When it comes to domestic ventilation, we all need help; thanks to Manrose, we now have a guide on, How to Choose a Ventilation Fan at Home. We read their guide and we would like to present the main points recommended by this ventilation fans manufacturer as it relates to ventilation at home. Ventilation is absolutely necessary, and it is good to know the following matters related to ventilation at home:What are the Problems caused by Poor or No Ventilation?What do Regulations say about Ventilation at Home?Where should we Install a Ventilation Fan at home?What Ventilation Fan is Required for the Minimum Air Changes Required per Hour?How to Choose the Right Ventilation Fan at HomeWhat options are there for Ventilation at Home?What are the Problems caused by Poor or No Ventilation?If the ventilation fans are not working or nonexistent, or if there is poor ventilation in a home, there are a few problems that may arise. First, there is the stale air which we all hate. Stale air can be caused by things such as cooking smells, odours remaining in the bathroom, a general lack of ventilation around the house, smoking, and a damp atmosphere. Stale air is not good for health and is very unpleasant to breathe.Stale air can cause a certain level of discomfort and poses a risk of respiratory illness and general poor health. Condensation is another problem caused by poor ventilation at home. When the steam from the kitchen or the bathroom spreads in the house and finds cooler surfaces around the house, there is condensation. We may try to conserve heat by sealing the windows and keeping them closed, therefore reducing natural ventilation; this causes more condensation. The consequences of condensation in a home include mould growth, peeling wallpaper, and even severe structural damage such as wood rot or dampness. What do Regulations say about Ventilation at Home?According to the Building Regulations Document F1 (2006 Edition), we know the importance of ventilation. Furthermore, these regulations stipulate that mechanical ventilation must be installed in kitchens, bathrooms (or showers), and toilets. The ventilation fans installed need to meet or exceed the current Building Regulations so that humidity is removed at the source before it can reach the cooler part of the dwelling. In particular, what is recommended and even required by the Building Regs are as follows:Intermittent fans - they operate on an "as required" basis and are turned on or off with the light switch or via other control (such as a pull cord switch). These are the regular fans installed on the wall or ceiling that provide high extraction for a short period of time when turned on. In the bathroom or shower room, the regulations require a fan capable of extracting min. 15 litres per second when installed. In a toilet, separate from a bathroom, the regulations require a fan capable of extracting a minimum of 6 litres per second when installed. In the kitchen, the regulations require a fan capable of extracting min. 60 litres per second when installed. And in the utility rooms, the regulations require a fan capable of extracting min. 30 litres per second when installed. Continuous Fans - they work all the time to extract excess moisture and stale air at low extraction rates throughout the day, and they have a boost function when humidity levels rise. They are becoming more common, for they ensure better indoor air quality while using less energy than intermittent fans, thus being more cost-effective to run. The Regulations regarding these in terms of air extraction rates are as follows: in the bathroom or shower room - min. 8 litres per second, in the toilet (separate from a bathroom) min. 6 litres per second, in the kitchen - min. 13 litres per second, and in utility rooms - max. 8 litres per second.Where should we Install a Ventilation Fan at home?The location of the ventilation fan is very important; it is of utmost importance to site the fan correctly. A ventilation fan needs to be always sited in the furthest window or wall from the main source of air replacement in order to avoid short-circuiting the airflow. Also, it needs to be located as high as possible in the window or wall nearest to smells or steam, but not directly above eye-level grills or cooker hoods. If a room in the house contains a gas boiler or any other fuel-burning device with a non-balanced flue, it is imperative that there's enough replacement air to prevent fumes from being drawn down the flue when the fan is extracting to its utmost capacity. Furthermore, according to the IEE Regulations in the UK, conventional mains voltage fans in a bathroom or shower must be located in places where they cannot be touched by a person using the bath or the shower, as well as away from any water spray. SELV fans (Safety Extra Low Voltage Fans, 12V fans) are specifically designed for safe ventilation of toilets, bathrooms, and shower rooms. They can be fitted within the area with splashing water (see their full specs) without any risk of electric shock. What Ventilation Fan is Required for the Minimum Air Changes Required per Hour?When considering where and what fan to install in a particular room at home, we need to know what is the minimum air changes required per hour. In order to calculate the correct air changes required for a room, you need to know the room volume in cubic metres, which is basically the length x width x height of the room, which needs to be multiplied by the number of air changes required. According to the current Building Regulations, here are the minimum air changes required per hour:Bathroom & Shower Rooms - 3 air changes/hBedrooms - 2 air changes/hCafés - 10 air changes/hCanteens - 8 air changes/hCellars - 3 air changes/hChanging Rooms with Showers - 15 air changes/hConference Rooms - 8 air changes/hGarages - 6 air changes/hHairdressing Salons - 10 air changes/hHalls & Landings - 3 air changes/hHospital Rooms - 4 air changes/hLaundries & Launderettes - 10 air changes/hLiving & Other Domestic Rooms - 3 air changes/hMeeting Rooms - 4 air changes/hOffices - 6 air changes/hRestaurants & Bars - 6 air changes/hSchool Rooms - 2 air changes/hShops - 8 air changes/hSports Facilities - 6 air changes/hStore Room - 3 air changes/hToilets – Domestic - 3 air changes/hToilets – Public - 10 air changes/hUtility Rooms - 15 air changes/hWorkshops - 6 air changes/hHow to Choose the Right Ventilation Fan at HomeIn light of all the requirements and specifications above, we need to find out in particular how to choose the right ventilation fan at home. When we choose the right ventilation fan, we need to bear in mind the types of air extractor fans and the types of switching/turning on for the fans available. Type of Air Extractor Fan for HomeAxial Fans - the axial fans are designed to move air over short distances of up to 2m ducting. For example, you need an axial fan if you install it on the wall, the window, or the ceiling and the exit is straight through or the ducting is under 2m long. The axial fans come in 4-inch (100mm, the most popular ones), 5-inch (125mm), 6-inch (150mm), and larger sizes.Centrifugal Fans - these are designed to move air over longer distances, performing well against the pressure caused by longer lengths of ducting and resistance by grilles. They are not as popular as the axial fans but sometimes are recommended to use. When ducting vertically, it is recommended that a condensation trap is used. Type of Switching On/off for the Ventilation FansStandard ventilation fans: the standard model fans are wired to the wall switch for remote switching through either a wall light or a separate switch. They are the most common ones. Timer ventilation fans: the timer models have a built-in adjustable time delay operated by the light switch. The time delay can be adjusted at installation, and these are suitable for locations where you need some extra ventilation even after the light is turned off. Pull-cord ventilation fans: the pull-cord fans have a pull-cord switch to be turned on/off when needed via this means. Humidity ventilation fans: the humidity models with built-in adjustable sensor turns the fan on when a certain threshold of humidity is sensed. They are automatically turned ON or OFF when the humidity sensor detects the humidity levels. PIR or Microwave Sensor ventilation fans: the PIR models are sensitive to movement. When someone enters the room, the fan turns on, and when presence is not detected, it is turned off.What options are there for Ventilation at Home?On our website, we have a wide range of ventilation systems available, and the three main manufacturers we distribute are Airflow, Manrose, and Envirovent. For further information concerning what ventilation fan you require at home, do not hesitate to contact us. You can also visit the dedicated sections for Airflow Extractor Fans, Manrose Extractor Fans, and Envirovent Extractor Fans.
There are many simple ways of preventing mould in your home and there are many simple steps one can take to ventilate and control mould before it will control us.Continue reading to find out more about:What is Mould and How does it Come About?Simple Ways of Preventing Mould in Your HomeRemove the Moisture and Keep it to a MinimumVentilate to Remove the MoistureKeep a Warm Atmosphere IndoorKeep it Clean and Tidy at HomeTreat the Mould Quickly and Keep at It!Ventilation Solutions at Sparks The reality is that, as we construct and refurbish our homes to become more energy efficient, the improvements made by adding cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and double glazing can have a detrimental effect on the air quality within our homes. By implementing these various improvements we have effectively sealed them up. However, doing so has created poor ventilation in our home. For example, an average family will create over a hundred pints of moisture a week, through normal household activities such as cooking, washing, ironing, bathing and even breathing. However now that there is nowhere for this moisture to go it can often lead to condensation and inevitably mould growth. What's more this high humidity also increases things that we don't notice such as the levels of dust mites a known trigger for allergies and asthma.What is Mould and How does it Come About?You may have spotted a small patch of mildew in the bathroom or some black or dark spots of mould on the bathroom wall - that is mould. Getting rid of that mould and making sure it does not return should be your top priority. What is mould? Mould is a fungus that forms when there's dampness in the house or on the wall; it breaks down dead material. If we allow mould to get a foothold in our homes, it will grow quickly, for it thrives in moisture, and warm air together with a cold wall, and it feeds on materials such as wood, carpet, or dust. If we do not remove the mould and do not take care of the proper ventilation, it will continue to develop. We may think a little mould may not harm us, but dead spores can be harmful to our health, so it's important to remove mould and also wear a mask when doing this. Mould comes about by means of tiny spores, which are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. When these spores land on wet surfaces that are not properly ventilated, they form mould, which is not good. One of the main causes of mould is condensation. Mould appears as pinpoint black spots, usually on the side surfaces of external walls, in corners, and in poorly ventilated spaces, such as behind the wardrobe or the cupboard. Other causes of dampness include plumbing leaks, water leaks, roof leaks, damaged outside walls or eroded painting, high garden or path levels overlapping the damp-proof course, etc.Simple Ways of Preventing Mould in Your HomeSince the increase of moisture and the lack of ventilation of surfaces that tend to be wet are the main causes of mould, we need to make sure we prevent mould in our homes. There are many simple ways of preventing mould in our home, all of which have to do with the different activities and things we do throughout the day. Here are some of the simple ways of preventing mould in our home. Remove the Moisture and Keep it to a MinimumThe increase of moisture content in the air results in an increased risk of condensation, and mould may grow as a result. Therefore, we need to remove the moisture in the air. If the moisture resulting from cooking, bathing, hair drying, laundry drying, and other such activities is not removed, condensation will form and mould may grow, especially if your home is dusty. When cooking, it is recommended to close the door to the kitchen and open the window or the cooker hood. It is also good to make sure you use pan covers to prevent steam from escaping the kitchen. When it comes to drying clothes, avoid drying your laundry indoors, especially on radiators or in bedrooms where they can release a lot of moisture. Opening the windows to create airflow helps. Tip: one way to remove the moisture is by wiping it away with a cloth and squeezing any water in the sink.Ventilate to Remove the MoistureMoisture in the home is unavoidable, but ventilation can remove it and reduce it. Especially when taking a shower, bathing, drying the laundry, cooking, or even when drying your hair with the hair dryer, moisture is released. It is good to make sure you ventilate the space. Open a window when cooking or bathing, and make sure the bathroom fan is ON to remove the extra moisture. It is good to keep an airflow by keeping the windows open to allow fresh air to flow in and reduce the likelihood of condensation accumulating. Also, it is good to keep a distance of 5cm or so between furniture and the wall that faces outside so that we allow air to move around. Tip: if you have pets, it's good to bathe them and wash their bedding regularly during winter; furthermore, it is recommended that they do not have acccess to downstairs rooms or wet rooms. Keep a Warm Atmosphere IndoorWhen the house is cold, condensation is more likely to happen, since there are many more cold surfaces for condensation to develop. When it is too hot, it is also easy for vapours of air to become moisture on the walls facing outside. What is recommended in this case is to keep the property from becoming too chilly and also not make it too hot. Again, ventilation is warmly recommended. When proper ventilation is done in the home, mould is prevented, for moisture is removed. Tip: using an air dehumidifier helps with removing the moisture.Keep it Clean and Tidy at HomeA very practical piece of advice on avoiding the build-up of mould is general cleanliness and wiping away the dust from surfaces. It is good to hoover regularing and wipe away the dust. Since the mould spores are carried by the wind and can hide in the dust, it's good to keep it clean and tidy at home, removing the dust. Proper ventilation is always helpful, for dust is carried away by the circulating air. Dust and dirt can lead to mould growth, and the removal of dust and dirt can also prevent asthma and coughs. It is good to regularly clean the carpets by vacuuming them. And if possible, no carpet in the kitchen or the bathroom, for it can get wet and can be a breeding ground for dust mites, fungi, and mould.Tip: It is not recommended to overfill bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards, for overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould, since air cannot freely circulate inside. Treat the Mould Quickly and Keep at It!Once the mould is detected, do not delay in treating it by removing it and making sure the place is clean and tidy, under constant observation. Don't procrastinate, thinking you will do it at the weekend or when you have some more free time; mould must be treated quickly. It helps if you check for it on a regular basis. Check behind the wardrobes or the bed, check the walls that face outside, and make sure mould does not build up. If you find mould, it has to be treated as soon as possible. One way to treat it is fungicidal chemicals or anti-mould or mildew spray. If there are any textiles next to it, they also need to be treated in order to prevent mould spores from growing. Mould can be removed by washing the surface with disinfectant or a fungicidal wash, in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions.Tip: if you live in a rented house, please alert your landlord once the mould is found and work together with him to treat it as soon as possible. Ventilation Solutions at SparksAt Sparks, we sell a wide range of bathroom ventilation fans and kitchen ventilation fans which can help ventilate in the bathroom, toilet, en-suite, and kitchen. Please browse the Envirovent Bathroom Fans, Airflow Bathroom Fans, and Manrose Kitchen Fans to find the extractor fan you require. Do not hesitate to contact us for more details and for help on removing the mould and keeping it clean. Futher reading on this topic: this article was inspired from "condensation and mould" section via Basingstoke improvements and repairs and this article by Envirovent on tips to control mould before it controls you.