How to Fit & Wire a Bathroom Extractor Fan


If you’ve ever had a shower or bath in a bathroom without an extractor fan inside it, then you’ll know just how important an extractor fan can be, not just for removing moisture from the air, but also for helping to get rid of bad smells.

A window, of course, can offer good ventilation, but in the wintertime, the last thing you want is to have the window wide open while you shower.

If your bathroom doesn’t offer good enough ventilation, though, then you’re running the risk of damp inside your bathroom, and that means mould, mildew, and other damp-related issues. None of these problems will occur if you get an extractor fan.

We’re going to find out who needs one, what types are available, who can fit them, and how to fit them yourself. Let’s get started.

Who Needs a Bathroom Extractor Fan?

Bathroom with exhaust fan

It’s recommended that anyone who has a bathroom has an extractor fan inside it. If, however, you have a window, then you may not need one in theory, as you can open the window for ventilation. But you’ll be aware of how uncomfortable it is to shower or take a bath with an open window in the middle of December.

If a bathroom doesn’t have a window, then a fan is a must.

Over the last few decades, fans have come a long way, and if you haven’t replaced the fan inside your WC for some time, then you may want to consider an upgrade. There’s no need to have a noisy, ineffective fan these days, as there are so many great, affordable ones on the market.

What Types of Extractor Fans are Available?

Ventilation fan

You’ll find that bathroom extractor fans tend to come in three different forms, although two of these types are more prevalent than the other.

The most common type of extractor fan is fitted into your ceiling. The moisture that is extracted by the fan runs through ducting. This is put inside the eaves of your ceiling or loft space. Then the ducting finishes at an air vent that’s usually fitted into one of your home’s external walls.

A very similar form of extractor fan is one that is fitted into a wall. Instead of the ducting needing to run through your ceiling, in this case, only a small amount is needed. The fan can quickly reach the vent on the other side of the wall. This is ideal for a home that has a bathroom with one wall being an external wall.

You can also buy extraction fans that are fitted into a window. These are effective, but they are also expensive and will require someone to fit them into your bathroom window.

Can You Install a Bathroom Extractor Fan Yourself or Do You Need an Electrician?

Installing bathroom vent

A homeowner can install an extractor fan in their own home. It isn’t recommended, however, if you are installing a whole new fan unit. To install a fan, you will need to wire the fan and connect it to the light switch.

It’s not a good idea for someone without experience with electrical wiring to do such a task. An electrician is highly recommended for anyone who wants the job done safely and properly. If you are simply replacing your current fan, then there isn’t as much need to handle electrical wiring.

This is a job that homeowners can do, but they must know what they are doing precisely before they start. They also must make sure that they use safety precautions and switch off their electricity, before handling the electrical wiring.

How Much Should You Spend on an Extractor Fan

Bath vent fan

Fans come in a wide range of styles and price ranges. As we’ve learned, you can buy fans that may fit in your wall, your ceiling, or even your window. The key to any good fan is their ability to ventilate a room and to remove moisture, humidity, and bad smells from that room.

One thing to keep in mind is that the smaller the fan is, the more noise it will likely make, as it needs to do more work than a larger fan would need to do. Noise is one of the biggest drawbacks of certain fans, so you should also pay extra to get a quieter fan.

Another feature that differentiates more expensive fans from cheaper fans is how the mechanism is switched on. For example, with some fans, you simply switch on your lights, and the fan turns on, too. This is useful in a lot of cases, as you don’t need to remember to switch on the fan each time you enter the room.

But, if you have an en-suite, then you may not want the fan to switch on each time you switch the lights on, for example, when you go to the bathroom during the night. Then again, even if the fan switches on when you press the light switch, there is often a separate switch to turn the fan off, which you may want to consider doing at night.

How To Replace a Bathroom Extractor Fan

Installing bath vent fan

If you’re simply replacing your current fan, then the process isn’t too difficult. You already have the correct ducting in your ceiling or loft space, wiring, and vent. You just need to unscrew the old fan, remove all the connections, and then reconnect the new fan, screw it into the wall or ceiling, and that’s it.

Of course, you need to make sure that you’ve turned off the electricity before you do any of this and always use good safety precautions.

How to Install a New Bathroom Extractor Fan

Wall bathroom fan vent

You shouldn’t fit a whole new extractor fan yourself. You will need to handle electrical wiring, as well as be comfortable putting ducting in your loft, and all these things require expertise, which is why we recommend that you employ an electrician to do this job for you. You can find quotes for reliable tradespeople on this website.

If, however, you still want to fit the fan yourself, then the first step is to use the right safety measures. Turn off the electricity before you do anything. If you’re going up to the loft to fit the ducting, then make sure you have a stable ladder.

This is the same if you’re going to fit the fan in the ceiling. Use a friend, flatmate, or family member for support when you climb the ladder. If you need to fit a vent on an external wall, then you may also need to climb a ladder, so once again, use someone for support while you install the vent.

Remember, home insurers may not cover you if something goes wrong with your DIY installation. There will be no room to manoeuvre if they find out you make a claim that’s a result of faulty wiring when you have not employed a professional electrician to do the job.