How Do I Replace a Bathroom Fan?

A bathroom fan is necessary to remove excessive moisture from the room. Too much moisture, as that which can be produced when taking a shower, can lead to mold. Over time, fans can, and will, break down. They may quit working altogether or become noisy or inefficient. Replacing the fan with a new one is a fairly simple DIY project.

  • New fan
  • Screwdriver
  • Snips
  • Wire stripper
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Wire nuts
Turn off the electrical power to the fan at the breaker box. If you are uncertain which breaker is for the bathroom, turn off the main breaker to cut all power to the home. Use a screwdriver to remove the old fan cover, motor and housing (if necessary). Disconnect the electrical wires to remove the motor. You can cut them and use a wire stripper to give yourself clean wire leads for the new fan. You may need to slide the housing to one side of the opening to disconnect the vent duct.

If you have purchased a fan that is similar to or the same as the existing fan, you may be able to use the existing fan housing. If not, you may need to enlarge the hole for the new fan housing. Hold the housing for the new fan up to the existing hole. Use a pencil to mark the wall or ceiling if you need to enlarge the hole. Cut away the plaster or drywall with a reciprocating saw. Pull the electrical wires through the hole in the rear of the housing. Secure the new housing with screws after attaching the vent duct. The bottom of the housing should be flush with the wall or ceiling.

Connect the electrical wires to the new motor. Follow the manufacturer's directions to ensure that you connect the proper wires. Typically, ground wires are green, neutral wires are white and live wires are black. Use electrical wire nuts to secure the wires.

Secure the fan motor to the housing. Install the new fan cover over the motor and housing with a screwdriver. The fan cover screws should mount directly to the housing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Clean the fan regularly by removing the cover and vacuuming out any dust and debris.

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