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Making a splash

Mar 2019 Ventilation | Comments Off on Making a splash
Making a splash

Installing a bathroom fan is a standard job for most electricians but what needs to be considered when installing in Zone 1 – the splash zone? And with so many fans to choose from, which features should electricians look out for? Mick Daniels, sales director at National Ventilation, talks about the latest Zone 1 fans

Ease of installation. Reliability. Quiet operation. Good indoor air quality. These are all considered essentials in all types of ventilation. But what features do the latest bathroom fans have that help achieve these aims and what else can they offer? And when it comes to installing ventilation in the splash zone of a bathroom, what additional details need to be considered?

Safety is crucial when installing a fan. In smaller bathrooms where space is at a premium, or in a wet room, there is always potential for a fan to be splashed. So when installing in the splash zone, classified as Zone 1, it’s essential to select a fan that is rated for this area.

The new IEE Wiring Regulations 18th Edition gives guidance on bathroom zoning and the ingress protection (IP) rating fans need depending on their zoning location. Zone 1 covers the exterior of the bath or shower tray to a height of 2.25 metres above the floor. In this zone a minimum of an IP45 rated fan is required. Fans such as the Monsoon Zone 1 Silence Range from National Ventilation achieve the necessary IP45 rating for safe installation in Zone 1 without the need for a low voltage transformer and are protected from low pressure water jets from any direction.

The evolution of installation

To aid easy install in a potentially small room, a fan that is designed for wall, ceiling or window mounting is essential, as locating a fan is not always easy, especially if the homeowner wants to avoid redecorating. The latest fans also come with additional features to make install easier that will impress electricians. For example, the new Monsoon Zone 1 Silence Range is easier than ever to install thanks to the larger terminal block making wiring easier; a new spirit level bubble to ensure a straight install; and a choice of three sizes: 100mm, 125mm and 150mm.

Another thing to look out for on top of safety and ease of install is reliability. Unnecessary call backs from customers not only cost time and money to fix, they also damage reputations. A reliable fan is essential to any electrician and the Monsoon Zone 1 Silence range addresses this with its reliable ball bearing motor service life of 40,000 hours and an unprecedented five-year guarantee as well as being Part F and L compliant.

Every electrician wants happy customers as this enhances reputation and regularly leads to more work. So what are households looking for in a Zone 1 bathroom fan? Regularly topping the list are low noise levels and good indoor air quality (IAQ), but not all fans can offer these together. Nobody wants to be disturbed by a noisy fan, no matter how effective it is and this can lead to fans being turned off just to gain some peace and quiet, resulting in the formation of condensation, mould and subsequent poor IAQ.

Good IAQ and low noise are essential

Consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of good IAQ as air pollution repeatedly features in the press. Without good ventilation in a home, IAQ can potentially deteriorate and lead to condensation, mould and a build-up of toxic chemicals.

The recent White Paper ‘Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings’ cites that poor IAQ is reported to cost the UK over 204,000 healthy life years, with 45% of those lost to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to asthma and allergy and 15% to lung cancer. This follows on from the Royal College of Physicians warning in 2016 that indoor air pollutants cause at a minimum, thousands of deaths per year and are associated with healthcare costs in the order of ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

Key to achieving low noise levels and good IAQ are the latest innovative domestic ventilation solutions that provide high extraction rates with low energy use. For example, the Monsoon Zone 1 Silence range achieves both and has an exceptionally quiet running volume as low as 22dB(A), 50% quieter than many fans on the market. Another feature to further reduce noise are the rubber anti-vibration mounts designed for motor vibration absorption and noise insulation.

So having addressed the key point of low noise levels and good IAQ, what other features do end users desire? Households are keen to keep energy bills to a minimum and selecting an energy efficient fan is a great selling point for electricians.

For example, the Zone 1 Monsoon Silence Range features a low energy motor with a maximum consumption of 7.5W and a low SFP of 0.33w/l/s. Choice in how the fan is triggered is also an attractive option. Bathroom fans used to be either on or off but now there are a range of control options including basic and timer control as well as humidistats that react to changes in humidity or PIR sensors to identify room occupancy. By having a variety of control options, they can be tailored to a households’ individual requirements.

Looking good

And finally, aesthetics are increasingly important, with a greater focus on style and home décor than in previous years. A neatly installed fan will look great when it’s new, but what about two or three years later? Plastic can degrade and discolour over time, ruining the look of the fan and affecting the overall look of a bathroom.

The option of fans with a casing and impeller made of durable high-quality UV-resistant plastic, which will maintain its appearance over time, is a great feature to look out for. An alternative that will also tick the aesthetics box for households is the option of a chrome finish, available with Monsoon Zone 1 Silence range’s 100mm models, making this stylish fan match well with any modern interior.

By selecting a fan that offers low noise, high extraction rates and low energy use as well as looking good and is safe, easy and practical to install in the splash zone, households will benefit from improved IAQ, lower bills and a bathroom free from mould and condensation without having to put up with the annoying drone associated with many bathroom fans.