Bathrooms are basically damp rooms; which retain wetness 90% of the time. Such wetness in small bathrooms could lead to the development of molds, which could cause serious health issues to the occupants. In such damp rooms, ventilation is really important for ensuring the good health of the users and of the bathroom as well. Even more important in such bathrooms, is an extractor fan.
What Is An Extractor Fan?
An extractor fan is a fan designed for drawing steam, bad odor, smoke, and greasy fumes away from a room. In small bathrooms, extractor fans are especially essential for removing excessive moisture in the rooms. This, in turn, helps in the elimination of musty odors in the bathroom, which is caused by excess dampness in the room.
You may be the sort that believes you would do just fine without a bathroom extractor fan. After all, you can just open the bathroom windows, let in the fresh air and this would do the job just like an extractor fan. Well, that is quite true. However, you should note that extractor fans do not just help in the proper ventilation of a bathroom. Extractor fans have many more benefits that outdo just opening the window and letting in the fresh air.
Bathroom extractor fans not only help in the removal of excess moisture but also remove excess heat in a bathroom. High moisture levels in a small room, raise the temperature levels of the room. Therefore, when excess moisture is removed from a room by an extractor fan, excess heat is removed as well.
These extractor fans also help improve the health and safety of a home. Bathroom cleaning agents that are kept in the bathrooms release harmful fumes that, when inhaled, could lead to serious health issues and allergies to a person. Bathroom extractor fans draw away from these harmful fumes from the bathrooms. Therefore, they improve the bathroom’s quality of air, ensuring the good health of the bathroom users.
Bathroom extractor fans are relatively smaller compared to other extractor fans. To make them more efficient like other fans, these extractor fans are designed with inbuilt timers. This is just one of the many benefits that are associated with bathroom extractor fans.
This article looks into the different types of extractor fans that exist. Read along, also, to find a guide on how you can choose the best extractor fan for your small bathroom as well as reasons that make extractor fans just ideal for your space.
Different Types Of Extractor Fans
Choosing the right type of bathroom extractor fans begins with knowledge of the different types of extractor fans. If you intend to upgrade your bathroom or build a new bathroom altogether, you may find it quite challenging to settle on which extractor fan you should get. This is because there exist many different types of extractor fans in the market. Such a wide variety of extractor fans to choose from may, therefore, make it very confusing for a bathroom owner who wants to get an extractor fan.
The differences in the extractor fans are due to the different activities that the extractor fans do. Therefore, based on what they do, bathroom extractor fans can be divided into 3 types; axial bathroom extractor fans, centrifugal bathroom extractor fans, and inline bathroom extractor fans.
a.) Axial Bathroom Extractor Fans
These are the most common bathroom extractor fans. Axial bathroom extractor fans are not as powerful as other extractor fans. This extractor fan works by sucking in air at the front part, then discharging it out, through the back. The back of the axial bathroom extractor fan should, therefore, be mounted on a wall area that has proper access to the outside, to ensure that the sucked air is expelled to the outside.
The most notable advantage of axial bathroom extractor fans is that they are smaller in design. Therefore, they can be installed in a small bathroom space, without taking up much space nor spoiling the general look of the bathroom. Another advantage of this bathroom extractor fan is that it is an energy-efficient fan, hence, saves on the energy bill expenses incurred. Furthermore, the fan is generally very quiet, making it ideal for use in a bathroom.
It should be noted that the axial bathroom extractor fan should not be ducted deeper than 2 to 3 meters. Ducting the fan in a depth that exceeds 2 or 3 meters will only serve to reduce the extractor fan’s efficiency. The extractor fan should also not be installed into the bathroom’s ceiling. This is because, when installed on the ceiling, the duct run may end up forming bends, something that may result in the extractor fan losing its ‘pushing’ power.
b.) Centrifugal Bathroom Extractor Fans
Unlike the axial bathroom extractor fans, centrifugal bathroom extractor fans make use of a drum blade for the extraction of air. The drum blade of the fan rotates the air, building up pressure, then the build-up pressure allows for an airflow of a higher power. The fact that high pressure is built up means the extracted air can travel for long distances and even around bends. This makes centrifugal bathroom extractor fans more powerful than axial bathroom extractor fans.
Another advantage that centrifugal bathroom extractor fans have over axial bathroom extractor fans is that, unlike the latter, centrifugal extractor fans can be installed on ceilings. This is made possible by the already bent ducts on the ceiling-mount fans. The major disadvantage of this bathroom extractor fan is that the fans are mostly designed with a larger size. As a result, they produce a lot of noise that is not really ideal in the bathroom.
c.) Inline Bathroom Extractor Fans
Inline bathroom extractor fans have been known to be the most powerful extractor fans of all. These bathroom extractor fans require installation in the bathroom’s ceiling voids or lofts. They are very efficient for long-distance ducting; going up to 50 meters. They can, therefore, work just well even when installed in locations that lack direct access to any outside walls. Another advantage of inline extractor fans is that you can easily install them out of the way. As a result, they are less noisy and hence, ideal for use in a small bathroom space.
How To Choose The Right Extractor Fan
The market out there has got a wide range of extractor fan models. So, how do you go about choosing the right extractor fan for your bathroom? It is true that expensive extractor fans, at most times, imply good quality. However, price is not the only thing that you should consider when choosing an extractor fan. The following are more considerations that you should take into account when choosing the right extractor fan,
a.) The Features Of The Extractor Fan
Normally, domestic extractor fans suck approximately 21 liters of air for every second. For a medium-sized bathroom, this is quite plenty of air. Therefore, for a smaller bathroom, the most efficient extractor fan would be that with an over-run time. The over-run time would enable an extractor fan to continue working for a predetermined time period after one has turned it off. Such activity by the extractor fan would ensure that your small bathroom gets properly ventilated.
The specific period in which an extractor fan keeps running, after being turned off, is usually configured at the time of its installation. One can choose to configure between a range of 30 seconds to 30 minutes, depending on their budget.
Other extractor fans have humidity sensors. You could consider getting such an extractor fan for your bathroom if you feel that either you or your family members will forget to turn the extractor fan on and off. This is an automatic extractor fan that turns on each time humidity levels exceed the optimum. You will, however, be required to regularly clean the sensor, since it becomes ineffective when dust accumulates on it.
Another feature that you could also consider when choosing an extractor fan is the presence of a back-draught shutter. Back-draught shutters help in the prevention of cold air so that it doesn’t blow in from the outside. For bathrooms that have outlets that are exposed to harsh weather elements, such as extreme windy conditions, it would be best to go for extractor fans that lack the back-draught shutters. Or rather, one could decide to go for extractor fans that have back-draught shutters which can be shut off.
b.) The Extractor Fan’s Noise
Noisy extractor fans in the bathroom can cause discomfort, especially at night when everything tends to be quieter. Normally, when extractor fans are new, they’re usually quieter. However, with time, they become noisier when their motors begin to wear. The blades of the extractor fans can also begin oscillating against the housing, leading to the production of an annoying rattle.
You could, therefore, consider getting a high-quality fan that lasts for long. This will ensure the longer quietness of the fan. Or, you could decide to get an extractor fan that will be easily repaired or replaced when its motors begin to wear. Extractor fans that have a DB level of less than 32 are known to be the most ideal when it comes to noise levels.
The majority of the bathroom extractor fans are attached in a 100mm hole drilled on the outside wall. Therefore, when getting a new fan for your bathroom, you should get a fan that will fit in the already present hole. Furthermore, you should get an extraction fan that you will be able to install yourself.
d.) Voltage Levels
For all zone 1s and 2s in a bathroom, it is recommended that bathroom extractor fans of low voltage be installed. For the other zones, outside of zone 1 and 2, then mains extractor fans can be installed. In other words, if you decide to install the extractor fan within 60cm of the bath corner and below 2.25 meters, then the fan needs to be of lower voltage.
5 Benefits Of An Extractor Fan
The following are some of the benefits associated with installing an extractor fan in the bathroom:
a.) Controls Humidity
The bathroom is generally a damp environment. The high humidity levels in the bathroom could lead to mold and mildew. Well, there are chemicals that when used can help to eliminate the mold problem in the bathroom.
However, a more effective and long-lasting way to control the humidity of a bathroom is by using an extractor fan. Extractor fans suck moist air from a bathroom, leaving dry air that is not convenient for mold growth.
b.) Controls Fumes And Odors
Fumes from hot showers and bathroom chemicals could result in damaging the bathroom walls and ceilings. Accumulation of the damp fumes on bathroom materials could also lead to musty odors.
Bathroom extractor fans pull out fumes and steam released in the bathroom. When such are pulled out, it ensures no accumulation of dampness, hence, no musty odors in the bathroom.
c.) Removes Gas And Smoke
Some of the washing chemicals used in the bathroom may release harmful gaseous pollutants in the air. When inhaled, such airborne pollutants could lead to serious health issues for the bathroom users. When extractor fans are installed in a bathroom, they help to suck in these harmful pollutants. These fans, therefore, help to keep the air in the bathroom healthy and free of harmful gaseous elements.
d.) Removes Heat
Heat may rise in a bathroom, causing pools around the ceiling. Their pools could lead to musty odors in the bathroom. Bathroom extractor fans have the ability to pull out excess heat into the ceiling spaces. This serves to eliminate excess heat and ensure a continuous flow of cool air in the bathroom.
e.) Ensures Durability Of Walls And Fabric
Steam and fumes released in a bathroom can eventually lead to the development of layers on the bathroom walls, cabinets, and windows. Such layers may make these materials dirty and weak. Since bathroom extractor fans pull out such steam, they help in maintaining the health and durability of bathroom walls, furniture, and fabric.
f.) Eliminates Foggy Mirror Syndrome
Foggy mirror syndrome is the condition where moisture condenses on mirrors, forming fog-like matter on the mirror surfaces. Bathroom extractor fans pull out excess moisture. Therefore, no moisture is left to condense on mirror surfaces. Hence, bathroom extractor fans ensure clean and dry mirrors in the bathroom.
Indeed, getting an extractor fan for your bathroom would be the best gift for yourself, your family and your bathroom as well. The benefits of bathroom extractor fans exceed those of any other alternative method that exists. Get yourself the ideal extractor fan for your bathroom, and go blow off that extra steam to create a healthier and fresher environment in your bathroom!