As a Social Housing provider, I am now gearing up for the condensation season. Several long and very cold winters have contributed to an increase in complaints from tenants about damp and mould problems, many of which are caused by the tenant’s lifestyle – cooking, washing and drying clothes inside the home without opening windows. Trying to enforce my tenants to reduce the moisture in their homes isn’t effective and with increased maintenance bills due to mould and condensation damage I would like advice on any low-cost ventilation strategies that will prevent condensation.
You are not alone in your frustration. Many Registered Social Landlords see a sharp rise in tenant complaints during the winter months when condensation is at its worst. Condensation dampness affects both new and older properties and is much more common than you might imagine. Excess moisture is produced simply by breathing and by everyday activities like bathing, cooking, washing and drying our clothes.
This humid environment is the ideal condition for mould spores to germinate and grow, and for dust mites to breed. These allergens can aggravate asthma and trigger allergic symptoms such as rhinitis and eczema, so while your property may be subjected to cosmetic damage caused by excess humidity, the health and wellbeing of your tenants will also be at risk.
Many RSLs will try to encourage their tenants to adopt simple lifestyle changes to lower the level of humidity in the property: opening windows and closing doors in moisture-producing rooms, keeping the property warm to reduce cold spots, and not drying clothes inside. In reality, as a result of fuel poverty and more extreme weather, it is often difficult to enforce these changes and when outside temperatures plummet any activities that result in a loss of heat and increased fuel bills are quickly abandoned.
The answer is effective ventilation. Opening windows or keeping extract fans running is adequate for many homes but for properties badly affected by condensation dampness, the most effective solution is a whole-home ventilation strategy called Positive Input Ventilation, sometimes referred to as Positive Pressurisation or PIV. Ventilation manufacturer, Nuaire invented the technology over 40 years ago and today you might be surprised to know that PIV is the most popular method of whole home ventilation in the UK. It is simple to install and provides the only known cure for condensation dampness and the associated health issues caused by dust mites, mould spores and other indoor pollutants.
The PIV process involves drawing fresh air from outside into a fan located in the loft area. The air is filtered, tempered using the heat that naturally accumulates at the top of the house, and then gently pushed into the home causing positive pressurisation. By continuously supplying fresh, filtered air through the home, the moisture-laden stale air is forced out through the natural leakage points. As a result, the humidity is drastically reduced and the allergens are removed from the air creating a fresh and healthy indoor environment for your tenants.
Quiet, unobtrusive and energy-efficient in their operation, Positive Input Ventilation systems can reduce the overall maintenance costs of a property by protecting the fabric and materials in the home and preventing the build-up of tell-tale signs that often trigger tenant complaints. This strategy is extremely cost effective and quick to install, hence its popularity.
Find out how Nuaire can cure your condensation problems with our Drimaster PIV range for homes with or without lofts.