This past week on the IoT Podcast, Brent called into our voicemail hotline with a question about bathroom exhaust fans. He has a small bathroom in an older home that doesn’t have an exhaust fan, so the humidity can be a problem. Brent is looking for an option that will automatically detect high humidity levels and then run the fan. So we’ll call this a “smart” fan, rather than a connected one. Fear not, however: We have choices for both smart and connected.
There are actually dozens of brands that offer bathroom exhaust fans with integrated humidity sensors, many of which are available from the big box home improvement stores. For example, I think this $139 option made by NuTone and sold at Home Depot would work well for Brent.
It can move 110 cubic feet of air per minute and includes a humidity sensor as well as a small LED overhead light. I looked at the specifications (PDF) to see if it would meet Brent’s needs for automatic air exhaust and found that it’s quite capable. There are two key user-adjustable settings: One is the humidity level setpoint (50 to 80%) for when the fan will turn on and the other is for how many minutes (5 to 60) the fan will continue to run, even after the humidity levels drop below the setpoint.
Note that there are several similar products that range in price and airflow, but I’d look for options that offer these user-dictated settings.
Stacey has two connected options that may require a little more installation effort and complexity but adds voice control to the mix if that’s desirable. Any regular exhaust fan can work with a smart switch and with the addition of a standalone humidity sensor, you could have a smart fan. Or, if you don’t mind a dehumidifier in the bathroom, you could forgo the overhead exhaust fan completely. With one of those plugged into a $79 Awair Glow C, the dehumidifier would run automatically whenever the Awair senses high humidity.
Although I’d personally opt for the exhaust fan with an integrated sensor, it’s possible in older homes this might be too much of a hassle due to running a vent. Or you might already have a standard exhaust fan installed. In those cases, one of the other two choices could work, so regardless if a home’s age and structure, there are multiple choices to pick from.
To hear Brent’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: