For those who make trickle vents, this post probably isn’t going to make one of your best reads, but here we go anyway…

A few weeks ago I posed the question on Twitter: “What is the most ugly add on product our industry has ever produced?” And very quickly, the subject of trickle vents came up. And for good reason I believe.

In my own personal opinion, they are one of the most tacky, ugly, pointless products we have ever had to sell as an industry. They don’t compliment the look of any window at all, they often get blocked and on many occasions break due to the nature of how they are made. Customers hate them and installation companies hate them. The only reason why they currently exist is that new builds have to have them by law (as far as I know).

And the reasons for their universal disliking are plenty. Looks are a given, but the energy efficiency factor is also a big one. Why spend so much time and money trying to create the most energy efficient window, only to cut big holes at the top of them for all the heat to escape through there?! A totally pointless exercise. I still can’t believe the trickle vent law for new builds hasn’t been dropped. In the Part L changes to building regs in 2010 the Government did try and force trickle vents to all new windows, not just for new builds. Thankfully the pressure paid off and that ruling was dropped.

Trickle vents are a product that I don’t push personally. There is a recommendation from the powers that be that if the old windows coming out have them, they “recommend” that the new ones have them fitted. But that there in my opinion opens up a can of worms. For example, the rule for new builds having trickle vents fitted is black and white as many would agree. The minute you put words like “recommended” or “should” into any ruling, you immediately undermine that point of the rule and create complete ambiguity. But I digress…

I do remember a time when I sold a house full of windows to a lady that lived near a motorway. She insisted on having them because she wanted the background ventilation. I tried to explain that the night vent function on the windows will do the job and that if she has trickle vents all the noise of the motorway will flood in. She went ahead with them anyway. And what do you know, the week after we fit them we were going back to seal up the vents because she didn’t like the noise from the motorway.

Makers of trickle vents won’t agree with me. They will argue that they do an important job, and are required by law. My argument is that the simple night vents functions on windows provides reliable, secure background ventilation without looking like a right old mess!

All comments welcome in the section below.