Bathroom Extractor Fans Advice & FAQ

We often receive emails and messages on social media about various aspects of extractor fans and it’s here you will find the answer to all of your questions and advice on many different topics. Of course, if you have a question or comment of your own you can also ask it below and we’ll answer you asap!

  1. What is an extractor fan?
  2. What size extractor fan?
  3. How loud are these fans?
  4. How to clean your bathroom extractor fan?
  5. How to fit your extractor fan?
  6. Help, my fan is not working
  7. Wiring diagrams
  8. Regulations

What is an Extractor Fan?

Simply put, an extractor fan is a fan designed to extract the air from your home or place of work. In the case of a bathrooms the extractor fan is designed specially to extract moist air caused by hot baths and showers.

Extracting this moist air from your bathroom can prevent the mirror from steaming up and more importantly can prevent any nasty mould or damp from creeping into your home.

What Size Extractor Fan Do I Need?

The standard size extractor fan is 4″ (100mm) and this is the size you will likely find most fans, grills and ducting etc are designed to work with. However, you can also get larger fans at 6″ which are more suited to industrial scale extraction.

How Loud are these Fans?

This depends on the type and quality of the individual fan, however on average most fans in the UK are around 26dB which is considered whisper quiet. Often you will find inline fans are louder however this is offset by them usually being tucked away up in the loft where the noise is considerably less.

How to Clean Bathroom Extractor Fan?

Cleaning your extractor fan is a fairly simple process. First of all turn off the power supply to your fan. Now check to see if your fan features a removable grill front, and detach it by removing the screws or clips that hold it in place.

Now with access to both the fan and the grill it’s simply a case of wiping over the surfaces. Personally i find a cloth dipped in warm soapy water works great, though of course your usual bathroom cleaner will also work great.

Ensure the fan blades can move freely and spin without being blocked by dirt or dust.

You can find further information including an illustrated guide and tips for cleaning your bathroom fan over here.

How to fit Your Extractor Fan

Fitting an extractor fan in your bathroom can be quite an involved process especially if you’ve chosen a ceiling mounted unit that will require access to your loft. We now have a detailed guide to fitting your bathroom fan for those seeking to go the DIY route.

In the meantime you can check out this video from the guys at This Old House to get a better idea of fitting your own fan.

Bathroom Extractor Fan Not Working

Oh dear, however the good news is that in some cases it may not be as bad as it seems! First off, what is the nature of the problem? Normally the error lies with the fan motor, if so one of two things will happen…

If your fan is making a mechanical “grinding” noise then i’m afraid it’s probably not good news. However, it’s possible that dirt and grime are simply clogging the motor causing it difficulty to spin. In which case i suggest you follow the instructions above for cleaning your fan and seeing if things improve.

If you’ve cleaned your fan and it is still making mechanical noises then it’s quite likely that the fan motor is on its last legs i’m afraid. In which case the only option you have is to choose a replacement fan best suited for your needs. Due to the nature of the fan extracting moist air, the fan motor is a sealed unit and thus you can’t just replace the motor itself, you’re going to need to buy a new fan unit.

If your fan just isn’t working at all, then either the motor has gone as per above or there is an electrical problem with your fan. If you’re not feeling competent enough to investigate this yourself then you should always call in a qualified electrician to look things over. However, you may well find that it is simply cheaper to buy a new replacement fan unit.

Fan Wiring Diagram

There is no one size fits all wiring diagram when it comes to bathroom extractor fans. You should always consult the wiring diagram that comes with your fan unit.

Thankfully however the manufacturers customer service are pretty good with helping you should the dog have ate your diagram!

Some of the more popular brands are Envirovent, Vent-Axia, Manrose and Airflow.

Bathroom Fan Regulations

With any such building renovations there are of course regulations. Here in the UK these regulations come under the Building Regulations act, and of particular concern is document F that dictates the regulations surrounding ventilation systems. You can read up on these regulations and ensure you are complying with them.

If you do not comply with these regulations not only are you putting yourself in danger but you may well have difficulty further down the line should you decide to sell your home.

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