I have sent the following e-mail to Mr Tyson Anderson in response to his article in the latest issue of the GGP magazine with regards to trickle vents:

“Dear Mr Tyson Anderson:

I work for a double glazing installations company in West Yorkshire and was particularly interested in your article about trickle vents in response to Paul Jervis’ in the last issue.

Some of the points you mentioned in your article I failed to agree with. One of the major issues installations companies have with trickle vents is that when we have tried so hard to produce and install the best energy efficient windows possible, we find it completely contradictory to install trickle vents which badly affect the efficiency performance of the window. Once the windows with trickle vents are installed, the feedback from our customers is that they don’t use them. They find them ugly, unsightly, unnecessary, and that if they wanted ventilation, they would open a window. This is the second major issue, customers despise them. In your article, you mention that we should be up-selling the benefits of trickle vents to customers. The problem here is that to a customer there is no obvious benefit.

In the middle of your article, you go on to say that many of the social housing organisations have chosen to fit trickle vents on all their replacement windows as standard over the past twenty years. I agree with you that this perhaps was a sensible option, possible because they could see the restrictive new ventilation laws on the horizon. But this is an easy option for them because they have the power to install windows to their own specifications. On the residential/homeowner end of the market, the task of trying to sell trickle vents is much harder. To reinforce that point, out of the three and a half years I have worked in sales, I have had only ONE customer ask for trickle vents to be put back into the new windows.

There is then also the cost issue. We sell trickle vents at a price of £15 per vent (inc VAT 15%). Now imagine a larger size installation that may require 20 of them. That’s an extra £300 for ‘flimsy, unsightly’ trickle vents. You must agree that from a customer point of view that is a very large pill to swallow for what they are and for how little they will be used.

Perhaps we are wrong, perhaps the installation end of the industry is missing out on some major selling points and benefits. But this is why I have sent this e-mail.”

It will be interesting to see if I get a reply!

UPDATE – 6/5/21:

The above is an opinion piece on trickle vents. A new article has been published on DGB with up to date information on ventilators, their use, the reasons for their use and how new regulations set to be unveiled in the Future Buildings Standards will see vents used more often in fenestration. Please visit this link to find out more: https://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/2021/05/trickle-vents-all-you-need-to-know/

UPDATE – 28/2/23:

Building Regulations on trickle vents were updated in June 2022. In response to the major changes that were implemented last year, the Government published an FAQ document with the aim of trying to answer some of the basic questions around ventilation:

1. Can background ventilators be installed through a wall to meet the Part F requirements, instead of installing trickle ventilators in windows?

Ventilation can be provided through any appropriate means. Installing a background ventilator through a wall that provides the equivalent areas described in Approved Document F, volume 1 can be an acceptable route to compliance.

2. What do I need to do if I already have a wall ventilator in my room?

When replacing a window in a room where there is already a wall ventilator present which meets the minimum equivalent areas in Approved Document F, volume 1, no further background ventilation needs to be added after replacing the windows.

Where there is an open-flued appliance in the room, there should be permanently open air vents to supply the air for combustion. These air vents are there to meet Part J requirements. These air vents should not be considered as existing ventilation for Part F and therefore extra vents should be installed.

3. Is a window with night-vent capability a suitable solution for background ventilation when replacing windows?

Providing a night-vent (also referred to as a night-latch), where a window can be locked slightly ajar, is not an appropriate background ventilation solution. This is because windows locked on the night-latch do not provide a sufficiently secure means of background ventilation.

4. When replacing windows, can the Building Regulations requirements be met through a homeowner signing a disclaimer that they will install background ventilation at a future date or that they do not wish to have any installed?

For work to comply with the Building Regulations, all requirements must be met in full.

Members of competent person schemes self-certify that their work complies with the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations including Regulation 4(3). The work can only be certified by a member of a competent person scheme if the work complies with the Building Regulations, which includes the requirement that ventilation for the building has not been made less satisfactory as a result of the work.

A disclaimer signed by the homeowner stating that they do not wish to have background ventilators or that they will be installed in future is not a suitable way of complying with the Building Regulations. Work must comply with the Building Regulations and competent person schemes must monitor their registrants and take action against any registrant who is found to have carried out non-compliant work.

Purchasing an indemnity policy is also not a suitable alternative to meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations in full.

5. Will trickle ventilators allow noise and air pollution into homes?

Without good ventilation, there will be more substances in the air that can cause harm to people. This includes pollutants from cooking, cleaning products, hygiene products and fabric furnishings. Diluting pollutants generated inside the home using ventilation is necessary, but importantly, outdoor air quality affects indoor air quality. There is also a high risk of mould in homes which are poorly ventilated.

Approved Document F, volume 1 describes how ventilation systems should be designed to minimise the intake of external air pollutants, by locating ventilation intakes away from the direct impact of the sources of local pollution. Guidance on minimising the intake of external pollutants can be found in paragraphs 2.2 to 2.9 of Approved Document F, volume 1. Trickle ventilators can be located on the less polluted side of the building to reduce the ingress of outdoor air pollution.

We appreciate that noise may be an issue with façades facing noisy environments. We recommend that noise attenuating background ventilators are fitted in these circumstances, as outlined in paragraph 1.54 of Approved Document F, volume 1.

View the full article on DGB: https://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/2022/06/government-publishes-faqs-on-new-trickle-vent-regulations/