How To Replace A Bathroom Fan

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: November 1, 2021
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Your trusty bathroom fan is an important tool – it gets moist air out of your bathroom, preventing damp build-up.

As long as it’s in good working condition, no problem – all of that steam after your shower just goes right out of the house.

Without it, the moist air lingers and collects on your walls – putting you more at risk of getting a nasty mold problem!

How To Replace A Bathroom Fan

You don’t want to have to deal with that, which is why it can be such a nightmare when your bathroom fan breaks down! Left unresolved, this can cause expensive long term problems.

It’s much better to prevent mold from ever taking a foothold in your bathroom than it is to have to get rid of it once it’s there – not to mention the money you’ll save!

If you’re having problems with your bathroom fan, then it might be time to replace it.

Thankfully, it’s not very hard to do! This guide will show you how to quickly and easily replace your old fan with a similar one – ensuring that you’ll continue to get the same bathroom experience!

Remember, if you’re unsure of anything, get a professional in!

Safety First

Before you start, have a look at what you’re dealing with. If there are any sparks, smoke, or flames coming out of the faulty fan, then immediately turn the power to the fan off at the main circuit breaker, and don’t use the fan again.

Get an electrician to deal with the problem – there might be deeper issues in your electrical system that need seeing to.

If you can’t safely access the fan, or feel unsure about doing any work yourself – don’t do it! While this is in most cases a simple task, you’re always better off staying safe and getting a professional in to do the job.

NEVER EVER WORK ON LIVE WIRES. Make sure the power to the fan is off. If necessary, turn off the main power circuit – for instance, if you’re not sure which circuit breaker your fan is on.

Use a good quality insulated screwdriver, and wear eye protection. There might be some plaster or brick dust flying about when you take the fan out – you don’t want it in your eyes!

Get The Right Fans

Making sure you pick the right fan is crucial!

If you can’t get the exact same model, then get one of the same size and fitting – measure if you’re unsure.

Fan models are made to run at different speeds and extraction rates – and some are quieter than others. Pick one that’s right for your needs.

If the fan you’re replacing turns on when you turn the lights on, you’ll have to get a fan model that can do the same – it’ll have the connectors necessary.

If you don’t have the wiring in your house set up for it already, you won’t be able to just add this without getting an electrician to wire it up for you.

Likewise, if you have to turn the fan on yourself with a pullcord – that’s the type of fan you’ll need.

If you can, take the old fan down to your local hardware shop and ask the staff to help you out with picking the right fan.

Power Off

Make sure that the power is off before you start work. If you don’t ensure there’s no live power running when you’re working, you’re risking your life.

Mains electricity doesn’t mess about. It’ll kill you if you don’t respect it. Turn it off and make sure it’s off – and that it stays off the whole time you’re working.

If you’re not 100% sure that you can isolate and disconnect the power to the fan circuit, then don’t work on this yourself. Get a qualified electrician to take care of the job. It’s just not worth the risk.

Remove Old Fan

Make sure again that you’re in a safe working environment. If you’re on a ladder, ensure that it has a stable footing. Take your screwdriver and unmount the old fan.

You might need to uncover some screws – they’ll likely be under some raised plastic pieces that you’ll have to pull out.

Take care not to yank the fan too hard or too far – it still has wires connected to it. You may have to disconnect it from a ventilation pipe too.

You’ll need to take note of how the colored electrical wires are connected, as you’ll likely have to connect the replacement fan in the same way.

Take a photo of them if you can! However, always check any installation manual that comes with the new fan, just in case. You should find instructions for how to wire the fan up.

The wires will probably be connected with screw terminals – so carefully unscrew them one by one.

That’s it – your old fan is disconnected!

Fit New Fan

Unpack the new fan and read the installation instructions. This will tell you how to wire and mount your new fan!

Hopefully you’ll have mounting holes in the same place as the last fan – this will make installation much easier, as you’ll just have to screw the new fan in place of the old.

If not, you’ll have to mark out new holes and drill them for mounting – use a good drill if going through brick. Fingers crossed though, this shouldn’t need doing if you’ve picked the right fan!

Wire the fan up according to the instructions. As mentioned before, this will likely be the same as the old fan, so looking at that photo might well help you out – but always follow the instructions to be sure.

Once everything is connected up and securely mounted in place according to the instructions, your new fan is successfully installed!

Conclusion

Now that your fan is installed, and all coverings are back in place, you can turn the power back on at the main circuit breaker.

Once you’ve done this, go back to your bathroom and turn the fan on – or the lights, if that’s how your fan is wired.

If your new fan starts spinning away, then well done – you’ve fitted and connected it correctly. Congratulations on a job well done!

You can use your bathroom again safe in the knowledge that you’re protected from mold build-up due to a faulty fan – and you’ve likely saved yourself some money too!