Are Bathroom Fans Supposed to Be Loud? (8 Reasons!)

When I first fitted a fan in the bathroom, I couldn’t wait to jump in and have a shower. Just as I was ready to bathe, I heard a deafening noise coming from the fan, and so I wondered, ‘are bathroom fans supposed to be loud?’ Well, here’s my finding:

Even though bathroom fans make some sound while working, it’s not supposed to be loud. If it, that means something is wrong, and it could be anything from a defective motor or faulty blade to poor fan installation or low-quality fan.

Usually, fans emit low noise like your air conditioning machine or running refrigerator, which shouldn’t be annoying. So, a loud noise should be worrying, and that’s where this guide comes in.   

I’ll not only point you to the possible reasons you have a loud bathroom fan, but I’ll also suggest fixes. So, let’s jump into it!    

How Loud Should a Bathroom Fan Be

Are Bathroom Fans Supposed to Be Loud? If Yes, How Loud?

As mentioned earlier, bathroom fans can be noisy, but only a little noisy, like a running fridge or a powered air conditioner. If the noise is louder than that, it could indicate a problem.

Usually, the sound of a bathroom fan is expressed in Sones, and the acceptable range is 1.5 to 5.0 Sones, depending on the quality of the exhaust fan.

But before you can conclude that there’s something wrong with the fan, first assess the fan’s Sones rating.

If the range is above 5.0, the fan is naturally noisy, and there is nothing wrong with it. But if the rating is within the acceptable range (1.5-5.0) and the fan is loud, that indicates a major problem.

Let’s talk about the possible causes next:

Why Bathroom Fans May Be Louder Than They Are Supposed to Be

After establishing that bathroom fans are not supposed to be loud, here are possible causes of a noisy bathroom fan:

1. Defective Motor

The bathroom motor gets old overtime after serving you. You can tell that if it suddenly starts to produce a humming sound. A humming sound indicates that the motor is not just old, but it’s also unable to work effectively. Simply put, it is defective.

Remember, a fan motor is the soul of your bathroom fan as it turns the blades. So, if it’s defective, the blades won’t turn properly, and the fan will hum in response. It will make a high-pitched humming noise.


If the motor is defective, you should replace it. Luckily, there are many bathroom fan motor replacements which you can get depending on your fan’s model.

Why Is My Bathroom Fan So Loud

2. Faulty or Misaligned Fan Blades

The blades spin to turn on your bathroom fan. So, it’s normal for them to produce some sound when they do. However, if the sound is too loud and annoying, it indicates a problem with the blades.

The chances are that the blades are faulty if the noise comes from them. They could be damaged, and that’s something that happens over time. Fan blades commonly get damaged by dust, dirt, hair, or debris, which can stick and deter their regular spinning.

The other possible reason for noisy blades is if they misalign. That could happen over time too.


if your fan blades are damaged, you should replace them. Ensure you get replacements that match your exhaust fan model.

But if they are misaligned, then you should realign them. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn the fan motor off
  • Unscrew and remove the outer fan cover
  • Use warm water or white vinegar to clean the blades
  • While cleaning, make sure to spin the fan blades to clean the axel and other inner parts
  • If the fan blades are misaligned, you can slide them slowly into place
  • Screw back the fan grill and turn on the fan
  • If the loud noise is still there, call an expert

3. Poor Fan Installation 

If your fan is poorly installed, it’s likely to produce a loud noise when the blades start to spin. Overall, you can diagnose a poorly installed fan if you turn it on and the whole fan assembly moves, producing a loud noise.


If the fan was poorly installed, you should call an expert to do it properly. But if you can, then get your toolbox and do it.

4. Poor Fan Quality

If your bathroom fan is not of good quality, the chances are that it will be noisy. Typically, cheaper fans are louder than high-quality options. Not only will a low-quality fan make noise, but it’ll also not do a good job.


If the bathroom fan is low-quality, the fix is to replace it immediately. Check out quality bathroom fans on Amazon.

Why Do Bathroom Fans Get Noisy

Once you have the fan, you can call an expert to install it for you, but if you are the DIY type, you can follow the steps below to install it yourself:

  • Turn off the power from the bathroom circuit breaker
  • Unscrew the old bathroom fan from the mounting bracket
  • Install the new exhaust fan and secure it
  • Screw the fan grill-tight, and that’s it

Other Possible Reasons Plus How to Fix Loud Bathroom Fan

Other than the discussed four reasons, your bathroom fan could be loud because of any of these reasons:

5. Dirt and Debris Build-Up

Your bathroom fan may be producing a loud noise if there is an excessive build-up of grime, dirt, dust, hair, or debris. Given that bathrooms are primarily humid, the conditions are conducive to trapping these elements.

The problem with dirt and debris is that they overwork the motor and blades. So they are likely to air the frustration on a loud noise.     


If the fan is clogged up with debris, dirt, and other stuff, you should clean it, and here are the steps to follow:

  • Turn the bathroom fan off
  • Unscrew the fan grill cover and remove it
  • Wet a clean cloth in water to clean off dust, debris, and other build-ups from the motor, blades, and other fan parts
  • Use a toothbrush to clean parts that are less accessible by the cloth
  • Screw back the fan clover and start using the fan

6. Friction 

When the fan moving parts are dry, they will rub against each other, mainly when spinning at high speed. You may think that the whole fan is making noise, but the actual culprits are colliding parts.


If the fan’s parts are colliding against each other, the fix is lubrication. You should get a premium-quality lubricant to grease up the fan. One fantastic choice is the  WD 40 Multi-Use Lubricant

Remember, it’s not a matter of lubricating the fan once but doing it often. The more you do it, the less noisy it becomes.

Why Do Bathroom Fans Get Noisy

7. Loose Fan Mounting Equipment

If the clips and brackets that generally secure the motor, the fan blade, and other components are loose, they may vibrate, making a buzzing sound.

To know if the mounting equipment is loose, you can remove the outer cover and first try to shake the fan. If the fan wriggles, the fan mounting equipment is loose.


If the mounting equipment is shaky, you should tighten it, and you only need a screwdriver to do it.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn the bathroom exhaust fan off
  • Use a screwdriver to tighten all the screws
  • Turn the fan on to check if the loud noise is no more

8. Narrow Duct

Another primary source of loud fan noise is the duct piping being narrow. The duct channels are the tubing that takes humid air from your bathroom every time you take a shower.

The problem with a narrow duct is that it creates high pressure, leading to a noisier fan.


If the fan air duct is narrow, you don’t have to get a new fan duct. Instead, get a fan duct adapter. The adapter, in this case, will enlarge the fan’s air duct.

Other than the duct adapter, you’ll need duct tape to fit the adapter onto the narrow duct.

Once you have the adapter and tape, follow the process below to install the adaptor to the fan:

  • Turn off your bathroom fan
  • Find a way to access your bathroom ceiling to find the ductwork system
  • Once you find it, unplug the narrow duct from your fan
  • Plug the small adaptor end into the fan’s duct tubing
  • Take the other end of the adaptor and plug it into the other end of the duct tubing
  • Seal the duct tubing with tape, and that’s it

Note that if you cannot access your bathroom ceiling, you can call in an expert to install the adaptor for you.

People Also Ask

1. How Loud Should a Bathroom Fan Be?

Bathroom fan sounds are measured in Sones. The Sones range from 1.5 to 5. However, the higher the number, the louder the fan, while the opposite is true.

So, if you want a quieter bathroom fan, you should buy one with the lowest Sone rating.

2. Why Is My Bathroom Fan So Loud?

Your bathroom fan could be loud because of an old and worn-out motor, misaligned or crooked fan blades, dirt, or grime build-up. It could also be due to friction of the parts, a narrow duct size, a low-quality fan, or a dying one.

3. Why Do Bathroom Fans Get Noisy?

Your bathroom fan can suddenly get noisy if it’s not well maintained. So, you can clean it often to avoid the accumulation of dirt and grime and also lubricate the motor frequently. And if any of the major parts is old, replace it or the fan.

4. How Do You Fix a Noisy Bathroom Fan?

Fixing a noisy fan is easy. But first, you need to determine the root cause of the noise. 

If it’s the motor, you can lubricate it and if the fan is dirty, clean it. However, if the blades are crooked, straighten them out and replace them in the case of an old fan.

Are Bathroom Fans Supposed to Be Loud? Closing Remarks!

As shared, bathroom fans ordinarily produce low-level noise like running fridges and ACs. If the sound is too loud, especially if the fan has a rating of under 5.0 Sones, it indicates a problem you can fix yourself. So, go ahead and use the shared tips to do it!

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