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Why Is My Bathroom Fan Making Noise? (Read This First!)

A noisy bathroom fan indicates something is wrong with the fan. Most of the time, simple and fixable issues cause the noise.

Although sometimes, you may need to change the fan or internal parts to eliminate the noise. This article will provide in-depth information on the noisy bathroom fan and ways to fix it.

Reasons why bathroom fan making noise

An old and dirty fan causes loud irritating sound most of the time. Loose mounting equipment can also cause the problem. A cheap and low-quality fan will make sound from the day you install the fan. If those are not the issue, a loud sound can also indicate the fan motor is gone bad.

A fan is a machine that converts electricity to mechanical energy helping the air move. There is nothing in the world that moves or shakes and does not create sound. Therefore completely quiet fans do not exist. But there is a level of noise that seems quiet to us.

A bathroom fan is not an exception. A curtain level of sound does not irritate us, and we do not notice.  But when the sound is too loud, it becomes irritating and a matter of concern. So what causes the loud sound from your bathroom ceiling fan?

Before jumping into the causes, you should learn some basic info that may help you understand some fundamental fan noise concepts.

Most modern fans are carefully designed after lots of research and scientific calculation. A fan should not make a sound that makes you irritated. So when the fan sound is irritating you, there must be something wrong with the fan. So what can be the causes?

Bathroom fans are exposed to dirt and humidity, which can jam the fan’s proper movement, causing the sound. The fan’s motor can also be out of place, causing the sound.

Fans generate quite a lot of power, so the installation and mounting should be perfect so the fan gets a stable mount that can absorb the shocks from the fan. Improper installation and lose mounting can also cause a loud sound.

Sometimes, the screws of your bathroom fan can get loose, causing issues like loud sounds. A narrow air duct can also cause noise problems. When the fan pushes the air into small holes, the pressure is increased, which causes the sound.

Fan noise also depends on the quality of your fan. Branded and high-quality fans make less sound. While low-quality fans may be able to work fine, they are prone to make loud sounds.

There is a concept about the noise of electric appliances. The loudness of an electric device is measured by phon and sone. The relation between phon and sone is that 40 phon equals one sone.

There is an accepted loudness measure for every appliance. Such as, two sones are accepted for refrigerators. 1.5 to 5 sones is the range for ceiling fans. And for your bathroom fan, the sone measure should be similar to the ceiling fans.

Cheap fan companies do not follow those regulations to make their fans. So, they are inconsistent and more prone to make noise.

Good fans have quality motors and large propellers that reduce the fan sound. The bad-quality fan has a powerful motor, but the propellers are too small and produce more noise. 

Let’s go through different types of bathroom fans and their reason for making noise.

Bathroom exhaust fan

Bathroom exhaust fans are one of the essential components of a modern bathroom. A bathroom is a place with a lot of humidity. Humidity allows the dirt to sit and infestation of molds and mildews in the bathroom, creating an unhealthy environment.

But an exhaust fan removes all the moist air from the bathroom and keeps everything clean. So what causes a noisy respirations exhaust fan? Check out the following points.

An old dirty fan:

A dirty old fan can suddenly start making noise. Bathroom fans are exposed to humidity and dust. Did you ever wonder why the fans become dirty too fast?

There may be something to do with static energy. The blades become statically charged and attract nearby dust particles.

You can easily get rid of the sound by cleaning the dirt from the fan. We recommend removing the fan from the wall and cleaning it thoroughly.

Mold and dirt in the motor:

If mold and dirt get inside the motor of your bathroom exhaust fan, the motor can not spin freely, making irritating noise. When that happens, you can remove the fan from the wall and open the fan to clean the inside parts.

Bathroom ceiling fan

Some bathrooms may also have ceiling fans. Here are the top reasons why ceiling fans make noise.

Cloggy old fan:

A dirty and cloggy bathroom ceiling fan can make a loud sound. Regular cleaning can fix the loud sound from a ceiling fan.

Mounting issues:

If the ceiling fan mounting is improper and loose, the fan can shake and make a loud noise. So, make sure to mount your fan properly.

Is it normal?

Loud noise is not expected in your bathroom fan. But if you do not maintain your fan at all, it can start making a sound. If you have a bad-quality fan in your bathroom, noise is common.

If your fan started making noise recently, there must be something wrong with the fan. But if a new fan is making noise, you can check if the installation was proper and if the fan is of good quality one.

Why is my bathroom fan making a rattling noise when off?

Here are some reasons why a bathroom fan makes a rattling noise when you turn off the fan.

Loose mounting equipment:

Loose or broken mounting equipment can cause noise while turning the bathroom fan on and off. Make sure to install and mount the bathroom ceiling fan. If the mounting equipment is loose, tightening the bolts can fix the issue.

Shaky motor:

If the fan motor is not tightly set in place or some screw gets loose, the engine can make a sound by contacting hard surfaces around it. Remove the fan from the wall and open the fan. Insert some small rubber around the motor.

After that, set up the fan by adequately tightening the screws. Install the fan and check if the noise is fixed.

How do I stop my bathroom fan from making noise?

To stop your bathroom fan from making noise, you must find out the problem causing the issue. If the motor is going bad, the problem is not fixable.

You need to buy a new motor or fan. But if another problem is causing the issue, you can follow the following steps to fix or reduce the issue.


Inspect the fan closely while it is on and determine if mounting equipment is causing the issue. If that is not the issue, turn off the electricity and remove the fan from the ceiling or wall.


Clean the blades and body with soapy water. Ensure water does not reach the motors and electrical parts.

Open and check motor:

Open the fan’s cover and check out the motor. If the motor or inside part of the fan is dirty and cloggy, use a toothbrush to clean the fan’s internals. Do not use water.

Insert rubber:

If you think the motor is shaking while spinning, you can enter some rubber pieces that absorb the shock and sound and stabilize the motor.


Now, close the fan, install it properly, and check if the fan is working correctly.

Bathroom exhaust fan noise reduction – What to do?

Here is what you can do to reduce the noise of your exhaust fan.

Clean the fan:

Clean the visible dirt and dust from the fan. You do not need to remove the fan first. Doing this can reduce some noise most of the time.

Clean the motor:

A dirty motor of your bathroom exhaust fan can cause loud noise. Cleaning the fan motor can reduce the noise of the fan.

A new fan:

Some cheap fans will make noise no matter what you do. You can not reduce the sound of a cheap fan, but a good quality new fan will help you fix the issue.

Final Thoughts

A dirty fan, cloggy motor, improper mounting equipment, and many other reasons cause loud noise from your bathroom fan. You can fix most of them with a bit of DIY knowledge. If the motor is going bad or the fan is cheap, there is no practical way to improve the noise issue.