What a Bathroom Exhaust Fan has to do With Energy Efficiency
Most people do not pay much attention to bathroom exhaust fans until the boogers and cobwebs are hanging half way down to the commode. When the fan gets plugged up, energy efficiency is lost and the exhausting power of the fan is reduced to almost nothing. The normally efficient fan motor heats up, wastes electricity, and applies unneeded expense to the power bill. If your bathroom exhaust fan cover looks like a Kansas dust bowl and the fan motor will no longer hold up a piece of toilet tissue, it's time for a little preventive maintenance.
What is a bathroom exhaust fan?
Mounted in your bathroom ceiling or exterior wall, the bathroom exhaust is given the job of removing moist or awkwardly perfumed air from the room. If moist warm air remains in the room – the possible occurrence of mold and mildew is greatly increased. By removing the moist warm air produced by a shower or bath, the relative moisture is reduced as is the possibility of mold. And, of course, removing the awkwardly perfumed air from the bathroom simply allows the bathroom to be used by the next person sooner.
Does a bathroom fan have a rating system?
Yes, a bathroom fan is rated according to cubic feet per minute (cfm) and according to how noisy they are. A less expensive apartment model will be rated at 50 cfm and about 4.0 sones. 4 Sones is the sound of a normal Tv, 3 Sones like office noise, 1 Sone is the sound of a refrigerator, and 0.5 sones like rustling leaves.
Some bathroom exhaust fans have humidity sensors that turn the fan on when moist air is present and then turn the fan off when the air is refreshed and no longer holds noticeable moisture.
Which bathroom exhaust fan would be best for my bathroom?
I would recommend a bathroom exhaust fan rated at 100 cfm or more and a sone level of something around the level of rustling toilet paper. I would also recommend you install a timer switch so you can leave the fan running after you leave the bathroom and have the fan turn itself off about 20 minutes later.
A ceiling fan has a duct attached that is designed to take the warm moist air and discharge it into the great outdoors. Be sure the duct is firmly attached to the fan and that the duct terminals outside and not just into the attic space.
How does a fan waste energy and increase my power bill?
Ceiling fans are dust collectors. Combine the flow of exhausting air with the moisture content of the air and you have a dust collecting system. One, the fan is good at collecting and holding dust, grit and grime and two, the ceiling fan is mounted in the ceiling and hard to see and hard to reach and clean. The ceiling fan becomes the forgotten appliance.
With accumulating dust, the motor and fan will struggle to maintain speed and effectiveness. The motor works harder, runs longer, gets hotter and uses more electricity than it needs to. The exhaust fan turns slower and the electric meter spins faster.
Recently, I was in a home where the homeowner insisted the bathroom fan was working well. I stand under the fan, a test square of toilet paper at the ready, as he turned the fan on. You know how an electric motor can make a humming sound and not do anything. He thought the fan was working since it made a nice humming sound, but the fan was not turning and not exhausting anything. I held the TP square up to the fan and then watched it gentle float to the floor.
Can a ceiling fan earn the Energy Star Efficiency Rating?
Yes, ceiling exhaust fans are rated by the Energy Star program and can earn an Energy Star rating. As with any appliance, look for the Energy Star rating and then look further to see how efficient the appliance is within that rating. One Energy Star ceiling fan may noticeably more efficient than another Energy Star rated fan.
Do remember, to maintain that efficiency, the fan needs to be installed and ducted correctly.
Source by Don Ames