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Bathroom Exhaust Fan Fires


Mike Lamb
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A long, long time ago my Dad asked me to see why the exhaust fan in our basement bathroom wasn't working. i took the cover off and found it was packed with lint. The fan shared the same duct as the clothes dryer. Anyway, I digress.

The Aurora, IL FD has reported 3 bathroom fan fires in the last few months.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=366735

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A long, long time ago my Dad asked me to see why the exhaust fan in our basement bathroom wasn't working. i took the cover off and found it was packed with lint. The fan shared the same duct as the clothes dryer. Anyway, I digress.

The Aurora, IL FD has reported 3 bathroom fan fires in the last few months.

On a lighter note, the last home I lived in used the entire space under the foyer steps as a central return duct. That space backed up to our half bath in the foyer, which was also under the stairs. It had a through the wall vent fan piped through that same space with flex duct, which used to fall off the fan unit all the time offering a whole new spectrum to air conditioning...

There have been several very serious fires here due to clogged dryer vent pipes.

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Thanks Mike L. Never heard of that before, but it makes sense. Time to update my boilerplate:

The exhaust fan is noisy, dusty or is not moving as much air as it should. The air flow in electric exhaust fans is also used to keep the motors within them cool. Reduced air flow means hot motors which can then become sources of ignition.

Another good argument to legally mandate home inspections before properties can be sold.

Marc

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I don't know if common sense explains it. I hadn't realized it myself that the combination of a bearing defect in those little motors and a dust buildup could start a fire.

I had thought that those motors were of the 'impedance protected' variety. Meaning that the locked rotor current was not enough to produce a hazardous temperature. The OP says otherwise and people died from the consequences.

Marc

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  • 1 year later...

I have a similar question. I'm going to try to replace my own bathroom fan! If you knew me, you would question this decision. :) Regardless, I want to try to do it myself. Can someone suggest where to get a replacement fan and how to install it? I need to get one online so what websites sell the fans? The only suggestion I have gotten from another forum is to try this link deleted by modsite. If you have used them, can you please give me a review so that I know what I'm getting into? Thanks for the help!

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Carlee,

nearly all the regular big box stores sell stuff online. Likely there is a zillion different venders incl your link. An added advantage is they seem to be in "your backyard". What are you replacing? I will leave it up to a moderator to leave this or zap it.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I don't know if common sense explains it. I hadn't realized it myself that the combination of a bearing defect in those little motors and a dust buildup could start a fire.

I had thought that those motors were of the 'impedance protected' variety. Meaning that the locked rotor current was not enough to produce a hazardous temperature. The OP says otherwise and people died from the consequences.

Marc

That's why the ducting is supposed to meet UL 181 for fire resistance. Ceiling fans have the same issue. Had on once that only had two speeds, after a while of not moving on what should've been the low speed, the casing was hot enough to cook on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a similar question. I'm going to try to replace my own bathroom fan! If you knew me, you would question this decision. :) Regardless, I want to try to do it myself. Can someone suggest where to get a replacement fan and how to install it? I need to get one online so what websites sell the fans? The only suggestion I have gotten from another forum is to try this link deleted by modsite. If you have used them, can you please give me a review so that I know what I'm getting into? Thanks for the help!

how about just replacing the motor,many appliance parts places sell them for under $20.00
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I don't know if common sense explains it. I hadn't realized it myself that the combination of a bearing defect in those little motors and a dust buildup could start a fire.

I had thought that those motors were of the 'impedance protected' variety. Meaning that the locked rotor current was not enough to produce a hazardous temperature. The OP says otherwise and people died from the consequences.

Marc

most of those motors dont have bearings,just a bushing
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I don't know if common sense explains it. I hadn't realized it myself that the combination of a bearing defect in those little motors and a dust buildup could start a fire.

I had thought that those motors were of the 'impedance protected' variety. Meaning that the locked rotor current was not enough to produce a hazardous temperature. The OP says otherwise and people died from the consequences.

Marc

most of those motors dont have bearings,just a bushing

You're right. I learned that since making that post. Same for condenser fans.

Marc

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Babbit metal.....where do you get good babbit metal nowadays?

Lotsa guys doing special order work on antique car engines in their basements that still pour babbit bearings. You just don't hear about them.

After seeing the prices that some of that specilized stuff is commanding, I'm thinking of doing something similar after I get Rusty Hawk restored. I've got some of those forgotten skills; I might as well put them to use.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm surprised anyone here knew what babbit was. I had several hundred pounds of it that I had collected as a teenager from a nearby oilfield to melt down into barbell plates. Babbit is used to anchor the steel cables to the rocker arms on oilfield pumpers.

I've since recycled most if it. I've maybe a hundred pounds left.

Marc

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