By October 29, 2015 Read More →

Air apparent

A clear opportunity for wholesalers to drive sales

In the competitive shower fan market, it is not uncommon for installers to improvise in an effort to deliver greater performance. Xpelair has listened to those on the front line to challenge the status quo with its latest bathroom product development. Lee Stones looks at the merits of a new approach for shower fans.


The majority of electrical installers 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 volume, high margin sales for wholesalers 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 product development that 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.

Low noise, high performance

One of the main advancements in domestic ventilation in recent years has been to reduce the noise of fans. An independent study by Xpelair reveals that more than 14 million UK adults are being affected by noisy bathroom fans in their home and just under a half of the British adult population rated their existing bathroom fan as noisy. Furthermore, over 4.5 million adults have been woken up or kept awake by a noisy fan.

Manufacturers have worked hard to tackle the problem head on, with new innovations such as the Xpelair Simply Silent family of bathroom and kitchen fans delivering a choice of high performance, low volume solutions to help installers meet demand from homeowners, housebuilders and social landlords.

However, it has also opened up new opportunities too, particularly in the shower fan market. With near silent running, shower fans no longer have to be hidden in the loft space. Instead, ceiling mounted fans can deliver improved performance, simple installation and easier access to the product when needed.

Xpelair has lead the field, developing the Simply Silent Shower Fan Complete and Simply Silent Shower Fan Illumi, which both consist 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.

Many in the trade will have already fitted a fan like this by purchasing the individual components – but this is the first shower fan range to be packaged in this way and brought to market. Whilst inline fans remain popular – and we would fully expect them to remain a go-to option for many individuals – this range delivers a one-box solution that challenges traditional shower fans with a cost-efficient, easy-to-install alternative.

Performance benefits

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 ventilation is fit for purpose.

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.

With improved performance, quieter operation and easier installation compared to conventional inline models, there is a clear opportunity for wholesalers to drive sales through this new approach. Don’t be left behind in the line.