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bathroom nightmare 02-08-2008 11:32 AM

Bathroom Fan/Heater unit incompatible with electric wiring?
I am at the end of a long nightmare bathroom remodel, and the only (big) thing left is the bathroom fan/heater. The contractor suggested a Panasonic heater/fan combo which he says is great and he's never had problems with. The fan seems to work, although I can't really tell a big difference with the fan off and on. When I first saw the bathroom mostly done, the heater electrical switch didn't do anything when we turned it on. He tested the electricity, and said there was power going to the unit and going to the switch, and said maybe the motor died. He bought a new unit and switched out the motor. He told me that he got it to work, and yes there was a noise when we turned on the heater switch. I noticed a faint rubbery/burning odor, which he said was normal in new units. I left it on to make sure that it worked, and while he was still there finishing other stuff, realized that it never got warm. He said he would check it out, turned it off, turned it back on, and it was dead again.

I have an old house - is it possible that my electrical wiring can't support this heater? The heater is not absolutely necessary, it just gets kind of cold in there. I would love to get some type advice/info on how this all works since I am a total newbie who has been thrown into learning about all aspects of home repair due to this remodel.

Stubbie 02-08-2008 12:00 PM

Do you have the model# the only one I find on line is FV-11VH1 which is a 120 volt model. Something to check...Is the fan blade in a bind and not able to rotate freely. Sometimes the fan blade is in contact with the frame and will sieze burning up your motor. Take off the trim cover and take a look.

LawnGuyLandSparky 02-08-2008 03:44 PM

The heater should unplug from the housing and drop down from the unit. You can even test it by plugging it into any ordinary outlet. Don't confuse the heater with the exhaust fan, which is also a separate module which you can also bench test. Do you have sepatate switches for each function? Was a separate circuit ran for this?

Speedy Petey 02-08-2008 08:21 PM

Lawn Guy, you can't do that with a Panasonic. They have a proprietary plug setup.

Bathroom, did your guy run a new circuit to this unit. This would not change anything but most do require this.
YES, your wiring can of course "support" this unit. If the circuit were not big enough or there was too much on it the breaker would trip. This goes back to my comment about a dedicated circuit.

I have NO idea what your guy did (is doing) wrong. I use a TON of Panasonic fan and I have had a problem with only one noisy motor. My supplier got a new replacement motor (only) and it was fine.

You say it doesn't seem to do anything with the fan on? First off they are SUPER quiet. So much so that you typically can't tell they are even on. Throw a square or two of TP up on the fan grille and see if it stays. It will definitely stay up there if the fan is working and the vent is not blocked.

The heater? Again, sorry, I don't know.

bathroom nightmare 02-09-2008 03:41 PM

Thanks for the TP tip! That's ingenious, and yes, it does support a piece of tp, so I'm happy the vent fan at least works.

Yes, the model has 3 switches, so I have 4 switches in my bathroom now. One for unrelated lights. One for the fan, one for the heater, and one for a light. I don't know what the model number is, just really wanted to know whether the problem is with my "wires" as at one point the contractor who is so done with the project said that my poor water pressure was caused by my pipes (it wasn't, it was a bad valve) and the heater problem was caused by my old wires. Sounds like it's not the electrical wires, but more likely something wrong with the new unit. Thanks for your advice!

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