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How Long Do Bathroom Exhaust Fans Last?

The lifespan of your fan will depend on the quality of the fan you purchased and how heavily it is used. Based on these factors, your bathroom exhaust fan will last between 10 to 15 years.

It is essential to know what causes bathroom fans to malfunction, and there are some definite warning signs that your bathroom fan is on its last leg.

This article will give you tips and pointers to prolong the life of your bathroom exhaust fan.

clean bathroom exhaust fan

Why Do Bathroom Fans Stop Working?

Motor Failure

Motor failure is a relatively common reason why your bathroom fan has quit working. The fan can be overworked or just naturally give out over time.

You can reset your circuit breaker and check your connections to rule out electrical issues. If that does not solve the problem, the motor is likely dead, and the only solution is to buy a new fan. Unfortunately, bathroom fan manufacturers do not sell spare parts like motors, so you will be forced to buy a brand new unit.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are another likely culprit that has caused your fan to malfunction. Electrical issues vary and can be as simple as restarting your circuit breaker to something more complicated like rewiring your fan. You may even have a loose connection that has caused your fan to stop working.

You should always take precautions when working with electricity and for more complicated issues hiring a professional electrician is your best option.

Needs Cleaning

If you notice that your bathroom fan does spin but has no suction, then it is likely that your fan needs to be cleaned. By turning your fan on and placing your hand over the vent cover, you can determine whether or not your fan has lost suction. A fan without suction defeats its purpose and can lead you to believe your fan works when instead mold is beginning to grow in your bathroom.

To clean your fan, you just need to remove the vent cover, clean the cover and the fan itself. This cleaning should be done once or twice a year.

Humidity Sensor

Many of the newest and most expensive bathroom fans will have a humidity sensor. Humidity sensors are great tools to fight mold when they are working properly. It is possible for a humidity sensor to malfunction or give out.

A misbehaving humidity sensor can cause your fan to not ever turn on or be constantly on, which can burn out your fan’s motor. If you suspect that your humidity sensor is causing your issues, purchasing and installing a new sensor could solve your problems.

Signs That You Need to Replace Your Bathroom Fan


A dead giveaway that your fan is near the end of its lifespan is the noises it makes. If the fan sounds much louder than normal or makes any grinding or squealing noises, these are all definitely bad signs. These noises may be hard to detect at first but will grow louder and louder over time. These noises usually point to an issue with your fan’s motor.

Excessive Moisture

Having excessive moisture or moisture lingering for a long time in your bathroom is a sign that your fan is not doing its job. This excessive moisture will lead to the development of mildew and mold. The reason that condensation is building up in your bathroom could be that the fan does not possess enough suction or it is simply not working.

Lingering Odors

Bathroom odors lingering in your bathroom over a long time signify that your fan is not working properly. It could be that your fan’s motor is not strong enough to ventilate your bathroom adequately, or the motor is giving out. Another possibility is that your fan needs to be cleaned out to achieve better suction.

How to Maintain a Bathroom Fan to Prolong Its Life

Regular Cleaning

The easiest way to give your bathroom fan a long life is to keep it clean. By maintaining your bathroom’s fan, you ensure that it runs at peak efficiency.

Cleaning your bathroom fan is a straightforward process requiring nothing more than a screwdriver, sponge, and some clean rags. By removing your vent cover, cleaning the cover, fan blades, and motor of any dust should be sufficient.

Cleaning your fan should be done every six months for the best results.

Moderate Use

Another way to prolong your fan’s life is to use it moderately. It is suggested to turn your fan on for 15 to 20 minutes after each use of your shower. Keeping your fan on for an entire night is unnecessary and will shorten the life of your fan’s motor.

Using your fan only when required will help it serve your bathroom needs for as long as possible.

Replace Wiring and Sensors

A more advanced method for prolonging the lifespan of your fan is to replace the wiring and sensors.

If you live in a very old home, the wiring may need to be replaced. Old wiring can shortcircuit, which can destroy your fan.

In addition, malfunctioning humidity sensors can cause your fan to be overworked, leading to motor failure.

Be Informed

Knowing all the viable information about your fan can help you extend its life or help you prepare for your bathroom fan’s inevitable departure. Being aware of how old your fan is would be essential information. Information about the wiring the fan is connected to and if the fan has any warranty can be very helpful as well.

Adam McCoy

Adam is an HVAC expert and the owner of Mackydo's HVAC Services with decades of experience in fixing and installing air conditioning units, furnaces, and every type of cooling and heating equipment you can think of.

Adam believes that your home is your sanctuary. He loves sharing advice based on his lifelong experience and treats every HVAC problem as if it was his own.

About Loo Academy

At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

We work closely with qualified experts and follow a thorough editing and fact-checking process before publishing content.

Published content is regularly fact-checked and revised so that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date.

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