Preventing condensation is better than the cure say ventilation designers, Nuaire

The dangers of damp and mould spores caused by condensation are very real, and as winter approaches social housing tenants living in poorly ventilated homes will be at risk of developing or worsening a range of allergies, from asthma to rhinitis. Faced with energy price hikes and more severe winter weather, tenants are less likely to open windows and dry clothes outside and so the damage caused by condensation remains.

As autumn approaches and the temperature drops, many Registered Social Landlords will start preparing for the onslaught of tenant complaints about damp walls, condensation on windows and the appearance of black mould on fabric, clothing and wallpaper.

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.

An average family can produce up to four pints of water per day and this moisture is absorbed into the air where it migrates through the home and condenses on cool surfaces such as windows, mirrors, wall tiles and furniture.  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. In short, condensation dampness is bad news for all concerned.

For many RSLs, this problem comes around every year between autumn and spring, bringing with it visits from surveyors and damp assessors, and costly repairs to the building fabric and decoration.  Many will try to encourage their tenants to adopt 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.   

So what’s the solution?  Trawling the internet for advice on tackling condensation will uncover a plethora of so-called cures, but be wary: many of these are simply short-term solutions that will mask or target only the cosmetic appearance of mould without actually dealing with the root of the problem.  Anti-mould paint, dehumidifiers, cavity wall and loft insulation, draught-proofing and installing double glazing are just some of steps suggested by retailers and suppliers.  Some are extremely costly, others are effective for tackling penetrating damp, but none of them will solve the condensation issue.  It’s a matter of adequate ventilation.

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 in conjunction with the North Eastern Gas Board which sought a low-cost solution to clear condensation and humidity
caused by sealed up chimneys and modern central heating systems. Today, PIV is the most popular method of whole home ventilation in the UK, being simple to install and still providing 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 tenants.

Quiet 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 compared with other ventilation strategies such as installing individual extract fans in all wet rooms. This makes PIV ideally suited to repairs and maintenance projects, yet it is gaining popularity in new build homes.

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Nuaire Host Ventilation One-Stop-Shop at Ecobuild

Architects, designers and self-builders can get valuable advice and free ventilation designs when they visit the Nuaire Self Build stand at Ecobuild exhibition, from 4th to 6th March 2014.

The world-leading sustainable design and building show attracts some 45,000 visitors each year to London’s ExCel, making it the largest show of its kind in the UK and a key event in Nuaire’s busy exhibition calendar. After the success of its UK and Ireland Self Build tour, Nuaire will showcase its full self-build ventilation product range and services to the Ecobuild visitors.

Nuaire’s dedicated Self Build Team will be showcasing a full range of products, including Mechanical Heat Recovery (MVHR), Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) and the new Ductmaster thermal ducting range. As well as product demos, self-builders can find out about the best methods of meeting building regulations and ensuring their ventilation strategy is effective and efficient, whilst DIYers can glean advice on improving indoor air quality and solving condensation issues.

Nuaire Design Estimator Llyr Davies explained: “We’ll be showcasing our latest products in the residential market, including MVHR units, thermal and self-sealing ducting and individual extract fans. When visitors come to the stand they will be able to discuss their projects with experienced design estimators who deal with these types of projects on a daily basis. Because of this, the advice and guidance that the visitors will gain is invaluable, as the insight our design estimators have when it comes to designing MVHR systems is second to none.”

Come and speak to Llyr and his team on stand number N2320. For further details of Nuaire’s self-build and retrofit ventilation products you can download our Self Build Brochure or you can visit our self-build pages.

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NUAIRE Offers TOP TIPS On Tackling Condensation This Winter

Condensation dampness is more common than you may think particularly in older homes, and as winter sets in and temperature starts to drop many of us will notice the problem more.

Streaming windows, damp surfaces and musty smells are tell-tale signs of condensation dampness. Excess moisture is produced by every day activities like bathing and showering, cooking, washing and drying our clothes inside. You can’t see this moisture once it is absorbed into the indoor air, until it comes into contact with cold surfaces where it condenses into droplets of water.

Moisture-producing rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and cold surfaces in other rooms of the house where moisture can migrate to, are most affected by condensation dampness. Prolonged exposure to condensation may result in the appearance of black mould patches on walls, ceilings, fabrics and clothing. Condensed water provides the ideal conditions for mould spores already in the air to germinate and grow, damaging your walls, furniture and clothes and contributing to health problems. Humidity can also increase the number of dust mite allergens in the home, which aggravates the symptoms of asthmas.

The good news is that you can reduce the problem by taking some simple steps:

Minimise the Moisture

Dry your clothes outside whenever possible, but when inside is the only option try to isolate drying to the bathroom or kitchen, keeping the room well ventilated. Avoid drying your clothes on radiators as this is a major contributor to condensation.

When producing steam in the bathroom or kitchen shut the door to prevent the vapour-laden air spreading to the rest of the house. Your ‘wet rooms’ will often contain extract fans that will provide adequate ventilation, otherwise open the window to let the moisture escape.

Keep doors closed on very cold rooms. Remember that moisture will travel through the property until it comes into contact with a cool surface, such as a window or wall, where it will settle and in some cases penetrate.

Increase Your Ventilation

The best way to tackle condensation dampness is provide adequate ventilation to your property. Often opening your trickle vents or, when you are at home, opening a small window in occupied rooms will help let the moisture out.

Extract fans will ventilate single ‘wet rooms’ and while in the past some have been considered to be noisy and expensive to run, there are now many options that are whisper quiet and use very little energy. For more severe and reoccurring condensation problems, your property could benefit from ‘positive input ventilation’, a low energy system which ventilates the whole home from its location in the loft-space or hallway, and creates an environment in which condensation and mould growth can’t exist. This type of ventilation is the most effective method of preventing condensation, reducing dust mite allergens and generally improving the indoor air quality.

Heating Helps

Finally, heating your home can help reduce condensation. However, consistency is the key. Keeping your heating at a low level for a long period of time will gently warm the fabric of the building, reducing the cold surfaces on which warm wet air will condense.

For more information on how to tackle condensation with our low-energy ventilation systems, see our Condensation pages.

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Get a free ventilation design at the National Selfbuild and Renovation Show

Whether you’re renovating or building your own home, the National Self Build & Renovation Show has everything you need to make your project a success.

Held at The National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon between the 12th and 14th of April, the show provides advice on finding the right plot or finance, how to project manage yourself and access to key suppliers and tradesman you can work with.

This year Nuaire will not only be exhibiting at the show but running an informative seminar on the importance of indoor air quality and ventilating right.

Visit the Nuaire stand TV50 to get advice on the right ventilation strategy for your project and a free ventilation design whilst you are at the show.

Bring your drawings with you or email them in advance to selfbuild@nuaire.co.uk

For more information please contact our dedicated selfbuild team on 029 2085 8425.

To find out more about the National Self Build & Renovation Show visit http://www.nsbrshow.co.uk/

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Landlord & Letting Cardiff Show

Nuaire is proud to announce that it will be exhibiting at the Landlords & Lettings Show at Cardiff’s City Hall on the 7th and 8th October.  The show is the top exhibition in the Landlords and Lettings industry and is coming to the Welsh capital for only the second time, enabling the thousands of visitors from all over Wales and the South West to access advice and information from the biggest players in the industry.

Nuaire’s dedicated sales team will be exhibiting a range of ventilation solutions for landlords, such as our single room extract fans and our PIV products, as well as showcasing our brand new Landlords & Lettings brochure.  Whatever your involvement in this sector of the property market, Nuaire’s specialist team will be able to offer expert advice on the most energy-efficient and cost-effective ways to protect your properties from mould and condensation.

Nuaire’s Landlord & Lettings Co-Ordinator Sarah Thomas explained: “Having the Landlord & Lettings Show back in Cardiff is a great opportunity for us to meet the Landlords and Lettings Agents from Wales and the South West, and to provide them with personalised tips from our experts.  Show attendees can come and discuss their properties’ condensation and damp issues and gain an understanding of what ventilation systems are the most appropriate for their individual requirements.  We can also show you what a positive impact these systems have – both for landlords and tenants.  I’m looking forward to meeting as many people as possible, so come and visit us at stand number 12!”

 

For free tickets to the show please contact Nuaire on 029 2085 8363. 

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New thermal ducting from Nuaire will help housebuilders meet NHBC Standards

Following January's release of the NHBC Standards on MVHR installation, house builders are increasingly looking towards ventilation manufacturers to offer advice, guidance and compliant products to help them meet the new guidelines.

Ventilation manufacturers have been following the NHBC best practice approach for many years in the design of energy-efficient MVHR systems. Now Nuaire is supporting house builders with an innovative new thermal ducting solution that aims to solve the issue of insulating ducting through un-heated spaces, an area highlighted by the NHBC guidance document.

When installing MVHR systems, much time is spent on the labour-intensive practice of insulating PVC pipes. In many cases the processes used to insulate the ducting do not confirm with building regulations. Nuaire has designed a unique solution named ‘Ductmaster’, which, unlike other thermal systems that wrap around the PVC pipe, is an all-in-one system where the material used for insulation is the duct itself.

This is important as it features a clamping mechanism that forms an air-tight seal, eliminating the risk of condensation forming in the duct. With no need for any sealant or tape installation is simple and quick: key for busy contractors.

Commenting on the NHBC changes, Nuaire product manager Wendy Thomas said: “As a market leader in ventilation design we are always looking for tomorrow’s innovations and the NHBC Guidelines will benefit the home owner with MVHR systems that are correctly installed and commissioned, providing good indoor air quality. ‘Ductmaster’, for example, offers our customers a complete ducting solution that both complies with Part F building regulations and makes the installation process quicker and easier. Our aim as a manufacturer is to lead MVHR installation best practice and offer customers simple solutions.

“Nuaire, as other ventilation companies, is a champion of installation best practice, encouraging customers to consider the type of duct and method of installation at design stage to ensure the best system performance and indoor air quality. By providing customers with the product, ancillaries, complete drawing files and advice, we give peace of mind to the customer. These new NHBC guidelines are a great addition to provide helpful, practical advice on installation best practice.”

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Landlord & Letting Show 9th September

This coming September Nuaire will be exhibiting at the Landlord & Letting Show at the Barbican Centre in London. The show opens on 9th September and runs for 2 days, and is the leading exhibition in the Landlords and Lettings industry, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry and thousands of visitors over the two days.

 Our dedicated sales team will be exhibiting some of our single room extract product range along with our PIV solutions and showcasing our brand new Landlords & Lettings brochure. No matter what your involvement in property, our team will be able to give you expert advice on the most effective, energy-efficient ways to protect your properties from mould and condensation.

 Nuaire Team Leader Daniel Evans explained: “The Landlord & Lettings Show at the Barbican is a fantastic opportunity for Landlords and Letting Agents to get personalised tips directly from the experts. Visitors to the show can come and discuss their mould and condensation issues with us, gain a thorough understanding of how the different ventilation systems work and the positive impact it will have on the lives of tenants, and how it will save landlords money.”

For free tickets to the show please contact us on 029 2085 8363. We look forward to meeting you there, our stand is number 49, so come and visit!

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All Done and Ducted! Nuaire’s Ductmaster Thermal Wins a Housebuilder Product Award

(Nuaire's Residential team collect their Housebuilder Product award on stage in very good company)

Nuaire’s Residential team has celebrated an afternoon of success at the Housebuilder Product Awards 2014, at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. The company’s innovative and time-saving new ducting range, Ductmaster Thermal has scooped the coveted Best Service Product Award, beating off strong competition from products including E.ON’s Smart Metering System.

Housebuilder Product Award Winners Team

(Clockwise, left to right: Steve Smith, Richard Jenkins, Andy Sellman, Wendy Thomas)

Nuaire Product Manager Wendy Thomas said: “We are delighted to win Best Service Product in this high profile and well-respected industry competition. 

“Nuaire introduted Ductmaster Thermal to support housebuilders in meeting current building regulations, and to help them save time and costs on site.  Recognition from the Housebuilder Product Award judges in a highly competitive category proves that the Ductmaster Thermal is as good as we believe it to be.”

She continued: “As a fan manufacturer we are well known for our product innovation, so it’s very encouraging to know that, in applying the same innovative principles to the design of our ducting range, we have developed a solution that offers time and cost-savings to the house builder whilst also improving the quality and performance of their MVHR and MEV installations.”

Nuaire’s Ductmaster Thermal is an innovative all-in-one system that solves the issue of insulating ducting through un-heated spaces, an area highlighted by the NHBC guidance document.  It features a unique clamping mechanism that forms an air-tight seal, eliminating the risk of condensation forming in the duct. With no need for any sealant or tape, installation is simple and quick, helping to lower labour costs for installation on site.  The range has recently achieved LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Certification for both round and rectangular ranges, meaning that Ductmaster Thermal is approved for use and backed by the LABC on any of their new build and refurbishment projects.

Find out more here.

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National Self Build & Renovation Show

The National Home Build & Renovation Show takes place from 31st -1st February 2015, well-timed for those starting a 2015 self-build project. Exhibiting at the show, Nuaire’s expert Self-Build Ventilation team will be on hand to explain which ventilation products are best suited to the particular property type, layout and needs of the individual.

Nuaire Design Estimator Aaron Dynes believes visitors can save themselves time, money and headaches with the expert advice he and his team provide during the weekend event. He said: “Visitors are able to discuss projects and get first-hand advice on how each ventilation system works. We can steer them through the requirements of Building Regulations and reducing energy usage, and demonstrate our design service."

Speak to Aaron and the team on stand T050 for an expert view on low-energy ventilation and hassle-free design. In the meantime, you can find out more about our self-build ventilation products by downloading our brochure or visiting the Self Build page.

For complimentary Free tickets please click here and follow the instructions on the ticket.

More information please contact our dedicated selfbuild team on 029 2085 8425.

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Nuaire Go ‘Eco’ With Landmark PIV Development

Over 40 years since the company invented a cure for condensation dampness, ventilation manufacturer Nuaire has unveiled the next generation of its iconic Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) range, taking existing PIV technology a step further.

Drimaster-Eco is designed to tackle the problem of condensation dampness whilst offering social housing providers and occupants increased energy and cost savings, as well as enhanced controllability, through a host of clever features.

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. Tenant lifestyles, energy-efficiency measures such as wall and loft insulation, and a rise in fuel poverty all contribute to condensation dampness.

Nuaire’s Residential Product Manager, Wendy Thomas explained: “This is a problem on several levels. Condensation causes damage to the building fabric at the ongoing cost of the housing provider. But it also causes health problems, including asthma, which has a very negative effect on the tenant’s health and wellbeing. 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 these 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.”

Pioneered by Nuaire back in 1972, the PIV strategy has since become a trusted method of ridding properties of condensation and reducing airbourne pollutants and allergens. The new Drimaster-Eco range boasts four models which offer increasing degrees of performance and energy-efficiency to meet the exact needs of the housing provider.

A sleek, circular ceiling diffuser houses the system controls, allowing complete control of the unit from the hallway without having to enter the loft. Commissioning and adjusting the system can now be done by a tenant liaison officer rather than an electrician, which is more cost-effective.

Unlike other Positive Input Ventilation systems on the market, the Drimaster-Eco range offers twice as much filter area so the filters are more effective for longer. Small and light, the new unit offers an extended duct length to overcome installation restrictions, and can be hung at the right height to maximise heat gains within the loft space. Installation is quick and simple, and commissioning can be carried out from the hallway via controls in the diffuser.
Both the Drimaster-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 that allow the homeowner to boost fan speed, adjust the unit when more moisture is being produced and receive alerts when CO2 levels rise above a set point.

Mrs Thomas explained: “We are hugely excited to be the first PIV manufacturer to offer true demand-control through our sensors and controls. The ability to adjust the fan speed will help occupants save energy when the house is unoccupied.”

The Drimaster-Eco-Heat features an integral heater which is sited uniquely 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.

Mrs Thomas continued: “The unique position of the heater offers the same performance whilst using up to 20% less energy than the competition. This means lower running and life cycle costs, so both the housing provider and the occupier benefit.”

A common issue faced by social housing providers is accessing properties to check that the PIV system is on and that measures put in place to alleviate condensation issues are being followed. Nuaire has designed a Remote Monitoring Device which provides readings from outside the property to determine how long the unit has been running and its filter status. This addresses the problem without having to enter the property, and can help overcome potential legal issues.

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