Tips on Where and How to Install a Bathroom Vent Fan

By: Danny Lipford

Is it better to install a bathroom vent fan in the shower or the middle of the bathroom? -Steve

As long as the wiring for your bathroom vent fans is attached to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) and the fan is rated for a shower area, the best place to locate your vent fan is on the ceiling in or near the shower where it will do the most good. Vent fans that include a heater, however, should not be installed over a shower.

Another consideration is that the fan should be located away from the intake air source, such as a door or window (if the window will be open). If the window and door will be closed, make sure there is a 5/8” or greater gap under the door to allow fresh air into the room.

Other vent fan installation tips include:

  • Make sure the vent fan moves enough cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air for the size of your bathroom.
  • Exhaust the air from the vent fan to the outside of the house, not in the attic.
  • Use smooth ductwork and limit the length and bends as much as possible, following the instructions that came with the fan.
  • Install a wall or roof cap that closes when the fan is off.
  • Use insulated ductwork in colder climates to prevent condensation on the inside or outside of the duct.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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19 Comments on “Tips on Where and How to Install a Bathroom Vent Fan”

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  • Melissa Says:
    September 19th, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I have a 12×12 bathroom with glass enclosure (about 1 foot from ceiling). My ceiling drywall texture/paint started falling off. I suspect moisture. The vent fan is installed in the middle of the bathroom approx 8 feet from middle of shower. Would you recommend installing another fan (venting into other fan duct work) or changing out the existing one to a higher CPM? Currently a 90 CPM for 12×12 bathroom.



  • Todd Says:
    September 12th, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I was wondering if it would be alright to run exhaust hose under an addition? The addition has in floor heating and 2 vents on either side of addition



  • Robert Says:
    August 19th, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Good day Gee,
    Your vent will need to go into the roof.



  • Robert Says:
    August 19th, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Hello,
    Is the exhaust fan (not a moist resistance) allowed to be right within the shower area? Please let me know.
    Thank you.



  • Gee Says:
    August 6th, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I have a closed area built shower up to the ceiling with door, no windows. Can I install regular vent???

    Thanks

    Gee



  • Alan Says:
    July 5th, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I have fitted an extractor fan in the ceiling of my bathroom (not yet wired up), and am planning on ducting it outflow a couple of feet through the attic and through the wall of the house. Is there any issue as to where the external vent goes through the outer wall? I specifically want to know if placing it centrally directly above (about 6 bricks up) the bathroom window would be OK, or would it lead in the long term to discolouration of the frame from any water that has condensed and may drip onto the frame? Thanks.



  • Tim Says:
    July 4th, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Hi,
    Can I vent a bathroom’s exhaust fan down into the crawlspace and then outside to the downspout on a gutter?

    Thanks-Tim



  • Michael Says:
    June 30th, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Hi, I need to install a wall mount exhaust fan. The fan says it is suitable for wall depths between 110mm-330mm. Is it possible to install the fan in a wall with a shallower depth?



  • Don Says:
    June 29th, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I have a problem with venting a fan in the bathroom because all the walls are concrete and there is no way to exit out on the side of the building insurance reason. The ceiling has a 12-15 inch to the next floor and the walls are only about 2 inch thick. I know that this would cause a problem down line because of the moisture from the vent. Do have a way I can avoid this. No window in bathroom. bathroom center of building weird I know. Thanks ahead of time.



  • Rena Everett Says:
    May 5th, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Hello, I’m in the process of remodeling our bathroom mainly because of mildew growing everywhere from a poorly installed fan over the toilet. My contractor has hired an electrician that says my fan light combo must be sealed and should not be connected to a GFI. His reasoning is that the moisture from the shower will trip the switch. Which is going against everything I’ve read, but I don’t know codes. Please help! They want to start sheet rock work tomorrow. Should I ask for a second opinion? Is that something you would do with an electrician?



  • andy Says:
    March 16th, 2015 at 10:43 am

    How far should the exhaust vent be from window?



  • Jamal nazal Says:
    December 10th, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I have a closed area shower 4 by 4 feet with door, no windows. Can I install regular vent and light or do I need a waterproof one?

    Thanks


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 21st, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Janine,
    No, a bathroom vent fan should exhaust the air outside the house, either through the roof or a wall, not in the attic.



  • janine Says:
    November 21st, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Hello, I have just moved into a new property and the vent in the shower installed in the ceiling lets the moisture up into the attic which is insulated. Is this okay?



  • christina Says:
    August 5th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    My building does not allow any modifications to the ceiling. I have a window in the shower. Can I install a vent fan in the window?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 21st, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Jess,
    Codes vary from city to city, but regardless of what the code says, it’s not a good idea to vent a bathroom vent fan into a garage. It’s much better to vent the excess moisture all the way outside rather than trapping it in your garage.
    Thank you for your interest!



  • Jess Says:
    April 10th, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Can you vent a bathroom fan into a garage? We recently bought a home and this is what they have done. Is this up to code?

    Thank you.


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 18th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Hi Bob,
    No. Thank you for your interest!



  • bob Says:
    November 10th, 2013 at 8:09 am

    is it ok to vent a fan from the bathroom in to the vent pipe for the drain that goes through the roof ???


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