What is the fan in the bathroom used for

What Is The Fan In The Bathroom For? (8 Uses of Exhaust Fans)

The job of a bathroom exhaust fan is a simple one – to eliminate the moisture from your bathroom. However, these convenient appliances have a number of additional uses as well, such as heating, lighting, smell-removing, and other uses. 

In this article, I’ll be going over 8 most important uses of bathroom exhaust fans, including: 

  • Moisture control 
  • Bathroom paint protection 
  • Hardware corrosion prevention 
  • Mold growth prevention 
  • And more… 

If you’re currently in the market for a new device of this type, I invite you to also have a look at my roundup of the market’s best bathroom exhaust fans


Use #1 – Moisture Control 

This one is a no-brainer – moisture control is the primary purpose of every bathroom exhaust fan. In other words, these appliances are installed in bathrooms (as well as other rooms with high levels of humidity) in order to remove excess moisture. 

The reason why this moisture, which is released into the air every time someone takes a shower, cannot be left unchecked is due to the fact it can cause considerable damage to the bathroom and the entire house as well. 

Fortunately, an appliance of this type can easily eliminate excess moisture. This is particularly true for the fans with a high CFM rating – these can deal with a huge amount of humidity in a short amount of time. 

If possible, a bathroom exhaust fan shouldn’t be ducted into an interior wall, crawl space, or an attic, but rather to the exterior of the house. 

Can’t I Just Open a Window?

Beautiful bathroom

The only thing that the use of a bathroom exhaust fan can be compared with is opening a window. In fact, that was the only way in which people were able to ventilate their bathrooms before the advent of exhaust fans. 

However, the issue with windows is that opening them lets unconditioned air enter the bathroom. As you can already guess, this can negatively affect the performance of one’s HVAC system. Besides, opening a bathroom window in the middle of winter is the last thing anyone would want to do. 

In addition to lowering the efficiency of the HVAC system, opening a window also causes the reintroduction of moisture back into the bathroom. To put it simply, installing and using a bathroom exhaust fan is a much more efficient – and quicker – way to go about keeping excess moisture under check. 

Use #2 – Mold Growth Prevention

Fan in a tile bathroom

When used properly, i.e. during showering and for about half an hour after it, bathroom fans also prevent the growth of dangerous mold. 

Besides moisture, there are only two things that mold needs to grow – darkness and food. When it lingers inside a bathroom for a long time after someone has taken a shower, the moisture creates an ideal breeding environment for mold. 

If you think that there might be some mold in your house – whether in the bathroom, basement, or any other room – get yourself a couple of humidity gauges. These inexpensive yet extremely useful devices will help you determine the humidity level in your house and keep it under check. 

Use #3 – Smell Removal 

Another thing homeowners use bathroom exhaust fans for is to eliminate unpleasant smells. It goes without saying, but nasty odors do appear in most people’s bathrooms. Nobody really wants to smell someone other’s “business”! 

Besides bathroom exhaust fans with humidity sensors, today’s market also offers models equipped with motion sensors. If you’re someone who keeps forgetting to turn the fan on every time you’re doing your “business”, a fan of this type can come in very handy. 

Use #4 – Bathroom Paint Protection 

Whenever someone takes a shower, the temperature inside a bathroom rises up. And when the aforementioned excessive moisture is coupled with this hot air, it creates an environment that’s very damaging to the paint – it causes it to peel and bubble. 

The easiest way to keep this kind of problem at bay is by installing a bathroom exhaust fan and using it correctly. 

When it comes to choosing the type of paint for the bathroom, I usually recommend opting for satin or semi-gloss finishes. Satin finishes are a particularly great choice. 

Not only are they significantly longer-lasting than ever before, but they also easily withstand the “abuse” that comes with everyday bathroom use. 

Before you install a bathroom fan, make sure to check your local bathroom exhaust fan venting code requirements.

Use #5 – Drywall Damage Prevention 

Drywall in a bathroom

Another kind of damage that bathroom exhaust fans can prevent is drywall damage. A high level of humidity can seriously harm these kinds of walls – over time, they start to degrade and warp. 

In bathrooms, this typically occurs in areas close to the bathtub and in the ceiling corners. These are the first spots you need to check if you’re suspecting drywall damage in your bathroom. Read our post on insulating bathroom fan ducts as well.

Use #6 – Hardware Corrosion Prevention

Modern bathroom

Another thing that these kinds of appliances can help with is hardware rust prevention. 

As you probably already know, objects such as hinges and doorknobs are subject to corrosion if exposed to high levels of humidity for prolonged periods of time. 

The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to simply install a bathroom exhaust fan of an adequate CFM rating. Installing such a device is certainly easier than replacing rusty door hardware and other corroded items.

If you are certain you want a new bathroom fan, check out our post on bathroom fan installation costs.

Use #7 – Clear Fumes When Cleaning

Bathroom exhaust fans can be of great help when you’re using toilet bowl cleaners and other harsh cleaning products. 

Whenever you’re cleaning your bathroom, just turn the fan on – it will keep removing the toxic fumes as you’re cleaning tiles, fixtures, and other objects in your bathroom. 

Use #8 – Extra Features 

Today’s bathroom exhaust fans are much more feature-rich than the ones manufactured two decades ago. Some of them come equipped with heaters, some have convenient LED lights, and some feature Bluetooth speakers. Check out our post on bathroom fans with Bluetooth speakers for more information.

So, instead of having to buy a second device – like a LED light – and cut another hole in the ceiling for it, you can just get yourself a bathroom fan with an integrated LED light. 

An important thing to keep in mind here is that doing something like this won’t save you from having to add some additional wiring for these extra features, though.

You may also want to check out our guide on replacing a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access.

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