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February 6, 2023

How To Install a Bathroom Fan

Tired of a hot and humid bathroom? Looking to prevent mold on your walls and ceiling? Bathroom exhaust fan installations are a simple and affordable solution to dealing with humidity and excess moisture. If you are a handy person with a few basic tools, you can install a bathroom exhaust fan in about a day. From cutting the holes to venting it outside, these steps explain how to install a bathroom fan.

How Do You Install a Bathroom Fan

Installing a bathroom fan is not as difficult as it may seem. With some basic tools and instructions, you can easily install a bathroom fan in your home. Here are the steps to installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom.

1. Gather Supplies and Tools

Before you can install a new bathroom fan, you need to gather the necessary supplies and tools. In addition to an appropriately sized fan for your bathroom, you will need electrical wire, an electrical box, and wire nuts. You will also need screws to install the box.

In terms of tools, you will need a stud finder to locate a safe place to attach the fan and a saw to cut a hole in the ceiling. Ideally, you need a drywall saw to cut the walls and ceiling and then a gig saw to install the exhaust vent in the roof or side of your home.

Other tools include an electric drill or driver, tape measure, and wire strippers. A pencil will help you mark where to cut. You will need a ladder to access the roof or the siding to cut and install the exhaust vent.

The supplies you need include construction adhesive and screws. You may also need drywall mud or joint compound. If the fan is particularly heavy, you may need a few feet of 2″ x 4″ studs to create a framework.

You should also have work gloves and protective eyewear to keep yourself safe during installation. Long sleeves, pants, and heavy work boots are also recommended.

2. Prep the Ceiling and Wall

Before starting the installation process, you need to prepare the ceiling and wall. Use the stud finder to locate a reliable place to install the fan and mark the center with a pencil. Depending on the size and weight of the fan, you may need to create a frame from 2x4s.

For your safety, you should turn off the power. Use a drywall saw to cut a hole in the ceiling that is about an inch smaller than the exhaust fan. You can always expand it later if needed. Clear away the insulation and create a space for the fan to go.

Depending on the fan you use, you may also need to install an electrical box in the ceiling for the fan. Attach the box to a 2×4 or a ceiling joist with both construction adhesive and screws.

If you want a separate switch for the exhaust fan, may also need to expand the box for the wall switch. Use the stud finder to figure out what side the box is on. Carefully cut a hole in the wall, then disconnect the existing electrical box. Unscrew it from the wall and replace it with a double box. Alternatively, you can replace the existing single box switch with a double switch.

3. Install the Fan

With the prep work out of the way, you can now install the fan. Start by installing the fan in the ceiling. Depending on the fan, you can either attach the fan directly to a stud or joist or install it into the electrical box you installed in the previous step.

With the fan in place, cut a length of electrical wire to connect the fan to the switch. Strip the wires and then connect them to the fan with wire nuts. Then feed the wire through the wall to the switch.

The exact wiring will vary depending on how you want the fan to operate. If you are using a single switch, connect the wires to the same connectors you use for the light fixture. If you are using a separate switch for the fan, connect them to the positive and negative connections there.

Most exhaust fans include diagrams for switching and wiring options. Follow the instructions for your specific scenario.

4. Install the Exhaust Vent

With the fan installed, it’s time to prepare the exhaust vent. Depending on where your bathroom is, you can either vent it through the roof or through the side of your home.

When venting through the roof, find a spot above the fan that is easily accessible. Then drill a pilot hole up through the roof material. Use a ladder to climb up on the roof and find the pilot hole. Then use a gig saw to cut the exhaust vent.

Once the hole is cut, install the exhaust vent with screws. Wrap the opening in flashing, feeding it underneath the roofing shingles. Then seal the seams with roofing tar or exterior roofing caulk.

If you are venting through the wall, the process is basically the same. Drill through the wall, then move outside to cut through the siding. Carefully install the exhaust vent across the siding, sealing the gaps with exterior caulk.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to cut through brick. You will either need a masonry bit or a chisel to remove the existing bricks.

Once the vent is installed, connect the fan using a flexible exhaust tube. This is usually included with the bathroom exhaust fan.
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Can You Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan Yourself?

Installing a bathroom exhaust fan isn’t as difficult as it may seem. As long as you are comfortable with basic DIY projects and have the right tools, you should be able to install your own fan in no time. It is important to remember to turn off the power before beginning any electrical work, and to read the instructions for your specific fan model carefully before starting. With preparation and patience, you can install your bathroom exhaust fan with minimal hassle.


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