The 5 Pros Who Install Bathroom Exhaust Fans

who installs bathroom exhaust fans

If you are wondering who on earth installs a bathroom fan, this guide has you covered — though the answer may not be as simple as homeowners would like.

Who you hire to install a bathroom fan is really a personal preference since multiple contractors (or a handyman) could install a bathroom fan.

Keep reading to learn the 5 home professionals who can install a bathroom fan. I also included some of their expected costs and the pros and cons of each one.

Let's get started!

Hire #1: Electrician

Hiring an electrician for your bath fan is one of the most common choices if you want to install a new bath fan. Electricians can easily handle the wiring, route new wiring, install a new switch, and other advanced electrical work.

If the bathroom fan comes with other appliances like a light or heater, then an electrician can install the new wiring or new switches. Bathroom fans with built-in heaters may also need a dedicated circuit breaker.

electrician installs bathroom fan switch

The least important time to hire an electrician is when it is a simple bath fan replacement with no new wiring or switches — just a simple connection.

Electricians typically charge around $35 to $115 per hour depending on their experience and local cost of living. Depending on the complexity and length of the job, it will cost in the range of $100 to $500 to install a new bathroom fan if you hire an electrician.

If homeowners want the light or heater to operate on a separate switch or if new wiring will be needed, an electrician will be one of your best choices.

Pros
  • Easily handle advanced electrical wiring such as new switch or routing new wiring
  • Able to get permit for electrical work without issues
  • Should be insured in case of electrical injury or damage
Cons
  • Don't typically install new ductwork
  • May not want to do drywall cutting or repair

Hire #2: Roofer

A roofer will be needed if homeowners want to install a new duct to the roof. Bathroom fans require specialized roof covers that are made out of galvanized metal in order to avoid rusting and roof damage.

bath fan roof cover installed by roofer

Proper flashing and caulking will need to be installed with the roof cover to avoid water leaks into the attic. The upside of hiring a roofer is that you can be confident that the job will be performed correctly.

The average wage of a roofer is around $50-$90 per hour, and installing a roof cover should take anywhere from 2-4 hours. A steeper and higher roof will make the job more difficult.

Installing a bathroom vent cover is considered a small job but homeowners can expect to pay somewhere around $155-$475 depending on costs in your area.

Pros
  • Easily complete the roof job
  • Handle the permitting process if necessary
  • Should have liability insurance if someone is injured
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Likely only do the roofing part of the installation

Hire #3: HVAC Technician

If the bathroom fan needs new ducting, then an HVAC technician is a great choice for the installation.

Even though HVAC techs typically deal with heating and cooling maintenance (and installations) they are proficient with ductwork and can install bathroom fans. HVAC techs can also advise you on the different venting options available.

bath fan duct installation

An upside in hiring an HVAC tech is that they already do electrical wiring with HVAC installations — so a bath fan wiring ain't a big deal.

HVAC technicians will also be more comfortable with cutting and repairing drywall ceilings or walls as compared to other types of contractors. The cost per hour of an HVAC tech will be around $50 to $100 per hour.

The total cost of the job will be dependent on whether you supply the bath fan and ducting. Other factors will include the length and complexity of the ductwork and wiring.

Pros
  • Experienced with duct installations
  • Has basic electrical experience
  • Can advise as to best CFM rating and duct type
Cons
  • More expensive due to skills
  • Won't typically do any roof work

Hire #4: Handyman

Homeowners may want to consider hiring a handyman to do the bathroom fan installation. A handyman is usually skilled in numerous trades and may be able to handle all aspects of the bathroom fan installation.

The downside of a handyman is that if you need to pull permits for the job — a handyman may not have the required licensing. And if the bathroom fan is complex such as requiring a new switch, new wiring, new ductwork, or a roof cover — it may be out of his depth or competency.

Always verify his or her background and check references. Also make sure that he is insured to cover any injury or damage to the property. The average hourly cost of a handyman ranges from $45 to $85 and should be on the lower side of pros who can install a bathroom fan.

Pros
  • Less expensive than contractors
  • General knowledge and experience of different trades
  • May be able to handle entire job
Cons
  • Doesn't specialize in one skill and may be inexperienced
  • May be unable to get building permits if required

Hire #5: General Contractor

A general contractor should be able to easily install a bathroom exhaust fan. There are many different types of general contractors and not all GCs will want to do a small job like a bath fan installation.

General contractors will have multiple contractors on their team with different trade licenses or have sub-contractors. So if you need new electrical wiring, switches, or roof work — a GC should have contractors who can get the job done correctly.

General contractors usually charge a markup on the job of around 10-35% so call around for a few quotes. The average bath fan installation cost should be in the $200 to $600 range if you supply the bath fan. But if there is roof work and complex ducting needed, it could be more.

Pros
  • Had multiple contractors on team who could complete job
  • Will manage and oversee the job
  • Bath fan installation should be easy for most GCs
Cons
  • More expensive than hiring individual contractor on your own
  • May need to call around before a GC will want to do it (small job)

Before You Hire Anyone

It is essential for homeowners to check with their local building department to see if a building permit will need to be pulled for the bath fan. A permit will more likely need to be pulled if new wiring needs to be installed (new switches etc.), or if a new roof or wall hood is required.

If the bathroom fan is a simple replacement, then a building permit will likely NOT need to be pulled, but verify this with your local building department. I always recommend a permit get pulled if possible because it will help keep you safe in case there is a dispute and also to make sure the job is done correctly.

In addition, homeowners should...

  • Verify their experience installing bathroom fans (or installing ducting, roof covers, wiring etc.).
  • Verify that their contractor license is accurate and current
  • Get a copy of their liability insurance
  • Check references of their last customers (within last 60-days)
  • Get a bid for the entire job
  • Get a written contract that details the job and who supplies the materials (bath fan model, duct model and length, wall switch model etc.)
  • Have a written and agreed deadline of job completion
  • Hold some of the payment until it is 100% complete

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed my guide on who installs a bathroom fan. Just to summarize, here are the important points:

  • Multiple contractors can install a bathroom fan
  • Lean towards one contractor type depending on the job. If there is a lot of wiring involved (or it's a simple fan replacement), then go for an electrician. If you need new ducting, go for an HVAC tech. But if you want one person to handle all of it, then hire a general contractor or handyman.
  • Check if a building permit needs to be pulled
  • Verify licensing, insurance, and experience

I hope you enjoyed this guide from Home Inspector Secrets. Here are a few other guides and resources that are related:

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