Call on a pro or DIY to get your bathroom fan spinning again
When your bathroom fan goes out, it’s time to replace it and get air moving again. Several types of home improvement pros come to mind—electricians, roofers, plumbers, general contractors, or handypeople can install new bathroom exhuast fans. Learn what to consider before you start your search.
Reasons to Replace a Bathroom Fan
You may need a new bathroom fan if your fan doesn’t seem to be working properly, if it is more than 10 years old, or if both factors apply. The lifespan of a bathroom exhaust fan depends on how often it is used, how well it is maintained, and the quality of the fan itself.
Some signs that you may need to replace your bathroom fan are obvious—if your bathroom stays damp for longer than usual after a shower or bath, or towels or bath mats take longer to dry, you may need a new bathroom fan. Lingering odors are another sign that your bathroom fan might be failing—or that it might just need a thorough cleaning.
Moreover, suppose a storm or other catastrophe damaged the roof vents or electrical wiring in your home. In that case, you may want to have your bathroom fan checked out and potentially replaced as well, since exhaust fans are often connected to these utilities.
How Do Bathroom Fans Work?
A fan is essentially an electric motor with blades that move around, so if the fan isn’t receiving power or the motor is burned out, it’ll stop working. Accordingly, if you don’t hear humming or whirring when you turn the bathroom fan on, check the circuit breaker and consult an electrician if the fan’s wiring or connection seems faulty.
Remember that the purpose of a bathroom fan is to draw moisture out of the air and keep the bathroom fresh and pleasant by eliminating odors. These fans can also help improve your home’s safety since they will reduce the fumes from bathroom cleaning chemicals that can potentially be hazardous to your health.
If your bathroom fan isn’t performing up to par, but it does power on, then you may need to either replace the motor (which is possible to do yourself) or have a contractor take a look at your whole exhaust system to diagnose the problem.
Who Can Install a New Bathroom Fan?
If you're at all inclined toward household projects, you might be able to replace or install your own new bathroom fan. Straightforward bathroom fan replacements that don’t require any re-wiring, new ductwork, or dealing with rooftop vents—for example, just replacing the fan itself, not the entire system—are definitely possible to tackle DIY-style.
However, if replacing your bathroom fan requires electrical work, ductwork, or anything else that seems more complicated, you may want to consider calling a licensed electrician near you. What’s more, if you are installing a brand new bathroom exhaust fan or system, you should likely work with a plumber or HVAC tech near you to ensure that everything is properly set up and running smoothly.
Pros Who Install New Bathroom Fans
Several different types of pros are likely capable of replacing your bathroom fan—electricians, roofers, plumbers, and HVAC techs, as well as general contractors.
That said, the type of contractor you should call to install a bathroom fan depends on what else you need done and how the vents and other connections for the fan work. For instance, if you need new wiring for the exhaust fan in the bathroom, you will need an electrician to handle the job. Or, if you need new ductwork or fixes in that area, you should call an HVAC technician or plumber in your area to do the job.
If replacing your bathroom fan requires access to the attic, roof vents, or getting up into the ceilings in general, you might want to ask roofers for help or a referral to the right kind of home repair pro.
Do Electricians or Plumbers Install Bathroom Fan?
Depending on the set-up in your bathroom and your DIY inclinations and capabilities, you may or may not need one or both of the above. Suppose you are installing or replacing an entire bathroom fan exhaust system. In that case, you will likely want to work with a contractor or multiple contractors with electrical expertise to handle things like the wiring.
Your plumber may also be able to install or repair a bathroom fan for you or recommend someone who can do the job. However, a simple fan installation is usually performed by an electrician.
Do Roofers or HVAC Techs Install Bathroom Fans?
If your bathroom exhaust fan vents to the roof or the repair or installation demands access to the attic or ceilings, then you may think you need a roofer if you want to install a new one. However, plumbers may also be able to perform the work if you need to deal with ductwork repairs or replacement as part of the bathroom fan install.
Requirements for Installing a New Bathroom Fan
Be aware of any local regulations, permit requirements, or anything else that might affect your project. Maintaining a working bathroom fan or fans is an important part of keeping your home up to code, and failure to do so could be a problem if you're planning on listing your property or already have it on the market.
Electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, and other contractors in your area should be aware of the requirements for keeping your bathroom exhaust system up to code and ready for potential home inspections—another reason to consider bringing in a professional for a bathroom fan installation project.