As social housing becomes increasingly airtight, more homes are being blighted by condensation, mould and the associated problems they bring. Tom Emson Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia explains how ventilation can help tackle these problems.
Condensation and the damage it causes to the health of tenants and their homes remains a major headache for social housing providers. And with Housing Associations keen to improve the condition and efficiency of their housing stock, many Housing Associations have been undergoing refurbishment projects which inadvertently add to the condensation challenge. In a bid to lower energy bills for tenants part of the refurbishment often involves improving the air tightness of the properties, but this means the home cannot breathe and moisture in the air can’t escape. As a result there is a build-up of water vapour produced by every day activities such as cooking, bathing, showering etc. until condensation occurs. This can lead to serious health problems caused by the growth of black mould.
Condensation can also occur within the fabric of a building causing costly damage. This is called interstitial condensation and presents a greater hazard than surface condensation because the resulting high moisture content can often go undetected for long periods until serious structural damage has developed, such as timber decay. It will also render any insulation ineffective where it occurs.
Due to the serious consequences mould can have on tenants’ health, including respiratory infections, skin irritation and nausea, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the onus on landlords to ensure their properties are designed and maintained to a standard that prevents condensation and mould growth.
Improving ventilation therefore offers a simple solution to condensation for Housing Associations. Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) is designed to control condensation in social housing properties and offers a highly effective solution to eradicate mould and improve indoor air quality. Operating by drawing in warm, fresh air from the loft, PIV Units, such as the Vent-Axia PoziDry ProTM, filter it through a high capacity, washable filter and gently introduce it into the dwelling via a discreet ceiling mounted diffuser. The diffuser directs the airflow upwards where the incoming dryer air mixes with the warm moist air that gathers at ceiling height. The system dilutes the moisture in the air and provides fresh, filtered, tempered air into the home creating a healthy indoor environment and reducing the risk of condensation and mould, benefiting both the occupants and the structure of the building.
PoziDry ProTM has been designed specifically to be easy to transport, install and commission. With the unit sized to fit all standard loft hatches, it is a lightweight easy one-man-lift with a handle moulded into the unit for ease of transport. In addition, the unit comes pre-attached with filters to further speed up installation. Featuring two mounting options as standard, with mounting legs and hanging kit, the PoziDry ProTM ensures the unit is suitable for a wider range of homes than other PIVs. Traditionally PIV units are available with hanging kits but the PoziDry ProTM’s mounting legs offer installation versatility, especially where a roof has a shallow pitch, as they raise the PIV above potential loft insulation. The PoziDry ProTM also features AV mounts to stop any reverberation noise, plus the plug and play mounts are easy to attach to the unit.
Boasting Smart Sense™ intelligent technology, the PoziDry ProTM is easy to set up with a simple alpha numeric LED display and a three-button menu for commissioning and data gathering. Smart Sense™ technology provides real-time data via an intuitive interface to communicate the fan’s energy efficiency as well as a day logger to track energy use and daily usage. If a fan has been switched off and mould appears, landlords can use this information to work with and educate tenants to ensure a healthy indoor environment.
For Housing Associations wanting to provide good comfort for their tenants, Positive Input Ventilation technology is energy efficient, near silent in operation, simple to install and use and offers lower running costs. This type of solution offers Housing Associations a clear route to better ventilation, leading to a good indoor environment for tenants, with lower humidity levels, and lower maintenance costs. In short effective ventilation offers a simple way to combat condensation and mould.