Can Bathroom Exhaust Fans Cause Fire? Truth Revealed

Can bathroom exhaust fans cause fire? This is one question that has perplexed many people. It’s just a bathroom exhaust fan, so there’s no need to take much care of it! You are Not the only homeowner that used to think like this; many others do think bathroom exhaust fans are so safe. You may not have thought about it, but your bathroom exhaust fan is like any other electrical appliance. Not taking proper care of it can pose a risk of fire outbreak. 

The bathroom is always wet; as such, moisture builds up in it. That’s why you have a bathroom exhaust fan that can suck up the moisture and vent it out of your home. But do you know these fans can be very dangerous? There are several precautions you’ve to take to ensure your safety and that of your family. 

Please read this article to learn more about bathroom exhaust fans and how to take good care of them. 

What are the Common Causes of Bathroom Exhaust Fan Fires? 

There are three common causes of bathroom exhaust fan fires they’re; not cleaning the fan, faulty wiring, running the fan for a long period and overheating the motor. 

Most bath fans have a shaded pole motor with a low starting torque. Any more resistance in the bearing can lead to the rotor locking, thus overheating the motor to higher temperatures. A typical NEMA Class B motor corresponds to maximum insulation of about 266°F. When the temperature exceeds this, the wire insulation will fail and eventually cause a fire outbreak. 

How Do I Maintain My Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

To avoid the dangers of fire outbreaks and for proper care, you should maintain your bathroom exhaust fan properly. Here are some tips:

  • Inspect and clean your bathroom exhaust fan frequently
  • Bath fans that aren’t easily accessible for regular cleaning or those that seem to have blades that aren’t rotating freely, or those having heat damage should be replaced with thermally protected units
  • Do not use your bath fans for a long time. Whenever you are leaving the house, turn them up. Ensure you don’t run your exhaust fan for more than 20 minutes. 
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How Do I Clean My Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

Cleaning your exhaust fan regularly is one of the best ways to maintain it. To safely clean your exhaust fan, you need to turn off the breaker of your bathroom. If your bathroom doesn’t have windows, you need to get a flashlight. Before you proceed, try turning on the fan switch to ensure the breaker is off. 

Next, use a step ladder to safely reach your ceiling. Gently pull off the cover of your bathroom exhaust fan. Some models come with pins you must press before the cover removes. At the same time, some models come with screws that keep the cover in place. Which every type you’ve, make sure you remove the cover carefully. 

Also, if your bath fan is plugged into an outlet, use a screwdriver to unplug it from what’s holding it in place. 

A bathroom exhaust fan comprises a cover, the housing, and a motor and fan blades. It’s recommended you clean each part separately to prevent buildup. Let’s see how you can make your bathroom fans sparkle

  • Cleaning the Cover of the Exhaust Fan: Soak the cover of your bath fan in a tub of warm soapy solution, which you’ll later use to clean your fan blades. Use a clean microfiber cloth to scrub away all dust and smut that build up. Use a dry cloth to clean the cover and air dry it before reassembling. 
  • Cleaning the Fan Blades: Gently twist the fan and motor assembly to remove it from the vent. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the motor and fan blades clean. If you have a vacuum attachment, use it to remove hard-to-remove dust. Also, if your fan is hard to remove from the ceiling, you can save yourself from stress by using a vacuum attachment to remove as much dirt as possible. 
  • Cleaning the Exhaust Fan House: Grab a crevice attachment and use it to clean the inside of the bathroom fan. Clean the brackets holding the exhaust fan in place too. If you don’t have a crevice attachment, you can make use of a brush attachment 
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Return your fan and motor assembly to its housing area and secure it with the brackets or screws. Use your hand to move the fan back to and fro to ensure it’s not hitting anything. Plug your fan back into its outlet if It has one. 

Carry your dried cover and return it to cover your exhaust fan. Press the cover gently until the clips clicked close, or screw if needed.

Go back to your breaker and turn on the power. Give your clean bathroom exhaust fan a test run before you resume using it. Now that your bath fan is clean from dust and dirt get ready to enjoy a more ventilated, less moisture-filled bathroom.

How Often Should I Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

As you’re using your bathroom exhaust fan, dust and grime are drawn up, and with time, it forms a coat on the blades, the motor and the cover. Since the buildup doesn’t happen overnight, you should clean your bathroom exhaust fan every six months to a year. However, this depends on how many people use the bathroom, how exposed the bathroom is to dust and how often you use your exhaust fan.

When Should I Use My Exhaust Fan?

If it’s a bathroom exhaust fan, you can use it whenever you feel the air needs some refreshing up and the moisture needs to be sucked up. You should always run your bathroom exhaust fan during hot showers and leave it for like 15 minutes afterwards or until the bathroom is no longer steamy.

If it’s a kitchen exhaust fan, you should run it whenever you are cooking. However, some kitchen exhaust fans remove cooking aroma, and some homeowners feel they need that delectable aroma to arouse the family’s appetite.  Most importantly, always make sure you put on the exhaust fan when you’re frying with oil, boiling water or when you want to clear up smoke.

For energy efficiency and maintenance, always turn off your fans when not in use. This can go unnoticed, especially if your fans are quiet. To prevent this, some sophisticated models of exhaust fans, like the Zeyzer Exhaust Fan, have built-in timers that turn them on and off automatically. 

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When Should I Replace My Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

Proper maintenance and regular cleaning will extend the lifespan of your exhaust fan, but it won’t last forever. The average lifespan of a bathroom exhaust fan is 10 years. However, some sophisticated models tend to last longer. 

If you are a professional that does annual checks and maintenance for your home furnace and air conditioner, you can consider getting your exhaust fans checked at that time also. That’s a reliable way to know when you change your bathroom exhaust fan before it starts causing problems.

Do Exhaust Fans Use A Lot of Electricity?

An average bathroom exhaust fan uses about 36 watts of energy. Thirty-six watts also translates to 0.3 amps or 120 volts, the average size and power usage of normal residential bathroom exhaust fans. 

The average power consumed by an exhaust fan depends on its size, type and features. 

If your exhaust fan has a heater, your power use can be up to 1000 watts depending on how much you use the heater. However, if your fan doesn’t have a heater or lights, it can use as little as 10 watts.

Can Exhaust Fans Overheat?

Yes, bathroom exhaust fans can become overheated when it’s clogged by dirt and grime, when it are left on for too long or when there’s a failure in the wiring. 

What Can Go Wrong With An Extractor/Exhaust Fan?

If your bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan is not working, it’s possibly due to dirt build-up, a faulty motor or a problem in the wiring. If you aren’t sure what’s wrong with your exhaust fan, consider hiring a professional electrician to repair it. 

How Long Can You Run A Kitchen Exhaust Fan?

A kitchen exhaust fan can be left running for 1 to 2 hours while you cook. Most meals usually take less than that to cook. The longer you cook, the more you want to vent out all the smoke and fumes. But don’t forget to turn off your exhaust fan once you’re done cooking. 

Can Bathroom Fans Explode?

Typically, a bathroom exhaust fan won’t explode on its own. But this doesn’t guarantee they’ll be free from sparks and high heat. Therefore, if you think there’s a risk of contact with explosive fumes, consider buying a sparkless exhaust fan. 

Can You Put A Fan Above A Shower?

You can place your exhaust fan directly under your shower or bathtub. In short, you can place it anywhere near the bathing area. Also, if your bathroom has both a shower and a bathtub, consider placing the fan between the two.