Replace Your Own Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Posted on: 26 February 2016

If you're tired of hearing the loud, rattling bathroom exhaust fan whenever someone uses the facilities, replace it. If you purchase the same make and model, it will fit into the existing opening and duct work without any construction modifications needed. This makes it an ideal DIY project that most homeowners can do. Here are the steps to this fan replacement project:

Materials You'll Need

  • ladder or stool to reach the fan
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • wire cutters and stripper
  • flashlight or work light

From the home improvement store:

  • a bathroom exhaust fan
  • wire nuts, if not included with the new exhaust fan

Steps to Replace the Exhaust Fan

  1. Turn the electricity off to the bathroom at the circuit box for the house.
  2. Position the ladder/stool under the fan and adjust the flashlight/work light so you can see to work on the fan.
  3. Remove the decorative grill over the fan and set aside for use later.
  4. Loosen the screws that hold the fan in the metal housing, but do not remove the screws.
  5. While holding the fan with one hand, remove the screws and lower the fan and the electrical wires out of the housing.
  6. Clip the three wires (black, white, green) from the back of the fan as close to the motor as you can.
  7. Remove the old fan and place it out of your way.
  8. Strip about a half inch of insulation from the ends of the three wires coming out of the ceiling and the metal housing.
  9. Take the new fan out of the box and strip a half inch of insulation from the three wires coming off of the motor.
  10. Hold the new fan up to the ceiling and twist the ends of the two black wires together. You may need some help with this step to hold the fan as you work with the wires.
  11. Twist the two white wires together, then the two green wires together.
  12. Twist a wire nut over each of the pairs of wires to protect the ends of the bare wires.
  13. Push the new fan up into the metal housing and secure with the screws.
  14. Replace the decorative grill over the fan.
  15. Turn the power back on and test the fan.

Situations That Require an Electrical Contractor's Assistance

  • If you have only two wires coming out of the ceiling, you're likely missing a ground wire. A residential electrician will need to run a ground wire to the fan to prevent a shock hazard.
  • If the wires don't follow the black/white/green color coding standard, you'll want an electrician. like those at Sun Coast Electric & Networking Inc, to sort through the wiring for you. They will replace the wires with the correct colors to make future maintenance easier.

When you search the home improvement store for exhaust fans, you may decide to upgrade your old exhaust fan with one with more features, such as:

  • humidity control
  • motion sensor control
  • timer controls

You'll want an electrician to install your upgrade as it may require additional wiring, switches or changes to the hole and duct work in the ceiling that contain the fan.

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