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How to Choose an Extractor Fan: Creating a Healthier Living Environment

Achieving a fresh and comfortable living environment is easier than you think. By selecting the right extractor fan for your space, you can bid farewell to lingering odors, excess moisture, and stale air. In this...

extractor fan Achieving a fresh and comfortable living environment is easier than you think. By selecting the right extractor fan for your space, you can bid farewell to lingering odors, excess moisture, and stale air. In this article, we'll guide you through the essential factors to consider when choosing an extractor fan, from size and power to installation and noise levels. Get ready to transform your space into a haven of fresh air and improved indoor air quality.

What is an Extractor Fan?

An extractor fan, also known as an exhaust fan or ventilation fan, is a vital component of maintaining indoor air quality and promoting a healthy living environment. This mechanical device is designed to remove stale air, odors, moisture, and potentially harmful pollutants from enclosed spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms. By drawing in air from the room and expelling it outdoors or through a dedicated ventilation system, extractor fans effectively eliminate excess humidity, cooking fumes, and airborne particles that can harm indoor air quality.

Extractor Fan Image: An extractor fan in action.

Bathroom Extractor Fan

A bathroom extractor fan is a specialized ventilation device designed explicitly for use in bathrooms. Its primary purpose is to improve indoor air quality by removing excess moisture, odors, and airborne pollutants. When you shower or bathe, moisture accumulates in the air, which can lead to mold and mildew growth if not properly managed. A bathroom extractor fan helps mitigate these issues by expelling the damp air outside and replacing it with fresh, dry air from the surrounding space.

Typically installed on the ceiling or wall, bathroom extractor fans operate automatically when triggered by a humidity sensor or a manual switch. They draw in the moist or odorous air from the bathroom, pass it through the fan, and then exhaust it outside through a duct or vent. Some models may even have additional features such as built-in lighting or heating elements. When choosing a bathroom extractor fan, consider factors such as the fan's size, noise level, extraction rate, and installation requirements to ensure optimal moisture control and odor removal.

Ducted Extractor Fans

If you're looking for a comprehensive ventilation solution, a ducted extractor fan is an excellent choice. This specialized system effectively removes stale air, odors, moisture, and pollutants from enclosed spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. Unlike some other extractor fans that filter and recirculate air back into the room, ducted extractor fans channel the unwanted air outside through a network of ducts or pipes. This guarantees that the extracted air is entirely expelled from the building, preventing it from re-entering the living space.

Ducted extractor fans consist of three primary components: the fan unit, the ductwork system, and an external vent or grille. The fan unit is typically placed in the room requiring ventilation, taking in air through a grille or hood. The extracted air is then carried through concealed ducts within walls or ceilings before being expelled outside through an external vent or grille. These fans are particularly effective at removing excess humidity generated during cooking or showering and eliminating cooking odors and airborne particles. When choosing a ducted extractor fan, consider factors such as fan size, duct configuration, and the location of the external vent to ensure efficient and reliable ventilation for your space.

Non-Ducted Extractor Fans

For spaces where installing ducts is challenging or impossible, non-ducted extractor fans offer a practical solution. Also known as recirculating or ductless extractor fans, these ventilation systems recirculate the air within the same room after filtering it. Non-ducted extractor fans typically consist of a fan unit, a set of filters, and an exhaust grille.

When turned on, non-ducted extractor fans draw in the air from the kitchen or designated area through a grille or hood. This air passes through filters designed to capture and remove grease, smoke, odors, and airborne particles. Once filtered, the cleaned air is released back into the room. While non-ducted extractor fans are easier to install compared to their ducted counterparts, they may need to be more effective in eliminating odors or preventing humidity buildup. Regular filter maintenance ensures that the fan operates at its best and maintains indoor air quality.

Wall-Mounted Extractor Fans

When ceiling installation isn't practical or preferred, wall-mounted extractor fans provide an effective solution for removing stale air, odors, moisture, and pollutants from indoor spaces, particularly kitchens and bathrooms. These fans are installed directly on a wall, drawing in the unwanted air through a grille or hood and expelling it outdoors through a duct or vent. By doing so, wall-mounted extractor fans significantly improve indoor air quality.

Available in various sizes and extraction rates, wall-mounted extractor fans can accommodate different room sizes and ventilation needs. Some models even offer variable speed settings and timers for optimized operation. Easy to install and maintain, wall-mounted extractor fans are a popular choice for homeowners seeking enhanced ventilation in specific areas of their homes while preventing problems like mold growth and lingering odors.

Stand Alone Extractor Fan

If you're looking for versatility and portability, a stand-alone extractor fan is the ideal choice. These self-contained ventilation devices can be placed in various locations within a room without permanent installation. Unlike wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted extractor fans, stand-alone extractor fans can be easily moved to target specific areas or provide temporary ventilation.

Comprising a housing unit containing a fan and a filter, stand-alone extractor fans work by drawing in air from their surroundings, filtering it to remove impurities, and then expelling the cleaned air back into the room. These fans are particularly useful in small kitchens, hobby rooms, workshops, or during specific tasks like painting or cooking with strong odors. Compact, easy to use, and requiring minimal installation or modification to the room, stand-alone extractor fans offer a convenient solution for improving indoor air quality and maintaining a comfortable environment in various settings.


To recap, choosing the right extractor fan is crucial for maintaining a healthy, comfortable living environment. Whether you opt for a ducted or non-ducted extractor fan, a wall-mounted or stand-alone fan, each type offers unique benefits to suit specific needs and installation requirements. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your extractor fan operating at its best, ensuring optimal performance and indoor air quality. By mastering the world of extractor fans, you'll create a healthier living space with fresher air and a more pleasant atmosphere. So, make an informed decision and transform your space into a comfortable and enjoyable haven.

Important: If you're unsure about how to install an extractor fan, it's best to seek the assistance of a professional electrician.