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Bath Fan Review: Panasonic Whispergreen FV-08VKM1

I attended a mini-trade show last month at my Custom Builders Council of the Austin Home Builders Association and the Texas Panasonic rep showed me this fan. It’s an amazing new product and I ordered one the very next day! This is not your average bathroom ventilation fan because it does double duty. It runs at a continual 30-70 CFM and then kicks into high (80 CFM) when it senses motion. I’m remodeling my house and I put this above my master shower. It’s tough to see in my photo above (zoomed in on the controller under the grill), but I set mine to run at 30 CFM and when it senses motion (we get into the shower underneath) it kicks up to 80 CFM for 40 minutes. I don’t even need a switch on the wall! The display model I played with at the show was amazingly quiet too. The benefit of the continuous operation is that it will help to pull fresh air into the house. We’ve got a fresh air input to the furnace that basically opens a pipe to bring in outside air for 15 minutes every 2 hours. This fan creates negative air pressure on the house and exhausts the stale air while helping the furnace brings in fresh filtered air.
Panasonic really makes top of the line products! This is now a standard fan that will go in all homes my company builds or remodels. One caveat on this fan is that you really need a way to bring in fresh air other than just the leakiness of your old (or new) house. If you don’t do a fresh air input to your HVAC system, you could also consider a passive air inlet.
Another amazing feature is the “SmartFlow” technology which allows this fan to maintain constant CFM output despite any obstructions to the airflow. The Panasonic rep at the show put this hand over the exhaust port on the fan and it immediatly kicked up the fan motor speed to compensate for the obstruction. This helps in two ways: 1. If you have a poor install of your piping (obstructions, hard bends, etc.) you’ll still have the required flow. 2. If you had wind pressure on your roof pushing back on the fan it will compensate and increase the flow.
Lastly, let’s talk about energy efficiency, this fan only uses 11.3 watts at 80 CFM and 4.7 watts at 30 CFM. I’ve seen bath fans from competitor brands run from 75 watts to 200+ watts so that really shows how little power these fans use. Plus, consider that bath fans are used for 30+ years and that electricity saved will add up.
In my book, Panasonic fans are far superior to their competitors in performance, durability, noise, and energy efficiency!