How to Install a Vent in Your Bathroom in Three Hours

woman installing a vent fanIn approximately 3 hours, you can replace your old bathroom’s clamorous vent fan with a new one that functions quietly and can keep bad odor, harmful moisture and all sorts of mold spores out of your bathroom.

There are many signs that can indicate that your old vent needs replacing and that it’s certainly the time to make this important change: For instance, your mirror is constantly getting hazy, you can notice disgusting mold within your shower stall, and the most irritating sign, the fan itself is incredibly loud. But don’t fret! New modern vent fans are nowadays efficient, silent and not that hard to install.

In this DIY guide, we will help you in the mission of replacing your old vent fan in your bathroom with a new silent one.

Which Vent Fan to Choose

First, you need to choose a fan that fits best the space in your bathroom. For optimal use, you need to go with the fan that offers the proper cubic feet per minute (CFM) for your bathroom. The calculation is not hard to make: Check the measures of your bathroom’s floor and then do the following:

  • For an eight-foot ceiling, multiply by 1.1. For example, if you have a sixty-foot floor (6×10), you’d need a fan that is rated for at least sixty-six CFM.
  • For a nine-foot ceiling, multiply by 1.25. For example, if you have a sixty-foot floor (6×10), you’d need a fan that is rated for at least seventy-five CFM.
  • For a cathedral ceiling, multiply by 1.5. For example, if you have a sixty-foot floor (6×10), you’d need a fan that is rated for at least ninety CFM.

You should purchase the most silent fan that you can afford for maximum convenience. The lowest the sone number, the better – a refrigerator, for instance, generates an ambient noise of about one sone on average.

Preparations before the Installation

New generations of fans are usually a bit bigger than the old ones, and it means that you might need to cut a bigger, suitable hole for your new vent fan. One more thing that you might need is an adapter that works with the new four inches pipe outlet of your new vent rather than the three inches pipe outlet of the old one.

Empty all items from your bathroom that are not necessary and get a stool or a stepladder need your area of work for easy access.

The tools that you’ll need: Work gloves, safety glasses, pry bar, drywall saw, strain relief connectors, screwdriver, wire nuts, wire stripper, duct tape, electrical tape, one inch general purpose screws, fan grille, drill/driver and bits, vent pipe adapter, your new vent fan unit.

The Installation

  1. Shutting down the power (important!). The circuit breaker that serves the vent must be switched off. Verify that the power is off by flipping the switch on the wall to “On.” Remove the grille and re-verify that the power is off by inserting a circuit tester to the plug receptacle.
  2. Taking out the old vent fan unit. There are fasteners which keep the unit attached to the housing – loosen them! If you need, pry with a screwdriver first.
  3. If necessary, enlarging the opening. Take the housing of the new vent, hold it in its designed place on the ceiling and mark its cut lines to measure if you need any enlargement of the opening. Make sure that there aren’t any wires or pipes in the area of the enlargement, and cut the proper opening with your drywall saw.
  4. Disconnecting the old housing. Either the housing is connected to the ceiling joints by screws or nails – unfasten them. If needed, use a pry bar in order to release it.
  5. Attaching the strain relief connector. This part might not be an integral part of the unit you purchased, but sold separately. Attach it to the housing junction box’s cap; through the connector, fish the wires; don’t forget to tighten the screws after you’re done.
  6. Connecting the wires. Connect the wires to the vent unit; start with the ground, which is usually a green-insulated copper wire. Match the colors – black to black, white to white. While holding the wires side by side, twist on a wire nut. By using the electrical tape, wrap the wire nut and make sure it overlaps the nut and the wires’ bottom. After you insert the wires in the junction box, connect the cover.
  7. Attaching the vent pipe adapter. Insert the vent unit into the cavity in the ceiling. Attach the vent pipe adapter.
  8. Connecting the housing. Connect the housing and by using one inch general purpose screws, fasten it tightly to the joist. You might going to need to drill holes for the screws in the housing. Close the cover of the wiring junction box and fasten it tight as well.
  9. Inserting the vent unit. Insert the vent unit (with the motor of course) into the housing and make sure you tighten the fasteners properly. Connect the unit to the receptacle on the housing junction box. After everything is done you can switch the power back on for testing. If everything works fine, cover the unit with the grille. That’s it!

Final notes: Wear the work gloves and the safety glasses through the entire process – don’t compromise on safety! When attaching new four inches vent pipe (instead of old three inches), use on both ends duct tape.