vintage bath vent/light/?

ionized_gwJanuary 28, 2013

I am not sure of the best forum to post this, but HVAC seems to fit best.

I have an old Nutone vent fan/light in one of my bathrooms. It looks to be of good quality and I like the way it looks so I'd like to make it more useful and rehab it. We are not planning to renovate that bathroom beyond some minor repairs to tile, replace a Kohler Champlain toilet and put in a new vanity top and sink. (Tile walls and floors are in great shape, fortunately.)

I am not sure that the vent fan part of this appliance has ever been used. If it ever was it has not been for some time. The motor was unplugged, and does not spin freely. The outlet was covered over with fiberglass bat insulation. This is an old house and all of the kitchen and bath fans are vented to the attic. (That is something that I will be working to change.)

The vent in question looks like it was "sealed up" in a couple of places, but the damper at the top operates freely. This thing comes apart with two easily-removed pieces. There is what will call the outer housing, the central assembly and the motor/fan blade assembly.

I have some pictures of it as it looks from below, intact and with the cover off. I have pics and with the central assembly and upper motor/fan blade assemblies removed. There are pictures of the central assembly from the top and side. The blower motor and fan blades sit in the top of the outer housing on a triangular support that, in turn, sits on rubber dampers in the housing. Note that the top of that central assembly seems to be covered over with metallic tape and so does the "duct" that goes to its side. Covering the top of that central assembly does not seal off air flow to the fan and damper. There is still lots of space around the central assembly and the outer housing. I see no purpose to having those areas sealed up.

There is a curious feature that I do not understand at all. There is a bimetal coil that appears to control a damper to the side of the central assembly. You can see it in the "cover off" pic at about 11 o'clock. That would allow air to come in from the side of the central assembly. If you look at the pictures you can see a connector projecting. You can also see a removable piece of sheet metal in the picture of the outer housing that would allow connection to this dampered connection, from the side, if it were opened up.

I have another observation that might add to the puzzle, or might help solve it. There is a second set of connectors on an area where the plug-in cord is connected to the light socket leads. I did not check them out extensively for continuity.

I guess my main question is what the heck is that bimetal-controlled damper thing supposed to do? In addition, should I rehab this thing and make it a functional vent? It appears that a replacement motor is available for ca. $100.

Note that there is a similarly-styled fixture in a lav, but I can see that there a squirrel-cage blower in there. I have not taken it apart yet, but I suspect that the ventilator has never been used. There is another fan in that room (near the floor venting to the crawl space). I think it was only used for the light.

There is some information on the motor and vent itself. The motor info seems to be useful, but I have not found any use for any of the information on the other parts:

Motor info:

Mod JA1C002#
Ser 11DA66923R

Information on vent/light itself, but no hits with Google:

9110N l66u
235 cfm (10"WG)
4.6 sones

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can't see your pictures. I'm wondering if this is a modified unit. The bimetal coil makes me think that it used to be a combination heater/vent. One electrical wall switch would turn on a heater coil in the unit and blow warm air into the bathroom. Another electrical wall switch would simply turn on ventilation only. Perhaps someone modified this unit ?
(but there are many more styles and models)

Personally, I wouldn't invest any money into it. Instead buying a new one and then venting properly to the outside. I don't know what your location is, but venting into an attic space or even near the soffit vents is a big mistake.

Have you called NuTone ? They are helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diagram of Fan Heater Vent

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks audio mixer. The HVAC in the house underwent at least a couple of major revisions, floor furnace, baseboard electric, 3 ph water-chilled cooling and finally gas furnace with integral split system cooling when we bought it. Now, we have mini splits. The electric baseboard is coming out, but since gas got cheap, we might keep the furnace functional for a while.

The bath was carved out of other space at some point and has a wall-mounted electric heater that is probably original to that room so a heater in the ceiling would be a liability. The former owner was an electrician and there is a lot of salvaged stuff around. In this case, it might not have been a salvaged appliance, but got at a low price as an overstock or return. I suspect so since the similar light/fan/heater? in the lav probably only ever had the light working and might have been bought under similar circumstances. They are nice-looking and robust units in good shape after many decades.

I live near the LA Gulf coast so it is hot and HUMID here. I am planning on sealing the attic and insulating the roof deck so venting to the outside eventually will be mandatory even though everything goes to the attic now with no apparent problems.

Thanks for the links. I bet that unit pictured in the book is the one in the lav! The one I've taken apart is laid out a little differently. I might do some head-scratching to see if I can mentally reconstruct how it worked. Note that the diagram unit has two blowers while the description of function in the book notes only one motor.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

make sure you have a working back draft damper
for your bath vent fan.
I use hardcast #1402 mastic tape to attach the
venting to the back draft damper, and then the
back draft damper to the vent fan.
also...back draft dampers can be installed
the right way..where the damper stay closed
when not in use, and the wrong way, where
damper is open all the time.
about half the time..they are installed wrong!

go ahead & vent it thru the soffits now
so that when you foam insulate the roofline
it is done. take a look at stove venting also.
you'll want that to terminate outside of attic.

glad to see you keeping on with the project.
take care &

best of luck

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the input, energy.

"...damper...about half the time..they are installed wrong!"

Simply unbelievable!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I need to repost the pics. I don't think I moved them, but.....

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nutone might make a replacement fan for this model.
contact them with model number & serial to see
what help they can offer.

I've found Nutone to be very helpful.

Happy Mardi Gras!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, energy. I have just been searching and found that AO Smith 541 is a replacement motor and only ca. $50. (Aint the web wonderful sometimes?) Can't find a model or SN on the unit itself. My only hope might be to look up all the nodel numbers that the JA1C002 motor was used in. That's a couple of dozen, at least.

I'll think about Mardi Gras after we get done with this Stupidbowl interruption. Are there any Courir de Mardi Gras activities where you are or are you too far North for that?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

good deal Ionized!

Shoot, I was going to invite myself to your
house for Lundi Gras! Miss the night parades with
the flambeaus!
for Mardi Gras here...they costume and ride horses,
they start on the parade the country and
stop at each house.
the people at the houses contribute
something for the pot of gumbo at the end of the
parade route.
at one of the houses they ..yes I'm serious..
chase a chicken around to put in the gumbo.
that is a trip!
at each house that contributes..the parade captian does
a crazy dance for payment of the contribution.

so you have beer, crazy cajuns...horses, a truck with
a port a let, music and beads. at the end of the
parade when the gumbo is cooking is a big party.

I live in the country and have a parade that
passes in front of my house. they don't chase
the chicken in my yard...but at the guy's house
down the road from me.

the first year I lived here..I had never seen anything
like it.

the costumes aren't as great as say...the costume
contest in the 1/4. no sequins lace or fancy stuff.
mostly they look like pj's with fringe. but the spirit
is there. and the booze. the can man makes a bundle
picking up cans after the parade.

so..want to switch house for Mardi Gras this year??
or next year??

its going to be a blast in N.O. with superbowl then
MG. I miss the wildness sometimes.(but not the traffic)

take care.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, I've read about Cajun Mardi Gras and seen a lot of pics. I am intrigued by your idea, but I have a counter-offer that might work better. I''ll be in touch by email.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, I decided to go ahead and order the ca. $100 Nutone replacement motor. The original motor is sealed. The $50 motor is open frame. The suspension bracket for the motor would pretty well seal up the end of the motor so it would overheat unless I did some modifications. I might be able to cut some vent slots in it and offset it with some washers, but that would take some time. After studying the specs I discovered that I'd have to trim off the shaft as well.

If I put in a new fan, I'll have to redo the ceiling plaster so it is going to be easier to stick a new motor in the old unit . It IS in great condition and I like the look.

I had a closer look at the similar-looking unit in the lav. It is a heater-light with no vent. There is another vent fan in there mounted near the floor in the wall and exhausts to the crawl space.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Has anyone found solution to HVAV Dirty Sock Syndrome
Two years ago I had a Trane heat pump installed in...
New HVAC install in So Cal
Hi Everyone, I just got a quote from Home Depot contractor....
Moving floor vent to toekick area
Hello. We are renovating our kitchen as well as baths...
Blown in insulation vs spray foam
I am looking for advice. I have a home built in 2000...
Need help with selecting Eff Heat Pump replacement.
20 yr old American Std Heat Pump stopped working. ...
Sponsored Products
Progress Lighting Recessed Lighting 4 in. 12-volt Black Recessed Wall Washer
$40.77 | Home Depot
Razzo Pendant by Tech-Tiella Lighting
$100.00 | Lumens
Maxim 7144FT Essentials Bath Vanity - 39.5W in. - 7144FTOI
$148.00 | Hayneedle
Cranston Heritage Medium Fluorescent Outdoor Wall Light
$83.95 | Bellacor
Townsend Outdoor Wall Sconce No. 9621-9624 by Troy Lighting
$498.00 | Lumens
Arteriors Home - Navid Pendant - 44040
Great Furniture Deal
75" Height Floor Lamp with Handwork Engraving Wooden Base
Le Bain du Paris Tip Towel
$19.50 | FRONTGATE
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™