Improvements to the energy efficiency of homes throughout the UK have been steadily made over recent years both in the private residential and social housing markets. This has been thanks in part to initiatives that have encouraged measures such as installing cavity wall and additional loft insulation. Meanwhile the construction industry's new homes are more tightly sealed than ever, offering levels of energy efficiency not hitherto seen. But these properties also must be ventilated to stop condensation which can lead to mould growth and put occupants' health at greater risk. Unfortunately, ventilation is frequently an afterthought and not planned.
Whilst this snapshot about the energy efficiency of our housing is encouraging, it does not tell the full story. Two inherently linked problems cloud the issue. In spite of all the improvements to homes, there remains a significant percentage that remain draughty, let in cold air and emit far too much heated air. Secondly, figures from the Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report 2017 suggest that in 2015 some 2.50 million households in England were in fuel poverty and many of these properties are under heated to save money and consequently at risk to damp and condensation.
The months that follow damp and cold winters present a time slot to address the problem and that means considering the options for effective ventilation. Whilst the adage, “if you heat you must ventilate” remains true, it also true that even if you cannot afford to heat, you should also ventilate. It sounds like a no-win situation in terms of extra cost, but in the longer term not ventilating properly may cost so much more and can actually damage the fabric of the building.
There is a vast array of ventilation solutions now available from companies such as Johnson & Starley that can be specified to suit a property, address the specific ventilation requirement and meet the available budget. Of course, the easiest way to ventilate may cost nothing, simply open a window or two.
Whilst that may seem ideal in the summer months, although noise and external air pollution could be a problem, it is not a viable longer term solution if paid for preheated air is going out of the window.
From simple extract fans to central extract systems, from positive input to whole house mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR), Johnson & Starley's ranges will suit virtually all types of properties. Combine these with established warm air heating, gas boiler and heating interface ranges and this makes the company almost a one stop shop for residential HVAC systems.
MVHR is the most energy efficient method of ventilation. It works by extracting the damp warm air from ‘wet’ rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom, then before being expelled to the outside, the warmth in the air is transferred to the fresh incoming air by the means of a heat exchanger. The fresh warmed air is then continuously introduced into the building's habitable rooms. The air can be managed to control accurately the replacement rate. For this application, Johnson & Starley offers its Q-Vent ranges for different property sizes and its convenient LE whole house systems that can be wall mounted or fitted with a cooker hood.
Central extract ventilation represents a step up from individual extract fans in separate rooms and therefore is more cost -effective when it comes to running costs. Providing continuous ventilation, it will remove contaminated air from wet rooms, and replace it with fresh air through trickle vents, but may cause draughts and can waste heat. Johnson & Starley's central extract features EC low energy fan technology to minimise running costs and maximise environmental benefits.
Johnson & Starley’s Home’n’Dry whole house, positive input ventilation systems can be easily fitted in a roof space making them ideal for retrofit projects. It works by creating a positive pressure, forcing the stale air to escape through the fabric of the building. Then introduces a constant flow of filtered, tempered air into the home to reduce relative humidity, eliminate surface condensation and prevent mould growth.