Let your home breathe

New build homes are built to be more air tight to help make them more energy efficient. The downside to this ‘air tightness’ is that unless the property is effectively ventilated, it could cause poor air quality and a build of condensation in your new home.

How to avoid poor air quality in your new build home

Continued poor air quality could eventually lead to health problems such as breathing difficulties and high blood pressure. This is caused by chemicals in the building materials and/or soft furnishings being released over time and clean air not being circulated efficiently throughout the property. Condensation can also contribute to health issues if moisture levels are not controlled, especially in the kitchen and bathroom where mould growth may occur and/or an increase in dust mites.

However these issues are completely controllable and easy to avoid through ventilation.

Every development is different but new homes are commonly ventilated through a combination of windows, extractor fans and trickle vents.

So what do you need to do to help correctly ventilate your home?

You should try to open windows where possible, especially if you are drying clothes in doors, as this will help to circulate air throughout the property.

However if windows are not provided within the property a mechanical ventilation system should have been installed by the developer, which will allow for air change in line with current building regulations. In this case do no switch off or isolate the mechanical ventilation system otherwise it will not circulate the air efficiently.

All kitchens, utilities and bathrooms should have extractor fans in order to comply with building regulations. These may be manually operated by the user or automatically controlled for example via a light switch in a bathroom. Make sure you switch on extractor fans during cooking, bathing and showering and leave switched on for an additional 20 minutes to prevent steam going into other colder rooms, causing condensation.

Trickle vents are very small openings at the top of a window or doorframe. These are manually operated allowing you to open and close them to allow a small flow of air to ‘trickle’ into the room. It is advisable to keep them open in rooms that are habitable to provide the necessary level of ventilation.

As with anything it is important to use common sense and make the most of the ventilation systems where applicable. Remember these have been installed by the developer to ensure your home is correctly ventilated whilst remaining as energy efficient as possible.