How Do I Buy A Bath Ventilation Fan?

Have you ever wondered where that mold in your bathroom comes from or why the paint near the ceilings is starting to peel? The answer is moisture. Bathrooms are just designed to accommodate running water so naturally there is a build-up of moisture in the air. This build-up, if allowed to linger in the bathroom, is enough to eventually create a great habitat for all kinds of molds and mildews. Besides the paint peeling, moisture can cause the bathroom door to warp in its frame, floor molding to pull away from the walls, and any exposed metals to start to corrode. So what do you do to get rid of the moisture? You install a ventilation fan in the bathroom.

Ventilation fans come in several different brands. You can pick one up at any hardware store or building supply center. Ventilation fans come in different sizes and some even have lights and heaters. If your bathroom doesn’t have a ventilation fan, you need to ask yourself “How do I buy a ventilation fan?” It is easy but there are some things you need to do first before you begin remodeling your bathroom with a ventilation fan.

How Big Is The Bathroom

The first thing you need to do before you run out and buy an expensive ventilation fan is you need to know how big your bathroom is. This means you need to figure out the square footage. To do this, you need a tape measure. Take the tape measure and measure one of the walls from corner to corner. Then take the tape measure and measure a wall that is a different length (probably a perpendicular wall) from corner to corner. Take both of the measurements and multiply them together. The result will be the square footage.

If there are any weird corners or if your bathroom is not square or rectangle, then section the bathroom off into separate areas using imaginary lines. Measure two walls in each section, figure the square footage for each section, and then add them together for the total square footage. If in doubt, always estimate higher.

Manufacturers of Ventilation Fans


There are many manufacturers of ventilation fans for baths. They each carry a line of diverse fans that have slightly different functions and features.

  • Broan makes several utility fans for the bathroom that are energy efficient and HVI (Home Ventilating Institute) certified. They have ultra-silent fans, in-line ventilation fans, fire and radiation fans, ceiling and wall-mount fans, and duct-free fans. The basic utility fan will cost you around $40 depending on where you shop.
  • NuTone is another manufacturer that specializes in ventilation fans. They have everything from ductless fans, lighting fans, radiation dampeners, upgrade kits, and fans that are Energy Star certified for energy conservation. A simple ventilation fan from Nutone runs around $50 but quickly goes up to around $80 or $100 for additional features.
  • Panasonic is a brand that has always been associated with quality. Their ventilation fans are no exception. Their quiet fans start out at $90 and go all the way up to around $200.
  • Progress Lighting is a good manufacturer of quality fans for the bath. They have a lot of different features such as fans with lighting and heaters. A basic utility fan for the bath will cost you around $35 while a fan with a heater and lights runs about $250.

Where Do I Buy A Ventilation Fan

Once you know how big your bathroom is, you can go down to the local hardware store and see if they have a fan that fits your needs. Ventilation fans can handle different cubic feet of air so you want to make sure you get a fan big enough for your bathroom. If the fan is too small, it won’t expel enough of the moisture in the air. Talk to a store employee and give them the specs on your bathroom’s dimensions. If they don’t have anything in stock, they can always order it for you. Also be sure to check out the fan’s sone rating. This rating measures the noise level of the fan and will be printed on the package.

Another place to check out is online hardware stores and suppliers. There are several out there on the Internet. Do a search for bathroom ventilation fans and go through the sites that come up to see who has the best prices. Don’t forget to check out shipping costs, too.

Installing a Ventilation Fan

Unless you are an experienced handyman/electrician/ductwork installer, then you may want to hire someone that is knowledgeable in install a ventilation fan. Most fans go on the wall or ceiling above the sink and are connected to exhaust ductwork so that moisture can be pumped out. The fan will need to be wired directly to a switch on the wall so that you can turn it off and on. If it is a light and/or heater combination, then you will need to be careful to wire it correctly. Instructions come with the fan but again, if you are not familiar or comfortable doing it, hire a professional.