Install an exhaust fan

By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services

Do It Yourself or Not?

9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013


A bathroom without good ventilation is a likely target for mildew and wood damage. You can prevent it by adding an exhaust fan in an outside wall. The fan is designed to remove excessive and unwanted moisture so the project requires both carpentry and electrical skills, which makes it a job best left to a pro unless you have those talents and tools and have no fear of cutting a hole in the wall.

Assuming the house has wood siding and there's an electrical line already in the bathroom, an electrician will charge $269 to install a through-the-wall fan, which includes the labor and material. You can buy the fan for $90 and install it, saving 67 percent. That saving is well-earned because it's a complicated job that involves crawling around in an attic to fish and run wires connecting the electrical circuit to the fan, then cutting holes for the fan in the siding and bathroom wall. You'll spend time investigating the circuit to find which line to tap for power, pulling the wires and installing the switch and, finally, hooking up the fan box and assembly.

You'll need a well-stocked toolbox that includes: an electronic stud finder, inductive voltage tester, wire strippers, side-cutting electrical pliers, fish tape, screwdrivers, hammer, drywall saw, utility knife, saber or reciprocating saw and a tape measure.

For information on ventilating a bathroom go to the Healthy Home Institute for their Guide to Bathroom Ventilation at http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a1045-BathroomVentilationGuidelines.

To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$269 -- $90 -- 3.4 -- 8.0 -- $179 -- 67 Percent