Are Bathroom Fans Explosion-Proof?
If you need to install a bathroom fan, the question of whether or not it can blow up typically won't come to mind. However, if you need to install it in a factory or other facility that has explosive fumes, everything changes. Then, you have to be extra-conscious of any possible sources of sparks or heat – even in rooms that aren't in or even near the main working area. This is because fumes travel easily, and can end up in contact with devices far from their source.
One potential source of sparks is indeed the bathroom fan. Standard bathroom fans won't blow up on their own, but they aren't guaranteed to be entirely free of sparks or areas of high heat. Therefore, in places where there is a danger of contact with explosive fumes, a special sparkless exhaust fan or motor should be used.
What Makes a Fan Explosion-Proof?
Manufacturers make several important changes when a fan needs to be explosion-proof. One is to seal the motor so that there is no direct contact with the air around them. The motors may be made even safer by using fan designs that keep them out of the way of the airflow, thereby limiting risk even further.
Explosion-proof fans also use motors that are designed not to produce sparks as they cycle on and off. For added protection, the blades are often made of materials that won't accumulate static electricity or otherwise become prone to sparking.
Do Explosion-Proof Fans Look Like Regular Bathroom Fans?
Since explosion-proof fans are needed only in industrial situations, complete versions do not look like bathroom exhaust fans. Instead, they are typically large and better suited for big, open areas. Of course, these can be installed in bathrooms as well, and if your restrooms are large enough, they'll fit in.
An explosion-proof fan from Canarm makes will be a good example of a fully-complete exhaust fan meant for use in these types of situations. These come either with closable metal flaps or with simple wire fan shielding, so you can choose the type that best suits your ventilation requirements.
The type that close are great for situations where you don't want the outside air to get in. They are often used in areas where outdoor temperatures are extreme. Meanwhile, those with wire gratings allow for some air transfer even when they aren't in operation.
How Can You Get an Explosion-Proof Fan with a More Traditional Bathroom Fan Appearance?
Your best bet for getting an explosion-proof bathroom fan is to buy an explosion-proof fan motor and install it behind a grating that has a more subdued look. This will give you the protection you need without the big industrial gratings typically found on complete units. These still tend to be bigger than the average standard bathroom fan, so you will need to use a larger grating.
As you can see, there are many options for explosion-proof exhaust fans. All of them use several measures to eliminate the risks of fumes being ignited during fan operation. However, these are larger than standard bathroom exhaust fans, and complete units are made in a way that looks very industrial.
Therefore, if you want to get a more typical "bathroom fan" look, you'll need to get an explosion-proof blower motor and then install it behind your own grating. This will give you the protection you need and allow you to get the look you want.