Your bathroom fan is one of those things you don’t think about until it’s not working properly. But a faulty bathroom fan can lead to all sorts of problems, like mold, mildew, and paint deterioration.

When is it Time to Replace Your Bathroom Fan?

Here are a few telltale signs:

Toilet Paper Test

Just because your fan is making noise, doesn’t mean it is “working” at all! One of the tests you can do is the “toilet paper test” to ensure the exhaust fan is truly working. Unless the motor stops functioning completely, your fan will still make noise even if it’s not sucking any of the moisture out of the room. This can often be the reason why your paint will start peeling from your ceiling or walls in the bathroom.

How to Perform the Toilet Paper Test

The toilet paper test is simple: take a single sheet of toilet paper and hold it up to the exhaust fan grill. If the fan is working properly, you should feel a strong suction pulling the toilet paper towards the grill. If not, then it’s time to call in a professional to take a look at your exhaust fan and see what might be causing the problem.

Moisture Buildup, Mold and Mildew

Another sign that your bathroom fan needs to be replaced is moisture buildup. If you notice that your walls or ceiling are starting to show signs of mold or mildew, it’s likely because your bathroom fan isn’t doing its job of removing moisture from the air.

Lingering Smells

If you notice that odors from your bathroom are lingering long after you’ve flushed or showered, it’s another sign that it’s time to replace your bathroom fan. A properly functioning bathroom fan should remove odors quickly and efficiently. If it’s not, then those smells will linger and before long, your entire home will start to smell like a locker room. No one wants that!

Paint Deterioration

Bathrooms are often humid places, which can lead to paint deterioration and peeling wallpaper, if there’s no way for the moisture to escape. If you notice that the paint in your bathroom is starting to blister or peel, it could be because your bathroom fan isn’t doing its job of venting out moisture-laden air. Replacing your bathroom fan with a new one can help prevent this problem.


Bathroom fans are typically designed to last about 10 years. Many will last longer, but if you know your fan is older than 10 years, and you are experiencing any of the issues highlighted above, it is probably time to replace your bathroom fan.

How to Pick a New Bathroom Fan

If you know that you need to replace your bathroom fan, the next thing you’ll need to consider is how to pick the right fan for your needs. Any trip to your nearest home improvement store will reveal that there are many options on the market, ranging from very simple to higher end models that have built-in Bluetooth speakers and multicolored lights. Here are four tips to consider when picking a fan for your bathroom:

Tip #1: Consider Air Flow

The first thing you’ll want to consider when picking a new bathroom fan is the air flow. This is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the CFM, the more air the fan will move. For standard bathrooms, you’ll want a fan with a CFM of at least 50. However, if your bathroom is larger than average or if you have a shower in your bathroom, you’ll want a fan with an even higher CFM.

Tip #2: Consider Sound Levels

The second thing you’ll want to consider is sound levels. This is measured in sones. The lower the sone level, the quieter the fan will be. For reference, 1 sone is about as loud as a refrigerator running in the next room. Most bathroom fans have a sone level between 1 and 3.

Tip #3: Consider Energy Savings

The third thing you’ll want to consider is energy savings. There are two main ways that bathroom fans can save you energy: by using less energy to run and by helping to remove excess moisture from your bathroom which can lead to mold growth. Look for a fan that has either an ENERGY STAR label or is certified by GreenSpec. These are both indications that the fan is energy efficient.

Tip #4 Consider Sensors and Timers

You may also want some features like an auto timer that will turn off the fan after a set amount of time or a humidity sensor that will only turn on the fan when it detects excess moisture in the air. It is generally recommended to run your bathroom fan for 30 minutes after taking a shower, but most people don’t remember to return to the bathroom to turn off the fan, instead either turning off the fan immediately after leaving the bathroom or they leave the fan on for much longer than required. Having a timer on the fan, can take care of this problem for you. Alternatively, a moisture sensor can definitively track when the fan needs to be on, and will turn it on when needed, and turn it off when the moisture has been removed.

OHM Can Install Your New Bathroom Fan!

If you know you need a new bathroom fan, contact OHM today to schedule a licenced electrician to safely remove your old fan and install your new bathroom fan! OHM is here to help.