Fix a Bathroom Exhaust Fan That’s Leaking Water: 5 Easy Steps

If you’ve discovered water leaking from your bathroom exhaust fan, it’s important to take action and fix the issue as soon as possible. Not only is this a potentially serious problem, but it can also lead to costly repairs down the road.

In this post, we’ll show you how to identify the source of the leak and how to fix it. We’ll also provide some tips on how to prevent this issue from happening again in the future. So if you’re experiencing a bathroom exhaust fan leak, read on for advice on what to do about it.

What Causes Bathroom Exhaust Fans to Leak?

 What Causes Bathroom Exhaust Fans to Leak

Bathroom exhaust fans can sometimes experience leaks due to a variety of factors. Here are some common reasons behind bathroom exhaust fan leaks:

  1. Improper Installation: One of the leading causes of leaks is incorrect installation. If the fan is not properly sealed and secured to the ceiling or wall, gaps can develop that allow moisture to escape. Additionally, if the ductwork is not connected or sealed correctly, water vapor can condense and leak back into the fan housing.
  2. Condensation: Bathrooms are humid environments, and when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, condensation can occur. If the fan housing or ductwork is not adequately insulated or if there are gaps, condensation can form and eventually lead to leaks.
  3. Inadequate Ventilation: If the fan is not powerful enough for the size of the bathroom, it might not be able to remove all the moisture-laden air effectively. This can lead to excess humidity in the room, resulting in condensation and leaks.
  4. Blocked or Clogged Ducts: Airflow can be restricted if the duct leading from the fan to the outside becomes blocked or clogged with debris. This can cause moisture to back into the fan housing and leak through openings.
  5. Roof or Wall Penetrations: If the exhaust duct passes through the roof or exterior wall, improper sealing around these penetrations can allow water to enter. Leaks can occur where the duct meets the exterior surface, especially if flashing or weatherproofing materials are not correctly installed.
  6. Roof or Wall Damage: Any damage to the roof or exterior wall where the exhaust duct exits can lead to leaks. This could include missing shingles, cracks, or gaps allowing water to seep.
  7. Old or Damaged Fan: Over time, the fan can develop cracks or damage that allow water to enter. Additionally, worn-out seals and gaskets might no longer provide a watertight barrier.

To prevent bathroom exhaust fan leaks, it’s essential to ensure proper installation, use an appropriately sized and powerful fan, regularly clean and maintain the fan and ducts, and address any damage or leaks promptly. If you’re experiencing persistent leaks, consulting a professional for a thorough assessment and repairs is a good idea.

What To Check When Water Is Dripping From The Fan?

When water is dripping from a bathroom exhaust fan, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards. Here’s a checklist of things to check and steps to take when you notice water dripping from the fan:

  1. Turn Off the Fan: The first step is to turn off the bathroom exhaust fan to prevent any potential electrical hazards. Water and electricity do not mix, so ensure the fan is disconnected from power.
  2. Inspect the Fan Housing: Carefully examine the fan housing and surrounding area. Look for any visible signs of leaks, such as water stains, moisture accumulation, or water droplets on the fan unit.
  3. Check Ductwork Connections: Follow the ductwork from the fan to where it exits your home. Check for any disconnected or improperly sealed duct connections. Make sure that the duct is securely attached to both the fan and the exterior vent.
  4. Examine Roof or Wall Vent: Inspect the vent cover or cap if the exhaust duct exits through the roof or an exterior wall. Ensure it is intact, properly sealed, and free from damage. Look for gaps or cracks around the vent that could allow water to enter.
  5. Check for Condensation: In humid environments, condensation can form on cooler surfaces. If the fan or ductwork is not adequately insulated, it can lead to moisture accumulation and dripping. Consider adding insulation to prevent condensation.
  6. Inspect Attic or Crawl Space: If the duct travels through an attic or crawl space, inspect these areas for any signs of water leaks, condensation, or damaged ducts. Ensure that the insulation is in good condition and not blocking the airflow.
  7. Address Roof or Wall Damage: Check for any damage in these areas if the exhaust duct exits through the roof or exterior wall. Missing shingles, cracks, or gaps could allow water to infiltrate.
  8. Check for Proper Slope: The duct should have a slight downward slope from the fan to the exterior vent. This slope encourages water to drain away from the fan rather than pooling inside.
  9. Consider a Damper: Installing a backdraft damper can prevent outside air, including rain, from entering the duct when the fan is not in use.
  10. Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure about the source of the leak or unable to identify and fix the issue, it’s wise to consult a professional, such as a qualified HVAC technician or a contractor experienced in ventilation systems. They can conduct a thorough assessment and provide appropriate solutions.

Remember that addressing water dripping from a bathroom exhaust fan promptly can prevent further damage, mold growth, and potential safety hazards. Regular maintenance and inspections can help ensure the proper functioning of your ventilation system and prevent leaks in the future.

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5 Easy Steps to Fix a Bathroom Exhaust Fan That’s Leaking Water

If you’re experiencing water dripping from your bathroom exhaust fan, it’s time to take action. Follow these 5 easy steps to get the fan fixed and water stop dripping everywhere:

Step Number One: Inspect the Exhaust Fan Filter

The filter is likely defective if you’re experiencing water leakage from your bathroom exhaust fan. First, ensure the filter is in good condition by removing and inspecting it. If there are any signs of damage or wear, replace the filter immediately.

Step Number Two: Tighten the Exhaust Fan screws

Some exhaust fans may require tightening of screws near the fan housing to ensure proper airflow and reduce water leakage. Ensure all screws are tightened securely and evenly across each housing side before re-installing the fan.

Step Number Three: Clean the Exhaust Fan Blade and Contact Points

If water leaks from your exhaust fan because of dirty or corroded contact points, it will be difficult to fix the issue. To prevent water leakage in the future, clean both the blade and contact points on your bathroom exhaust fan regularly with a cleaner designed specifically for this purpose. Applying a small amount of oil may also help reduce friction and wear on these vital components.

Step Number Four: Turn Off the Power to Bathroom Exhaust Fan Before Repairing

It’s important to turn off the power to the fan before beginning any repairs to prevent accidental injury. Detach the electrical cord from the wall socket and gently pull it out on either end of the wire so it’s loose. Disconnect all wires from switches, receptacles, or junction boxes nearby.

Step Number Five: Repair the Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Once you’ve verified that all screws are tightened firmly and that your filter is in good condition, it’s time to repair your bathroom exhaust fan. Remove each screw holding down the housing cover by unscrewing it. Clean the inside and outside of the housing with a cleaner designed for this purpose, then apply a small amount of oil to the blade and contact points.

Replace each screw and replace the housing cover again before re-connecting all wires to switches, receptacles, or junction boxes. Finally, test your fan by turning it on and off several times to ensure proper operation.

How can I repair my bathroom exhaust fan at home?

If your bathroom exhaust fan has stopped working, there are a few things you can try to repair yourself. First, check the fuse or circuit breaker to ensure the power is still on. If it is, then the problem may be with the motor.

Next, you can try cleaning the engine by removing any dust or debris blocking it. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the motor.

Another possible issue could be with the vent ductwork. Ensure there are no holes or gaps in the ductwork, allowing air to escape and preventing the fan from working correctly. Also, check to see if the ductwork is plugged in or blocked. If it is, you’ll need to clean it out or replace it.

Finally, if your fan is still not working, you may need to call a professional to help you troubleshoot the problem.

How to Stop a Bathroom Exhaust Fan From Leaking?

Stopping a bathroom exhaust fan from leaking requires a systematic approach to identify and address the underlying causes. Follow these detailed methods to prevent leaks from your bathroom exhaust fan effectively:

1. Check Installation and Sealing:

  • Ensure that the fan unit is securely mounted and properly sealed to the ceiling or wall.
  • Inspect the gaskets or seals around the fan housing and any joints. Replace any damaged or worn seals.
  • Make sure that the duct connections are properly sealed with approved HVAC tape or sealant.

2. Insulate Ductwork:

  • Insulate the exhaust duct to prevent condensation. Wrap the duct with insulation sleeves or tape designed for this purpose.
  • Ensure that insulation doesn’t block the duct’s airflow or restrict the fan’s operation.

3. Repair Damaged Parts:

  • Repair or replace any damaged parts, such as cracked fan housings or broken seals, that might be causing leaks.
  • If the fan unit is damaged, consider replacing it with a new one better suited for your bathroom’s humidity levels.

4. Verify Duct Slope:

  • Check that the exhaust duct has a slight downward slope from the fan to the exterior vent. This encourages water to drain away from the fan.
  • Adjust the duct’s alignment if necessary to ensure proper drainage.

5. Inspect Exterior Vent:

  • Examine the exterior vent cover or cap. Make sure it’s intact, securely attached, and properly sealed to the exterior wall or roof.
  • If the vent cover is damaged or missing, replace it with a suitable replacement that has proper weather protection.

6. Add Backdraft Damper:

  • Install a backdraft damper in the exhaust duct. This prevents outside air, including rain, from entering the duct when the fan is not in use.

7. Consider Roof Flashing:

  • If the duct exits through the roof, consider installing roof flashing around the vent to create a watertight seal between the vent and the roof surface.

8. Improve Ventilation:

  • Ensure that your bathroom is adequately ventilated. Use the exhaust fan during and after showers to remove excess humidity and moisture.
  • Consider using a dehumidifier in the bathroom if you experience persistent high humidity levels.

9. Regular Maintenance:

  • Clean the fan and ducts regularly to prevent dust and debris buildup that can contribute to leaks.
  • Schedule annual maintenance checks to inspect the fan, ductwork, and ventilation system for any signs of wear or damage.

10. Professional Help:

  • If you cannot identify or resolve the leak, seek assistance from a qualified HVAC technician or contractor experienced in ventilation systems. They can conduct a thorough assessment and provide expert solutions.

By addressing these methods, you can effectively stop leaks from your bathroom exhaust fan and maintain a dry, comfortable bathroom environment. Regular maintenance and proactive measures will help prevent leaks from occurring in the future.

How do I know if my bathroom exhaust fan is vented properly?

If your bathroom exhaust fan isn’t vented properly, it may not work as well as it should. One way to tell if your fan is properly ventilated is to check the ductwork leading from the fan to the outside of your home.

If there are holes or gaps in the ductwork, air can escape, preventing the fan from working correctly. Also, check to see if the ductwork is plugged in or blocked. If it is, you’ll need to clean it out or replace it.

Another way to tell if your bathroom exhaust fan is vented properly is to look for condensation outside the ductwork. If there is condensation, the air escapes, and the fan isn’t working as efficiently as it could be.

4″ Ducting correctly satisfies 99% of all residential air flow and ducting requirements. Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should bathroom fans be replaced?

Bathroom fans must be replaced every 8-10 years, depending on how often they’re used. If your fan is beginning to show signs of wear or isn’t working as well as it used to, it may be time for a replacement.

2. How do you seal a bathroom fan?

There are a few ways to seal a bathroom fan. First, you can use weatherstripping around the edges of the fan housing. This will help create a tight seal and prevent air from leaking out. Another option is to apply silicone caulk around the perimeter of the fan. This will also create a seal and help prevent air leaks.

3. Can you replace just the fan on the bathroom exhaust fan?

Yes, you can replace just the fan on a bathroom exhaust fan. To do this, you’ll need to remove the old fan and housing and install the new one in the same location. Make sure to follow all manufacturer instructions so you don’t damage the new fan.

4. How much does it cost to replace a bathroom exhaust fan?

Replacing a bathroom exhaust fan typically costs between $100 and $500, depending on your type of fan. You may also need to pay for labor if you hire a professional to install the new fan.

5. Does exhaust fan water leaking cause mold growth?

Yes, if your bathroom exhaust fan leaks water, it can cause mold issues. Mold thrives in damp and dark environments, so a leaky exhaust fan is a perfect place for it to grow. If you notice mold growing around your exhaust fan, you’ll need to clean it and repair the leak to prevent the mold from returning.


So, if your bathroom exhaust fan is leaking water, don’t panic. It’s a relatively easy fix as long as you have the right tools and are comfortable with some basic home repairs. We hope this article has been helpful and that you can now fix your bathroom exhaust fan on your own.