When I arrived home from my last trip a couple weeks back, the Broan SPK110 Sensonic Speaker Fan was waiting for me. And, not just waiting in a box, but actively waiting for me to install. My family saw the box arrive and have been tastefully hounding me since to put on my construction apron. It took me a couple weeks to get up the gumption and free time to install this thing, but over this past weekend it all came together.
Now, for most, a Bluetooth-enabled speaker fan is probably not a needful thing, but for our family, living in a house built in 1980, bits and pieces of our establishment have either already broken and needed to be replaced or have just reached the point where they need to be replaced for safety purposes. If you're a home owner, that's just the way it works and you know what I mean. Everything needs to be replaced eventually. It's a never ending cycle. It seems you can sit and almost watch things age before your eyes. Our bathroom fans are something I've been meaning to replace anyway, so when the Broan graced our doorstep, it was hastened to the top of the honey-do list.
At 10.5 x 11.4 x 7.6 inches the Broan is now pretty much a standard size for bathroom fan housings. The fans in our house (again built in 1980), were much, much smaller. So, to accomplish the task of replacing one of the existing fans, I'd have to be extremely careful to cut away just enough of the ceiling to fit the larger housing but also ensure the new hole wasn't bigger than the fan cover, otherwise I'd have to also employ my drywall skills (which, I admit, aren't the greatest) to repair the ceiling. I chose to do it this way instead of working in the attic. Our attic is unfinished and hot.
Additionally, it seems that Broan is a popular maker of fans. The company supplies fans for everything including range hoods and bathroom fans. I say that because, if you have a newer home, you might already have a Broan housing installed, which would make the job a lot easier. Broan offers the Bluetooth speaker by itself for those installations where a Broan housing already exists. If this is the case, you only need to attach the Bluetooth speaker with a couple screws and make a quick electrical plug rearrangement (included) that piggy-backs off the speaker's wires. The Bluetooth speaker is supported for a multitude of Broan and NuTone models, not just the one I received.
The instructions that come with the full kit is a simple 2-page manual, showing how to put the unit together and then gives a summary of the steps you'll need to perform to install it in its final location. So, you'll need a little homeowner know-how for construction and home electric to get the job done. If you're not comfortable with ripping your house apart, installations, or working with electric, hire someone to do it for you.
Suffice to say, over the years I've accumulated a lot of experience with such things, so the installation, though tedious and time-consuming, was a snap for me. Unboxing to completed installation took me about 2 hours. It would've taken a LOT less had my home already been outfitted with newer, Broan equipment.
In the Box
Since I had to replace old fans with old housing, I needed the full Broan package. This included the fan and fan housing, the Bluetooth speaker, and the cover. Also included in the package are some rubber spacers should you need a little extra mounting room to fit your ceiling hole. Fortunately, I didn't need these as the old fan was attached directly to the ceiling joist and was immediately accessible.
You can opt to install the Bluetooth speaker later on, once the housing is secured in the ceiling and the electric is hooked up, but I opted to install the Bluetooth speaker first. The speaker adds some weight to the overall unit so keep that in mind when you have to lift it into the ceiling or drag it into the attic.
Like I said before, this part of the installation is a breeze. You just slide the speaker into place in the housing, secure it with two screws, and then attach the connection cable to the Broan housing's supplied cabling.
I won't bore you with my installation techniques. As most of you with home construction experience know, tear-outs and installations are not perfect science. And, particularly if you're modifying an existing home you know there's a lot of thinking and rethinking to accommodate new installations. I know a lot of folks with IT skills that are very good at home construction because they know how to tackle problems from multiple angles to find a workable solution. Such was my case in that I needed to rework some of my initial plans. I thought the ceiling installation would be the toughest part, but it was actually the existing ductwork that caused my biggest problem due to some apparent building code leniency during the house's original construction. But, once I had it reworked to vent to the outside of the house, all was good and my installation was complete.
I also had to enlarge the ceiling hole to accommodate the larger housing, but that was simple enough using my Rockwell Sonictool (which is a must for anyone regularly performing home construction). Here's the finished product...
Operation, on the other hand, is worth noting in detail.
The Broan fan provides a strong wind current without a lot of noise. You can tell that it's doing its job by holding a piece of toilet paper against it. The suction power is enormous, so it's actually pretty surprising how quiet it operates.
The speaker is amazing. Since it's powered by the homes electrical system (connected to the fan switch), the speaker is always available whenever the fan is running. For our family, this is a great reminder to turn on the fan to help eliminate odor and shower humidity.
Pairing the speaker with devices is quick and simple, however, it does take a few seconds once the fan is switched on before the speaker shows up in the Bluetooth connection list. Additionally, only one device can be paired at a time. We found this out by accident when my oldest was attempting to pair his Windows Phone with the speaker before taking a shower and it wouldn't connect. I found that my smartphone was already auto-connected down the hallway – the range lives up to the Bluetooth standard. Once I disconnected my smartphone from the speaker he was able to connect. And, I'm not exactly sure that was a good thing. The speaker volume output (controlled by the device's volume) is immense and I don't exactly like my son's choice in music. Blame that on my age, if you will, and the fact that I'm slowing becoming my parents.
For the Bluetooth connection, the speaker promotes itself as the "Sensonic Vent Fan."
Like I said earlier, the Broan Bluetooth-enabled speaker fan is not a needful thing. But, if you need to replace an old fan or want to modernize an existing space, it's a really great solution.
Each member of my family (there's six of us) has used the new gadget already and they are all happy that I finally got around to installing it. My wife took a relaxing bath listening to her favorite smooth stylings. Our youngest jammed to some Disney tunes.
The old fan I extracted is going to be redistributed to our master bedroom bathroom after it's cleaned and refurbished. That fan died a while ago. But, I'm edging closer to rethinking that plan and getting another Broan for that installation. Installation was a lot easier than I anticipated and the ability to walk into a room and have your favorite music follow you and fill the entire room with crystal clear sound is the future.
You can find the Broan at any home improvement reatiler, but also get some good deals from Amazon…
Full gear: Broan SPK110 Sensonic Speaker Fan with Bluetooth (around $150)
Just the Speaker: Broan SPKACC Sensonic Speaker with Bluetooth (around $75)