Introduction to Bathroom Fans
Every bathroom should have a fan that can ventilate the bathroom, keeping it free from mildew and mold. Moisture in the bathroom can cause doors to warp, paint to peel, and mold spores to accumulate. Bathroom fans can greatly reduce the moisture in the room as well as the problems that the moisture causes. In addition, having fans in the bathroom can help the mirrors from fogging up and get rid of odors.
Building codes in many areas require a venting fan in all bathrooms without natural ventilation. Bathroom fans come in many different styles and models, which can be ceiling- or wall-mounted. The size of the fan is determined by the square footage of the bathroom. The airflow of bathroom fans is measured by Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM).
The square footage of the bathroom should be multiplied by 1.1 to determine the necessary size of the bathroom fan. Another way to estimate the CFM rating needed in a fan is to choose a unit with at least 5 CFM higher than the square footage of the bathroom. When in doubt, go for the larger bathroom fan. As an alternative, a large bathroom can have two smaller fans instead of one very large one.
The more elaborate types of fans — and more expensive — can include heaters, timer switches, and lights. The most common feature is a ceiling light. Many bathroom fans are mounted as one unit with the lamp, and can be turned on simultaneously or separately. Heat lamps can also be included, as can adjustable mounting brackets, and a humidity sensor.
Some bathroom fans are extremely noisy. Quieter fans may be more expensive, but are usually worth the extra expense, as they are not only more pleasant, but more efficient. Good fans can be almost completely quiet, while still being very effective. The fan will also be used more often if it is quiet than if it makes a considerable amount of noise.
The noise of the fan is rated in sones — which measures how people perceive loudness — with louder fans having a higher sone rating, on a scale of 1 to 7. Very noisy fans start at 4 sones, while the quietest ones are rated between 0.5 to 1.2 sones. 1.2 to 2 sones are generally good for most bathrooms.
Bathroom fans can be installed by homeowners, but it is a job that will be extremely messy and probably take the better part of a day to contribute. An alternative is to have a professional install the fan or at least have an electrician deal with the electrical connections.
A bathroom fan is likely to come with a mounting kit. If not, a mounting kit should be purchased separately. A mounting kit will include a vent tailpiece, a vent hose, and an exterior vent cover.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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