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.
only today customer wants a rated frames with vent in bathroom for condensation.If he wantsit he can have it
The only problem with the night vent facility, is that it has a significant impact on the security of the window…….particularly on ground floors, bungalows etc…..with higher insulation levels being achieved by windows and doors condensation and it consequences, mildew, mould and black spots are going to become more and more of an issue particularly in older properties where the cavities have been closed at the reveals by cut bricks and mortar. As a company we are looking to chop out the cavity and infill with expanding foam or a celotex type product. There has to be a compromise because… Read more »
I also think they are pointless. I’ve heard that to conduct the air flow test on new builds they have to tape up the trickle vents anyway! It all needs revising!
DGB, your post highlights the key issue with the installation and use of trickle vents, which is a lack of education and knowledge of why they are fitted. I have at this point to highlight that I make these products and so may have a bias. But your post does highlight this. You maybe surprised to know that the function of a trickle vent is actually to get the polluted air out of a property to make it more habitable because we are sealing up air tight boxes where pollutants cannot escape. Then live in them with people breathing, cooking… Read more »
I’m with DGB on this , they are a waste of money . Quote Dean “You maybe surprised to know that the function of a trickle vent is actually to get the polluted air out of a property to make it more habitable because we are sealing up air tight boxes where pollutants cannot escape. Then live in them with people breathing, cooking and bathing in this air tight container” I would be very surprised to know that Dean , I always thought that opening sashes were used to allow a flow of air. Surely householders should be educated on… Read more »
Kevin, I agree householders should also be educated and that a small amount of ventilation is needed for a healthy internal environment. In your example If the sashes with the permanent slots were fitted with an internal vent then at least it would have been cheaper than the duck tape and the paint repairs when the moisture causes it to lift. They could also have closed the vent. Also, you maybe interested that the opening of the sash (Purge air) is also a requirement of the building regulations but you wouldn’t (depending on the application) leave it open all the… Read more »
Just moved into a house with trickle vents. Who’s idea were these things? Vents closed and curtains literally blowing in the wind.
May as we’ll be 1950s single glazed windows.
What’s the best way to fill these ridiculous things in?
Same here as Matt above. It would help if the vents actually sealed closed rather than being a cheap bit of plastic with zero actual function other than the appearance of doing something.
I’ve started taping them up as an interim measure.
Part F/NHBC should mandate MVHC in new builds, not allow this crap.
Sorry – I meant MVHR…