Product Review of the Hunter 90052 Saturn Bathroom Fan
Early in 2011, we bought a short sale house which needed a lot of work. The previous owner had pretty much stripped it of everything that he could sell. As DIYers who like a challenge, we decided to renovate the house from one end to the other.
Out of the 2-1/2 bathrooms it has, only one is fully functional. I affectionately refer to it as my Pooh bathroom, since the previous owner went crazy decorating it with Winnie the Pooh décor. Although we're not ready to tackle renovating that bathroom yet, it did have one pressing need that we decided to address - ventilation.
It had no bathroom fan, and the lack of ventilation was causing problems. First, when you got out of the shower, the entire mirror was fogged up. Also, over time, we developed a terrible problem with mildew in the tub grout. And finally, it could be very unpleasant to visit the bathroom after someone else had - ahem, done their business.
We agreed that we would go ahead and install a bathroom fan. The next task was to decide on the style of fan that we wanted.
How We Chose Our Fan Style
There are pretty much three types of fans on the market: plain ventilation fans, a fan/light combo, and a fan/light/heater combo. It's strictly a matter of personal preference as to which one you choose. I knew that I wanted it to have light, since the fan was going to be positioned between the tub and toilet, and there was no light on that end of the room. The only question was, did we want a heater?
At first we decided that, yes, we did want a heater. However, because of the price and also the hassle of running a dedicated circuit because of the heater, we decided just to go with the fan/light combo. Since we live in Florida, there are really only a few weeks a year where you need heat in the bathroom, and we have a little portable heater we can use. Also, this bathroom will eventually be a guest bathroom, and a heater would get very little, if any, use.
Why We Chose The Hunter 90052 Saturn Bathroom Fan
Once we had settled on a light/fan combo, we began to shop online and there were TONS of fans to choose from. We eventually decided on the Hunter 90052 Saturn Bathroom Fan, which we liked for several reasons:
- We thought it was attractive.
- It was the right size for our small bathroom.
- It was relatively quiet.
- It was reasonably priced.
- Overall, it got good reviews.
The first thing that caught my eye was the attractive design of the Hunter 90052. The round light fixture with the low-profile ventilation grille above it was different from any of the other fans we'd been looking at. Most of the other fans were rectangular, with flat light fixtures and a large surface area for the ventilation grille - very unappealing. Another thing I liked about the Hunter was that the ventilation grille was metal with a satin white finish, instead of plastic like most other fans, which meant that it wouldn't yellow over time.
The Right Size Fan For Our Bathroom
Different bathroom fans have different ventilation capacities. How did we know that the Saturn was the right size for us? We had to look at the rated airflow, which is expressed in CFM, or Cubic Feet per Minute. In other words, CFM is a way of expressing how much air the fan can move in one minute.
If your bathroom is less than 100 sq. ft. in area, like ours, your calculation is easy. You simply multiply the length times the width, and the resulting number is the CFM capacity you need. Our bathroom is 8.2' x 8.5' = 69.7 sq. ft, meaning that we needed a bathroom fan with a CFM of at least 69.7. The Saturn's rated airflow is 80 CFM, which we figured was a pretty good match.
If your bathroom is greater than 100 sq. ft. in area, the calculation involves a little more. There is a nice guide on how to do this at the Home Ventilation Institute's web site.
Nice and Quiet
The Saturn is rated at 2.5 sones. When you're shopping for bathroom fans, you quickly learn that sones is the term used to define how noisy the fan is. From our research, we decided that we'd be pretty happy with 2.5 sones - it would be loud enough to hear it running, but not so loud that it would be offensive (we hoped).
We were hoping to find a fan for under $100. The list price for the Satin White Saturn was $94.99, but there were many places online that offered it at a substantial discount.
We were surprised at how many people dinged Hunter for putting their logo on the light dome. It honestly doesn't bother us. But if you absolutely can't stand it, one lady said that she removed the logo with nail polish remover.
We're big believers in checking out other customer reviews, and then taking them with a grain of salt! There's nothing like hearing from others who have actually used the product you're considering purchasing. If a web site has 30+ reviews of a product and they're overwhelming positive, that's a pretty good sign to me. Overall, the Saturn got good reviews.
Installation of the Fan
We ordered our Hunter 90052 Saturn online and within a few days, it was delivered to our doorstep. Everything was in great condition when we unpacked the box. We couldn't wait to get it installed, and since we are big DIYers, we tackled the job ourselves.
The installation manual was clearly and concisely written, with lots of well-drawn pictures. The manual included both English and Spanish instructions.
I would like to say that the installation was a piece of cake...however, as my husband described it, "Everything that COULD go wrong, DID go wrong." This was in no way a problem with the fan. It had to do with the condition and layout of our house, and it would have been a difficult install, no matter which fan we had chosen.
When we had a new roof installed last year, we had the roofer install a roof vent, since we knew we planned to put in a bathroom fan at some point. However, when my husband Jim cut the hole in the ceiling for the fan box, he could see that there was nothing on the underside of the vent to attach the vent duct to. This required some quick engineering by Jim to come up with a way to get the duct attached.
Another problem was that there wasn't enough crawl space in the attic to get where the vent was located. Jim had to get the ductwork contraption up through the hole he had cut for the fan box, hold the contraption in place, and reach in with his power drill to screw everything in place. Let's just say that there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth by all involved!
Another challenge was running the electrical wire from the fan's location over to the switchbox across the room. We had hoped to just fish the line down the wall and pull it out at the hole for the switchbox. However, there were some horizontal braces blocking the way between the studs, and we ended up needing to cut a large hole in the wall.
Once we were able to get everything wired, however, we flipped the switches and both light and fan worked perfectly!
Now that the fan's been in for several weeks, I can say that we've been pretty pleased with the performance of the Saturn. It does a nice job reducing the steam in the bathroom. I wish the mirror were always entirely fog-free, but sometimes there's a little fog across the top of the mirror. I think it may have to do with whether or not our air conditioner is running at the time. However, it's lots better than having the entire mirror fogged up every time that you shower.
I did a couple of photos to show the difference between using and not using the fan. The pictures show the condition of the mirror after an 8-minute shower.
Noise Level of the Saturn
We've been very happy with the noise level of the Saturn. You can hear it running, but it's not obnoxiously loud. You can comfortably have a conversation with someone else in the room.
Be sure that you get two 60W A15 type bulbs for the fixture. These are a little smaller than a standard light bulb, which won't fit once the glass cover is in place.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how much light the Saturn provides. I really wasn't expecting too much from two 60 watt bulbs, but it really lights up that end of the bathroom and provides some much-needed additional lighting when you're showering.
Light/Fan Combos on Amazon
In summary, we are very pleased with our Hunter 90052 Saturn bathroom fan. The reasons for this are:
- The fan arrived in excellent condition.
- Installation instructions were clear and complete.
- We like the look of the fixture.
- It does a good job reducing steam/fog in the bathroom.
- It's relatively quiet.
- It provides very good lighting.
- It provides good function for the price.
I would recommend this product to anyone looking to install a bathroom fan in a small bathroom (80 sq. ft. or a little less).