How to replace a Broan 162 bathroom fan

This post is a bit off topic but since I already went to the trouble of writing this up for the product review, I mind as well post it here.

I bought this Broan 162 1-Bulb Opening Heater Bath Fan with Light as a direct replacement to ease installation since the vent would match up. It’s a fairly complex installation requiring sheet rock repair. The motor on this unit is smaller than the old one. Unit can be wired to operate light in sync with fan or independently. I only have two switched in my bathroom to operate 3 functions (vanity light, fan, fan light) so two must operate in sync. I don’t want the fan to come on with the vanity light and I don’t want the fan light to come on with the fan so my solution was to wire the fan light to operate with the fan and simply screw in a bulb loosely so it does not light. I didn’t want to leave the socket exposed to moisture. I also didn’t want to put in a 250 watt heat bulb since that’s a waste of electricity while showering and after to vent the steam.

The only problem I found with the unit was the vent connection is not tapered so it was a challenge to insert it into an existing vent pipe. I ended up breaking the fragile plastic damper hinge. Since it did not affect the function, I just removed it.

Items needed: plastic sheets, sheet rock saw, foam board or cardboard, sheet rock repair compound, putty knife, socket set, sheet rock screws, optional drill to mount new fan, external light source since you will need to turn off the power to the bathroom, ladder, eye protection, dust mask.

Replacement time is from 2-4 hours. Total time with painting is about 2 days.

Steps for installation:

Turn off the power to the fixture at the fuse box and mark the switch to make sure no one turns it back on while work is in progress

Create a dust chamber around the fan with a plastic sheet to minimize sheet rock dust.

  1. Cut a 16″ square hole around the existing fan making sure you cut half way into the existing mounting studs. A small circular saw helps but it can be done with a hand saw or even a regular circular saw if you’re careful.The fan mounts on rails attached to studs 16″ apart. The rails run along the mounting screws on two sides.
  2. Remove old fan and replace. I chose to screw in the new rails instead of nailing them to minimize vibration and insure a tight mount. The vertical alignment is not critical since it can be adjusted.
  3. Wire the fan and test. I also duct taped the vent connection.
  4. To repair the sheet rock, create a template with a piece of foam board or cardboard. Smear toothpaste on the fan vent box so the size can be transferred to the template when pressed. Transfer the template to a piece of sheet rock. It’s better to error on the side of making the replacement too big. You can always shave it with a razor to fine tune.
  5. Mount the sheet rock piece by screwing it into the studs. This is why it’s important to cut the hole 1/2 way into the existing mounting studs. Adjust the height of the fan to minimize gaps between the sheet rock and fan housing.
  6. Apply repair compound, sand, and repaint. If your ceiling is textured, do your best to match the texture. Do not use the shower until 24 hours after painting.