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You probably don't think much about your bathroom fan -- it's just there. Yet research shows that many bathroom fans are outdated, noisy, use a lot of energy or simply don't do the job of draining moisture from the room. That can add to mold and odor problems.
A normal-sized bathroom needs a fan that can draw about 50 cubic feet per minute. If you have a larger bathroom, a spa or other moisture source in your bathroom, you'll want a more powerful fan.
Place bathroom fans as close as possible to the source of moisture. Any fan installed in a ceiling must be rated for use under insulation, and is usually connected with ducts to an outside vent.
Many fans come with lights, which thus become part of your bathroom lighting design. When you're buying a bathroom ceiling fan light, look for Home Ventilation Institute ratings, which will let you compare its noise and energy efficiency with those of other fans. If a fan has no ratings, it is probably noisy. Quiet fans will save you years of annoyance.