The Story of One New Bathroom Fan

Okay, I get it. A blog post about a bathroom fan lacks the excitement you might be looking for in your reading on the web. But I promise the story of how this bathroom fan ended up looking just right has a few twists and turns.

It started one Sunday afternoon while I was on vacation. After some research, I decided I wanted to tackle replacing the semi-functional fan in our master bathroom. I say semi-functional because it worked, but didn’t do a good job of lifting the moisture out of the room.

I tracked down a fan at Home Depot made by the same vender as the current mode. It also fit perfectly in my current hole, about a nine inch by nine inch space. So far so good.

I started to take the old one out, and began running into problems as soon as I pulled out the old motor, unhooked the electrical wiring and had nothing left but the metal housing. I couldn’t get the thing out no matter how hard I tried. I didn’t see any screws either. So I did what anyone else would do. I started bending the heck out of the housing, to try and see what I was dealing with behind it. After fighting with it for about an hour, I gave up for the day.

The next day, I came at it with a fresh perspective. After bending the metal housing up more, I could see the problem. It was nailed to the joists in multiple spots, instead of screwed. That posed a problem because I couldn’t get anything in the space with enough leverage to pry out the nails. Plus, one corner of the housing sat between two joists, fastened with a nail. That made it near impossible to get this thing out.

After yet more research, and a chat with my dad, I decided to saw it out. To Lowes I went in search for a hacksaw small enough to fit in the space and cut through metal and nails. I found one and a few hours later I had the housing out. Success!

Disassembled bathroom fan, badly damaged
The old fan.

You might think I was close to done. You’d be wrong. Once I examined the duct work in the ceiling, I discovered it was three inches in diameter, not the four inches in diameter needed for the new fan. That meant I had to buy an adapter or “reducer” to make the everything fit. I did. Twice. First a plastic one, then a metal one. The plastic one proved impossible to make fit. The metal one fit, after I learned how to crimp it. However, it wouldn’t stay once I tried to attach the fan to it.

At this point I nearly gave up. I’d fought with trying to install this new fan for the better part of a week. I called it quits for almost another full week as I debated my next move. My wife showed incredible patience while we had a giant hole in the ceiling, used flashlights to find stuff and dealt with my indecision. She kept encouraging me though, saying I could finish it.

I believed her. And decided to replace the existing duct work for an easier fit, thanks to more advise from my dad and family. The old stuff turned out to be flume pipe, not flexible and not great for connecting to the fan. I had the old duct work out and the new stuff in in less than an hour. I finished that same day! Better yet, it worked perfectly!

Bathroom fan, installed in ceiling
The new fan – working!

Now, I’m plotting my next home improvement project with more experience and confidence.

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