In the competitive shower fan market, it is not uncommon for installers to improvise in an effort to deliver greater performance, however these considerations should be taken into account much earlier on in the process. Lee Stones, category manager at Xpelair, stresses the crucial role manufacturers play in challenging the status quo when looking into new product development.
Speak to any bathroom installer and they will be familiar with the concept of inline shower fans. Designed to reduce condensation in the bathroom and prevent the build-up of mould, they have been a mainstay of the bathroom ventilation market for many years, combining high margin opportunities for installers with the simplest of operation for homeowners. But what if there is a better way of doing things?
That is exactly what Xpelair asked itself as part of a continued programme of innovative product development which is already shaking up the domestic ventilation sector.
Inline fans are designed with the fan hidden within the loft space, positioned between two lengths of flexible ducting leading to the bathroom and the outside wall. Traditionally, this design has prevented the need for a noisy fan to be positioned on the ceiling directly above the shower, although many would argue that what’s gained in noise reduction is lost in airflow performance, not to mention the inconvenience of installation and maintenance in the dark, difficult loft space. Now, thanks to continued innovation and a fresh pair of eyes, Xpelair believes there is a new way to approach shower fans.
Low noise, high performance
One of the main advancements in domestic ventilation in recent years has been to reduce the noise of fans and the development of Xpelair’s Simply Silent collection has been central to this sector-wide progress.
An independent study by Xpelair shows around 14.5 million UK adults are being affected by having a noisy bathroom fan in their home and more than 4.5 million adults have been woken up or kept awake by a noisy fan.
More than an inconvenience, the findings prove that unnecessary discomfort, stress and even poor health can be attributed to noisy bathroom fans. This is without taking into account the effect noisy fans can have on new parents, eager to make sure their babies and toddlers are getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
The research highlights a very real problem for many homeowners but it also suggests people are just putting up with noisy fans – perhaps because they don’t know any better.
Highlighting the issue, of course, is just one part of the problem. Now it is vital for manufacturers like Xpelair to provide bathroom installers and electricians with the products to help their customers - and as our extensive research and development shows, high performance levels do not necessarily mean high noise levels.
Commitment to innovate
Behind the scenes at Xpelair, there has been huge investment in our research and development teams and in our manufacturing facilities. Unlike some of our competitors that have introduced one or two silent products, our mission is to make all of our bathroom fans silent and really set the industry benchmark. We are committed to improving health and wellbeing through indoor air quality and air comfort – and this includes noise levels in the bathroom.
This commitment to innovate, in response to the research findings, has driven the development of the Simply Silent family, a wide range of domestic solutions using our innovative Ghost Air Movement Technology to deliver near-silent running. With Simply Silent Contour, Contour Constant Volume and DX100 wall or ceiling mounted fans, together with a range of unique shower fans, the family is already proving its worth – and with the anticipated addition of the Simply Silent Illumi this December the line continues to grow successfully.
The Simply Silent family has tackled the issue of noise from the bathroom head-on and delivered a high performance solution to help installers meet demand from homeowners, housebuilders and social landlords – but it has also opened up new opportunities for shower fans.
With near silent running, shower fans no longer have to be hidden in the loft space. Instead, ceiling mounted shower fans can deliver improved performance, simple installation and easier access to the product for maintenance. And combined with the timeless, stylish design of Xpelair’s DX range, it is an enticing package for installers and customers alike.
Xpelair has been the first to lead on this proposition, developing the Simply Silent Shower Fan Complete, which consists of a ceiling mounted shower fan sold complete with self-contained duct and external grille to save time on installation and maintenance compared to inline models.
It’s a first of its kind - an innovative one-box solution that challenges the status quo of traditional inline shower fans - and we won’t stop there. We are already developing further models such as the Simply Silent Illumi Shower Fan Complete, complete with added integrated light.
Many in the trade will have already have fitted a fan like this by purchasing the individual components – but this is the first shower fan packaged in this way and brought to market.
There is doubt that ceiling mounted shower fans deliver on performance too. As the issue of indoor air quality continues to gain exposure, so too does the importance of good ventilation to reduce the build-up of condensation, black mould and spores which can be unsightly in the home and potentially dangerous to our health.
We spend more than 90 per cent of our time indoors but many homeowners are still unaware that indoor air can, in fact, be as much as 50 times more polluted than outdoor air. Poor indoor air quality can aggravate pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and eczema as well as fatigue, rhinitis, dizziness, headaches, coughing and sneezing – so it’s crucial that adequate ventilation is fit for purpose. Any fan, whether it is silent or not, must effectively eliminate humidity, condensation and odour to improve air quality in bathrooms, shower rooms, cloakrooms and toilets.
And thanks to the unique application, Xpelair’s Simply Silent Shower Fan Complete offers installed airflow performance of 55m³/hr with three metres of ducting and one bend, versus inline competitor airflows of 29.5m³/hr with three metres of ducting and one bend.