Where to install an exhaust fan in the bathroom?

Bathroom exhaust fans are an effective solution to solve the humidity problem. It is very necessary to place the exhaust fan in the proper place in the bathroom. You may wonder where to install an exhaust fan in the bathroom. 

Throught Wall exhaust fan

Bathroom Exhaust fan with bluetooth speaker

An exhaust fan needs to be placed on the ceiling between the shower and the door. Placement of the fan just above the shower may not be a good solution. And if there is no chance to exhaust air through the roof, the bathroom fan can be installed on the wall having contact with the outside environment.

There are some other things to take into consideration when placing an exhaust fan in the bathroom. In this article, I’ll try to make clear those concepts. 

Places to install exhaust fan in a bathroom

You can place an exhaust fan anywhere in the bathroom as you wish. There are some common places to install exhaust fans to get effective ventilation. Here I’m describing three places where you can install your bathroom fan. 

  1. Above or near above the shower

This is the recommended position for placing a bathroom exhaust fan. During the bath, this is the first place where the steam first reaches from the shower. 

You can either place the exhaust fan just above the shower or near above the shower. Both positions are pretty much effective for taking the vaporized air out of the bathroom. I, along with most of the experts, recommend not to place the exhaust fan just above the shower. I’ll explain this later. 

  1. On the wall 

This is a good position for placing the bathroom exhaust fan in apartments where you can’t vent through the roof. In this method, you’ll have to place the exhaust fan on the wall that is on the other side, exposed to free space outside. The exhaust fan will absorb all the steamy air from inside and expel them outside. 

Its problem is that the exhaust fan from this position takes a little more time to exhaust air than the previous position. The steam can get a chance to spread over the roof and wall; then it pulls the air towards it. This may be a negligible difference. But we’re talking about the best way. So, you need to consider this. 

  1. In the attic

First of all, I’m making it clear.  I’m not talking about exposing the steamy air in the attic. You need to keep the whole system closed with some ductwork. Here the exhaust fan will be placed in the attic and connected with the ducts for exhausting air. 

This is the method for exhausting air from multiple bathrooms. Steamy air from the bathrooms or holes in the same large bathroom enters the ducts and are pulled towards the exhaust fan. Then the air is emitted through another set of ducts. 

Best place to install bathroom fan 

I’ve mentioned the three commonly used places to install bathroom fans. Among all of these positions, I choose near above the shower

If you place the exhaust fan above or near the shower, it will give benefit you the most. You know that the main function of exhaust fans is to control humidity. The steam from the shower at first reaches the roof of the bathroom. If it can be expelled right then, it can not reach other places. That means the vapor can’t reach other places in the bathroom and is removed instantly after being produced.

Why am I not recommending just above the shower? Well, that has a cause too. 

When the exhaust fan is expelling the air from the bathroom, new air from outside fills up the gap. So, I recommend placing the exhaust fan in the roof between the shower and the door or some other places from where the make-up air can enter into. This will maintain proper ventilation between the bathroom and the environment outside. 

Arrangement of ductwork for an exhaust fan

If you place the exhaust fan on the roof or in the attic, ducts will play a significant role in ventilation the air properly. Ducts should be arranged well so that the steamed air doesn’t get accumulated in them. For this, keep the duct short and straight as much as possible. 

Longer ducts decrease the effectiveness of the exhaust fan. So, don’t exceed 6 feet in length for the duct. And the duct should have a good diameter. If the duct is too twisted, it is also bad for circulating air. Keep its contact with the environment outside directly.

If you live in a country where the environment becomes very cold, wrap the ducts with aluminum foil so that outer coldness can’t affect the inside. In extreme cold situations, the vaporized air will be condensed and turn into water which you don’t want. To avoid this, use foil to keep the duct insulated. 

Maintaining proper ventilation

Bathroom exhaust fans are used mainly for controlling humidity in the bathroom. This is a preventive measure against the problems caused by moisture. Your installed bathroom fan may not function well if the air can’t vent between the bathroom and the outside environment. 

The exhaust fan will pull all the air along with steam, and that newly created blank space should be filled up with new air. This make-up air will be supplied from outside. Usually, the air is supplied through the gap under the bathroom door. If the door has no gap under the gap, you should make one. And there are other ways to create a space for ventilation, like making small cracks in the door. Use them as you need. 

Things you should avoid while placing bathroom fans.

  • Don’t exhaust air anywhere other than outside

Placing the exhaust fan in the right place is not enough. It is also important where the air is exhausted. It is important to exhaust the air outside, not into the attic or any other room.  

  • Don’t place the exhaust fan in the shower

You may find in some houses that exhaust fans are set into the shower. This is not a good idea. The whole bathroom’s air needs to be vented. And if you want to put an exhaust fan in the shower, place another fan in the bathroom outside of the shower. 

  • Don’t place the fan just above the shower

Placing the fan just over the shower will make the inside of the shower very cold with cold make-up air. Sometimes it may be difficult to suck in moisture from other corners to the above of the shower. Placing the fan a little bit away is better.  

Final thoughts

So, we’re here and we know where to install an exhaust fan in the bathroom. The proper placement is very important. Besides good ventilation, ducts arrangement and CFM calculation are important too. After considering all of these factors, you can get the proper result from a bathroom exhaust fan. 

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