Excess moisture in your bathroom might have many consequences from foul odor to bacteria and mold build-up. With a difunctional bathroom fun, you have no mechanism, of getting rid of this excess moisture. However, you might wonder how can you replace that bathroom fun yet you have no attic access. If you have not done these replacements or installations before, then you might find it a challenge. However, this should not be a problem. What’s important is your fan ends up doing its job by getting rid of the humid air in your bathroom. in this article, you can get a step-by-step guide on how to replace a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access.
Before you purchase your new bathroom fan, inspect the fan you want to replace. It would be a waste of time to buy a contemporary fan to find out it is not of the same dimensions are the pre-existing one. It will consequently cost you time and energy in cutting through the ceiling to increase the size of the opening or filling up the extra space.
In some instances, you might want to replace your old smaller fan with a new bigger one. If this is the case, then you need to know the exact dimensions of both the new and old fans. This is important as it will guide you on just how much more ceiling board to cut off.
Inspect your electrical options to help you purchase a compatible fan. Installing your fan with the wrong electric wiring might damage the fan. Secondly, if there is an existing wall switch for the fan, then it’s ideal to use it. However, newer brands of fans nowadays come with a light that requires a separate switch. In this case, you will need to install an additional switch for this purpose. Ensure that you call an expert to help you with the electrical switch installation.
There are bathroom fans that come with humidity sensors. These sensors can automatically turn the fan on or off, depending on the humidity of the air in your bathroom. This feature will help you use the fun only when it is needed saving on running costs. Similarly, it will take off the burden of turning the fan on and off from you. In case you want to upgrade your bathroom fan, then you should consider those new smart options.
Remove the old fan
At this point, you have the new fan with the right dimensions, and all necessary planning has been done in preparation for the installation. It’s time to remove the old fun!
- First of all, disconnect the old fan from power at the breaker box. If you proceed with removing the fan, then you might get electrocuted in the process.
- Remove the fan’s grill cover. To remove this cover, pull down the plastic case to create space between the case and the ceiling. You will see two metal clips on opposite sides of the plastic cove holding the cover to the ceiling. Squeeze these clips inwards then pull the cover down.
- Use a current tester, to ensure the fan is not receiving power. Doing this shall ensure there is no electric current, therefore, eliminating any chances of electrocution. These testers are cheap and can be found at the local electronic or electricals store.
- Remove any screws holding the motor, then disconnect the motor from the unit’s wiring. The motor is usually attached to the fan housing with screws. Therefore, to successfully remove the fan housing, you will first need to remove the motor.
- Depending on the design of your old fun, you might need to remove mounting screws, brackets, and any other hardware attached to the unit. In this case, where we are dealing with a replacement with no attic access, these hardware components should be removed from below. After the fan housing is detached from the ceiling, you can safely disconnect the wiring.
Before installing the new fan, ensure that you clean the installation area. Remove any dust or debris that might have settled around the area. This might not have any impact on the fan itself. However, it might reduce maintenance costs brought by the suction of this debris by the fun.
How to install the new bathroom exhaust fan
1. Check the size of your new fan
Now that the old fan is out, it is time to fit in the new fun housing into the ceiling hole and see whether it fits in. In case you purchased a bigger fan then measure the additional amount of ceiling you need to cut out. You can use a jab, or a keyhole saw to cut out the ceiling for extra space.
Depending on the changes you make at the opening, you must ensure the wood joists available shall secure the new fan. In case they won’t, then purchase additional wood joists and install them in the ceiling before installing the new fan. This is because if the fan is not correctly secured in the ceiling, it might fall and get damaged or cause injuries to bathroom users.
2. Pull the electric wiring into the fan housing
At this point, remove the junction cover from the new exhaust fan so that the home wiring can be inserted and pulled into the new fun housing and connected to the motor wiring. In some cases, the fan won’t have a junction box depending on the fan manufacturer.
Once the cables are in place, secure them with grommets to prevent the metal edges from damaging the cable. Your new fan might come with grommets for this purpose. However, in cases where there is none, you can find them at your local electricals store.
3. Connect the fan housing to the duct flapper
the fan housing has an opening for connecting with the duct flapper. This duct flapper is a flexible plastic piece at the in-house end of the duct. Before joining the fan housing to the duct connector, ensure that the flaps are aligned in a downward position. If they are misaligned, the air will move inwards rather than outwards.
There are two methods you can use to connect the fan housing to the duct connector.
- Using foil tape, attach the duct connector to the duct then secure the fan housing to the joists before lining up the fan housing to the flapper.
- The second option is first to connect the fan housing to the flapper, then insert the fan housing into the ceiling hole.
Ensure that the vent in the ceiling is correctly connected to the fan housing before you can nail the housing to the wood joists. Lastly, ensure that you wrap the joint with foil tape to make the joint strong.
4. Screw the fan housing to the wood joists
Now that the fan housing has been attached to the vent, it is time to secure it by screwing it to the wooden joists in the ceiling. First, ensure that the fan housing is well-positioned in the ceiling then you can proceed to screw it on the joists. In case your new fan came with hanger bars or a fast install bracket, your work will be much easier. These tools will help you to attach the fan to the wood joists quickly.
In case your fan did not come with the hanger bars, then you will have to screw at least one of the sides of the fan housing to a joist.
5. Connect the fans wiring
The next step is to connect the home wiring to that of the fan motor. Remember the home wiring was connected wiring was polled into the fan housing but not connected to the motor. In most cases, the motor will have a plug to insert in a socket within the fan housing. Ensure that you connect correctly to avoid damaging the motor. To achieve this, take a keen note of the wire color codes on both ends.
When doing the wiring work, ensure that you first screw the motor to the fan housing to prevent it from falling off during installation. Once the wiring is done, Push the wires into the fan housing so that they don’t hang. To get a clean finish and avoid air leaks, seal off the edges with caulking. Alternatively, you can use metal foil tape.
Finish by reinstalling the fun cover or grill precisely the same way you removed it while uninstalling the old fan.
6. Turn the power on
Go to the breaker switch and turn it on to see whether the fan is working. If the new fun is very quiet, you might not know it is working unless you test it. Take a hand close to the fun and feel whether there is suction. If there is a feeling of suction, then the fun is working correctly.
Replace your bathroom fan without attic access should not be a stressful task. When done correctly, you can save more money that could have been paid to installation experts. I consider it more manageable than when there is attic access. With good planning, seamless execution of the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to install a new fan in your bathroom