How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Not having attic access seems problematic to some people. For this reason, they ask how to replace a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access. However, it is not a big deal.

Because you can do everything related to replacement underside. You don’t need to worry about attic access. If you are searching for some ways to follow to replace your bathroom exhaust fan.

You are on the right site. In this article, I am going to give a brief guideline for this. So, let’s get down on the business.

Things to Consider When How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust fan

Step 1: Checking the Housing & the Size of the Duct

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Well, you should do it before you buy an exhaust fan. When you decide to buy make sure what is the size of the duct and the housing of the fan. Because in case your fan is larger than the housing, then you may need to cut the drywall.

Similarly, check the duct size as well. Measure it carefully because these measurements are related to the vent size and the adapter you will buy. Moreover, the size may influence the efficiency and the noise your bathroom exhaust fan will make.

Step 2: Buy Wall Switches if You Need

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

You can operate the exhaust fan with the old switch. However, many people use a fan with a heater, light, and humidity sensor. If you are also doing the same, you can buy new wall switches.

It will allow you to control everything separately. You may need an expert electrician to fix the wall switches for you. Otherwise, you can complete the replacement work by yourself.

Step 3: Make Decisions about Extra Features

Another important decision is to decide whether you will add new features or not. The modern bathroom exhaust fans come up with many extra features that may attract you.

Well, you should think about it even before buying the fan. Once you are done with these, now let’s discuss how to replace a bathroom fan without attic access.

Part 2: Remove the Old Fan

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

As you have bought a new bathroom exhaust fan, now it’s time for removing the old one. Well, you have to follow several steps here as well.

Step 1: Turning the Power off

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Turn the power off while replacing the bathroom exhaust fan without attic access. God forbid you don’t want to get electrocuted while doing simple work like this. Find out the breaker for your bathroom line on the panel box.

The light and the bathroom outlet will have no power any longer. That means you have turned the power off. Use a voltage tester to make sure there is no electricity inside the wires of the exhaust fan.

Make sure the voltage tester is non-contact. The tester will beep if there is power or have no sign of power.

Step 2: Removing the Grill on Bath Fan

In this step remove the grill on the bath fan. Sometimes there is a plastic cover. You should remove this. Bring the plastic cover down. You will find a gap between the ceilings.

Two metal clips will be there to fix the cover to the housing. Now squeeze the clips inward. Then release the clips. Now complete the task by pulling off the cover.

Step 3: Removing Fan Motor

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Another vital step toward replacing the bathroom fans without attic access is to remove the motor of the fan from the housing.

In most cases, the housing is attached to the ceiling joists. Use a screwdriver to remove one or two screws you will find here.

Sometimes you will see there is a plug inside the housing to plug in the motor. Unplug the fan before you get the motor out of the housing.

However, if your exhaust fan has no plug here, then just disconnect the wiring manually. Moreover, by removing the wire nuts, you can disconnect them as well.

Step 4: Getting the Main Fan Housing out of The Ceiling

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

This step might seem a little tricky. Because now you have to remove the main fan housing from the ceiling. The ceiling joist holds the fan housing tightly.

Remember one thing in this segment. If you are going with the same model, you don’t need to remove the old housing.

Usually, there are several screws to connect the housing with the ceiling joist. Don’t hurry and stay careful while doing this job? Because of a simple mistake, you may damage the wooden joist.

Step 5: Disconnecting the Duct & Wiring

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Now you have to disconnect the duct and wiring from the fan housing. Usually, we see that the duct is fastened to the exhaust fan by foil tape.

Otherwise, you will find a zip tie that is hanging from the duct. Cut the zip tie. As you remove the vent duct, now it’s time to remove the electrical wiring lines.

Part 3:  Installment session

Step 1: Check the New Fan Size

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

As you have removed the previous fan, now check the new exhaust fan size. Put the new exhaust fan into the ceiling whole to see if it fits. Trace a new hole on the ceiling if the new fan housing is larger.

On the other hand, if it is too small then use some wood so that you can install the housing securely. You should attach the exhaust fan to the ceiling joist.

Step 2: Drag the Wiring through the Fan Housing

After confirming the size, now drag the home’s wiring through the new exhaust fan housing. If your exhaust fan has a junction box remove that.

If it doesn’t have one, then ignore it. Just pull the wiring through the fan housing and connect it to the motor wiring. As you have dragged the wiring, now you have to secure it using bushing or grommet. It will keep it safe from getting damaged.

Step 3: Connect the Flapper or Duct Connector to Fan Housing

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

You can install a duct connector in two ways. Either connect it to the foil tape. After that, you should line up the fan housing setup.

And the second way is connecting the flapper to the exhaust fan housing. After that, pushing the metal fan housing into the ceiling.

Step 4: Connect Electrical Wiring to New Fan Motor

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

You are almost done. The fixing part is okay. So, now it is time to connect electrical wiring to the fan motor.

Before that do not forget to make your assembly secure. You have dragged the wiring through the fan housing but have not connected yet.

Now do that. Well, most exhaust fans come up with the facility of quick connecting. That will let you insert wires inside the connectors.

Some other exhaust fan has a different way to connect. There you have to twist the wires and again twist the wire nuts.

Step 5: Seal the Fan Housing

After connecting the electrical wiring, you have to avoid air leaks. To do that, you should use caulking so that it avoids air leaks. Moreover, you can use metal or foil tape.

Step 6: Re-Install the Grill or Cover

Your fan is almost installed. Now reset the grill where you pulled it from. As you removed, the cover do it in a reverse way. Squeeze the metal clips after inserting them into the holes of the fan housing.

Step 7: Turn the Power on And See If It is Working or Not

How To Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Now turn the power on and see how it is working. If you buy a quiet fan, then it is hard to recognize if it is on or not. Take a toilet tissue paper to check.

If you are still confused about how to replace a bathroom exhaust fan with light, then let me clarify one thing. The process is almost the same. Just take care of the light while installing the new exhaust fan.


How can I clean my exhaust fan?

Answer: It is very simple. Just switch the circuit breaker off and open the grill. Remove the metal clips and clean the holes. A vacuum cleaner is perfect for instant cleaning. After cleaning, reinstall the cover.

Where I can find the model number of my exhaust fan?

Answer: Look at the sticker inside the fan housing. Mostly, you can find the model number there. Remove the grill and see find out the model number.

What is meant by CFM?

Answer: The elaboration of CFM is Cubit Feet per Minute. That means the measurement of airflow in a single minute.

Can I install my exhaust fan on a wall?

Answer: The answer is yes. If you want to how to install a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access on a wall instead of the ceiling, you can do it. Usually, we install exhaust fans with light or heating functions on a wall.

The final touch

To finish it off, I would reassure you that you can replace your bathroom exhaust fan with a minimal problem. However, attic access lets you do that more conveniently.

However, you can install that easily if you follow the steps I have discussed here. I hope the guidelines will help you along the way.

You May Read Also