How to Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Fan Light Bulb

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You can replace a bathroom exhaust fan light bulb.
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In many bathrooms, an exhaust fan that contains a light bulb is commonplace. Though you likely have other light fixtures illuminating your bathroom, you'll probably wish to change the light bulb in your exhaust fan as soon as it burns out. Fortunately, it is usually fairly straightforward to change an exhaust fan light bulb. The approach for this minor repair may vary slightly depending on the type of exhaust fan you have.


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Important Safety Considerations

As with any repair in a bathroom, it's essential you keep water and power away from each other. Do not leave the water on in your sink or your shower running while you work on the exhaust fan. If possible, turn power off at the circuit breaker that controls the exhaust fan to minimize the risk of electric shock. No matter what, turn the light switch or knob that controls the exhaust fan off before you get started.

If you'll be using a stepladder or stool to reach the exhaust fan, ensure that it is firmly placed on the floor. The legs of a ladder or stool shouldn't be on grout lines or rugs, which may be unstable or uneven. Ask another adult to spot you while you climb the stool to change the exhaust fan light bulb.


If your exhaust fan is above your shower or tub, it's best not to put the stool or stepladder in the tub. If you must, make sure the legs are evenly placed within the tub. Also, be sure to dry the tub before you do anything else.

Replacing Exhaust Fan Light Bulb

Once you have ensured that you've safely prepared the area, climb up to the exhaust fan and remove the cover. Some have a nut at the center, which you will need to unscrew with a wrench.

Alternatively, you may need to pinch the corners of the exhaust fan cover and then pull it away to remove it. If you have the original instructions for your exhaust fan, refer to them before getting started to be sure you are proceeding properly. Some exhaust fans also have screws along the edge that may need to be removed.


Once the exhaust fan cover has been removed, you should see where the light bulb is secured. Unscrew it and check its type. Assuming you used the correct type of light bulb the last time you replaced it, you can install that same type of light bulb now. Check the manufacturer instructions to verify that the wattage of the light bulb is correct.

Other Exhaust Fan Maintenance

While you have the cover removed for light bulb replacement, you might consider washing it with water and a mild soap in your bathroom sink or tub. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the exhaust fan lid over time.


You can also run a cloth over the interior of the exhaust fan, assuming it is still disconnected from its power source via the circuit breaker switch. This will remove dust that would otherwise linger on the fan blades and enter the circulating air.



Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity.