Bathroom exhaust fans are an important accessory for the bathroom yet they are ignored. They do not receive the due attention they deserve.
While maintaining and improving our homes we often forget about addressing the maintenance and health of the exhaust fan.
There are multiple internal and external factors i.e., strong wind and the flaps beings jammed, that may affect the working of an exhaust fan, thus, it is due to these factors that these exhaust fans stop working at times.
The malfunctioning can be so serious at times that the exhaust fans fail to perform the way they should.
A well-maintained and perfect-performing exhaust fan ensures a safe home with a healthy and hygienically sound bathroom all the time.
Why Do We Need The Exhaust Fans?
Just like the kitchen exhaust that expels the steam, smell, and other unwanted from the kitchen, the job of the bathroom exhaust fan is to expel the moisture and the foul smell.
Whether you are taking a hot bath or spending extra time in the bath, it is essential to keep the air moving. The fans are highly important especially when you have small-sized bathrooms with limited space.
If there are no large windows in the bathroom to allow proper ventilation then it is the exhaust fan that can do the right job.
Exhaust fans are very important as if the steam or the moisture stays for a long time it can cause the growth spores of mildew.
The unwanted growth of midland mildew would further lead to bad odors. Thus, in the absence of the exhaust fan or due to the faulty exhaust fan the problems can get worse.
It is important to remember that unlike the kitchen exhaust the bathroom exhaust is multitasked. Thus, it is essential to keep the bathroom exhaust prim and proper.
One of the common problems reported concerning the bathroom exhaust fans is the fan blowing the air down instead of sending it out.
How Does The Exhaust Fan Work?
Exhaust fans work by sucking out hot and humid ai and giving our kitchens and bathrooms or closed localized areas, that fresh air coming in from another source.
The air sucked in by the exhaust fan is then expelled out, using an exhaust duct or the hatch in the window (depending on where the exhaust fan is installed).
Exhaust fans don’t only expel the hot and humid air out of the bathrooms, but they also, normalize the temperature by drawing in cool air from the surrounding.
So, safe to say that exhaust fans do bring down the temperature of the bathrooms as well.
What Causes The Exhaust Fan To Stop Working?
If you feel that the exhaust fan is not spinning smoothly, or it is not moving, or blowing the air downwards, instead of expelling it, then there are chances that it requires maintenance.
In case of slow spinning, adding few drops of lubricating oil for machinery, in each of the motor shafts. In case of air blowing down, there is a chance that the hatch is displaced or the flaps are damaged.
In the case of the exhaust fan, not working properly, can either be the fan working slow or sucking no air at all. The other worst-case scenario is that the exhaust fan starts to throw air, in the downward direction, inside the bathroom or the kitchen.
This can be due to a bundle of reasons let us look at a few of the aspects that may be responsible for the air not being thrown in the vent system.
Causes Of Air Blowing Down
If your exhaust fan is blowing the air down, it is indicating the following:
The Flapper May Not Be In The Right Place
The backdraft flapper may not be in the right place. The draft flapper is fixed to the bathroom exhaust fan to control the movement of the vent for the airflow. Thus, it prevents airflow into the vent pipe.
The flappers are either placed in the fan at the point of attachment of the vent or closet the point where the vent pipe exhausts the air outwards.
Some more sophisticated exhaust fans have these flappers in both places. If this flapper is stuck in a closure position, you may expect the air to come down.
Vent Pipe May Be Clogged
It is essential to keep the vent pipe clean. If the vent pipe is filled with dust, dirt, or debris then you are likely to experience failed airflow.
The debris keeps accumulating in the vent pipe and if it is not removed well in time, it can turn out to be havoc, as may result in excessive moisture condensing into the water and dripping out of the exhaust.
The Vent May Be Damaged
The airflow has a very clearly laid out path through the vent system. However, as multiple pipelines are running through with the vent system in a house, the vent may be damaged by multiples causes i.e., change in temperature, maintenance of vent, or pipe systems.
The air would stop going out if the pipe gets damaged. The kinked and the flattened pipes would also prevent the air from flowing freely.
As per discussion, these are the three main causes of blockage of the proper airflow. Thus, it stops the air from going in the right direction. If the blockage has become stubborn then you are likely to experience a backward flow of air.
The blockage would not just prevent the air from going out but would also cause the discomfort from the loud sound of the exhaust fan.
How To Fix The Problem
Oiling And Cleaning The Fan
Make sure to clean the fan thoroughly at least once a year. You might want to check the string (if there is any for operating the exhaust fan).
To start with switch off the power source that you are using to operate the fan.
Check For Grills And Grates
Carefully examine the grate that is covering the fan. Mostly it is fixed to the fan with screws. In some recent brands, these grates are attached with an easy-to-remove tension clip.
See if they are directing the air towards the right direction to the venting system.
Clean The Exhaust Fan
Remove the grate and clean it thoroughly with the mixture of warm water and dishwasher. You can also use the vacuum to clean the dust accumulated in the vent pipe.
The dusting cloth can help clear the dust on the fan blades. Fix all the parts that you have removed while cleaning.
Switch on the circuit and see if the fan is doing the job right.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is continuous ventilation?
Continuous ventilation is when the exhaust run at a relatively slow and a quieter speed that it doesn’t bother user. Broan’s exhaust series are considered the best suited for such a purpose.
This is mostly required in houses that are in basement or airtight house which have no source of cross ventilation.
Where should the exhaust be located?
The exhaust fan should be installed above the shower tub or near the shower area, in a closed water closet.
They should be installed in the opposite direction of the air supply, such that windows or doors, as the exhaust draws air from the air source.
Why does the water drip from the grill of the fan?
The water dripping from the grill of the fan is a sign that the vent system is blocked and hence is having moisture buildup which is falling from the vent system.
To avoid such a situation, you need to check that if the exhaust fan is working properly, and the air is being expelled out and the vent system is not damaged.
What sort of duct should install, rigid or flexible?
It is advised to install a rigid duct as it creates external resistance and helps in free-flowing air.
Can I install exhaust fan in the wall?
The exhaust fan can be installed in properly designed windows and walls, but these are slightly thinner models with a different structure.
They perform the same task but definitely take up the space of beauty and elegance on walls and windows.
It is very important to keep a close check on the fan that is helping you get rid of the unwanted from the bathroom. Besides regular cleaning, it is essential to clear the fan thoroughly once a year.
The vent pipe of the exhaust fan is doing the tedious job of circulating the air in the right direction. If there is a slight blockage in the vent pipe the air would stop going out and instead would stay within.
We all know that moisture staying inside the bathroom is not a situation we would want to lay our hands on.