Advice for homeowners

Harry

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This is Harry.

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Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.

Trickle vent windows advice for homeowners

A recent question and answer session posed in the Daily Telegraph about the use of trickle vents has been the source of much debate on Twitter by members of the installation community.

 

Jeff Howells advice to a reader on whether he or she needed to replace windows with trickle vents with like has served to highlight the complexities facing many a homeowner and installer.

 

Our parent company The Glass and Glazing Federation outlines the current correct guidance on using trickle vent windows.

 

All buildings have to be ventilated in order to maintain the health and well being of everyone using them. There are two kinds of ventilation: background and rapid. Background ventilation can be provided by trickle ventilators. Rapid ventilation by opening the window.

 

The need for background ventilation depends upon the building and how it is currently being ventilated. When it comes to replacing windows an installer will need to determine if background ventilation would be required.

 

If a window is not well ventilated then it can lead to condensation build up which, if left, can lead to the proliferation of potentially harmful mold spores.

 

Current building regulations* state that it is only mandatory to install trickle ventilators within a replacement window if there was a trickle ventilator within the existing window. This is so buildings that were originally designed to have background ventilation continue to do so. Removing such vents could lead to serious problems with condensation at any point of the room where it loses heat (a thermal bridge) and not just on the windows themselves.

 

The above answers the readers question posed in the Daily Telegraph but it was not the same advice given in the article itself which referred to a period in 2010 when originally trickle ventilation was going to be installed in all replacement windows. This recommendation was changed following discussions between the fenestration industry and the Government department responsible for buildings regulations, which agreed this would not be required.

 

If you have any comments or questions then please do share them below.

 

*Source: Approved Document F Clause 7.3: Where the original windows were fitted with trickle ventilators the replacement windows should include them.

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What to check before appointing an installer

Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following:

  • Ask family and friends who have used installers about their satisfaction and whether they got a FENSA certificate.
  • Check the installer's references by talking to their previous customers.
  • Get at least three quotes and check you are being quoted like for like.
  • Cheapest is not always best and good contractors are always in demand.
  • Get quotes, timeframes and the fact that you will get a FENSA certificate all in writing. A proper written contract with an agreed completion date will help prevent confusion later on
  • Check the warranty on the installer's work and ensure they have enough insurance to cover their warranty. Domestic glazing installers that are registered with a competent person scheme like FENSA are legally obliged to provide warranty insurance to cover your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of the warranty.
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