How to choose an exhaust fan
An exhaust fan buying guide
Because heating, cooling and air quality are very important, exhaust fans that circulate air are a necessity in every home. Understanding how to choose an exhaust fan will help you choose the fan offering the best functionality. Before you go out and shop for exhaust fans, consider a few questions.
>> Why do you need an exhaust fan?
The main exhaust fan uses are to remove humidity from a room, to cool the air and to circulate air. When you think about how to choose an exhaust fan, consider what room you need it in. The most popular areas for exhaust fans are the kitchen and the bathroom. To figure out how to choose an exhaust fan, first consider where it will be placed.
An exhaust fan is useful in the kitchen to pull moisture from the air. Boiling water, cooking certain foods and opening the dishwasher before the cycle is fully dried are all actions that release moisture into the air. Exhaust fans are also useful for removing odors, smoke and steam generated during cooking.
An exhaust fan is useful in a bathroom to aid in proper ventilation. When you run the shower or bath, the air gets humid, and too much humidity is not good for painted walls or tiles. Exhaust fans also help prevent mold. Some people may get by without an exhaust fan in the bathroom if there is a window, or they might install a window fan to control the moisture.
If you have an exhaust fan in your home and are looking for a replacement fan due to a remodeling project, this is the perfect time to consider exhaust fan designs.
>> Which style is right for you?
There are many different types of exhaust fans:
- Ceiling-mounted fans are installed in the ceiling. The duct is connected to the vents and the air exits outside your home externally.
- Wall-mounted fans are mounted on the walls and require no ductwork. The air exits from the wall and goes outside your home.
- Kitchen range fans are installed in the range hood of your stove.
- Combination exhaust fans are installed in the range hood of your stove. These include an overhead light and fan, and some act as a heater.
- Exterior-mounted fans are placed outside your home; they pull the air from inside your home outside. These also help with noise control.
- In-line fans are placed next to ductwork. They route stale air into the ductwork in your home.
Exhaust fan designs may vary room to room. Of the different types of exhaust fans, ceiling fans can be the most efficient; because warm air rises, a ceiling exhaust fan pulls stale and humid air up and out of the room.
>> What are some exhaust fan benefits?
Exhaust fans provide many benefits. Kitchen fans help clear the air of smoke. In the bathroom, the use of ventilation fans keeps the humidity low, which makes mold less likely.
Another benefit is that while the fan is sucking air out of the room, it's also removing pollutants such as dander, dust mites and pollen. Exhaust fan advantages may include preventing asthma attacks, allergy flare ups and other lung disease complications. An exhaust fan doesn't necessarily bring in cool air, but the clean air feels cool.
>> What size do you need?
Exhaust fan sizes vary widely. If you feel the air quality in your home is low, consider a large standalone exhaust fan. These are often found in living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms.
When measuring for exhaust fans, consider the air changes per hour (ACH) measurement. According to the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI), bathrooms should be 8 ACH, kitchens should be 15 ACH and any other room should be 6 ACH. The exhaust fan ratings are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
To determine the bathroom's CFM, multiply the length of your bathroom by the width of your bathroom. For every 1 square foot of floor area, you need 1 CFM. If your bathroom is larger than 100 square feet of floor area, you need to include the bathroom fixtures in the equation. The shower, toilet and bathtub are at 50 CFM, and a larger item such as a whirlpool tube measures 100 CFM.
The CFM for kitchen exhaust fans is easier to determine. For every 10,000 BTUs of your hood range, you need 100 CFM.
>> Consider different features
To help decide how to choose an exhaust fan, create an exhaust fan checklist so you remember the key features you are looking for. Some of the best exhaust fans include features such as the fan turning on when the lights are turned on in a room. Some exhaust fans operate via a timer, which can be set so the fan shuts off automatically after everyone has left for the day.
Some people like to replace noisy exhaust fans. Many fans include noise reduction features, making them the best exhaust fans for someone looking for a quiet home.
>> What about installation?
Once you've figured out how to choose an exhaust fan, the final step is the installation. There are four main tasks to accomplish when installing an exhaust fan: wire the exhaust fan at the switch, run the ductwork, install the fan and vent the fan. Remember to shut the power off before doing any work.
You can find everything you need to complete your installation in the home improvement tools aisle. The basic equipment includes screwdrivers, an electrical tester, an electrical cable, wire connectors, the exhaust fan unit, wire strippers, drill, pencil, dryer vent clamps, jigsaw, flexible dryer vent duct and a soffit vent. The actual tools required will depend on the type of exhaust fan you are installing.
Once you have figured out how to choose an exhaust fan, go over the layout of the room to determine the best size and design for your home.