The English Housing Survey revealed recently that damp continues to be a problem for at least one million homes in England. The statistics showed that those living in rented properties, either social housing or private, were most likely to be living with ‘damp’, manifesting itself as condensation and mould growth. This was found to affect 586,000 households. As is widely known, condensation and mould are produced by activities in the home, such as taking showers and baths, boiling kettles, cooking, drying clothes and breathing. A family of four will contribute approximately four pints of water per person a day into the atmosphere, equal to over 100 pints of water vapour a week, creating high levels of humidity if internal air is not allowed to circulate and new drier air to enter the home.
Before the days of energy efficient upgrades, such as double glazing and cavity wall and loft insulation, this humid, stale air would find its escape route through ill-fitting windows and doors, lofts and so on…otherwise known as draughts! In modern homes that have greater airtightness there can be a lack of fresh air circulating around the house. Without a regular circulation of fresh air into a house, warm air hits a cooler surface and the water vapour within it condenses, leading to damp appearing on walls and around windows.
Condensation can be reduced and indoor air quality improved by retrofitting one of our PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) systems, which eradicates problems with high humidity leading to condensation and mould. PIV creates a fresh, healthy and condensation free environment by drawing in a constant supply of fresh filtered air into homes through the loft space.
Another interesting point from the English Housing Survey was that the energy efficiency of England’s housing stock has improved significantly. Over the last 10 years, the percentage of homes achieving an energy efficiency rating between A-C increased from 5% to 28%. The proportion of homes in the lowest energy efficiency bands fell from 19% to 3%. This trend towards greater energy efficiency, whilst it is a positive in terms of warmth and comfort, is one of the main reasons why mechanical ventilation is needed in homes. Many industry experts have pointed out that requirements for air tightness in new and renovated homes has increased, yet ventilation requirements have remained unchanged for many years. Regardless of this, many social housing providers are recognising the issue that tenants face and the burden that dealing with condensation and mould growth puts on their maintenance teams. Social housing providers are also aware of how poor ventilation can impact on the health of tenants, by exacerbating existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
As awareness of the effectiveness of indoor ventilation increases, social housing providers are facing a situation where their properties can be completely condensation free.
It is, however, essential to specify a ventilation unit correctly in order to avoid any issues further down the line. This is the reason why our ventilation specialists carry out a full survey at the start of the project to ensure they are correctly specified. In addition, our UK-manufactured ventilation systems are thoroughly tested before leaving our facility – this gives social housing providers added reassurance that their ventilation units will work effectively over the long term.
Correct installation is equally as important as selecting the right unit and here at EnviroVent, we are able to provide peace of mind as our ventilation systems are installed by our own highly skilled and fully trained team of installers. Our installation team are certified electricians who complete a rigorous training programme when they join the business so they can respond to any ventilation situation. We also provide technical support and after-sales care, keeping everything in-house, so we can ensure our customers receive the highest quality service. In addition, the Envirovent Rapid service guarantees to find and install a fully working ventilation solution in one visit within 10 days.
In addition, housing associations are covered by 24/7 support through our technical team and we also offer real-time reporting to ensure housing associations know exactly what we’re doing, where we are working and when. We also offer our own social housing Condensation Training workshops. These courses, which are provided free of charge help housing associations to understand what causes condensation and mould growth and how they can best help their tenants.
So the findings of the English Housing Survey may come as no surprise to social housing providers. Condensation and mould is a constant issue during the colder months for many tenants and housing associations are recognising the need to address this with long term solutions, like Positive Input Ventilation, that are correctly specified and professionally installed.
For more information on ventilation solutions from EnviroVent or to book onto a Condensation Training workshop, visit the website www.envirovent.com or call 0345 27 27 810.