Your Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan on the first floor

Always feeling like your bathroom never dries? It may be because of insufficient ventilation.

Insufficient ventilation can cause several problems, including mold and mildew. It can also make your towels and clothes smell foul.


Installing a bathroom exhaust fan may just be the right solution. Having an exhaust fan in your bathroom helps exhaust the moisture-laden air outside the house. This avoids the buildup of mold and other dirty elements.

Bear in mind that this installation isn’t the easiest or fastest project, but we’re here to help you out.

Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to install a bathroom exhaust fan.

What You’ll Need to install a bathroom exhaust fan on the first floor

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of installation, here are some things you’ll need:

-Bathroom exhaust fan. They come in different sizes. Some have a more powerful motor than others.

-Flexible duct

-Foil duct tape

-Wall cap or wall vent

-Caulk gun


-Electric drill

-Jigsaw or drywall saw

-Measuring tape

-Safety goggles

-Dust mask


-Layout square


For the exhaust fan, you can choose based on your budget, bathroom size, and vent method. When you buy one, they usually come with other necessary materials like a flexible duct, a wall cap, brackets, and screws.

You can find the other equipment and tools in your toolbox shed or simply borrow them from a friend.

How to Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan on the first floor

Installing a bathroom exhaust fan can be tricky. It’s definitely doable, though.

Try to schedule six to eight hours if you plan to install your fan in one day. If you can find a helping hand, you can finish this installation in less time.

Step 1: Find or Install the Power Source

Find the power source in your ceiling before anything else. An existing source is usually near the ceiling light.

If there aren’t any, you may need to contact a professional electrician to install a power source.

Using an existing or separate power source also depends on your area’s bathroom code. Make sure to check it before proceeding with the installation.

Step 2: Plan the Exhaust Fan Layout

Decide whether to install the exhaust fan in the center of the ceiling or near the shower.

Go to your attic to verify if your fan location is suitable for installation. Make sure that you’re able to see the reference hole from the other side.

Once you’ve decided, make a hole in the ceiling using a screwdriver or a drill. This will help you mark the location.

If there are any obstructions around the point, reposition your reference hole and try again.

Ensure that the final place of the exhaust fan has a direct road from the ceiling to the vent. This allows for the exhaust fan to work efficiently.

Step 3: Measure the Exhaust Fan

Measure your exhaust fan’s inside dimensions using your measuring tape. This will help you determine how large you need to cut the hole.

With your reference hole, transfer the measurements to your ceiling. Use your layout square for an easier transfer.

Step 4: Cut the Exhaust Fan Site

Before doing this step, make sure you’ve got eye goggles and a dust mask on.

Using your jigsaw or drywall saw, cut the guide dimensions.

Make sure to have one hand on the waste piece to prevent it from falling on the floor.

Step 5: Place the Exhaust Fan

Bring your drill, screws, and fan housing into the attic.

Place the housing in the exhaust fan site, making sure that the edges are flush with the ceiling. Call a friend if you’re having trouble making it fit properly.

When placing the housing, direct its elbow up. Secure this to the port using the foil duct tape. Make sure that you don’t damage the electrical cables when you do this.

Step 6: Attach the Exhaust Fan to the Joists

Attach the exhaust fan to the joists using suspension brackets. These brackets should be with the exhaust fan set, or you can buy them separately.

Seal each bracket with a screw.

Grab the flexible duct and attach one end to the elbow of the fan’s housing. Wrap a good amount of foil duct tape around the attachment to secure it.

Through the connector, take the electrical cable through. Make sure that there is no electricity on the cable when you handle this! You can shut it off by Secure the cable by tightening the connector.

Step 7: Drill a Duct Hole Outside

While still in the attic, search for the best location on the sidewall for the duct to come through. It should be about six feet from the exhaust fan.

Once the spot is located, make a reference hole.

Locate the reference hole from the outside of the house and drill a duct hole.

Step 8: Where do bathroom fans vent to? Create a Route From the Exhaust Fan to the Outside

Bathroom vents should run outside. You should find the shortest route so that the exhaust can’t become condensation as this water can damage your drain. It is also important that you don’t bend the drain too much as this makes it harder for the exhaust to exit. Keep the drain as short and straight as possible. This will ensure that you don’t have problems in your bathroom or with the drain.

This shouldn’t ven inside as it will result in a humid environment that can result in mold and other issues. We should avoid this at all costs.

This involves the following steps:

-Create a route from the exhaust fan to the outside wall by taking the free end of the duct and connecting it to the wall cap.

-Secure the attachment with the foil duct tape.

-From the outside, place the wall cap flush into the hole.

If there’s any space around the hole, apply silicone glue around the gaps. Slide the wall cap back into the hole and secure it with screws.

Step 9: Connect the Wires

Go back to the bathroom and connect the wires to power the exhaust fan.

First, unfasten the blower motor from the fan housing and expose the wiring.

Connect the wires from the cable that’s fed into the fan housing. Make sure to connect them with the same colored ones.

Secure the exposed wire by wrapping it around the green grounding screw. This is important for safety.

Next, tighten the screw and place everything back. You can add a timer and switch if needed. This is discussed in the previous video as well.

Step 10: Attach the Exhaust Fan Grille

Place the blower motor back to the ceiling and fasten it with screws.

Finally, attach the exhaust fan grill to the ceiling. Make sure you’re placing it tight against the ceiling.

Can a bathroom exhaust vent be over a window?

No, the exhaust vent shouldn’t be over a window. The condensation can cause water damage over time. You should install the exhaust vent next to or under the window. Check your local code requirements as well. In some instances, you have to leave a certain distance between the vent and the window. You should also be careful if there is electricity running nearby as the condensation can affect this as well.

You can add a metal frame to the exhaust to make sure that birds or insects are not able to enter your house this way. Mice and rats tend to use these entrance points to get inside a house. It is a hot environment that attracts a lot of animals. They can often chew through the vent pipe and enter your house this way. It is quite easy to install a frame as you can install it with screws.

Once all is done, try and test if your bathroom exhaust fan is now working.

Buying the exhaust fan is the easy part, but installing it shouldn’t be difficult.

If there is no outside access, it is still possible to vent a bathroom, as discussed here.

With these easy-to-follow steps, you can learn how to install a bathroom exhaust fan in no time. Just make sure to put your safety first, especially when dealing with live electrical wires.

After this, you won’t be bothered by foggy glasses and stale bathroom smell anymore. We have discussed how to fix a bathroom fan here.