Must be product review day! Some friends just had a question about what fan to get for their bathroom. Great question.
Bath fans are important because they can remove the tremendous about of water vapor created by showing and bathing before it has a chance to create mildew or mold issues. And they can be part of your home’s overall ventilation and indoor air strategy.
Too often, though, the cheapo fan—rattle boxes or noise makers, I call then—make a lot of noise, but don’t really move much air. And some older fans can suck a lot of electricity even while they’re not helping much.
We use the Panasonic Whisper Series fans. First and foremost, they work! They have a great energy-efficient motor that really moves air very close to the nominal rating. And as the “Whisper” implies, they’re very quiet—some models you really have to listen hard to hear at all. And they’re reliable. They are built to last and run a long time—continuously if needed. An excellent choice.
I should mention that regardless of the type of exhaust fan you use, the fan should be ducted to vent directly outside. Do not vent them into your attic—that’s a potential mold farm waiting to happen. And even venting out a soffit isn’t a great idea, especially soffits designed to pull air up into the attic.
Addendum, Sept. 11, 2009: I’ve just finished an initial evaluation of Renewaire’s new bath fan line, and it appears every bit as strong as the Panasonic line. I can recommend it, too.