Can You Vent a Bathroom Fan Through a Gable?

Yes, you can vent your bathroom fan through a gable, and it is the best way to do it. It helps avoid the air blowing into your attic, which would allow mold and mildew to build up over time. 

Whether you already have a fan in your bathroom or want to install a new one, you can vent it through the gable from the wall. You can do it regardless of the material that composes your gable.

This article will explain step by step how to vent your bathroom fan through the gable and the benefits of doing so. Gather your materials and get ready to start on your bathroom vent renovations!

How To Vent Bathroom Fan Through a Gable

These are the steps to vent a bathroom through the gable:

  1. Gather your materials
  2. Choose your fan and gable placement
  3. Make an electrical plan
  4. Install the bathroom fan

Below are step-by-step directions detailing how to vent your bathroom fan through a gable. You can use these steps to vent anywhere in your home, too.

Gather Your Materials

First, gather the materials you need to vent and install a bathroom fan. Here are the tools and materials you need:

  • A drill and drill bits
  • An oscillating saw, a metal cutting blade, and a hole saw
  • A circuit tester, wire connectors, and a duct clamp
  • A putty knife, HVAC tape, and drywall
  • And, of course, a bathroom exhaust fan. 

Most of these items will be the same no matter what type or size fan you are installing. But the wire connectors and the fan type will vary. Ensure you note this in your electrical plan and that you know what you are doing – otherwise, contact an electrician. I will expand on electrical plans later on.

Choose Your Fan

Now, you must choose which fan you want to install in your bathroom. There are a few things to consider for this task. 

First, what size fan do you want? If you have a small gable, a smaller fan will look nicer. Or, if you have a more prominent gable, you can choose a more massive fan to be proportionate. 

If you are replacing a fan you already have in your bathroom, you can find one of a similar size. In this way, you can avoid having to make a more sizeable hole or replace some of your wall or ceiling to fit the new one. 

Consider the airflow in your bathroom. For a smaller bathroom, you can use a smaller fan. But, a more substantial bathroom needs more airflow, especially if you have a large shower or sink and a tub. 

There is an easy way to determine what size fan you need if you know the size of your bathroom. Find the cubic footage of your bathroom, then use the following formula to determine the cubic feet per minute or CFM you need.

Length x Width x Height x 0.13 = CFM

Then, when you pick out a fan and vent, you will want to choose one with the CFM you found with the formula. You can go with a greater-sized CFM fan, but do not go smaller. Otherwise, you will not have enough air flowing in your bathroom. 

You also need to choose the color and style of your fan. You want something to match your bathroom but also something you can appropriately install and vent with your gable. So, while style is important, remember that functionality comes first. 

Choose Your Placement on the Gable and in the Bathroom

It’s now time to decide where to install your fan. If you want it to vent out the gable, the most accessible place to install it is on the wall. Then, you can have the vent go directly outward from the bathroom through the gable. 

But, sometimes, this does not work as effortlessly, depending on where your bathroom and gable are. But if your lavatory is next to one of the gables in your home, this is the best option.

The other option is to mount your fan on the ceiling and let it exhaust through your roof or attic. But, if you choose this option, you will not be able to vent it through the gable unless you go through the attic and out of a high gable. You will have to mount the fan on the wall if you do not have a higher-up gable or if the housetop is opposite your bathroom wall. 

Make an Electrical Plan

The next step is to make an electrical plan to hook up your fan. You can add a new ventilation switch or hook it up to an existing switch. If you are not a trained electrician or would rather skip this part of the process, I recommend you hire an electrician to help you. 

But, if you are comfortable with electricity, you can do the setup all on your own, as it is not a complex process. And even if you are unsure what to do, check out this Youtube video from Benjamin Sahlstrom for help.

Remember to turn the power on your house off before doing any electrical work!

Install the Bathroom Fan

Finally, it is time to install your bathroom fan! If you already have a fan installed, you need to remove that first. Again, make sure you turn off your power before you start to remove the fan. 

And, if you have an old fan that already vents through your housetop, you can hook the new one up to the old vent system. Otherwise, you will need to install the vent through the gable and then install the fan. 

For a quick guide that includes the removal of an old fan and the installation of a new one, check out this video on Youtube from The Home Depot.

You will also need to adjust the installation process depending on the material of your housetop. Certain types will require more caution when cutting into the gable to install the vent. 

For example, if you have a rooftop ridge made of cedar shakes, you must carefully drill through the gable and make a hole through multiple layers of material. You can see an example of venting through a cedar shakes gable in this video from Electrician Ron on Youtube.

Benefits of Venting Through the Gable

Finally, let’s look at all the benefits of venting your bathroom fan through a gable wall. 

You can vent your bathroom through the ceiling with the fan going into the attic. But then the air gets stuck in your attic and has nowhere to go. 

Over time, this air will cause mold and mildew to grow in your attic, resulting in more problems than it is worth. With the air blowing directly outside through the gable, you do not have to worry about the moist air in your home.

Other types of ventilation, like soffit ventilation systems, can also gather moist air.

Furthermore, you can vent a fan through your gable regardless of the type of material your gable uses. Keep in mind, though, that there are different installation methods to use depending on your rooftop ridge and the size fan you are installing.

If you already have a fan that vents into the attic or a hallway, you can always change the venting and redirect it to the gable. This process will be even easier if your fan is on the gable wall.

You can also simply add a gable vent to your attic. This addition is especially helpful if your attic doesn’t have good ventilation and you use often or keep it as a storage room.

And, as you can see in the step-by-step guide above, it is not too difficult to vent your bathroom fan through a gable. Even if you need to use some Youtube videos to help you, it is not a complicated procedure. 

Except for electricity, anyone can install this kind of bathroom ventilation. The electricity should be left to an expert if you do not have the necessary experience and knowledge to wire your fan. 

Also, the materials needed for this installation, including the fan, tend to be cheaper than others, like those you would need for roof ventilation systems.

Finally, vents in your gable are not too noticeable. Since many homes have them, they look natural. And, as long as you choose a color and style that match your home, it will not be challenging to make it blend in.

Final Thoughts

Venting a bathroom fan through a gable is not only possible but easy to do, even if you have never done so before. 

Besides the electrical work to hook up the fan, you should not have difficulty installing the vent through the gable. And this is the best way to vent a bathroom fan, especially if the other option is through your attic, which can lead to mold.

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