reference hole into the attic through the ceiling. Ensure that the area around the hole is free from any insulation then use it to determine the fan’s exact position. Determine the dimensions of the fan housing and then position the fan between two joists close to the reference hole. Be cautious with any nearby pipes and other obstructions and note the vent fan’s position in relation to the reference hole.
Take the measurements of the vent fan’s inner dimensions and use them to outline the intake-port hole you are going to make on the ceiling. The reference hole drilled earlier should be used to transfer these measurements from the ceiling to the attic. A layout square or a framing square would be the appropriate tool to draw the rectangular sketch of the intake port onto the ceiling.
You can do this by using a jigsaw, a reciprocating saw or a drywall saw. Make sure to put on goggles and a respirator before proceeding and ensure to observe utmost precision while cutting along the laid out lines. To avoid letting the cutout fall off and possibly carrying with it some of the waste, use one hand to support it while cutting with the other.
Attach a 90-degree duct elbow that is 4 inches long to the outlet port on the side of the vent fan housing while aiming the elbow straight up and secure it to the port with a foil duct tape. Attach the cable connector to the vent fan after removing the knockout hole on the side then slide the four metal brackets into the tabs bulging from the side of the extractor fan. Finally, position the fan between the joists centreed on the hole in the ceiling.
Extend the brackets so that they are in contact with the side of the joists then secure each bracket with one 1½-inch drywall screw. Slip one end of the flexible duct that comes with the wall cap kit over the elbow attached to the extractor fan then cover it with a foil duct tape. Feed the electrical cable through the connector and secure it with a screw.
Select a spot on the sidewall through which the flexible duct will exit the house. Make sure that this place is between two wall studs and within 6 feet of the extractor fan. Mark the spot on the siding and the cut the duct hole through the house wall using a 4-inch hole-saw.
Move into the attic and grab the other end of the exhaust duct stretching it carefully to attach it to the wall cap secured to the outside wall.
Use a foil duct tape to fasten the 12-inch long connector duct to the wall cap. Slide the wall cap into the duct hole from outside and push it tight against the house siding. Use a foam-rubber gasket to fit any spaces where the wall cap doesn’t contact the siding. You can apply a bead of silicone adhesive to the siding and gasket around the hole to make sure it’s tight. Secure the wall cap in the hole using four 1½-inch stainless steel screws.
Back in the bathroom; remove the motor by unscrewing the fan housing. Also unscrew the built-in receptacle from inside the unit to access the wiring. Using wire nuts, join same colour wires with the ones from the electrical cable fed into the unit in step six. Wrap the bare copper cable under the green grounding screw inside the unit and tighten the screw. Replace the electrical receptacle back in position and secure it with screws.
Put the motor back to the ceiling and push its plug into the electrical receptacle inside the unit then secure it with screws. Hold the cover close to the ceiling and slip its mounting wires into the slots inside the unit then push it up until it’s tight against the ceiling. Finally, turn on the power and test the fan.These are the ten steps involved in installing the bathroom extractor fan. The above procedure accounts for the standard actions involved although the steps may vary depending on the model or brand of fan you are installing. As you must have noted, the process is not as intimidating, and therefore you have no reason whatsoever not to have it installed on your premises.
Troubleshooting Tip: Find out why your bathroom extractor fan drips after installation.
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