Tips on keeping good ventilation, preventing mildew, air-to-air exchangers
designed to exchange stale air inside the home with fresh outside air,
controlling moisture buildup, replacement motor installation.
Control moisture buildup.
Install replacement motor.
Good ventilation is important for a healthy, comfortable home. Bad ventilation reduces the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.
In addition to drawing fresh air into your home, good ventilation keeps air circulating throughout your home and vents home appliances,
like the kitchen fan and fireplace and wood stove, to the outside. Home ventilation includes everything from cross ventilation through
open windows, to breezes from electric fans, and fresh air from an air exchanger.
If you have a faulty bathroom fan, it can lead to moisture buildup on the bathroom walls and ceiling and even in adjacent areas of the house.
If they persist, those conditions can lead to extensive mildew or, even more costly, wood rot. You should evaluate your home's ventilation
if people in your home have allergies or asthma, or if you notice stale air or sweaty windows during the heating season when windows are closed.
Installing exhaust fans is one solution. Installing a household air exchanger is far more expensive, but also a lot more effective.
Air-to-air exchangers are designed to exchange the stale air inside your home with fresh outside air. They need very little maintenance.
The air filter should be cleaned every one to three months, depending on the unit. Disconnect the power before removing the filter.
Some filters are disposable and can simply be replaced, but most new units have washable filters. For washable filters, vacuum the dust,
then wash the filter with mild soap and water. Reinstall the filter after it's dry. If your unit has more than one filter, make sure you clean each one.
The heat exchanger core, also called the heat recovery core in some units, should be cleaned once a year. Remove the heat exchanger by sliding out
the metal rods that hold the top plate in place. Clean the plates in the heat exchanger with cool water and mild detergent, then rinse under running water.
Remember that hot water and strong detergent can damage some heat exchangers. Once the plates dry, reinstall them. Lock the heat exchanger in place with
the metal rods. If there is a condensation tray, empty it periodically, and clean with mild soap and water.
Every four months, check the screen on the air intake that's located outside the house. Make sure the screen is clean, and remove any debris.
In cold weather, make sure ice isn't forming on the screen.
Control moisture buildup
If your bathroom fan is not venting fast enough to control moisture buildup, replace it with a more powerful unit.
Shut off the power to the circuit at the main service panel, remove the fan grill, and test the unit for power with a circuit tester.
Taking care not to touch bare wires, insert one probe of the tester into a wire connector so it touches the bare wires.
Place the other probe on the grounding screw on the fan's metal housing. Repeat the test for each wire connector in the assembly.
If the tester glows in any of the tests, return to the service panel and switch off the correct circuit. Repeat the tests until the tester does not glow.
Remove the fan's mounting screws so you can pull the fan out of the ceiling or wall cavity and access the vent hose and wiring that are connected at the back.
Loosen the hose clamp over the vent hose and remove the hose from the exhaust port. Locate the household wiring and disconnect
it from the fan leads, then remove the fan.
Measure the size of the opening in the wall or ceiling. Also, measure the square footage of the room.
Then, take the old fan assembly to your local home center so you can buy a fan that has the same size exhaust port and meets the needs of your bath.
From the other side of the wall or ceiling, attach the flange of the new fan housing to the stud or joist. Avoid using the original nail holes, if possible.
Test the circuit wires for power. Then, make the electrical connections according to the manufacturer's instructions. Connect the exhaust port of the fan
to the vent hose. Install the cover and switch on the power at the main service panel.
Install replacement motor.
A kitchen fan lasts longer if the filter is kept clean. Remove the grill and filter and clean the filter with lots of warm water and liquid detergent.
If the fan motor fails, install a manufacturer's replacement motor. Switch off the power to the fan at the main service panel. Remove the grill and filter.
Loosen the mounting screws and disconnect the mounting bracket from the fan box and motor. On most models, the motor has a plug that fits in a receptacle
inside the unit. Disconnect the plug, and slide the motor from the housing. If the motor is wired directly to household wiring, check for power and then
disconnect the wires. Attach the replacement motor to the mounting bracket with screws. Reconnect the motor to the household wiring or to the built-in receptacle
and screw the bracket to the fan housing. Attach the filter and grill, and restore power at the service panel.