Health and wellbeing is a hot topic, it’s affected by everything from lifestyle to the air we breathe and even noise levels in our environment. Recent research has highlighted the crucial importance of good indoor air quality (IAQ) and how the nation’s health depends upon it. And noise-related stress is increasingly recognised as affecting our comfort and wellbeing. With this in mind, it’s crucial that social housing landlords are aware of this and fulfil their duty of care to tenants by providing good IAQ and low noise levels in their properties. Tom Emson, Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia explains how.
In a bid to improve the condition and efficiency of housing stock, social housing refurbishment projects are on the rise. This brings many benefits, such as cutting energy bills for tenants, but as properties become increasingly air tight as a result, more homes are being blighted by condensation, mould and poor IAQ, and the associated health and maintenance problems they bring. An estimated 50% of buildings in the UK suffer from condensation and the damage it causes to the health of tenants and the fabric of homes is a big issue for social housing providers.
Improving ventilation therefore offers a simple solution to condensation for social housing landlords. And when it comes to ventilation, social housing has a very specific set of needs. It is therefore important to select fans that have been designed especially for the sector and are energy efficient, have low sound levels, are simple to use and discreet . At Vent-Axia we understand landlords’ concerns and design products to help ensure tenants and landlords alike are happy.
High levels of condensation can damage the fabric of a property resulting in increasing repair and maintenance costs. Surface condensation results in mould, meaning landlords will need to pay for redecorating. But more serious than this, condensation can occur within the fabric of a building. This presents a greater hazard because it can often go undetected for long periods until serious structural damage has developed.
With this in mind, it’s crucial to avoid damaging condensation by installing ventilation that offers simple specification, low maintenance and reliability. The new Lo-Carbon Revive from Vent-Axia has been designed to provide exactly that. It is versatile, with a choice of speeds for multiple installation options and can be ducted or through the wall, meaning it suits any room. Plus Revive is low maintenance since its market-leading Multi-Vortex™ technology does not require a filter, while the highly sculpted interior actively repels dust, avoiding clogging, thus helping to avoid call backs. Revive also boasts reliability backed by up to seven years’ warranty.
Mould can also have adverse effects on tenants’ health, and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the onus on landlords to ensure their properties are designed and maintained to prevent condensation and mould. Social housing landlords therefore have a duty of care to their tenants to provide good IAQ.
The Royal College of Physicians’ report “Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution” starkly sets out the dangerous impact of air pollution, with around 40,000 people dying in the UK every year due to air pollution. Exposure to indoor air pollutants such as radon and second-hand smoke further add to these figures and with health problems such as cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia all linked to poor air quality, it is clear that this needs to be urgently addressed in every household.
Good ventilation helps to combat the problem of condensation and mould, resulting in improved IAQ. Revive operates discreetly removing moisture and stale air, leaving a comfortable home environment. Traditional old intermittent fans have tended to be noisy which not only disturb tenants, but makes them aware the fan is running and potentially causes them to turn the fan off. If a noisy fan is turned off, condensation and mould are likely to appear, resulting in poor IAQ and affecting tenants’ health and wellbeing. Therefore, landlords should look for fans that have been designed to be powerful enough to remove moist air to ensure good IAQ, but at the same time quiet enough to provide a more peaceful home that doesn’t disturb tenants, while remaining energy efficient, like the Revive.
Fans like the Revive can even provide real-time data via an intuitive interface to communicate the fan’s energy efficiency so landlords can reassure tenants of the low-running costs. In addition, they can record when high humidity levels have triggered the boost speed, meaning the landlord can build up a humidity profile of the individual property, helping to identify those properties that suffer from abnormally high humidity levels. Meanwhile, nuisance tripping is another reason tenants avoid using fans so an ambient response humidistat is a useful feature to avoid this, thus increasing tenant acceptability.
However, despite the latest fans offering energy efficient, quiet comfort some tenants may still have concerns. Fans, like the Revive, include a Data Logger which allows landlords to track how many days a fan has been running and how often humidity causes the fan to boost, to ensure it is used as intended, thus building a profile of tenant activity and aiding landlords in investigating humidity problems. Recording and monitoring this information is a significant step towards combatting condensation and mould in social housing properties.
Quick and simple installation is key to keeping landlords, installers and tenants happy. Installers need to be able to fit multiple fans on multiple sites as quickly and easily as possible. The latest fans have a simple alpha numeric LED display which is clear and easy to read and a menu for commissioning and data gathering. The LED display can change orientation depending on whether it is wall or ceiling mounted. All of which saves time, and so cost, on site and reduces installation complications. Tenants will also appreciate not being disturbed for very long during installation. Revive’s Smart Sense™ intelligent technology offers all these features.
Today modern continuous ventilation offers a clear route to a good indoor environment for tenants, with lower humidity levels, lower maintenance costs and lower noise levels. By installing these latest products, Local Authorities and Housing Associations can help ensure the health and wellbeing of their tenants with good IAQ and a peaceful living environment.