Any reason NOT to use a GE Fan Control for Bathroom Exhaust


(Allan) #1

I have four bathroom exhaust fans throughout the house and in this area the temperature/humidity outside can easily swing 40 points in a day. I have an accurate outdoor air and humidity sensor installed outside my garage that’s fed into SmartThings (Bringing in Analog Sensors & Misc Items to SmartThings using ST_Anything - My Writeup). I would like the ability to turn on and off my exhaust fans in the morning (and potentially late afternoons) based on indoor temperature, outdoor temp/humidity, and current thermostat mode (cooling). In other words I want to pre-cool the house for the cost of running some exhaust fans instead of later running AC. I also want to be able to auto turn on our master bedroom exhaust when the humidity is high (I have a temp/humidity sensor in the space).

Is there any technical reason (bad for fans, etc) that I can’t use a GE fan control switch on the bathroom exhaust fans and run them at a lower speed in this mode? I would think since the fan controls are made to run ceiling fans at low speed without burning them up it would work the same for bathroom exhausts. I have found multiple bathroom exhaust speed controllers that do the same type of thing so I would imagine it’s possible (https://www.amazon.com/NuTone-57W-Variable-Control-Ventilation/dp/B004Q01PQI, www.homedepot.com/p/Broan-Electronic-Variable-Speed-Fan-Control-in-White-57W/202905912, etc).


(Ray) #2

Most Washroom fans are not multi stage or variable fans so it requires constant 120v for venting. Anything less than full voltage is definitely not good for the fan. I have mostly Panasonic vent fans and a couple have motion sensor for low speed but still require 120 to operate.
So check your fan to be sure it’s a multi stage or variable fan. Most likely the controller you posted is for a typical ceiling fan.


(Ron Talley) #3

Interesting…I have 5 exhaust Fans that I use a regular GE Switch to control on/off. A couple of them sound like jet turbo engines! I though about just replacing them with quieter ones like the other 3.

I am now curious as well if I can run them at lower speeds using the Fan Controllers. Also wonder if it is possible, will they still do a decent job at pulling the humidity out of the air at lower speeds…


(Allan) #4

The controllers I posted are listed as “Variable-Speed Fan Control for Ventilation Fans”. In fact the controller is made by Broan and I know at least one of my exhausts is a Broan.

Think I’m going to need to pull the covers on all mine and get the models it sounds like. I would think if they models say they are compatible with the variable-speed controller from the same company that they also should be compatible with the GE fan controller?

I was thinking that manually turned on/off it would be high speed, on humidity it would be medium, and on “pre-cool” all would go to low. But that’s of course assuming I can even do it based on above response. If I can’t then I can’t and I might just swap out the two fans on the second floor with on/off switches since heat rises and that would be the most efficient thing to do.


#5

Since they are multi speed fans, you just have to check the exact specs and make sure the GE fan switch can handle the load.

As @Navat604 mentioned, many bathroom exhaust fans are not variable speed – – they are just on/off. In that case you would use a different switch.


(Paul Haskins) #6

The majority of these fans, as well as Broan kitchen exhaust fans, have one of those motors that I first saw in a 1950 era record player. Not sure what you call it but I many here have seen them.

They can be controlled by simple voltage reduction. Fact is I just bought one that is for 4" inline duct and a 10$ rheostat for it for a project. Current bathroom is a Broan, but I replaced the variable speed control for full on and a timer.