Bathroom Extractor Fans: How They Work
Bathroom extractor fans are electrically-run appliances that aid in ventilation. They employ a fan to suck out humid air through a duct which eventually travels to the outside of the house. Alongside, it attempts to bring in fresh air through a separate channel. The ability of the fan to dehumidify a space is dependent on the area of the room and the airflow in and out. Basic models require the operator to manually turn on and off the fan. More sophisticated models automatically begin working when a sensor detects excessive moisture. New models also run quietly and are low-profile, unobvious additions to the bathroom.
Overview Of The Best 10 Bathroom Extractor Fans On The Market In 2017
The 10 Best Bathroom Extractor Fans On The Market Reviewed
The Silavent SDF100TB Bathroom Extractor Fan is a low-cost option for removing humidity in the bathroom. It has a useful timer. The square unit is 165mm x 165mm and can be mounted on a wall or ceiling. Window mounting requires additional hardware, the kit for which can be purchased from Silavent. It is able to extract 20 litres/second. It utilises 12 watts of power. It abides by 2010 Building Regulation standards. The unit comes with a two-year warranty.
- It boasts a two-year warranty.
- Silavent is a known, reputed extractor fan manufacturer.
- It comes with a timer.
- Basic operations.
- Not the most long-lasting model.
The Xpelair C4TS Simply Silent Contour Extractor Fan is a best seller in its category on Amazon. It is available in various versions: standard, with humidistat and timer, with pull cord, and with a simple timer. The smooth casing is easy to clean without the need for extra chemicals, equipment, and work. It is quieter than many of its competing models. It is easy to install on the wall, ceiling, or on a panel. The fan works at two adjustable speeds: 15 litres per second and 32 litres per second. The Xpelair fan has BEAB certification and comes with a two-year warranty. Your purchase includes the Simply Silent fan, an instructional guide, and required fixings.
- It is an affordable model.
- There is a two-year warranty.
- It can be mounted in multiple areas.
- Various variant models are available.
- Despite its claims, users suggest that it is noisy.
The Vent-Axia Silent TImer Extractor Fan is on the pricier side on our list, but if quiet operation is important, this may be a suitable model. It puts out only 14dBA. At the time of installation, you can choose one of two available speeds. It can be installed on the wall, ceiling, window, or on a panel. The Vent-Axia fan also comes with back draught shutters.The timer can be set from five to thirty minutes. It comes with a two-year warranty.
- This unit is ultra-quiet.
- It comes with a two-year warranty.
- It is more expensive than other available models.
- All finishings needed for installation may not be included.
The Manrose Quiet Extractor Fan is a best-seller in its category on Amazon. It comes with a timer for use when away; the timer is adjustable from one to thirty minutes. It operates at a reasonably quiet 27dB, 60% less than comparably-sized fans. A backdraught shutter is included. It is able to extract 21 litres per second. It has a low energy motor. The unit can be installed in the wall or ceiling.
- This is a quiet model.
- It is inexpensive.
- You cannot mount this model on the window.
- There is no stated warranty.
Envirovent's "Silent" Bathroom Extractor Fan is a well-regarded bathroom extractor fan. It won the 2013 Quiet Mark award for its low sound output of 26.dB. It has a power consumption of 8 watts. There is a back draught shutter. The timer function requires a permanent live, switched live, and neutral connection. Anyone with only two of three of these required wires will not be able to use the timer function. Installed properly, the timer can be set up to 30 minutes.
- It is reasonably priced.
- This model has a high extraction rate (26 litres per second).
- There is no stated warranty.
- The timer function requires additional wiring.
- The back draught flaps seem flimsy.
The Airflow iCON ECO Extractor Fan is reasonably priced and high-rated. Buyers will be assured that the fan meets current building regulations. It utilises 9.2 watts. You can purchase various cover-plates to match your bathroom’s décor. It is almost flush with the wall or ceiling, keeping it a discreet addition to the room. Cantilever fixing lugs allow installation on uneven surfaces. The basic unit works by switch. You can purchase plug-in modules for additional features like pull cord operation, run on timer, humidity and motion sensors, continuous running, delay start, and variable speed. It comes with the required screws and fixings needed for installation. The Airflow iCON comes with a three-year warranty.
- It has a three-year warranty.
- It has a low profile and coloured plates.
- Additional features require additional purchase.
- Appropriate for smaller spaces.
The Awenta Modern Extractor Fan WLS100H is a low-cost bathroom extractor fan comes with a timer and humidistat. This model comes in a silver satin colour. It utilises 14 watts of power. An attractive, removable cover plate hides the fan body. It is 100mm in size.
- The humidistat activates automatically, it’s sensitivity is adjusted by the user.
- It is affordable.
- Relatively higher energy consumption versus other highly-rated fans.
- No anti-draught shutter.
The Vectaire A10/4T Extractor Fan is a reasonably priced fan that comes with a timer. It is available in the colour white. Operation is simple—it switches on and off with the light switch. When the light is turned off, the extractor fan continues to run on the timer for a pre-selected amount of time. This model is able to extract 27 litres per second. It runs on 15 watts. The noise level is low at 41dB.
- Solid extraction-rate.
- It is reasonably priced.
- Relatively higher energy consumption versus other highly-rated fans.
- It may be too loud for some users.
- It has a thick profile.
The Cata Bathroom Glass Extractor Fan is more expensive than the other extractor fans on our list, but this fan is built for looks and performance. The cover is dark grey glass, the rest of the fan is made of high-quality plastic. A display informs the user of temperature and relative humidity. The humidity detector works between 40% to 90% humidity. A back draught shutter is available as an accessory. An additional tool is used to remove the glass front, clean, and adjust the settings. It runs at two speeds, consuming 8 watts of power. The sound output is 31dB. The timer can be set up to 15 minutes.
- It is an attractive addition to your interior décor.
- It has low energy consumption.
- It is significantly more expensive than other listed fans.
- There is no stated manufacturer’s warranty.
The Silenta Extractor Fan is one of the more reasonably-priced models on the list. It features a timer and is made to be used in the wet areas of the house, namely the bathroom and toilet & shower areas. This timer can be set from two to thirty minutes. It comes in a brilliant white finish. A fan grille optimises airflow and efficiency, while controlling the noise level of the fan. While it is not a silent model, the noise level associated with this extractor fan is low.
- It is an affordable extractor fan.
- It has an efficiency-boosting fan grille.
- There is no stated manufacturer warranty.
- It is a basic, white-coloured fan.
A bathroom extractor fan is a basic necessity required for the removal of moisture and odours from bathrooms. Standard models utilise a switch to operate the fan that actively sucks away the humid air and facilitates replacement with fresh, relatively dry air. Today’s models are outfitted with features that improve the action of fan, like timers and humidistats. A humidistat measures the ambient humidity and can automatically turn on the fan when a pre-selected threshold is reached. Choosing a fan should consider the energy consumption, extraction rate, the mounting location, cost, features, and quality. Airflow iCON Eco is our recommended extractor fan for its mid-range price, lengthy warranty, and low energy consumption. This model also attempts to match décor with coloured cover plates. Additionally, you pay for what you need—plug in’s can be added for a timer, pull cord, and/or humidistat, or combinations of features. Those who are concerned about noise should opt for the Vent-Axia extractor fan. This fan comes with a two-year warranty, but is one of the higher cost fans on our list.
A Mini Guide To Bathroom Extractor Fans
What’s the Need for A Bathroom Extractor Fan?
Bathrooms are a high-moisture environment. They are constantly exposed to water, and hot water at that. Without some way to extract this moisture from the room, there is the likelihood that mould, mildew, and microorganisms will proliferate. This can be costly to remove and detrimental to health, ranging from allergy-like symptoms to much more severe issues. Nearby clothes, walls, and soft surfaces can take on these harmful agents. They can also pick up difficult to remove musty odours. Structural surfaces can also degrade with time in a moist environment. Undoubtedly, the cost of remediation once there is mould and structural damage is significant.
A bathroom extractor fan can help to remove the ambient moisture from the room before it attacks the surrounding surfaces. It can also make the air more comfortable to be in, something like what a dehumidifier does.
What to Consider Before Buying
It is important to select a bathroom extractor fan that has the capacity to work in a space of the bathroom. There is an equation for calculating the ventilation rate requirement. Most bathrooms require one cubic foot per minute (CFM) of air movement per square foot. 50 CFM is considered to be the minimum required ventilation in bathrooms, even with lesser square footage. More water-generating items in the bathroom, logically increase the requirement of ventilation. Bathroom extractor fans are inexpensive and simple to install.
There are additional considerations to properly install adequate ventilation in the bathroom. A toilet that has its own enclosed space should have a dedicated exhaust fan. For maximum effectiveness, the fan should be placed as close to the shower or bath as allowable. Doors should have generous clearing to allow outside air to enter the space. Finally, rooms with high ceilings should have additional ventilation to account for the excess head space.
Bathroom extractor fans are most commonly ceiling mounted which draw humid bathroom air upwards. They can be outfitted with a light, heating feature, or decorative finishes. An inline bathroom extractor fan is installed to a joist in the attic space. It is connected to a duct which terminates in the bathroom as a slim vent. Another duct takes the air outward from the house. This type of fan is less noisy because the fan is not in the immediate vicinity of the bathroom. Wall-mounted units are installed directly in the wall. These are usually used when there is no attic or when ceilings are not hospitable for a fan. Combination units offer some other feature like lighting or heater to installed fans.
What Can Go Wrong with a Bathroom Extractor Fan?
Bathroom extractor fans are low-cost and non-complex devicesWhatever additional features are present add to the value of the fan, but its primary purpose is to remove moisture and odours from wet rooms (like bathrooms). That being said, because the extractor fan runs near-constantly in an ever-humid space, it is not unexpected for some malfunction to occur with time. Fortunately, these fans are usually inexpensive and readily available, sometimes making removal and replacement an easy fix.
One major complaint people have with their bathroom extractor fans is the noise. Some people barely notice, while others would give anything for the intrusive sound to quieten down. If your fan has always been noisy, consider it to be its normal working volume. Cheaper fans with very fast motors usually make the most noise. There is little you can do in this case besides replacing the extractor fan. To cut down on noise, look for a powerful motor paired with larger fan blades. If the noise is new in a fan that used to be quieter, it may signal dirt interference or a dying motor. To clean the fan of built-up dirt and debris, remove/disengage the power supply and use a can of compressed air or the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner.
If your fan dies, meaning that it won’t turn on despite electrical supply, it is possible that your motor has given out. To verify and begin the repair, first make sure the power supply to the fan is disengaged by switching it off at the main breaker. You should also unplug the fan as an additional safety measure. You can easily remove the front grille by hand or screwdriver. There is likely to be debris built up, something you can clean with a small nozzle or upholstery vacuum attachment. From here, you can identify the fan’s model number to help you order the correct parts. The motor can usually be removed with little to no tools and very little effort. Oftentimes, there is a blower that obstructs it though. Metal blowers can be secured (and unsecured) with a screw. Others are slid in to place without being secured. It is no uncommon for the blower to break during this part of the dismantle. If you do happen to break the blower, do not worry as these are cheap and readily available. When you get your new motor, simply replace it as the old one was, in the same position and connection with other parts.
Bathroom exhaust fans are meant to carry the moisture-filled air up through the attic and outside of the home via a duct that extends to the roof. If this ductwork is improperly laid and ends within the attic, you are essentially pumping wet air into a space from which it cannot escape. Understandably, this creates an excess of moisture in the enclosed attic space. Untreated, this will cause the wood to rot. Furthermore, the water will become frost in the winter and when it melts, there will be damage to the area in which it drips down. The fix for this is not complex, but it requires you to work in the attic. If you are uncomfortable with this requirement, you should seek out an experienced professional to appropriately address the issue. You will also need to install a roof vent cap, for which scaling the roof would be necessary. The slope and shape of the roof can look deceptively easy and safe, but many homeowners realise how precarious it feels to be up there. If you feel comfortable scaling the roof, be sure to wear shoes with good traction and go up on a dry day. You may choose to buy a roof harness or roof jacks to secure yourself and your belongings. If you do choose to fix the attic ductwork on your own, you should choose a cool day for this project as attics can become incredibly hot, to a point that it can be dangerous working up there. It is recommended that you wear a dust mask and adequate eye protection, and bring a flashlight to help you work. Depending on the state of your attic, you should be careful about your body placement and movement, walking only on surfaces you know are reinforced. This project is usually completed by most people in a day. The supplies required shouldn’t be too expensive and are most likely available at your local hardware store.