Bathroom fans work best when you never have to think about them. Fortunately, most problems with a bathroom fan are pretty obvious — it’s too loud or it doesn’t work.
Don’t put up with noise or performance issues that prevent you from enjoying your bathroom — the solution can be as simple as a thorough cleaning. When the problem calls for a major repair or a brand new bathroom fan, the solution can be a bit more complicated but it will all be worth it when you can reclaim the refreshing, quiet, comfortable experience you’ve been missing.
#1: My bathroom fan is too loud
Fan noise really disrupts your ability to relax and it probably annoys other members of the household every time it runs. Don’t ignore a noisy fan because the noise may also be a sign of damage or ventilation problems.
- Has the fan become noisier over time? You may have a broken motor or worn-out fan blades. Perhaps the duct just needs a good cleaning.
- Has the fan always been very noisy? You might want to upgrade to a new, quieter model. However, the unit could also be loud due to poor installation.
#2: My bathroom always feels too muggy
Does the room feel too humid even after running the fan for long stretches of time? Don’t just blame the Bay Area humidity. There are several reasons why repair or upgrades might be necessary:
- Where does the air flow? The duct should lead all the way outside the building. If that’s not possible, the air at least needs a large open space in a well-ventilated part of the attic.
- Does the duct work take a circuitous route with turns greater than 90º?
- Could something be plugging up the pipes? Dust, lint, stray debris, or even a squirrel nest could be the culprit. A professional can troubleshoot the entire length of the ductwork to find a blockage.
#3: My bathroom fan doesn’t seem to be suctioning air at all
Use a ladder or stool and feel the bathroom fan vent — you should feel a little suction when the fan runs. You can also hold up a square of toilet paper to test it.
So, motor running but no suction? You likely have a major clog. An HVAC vacuum hose should be run through the ductwork to clear it out.
#4: My attic traps the moisture from the bathroom fan
If you’ve found moisture or mildew in the attic, your bathroom fan may not be effectively dumping out the moist air. This is why the ventilation pipes should ideally extend outside the building entirely. A professional can help by improving and simplifying the route of your duct work and making sure it unloads moisture into the open air.
#5: My bathroom fan motor sounds squeaky
When the bathroom fan runs normally but the motor sounds like the Tin Man, you may just need to oil up the motor. The bearings that hold the motor axle in place can end up dry when bathroom moisture wipes away the oil over time. If you cannot reach the motor, call a professional to take care of this for you.
Many bathroom fan issues involve electrical wiring, ventilation work, and other complicated tasks. If you cannot spot and fix the problem right away, go ahead and call a pro to troubleshoot and fix everything.