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Liam P
Retrofit Bath Fan

I would like to upgrade/replace out old noisy Nutone/Broan bathroom exhaust fan
However, it is located at the far end bath of our 3000 sq ft ranch home; the stairs to the attic are in the garage, which is, of course, at the opposite end.

My question is this:
Is it possible to replace a bathroom exhaust fan without climbing through the attic, crushing the insulation, and possibly mis-stepping/mis-kneeing my way over there?

I was hoping that Nutone/Broan made an upgrade fan replacement kit, which they do, but not for this model.

Anyone ever replace a fan without climbing into the attic?


Re: Retrofit Bath Fan

I've replaced a bunch of these and I'm sorry to say that from what I have seen they are not interchangeable. The insides go to a specific model. I wouldn't think it to hard to do as the wiring is already there and the hole also. Worst case you will have to enlarge the hole a bit. You will have go into the attic to attach the vent hose and electric and secure it in place. Good Luck!!! :)

A. Spruce
Re: Retrofit Bath Fan

If the guts of the new fan won't fit inside the old housing, then you may be able to cut and collapse the old housing without damage to the drywall. Once the old is out of the way, you can work through the existing hole to install the new fan. Attempting something like this takes time and patience, and there's no guarantee that you'll be able to do it without at least one trip to the attic.

Re: Retrofit Bath Fan

You can change the guts out with OEM replacement parts if you want to. If your 100% sure you want to replace the entire fan it is possible to install from the inside without getting in the attic depending on which type of existing wiring you have. If the wiring is in EMT conduit pipe it may be much harder witout going into the attic.The conduit would need to line up close to the elec connection in the new fan. Dont try and bend the conduit from the hole in the sheetrock,ou take the chance of breaking the coupler connector farther back. That wouldnt be good, the connector to the pipe acts as a ground. You also take the chance of the exhaust coming loose during installation.
If your wiring is cable then you have a better chance of survival.
If it was me I would bite the bullet and head into the attic make all the connections and get out.

Good Luck


Re: Retrofit Bath Fan

Nearly all of the noise of an exhaust fan is caused by the movement of air; the motor itself is pretty quiet. If something's unbalanced, that can create vibration.

Vibration can sometimes be dampened by using bits of rubber tape or foam between the "guts" and the outer case.

Most of the noise comes from the blower wheel; you might be able to upgrade just that part.

If the exhaust duct is flexible, you may be able to replace the entire unit from below. (In the process you'll end up destroying it.) Use brute force to push the existing housing up into the attic, giving you space to disconnect it from the exhaust duct, wiring, and framing. If brute force doesn't work, use more. :D Purchase a new unit that is the same size or larger than the existing hole, and designed for "old work" installation. The hard part will be replacing the insulation that is currently covering the existing fan.

The quietest exhaust fans are designed considering the whole system: the intake screen, blower, case, motor, and exhaust damper are all engineered to reduce turbulence and move air quietly.

Re: Retrofit Bath Fan

Have you taken the fan apart and cleaned the fan blades,inner housing and grill?
If not, you'll be shocked at the build-up of crud, especially if you use hairspray. Use hot water to soften the gunk and an old toothbrush to get the fan blades clean. Clean the motor housing and openings as much as possible. Dry thoroghly. Place a drop of high quality, lightweight turbine oil, like ZOOM SPOUT by Novey, Inc. on the motor bearing. Wipe off any excess. Properly reinstall. Good luck.

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