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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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    • CommentAuthorzak99
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022

    My nephew has moved into a rental bungalow and it has big air vents in every room. Theres a good LPG boiler in the bathroom, the place has double glazing, loft and cavity insulation but he is cold. It's a private rent but he is challenged so rent is funded and he has very limited funds.

    Landlord (who seems decent) is saying the vents are necessary because of Building Regs. Is this right? I saw there were some. revisions re natural ventilation for new builds that seem counter to low emissions but understand the need to prevent mould etc.

    I believe the windows have closeable trickle vents. The room vents are large and the wind at the moment is hustling through them.

    Whats your thoughts please?
    Does the boiler have a balanced twin-wall flue to draw its air from outdoors, most do now?

    If so the vents are there to protect the landlord against complaints about damp or mould if the tenant makes the house too humid.

    In our rental place there were wall vents to supply a 1960s open fireplace, we blocked the fireplace with a chimney balloon and the wall vents with balls of bubble wrap. We were careful to ventilate enough to avoid damp using humidity meters and generally to take good care of the place. The landlord either didn't notice or didn't mind, he could probably have evicted us if he felt we were damaging the place.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenIf so the vents are there to protect the landlord against complaints about damp or mould if the tenant makes the house too humid.

    I would agree. Lots of complaints in media about condensation and mould because in properties poorly vented and heated. Try closing the vents a bit and monitor the situation. LPG is expensive so will help in that respect. Might be prudent also to buy a CO alarm for the bathroom to be on safe side. Not very expensive £15 or so. There may already be one don't know if the landlord has to provide one.
    • CommentAuthorzak99
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022
    Thanks both. Good suggestions re moisture and CO2 meter and the bubble wrap. Yes its a balanced Flue boiler and Worcester confirmed no vents needed. Perhaps the Landlord is trying to diplomatically say building regs. rather than saying he doesn't trust my nephew with ventilation. I was confused by this as there are some new building regs (Doc F?) that specify bigger vents calculated on a room by room basis but I don't think they have come in yet. (see attachment re Doc F from an article). Someone on the screwfix forum pointed out that Bld Regs are not retrospective so shouldn't apply here anyway.

    There is an open fireplace but it cant be used apparently as an old back boiler is in place. I had already suggested a chimney balloon thank you. The vents don't have sliders so would either need taping off or the covers changing for sliders, both a bit tricky if the landlord comes round. If he gets a moisture meter though that will show responsibility to the Landlord hopefully.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022
    I came across these vents when helping a friend with similar problem to the OP:


    Currently in negotiation with his landlord to try them so can't make any recommendations at the moment. Maybe someone else on the forum has had experience of them?
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022
    Posted By: zak99The room vents are large
    How big are they? What diameter if circular or X-Y if rectangular?

    Good suggestions re moisture and CO2 meter
    Note that a CO2 meter is a different beast to the CO meter that was suggested. CO is dangerous and can be produced by any appliance that burns something. CO2 is a lot less dangerous but can produce headaches etc.

    Which nation is the property in, BTW; regulations differ.

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 may also be relevant as well as the Building Regs.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2022 edited
    I’d hazard a guess that the old back boiler draws its air from the room ( rathernthan a balanced flue as mentioned in a previous post) so there will need to be a vent to allow air in. Also in the dim and distant past gas heaters in each room were not uncommon and each would have required a vent.
    I have an ex council rental, despite the council having fitted gch they’d not removed the gas heaters and so the vents were still in situ and open.
    If the back boiler is drawing its air from the room ( open flue appliance is i think the correct term) then there should be a co alarm in the room, which the landlord or there representative should have demonstrated to the new tenant was working
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    Posted By: ArtiglioI’d hazard a guess that the old back boiler draws its air from the room

    This was the case in our house prior to upgrading. Double brick vents everywhere to allow air in for the gas cooker, gas oven, gas fire and back boiler, as required by BR. During windy weeks like the one we just had (have?) it would have been impossible to keep the place anywhere near comfortable.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    As youre already aware of condensation issues and are likely to keep an eye on things I wouldnt hesitate to block off the big vents and chimney to warm the place up. Regardless of what the landlord says/thinks, its unreasonable to expect someone to live in the cold or have to run expensive and polluting heating because theres excessive ventilation

    Maybe open the window trickle vents in regularly occupied rooms and use a kitchen extractor when cooking. Dry clothes outside or in a dedicated room with the door shut and window cracked open.
    How long is the rental expected to last? Long term then worth doing something otherwise move earlier than planned.
    Otherwise perhaps the modern gas boiler was installed as an upgrade and the old back boiler was not removed to reduce expenditure. Does the back boiler function? If it does then the air vents are needed, if it is non-functioning then the vents can be blocked (and the thing should be removed). Ditto the other vents, are they there as part of the historical baggage or newly installed (it's easier and cheaper to say they are needed because of B. regs. than to remove then and make good) You need a conversation with the landlord. If you have trickle vents I would have thought this would comply with B. regs but I'm a bit out of touch with UK regs. Time to talk to someone who knows.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    This is the blurb from the Permaguard website:

    The environmentally friendly Perma-Vent contains no moving parts and requires no maintenance. It works on the scientific principle that when the room temperature and humidity are greater internally than externally, moist air will be ventilated outside the building due to vapour air differences.

    The Perma-Vent contains a vapour permeable membrane, which allows vapour out of the building without allowing a draught back inside.

    The unit is easily and economically installed using a 4.25” (107mm) core cutter. It can be positioned wherever condensation and mould are most prevalent. The thickness of the wall does not present a problem as the standard unit is supplied with a 13.5" (350mm) long central core which will be suitable for most properties.

    The unit is designed to be very unobtrusive, with a 6" (152mm) internal white plastic grill. Externally all that can be seen is a 6" white plastic external grille.

    It is possible in severe instances that a more advanced condensation control unit will be required to remedy issues with condensation. However, the installation of a Perma-Vent Standard is a simple, inexpensive starting point to tackle the local problems of condensation and mould.

    The external diameter of the tube is 104mm so the core should be cut larger eg. 4.25” (107mm).

    Please note: I have no connection with this company but would be interested to know if any forum members have experience of these - should be of interest to the OP too.
    • CommentAuthorzak99
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022 edited
    Thanks all,

    In response to some comments -

    It's an LPG boiler, that requires no vents other than it's flue. The back boiler is out of service and wont be used. I can't really dialogue with the Landlord myself unfortunately. It's hopefully a long term let. A cheaper council place may be a possibility in the distant future. The bungalow is in the UK. It's a private let with state assistance for rent. I'm not sure if there is a kitchen extractor but I don't think so. Vents are around 150- 200mm square from photos and in most if not all rooms. Some pics attached

    Perma-vents look interesting

    Thanks again
    • CommentAuthorzak99
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022 edited
    another type of vent present
    • CommentAuthorzak99
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    Posted By: zak99another type of vent preset
      http:///newforum/extensions/InlineImages/image.php?AttachmentID=8177" alt="vent2.jpg" >
    Looking at this one, it looks a smaller vent outside, I don't live close to easily get a clearer picture.
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    Buy a cheap humidity meter to monitor the situation. Cover the vents with plastic film sellotaped over and see how it goes? (Might need to cover the outside of the vents too, to prevent the cover being blown off - use waterproof tape!)
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2022
    Posted By: djhBuy a cheap humidity meter to monitor the situation. Cover the vents with plastic film sellotaped over and see how it goes? (Might need to cover the outside of the vents too, to prevent the cover being blown off - use waterproof tape!)

    Whilst I agree with djh I would maybe go to citizen's advice with your rental to get a legal take before doing this.
    I don’t know how this property can achieve the required E rated EPC for rental if it has holes in the walls to outside.
    What about a strategically placed beanbag for every room?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2022
    Posted By: zak99The bungalow is in the UK.
    Yes, but which country? The building, planning, fire safety and rental regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are different. England and Wales tend to be the same except for a few small tweaks for Wales. Scotland is quite separate though often changes are made in parallel with the English/Welsh versions. Not sure about NI.
    Sadly, rdSAP for EPCs doesn't include airtightness!

    Zak's nephew's landlord's position needs to be explored. They probably don't understand the regs (nobody does) and don't want to spend money on something they don't understand, but don't want any risk of noncompliance/complaints/ damage if there was a damp problem. Some landlords are hands off so long as the rent is paid, others don't like a tenant taking liberties with 'their' home.

    One possibility (if the landlord is up for it) is to replace the vents with a Positive Input Ventilator fan. Some have lockable controls and monitors so the landlord has assurance that ventilation is being complied with. The tenant gets the regulation airflow and not 10x more whenever it's windy. But they often include electric preheating, which is more expensive than LPG but cheaper than draughts.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2022
    One way forward may be to look at when the landlord purchased the property, if relatively recently they’ll have bought it as an investment.
    Does the back boiler have a gas fire front? If so is this still in use? I have an ex council flat ( mentioned earlier) with a back boiler and a vent in the wall, and again as mentioned before there were vents in other rooms that had had gas heaters. The property originally had crittal frames , subsequently these were replaced with upvc dg which has trickle vents and latches that allow the openers to be locked in a “cracked open” position.
    The vent in the room with the old back boiler will have been installed for the boiler and even though it’s not in use , it’s unlikely you’d be allowed to remove the vent until the boiler is removed, the making good will be the real expense the landlord likely wishes to avoid. The other vents i would suggest predate the current windows.

    The landlord has a property that has features that were required at the time they were installed , but later changes negated their need but the additional work required to remove them and make good was declined.

    What does the properties epc show? Currently the landlord only has to meet an E to make the property leagal to let, as has been said on previous threads there are proposals to improve this to a C in the near future and its unlikely the landlord is going to do much to the property until the new legislation is confirmed and enacted

    You could try contacting the landlord and local council private sector housing team and see if a building control officer will visit , but if the property is legally compliant and there are no health problems in the property the council would probably see no need to be involved.
    In the UK a new tenant should be given a copy of the current EPC so your nephew should have been given one as part of his 'welcome package' from the landlord as part of the tenancy agreement along with a gas safety certificate (and some other bits of paperwork) so best to check these out to see what is there.

    Has the back boiler been put beyond use or could it be fired up somehow by a tenant determined to reduce the cost of the LPG bill.

    You say the rent is a private let with some state support for the rent. Is this support income related or as part of a disability package? If it is part of a disability scheme then other regs and agencies would be involved which could ease or complicate issues.
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2022
    Would any through wall single room mvhr units slip in? A bit spendy but maybe could be done together with the landlord. Or, as an investment with the intention to take them with him on moving. Got to be a bit more controlled than the straight through hole there now.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2022
    I think probably best to find a cheap solution. The sq grille in the photograph looks like a version that comes in version as illustrated and also one with an adjustment. Swapping them would be a good start. Interestingly this morning on Jeremy Vine show there was a landlord who had a flat for 10 years with no mould problems, A new tenant complained of mould everywhere and on investigation the tenant was drying wet clothes all around the flat. She eventually after trying to change her behaviour had the tenant evicted. So guess you can understand the landlord going OTT to protect their property.
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