To coincide with Allergy Awareness Week (25th April to 1st May 2016) EnviroVent, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of ventilation products, is advising homebuyers and those looking at moving into a rental property to check out the quality of the indoor air first.
“When you are choosing to move to a new home, indoor air quality is not something that you normally consider, but it could have a major impact on your health,” explains Peter Haynes, Product Manager at EnviroVent. “With research showing the clear link between poor indoor air pollution and long term health problems, it is essential to make good air quality a major consideration when moving home.”
EnviroVent has produced five top tips for homeowners when buying or renting a home to give you an idea whether it may have an issue with air quality:
If the property is ‘lived in’ visit it as early as you can in the morning (in colder months) and take a look at the windows and how much condensation there is. If there is condensation it means humidity levels could be too high and the house may have an issue with poor indoor air quality. If you decide to move into the property, you may have to consider installing a ventilation system, or talking to the landlord or seller about this – it could give you good grounds for negotiation!
Check inside fixed wardrobes and behind cupboards, as well as walls and around windows for signs of mould growth, particularly in the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. If there is mould, it may be down to a lack of ventilation. When the temperature falls at night after the heating has been switched off, the air cools and can’t hold all of the moisture. This results in it settling on cold surfaces in the form of condensation on windows and walls and especially inside or behind wardrobes where there is less air circulation. Over time, this can lead to mould growth, which is extremely difficult to eradicate unless you install a mechanical ventilation system.
People often think that mould is worse in kitchens and bathrooms, but what tends to happen is that the warm air from these rooms migrates to the colder surfaces of living areas and mould then starts to grow on walls, behind wardrobes and around window frames.
Mould is an allergen and irritant, which is well known for triggering conditions such as asthma. Research has found that dampness and mould can increase the risk of respiratory and asthma-related health conditions by between 30 and 50 per cent.
Ask the question, has the home had any energy efficient upgrades in the past couple of years? If so, has there been any form of ventilation added? As many homes these days have undergone energy efficient upgrades, such as adding cavity wall insulation, double glazing and thermally efficient doors, this means that moisture laden air can’t escape to the outside which often leads to poor indoor air quality.
There are a couple of options here if you decide to move into the house; firstly you could leave your windows open for long periods - this is fine in summer, but in winter this can impact on the energy efficiency of your whole home, making it cold and uncomfortable. The other option is to have a PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) system installed.
Find out if the property is in a high risk Radon area – and if so, has it been tested? Radon gas is contained within the ground but in some places, particular parts of Cornwall and former mining areas such as South Wales, Yorkshire and the North West, levels can exceed recommended levels. Radon gas effects around 500,000 homes across the UK and according to the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), health studies have linked exposure to Radon to an increased risk of lung cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) also reveals that Radon exposure leads to between 3 and 14 per cent of all lung cancer cases.
Research has found that an individual who spends eight hours per day in a building with average radon levels of 200 Bq/m3, the radiation dose that person’s lungs would receive over one year would be the equivalent to if they had undergone 112 chest x-rays.
EnviroVent’s range Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) and MIV (Multiple Input Ventilation) Air Source Units are effective at reducing and controlling Radon levels in the home to below 200 becquerels. These methods of ventilation force out the contaminated air from the home by supplying fresh, filtered air into the property at a continuous rate. Check if your area is affected by Radon via http://www.ukradon.org/information/
When you do decide to move into your new home, it is tempting to get rid of any old fusty smells from former occupants by using air fresheners, incense sticks or candles. However recent research by Public Health England has found that some of these products can be more dangerous than cigarette smoke. For example, burning incense releases tiny chemical particles which can become trapped in our lungs and can cause potentially dangerous inflammatory reactions.
EnviroVent’s PIV system minimises pollutants in the home by supplying a constant stream of fresh filtered air that’s drawn in from the outside atmosphere, diluting high levels of contaminants and reducing fusty odours.
For more information on improving the air quality in your home, find your local EnviroVent Specialist Ventilation Advisor via the website www.envirovent.com or by calling 0345 27 27 807.
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