How Much Does It Cost to Install a Bathroom Fan?
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Bathroom Fan Installation Cost Guide
Updated: January 22, 2024
Fog from hot showers left to linger in the air causes mold and mildew to grow. Bathrooms need an exhaust fan to move this moisture outside. In fact, building codes require bathrooms to be vented by a ventilation fan or a window. The cost of a bathroom exhaust fan installation depends on numerous factors. A simple fan replacement is a DIY-friendly job, whereas installing a fan for the first time requires professional skill. Then, we have the fan’s features, size, and sound, all contributing to the total cost.
The typical cost to replace an existing fan ranges from $12 for a DIY job to $282 to have a professional do the work. Of course, this depends on the fan's cost. Due to the various features that exhaust fans have, they carry price tags from $12 to over $400. In addition, the labor for a new fan installation costs $325 to $592, depending on the location and scope of work.
Costs to install a bathroom fan
National average cost
$388 to $706
Factors that influence the cost of installing a bathroom fan
Installing a new bathroom exhaust fan is a pretty straightforward task. Once you get to the big box store to pick one out, all the bells and whistles might have your head spinning. So, let’s look at all those options and other factors that may influence the cost of this home improvement project.
Scope of work
You want to install a bathroom vent for one of two reasons.
- The existing fan needs to be replaced.
- Your older home didn’t have a fan installed.
Replacing an existing fan is a relatively simple process that many DIY enthusiasts do themselves. But to install one where there wasn’t one previously involves cutting away the wall or ceiling, electrical wiring, and ductwork. Most homeowners require the help of a professional for this level of work. For a professional installation, expect to pay $573 to install a basic fan and $902 for a high-end fan.
Type of fan
Bathroom exhaust fans come in three types: ceiling-mounted, wall mounted, and inline. The ceiling-mounted fan attaches to the drywall in the ceiling, with ductwork traveling through the attic to the home's exterior. A wall-mounted fan is similar, except it’s mounted on an exterior wall and vents directly outside without ductwork. Finally, an inline fan is placed inside the ductwork to serve multiple bathrooms. The cost of your project will depend on the type of fan you install.
To replace an existing fan with the same type, you’ll pay the price of the fan plus an hour or two for labor. However, installing a new fan requires more extensive work by a licensed electrician, no matter which type of fan you choose.
If you suffer from shiny object syndrome, you can definitely go hog wild when choosing a bathroom fan. The available features rival those of many household appliances.
While you can purchase a basic fan for as little as $12, shopping may reveal you want more than the basics. For instance, high-end bath fans include humidity sensors, UV lights to kill mold spores, and even smart capabilities. Here is a list of the most popular fan features and their price ranges.
Bathroom fan costs based on popular features
$12 to $449
Fan with light
$43 to $365
Fan with heater
$99 to $389
$99 to 219
$72 to $399
$80 to $404
$212 to $349
Fan ratings indicate how many cubic feet of air they move per minute (CFM). The size of the fan is directly related to the size of the bathroom. So, the larger the size, the greater the CFM you need. Typically, experts recommend one CFM per square foot of space, with 50 CFM being the minimum. But, when purchasing a fan, the box should indicate the CFM and the recommended bathroom size.
Bathroom exhaust fan cost by size
$22 to $449
$36 to $349
$69 to $389
The sound a fan produces is measured in sones. While all fans make noise, some are quieter than others. Sone ratings range from less than 1 to 4, which is the loudest. The quieter the fan, the more expensive it is.
Cost of bathroom exhaust fan by Sone
Quiet (less than 1.5)
$44 to $449
Moderate (1.5 - 3)
$19 to $574
Loud (over 3)
$22 to $118
The labor cost to hire an electrician could run from $325 to $592, depending on the scope of work and your location. However, for an electrician to replace an existing fan, the labor cost would run from $57 to $103.
Depending on your location, hiring a handyperson to replace an existing fan could cost $37 to $68 per hour.
Typically, an electrician will install a new bathroom fan. They’re trained to connect a replacement fan to existing wiring or run new wiring and new ductwork for a new installation. Since electrical work is not a job most homeowners tackle, it’s best to defer to a professional electrician for your new installation. Or, to replace an old fan, a skilled handyman may be able to do the job.
All states don’t license handypersons. Always check a handyperson’s qualifications before hiring, especially when the project is electrical.
The average bathroom exhaust fan installation cost
The most inexpensive way to move moist air out of your bathroom is to replace an existing fan with a new, basic model. However, if you have some money to spend, consider some of the unique features some fans include. The following pricing tiers reflect the different types and styles of fans available and the labor involved.
Budget-friendly bathroom fan installation
A budget-friendly fan installation costs $12 to $500.
The budget-friendly bathroom fan installation will include replacing an existing fan with a basic fan that may have a light. This price level could cost as little as $12 for a DIY installation of a basic fan. Or, a professional installation could cost as much as $452, plus the cost of the fan.
Mid-range bathroom fan installation
The cost of a mid-range bathroom fan installation is from $500 to $572.
With a larger budget, a homeowner can upgrade the type of fan they purchase and replace it themselves. Or they could hire a professional to install a basic fan where there wasn’t a fan previously. This level of project could cost as little as $500 for a self-installed high-end fan and as much as $572 for a professionally installed basic fan.
High-end bathroom fan installation
The cost of a mid-range bathroom fan installation is from $747 to $902.
An unlimited budget allows a homeowner to hire an electrician to install an exhaust fan that does it all. They want a fan with Bluetooth speakers, a mold-killing UV light, humidity-sensing timers, and more to complement their luxury bathroom. Or, they want an inline fan placed in the air ducts to serve more than one room.
DIY vs. professional installation
Replacing an existing bathroom fan can be a DIY job for homeowners with some experience. You can change out a fan if you can handle changing a light fixture. The main concern is to turn off the electricity at the breaker box before touching anything.
However, the job is a bit more complex if you want to install a fan where none exists. For example, a ceiling-mounted fan requires cutting an opening in the ceiling and the soffit. Then, some installs ductwork through the attic from one opening to another. The moist air then travels through the duct from the bathroom to the outside. Either way, you’re better off hiring an electrician to do the job.
Installing a wall-mounted fan includes cutting a hole in the exterior wall of your house. Since it doesn’t have ductwork, it’s more straightforward for the experienced DIYer. However, an inline fan requires special ductwork skills, best left to a professional.
Smooth pipe or sheet metal duct minimizes fan noise.
Paying for your bathroom fan installation
Since installing a bathroom fan is typically under $1,000, most homeowners can handle the expense out of pocket. If it’s a stretch for your budget, consider choosing a lower-cost fan and upgrading when funds are available. However, if your project is more involved, or you find hidden damage that needs to be repaired, consider borrowing against your home equity line of credit (HELOC).
- Hidden damage – When doing any home improvement project, there’s always the chance of finding hidden damage in walls, ceilings, basements, or floors. Whether from mold, rot, or insects, the repairs will add to the project's total cost.
- Permitting and building codes – Always check with your local building official to see if your home improvement projects require a permit. And, if you’re DIY-ing the job, ask about particular codes you’ll want to follow so you pass any inspections. When you hire licensed professionals to do the work, they will include this in their pricing.
- Warranties – Check the fan warranty and save it for the future if needed.
Clear the air
Don’t try to shave or apply make-up in the fog after a hot shower. Instead, clear the air with a new bathroom fan to see what you’re doing and eliminate damaging moisture. If this isn’t in your DIY skillset, hire a professional to do it for you.