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7 Common Bathroom Exhaust Fan Problems with Solutions!

Bathroom Exhaust Fan Problems
Written by Lewis Turner
Last Update: November 22, 2022

The exhaust fans in your bathroom play an important role – they move out the moist air and help prevent the growth of mold on walls. If you don’t have an exhaust fan, continuous microbial activity on the walls will cause discoloration. Over the period, the wall paint could bubble and be separated from the walls, requiring you to get an exhaust fan to tackle these issues.

But you don’t need to worry about it, we will help you to find the problems and then the ultimate solutions to make your life easier.

Common Bathroom Exhaust Fan Problems

Common Bathroom Exhaust Fan Problems

Problem 1: The vent pipe is plugged, pinched or, damaged

Common bathroom exhaust fan problems

Secondly, if your exhaust fan is running but not working properly and despite cleaning the grill you don’t find results. In this case, the vent pipe or damper may be clogged, pinched, or damaged and fail to draw moisture from the bathroom.


There are usually two dampers or vents present in the bath fan system, one is at the roof and the other is outside where it leaves the building.

Gently expose the exterior pipe by shaking it with your hand. When done, clean the dust that may be blocking the way of air. There are chances of exterior vent damage since the interior vent is not ruined so easily. But if you doubt the interior pipe is blocked, remove the grill, open the pipe with a wire, and clean it.

Problem 2: Leaking or dripping around your fan in the winter

This leaking or dripping around your fan mostly occurs if the vent pipe is located in your attic exteriorly, this situation is harmful. What happens in this situation? In the winter season, when you flip on your fan and send moisturized air in it, there will be a condensation process and moisture will start gathering inside the pipe.

In normal situations, this moisture will evaporate as heated air will warm the pipe but on a chill day, it continues to collect and eventually trickle down the fan and drip out through tiny openings around the fan.


The condensation process occurs in the following cases:

  • If the outside vent pipe is stuck
  • Lack of insulation
  • Vents are located in the attic

You can open the blocked pipe following the above method. For insulation, check the duct by holding a flashlight. If the insulation layer has separated from the duct, reattach it to the pipe with aluminum tape.

Problem 3: Moisture and mold in the attic

In case your bathroom fan exhausts in the attic instead of ending directly out of the building, this will be harmful to your house. By condensation process, the moisture will drip down and favors the growth of mold in the attic. Hence causing damage to your house and also the venting system.

Moisture and mold in the attic


To prevent damage to your home and the growth of mold in your attic, always end the bathroom vents far away from roof overhangs. It should exit directly from the roof and never end in your attic. If this situation continues, you may end up having permanent damage to your home.

Problem 4: Blower wheel fails to operate

If the blower wheel is not functioning properly because you made a wrong choice or didn’t install the exhaust fan right then it will fail to draw air.


To replace the wheel first, take out the whole fan with the motor from the ceiling and then separate the motor with the help of a screwdriver.

Problem 5: Switch or motor is dead

In case your bath fan is not running and you can’t start it, the cause may be the damaged switch due to which the motor cannot be powered.

Another cause may be the faulty motor if the switch is running properly but the motor has burnt and you need to replace the motor of the exhaust fan.


First, you should check if the switch is fine or not. For this purpose, remove the cover of the exhaust fan and then unplug the motor from its outlet. And plug in some other small device such as a hairdryer or straightener to check the validity of the switch.

If the dryer does not turn on then your wall switch has a fault. But if the dryer turns on, then the switch is fine but the motor of the exhaust fan has burnt and you need to replace it.

Problem 6: Fan housing is dirty

If your exhaust fan produces a loud noise when it turns on, it must need a good cleaning. Since it gathers a lot of dust in the grill over some time. If you regularly clean your exhaust fan grill, less effort will be required every time.


To clean your bathroom exhaust fan, you just need a vacuum cleaner with a small brush hose system. This system will take out all the dust or dirt from the fan and clean it thoroughly.

Another method if the fan has not been properly cleaned by vacuum. You can remove the grill and soak it in a soapy solution and clean it with a sponge. All dust will be removed and the grill will be neat and clean.

Problem 7: Extremely noisy during operation

If your bath fan gets noisier over time, it is not unusual. This may occur due to dust and lint collected over some time and produce a loud noise.

Another cause may be the wearing out of the parts of the motor, especially if it is a cheaper model.


For the noisy fan first, clean the fan and then check for noise. If there is a decrease in noise level, it’s fine. Otherwise, you need to change the motor of the bath fan.

If there is an option to separate the fan from the motor, then go for it and replace the motor only. But if it cannot be separated then you have to change the whole fan.

When Do You Need to Replace Your Exhaust Fan?

1. Makes unusual noises

If your fan is producing unusual louder noises, it is an alarm as the motor is starting to die. It’s time to replace your old faulty exhaust fan with the new one.

2. Excessive moisture in your bathroom

The bathroom is the most humid part of your home and has a higher risk for the development of mold on your bathroom walls so if you feel thick and stuffy air in your bathroom it’s time to replace your bath fan which will completely draw out the excess moisture and prevent mold growth on the walls.

3. Fails to turn on

After checking all the above-mentioned problems, you could not turn on your exhaust fan.  Now it’s time to get rid of this old faulty fan and replace it with a new exhaust fan.


1) How do I know if my bathroom exhaust fan is working properly?

Ans. You can perform various tests to check the fan is properly working or not. Firstly, you can take a square piece of toilet paper and hold it near to the fan grill, if the fan holds the paper it is working properly.

Other tests like burning the incense or making a cloud of baby powder near the exhaust fan grill, if smoke or cloud is pulled into the fan it is working properly otherwise not.

2) How much does it cost to replace a bathroom exhaust fan?

Ans. The national average required to replace a bathroom exhaust fan falls in the range of $31.23 to $38.39 per fan.

About the author

Lewis Turner

Market Researcher

Lewis has been a contributor to FaucetsReviewed for the last five years. After graduating in Marketing and Business Administration, he joined a multinational farm that used to be a leading manufacturer of plumbing fixtures and appliances. His professional experience opened doors for him to the diversity of the industry. His deep insights and product analysis add to the site’s authenticity. He is an avid reader and spends most of his past time studying. Lewis is also a trained photographer. He does the most photography of the site. His in-depth reviews are highly informative and insightful.

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