Improve Indoor Air Quality by Maintaining Exhaust Fans

A picture of an exhaust fan

Exhaust Fan Maintenance to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Ventilation is the key to preventing heat buildup, especially during the Las Vegas summers that can soar above 100°F during the daytime. While an attic fan rarely needs any maintenance, the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen need routine care to function at their best. These fans pull excess moisture, vapor, smoke, and odors out of rooms. Keeping them in working order helps improve the indoor air quality in Las Vegas homes.

Read on to learn the proper techniques to maintain bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan Maintenance

How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

  1. Disconnect your bathroom exhaust from power. You may need to turn off the circuit that feeds your fan at the breaker box.

  2. Gently remove the exhaust grate. You may need to unscrew a few screws, but most modern exhaust fans are held in place with tension clips that only require light pressure to remove. If your exhaust fan has an attached light, disconnect the wire before fully removing the grate.

  3. Gently wash grate-only exhaust fans with dish soap and water. If the grate is particularly grimy, soak it in soapy water for a few minutes before cleaning it with a cloth or brush. Allow it to dry completely. Skip this step if your exhaust fan has an attached light.

  4. Use a hand vacuum, vacuum hose attachment, or cloth to remove dust and debris from the fan mechanism. Vacuum dust off any fan grates with attached lights, wiping grime off the grate and fan mechanism with a slightly damp cloth.

  5. Replace the grate when dry, reconnect any wires, and turn on the circuit for your bathroom.

 

It’s best to clean your bathroom exhaust fans about once a year.

Do Bathroom Exhaust Fans Need to Be Vented Outside?

Bathroom exhaust fans need to be vented outside, either through the attic or through an outside wall. They cannot be vented into an attic because they remove and relocate moisture. Depositing all that water vapor into a room in your home encourages mold and mildew growth and can even lead to wood rot and structural damage.

When to Replace Your Exhaust Fan

Sometimes, replacing your bathroom exhaust fan is the only option. Replace your unit if you notice yours is much louder than before, it doesn’t adequately remove moisture or odors, or it’s exceeded its lifespan. On average, bathroom exhaust fans last about ten years.

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Maintenance

How to Clean a Kitchen Exhaust Fan of Grease and Grime

Before you start, check your fan’s manufacturer information. It will tell you whether your grease filter is washable or made to be disposed of and replaced. Make sure you have a replacement filter on hand before you start the cleaning process if you need one.

  1. Unplug the exhaust fan or turn off power at the breaker box if you can’t easily reach the plug.

  2. Using gloves, carefully remove the mesh rectangle under the fan. This is the grease filter. You may need to unhook it from the tabs keeping it in place. If you can’t lift it out by hand, carefully lever it loose with a flathead screwdriver or a butter knife.

  3. Soak a washable filter in boiling water for a few minutes before using a nylon bristle brush to scrub it with hot water and a degreasing soap, like dish soap. Be careful not to burn yourself on hot metal.

  4. Remove the fan blades to inspect them for grease. If they need cleaning, soak and scrub them as you did the washable filter.

  5. Let the filter and fan blades dry completely on a towel for about two hours.

  6. While the removable parts dry, inspect the rest of the still-attached fan for grease spots. Wipe them up carefully with a slightly damp cloth.

  7. When everything is completely dry, reassemble your exhaust fan. Replace a disposable filter if necessary. Plug the fan back in and make sure the power is turned on to the circuit.

 

Kitchen exhaust fans should be cleaned once a year unless you see significant grease buildup. Wipe away built-up grease as needed with a degreaser.

How Long Do Kitchen Exhaust Fans Last?

Kitchen exhaust fans last about 12-20 years. Your manufacturer should have more precise information on the expected lifespan of your fan. If the exhaust isn’t working as well as it used to, and it’s been well over a decade since you had a replacement, it may be time for a new fan.

Improving the Air Quality in Your Las Vegas Home

If you want to boost your home’s air quality, keeping your exhaust fans in working order is essential. Supplement your well-maintained exhaust fans with other indoor air quality solutions from the pros at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Las Vegas. We install and repair humidifiers and air handlers to keep your home as comfortable as possible. Call us at (702) 602-8801 to get started.

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