If your bathroom exhaust fan sounds like a jet engine revving up every time you turn it on, it's time to replace it. The components in these fans loosen up over the years and generate more noise. The fan is still doing its job, but you may have to shout to be heard over the noise. If you're comfortable doing minor electrical work around your home, here are the steps to replace your old fan with a new, quiet model.
Tools and Materials You'll Need
- step ladder or stool
- flat-blade screwdriver
- wire strippers and clippers
From the home improvement store:
- replacement fan that matches the exterior dimensions of the old fan (to reduce any carpentry work required)
- wire nut connectors
- wood screws
Removing the Old Fan
- Shut the power off to the bathroom at the electrical panel for the house.
- Remove the metal or plastic cover over the fan by loosening the screws or clips holding it in place.
- Hold the fan with one hand and unscrew the screws holding it into the metal housing.
- Lower the motor out of the ceiling until you can reach the wires attached to it.
- Clip the wires as close to the motor as possible.
- Remove the motor and set it out of the way.
- Loosen the wood screws holding the metal housing to the ceiling joists and lower the box out of the ceiling.
- As you lower the metal housing, angle it slightly to slip it out of the vent ductwork going into the side of the box.
Installing the New Fan
- Strip the insulation from about a half inch of the black, white and green wires that you cut from the old fan.
- Strip some of the insulation from the wires coming out of the new fan motor if they aren't already bare.
- Hold the new metal housing up to the ceiling and feed the wires coming down through it.
- Position the vent ductwork into the opening in the side of the new housing as you place the box up into the ceiling.
- Secure the metal housing to the ceiling rafters with the wood screws.
- Twist the ends of the black wires together and use a wire nut to secure them and hide the bare wires.
- Repeat with the white and green wires.
- Push the motor up into the metal housing and secure in place with the screws.
- Clip or screw the new cover over the motor.
- Turn on the power to the bathroom at the circuit panel.
Reasons to Call an Electrician
If you run into any of these problems, you'll want an electrician like Palmer Electric Inc. to sort it out for you and finish the project.
- The wiring doesn't conform to the black, white, green standard.
- There are only two wires coming out of the ceiling (no ground wire).
You may also want to replace your old fan with one that has more features, such as temperature and humidity control or a timer. This will require additional wiring that you should have an electrician do to conform to local building codes.