Update/Review Panasonic FV-11VH2 Fan/Heater

This is an update/review of my fan/heater installation project. The project began with a request from my wife for a heater in the bathroom.
I installed this unit a couple of weeks ago: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
I also installed these switches:
Dimmer for lights (wall sconces): (Amazon.com product link shortened)
Humidity Sensor/Timer for Ventilation Fan: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
Timer for heater: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
Let's start with the Panasonic unit...
Love it! It is amazingly quiet in both fan and heat mode. The fan has more than enough suction for my bathroom, especially since I choose the 110 CFM unit instead of the 80 CFM which was all that was required based on the size of the bathroom. It's a huge improvement over the older, noisier Nutone fan that was previously installed.
The 2-stage heater is also more than enough for this bathroom. The heater fan comes on at a slow speed for about 40 seconds, then once the sturdy looking heater coil heats up, the fan comes on full.
Installation was fairly straight forward, although I didn't follow their instructions exactly. Based on the location of the rafters in my attic, I had to mount the unit roughly in the middle of a joist bay. The instructions offer 2 suggestions for mounting the unit between joists: use the included metal support bars or build a box-like header to mount between the joists.
I chose to simply sister some 2 x 4's onto the sides of the joists, flush with the bottoms and insert the unit from below. The fan has a flange all around the housing with screw holes for mounting from underneath. Granted, I have a table saw so I was able to rip a 2 x 4 down to get the exact fit I needed. The one thing I might do differently if I had to do this over would be to use a 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 so that I could bring the bottom of the mounting surface down flush with finished ceiling. My bathroom ceiling is about an inch thick (long story) so the unit is mounted an inch about the finished ceiling. The only problem with this is that it is a little difficult to get the spring clips for the fan cover into the slots in the unit. That was a problem caused by me and should not be considered a negative for the unit itself.
Hint: I removed the fan and the heater from the housing during the installation. That way I was only dealing with the weight of the housing as I marked the ceiling for the cutout and mounted the housing to the 2 x 4's. After that, the fan and heater were simply replaced into the housing.
Hint: Wire the unit before you install it in the ceiling. As with most units of this style, the box for the wires is pretty small. Since this unit requires a 20A circuit (12g wire) trying to wire it up in the attic after it is in the ceiling would be next to impossible. The fan and heater plug into the electrical box in the housing, so I wired the housing while I had the fan and heater removed.
As for the switches, my wife loves all 3 of them. She never has to touch the fan switch, it just comes on automatically after the shower has been on for a very short time and then turns itself off once the humidity is low enough. It can also be turned on/off manually if desired and will turn itself off after 30 minutes if the humidity is below the set point. Right now it is set at it's most sensitive point. I am going to wait a little while to see if I get false positives once the weather warms up and adjust it then. Of course, the fan is so quiet that I probably won't even know when if I'm getting false positives unless I'm in the bathroom when it happens.
The heater switch has settings for 10, 20, 30 and 60 minutes. I probably could have gone with the 5, 10, 15, 30 model since I can't imagine ever needing to run this heater for more than 30 minutes. Based on the size of the bathroom, 10 minutes is usually more than enough.
My wife Is happy with the dimmer for the lights so it's going to stay, but I'm disappointed with one feature. The toggle switch will turn the light on and off at the current dimmed setting. That's OK. The part I don't like is that the dimmer does not turn the light all the way off, so you have to use the toggle switch every time unless you want to leave a "night light" on.
Hint: if you are going to use 3 switches lIke I did, get the deepest triple gang switch box you can find. The switches are all pretty big, the fan/heater requires 12g wires and the switches require neutrals, so the switch box gets very crowded. I bought three 3.5” deep metal single gang boxes and ganged them into a triple. I can't imagine trying to get all of the wires into a standard depth plastic triple gang switch box.
Here are the switches after installation. Yes, I know that they are not centered over the TP holder. The wall construction prevented that from being done.
http://i440.photobucket.com/albums/qq121/DerbyDad03/photobucket-8454-1396364813661_zps33dbd9eb.jpg
All in all, I'm extremely satisfied with the entire installation. I would recommend the FV-11VH2 as well as the 2 Leviton switches. As far as the Lutron dimmer, I guess that depends on how you want it to work. I would prefer a dimmer that turned the lights off all the way without the need for the toggle switch.
It's only been a couple of weeks since everything was installed, so we'll have to wait and see if any issues arise.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.