Time to vent!

Now that winter is upon us, householders will naturally turn up the heating. This is all well and good, but if a property doesn’t have the right ventilation, there’s a risk that harmful gases could build up, such as carbon monoxide. We would like to think our houses are airtight—otherwise, how do we keep the warm air in when it’s like Siberia outside?

However, ventilation is just as important in cold weather as it is during summer months. It’s not just about expelling fumes, vents allow air to circulate between inside and outside—this continuous flow prevents humidity and mould from forming.

When the temperature drops, the moisture in the air finds its way to cold surfaces, which is why you often see condensation on windows in the morning when the temperature differs so much between the inside and outside environments. It seems counterproductive to open a window when it’s cold outside…luckily, modern vents are designed to allow moisture, noxious gases and unwanted chemicals to escape without losing much heat from the home.

When condensation becomes excessive, it can develop into mould, which can blight many homeowners’ lives, as it doesn’t always go away when cleaned or wiped. In poorly ventilated homes, humid air, which carries lots of moisture particles, becomes trapped and this is when mould grows.

To be rid of mould, the area has to dry out to stop it from forming again. This is easier said than done, however, if it’s the result of a hidden leak. In these instances, moisture could be getting in from the outside, e.g. from blocked guttering or a leak. It’s wise for landlords or homeowners to carry out an annual maintenance check on their properties before the winter weather really kicks in, to catch such issues before they cause damage.

Families where someone suffers from asthma or similar respiratory conditions would benefit from greater ventilation in their homes—not only can mould exacerbate these illnesses, it can also have a negative impact on the immune systems of residents.

Modern houses are rarely fitted with open fires and, instead, have gas or electrical versions. Most gas fires need a flue or a chimney for harmful gases to escape through; however, today, some gas fires don’t require these, as they have an in-built catalytic convertor that eliminates the toxic chemicals.

Older houses are particularly susceptible to poor ventilation. The materials used to erect the house won’t have been as porous as today’s building materials, and walls were made much thicker to keep the heat in (as well as harmful gases and condensation). In some older properties, lots of chimneys were blocked up or filled in when open fires went out of fashion; however, alternative ventilation may not have been installed.

It’s much easier to ensure appropriate ventilation when properties are being built rather than as a secondary consideration once the home is lived in. IT also reduces the need for standalone forms of ventilation, such as fans, humidifiers and extraction units.

Electricals Online have a range of vents, suitable for different rooms and ventilation needs.