Bathrooms tend to be small humid spaces that can hold unpleasant smells for a long time. Having a bathroom fan circulates the room’s air, eliminating odors, contaminants, and humidity. It pulls air from the room and vents it outdoors. By running it, you keep the air in your bathroom cleaner and fresher, preventing mold and moisture damage.
There are many bathroom fan types and styles. The installation method and size vary by installation and bathroom. For this reason, there is a wide range of costs associated with this project. The national average cost range to install a bathroom fan is between $250 and $500, with most homeowners spending around $350 to install a new bathroom fan for a master bathroom with new ducts running to the exterior. The low-cost project is $100 for an installed direct replacement of an existing fan in a half bath with no new ducts. The high-cost project is $800 for a premium fan with heat installed in a master bathroom with new ducts running through hard-to-reach areas.
|Bathroom Fan Installation Price|
|National average cost||$350|
A bathroom fan by type ranges from $30 to $300 for the materials only. Most of these units are installed on the room’s ceiling. This provides the most efficient venting and least invasive appearance. Many of them also combine lights, making their installation in the ceiling even more advantageous. However, there are many types for other scenarios. Each has costs and attributes. For example, a basic ceiling-mounted exhaust fan could cost as little as $30 for the unit itself, while a premium high-end Bluetooth bathroom fan for a larger bathroom could cost as much as $300. In the table and subsections below, you will see a breakdown of each type, its costs, and other factors.
|Type||Average Costs (Only Unit)|
|Ceiling-Mounted||$30 - $100|
|Wall-Mounted||$50 - $150|
|No-Cut||$50 - $150|
|Room Access||$50 - $150|
|Fan With a Light||$100 - $175|
|Exterior||$100 - $200|
|Inline||$100 - $200|
|Fan With a Heater||$150 - $250|
|Fan With a Light and Heater||$150 - $250|
|Fan With Bluetooth||$150 - $300|
Ceiling-mounted fans cost between $30 and $100, depending on the features. The most common type of exhaust fan installation is in the ceiling. Units installed on the ceiling are the least likely to get in the way of wall features like tile, towel bars, and mirrors. The humidity and steam from a shower rise, so an it can efficiently pull the steam out. If it also has a light or heat, it is also more likely to be ceiling mounted.
Prices for wall-mounted fans range from $50 to $100, depending on the size and features. Many of these units can be mounted on the ceiling or wall. The vast majority of plain fans with no lights or heat allow for either installation. A wall-mounted unit makes sense in small bathrooms or if you have a tricky duct installation. If you have an attic bathroom with sloped walls or a ceiling, a wall-mounted model makes more sense.
The fans cost between $50 and $150. If you have a unit already installed in your bathroom and want to replace it with a new one, get a no-cut fan. These fans are installed in your wall or ceiling’s existing hole. This makes them very fast, easy to change, and accessible for DIY homeowners who want to upgrade. If it has a light or heat, hire a qualified electrician for the installation.
Expect to pay between $50 and $150 for these units. The room access fan offers another option for a replacement fan. While new installations require installing the unit from above, a room access model can replace it from inside. This faster and easier replacement saves on labor fees, especially if the area above your bathroom is difficult to access. They may also be no cut or require some cutting to install.
Lighted exhaust fans cost between $100 and $175. If you install your unit on the ceiling, you can include a light. This illuminates your bathroom better. In some cases, you can purchase an exhaust fan with a light installed in a shower. This is a good idea for showers without doors because curtains can make the shower dark. A fan with a light removes steam and brightens the area at the same time.
Prices range from $100 to $200 for exterior exhaust fans. If your bathroom has an exterior wall that is easy to access, you can install an exterior exhaust fan. This unit vents directly out of the wall, rather than needing ducts running to your attic or between floors. This makes for a less expensive and invasive installation and is a good choice for some retrofits in bathrooms without fans. Because some of the noise these units emit is outdoors, they can be quieter than other types.
An inline fan costs between $100 and $200, depending on the size. Inline models are not as common for bathrooms because they are mostly for indoor gardens. If you have two or more bathrooms in an area and want to vent them together, an inline fan can help. They are located somewhere else, such as the attic, rather than in the bathroom. They are larger and noisier, but they can connect to more than one area at a time. They vent by pulling the air toward them at the end of the duct rather than pushing it through the duct from the bathroom.
Expect to pay between $150 and $250 for an exhaust fan that includes a heat feature. If you find your bathroom chilly at times, invest in an exhaust fan with an infrared heater. These units have one or more infrared lamps installed along with the fan. When turned on, they produce a lot of concentrated heat right below them. Many people like to install these models just outside the shower or above where you stand in front of the sink.
These units cost between $150 and $250, depending on the size. If you have a bathroom that is both chilly and dark, install an exhaust fan with a heater and light source. These models are usually larger and take up more space. However, they can operate in many ways, running the fan, light, or heater only or any combination of the three. This makes them one of the more versatile options.
Prices for Bluetooth-enabled fans range from $150 to $300, depending on the features. When creating a Smart bathroom, you may want to invest in an exhaust fan with Bluetooth. These units include many features. They may have speakers for playing music. Some may connect to your smart home device, allowing you to turn it on from anywhere. Others provide access via your smartphone.
The average bathroom exhaust fan price by CFM ranges from $30 to $300 for the unit only, based on the size or CFMs needed. Your fan’s size is directly related to your bathroom’s size. It needs to move a certain amount of air per minute to be effective. The larger the room, the more air it must move. Air measurement in fans is labeled as CFM or cubic feet per minute. Most units that list their CFMs also list the recommended room size.
The basic recommendation is about 1 CFM per square foot, with a minimum recommendation of 50 CFMs. The number of CFMs your fan needs increases if your unit is ducted a long distance or your ducts are old or make a lot of turns. You should also increase your total CFMs for each shower, toilet, bathtub, or jetted tub in the room by about 50 for each item in bathrooms larger than 100 sq.ft. Below is a basic guideline of bathroom sizes, the number of CFMs you need, and the average cost ranges.
|Bathroom Size||CFMs||Average Cost (Only Unit)|
|5’ x 8’ (40 sq.ft.)||50 - 60||$30 - $75|
|7’ x 10’ (70 sq.ft.)||70 - 80||$45 - $100|
|10’ x 10’ (100 sq.ft.)||100 - 150||$75 - $150|
|12’ x 12’ (144 sq.ft.)||150 - 250||$100 - $200|
Fans priced by noise level will run you between $20 and $350, depending on how quiet you want it to be and the features that it includes. All bathroom fans make noise. The sound that they produce is measured in “sones.” Sone levels in fans range from less than 1, about as quiet as a refrigerator humming, to 4, which can be louder than a typical office environment. Quieter units cost more than louder ones. Choose a noise level that you can tolerate for at least 15 minutes, which is about as long as it needs to run to extract moisture. Below are the average cost ranges for fans based on how loud they are.
|Number of Sones||Average Cost Range (Only Unit)|
|4 Sones||$20 - $50|
|3 Sones||$30 - $60|
|2 Sones||$40 - $90|
|1 Sones||$100 - $200|
|0.5 Sones||$150 - $250|
|0.3 Sones||$300 - $350|
Choosing a higher-end fan or one with features or having a complex installation increases costs. Most electricians charge $40 to $120 per hour and can install a bathroom fan in two to four hours, for a total labor cost of $80 to $480 in addition to the cost of the unit itself. A typical fan installation costs around $200 in labor and $150 in material costs for a total of $350. In general, replacing an existing unit with a newer model is easier and less expensive because the wiring is in place.
Adding a new unit typically requires new wiring or reconfiguring the old wiring and ductwork. If wiring or ductwork needs to be changed or rearranged, the installation can take longer and be more expensive. Electricians typically change the wiring in one to two hours, costing $40 to $200. To install or change air ducts with a vent fan installation, plumbers typically charge $75 to $130 per hour and can finish the process in one to two hours, for a total cost to install bathroom fan and vent of $75 to $260, plus materials, which cost around $50 to $100 for most homes.
The total cost to install bathroom exhaust ducts is between $95 and $500. This includes around $50 to $100 in materials, depending on how far it needs to run and the areas where it runs. As mentioned in the section above, labor costs range from $45 to $400, depending on the project’s complexity and your plumber’s rate. If you have a handyman or another professional install the ducts, their labor rates vary. If you do not have vent access, you need to install ducts. Likewise, if your ducts are old or leaky, change them for new ones. Generally, the shorter the length of ducting and the simpler the installation, the less it will cost.
All bathroom fans need to vent outdoors. They can do this in a few ways. They can vent through a series of short or long ducts, depending on the placement. Or, they can vent directly to the outdoors through a wall or the roof, depending on the bathroom location. If you choose to direct vent, your cost range is higher because there are more variables, such as the wall’s thickness, wall type, and size.
The cost here is determined more by how much distance is between the bathroom, the exterior vent location, and the complexity of the installation. For example, if you have a second-story bathroom venting through the roof, it may require ducting to reach through the attic, while venting through the wall could allow for a direct vent and save installation costs and materials. On the other hand, if you have a bathroom that is not on an exterior wall, you may pay more to install a wall vent because you will need to install ducting to carry the emissions to an exterior wall and then out through the vent. Typically, contractors advise on an installation that offers the most direct access to the outdoors for easy installation and premium venting capabilities. Since many variables are involved, the prices below are approximate.
If you have a bathroom in your attic, you can vent right through the roof. This means that you do not need ductwork but a fan that can direct vent. These units cost between $50 and $300 and take about two to three hours to install for $80 to $300. This makes the project’s cost between $130 and $600, depending on the fan’s size and installation complexity. In some cases, a second-floor bathroom may need to be roof vented, which could incur a premium cost to add ducting or connect it to the exterior venting.
Wall installations are less common than ceilings but installed the same way. They use ducts to carry the air outdoors. If this is an interior wall, the ducts need to route outside. Installing the fan on an exterior wall directly costs less because you do not need ductwork. Venting through a wall with ducts costs $200 in labor, with $150 for the fan and parts for a total of $350. Venting directly outside through a wall costs between $130 and $600, depending on the wall’s thickness, cut complexity, and size.
Replacing an existing fan with a new one is a fairly easy and low-cost project, averaging $150 to $250. If you choose a no-cut or a room-access fan, the labor takes less than one hour to complete for $40 to $130, depending on who does the installation. The average replacement cost varies depending on the type and style. Of course, if you choose a high-end fan, your material costs could go as high as $400, and labor could take up to four hours. For example, the total project cost to replace a bathroom exhaust fan with light may cost $800 or more.
The cost of bathroom fans that include special features ranges from $150 to $400 for the unit itself. This depends on the exact features included, the quality level, and other factors. Exhaust fans come in basic models that are effective enough. However, people wanting a little more can choose a model that offers speed control, a humidity sensor, or even an automatic timer to ensure that the fan isn’t left on endlessly after people are done in the shower. In the table and subsections below, you will see what each of these special features offer and their costs to help you decide if you want any of these in your fan.
|Feature||Average Cost (Only Unit)|
|Speed Control||$150 - $200|
|Humidity Sensor||$250 - $300|
|Automatic Timer||$300 - $400|
A speed control is available on higher-end models, costing from $150 to $200. Most exhaust fans have one speed. However, for some large bathrooms, you may want the option of additional speeds. This lets you turn it up as needed and save energy on less humid days. It can also help remove steam and moisture faster when you have higher speeds. Most fans offer a high and low setting, or they have three speeds, but several variations are available.
These fans start at $250 to $300. Another way to make your fan more functional is to opt for one with a humidity sensor. Fans with a humidity sensor turn on when the designated humidity level is reached. A fan with a humidity sensor is usually available on higher-end models, such as those equipped with Bluetooth. You could find more basic models that only have this feature for a little less, but that is not usually the case because most high-tech fans include similar features.
Automatic timers are a great way to ensure that your exhaust fans are not left running. Models that include them cost $300 to $400. If you want to turn on your fan and walk away, you can opt for a model with an automatic timer. An automatic timer fan shuts off after roughly 15 minutes, the length of time necessary to clear most rooms of humidity. Some models have timers that you can set for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. These models are more costly and often come with other features like humidity sensors.
You can expect to spend between $75 and $200 on a typical repair project. The cost depends on the type of repairs that need to be completed, how accessible the fan is, and how complex the overall project will be. Common repairs on these units include motor repairs, light fixture repairs and replacements, and so forth. Repairs could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on what is wrong. In some instances, a professional may determine that it is more cost-effective to replace the fan than to continue with the repair process, which would get quite costly in some cases.
Bathroom fans are not designed to run all the time. Most are meant to run for only about 15 minutes. Some may also have heaters or lights, which may be on for various periods. For this reason, most fans do not have a large impact on your energy usage. However, Energy Star-rated fans use roughly 70% less energy than the standard fixtures. These efficient fans use around 6 watts an hour. A very large fan with a light and heater uses about 60 watts an hour. These are not normally run for the entire hour, making your energy usage between 1.5 and 15 watts each time you turn it on. If you want to save more energy, purchase fans on an automatic timer or with humidity sensors so that they turn on and off automatically.
These units are fairly easy to maintain. Their biggest issue is that when the fan is running, it is not just pulling steam up into the vent but also pulling anything airborne, such as towel lint and dust. This means that the grate covering the fan can become clogged with dust and dirt. A microfiber towel or dust cloth rubbed or wiped over the surface periodically is the only maintenance needed. Otherwise, if your fan has a light, you only need to worry about changing the bulb when needed. Visible dust means that steam will not get through easily. It is best to wipe down the fan regularly to avoid this.
A standard 5’ x 8’ bathroom requires a fan of between 50 and 70 CFMs, while a larger bathroom requires more than 100 CFMs. Typically, you need a minimum of 1 CFM per square foot for bathrooms up to 100 sq.ft. Over that, add 50 for each water appliance. Every bathroom should have at least 10 to 20 CFMs more if you vent with ducts.
Your fan’s size should relate directly to your bathroom’s size. A standard-sized bathroom needs a fan that can handle 50 to 70 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow.
Ideally, yes, because the humidity pulled from the bathroom needs to go somewhere. Fans emptying into the attic space could lead to mold or mildew growth and do not meet updated building codes.
Yes. You can vent directly to the outdoors through a wall or a series of ducts, depending on the configuration.
Exhaust fans are required in all bathrooms according to most building codes. The only exception would be for small half bathrooms.
Yes, you should still install an exhaust fan if you have a window in the bathroom. The window cannot pull moisture out of the room and help exhaust the space in the same way that a fan can. You may use the window to assist the fan with venting or to get fresh air, but it’s not a solution on its own.
Typically, bathroom vent fans will only remove steam and help move the air around in the space. If you are trying to get rid of mold or mildew odors, consider using bleach to clean the space or adding air fresheners. Exhaust fans circulate air and thereby smells, but there is no guarantee they will be removed.