Bathroom and Kitchen Fans

How to Choose the Right Fan for your Home

Bathroom and kitchen fans are an integral part of your home's overall ventilation system.Bathroom and kitchen fans are an integral part of your home's overall ventilation system. In addition to removing odours and improving your indoor air quality, fans can also help lower the level of humidity in your house, protecting your home from moisture damage and helping to prevent the growth of mold. But with so many models to choose from, how do you know where to begin?

To help you make the right choice for your family, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a number of practical tips on what to look for when shopping for a bathroom or kitchen fan for your home, including:

First, choose the quietest, most energy-efficient fan you can afford in the size range required. Most fan labels have Home Ventilation Institute ratings so you can compare both noise and energy efficiency. As a good rule of thumb, a good-quality bathroom fan should draw 25 litres of air per second (50 cubic feet per minute), while a kitchen range hood should generally move between 50 to 140 litres of air per second (100 to 300 cubic feet per minute). Large bathrooms, or those with bigger fixtures such as spas, need larger fans to handle the higher levels of humidity.

In the bathroom, look for a fan with replaceable parts and permanent lubrication if possible, as well as one that is suitable for continuous use. If you choose a fan with an integrated heating lamp or lights, look for the most energy-efficient model available. Any fan installed in an insulated ceiling or under an attic must also be guaranteed not to leak air, and must be rated for use under insulation.

Make sure that exhaust fans, lights and heaters in bath or shower enclosures are rated and approved for wet conditions, preferably including some kind of ground fault protection.

To keep noise levels to a minimum, look for fans labeled 'low noise' or 'quiet,' and select the quietest fan in the size you need. Remember: if it isn’t rated, there’s a good chance that it will be noisy!

Lastly, the most useful kitchen range hoods have a low noise rating, an energy-efficient fan, fluorescent lights, sound insulation, anti-vibration mounts and duct connections. For heavy duty use, select non-corrosive materials such as aluminum or stainless steel.

For more information or a free copy of the "About Your House" fact sheet Importance of Bathroom and Kitchen Fans or other fact sheets on virtually every facet of owning, maintaining or renovating your home, visit our Web site at or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing expertise.