Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

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Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby Tony Handley » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:47 am

Hello all,

I hope some one can help me with my problem.

About 2 years ago we had a new bathroom fitted and part of this was a new in-line extractor fan that sits in the loft space and is ducted out of the soffits.

From day one I have not been happy with the performance of this fan and have been meaning to do something about it ever since. Well I have finally decided that its time to replace this fan and try and install something that will actually do the job. I should explain that our bathroom will completely fill with steam within about 3-5 minutes and although there is some extraction, as the fan inlet is just above the shower area I would have hoped that most of this steam would be sucked up before filling the room. Its such a problem that all the walls and everything in the bathroom are completely dripping with water after showering. Its slowly but surely ruining all our bathroom furniture and I am keen to stop any further damage.

I have been in many bathrooms over the years and I have never seen such steam in a bathroom, so I am mystified as to why it fills with so much steam. Even with the window open it’s the same. I can honestly say that I have seen better performance from those cheap looking ceiling fans in hotel rooms and the like. The room is about 8 x 8 ft, so it’s not that big.

So, if anyone could give some advice and recommend a fan that will do the job and definitely extract the steam quickly and efficiently I would very much appreciate it. As I have mentioned, the current fan is an in-line fan but I don’t mind switching to what ever sort that would do the job, even if it means paying an electrician to come in and install it!

Many thanks for your help.

Tony
Tony Handley
 
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby John Gallon » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:34 am

Hi Tony,
First I would check out the existing fan for faults.
Is the fan actually running? (they can be almost silent and you may have some convection flow without the fan running).
Is the fan fitted with the flow direction arrow pointing the right way?
If there is a one way air valve in line is it facing the right way? (or try removing it for a better air flow)
Has the corrugated ducting been flattened or kinked in the ceiling?
Is the fan wired to give a delayed switch off when you leave the room?
If you have a long run of corrugated duct to the soffit it may be better to use smooth bore duct for long lengths.
These fans usually work well especially in the position of yours above the shower,
John
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby Tony Handley » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:18 am

Hi John/Kate,

Thanks for your replies.

John, yes I have checked all those things and its all correct. At the weekend I moved the fan closer to the inlet vent as I thought the length of ducting was too long and thought this might be the reason. I ended up having to rewire it as the original cable was not long enough once moved. I took the opportunity to test everything and check everything. I even put the fan around what turned out to be the wrong way, and when I went in the bathroom I could feel the cold air coming down so I knew this was wrong and changed it back again!

The only thing I did not check which was mentioned by Kate is at the soffit end. Its difficult to get to and really I should have checked that the hole was good. I read somewhere that if this is not very good you will get problems and even saw on one forum someone who said they had found the installer did not even cut the hole! I must admit, I could not see much if any steam coming out the other day and found evidence of water inside the fan assembly etc, so I just wonder how much of this is actually going out??

I have been looking at Vent Axia and Xpelair which I have been told are the best fans. However, I think before I buy one I will try to check the hole vent to make sure its ok. My problem is getting to it inside as its right in the eaves. I would go outside and check at that end but I have a problem with heights, so its not something I can do!

Anyway, many thanks for your help. Will let you know if it turns out to be the outlet vent hole. Would I be right in assuming that if the hole is not very big or not at all then you don't get an effective suction and flow through? I am guessing that this is really important for it to work well.

By the way, I was not happy with the bathroom installer and he used a third party to do the electric and fan, and as its 2 years a bit late to ask him round. I would not be at all surprised if the hole has not been cut very well!

Cheers,

Tony
Tony Handley
 
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby John Gallon » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:07 am

Hi Tony,
As a one off trial/ experiment try undoing the outlet of the fan and let the air exhaust into the loft space. This will test if there is a free outlet, or not, through the soffit. Don't forget to re fix after testing or you will get damp problems in the loft,
John
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby Tony Handley » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:21 am

Hi John,

Thanks for that suggestion, a really good idea and will at least prove one way or other and put me on the right track.

I intend to have another look Saturday, so will pop up first and do this before doing a test in the bathroom (normally within about 3 minutes its full of steam, so if its much better then I will know why!). At least your idea will avoid me going through a lot of hassle only to find the vent has the appropriate hole. However, the more I think about it the more convinced I am that the vent is either closed or only a very small hole. Tonight I got in and did a test and could see steam coming out of the bathroom window but nothing coming out of the extractor vent, so its looking more and more like its the problem. When I went back upstairs to the bathroom it was full of steam so its certainly not going into the extractor fan!

Anyway, I will let you know the outcome after my investigations on Saturday. If I can muster up the courage I may try and get up the ladder but as I have said I have a problem with heights, so not sure it I will be able to go that far! Its annoying as it means I might have to pay someone to come in and cut the hole, so frustrating!

Cheers,

Tony - my head will be spinning if I get up a ladder!!
Tony Handley
 
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby MaryAnn » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:13 pm

Hi Tony

I do hope you have found the solution to your problem and the others on here have offered much more professional advice than I can - however can I also just add that if your bathroom is a cold room or even cool the hot air from the shower will also add to your present 'fan malfunction' problem by creating lots of steam and condensation. The fan works fine in my en-suite but I have noticed that if the room is on the chilly side it does steam up noticeably.

My OH likes a cold room (and I love a hot bathroom) so he is now banished to the family bathroom . My en-suite now remains heated to a comfortable temperature and never steams up.
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby Tony Handley » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:45 am

Hi Kate and Maryann,

Thanks for your kind thoughts and help.

I don't think I will go up the ladder as I know what I am like! I relate this problem back to when I was 16 and working on the building sites. I was a puny kid, it was the end of the working day and I was knackered (have never forgotten how hard it is on the sites after all these years). The boss wanted me and another to go up to the height of this Victorian building, at the point where the guttering would be and bring down old roof tiles and take new ones up. As I was going up or down, cant remember, I can remember having these tiles on my shoulder and reaching out for the run on the ladder, I started to fall backwards and remember to this day I caught the run on the ladder with the end of my finger tips! I was so close to going!! Below was a skip and if I had gone I am sure I would not be writing this now. Whilst working for the same company a scaffold bolt connector, those large lumps that connect scaffolding together fell down and just missed me and my mate! Yeah what happy memories!

A few years later I came off a ladder whilst working on it, came down with the ladder, it slipped away and luckily broke my fall a bit, so got lucky that time too! I think that was the end of me and ladders, so as I say, I don't think its going to happen but you always think you can overcome it but I know you are right!

I will let you all know after the weekend and hopefully I will still be in one piece (only joking). Thanks again Kate for your kind thoughts.

Cheers all,

Tony
Tony Handley
 
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Re: Bathroom extractor fan – which is the best fan

Postby Tony Handley » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:49 am

Hi All,

Just an update on what happened at the weekend.

Found out some interesting things during my time looking at this problem again:

1. When I removed the outlet ducting from the fan and then put the shower on the bathroom steamed up as usual. When I went back up into the loft I expected to see a lot of steam up in the loft space, but all I was getting was warm air being expelled from the other end. No actual steam, hence the reason it was still all in the bathroom. So this for me really proved that the fan is useless. If anyone wants to know its a Vortice from Italy, and I would definitely avoid this based on my experience. Bit odd that I got no steam in the loft!!

2. I could not quite reach all the way down into the ducting to the end point where it would vent out, but as it was a sunny day I could clearly see light coming into the area where it vents out so I was reasonably satisfied that it definitely had a hole cut at that end.

3. I spent some time re-doing the whole location to improve flow. I decided to get the fan correctly directly in between the inlet and outlet points so that it was truly in-line. I did not have much space but achieved this with great success by using an old shelf I found in the shed and screwing this just above the ceiling plasterboard, so this could act as an shelf and new fixing point for the fan which only needed a couple of small wood screws to hold it firmly in place. I shortened the ducting as much as possible to make it taunt and was much happier with the whole set up once I had finished.

4. Once all this was done I tested again, and although noticeably better in terms of clearing the steam after a shower, it still does not suck it up before the room fills with steam. You can clearly hear the fan as its much closer to the inlet and I did the tissue test and it proved it was sucking!

So my conclusion is that the fan is rubbish as I have tried everything and there really is no other explanation for what is happening.

I did think afterwards that it might have been a good idea to get a hoover hose down the outlet ducting right to the actual vent (as I had noticed with binoculars mess at the vent end) and will go back up and try to do this, but the test without the ducting connected pretty much proved it does not make any difference even if there is dust or something at the outlet end its not that causing the problem. As I say, my money is on the fan and I now intend to replace it with a Vent Axia.

I am pleased with the alterations I have made, as I should be able to just get the new fan in the same location and hopefully this will solve the problem - fingers crossed!

When I have finally done this I will post again to let everyone know if it solves this problem, because if it does it will prove two things, that Vortice are rubbish and to be avoided and that Vent Axia are brilliant! I just hope this proves to be the case....watch this space as they say!

Cheers,

Tony
Tony Handley
 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:47 am


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