Can You Put a Ceiling Fan in a Bathroom?

Maybe you’re looking to add a little decoration to an otherwise bland-looking bathroom, or you to make the room a little less stuffy. Either way, it begs the question of whether it’s worthwhile to put a ceiling fan in the bathroom.

Ceiling fans are a great addition to a bathroom for the purpose or removing moisture from a shower; however, only special types of ceiling fans work in a bathroom. You must ensure that the fan is shower rated and is installed by a certified electrician.

There are lots of types of fans that can work in a bathroom, and the rest of this article will discuss everything you need to know before investing in a ceiling fan for your bathroom.

Ceiling fan in a bathroom

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Is It Safe to Put a Ceiling Fan in the Bathroom?

It is perfectly safe to put a ceiling fan in a bathroom, but it’s recommended to let the professionals handle this one. When buying a ceiling fan for your bathroom, be sure to check for a damp or wet rating icon on the box.

This indicates that the fan is suitable for moisture-rich environments. Fans not rated for damp environments are extremely dangerous when used in a bathroom due to the risk of electric shock. 

Improperly installed ceiling fans in the bathroom are particular susceptible to moisture, so if your insulation isn’t properly protecting the fan, then your ceiling fan is at risk of developing mold or mildew at the installation site.

The dampness can result in the fan becoming a falling hazard. Wiring can also be tricky, so it’s best to rely on the pros for proper installation.

Properly installed, ceiling fans can be a good idea for bathrooms because the natural moisture buildup from showering can seep into the walls, formulating a perfect environment for mold and mildew.

As such, a properly-installed ceiling fan is a perfect to remove excess moisture from the bathroom.

While a ceiling fan doesn’t have the same moisture-removal capabilities as an exhaust fan, it can move the air around enough to prevent stagnation and the subsequent buildup of moisture clinging to the walls.

In small bathrooms, a blade size of 36-42 inches is suitable, while a large bathroom may need blade sizes of over 52 inches to ensure proper air circulation.

What Type of Ceiling Fan Should You Use in a Bathroom?

Regular ceiling fans are suitable for bathrooms that have a window. The presence of a window is critical for the effectiveness of traditional ceiling fans. Without it, a ceiling fan can’t do much in the way of removing moisture.

For enclosed bathrooms, an exhaust fan is much more practical for the exchange of air. These generally have a small footprint and don’t take up much space in the bathroom.

Some models also come with heated lights, so you don’t have to worry about the cold when stepping out of the shower!

Built-in exhaust fans generally aren’t very good and make a lot of noise, which is why many people turn to higher-quality fans that aren’t as loud. Whether you’re using a ceiling fan or an exhaust fan, make sure it’s used regularly for best results.

Where Should a Ceiling Fan be Placed in a Bathroom?

The best place for a ceiling fan is near the shower but not directly above it. This placement allows for the best air flow to remove moisture from the shower without directly sucking heat from the shower itself.

As such, this installation placement is best if you want to avoid those dreaded chills when stepping out of the shower. When considering placement, make sure there are no obstructions (i.e. towel racks, appliances, shelving units) between the fan and the shower.

These will block airflow and prevent your ceiling fan from working properly. Lastly, if you have a separate bath and shower, place the ceiling fan somewhere in between them.

Since both generate moisture from usage, the ceiling fan will do a better job of removing moisture if it is situated in an optimal middle ground between them.

Can You Put a Ceiling Fan in a Shower?

There is no particular hazard to putting a ceiling fan in a shower, but surprisingly, there’s little to no benefit by placing the ceiling fan directly above the shower.

Due to the rate at which the air is being exhausted, the air outside the shower will be that much colder if the fan is above the shower (unless you take cold showers, of course).

This is due to the fact that the replacement air can’t replace the steam that’s being extracted as quickly, negating the fan’s effectiveness. If you’re insistent on putting a fan above a shower, you must make sure the fan is rated for showers.

Using a non-suitable fan in a shower is an extreme safety hazard so take heed of the rating on the box before you buy a fan.

In addition, you’ll need a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). If you’re not already experienced working with electrical equipment in damp areas, this isn’t a DIY project.

A GFCI protects against the risk of electric shock and is of the utmost importance in shower-installed fans.


Bathroom ceiling fans are generally a good idea when installed properly and used correctly. Always make sure your ceiling fan is rated for damp environments to avoid any electrical hazards and install it near, but not directly above the shower.

Traditional bladed ceiling fans are pretty useful for moving air around, and they are functional to remove steam in bathrooms with windows. After your shower, just open the window and let the fan run for at least 20 minutes.

Exhaust fans are a viable alternative in enclosed bathrooms where traditional ceiling fans just won’t cut it. They extract steam and replace it with fresh air to prevent the buildup of moisture, preventing mold and mildew from taking root in a bathroom.

Whatever kind of fan you choose, when dealing with difficult environments, it’s better to let certified electricians handle the installation of your fan.