How to Replace a Bathroom Ventilation Fan with the Broan Sensonic
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Bathroom ventilation fans are an essential component to any bathroom. They vent moist (or stinky) air to the outside, while drawing in cleaner/drier air from your surrounding rooms. Without a bathroom ventilation fan, your bathroom surfaces will become moist during a shower or bath. This leads to potential mold problems down the road. Besides that, who likes to wait minutes waiting for the foggy bathroom mirror to clear up following a shower?! Not me, because every minute counts in this house!
The bathroom ventilation fan I’m replacing is a small 7-inch square fan. It did a decent job of pulling moist air from the bathroom during a shower, but it was far from perfect. The mirror was still foggy after running the fan during a shower, and it was pretty loud. Loud to the point where you couldn’t have a conversation with someone without borderline yelling at them while the fan was on.
The bathroom ventilation fan I’m replacing my old fan with is the Broan Sensonic Model SPK110 Speaker Fan. The Broan Sensonic Model SPK110 Speaker Fan is a larger fan than my old fan and it’s much quieter. It moves 110 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air, and has a sound level of 1.0 sone. Sone is a unit of measure for sound, just to give you an idea of how quiet 1.0 sone is, it’s about the same volume as a quiet refrigerator. 1.0 sone is considered very quiet for a ventilation fan!
There’s no doubt that the Broan Sensonic Speaker fan has great fan specs. Great specs definitely aided me in my decision, but the main reason why I chose this fan was the speaker! The Broan Sensonic Speaker Fan features a Bluetooth enabled speaker box inside its housing! The Bluetooth speaker inside the Sensonic vent fan is not only innovative and convenient, it’s actually a high quality speaker!
I like to listen to music or news in the shower sometimes, but I’d have to bring a separate Bluetooth speaker into the bathroom with me. A separate speaker just gets in the way, and that’s even if I remember to bring it with me. The Broad Sensonic Speaker Fan now has me covered.
If you’d like to watch the install on video, you can watch below. If you prefer to read or prefer more detail, continue reading:
What you’ll need:
- Tape measure
- Drywall Saw
- Safety Glasses
- Utility Knife (optional & not pictured)
- Pencil (optional & not pictured)
- Hand Drill (optional & not pictured)
NOTE: My installation was into a finished ceiling in my first-floor bathroom. I have a 2nd-floor bathroom above this room, and the space above the ceiling was previously opened up by the former owner of my house. They used metal studs to extend the ceiling several inches below the joists above. Unfortunately for me, this is the kind of weird stuff I deal with when working on my home. My situation may or may not be the same as yours, but I’m sure it’s probably worse than most people’s. Therefore, I’m going to try and explain my situation for those who have similar setups, but also explain the more common install situations as well.
If you’re simply installing a new fan into an unfinished ceiling during a bathroom remodel or new construction project, you’re going to need to run wiring to the location of the fan and run a 4-inch round duct to the outside of the building.
Note: I’m not going to go into detail here because I used existing ductwork, and all installation jobs will be different. Plus, you shouldn’t be handling electrical wiring or installing ductwork if you’re not qualified to do so.
I will offer a tip however: Your duct should be as short and straight as possible. This will ensure that you get the quietest and best airflow your ventilation fan has to offer.
If you’re replacing an existing fan, you need to:
- De-energize the circuit that powers the existing fan.
- Verify that the circuit is de-energized with a voltmeter or circuit tester.
- Remove the existing fan and all of it’s components. Leave the building wiring and ductwork.
In my case, my new fan is bigger than my old fan. Therefore, I needed to open up the ceiling cutout:
- Mark the new opening with a pencil. I held the new fan housing up to the ceiling along 2 of the existing cutout’s edges and marked along the housing.
DISCLAIMER: If installing the bathroom fan into a ceiling below another floor, your new fan won’t simply slide into a size-for-size opening, you need to cut the hole bigger to allow the protruding parts of the housing to make it through the cutout. In my case, I had to open up the cutout an additional 1/2″-3/4″ per side to allow me to slide the housing in on an angle. I also had to bend the mounting flanges into the housing about 90 degrees to give the housing as small a footprint as possible. This method is not recommended by Broan, but there was no way I was going to replace my bathroom ceiling just to install a new ventilation fan! My method worked, but I don’t recommend because you might damage your new fan by bending the fins. The recommended installation method is to utilize the mounting flanges for mounting.
If you’re installing this in a ceiling below an attic, you should be able to cutout your opening size-for-size, because you’ll mount to your joist from inside the attic.
- Score the marked lines with a sharp utility knife.
- Use a drywall saw to cutout the new opening.
- Test fit the opening and adjust as necessary.
Okay so let me explain how easy the Broan Sensonic Model SPK110 Speaker Fan is to install:
- Install the speaker into the housing by starting two 5/8″ long screws into the speaker bracket until the ends are flush with the bottom surface of the bracket.
- Take the speaker and place it into the fan housing on the side opposite of the fan plug motor.
- Make sure the speaker bracket interfaces with the motor bracket. It should sort-of hook under the motor bracket.
- Tighten the screws. The screws force the speaker bracket up, which locks the speaker and motor brackets together.
- Disconnect the fan motor plug.
- Connect the speaker plug into the fan motor plug.
- Connect the original fan motor plug into the speaker wire receptacle.
- Mount the fan housing to the ceiling joist.
- If installing in a ceiling below the attic, you can do this from inside the attic. Just be sure to align the fan housing with your cutout as even as possible.
- In my case, I had to connect the wiring and duct work to the fan first, because everything is hidden after my housing was installed. If this is your case too, skip mounting for now and go to the next step.
- Connect electrical wiring according to the instructions provided with your fan.
- Connect the duct work according to your fan’s instructions.
- (If installing in finished ceiling with floor above only) Mount the fan housing to your ceiling joists by screwing through the fan housing.
- Install the grille.
- Turn power on to the fan’s circuit.
- Test the fan’s operation.
If you have a Broan Sensonic fan, it’s time to pair the Bluetooth speaker with your device. Just follow your device’s Bluetooth pairing procedure while the Sensonic fan is on. After that, all you need to do to listen through the Sensonic’s speaker is to turn it on and connect it to your device. My phone automatically connects to my fan once the fan turns on. The sound quality is actually really good. It exceeded my expectations.
More importantly, my new Broan Sensonic Model SPK110 Speaker Fan does a great job at clearing moisture from my bathroom, and it does it quietly – that is, when I’m not listening to rock music through it anyway!
Would you like to experience the Broan Sensonic? You can check it out here.