The trend to insulate our homes to make them more energy-efficient is directly linked to poor indoor air quality, and the problem is growing. The fabric-first approach to building new properties means that homes are warmer and cost less to heat, but without adequate ventilation they simply cannot breath. The stale air laden with moisture and indoor pollutants remains trapped inside the property, causing real damage to the building fabric and, worse still, to our health.
Ventilation manufacturer, Nuaire has pioneered many products designed to improve indoor air quality. Residential Product Manager, Wendy Thomas believes that educating homeowners and housebuilders about the danger of poor indoor air quality is the best way raise awareness. She explained: “Poor ventilation is a wide-scale problem. It is estimated that one in five UK households are poorly ventilated, leading to problems with streaming windows, mould growth and poor indoor air quality.”
Everyday activities like cooking on a gas stove, burning fuel on stoves and fires, using household cleaning and beauty products, and creating too much moisture, all create pollutants that remain trapped inside the home.
Over time and without adequate ventilation, these pollutants which include carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, Radon gas, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, can contribute towards heart disease, asthma and even lung cancer. “Because we can’t see these pollutants, it’s easy to ignore the issue until health problems appear”, Mrs Thomas continued.
Countless studies have proven than whole-house ventilation is the best method of removing these pollutants and reducing moisture levels. Invented by Nuaire in 1972 and now installed in millions of UK homes, Positive Input Ventilation or PIV is trusted alternative to MVHR which meets building regulations and is the most cost-effective method of whole-house ventilation.
The PIV strategy works by providing a continuous supply of fresh, filtered air into the house through a fan mounted in the loft. The gently warmed input air enters the home through a ceiling diffuser, creating a positive pressure effect that reduces humidity levels and forces out air pollutants. The air is continually diluted, displaced and replaced to create a healthy indoor environment in which condensation cannot exist. PIV is also recommended as a measure to significantly reduce harmful Radon gas levels for homes in affected areas across the UK.
A New Direction for PIV
Nuaire has recently unveiled a new development in PIV technology. Drimaster-Eco offers increased energy and cost-savings to the homeowner whilst being quicker and easier to install.
Working closely with customers was crucial to development of the new range, explained Mrs Thomas. “Many developers still choose to use cheap extract fans which, when installed, may not extract the correct amount of air to prevent condensation and damp problems. Drimaster-Eco is the perfect solution. Not only does it meet the ventilation requirement within building regulations, but it is a whole-house ventilation system that saves energy whilst improving indoor air quality.”
The new Drimaster-Eco range offers increased energy-savings and user controllability through a host of clever features, but it is the ease and speed of installation that will most appeal to housebuilders, the manufacturer believes.
“Our Drimaster-Eco systems can be installed in under one hour by one tradesman, with no external core cutting, no duct runs and minimal disruption. Installing one of our low-energy systems negates the need for trickle vents and extract fans, saving time and money during the works programme. The new range is designed to simplify installation but at the same time to ensure that the most robust and effective ventilation system is in place”, said Mrs Thomas.
The new Drimaster-Eco range boasts four models which offer increasing degrees of performance and energy-efficiency to meet the exact needs of the homeowner.
A unique feature is the sleek, circular ceiling diffuser which houses the system controls. This allows complete control of the unit from the hallway without having to enter the loft.
Unlike other PIV systems on the market, the Drimaster-Eco range offers twice as much filter area so the filters are more effective for longer. Maintenance is minimal as the filters are changed every five years.
Both the Drimaser-Eco-Link and Heat models boast the new, enhanced hall-control with innovative remote control and sensor capabilities. A radio frequency receiver pairs the system with a range of optional remote and wired sensors and switches. The Relative Humidity and CO2 sensors enable the Drimaster-Eco to respond accordingly when moisture and CO2 levels reach a set level. The two and four-way switches allow the homeowner to turn the integral heater on and off as required, and to boost the system at times when added ventilation is needed. This simple functionality puts the homeowner in full control of their indoor environment.
Mrs Thomas explained: “We are hugely excited to be the first PIV manufacturer to offer true demand-control through our sensors and controls. These unique features will allow the homeowner to tailor the operation of the Drimaster-Eco to suit their lifestyles and to save energy when the house is unoccupied.”
Another clever feature which sets the range apart from the competition is the unique location of the integral heater in the Drimaster-Eco-Heat model. Sited between the flexible duct and the diffuser, this ‘pioneering design’ uses more of the heat created to temper the air rather than losing 3 to 4 degrees of heat through the duct as per standard PIV designs.
Nuaire anticipate that the Drimaster-Eco will surpass the huge popularity of is original and iconic Drimaster thanks to its use of new technology. Mrs Thomas said: “Poor indoor air quality is never far from the headlines and improving it is the starting point in all of our new product developments. The Drimaster-Eco range solves the problems with minimal energy and cost, and we can foresee its new features, such as the wireless controls and sensors, marking an exciting change of direction for PIV.”