Why is ventilation important for today's homes?
Good ventilation is important for two reasons;
1. Maintaining the quality of the building fabric
2. The health of that building's inhabitants
The improvement in building techniques and materials over the past 40 – 50 years has resulted in modern air-tight buildings. Although this improves the energy efficiency in the building and reduces heat-loss, an unwelcome side-effect is that the retained air can become stale causing ‘sick building syndrome’. Mould, toxins and dust remain in the atmosphere and can cause or worsen many health problems such as Asthma, as well as degrade the fabric of the building.
Many of the things we do on a daily basis create moisture – bathing, showering, laundry, cooking and boiling the kettle. These can all add up to a surprising ten litres of water being released into your home environment every day. Unless your home has good ventilation, this air can stagnate and cause poor air quality.
The potential problems that can arise as a result of bad ventilation are recognised by the Government who introduced building regulations which deal specifically with the provision of ventilation. These are called Part F of the Building Regulations and were last updated in 2010. The document sets out rules that stipulate the minimum level of ventilation needed in residential dwellings and covers kitchens, bathrooms,WC's and utility rooms. All Epic Air extractor fans are manufactured to ensure that when correctly installed they will meet these requirements.
Now that extractor fans are mandatory for all new homes, inhabitants are faced with two new issues;
2. Appearance of the Extractor Fan
These problems have not gone unrecognised by Epicair. Our range shows that good ventilation doesn't have to come at the cost of noise or style. Our 'Decorative' fans are styled to fit in with the decor of your bathroom. Extractor Fans are no longer lumpy plastic boxes, and are now produced in a variety of materials and styles to enhance your other carefully chosen fittings.
Installing your New Fan
The following 3 rules will help you understand the best way to install your extractor fan to ensure that it will work to it's full potential.
Rule One - Duct Run If you are installing a ceiling fan or shower kit (where you have a fan mounted in your loft with ducting running either side), it's best to keep things as simple and as short as possible. The more kinks and twists in the ducting, and the longer the ducting, the less efficient the airflow will be. The diagram on the right shows one example of a good installation;
Rule Two - Siting your Fan In order to maximise the effectiveness of your fan, there are a few things you should consider. It needs to be as close as possible to the source of the steam but as far away as possible from the source of replacement air. The diagrams below show 'Poor Circulation' and 'Best Circulation'. The 'Poor Circulation' diagram shows the fan next to an open window. Fresh air coming in through the window is being sucked out immediately.
Rule Three - Electrical Safety A great deal of design and testing has gone into our Extractor Fans to ensure they are safe to use in wet environments. There is an industry standard called an 'IP Rating'. Fans are tested for their safety in wet environments and these tests result in the fan being given an IP rating. The IP rating is related back to a zone in the bathroom. There are two zones and they will vary from bathroom to bathroom as they relate to the position of the bath or shower. The IP rating of the fan will determine how close the fan can be mounted to the bath or shower. The picture below shows how the zones work in practice;
In short, you are looking at putting a fan in either 1, 2 or outside zone.
Internal Bathrooms, En Suites, Toilets, Wet Rooms, Basements, Cellars and Pooch Parlours
These areas need to be given special consideration, as they may not have natural ventilation and are normally the main source of moisture. A standard intermittent fan may not be sufficient in these environments. If this moisture isn't cleared it can create long term damage to your property in addition to making its way into clothes, carpets, and bed linen. One way to conquer these problems is to use a fan with an overrun timer or one that runs continuously. Below is a list of the continuous fans key features: Effective Ventilation Most of the time the continuous fan runs on a low-level providing low-level ventilation. This low level running ensures that the air in the room is changed without any other side effects such as noise or draught. Quiet Operation Most standard fans run with an AC motor. The continuous fan has an ultra modern EC motor that is exceptional in terms of performance and noise - this means the fan is, on average, 80% quieter than a standard fan. Environment Protection Through the manufacturers work with 'Carbon Clear', Epic Air fans have been declared 'carbon neutral'. Planting enough natural resources to compensate has offset any carbon emitted during the extractor fan's production process.
Operation and Controls
There are a number of control options to be considered when choosing a fan - the most common are listed below;
Basic - generally wired in with the light switch and simply turn on and off as the light is operated.
Timer - these carry on running for an adjustable period - usually about twenty minutes after it has been switched off - but this can be set to anywhere between two and thirty minutes. The benefit is that the fan will continue to operate when the room is no longer in use, continuing to clear the moisture.
Humidistat - Humidistat fans incorporate sensors that continually monitor the surrounding environment and when the humidity climbs over a certain level the fan turns on automatically. The fan stops automatically once the humidity
levels have been reduced to 'normal'.
Continuous - this type of fan runs continuously at low-level with a high level boost when required.
Modern kitchen ventilation is achieved using a cooker hood, however on occasion extra ventilation is required. Building regulations stipulate that you need a fan with a high extract rate in kitchens. While most bathroom fans have a 100mm spigot (the diameter of the air outlet on the back), kitchen fans tend to have a 150mm diameter spigot.
Fans can vent to the outside world in one of three ways - wall, window or ceiling. Not all fans can be mounted in all ways so it is always best to check which solution is best for your circumstances.
Fans need to have special attention paid to them when being installed. In recognition of this, Part P of the Building Regulations came into effect in 2005 and covers the installation of electrical appliances in the home. It stipulates that the householder can undertake small replacement jobs such as electrical sockets or light switches but for places considered 'high risk' - e.g. wet rooms, such as bathrooms - special consideration must be given. A qualified electrician who is registered under the Part P self certification scheme must carry out this electrical work. Typical cost of installing an extractor fan can be found here.
This covers the basics, but if you cannot find the answers you are looking for please email us and we will do our best to ensure your questions are answered.