Trickle Vents – It’s all about fresh air


It’s a fact that poor ventilation affects our health. In the past, this problem didn’t really exist because improperly installed windows and doors, leaky lofts and uncarpeted floors caused a lot of draughts and ventilated the building quite well. Nowadays, draughts are not as common. Double glazed window units and proper insulation help to create airtight spaces.

Air tightness can cause an increased level of humidity , cooking smells, allergens and irritants such as tobacco smoke. These factors lead to development of an unhealthy environment. At Grabex, we are very aware that thermal efficiency is important, but we cannot forget about ventilation. Trickle vents are the key to a well-ventilated space. What are they? Trickle vents are very small openings integrated into window frames which allow air into the property. Gentle airflow prevents condensation, mould growth and dampness.

When it comes to ventilation, you could simply ask why not open the window? Trickle vents only allow a limited amount of air into the property so they don’t disturb the effectiveness of double glazing. For example, it can be very useful during winter when it’s just too cold to open a window. It also gives a peace of mind because you don’t need to worry about the security of your home.

Do you actually need trickle vents in your house? The Building Regulations state that there should be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in a building.

There are three types of ventilation:

Sometimes referred to as rapid ventilation, it assists with the
removal of occasional pollutants such as smoke and smells from
cooking or fumes from painting and decorating.
Purge ventilation also helps with reducing the overheating of
a building during warm summer periods. An openable window
can provide purge ventilation.

Ventilation within rooms which are regularly exposed to
pollutants or excess water vapour (i.e. kitchens or bathrooms)
can be assisted by the use of permanent or intermittent
extraction. Extraction limits the spread of fumes and
pollutants throughout the building.

Described as a small ventilation opening designed to
provide controllable, whole building ventilation. Background
ventilation via trickle ventilators provides the building with the
facility for secure, draught free ventilation. Background
ventilation should ideally be positioned 1.7m above floor level.
Trickle vents are ideal for meeting this requirement.

If you are replacing your old windows which already have trickle vents, your new windows will need to have them too. The new vents should offer at least the same capacity as the outgoing vents. If you are not sure of the performance of your existing vents, remember that all habitable rooms (i.e. bedroom, living room) should have a minimum of 5000mm2 of free area ventilation and all wet rooms (bathroom, utility room) should have a minimum of 2500mm2 of free area ventilation. To give you an idea, one trickle vent usually provides 4000mm2 of free area ventilation.

In the case when your old windows didn’t have trickle vents, you are not required by regulations to have trickle vents installed into the new windows frames. But it might be worth considering ventilation, for example, in a bathroom, kitchen and bedroom where the gentle airflow is crucial.

For all new-build projects, including extensions, background ventilation is mandatory. Although installing trickle vents in your windows and/or doors is the best and most popular solution, you can also consider airbricks as an alternative. Also, if you wish to reduce the number of the trickle vents in each room, you could consider a system that controls incoming fresh air such as a heat recovery system, a continuous mechanical extract system, or a positive ventilation system. Ventilation levels within varying styles of homes or dwellings are dependant upon a number of factors. It is always best to discuss available options with your architect or main contractor.

At Grabex we also understand that the look of your newly fitted windows is very important. That is why we make sure the trickle vents are discreet but efficient. Remember that proper ventilation is the key to both your health and the good condition of your home’s fixtures, fittings and internal structure!

If you are still not sure whether trickle vents are an option for you, just leave a comment or email us.

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