Round bathroom exhaust fan for 13" hole?
December 10, 2017 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have a bathroom ceiling fan that they like, which will fill a 13" circular hole?

The P.O. of our house cut a 13" hole in the bathroom ceiling to install a NOISY Nu-Tone exhaust fan.

I am shopping for a replacement, and I can only find a very few which are round -- about a 15" diameter grille is needed -- besides the current miserable item, the Nu-Tone 8664 (and the lookalike Broan, since they're the same company).

The room is small -- call it 890 sq.ft. in size -- so a 100CFM fan should be fine. I only have a switch & wiring for the vent fan, so any light bulb is useless to me: I will leave it in place if I have to. I just want to fill this hole with something that pulls but doesn't suck.

Am I S.O.L.? Do I need to buy a square unit and call a plasterer?
posted by wenestvedt to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you find a smaller diameter fan, you can cover the larger hole by going to the ceiling fan section of your local big box store and get a cover designed for over-large ceiling fan holes.
posted by mightshould at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here is a very quiet Panasonic model that has a 13" square grill. If you center it carefully, it should cover your hole. Even if your hole has a quarter inch of exposure at the edges, you can easily patch those small bits yourself with drywall patch.

It may be a bit tricky installing a new fan if you can't get access from the attic above, but it can be done in some cases. The most difficult part would be attaching the wiring and ducting from below.
posted by JackFlash at 3:32 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a Panasonic fan similar or identical to the one JackFlash recommended and it is quiet and wonderful. You will not install it without attic access.
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:56 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also have a Panasonic exhaust fan (Panasonic FV-08VQ5) that is very quiet and I am very happy with it. It replaced a noisy fan and I did not have attic access, which made things a little tricky but not too bad. I patched the drywall myself.
posted by exogenous at 8:31 AM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If there is a light in the fan, you can wire the light and fan to both come on at the same time -- just connect hot/neutral from source (hot from switch, neutral from source) to both the fan and light.

Was that a typo on sq ft ? 89 vs 890 ? a small bathroom would be 90 sq ft, and yeah, you want CFM at/around the sq ft of the room, with a little boost for very steamy showers. Broaden your CFM to 80-120 to see more possible models.

Look at the sone rating of whatever you replace it with. Lots of stock contractors/commercial fans are 4+ sones, and that's stupid loud. 1 sone and lower are very nice.

The 13" round hole - is that diameter or circumference ? Is the fan "dropped in" that hole, or is it a duct to the fan ? Where are you searching ? Lowes/home depot have a poor selection, but then Ferguson lists something like 5 different-but-just-about-identical models (you *really* have to dig into the details/product specs).

(I replaced 2 bathroom exhaust fans last year, and added a 3rd fan to the half-bath 2 months ago.. The 1 sone fan is invisible - can't tell it's on, Panasonic PANFV08VRE2 where I wired the light and fan to come on together, 6.5" diameter hole.)

Further, a square hole fan can work just fine with a round hole in the ceiling -- you caulk the edge of the drywall between the lip/lid of the fan to stop air-leaks anyway, so if it's a rectangular hole-fan that's close-enough to the size of the circular hole you've got, it would work too.
posted by k5.user at 8:31 AM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The 13" round hole - is that diameter or circumference ? Is the fan "dropped in" that hole, or is it a duct to the fan ?

There is a 13-diameter round hole in the ceiling plaster, opening into the attic; a flat metal "tray" fills it, which the plastic grille clips into. The fan box sits above that tray, and the tray has a square opening to fit around the fan box.

If I don't use basically the same damn fan with the stupid round tray, there will be finger-size openings on all four flat sides of the fan box. *eyeroll* And yeah, it's rated at 3 sones and running MUCH LOUDER THAN THAT through its miserly 4" ductwork.

The old fan had its light socket wired into the sam line as the fan switch, so I know I can do it (assuming the wiring on the fan box exposes the end of both wires).

And yes, "890" is a typo -- the room is like 6'x9' without the shower, so I know that almost any fan should handily empty it.

We bought two Broan fans at Lowe's yesterday because we need something now-now-now; I guess I will first try to install the larger, quieter one, and if it doesn't fit then I will try the smaller, louder one. Gaaaaah.

Thanks, all!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:23 AM on December 11, 2017

If I don't use basically the same damn fan with the stupid round tray, there will be finger-size openings on all four flat sides of the fan box.

The openings around the fan box shouldn't be a concern. The box can float in the hole. It should be secured to the wooden framing above the hole. You can cover the holes around the box with cardboard from above to keep the insulation from falling through. Then you just cover and hide the whole thing, holes and all, with a large grill.
posted by JackFlash at 12:00 PM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

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