The design and construction (and renovations) of most modern homes concentrates on minimising energy consumption by preventing heat loss. This clearly has a positive effect on the household budget but there are certain less beneficial results, the most obvious of which is that these properties may well suffer from poor ventilation. Older properties had a natural (if unintended) ventilation system through their inefficiency in keeping out external air. That is no longer the case and, as part of the general day to day upkeep of your home you now need to keep it properly ventilated. There are several reasons for this and in this brief article we look at some of the main ones and set out the possible consequences of failing to keep a properly ventilated home.
It is essential to our health and well-being that, when we are in our homes or workplaces, we are able to inhale fresh, clean air. One of the drawbacks of more efficient heat retention in a house is that the air does not circulate efficiently. This can result in a build up of warm, stale air that can cause various problems, including dizziness and headaches. In addition to this, poor quality air can also serve to exacerbate existing conditions such as allergies, asthma and other breathing difficulties.
Ineffective ventilation, as well as increasing the number of allergens in the air, also allows a build up of bacteria, viruses, dust, mould and mildew and fungi, which can all be injurious to the health of the occupants.
More seriously, poor ventilation can result in an increase in carbon dioxide to dangerous levels.
Poor ventilation can also result in condensation, which occurs when the warm air inside the property comes into contact with a cold object such as a window, a glass door or an external wall. This contact causes the gasses n the air to turn to moisture which will sit on the cold surface until it is cleaned away. Constant exposure to condensation can cause damage of the internal fabric of a property.
If condensation is allowed to affect a property over a prolonged period of time the moisture is likely to infiltrate the decorations, the plaster work and even the timbers, resulting in what may be an expensive repair and renovation bill.
In addition to the above, it is also a requirement of building regulations that sufficient ventilation is available to a building’s occupiers.
Where there is a problem there is always a solution and, in the case of ventilation, there are several, which have been developed as a result of the improved heat efficiency of new houses and systems have been devised to reduce the amount of accidental and uncontrolled air leakage from a building whilst giving it a system of controlled ventilation that provides the correct levels of fresh air and releases moisture, irritants and noxious substances to the exterior. There are various systems, which include Passive Stack Ventilation, Mechanical Extract Ventilation, Positive Input Ventilation and Background Ventilation. Systems are available on a variety of bases, including specific room extract ventilation, where damp air is extracted from room such as the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room and whole house ventilation, which is designed to provide a supply of fresh air from outside.
If you have any concerns that your home is affected by a lack of proper ventilation and that this may be to the detriment of the health of its occupants, why not contact your local builders to arrange a site inspection. They will be able to advise you as to the best way of combating the problem and ensuring that the right balance is struck between keeping your house war, your energy bills down and the air inside it as clean as possible.
The Builders SW, South Devon Builders
Sterling House, Meadway
Decoy Industrial Estate
DEVON. TQ12 5NA
Tel: 07515 393231 07710 621755 0800 0322213