Replacing Your Bathroom Fan

12 February 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If your bathroom exhaust fan sounds like a jet airplane about ready to take off, it's time to replace it with a newer, quieter unit. If you replace the fan with the same size and model, it's easy to do the job yourself. Here are the steps to installing a new exhaust fan and having a quieter experience in the bathroom.

What You'll Need to Do This Project

  • stool or step ladder to reach the fan
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • wire clippers
  • flashlight or other work light

From the local home improvement store:

  • replacement fan
  • wire nut connectors
  • wood screws

The last two items may be included in the fan kit.

Removing the Existing Exhaust Fan

  1. Turn the electricity off to the bathroom at the circuit box for the house.
  2. Remove the plastic or metal fan cover by loosening the screws holding it in place.
  3. Loosen, but do not remove, the screws holding the fan unit in the metal housing in the ceiling.
  4. While holding the fan with one hand, remove the screws and gently lower the fan out of the ceiling.
  5. Pull the wires out of the ceiling behind the fan.
  6. Clip the wires as close to the back of the fan as possible.
  7. Remove the fan and set it aside.
  8. Remove the wood screws that secure the metal housing to the ceiling rafters.
  9. Pull the metal housing out by angling it down and slipping it free from the exhaust vent ductwork in the ceiling.

Installing the New Exhaust Fan

  1. Remove about a half inch of insulation from the black, white and green wires coming out of the ceiling and from the wires coming out of the new exhaust fan.
  2. Angle the new metal fan housing up into the ceiling, taking care to position the vent in the side of the housing into the vent ductwork in the ceiling.
  3. Pull the wires from the ceiling down through the metal housing.
  4. Screw the metal housing to the ceiling rafters with the wood screws.
  5. Hold the fan motor up to the ceiling to attach the wires. You may find it handy to have someone help you with this step.
  6. Twist the black wire in the ceiling to the black wire on the fan. Use a wire nut on the ends to secure and protect the wires.
  7. Repeat with the white wires and green (ground) wires.
  8. Push the fan motor up into the metal housing and secure it in place with the screws provided.
  9. Secure the new cover over the fan.
  10. Turn the electricity back on to the bathroom and test the fan.

Problems You May Encounter

You may need the services of an electrical services contractor if you have any of the following problems:

  • The wiring doesn't match the black/white/green building codes standard. Have an electrician sort out the wires and replace them with the appropriately color-coded wires.
  • Only two wires are in the ceiling. This means there is no ground wire and you'll want to have an electrician install a ground wire to prevent a shock hazard.
  • There are more than three wires in the ceiling. This means the fan is connected to more than one switch. Again, have an electrician sort out the wiring and finish the project.

If you're looking for an electrician in your area, visit Cole Electric Inc.