Replacing a Bulb in a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathroom exhaust fans are usually mounted in the ceiling to force any humid, stale air outside of the home. An exhaust fan may save energy in your home by keeping you from having to open a window to let steam or humid air escape. An exhaust fan may take the place of a ceiling light fixture in your bathroom, but some exhaust fans have an integral light fixture, so no other overhead lighting is needed. When the light bulb burns out in your exhaust fan, know how to replace it to keep from being in the dark.

Turn the exhaust fan and light off. Wait a few minutes to let the bulb cool down.

Grasp the edges of the grille assembly mounted on the ceiling with your fingers and pull it down slightly.

Locate the grille mounting springs in the gap between the grille and the ceiling.

Squeeze each spring together with your fingers while pulling the grille downward. Set the grille aside.

Unscrew the bulb revealed after removing the grille in a counterclockwise direction. Check the sticker near the light fixture to determine the maximum wattage the replacement bulb should be. Screw the new bulb into place.

Press the grille back into position on the exhaust fan housing until it is flush with the ceiling and snaps into place.


The light bulb in some exhaust fans may be accessed by simply removing a clear or translucent plastic lens. Squeeze in on the sides of the lens to release the retaining tabs and pull it straight downward. After replacing the bulb, push the lens back into position until it snaps into place. If you wish to clean the lamp lens or grille while it is removed for bulb replacement, use water and a mild soap solution. Rinse the part with clear water and let it dry before reinstallation. If you wish to clean the fan housing or blower motor of dirt and dust, shut off the breaker at the main electrical box. Wipe down the dirty areas with a dry cloth, then turn the breaker back on.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement light bulb
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