Bathroom ventilation systems are not only vital in removing excess humidity, but they also help with the longevity of your bathroom décor by keeping mould and mildew at bay. Designed to eliminate condensation, a bathroom extractor fan is a necessity in both small and large bathrooms to promote good quality and balanced air levels in this environment.
Our quick buying guide helps you choose the best bathroom extractor system for your space.
What To Consider When Installing a Bathroom Ventilation System
All bathrooms require some source of ventilation, whether it’s an extractor fan or simply a window you can open. The UK regulations regarding just how much ventilation your bathroom requires are outlined in The Building Regulations Document F.
The Size and Placement of your Bathroom Extractor Fan
Your bathroom will be split into different zones that are suitable for different electrical items. Typically, there is Zone 0, which is the area occupied by the bath and shower. No devices are allowed within this zone, apart from suitable equipment or insulated pull cords.
Zone 1 is the area above Zone 0. Only separated extra-low voltage (SELV) devices are allowed in this zone.
Zone 2 is the area above or either side of Zone 1. Only SELV devices are allowed in this zone.
If the size of the bathroom extends beyond Zone 2, then an Outside Zone is created. Within this zone, portable equipment is allowed. However, they should be positioned so their flex length doesn’t enable them to be used in Zone 2.
Domestic extractor fans tend to come in two sizes: 4 inch/100mm and 6 inch/150mm. This size refers to the size of the impeller (the revolving part inside the extractor fan that sucks the air out).
To know what size bathroom exhaust fan you need, refer to the cubic metres per hour (m3/hr) measurement of your fan.
If your bathroom is 12m3 or less, you'll need an extraction rate of at least 96m3/hr. It's a good idea to get a fan with a little more power than is required. Many fans offer a choice of two speeds and extraction rates, which means you can adjust it depending on how much steam is being created.
The Benefits of a Bathroom Extractor Fan
Reducing condensation: An extractor fan helps minimise the amount of steam that can engulf a shower.
Preventing mould: Added condensation can exacerbate mould. Over time this mould can grow and become harder to remove.
Extending the life of your bathroom: Bathrooms are a big investment. Condensation and mould can wreak havoc with the integrity of their structures, damaging fixtures and fittings beyond repair.
Keeping odours at bay: Damp, stale air can lead to unpleasant, and even dangerous, smells in your bathroom. The right bathroom ventilation fan can help solve this.
The Types of Bathroom Ventilation
When looking to install a bathroom ventilation system, it's helpful to understand the different types.
Perhaps the simplest solution to bathroom ventilation are bathroom windows. If you're renovating and thinking of installing a window, double or triple-glazed tilt and turn opens are usually the best because they swing outwards to maximise the amount of air that can enter the space.
The further away the bathroom is positioned from an external wall, the longer the 'duct run' will be.
Bathrooms that are situated within 1.5m of an external wall will typically have an axial extractor fan installed. These are not as powerful as the air travels a shorter distance. Yet, they're often quieter because of this.
If your bathroom is situated over 1.5m away from an external wall, a centrifugal fan is the best choice. This is because they're mechanically designed to be more powerful and shift air over longer distances. Yet, this can also make them a little noisier. In many cases, centrifugal fans are fitted into the ceiling.
An inline extractor fan can move the air over longer distances, of up to 40m, for bathrooms that are further away from an external wall.