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Can a ceiling fan be installed in a bathroom?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ January 10, 2013 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

Our bathroom is a large, open plan (no door to close) bathroom. Moisture has never been an issue even though there is no vent fan. We live in south Florida (hot climate) and I'd like a ceiling fan (maybe an outdoor fan?) in the bathroom! Is this okay?

Sherrie - Jupiter, FL

Jeffrey Anderson

Sherrie, you should be able to install a ceiling fan in your bathroom, but there are a few issues that should be considered before beginning the project. The first and most important is verifying that your local building code permits ceiling fans in bathrooms. And if it does, the locations in the room where they can be installed and whether there are any limitations on the type of fixture.

Many electrical codes have restrictions on what types of electrical fixtures can be installed in the proximity of wet areas such as showers and tubs. The limitations normally relate to the type of glass in the fixture -- shatterproof or safety glass is normally required.

However, there may also be restrictions on whether a fixture can hang from the ceiling above a tub or shower. I would check with the Jupiter building inspection office or with an experienced local electrical contractor to find out what is allowed in your area.

If you proceed with the project, it should be done by a licensed electrical contractor. Working with electrical wiring and installing hardwired fixtures are not DIY projects, and this is especially true in high moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. If you don't have an existing ceiling box available, a new box will need to be installed along with a switch box to control the fan. The ceiling box will need to be the type that can support the weight of a fan.

The other issue that should be considered is the amount of moisture in the bathroom. While you don't feel humidity is a problem, there is probably more moisture being put into the air in the room than you notice. The open door allows a lot of it to escape, but the humidity that remains behind could damage the inner parts of many ceiling fans.

Choosing a model rated for outdoor use is a good idea, but you might want to check to see if any manufacturer has a model specifically designed for bathroom installations.

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