Updated: November 2017

Exhaust Fan Reviews:

How to Choose the Best Exhaust Fan - Your home is your refuge: after confronting the world and its pollutants and irritants all day, you return and take a deep breath to relax. But what are you breathing in? Unfortunately, your home is not exempt from pollutants, allergens, or irritants. To help you breathe easier, an exhaust fan is a must-have, especially for today's modern airtight homes. Exhaust fans help ventilate your home and create a healthier, cleaner indoor environment. In rooms that see a lot of steam and heat, such as the kitchen and bathroom, fans are essential in keeping mold and mildew from growing, and they are useful in the rest of the home for eliminating VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are gases released from common household items, such as building materials, furniture, and carpets. You may not be able to control the air outside, but you can make sure the air inside is safe, clean, and breathable.
exhaust fans

Choosing the Best Exhaust Fan for Your Home - At the least, an exhaust fan should be installed in the kitchen and bathroom. You can either opt for individual exhaust fans for these rooms or try a whole-house exhaust fan. Which is right for you?

Whole-House Fans - A whole-house exhaust fan has a number of benefits, but chief among them is that they can be used in place of air conditioners at night. The fan will replace the hot inside air with the cooler air from outside. This cuts your energy costs and freshens the air. It sounds good, but whole-house fans do have drawbacks and are not suited for every home. So who should steer clear?

*People who live in dusty or polluted environments.
*Those with allergies.
*People who live in humid areas. The whole-house fan will draw humidity in, making your home feel warmer in the summer.
*Those with air-tight homes. While these homes are very efficient, a whole-house fan can create a phenomenon called backdraft. If there isn't enough replacement air in the home (whether because not enough windows are open or because the house just isn't drafty!), the fan draws air from the only source left - your furnace. It draws the exhaust from your chimney, which presents a carbon monoxide danger. If you do choose a whole-house fan, make sure you are supplying adequate replacement air and that you have carbon monoxide detectors. The TPI Whole House Attic Fan is a good one to check out for $380.

Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans - Choosing the right size bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans is essential so you have the air ventilation you need. The Home Ventilating Institute has minimum recommendations for how many times the air in a specific room must be replaced per hour. For a kitchen, it is at least 15 Air Changes per Hour (ACH); for a bathroom, it is at least 8 ACH; and for other rooms, it is at least 6 ACH. Say you need to ventilate your bathroom and you know you need at least 8 ACH. The next step is to calculate the cubic feet of the room. If your room is 6 x 10 x 8, you have 480 cubic feet of space. The exhaust fan will have to circulate 480 cubic feet of air to equal 1 ACH. Because you need at least 8 ACH, multiply 480 x 8. This is 3840 cubic feet per hour that the fan needs to circulate. When you purchase your exhaust fan, you will see a CFM rating. This is the cubic feet per minute that the exhaust fan can cycle. For our sample bathroom, the CFM is 3840 divided by 60, or 64. 64 is the minimum CFM to look for in a fan for our sample bathroom. If you have a garage that you work in frequently or which is attached to your home, a good exhaust fan is a must. Without one, your garage will feel hot and stuffy in the summer, and it will also significantly decrease indoor air quality by introducing car exhaust - full of toxins and carcinogens - into the home. Try the Garage Through the Wall Ventilation Fan, available for about $315 from RE Williams Contractors, Inc (http://www.rewci.com/tategave.html). This wall exhaust fan vents toxic fumes and features quiet operation, through-the-wall installation, built-in backdraft damper, and 416 CFM. It is a great idea to wire your exhaust fan to a timer or to your garage door opener and set it to run for about 15 minutes after your car enters or leaves the garage to dispose of harmful fumes. You can browse the best selling bathroom fans here.

Best Exhaust Fans:

Because having a reliable exhaust fan is essential, it is recommended that you buy the best you can afford. One name that you will consistently see on "Best of" lists is Panasonic. Their kitchen and bath exhaust fans are generally regarded as some of the best in the industry and one of the most popular with consumers. Their Panasonic FV-11VQ5 WhisperCeiling 110 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan was chosen by Buzzillion reviewers as the number one choice. This exhaust fan features low noise, energy star rating, HVI (Home Ventilating Institute) certification, UL listing, rating for continuous use, thermal cut-off fuses, rust-proof housing, galvanized steel body, backdraft preventing damper, and 110 CFM. The FV-11VQ3 is praised for its quiet operation and efficient ventilating capability. This Panasonic lists for $225, but you can find it for as low as $125 on Amazon. The Broan L400K 406 CFM High Capacity Ventilation Ceiling Fan is a good choice for larger rooms or kitchens. It features 406 CFM horizontal, 399 CFM vertical, 3.3 sones, 2 metal centrifugal blower wheels, enamel steel grill, automatic backdraft dampers, and ceiling mounts. (Note: "sones" is the perceived loudness. At 3.3, this is a relatively loud fan, compared to those with 0.3 or 0.5 sone bathroom exhaust fans. Keep in mind that this Broan is made for more heavy-duty applications, so the sones will be greater.) The Broan L400K is about $260. DoItYourself.com names Panasonic, GE, FanTech, and Broan-NuTone as the top brands; choose the best you can for your home. Check out top rated exhaust fans here.

Exhaust Fan Installation:

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you can install your exhaust fans yourself with some help from online sources like HomeTips (http://www.hometips.com/diy-how-to/bathroom-fan-install.html) and AsktheBuilder (http://www.askthebuilder.com/B98_Exhaust_Fans_-_Installation_Tips_Kitchen_and_Bath.shtml). YouTube also has a number of great videos for visual learners that you can check out here (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=installing+exhaust+fan&aq=f). Because ventilation is so vital, you may want to consider hiring a contractor to install your exhaust fans. According to DIYorNot, the average cost for someone installing his own exhaust fan is $100 and 8 hours of labor. A professional will cost about $290, with 5 hours of labor. This is a national average, so the actual rate will vary according to where you live. Decide if the extra money is worth professional installation and several hours of your time. You could come home from work to find it all done, or you could devote a Saturday to it. Ventilating your home properly is one of the best things that you can do to ensure the health of those inside and avoid creating a "sick house." The best exhaust fans from top brands like Broan-NuTone and Panasonic can help make your home the clean refuge it should be..