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Blog/Opinion: Reduce Noise - Start by Looking Up

By HHI Staff

According to the EPA: “Noise pollution adversely affects the lives of millions of people. Studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health. Problems related to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity.”


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You can lower the levels and impact of home noise pollution in some surprising ways; for example, start by looking up - at your exhaust ventilation fans that remove airborne moisture, odor and contaminants from bathrooms, showers, utility rooms and kitchens.


Did you know that many newer fans are much quieter than previous generation units at doing the same job?


We measured the sound levels of home exhaust fans installed in 1999, then replaced these units, which still worked well, with new fans in the same locations - a utility room, a master and two smaller baths - then measured the sounds of these new units, and compared the results.


More or Equal Airflow, Less Noise


The original fans were rated to provide an airflow of 90 cfm for the utility room, and 50 cfm for each of the three baths. The replacement fans provide 110 cfm for the utility room, 80 cfm for the master and 50 cfm in each of the smaller baths.


The sound levels (dba) of the original fans measured at 6 inches below the fan grille were:


Decibel (DB) or (dba)


A unit of sound measurement. Sound doubles in loudness for every 10 decibels.


  • Utility Room – 63 dba
  • Master Bath – 69 dba 
  • Small Bath 1 – 72 dba
  • Small Bath 2 – 69 dba

The new fans (Panasonic FV-11VQ5 in the utility room, FV-08VS1 in the master bathroom, and FV-05VS1 in the two smaller baths) hushed things down considerably:


  • Utility Room – 57 dba (6 dba reduction)
  • Master Bath – 62 dba (7 dba reduction)
  • Small Bath 1 – 59 dba (13 dba reduction)
  • Small Bath 2 – 58 dba (11 dba reduction)

The newer generation fans reduced noise pollution in the utility room and three baths by a considerable amount while still delivering the needed airflow, rendering these areas quieter and potentially healthier.


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The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Reduce Noise - Start by Looking Up:  Created on October 23rd, 2011.  Last Modified on October 30th, 2011


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