While we don’t typically think about installing a ceiling fan in a traditional bathroom, many of today’s modern home designs include deluxe, luxurious bathrooms that almost beg for this elegant, decorative addition. But are they practical as well as ornamental? Or, do you still need to install a ventilation fan?
Note – Don’t forget to check out this page with info on the best brands and ceiling fan manufacturers for the home.
Bathroom Ventilation Fans
A bathroom ceiling fan is not the same thing as a bathroom ventilation fan. They have completely different functions.
In most areas, building codes require that every bathroom must have some type of direct ventilation to pull hot, moist air out of the room and send it outside. This helps prevent mold and mildew that can lead to structural damage. Windows that can be opened and closed are acceptable, but not always the best solution, especially when it’s cold outside.
A bathroom ventilation fan, typically installed in the ceiling, is a much better solution. It can pull that hot, moist air from the bathroom year-round, and it also eliminates those bathroom odors.
Bathroom ventilation fans are generally designed to be installed flush with the ceiling and painted to blend in to make them as unobtrusive as possible.
Bathroom Ceiling Fans
While a ventilation fan helps to control humidity and odors in your bathroom, it does so gradually, and it does nothing to control the temperature in the room or comfort level. In smaller bathrooms that can be a problem.
On warm days your bathroom is hot and muggy when you step out of the shower, and if you’re using a hair dryer it just gets worse. And let’s not even talk about what it feels like to step out of the shower onto that cold tile floor in the middle of winter.
A ceiling fan in the bathroom has the same effect it does in other rooms in your home. It helps circulate the air to make the room more comfortable. Keep in mind, though, that it does nothing to help remove warm, moist air and odors, so the best solution it to use both a ceiling fan and a ventilation fan in your bathroom.
Choosing A Bathroom Ceiling Fan
Most manufacturers recommend a three-blade fan for bathroom use because bathrooms are typically the smallest room in the house. Too many blades would impede circulation in a small room.
It’s also important to choose a fan with blades made of plastic or metal, or that have been specially sealed to protect against moisture. Stay away from natural wood or natural palm frond blades. The warm, moist air in the bathroom will cause them to warp.
Look for a sturdy motor casing that’s sealed against moisture. With the bearings sealed inside you’ll never have to worry about getting up there to oil them. A ceiling fan with a “Damp” rating is ideal for bathrooms.
For safety reasons, the ideal height is for the blades to be at least 7 feet from the floor. For maximum air circulation though, the blades should be at least 9 to 10 feet from the floor. If you’re installing a fan with a light fixture be sure to allow for the additional length.
If you have a lower ceiling you may have to use a “hugger” type fan that fits flush against the ceiling. This type of fan will have a reduced air flow but it will still provide some relief.
Bathroom ceiling fans generally have to be cleaned more frequently that fans in other rooms because the warm, moist air causes dust and grime to accumulate faster.
If you’ve always thought of the bathroom as “just a room” and you’re not really too keen on spending money to “make it more comfortable” you’re not alone. Unlike an air conditioner, though, you only use a ceiling fan while you’re in the room and you feel its effects immediately. For just a few pennies per day your bathroom could become the most comfortable room in your home.