As properties grow evermore air tight in the quest for energy efficiency, it is essential to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment by opening your window trickle vents. Trickle vents are the best option for controlled and secure background ventilation. Ventilation through handle ‘night vent’ positions is actively discouraged so as to eliminate the risk of break-in.
What is a Trickle Vent?
A trickle vent is a device usually fitted at the top of a window that allows fresh air to circulate naturally through a room, and allows polluted air out. They are controllable, to give the option of having them open or closed. When used correctly, trickle vents do not contribute excessively to heat loss. Trickle vents also work in conjunction with mechanical extract fans when more immediate ventilation is required. The vents are either fitted to the window frame (slot vents) or sometimes between the glass and the window frame (glazed-in vent).
Why use Trickle Vents?
Poor ventilation affects our health. Microscopic organisms, like house dust mites and fungi, thrive due to the moisture produced inside a home. Indoor air is also contaminated by chemicals discharged from the building itself and from the items we use within it, such as computers, carpets, furnishings, etc. In large quantities these pollutants can present a health concern and can cause or aggravate allergies, depression, and lung or heart conditions.
In the past, adequate natural ventilation was provided by chimneys and gaps in the building structure, for example cracks around window and door frames.
Modern living and improvements such as well sealed windows may increase indoor pollutant levels.
To combat this, trickle ventilators are a safe and energy efficient way of providing fresh air. Movement of air helps disperse general moisture in other habitable rooms (besides bathrooms and kitchens); if the moisture doesn’t escape, it can build up, leading to potential mould growth problems, affecting not only occupants’ health but also damaging the building itself. It also ensures volatile organic compounds (VOC) do not stay in the air indefinitely.
Why not open a window instead?
Night-vent or night-latch positions – where the window is held slightly ajar by the handle – are a security risk. Windows should be fully closed when a house is unoccupied. Trickle vents are a secure form of ventilation and can be left open even when you are on holiday.
How do I increase the ventilation in my property?
This depends on what you have fitted already, but first of all make sure you have some form of ventilation. Therefore trickle vents in the windows or air bricks in the walls for background ventilation and extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen. You can upgrade to a mechanical ventilation system either MEV or MVHR to help increase and control the ventilation should it be feasible to the property.
Surely the air outside my property is full of pollutants, like exhaust gases, and they aren’t good for me?
Agreed, there are plenty of harmful pollutants outside but they disperse over a much larger area and therefore are generally not as harmful as air that has been left to ‘stagnate’ in a closed, sealed space.