Information & frequently asked questions

Fans used for ventilation and air movement work by one of two different methods. The most common is the axial or propeller fan, similar to those used on stands for moving air in a room or used in computers for cooling power supplies. They can move large volumes of air at very low pressures.
The other type is a centrifugal unit, and these are similar to a centrifugal water pump. They have a plate with radial vanes and the air is forced out by the centrifugal force. These are either an in- line fan, where the air goes straight through parallel to the fan shaft, or the other type is the "squirrel cage" fan where air is drawn into the centre of the fan and exhausted through the side casing, perpendicular to the impeller axis. The latter is rarely used in domestic fans.
Axial fans are the most common, as they are the cheapest to produce and more compact. One disadvantage they have is that they cannot develop high pressures, with a limit around 60Pa-80pa for household sizes.
Centrifugal fans with the same size inlets as axial fans can develop pressures up to 4 times that of an equivalent axial fan, however, they also usually cost a minimum of twice that of an equivalent axial fan. Fans can either be surface mounted or in-duct, where it is in the middle of a duct run.

Fan Curves On a few fans, we show a graph of airflow vs static pressure (back pressure, sort of). This means that if you have a certain pressure that the fan is pushing or pulling against, then you know the likely airflow rate.

Please click HERE for more details on fan curves.

Ducting The usual materials for ducting are either a steel spiral sheetmetal rigid pipe or a flexible PVC or aluminium foil tube supported by spiral steel wire. The latter is easiest to install and is cheap, however it is very restrictive to airflow. The steel pipe requires special tools to be installed properly, which most homeowners or plumbers do not have. The most common fault is to chose ducting which is undersized for the fan capacity, and this increases the noise of the system through the higher air velocity and also increases the friction in the system, which makes the fans work harder or require them to be larger than necessary.
Duct sizes should generally be kept as large as possible A small difference in diameter makes a huge difference to the amount of restriction, as the back pressure from friction losses is inversely proportional to the power of 4.

Duct sizing
Let us take the example of an inline fan in the ceiling: If we assume that the peak pressure of the axial fans in a heat and light fan units is around 60Pa and a peak flow rate of 70l/s in free air with a more or less straight to circular curve between the points (see below). (or maybe from the manufacturers data) We also make some other assumptions: The exhaust grille (and intake if it has one) is 10-20Pa pressure loss.
The correctly sized ducting will be 1.5-3.5pa per metre
Each bend of flexiduct is equivalent to 1.5 -2 metres extra duct length
We have 2 bends, an exhaust grille, and an intake grille, as it is part of the fan and hence part of its quoted performance.
The duct length is 3m.
Our pressure loss is 15pa for each grille + ((3m+2*1.5m per bend)*2 Pa per metre) = 30+ 12 =42Pa.
We know look up our fan curve for 42Pa static pressure and read off the amount of air being moved from the bottom axis.
At the very minimum, the duct size should be at least a large as the size of the fan, i.e. a 150mm fan uses 150mm ducting.

Noise Ratings
Most Sound levels are rated in decibels, measured at 3 meters. (Although some manufacturers on their data sheets state dB@ 1.5 meters. In these cases we have converted to @3m by subtracting 6dB.) Be aware that some fans give noise ratings in SOUND POWER LEVELS, also in decibels, which is a different measure and is normally about 21 decibels higher than the Sound Pressure @3m measurement.
An important thing to remember is that they are logarithmic, which means that they do not go up in a linear (straight-line) fashion, rather it is exponential. This means that a (more or less) 10db increase is twice as loud. A 2-3 dB difference is considered to be a just noticeable to most people, although this varies.

The search for the silent/quiet extractor fan.
Many people want to upgrade their current extractor fan with a quiet version, as most cheap bathroom fans are quite noisy. There are a number of options available.
Firstly, it depends on the duct length. If its only a matter of 3-5 meters, the TD range of mixvent fans will suffice. These are a half way house between an axial fan( suitable for short duct lengths) and a centrifugal fan (suitable for long ducting lengths) and and very quiet. Examine the dB readings on the datasheet for comparison with others.
If a more powerful extraction is required, a centrifugal fan is a must. In this case, our range of Acoustic fans are as quiet as you can get. They have sound insulation inside the box to absorb noise. They are also very powerful and easily cleaned and suitable for domestic/industrial applications where sound levels are a problem.
To absorb any noise from the rushing of air, rather than the fan chassis breakout noise itself, use acoustic ducting and/or a silencer at the input/ output. These are just hollow tubes, acoustically designed to absorb the white noise you get at the end of ducting.
Using one of these solutions will normally solve any noise problem.
Generally, the noise is also proportional to the amount of airflow and the fan speed, If you have problems with a noisy fan or are putting a system in:
1/ Mount the fan towards the end of the duct
2/ Use larger ducting to reduce the air velocity, and hence the noise through fittings and grilles
3/ Use a larger fan but turn it slower. This can make a big difference, as the noise varies with the square of the fan tip speed.
4/ Try using "acoustic ducting".

Air changes per hour reqired. (Guide only)
Bathrooms 10 - 15
Bakery 20 - 30
Canteen 8 - 12
Commercial kitchen 30+
Domestic Kitchen (with hood advised) 8-13
Workshop 8 - 10
Fume cupboard 40 - 50
Garage 6 - 8
Spray booth 20 - 50
Warehouse 3 - 6
Workshops 6 - 10
Wet Room/Shower 15-20

Fan sitting in Bathrooms.
Building regs (BS7671 the Requirements for Electrical Installations) state, in section 601 that any devices in Zone 1 of a bathroom must be running on a low voltage, normally 12volts.
This normally means putting the transformer seperate in Zone 3.
ALTHOUGH other building regulations also say anything IPX4 and above (where the second digit of the IP rating is 4 or more) can be used if protected with a 30mA RCD.
Zone 1 is defined as the area around the bathtub or shower basin up to a height of 2.25m above the floor and at a radius of 1.2m from the water outlet.

Cooling Server Rooms. (Using fans not air-conditioners)
We have had many customers inquiring about how to cool a server room using fans. The answer is obvious, LARGE airflow and when calculated correctly, an extract and input fan system can cool a server room for much less money per year than using air conditioning units AND move some useful warm air to other areas needing heating or even better, a heat recovery unit. This saves money and CO2 emissions yet again and contributes to a greener future by using as energy efficient a system, as possible.
Ask for details.

For the technically minded, a very useful residential duct systems design paper. Download HERE.

Building regs compliance guide (2010) HERE

Click HERE to download the Governments Ventilation Building Regs. (Part F)

Excellent guide to kitchen extraction and odour control HERE

Read our WEEE ((Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations) policy HERE.

Atex Rated Fans. (Using fans for explosive enviroments.)
Although we offer various Atex rated fans online, we do not specify, so the end user must know what Atex rating they need and whether it is suitable for their application. We take no liability for the use of any Atex fan. There are professional Atex specifiers which will be happy to help and can specify for your needs (and charge accordingly!) but we do not as we are not qualified to do so and will not due to the risk of litigation. It is VERY important to have the correct rating as the risk of explosion when extracting certain solvents can be very high.
If we are given information on the application and the sovents used we can often offer suggestions as to the correct gas group and ignition temperature (and therefore Atex rating) of the fan you need, but the user would have to go away and verify this is correct for their application by research and/or asking a professional Atex specifier. See below for more Atex information.

Guide to Atex Classification
Hazardous area guide
Gas list from IEC-60079-20-1

Use of TP and TK connections on commercial fans.
The thermal protection in motors is an important protective device. They are basically a switch that goes open circuit in the event of an overheat. The device is manufactured into motors due to the possibility of excessive heat caused by things like the following:

1) Overloading
2) High Ambient Temperature
3) Variations in power supply

If an installer fails to connect the thermal protectors they can allow the motors internal temperature to significantly increase beyond the maximum rating of the motor.
If they are used, the motors would be protected and they wouldn’t overheat. The thermal protection serves as an indicator of possible danger to the motor.
Most manufacturers include in the installation instructions that it is advisable to use them, especially if used in kitchens or high temperature enviroments.
If a fan fails under warranty and the TK connections have NOT been used they will often refuse to honour any warranty, as it is an industry standard that thermal protection is connected within all motors. Without thermal protection you are unable to monitor and protect the motor.

The TP connections can be either connected to a suitable speed controller or DOL starter. In some cases the live feed can be fed through the TP connections to switch off the power in the event of an overheat but this means it is not externally resettable(a requirement for all inline cased axials) and will re-start on its own when it has cooled down.

1 x Elta Wall Cowl SWC56/631 x Ducting 90 Degree Bend - 200mm1 x Ducting 90 Degree Bend - 250mm2 x Spigot plate - 300mm1 x Ancillary Pack for SB-CYL 630 model2 x External weather louvre 500w x 500h - WL501 x Helios SB-315-EC B SilentBox Acoustic Inline Fan - High Flow1 x 150mm Round Equal T Piece1 x Ducting T Piece Equal - 100mm1 x Systemair Save Touch Control Panel - White1 x ACSWEC - Auto change over panel duty sharing4 x Flanged Damper 019-0250-STD2 x Spiral end cap - 250mm3 x Anti Vibration Duct Suspension Rings - 300mm2 x Ancillary Pack for SLC-900 for SLC900/6A-3AC and SLC900/6B-3AC1 x LAL 1000 D4 Mounting Flange1 x KBD- outlet mounting flange for CRMT 3151 x AXCBF 400D4-32° (0,55 kW)2 x Soler & Palau - HXBR-200 ECOWATT - IP441 x Spiral Ducting 3 Meters - 900mm1 x Jet Fan IV 100-4 IE3 Induction Fan1 x ELS-GU Flush Mounted Casing1 x 220x90mm 90 Degree Horizontal Bend2 x Elta - Room Sensor - Temp/Humid/C021 x Soler & Palau - HCBT/4-630/H - IP651 x Ducting 45 Degree Bend - 100mm1 x JETLINE-200 - In Line Centrifugal Duct Fan2 x Elta SLC500/4A-1AC - IP552 x HRFD 315/2 EX Atex Rated 315mm Cased Axial Fan 400v2 x TCBT/4-500/H EXEIIT3 ATEX1 x HRST/6-910/30-BZ2 x Acoustic MiniBox Fan - MINI-BOX 1001 x Ducting 45 Degree Bend - 1000mm2 x LAL 710 D4 Mounting Flange1 x Soler & Palau TCBT/4-710/H - IP651 x Metal Inline Fan - VENT-355N1 x Purlin Box 1000 for RAW Cowls1 x Clearflow CF Roof Mounted Vertical Discharge Centrifugal Fan - CF500/4-3AC - Three Phase1 x Clearflow CFHT Kitchen/High Temp Roof Fan - CFHT630/4-3AC1 x Elta Wall Cowl SWC45/501 x AW Sileo EC Plate Axial Fan - Three Phase - 630mm1 x HCFT/4-450mm plastic impeller plate fan1 x KBA- inlet mounting flange for CRMT 2501 x CBS-160 Outlet Flange for CBT-1601 x Ducting Reducers Short - 315mm-250mm1 x Helios GigaBox 400mm GBW 400/4 centrifugal1 x Synthetic Air Filter Media - 6mm x 2mtr x 20mtr Roll1 x BDRAX 250-E2 Cased Axial External Rotor Fan1 x Elta SPA710/6-3EC1 x Elta Unpodded Silencer Melinex 2D-1000mm Dia1 x CAB-150 ECOWATT Energy Efficient Acoustic Box Fan1 x Sentinel D-BOX 150S/CP1 x KVK Slim 160 - Low profile Semi Acoustic Box Fan1 x Vent Axia ACM 200 inline mixed flow duct fan1 x Kitchen Extract Grille with Grease Filter and External Wall Fan1 x *TD EVO-100 - Environmentally Friendly Inline Fan*1 x DA10/10 Feet1 x 220x90mm Elbow Bend with 125mm Fixed Spigot1 x Duct Suspension Rings - 160mm1 x Speed Controller - REB52 x Elta SLC500/2B-3AC - IP551 x GRA-100 External Grill by S&P1 x Bellimo TF24S Actuator 24V2 x Duct Termination with Mesh - 710mm1 x Soler & Palau - HXTR/6-800/H - IP541 x USD-4000 Rect to Circ coupling Flange For KABB/T kitchen fans
Transformer (silent) speed controller - RE 1.5 Amp
Transformer (silent) speed controller - RE 1.5 Amp
£ 132.29

Unbelievable! With TDmixvent500: noise reduction minimum 50%...