Bathroom exhaust fans are the unsung heroes of the bathroom and are an important part of the ventilation system of a home. While these fans do help to remove odors from the bathroom, their most important task is to exhaust moist air from bathing activities to the exterior. While the average bathroom fan will operate for many years, these fans do need occasional maintenance to function properly.
Some common signs that indicate that your bathroom exhaust fan is in need of maintenance include noisy operation and inadequate air flow. To check for adequate air flow, place a small piece of tissue paper on the bathroom fan cover. If the tissue paper is held in place while the fan is running, then the air flow is likely adequate. If the tissue paper falls to the ground, the air flow may be inadequate and needs correction or replacement.
Cleaning your bathroom exhaust fan is a relatively simple process and requires common household cleaners, a vacuum, and possible a screwdriver (depending on the housing assembly on the fan cover). First, gently pull the fan cover off by pulling down on the cover and squeeze the metal mounting wires to release the tabs from their slots. This will allow you to see the interior of the fan housing and get a look at any dust, and grime that may have accumulated there. To clean the fan cover, fill a sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap and scrub the fan cover with a brush or cloth. Place the cover on a drying rack or towel to dry while we move on to cleaning the fan interior.
First, unplug the two prong plug that supplies power to the fan. For extra safety, you can also turn off the circuit breaker that provides power to the fan at the electrical panel. Once electricity is turned off at the fan, you can start vacuuming the fan interior. Use a vacuum wand extension or bristle attachment to gently remove dust from the interior of the fan housing and fan motor. Once the majority of the dust has been vacuumed, gently wipe down the interior of the fan housing with a damp cloth to remove the last of any dirt or grime left behind.
Now that the interior of the fan has been cleaned, re-install the fan cover back over the fan by pushing mounting wires or tabs into their slots and gently push the cover back into place.