How to Install An Exhaust Fan In a Wall

exhaust fan

Mold is one of the most common problems in the bathroom where there’s a lot of moisture. One way to prevent that is through proper ventilation.

Look around your bathroom and other rooms. Do they have proper ventilation?

If not, then consider installing an exhaust fan to circulate the air and prevent moisture. It’s also useful in the kitchen where you’ll have to deal with smoke.

You can make this into a DIY project for your next day-off. Yes, you can install the fan yourself.

Installing a through-the-wall fan is not as difficult as it sounds. Sure, there’s the fan type, the power source, the vents, the cutting, and much more to think of. But the process is not actually that complicated with this guide.

Let us show you how to easily tackle this procedure!

Things You’ll Need

First off, make sure you have the following items on hand before you take on this project:

  • Stud Finder
  • Fish Tape
  • Drill
  • Marker/Pencil
  • Handsaw
  • Cutter
  • Eye Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Exhaust Fan
  • Fan Cover
  • Venting Materials
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood for Frame (if needed)

If you’re putting it in your bathroom, consider choosing an exhaust fan with a moisture sensor. On average, it needs to run for about 10 minutes after showering for it to remove all moisture. If you get one with a sensor or a timer, you can simply leave it be after you step out of the bathroom.

There’s also the CFM, which pertains to the air volume exchanged per minute, that you need to consider. Refer to your local building codes to get the suggested CFM depending on the room you’re putting it in.

You also need to take note of the noise level and energy efficiency. In the fan industry, you need to look at the sone, which is a common unit of measurement for sound level. You want a fan within the range 1.3 to 4.0 sones for private homes.

Locate and Prepare the Site

The first thing to do is to cut off the electricity. Depending on the type of the exhaust fan you get, you may have to connect it to a power source.

Next is to prepare yourself. Wear goggles and gloves as you’ll be dealing with sharp and pointy tools in this project. The goggles will also protect your eyes from the dust when you start drilling and cutting.

You may already have a room in mind, so the next step is finding that perfect spot on the wall that faces outside. You want to install it in the top-most part of the wall. But do make sure that nothing obstructs it from the outside like sloping roofs.

Use a stud finder to find studs or knock around to see which spot is empty. Drill a small hole and use a fish tape and insert it horizontally until it comes in contact with a stud.

Mark where the studs are using a pencil and measure the area to make sure your fan fits in there. You may also make a template with the dimensions of the vent and the fan and trace it onto the wall.

Cut the Hole

It’s now time to cut into the hole. Use a cutter to cut through the first layer, the drywall.

In this step, there’s no need to be overly critical of your handiwork. You can make do with rough edges that don’t go too far from the template because the fan cover will cover it anyway.

After which, you’ll run into insulation layers as you make your way to the outside layer using a handsaw. If you ordered the vent separately and it hasn’t arrived yet, don’t cut the paneling yet.

Depending on the type of fan you get, you may have to seal the top and bottom of the hole using wood pieces. This is to prevent the fan from blowing air into your wall. This step is optional as you may have to instead use ducts or the exhaust housing, which may be an inclusion in the fan you bought.

Next, mark the edges of the hole you need for the outside wall using a drill. This will ensure that the hole outside will line up with the hole inside. Finally, go outside and trace the drill holes before you cut a hole with a handsaw.

Skip this step if you’re using ducts anyway. If you are, simply cut a hole the size of your duct outside.

Attach the Vent and the Exhaust Fan

Now that everything is ready, you can now install the system piece by piece. Start with the vents by screwing it into place.

The next step is to connect the ducts and housing. Use the fasteners to secure the housing and to reduce vibration as well.

You’ll have to tinker with wires at this point to connect your system to a power source. If you’re not sure what to do in this step, ask an electrician or refer to the manufacturer’s diagram. Again, this step may be optional for you. Some fans only have to plug into an outlet to work.

Then it’s finally time to attach your exhaust fan. After making sure that the wiring is good, secure the fan and the cover in place. Confirm that you’re putting in the right way, though!

At some point, you may find that you need to attach a frame either outside or inside. Outside, you need to make sure that water won’t get in. If you installed the frame in a way that water won’t get in or you bought the type that doesn’t need it, you don’t need to worry about placing a frame.

Get It Running

After patting yourself on the back for what looks like a job well done, turn the electricity back on to check if it actually works. Turn on the switch and see if it runs.

You may also create some smoke (don’t actually put anything on fire, though) to see if the exhaust fan works as intended. If it sucks the smoke in, then congratulations, you put it the right way. Also, check the vents to see if the smoke is going out and not into your walls!

Get an Exhaust Fan Now

Interested to start this project? Get an exhaust fan first by browsing through our various models. Contact us for any inquiries and we’ll gladly help you through the process.

Also, check out our blog for everything you need to know about fans!