Trickle vents… head vents… night vents… slot vents… Call them what you will, they are often the Marmite of the double glazing world – people either love them or hate them. Whatever your feelings they serve a purpose, and we’ve put together a brief guide to save you losing your head over them.
So, what are trickle vents?
In basic terms, when a window is manufactured a slot is drilled into the plastic frame and a cover is placed over it, the cover has a control on it which allows you to open and close the slot at will to let air gradually trickle into your home.
In recent years the drive has been more focussed towards increasing the energy efficiency of our homes. But whilst we have been busy making sure our homes don’t leak too much energy, it has also made them more airtight which can have a bad effect on the air quality inside your home and contribute towards problems with condensation.
Although we want to keep our homes warm and avoid draughts, we actually need a certain level of ventilation to provide a healthy and comfortable internal environment. So before when we had draughty old windows that would let in a breeze, we didn’t need to have trickle vents. Now that we have new windows with better seals against the elements, we need to find a way to allow a change of air within our homes.
There are three main kinds of ventilation –
Purge – where we want to rapidly circulate the air within our home, this is when you open a window.
Extraction – if you have a room where occasionally it is exposed to air pollutants and you want to control when it is ventilated, this is when you turn on your extractor fan in a kitchen or bathroom.
Background – this is a small ventilation opening that usually always allows the air to circulate slowly, and this is your trickle vent.
So when do you need trickle vents?
If you are replacing your windows, and your old windows have trickle vents installed then you will have to have replacement windows with trickle vents in order to comply with Building Regulations.
If your windows do not have trickle vents and you are replacing them then you don’t have to have trickle vents installed. However you might like to consider them if you find your home stuffy, have problems with condensation, or would like to increase ventilation within, for example, a bathroom or kitchen.
All new houses and new build extensions must now have trickle vents fitted as standard in order to comply with building regulations, so if you are buying new windows for this purpose you will need to bear this in mind.
Lastly, it is sometimes possible to retrospectively fit trickle vents to existing plastic windows. So if you are experiencing a problem with condensation and do not have a form of background ventilation, you could consider fitting trickle vents to your existing PVCu windows. It can be a time consuming and tricky job, but might be worth it if it could alleviate your problems. The Starglaze Window Doctor can provide this service, so if you would like to discuss it further please call him on 01522 512525.