panasonic vs. broan

dlm99December 11, 2007

I am comparing these 2 exhaust fan lights w/heat:

Panasonic Whisper Warm FV-11VHL1 vs.

Broan Ultra Silent Series Heater/FAn/Light QTX110HL

Would anyone know where I can compare the reliability,quality, etc. of one against the other? How do these heaters compare to a heat bulb? Thanks in advance.

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There's no comparison to using a real fan heater like the Whisperwarm to a heat bulb. Our master bath is the coldest room in the house, the heat bulb had to be on for 90 min to even make a noticeable difference. The Panasonic heats up the 7x13 room in 10-15 min. I walk in and it's like a sauna. Woohoo!

Our old Broans were cheapies and got noisier and louder with age. To the point where I could hear the master bath fan when I was ON ANOTHER FLOOR! It was ridiculous; it sounded like an airplane was inside the bathroom.

We've had the Panasonics (one with heat, one without) since 2003. No difference in sound as time has passed. I have no familiarity with the Broan Ultra Silent line, but I can tell you the Panasonic is extremely heavy and well-made. In fact, I had to give the contractor a hand because he couldn't install it by himself.

I just wish they made range hoods for the kitchen. I'd junk the TOL Broan Allure III cr*p I got suckered into, and replace it with a Panasonic in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:46PM
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Comparing a high-wattage fan-forced resistance heater to a low-wattage infrared heater is an apples to oranges comparison, twice over.

The resistance heater heats the air, which then heats surfaces and people. It heats by convection.

An infrared heater heats directly by radiation. If the person is in the field of the radiant IR energy, they will be heated quickly. An IR heater is a great choice for very quickly heating a person, IF they stay in the radiant field. It is a poor choice if the goal is to heat up all the surfaces in the whole room.

If you've worked in cold garages or outbuildings, a radiant heater aimed at you will get you warm fast, while a fan-forced resistance heater will be blowing around air that feels cold a few feet away from it for quite a while.

All depends what your goal is. A radiant heater in the center of a bathroom ceiling isn't going to heat up the walls of a shower stall on an outside wall, if that is the goal. If you want to heat up everything, just pour on the Kilowatts. Your power company will thank you :)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 1:07AM
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Sorry for glomming onto your question, dlm99, but I'm looking at this issue, too. (We currently have a Panasonic fan/light combo but I'm thinking of switching it out to the Whisper Warm with heat.)

I am not sure I understand how it works. If I'm in the shower and I have the exhaust fan and the heater going at the same time, isn't the exhaust fan going to be sucking up all the warm air? (I just want to be warm in our shower!)

I also have to make sure that it can be installed in a shower/bath enclosure. The Panasonic site indicates that it can be installed there, so long as it's protected by a GFCI.

Then there's the issue of whether it can be installed on my pitched ceiling. The Broan specs say it can be mounted on ceilings up to a 12/12 pitch which means nothing to me.

Again, sorry for the hijack. But I would appreciate any info. Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 2:30PM
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meg711 - I can't answer your main question (or the OP's), but I can tell you that a 12/12 pitch is a 45 degree angle. 12/12 refers to a pitch which has 12 inches of rise in 12 inches of run.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 4:54PM
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Thanks for that info dseng. I'll have to measure it out. Right now I have a Panasonic fan/light so I'm assuming I can put another Panasonic there. Of course the electrician who just left was hemming and hawing about the amount of work and mess required so I'm re-thinking it. Either that or I'm getting a second opinion from another electrician--one who seems more willing to do the work.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:26PM
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meg711- the point is that the heat and fan (and light, if you have that) are all switched separately. We typ run the heat before/during getting ready. Then the last thing I do when I walk out is to open the shower door and hit the timer switch on the exhaust. Our bath is fairly big w/ high ceilings, plus it's open to a short hall, and it takes a while for the Whisper Warm to make a real difference in the temperature. But we like it.

Generally, the other Panny fans are Energy Star rated. Not sure about the Broan, but I'd look for that as a factor, too. The Whisper Warm may not be just b/c it has heat. But the fan is still their high efficiency setup.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:52AM
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Hi thull,

Thanks for letting me know about the separate switches. Right now our Panasonic fan/light is on one switch. I don't know if we could add two more switches to that switch plate as the switch is in a strange tight place as it is.

Sorry to ask such stupid questions but here goes: You run the heat while you're showering and getting ready, but you run the exhaust fan only after you're done in the shower?

I'm fine with the temperature in our bathroom. It's only when I'm actually in the shower and not in the stream of water that I'm feeling a chill. So I thought that if I had some heat blowing on me, that would solve the problem. The electrician pointed out that because our ceiling is pitched, the warm air would probably be blowing in the direction of the top of the shower door, not straight down on the person showering, so maybe there is no solution to this. Grrrr. I guess this is good because it encourages shorter showers.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:34AM
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So what I am gleening from all of this is that if I go with the infrared heat bulb, I will only be warm when standing directly under it but if I go with the Whisper Warm, it will help to heat the entire bathroom...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:42PM
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I think that's right dlm. But I'm not sure you'll find an infrared heat bulb fixture that is UL approved for being in the shower or tub enclosure.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 1:16AM
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Ideally, I'd have the heater on a programmable timer. It'd run from about 15-20 min before we got up during the week for about 30 min (you can also turn it off manually when you're done in the room). I had one of the Intermatic programmable switches, but it was kind of poorly made. And my wife's an ultra light sleeper, so she'd fuss if the heat came on in the bathroom and woke her up. Now it's just a manual switch.

The point is that with our high ceilings, it takes a while for the WW to make a difference in the temp in the room. The heater is on one side, and it has a diffuser to give you a little flexibility in which direction it blows (pretty much either down or down/along the long dimension on that side).

Remember that air blowing on you while you're wet in winter (dry air) is going to have to be pretty warm to feel warmer than the heat you lose by water evaporating off your skin. For us, the heater mostly makes the bathroom more comfortable for after you get out of the shower. But, if your ceilings are lower, you'll notice it quicker.

As for running the exhaust, when I'm totally done in the bathroom, I switch off the heat and push the 10 min button on the Leviton timer switch for the exhaust fan, open the shower door (so the shower will dry out during the day), turn off the light, and I'm gone out the door. I'd start it earlier, but the munchkin likes to close the shower door, and I'm afraid she'll manage to break something by slamming it against the fixed panel.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 1:04PM
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Thanks for the clarification thull. We have high ceilings too, and they're pitched over the shower, so it's going to complicate things. Add to that your comment about how warm the air needs to be and I think I'm giving up on this project--for now.

But thanks again for everyone's info!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Hi, I too came to conclude that these were the two -best- fan/heater combos on the market. Does this still hold true?

Can anyone recommend an even better ceiling heater for the bathroom, or will a wall mounted heater (body dryer) always be better?

Otherwise, someone reported that the WhisperWarm takes 10 minutes to blow warm air, is this true?

Does the WhisperWarm work, if your plan is to have a shower with the vent fan on - and THEN turn on the heater ONLY when you get out of the shower?

My impression was that it would work like a giant blow dryer mounted in the ceiling, so that only when you're done showering do you get out and have assisted warm air drying.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 7:34PM
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The Broan equivilent to the Panasonic WhisperWarm mentioned abvoe is the model QTX110HL. It is comparable in sone (sound) rating but puts out one heck of a lot more heat MUCH faster than the Panasonic AND it is made in the USA versus the Panasonic made in CHINA.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:02PM
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