Innovative solutions that mean added value for wholesalers

Ceiling Extractor 1
As specifiers continue to seek smart and effective ventilation solutions for the social housing sector, Lee Stones, Category Manager at Xpelair, considers why constant volume extraction can tick all the right boxes for specifiers, installers and wholesalers too.

It will come as no surprise to wholesalers that installing a good ventilation system has become as prevalent to landlords as efficient home heating.

With increasingly stringent Building Regulations, a drive towards energy efficiency and increased insulation options for existing properties, homes have become more ‘wrapped up’ than ever before.

This desire to reduce energy consumption may be helping to cut the cost of heating bills for tenants, but it comes with it a greater need for more effective ventilation –particularly in the social housing sector where the onus is on landlords to provide tenants with a clean and healthy living environment.

Together with a growing understanding of the importance of indoor air quality, this trend presents a huge opportunity for wholesalers to take advantage.

A constant need for cleaner air

Thanks to the continued innovation of leading manufacturers in the ventilation market, wholesalers have access to a wide range of solutions which meet the demands of any social housing property.

In many ways, the requirements of social housing when it comes to ventilation are no different to any other sector. From whole-house Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems which deliver a constant supply of fresh air into the property, to 4” bathroom fans with near-silent running and fuss-free fitting, the latest products from manufacturers like Xpelair combine energy efficiency and low running costs, with quick and easy installation – all desirable features for any customer, whatever the sector. All this of course, is in addition to effective ventilation of the property to reduce condensation and prevent the build-up on black mould.

However, wholesalers must recognise that while the capability requirements of ventilation solutions may not change, the way in which they need to operate within a tenanted property – where tenants may take every opportunity to reduce costs – often does.

Boost IAQ with effective ventilation

If a tenant refuses to open windows to avoid additional heating costs, or worse still turn off bathroom fans which they believe rack up costly electric bills, it can have a serious impact not just on the internal condition of the property – but on their health too.

A lack of adequate ventilation can increase the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), mould and damp within the home, all of which contributes to poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and can lead to a monetary cost for housing associations when it comes to repair and refurbishment – particularly if left over many years.

However, more importantly, landlords could be at risk of litigation if they are not meeting their responsibility to provide a healthy living environment. Poor IAQ can aggravate pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and eczema, whilst high levels of VOCs from everyday household items such as polish or air fresheners, compounded with mould and damp, can also lead to fatigue, rhinitis, dizziness, headaches coughing and sneezing.

What is CV?

Wholesalers must be aware of this issue and be ready to deliver the right solution, and one answer lies in a proven technology called Constant Volume (CV) extraction.

CV fans like the new Xpelair Simply Silent Contour CV offer decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation (dMEV) to meet System 3 of the Building Regulations, Part F. They operate 24/7 to constantly ventilate the property and ensure effective control of humidity, odours and mould growth. For social housing providers it provides the assurance that tenants can’t disable the appliance, reducing the risk of damage through condensation or mould growth.

Most models operate in a trickle mode, maintaining a constant volume of extracted air, and deliver a boost in line with a timer, pull cord or humidistat once it recognises changes in airflow, for example when the shower is turned on.

Of course, in a crowded market, wholesalers must look for points of difference to add value to their sale. CV models are more expensive than intermittent fans, but it is more than outweighed for social housing providers with the potential savings in housing repair or even litigation. And it’s important to remember that not all CV fans are comparable; like many categories, those products with truly innovative features can add real value for wholesalers.

Constant volume for life

In most cases, a CV fan will calibrate once it is switched on and the humidistat will recognise changes to this initial calibration. Xpelair’s new Simply Silent Contour CV, however, represents a step change in CV technology. As the result of years of extensive product research and development, it is a highly intelligent solution which recognises its surroundings thanks to a unique, smart technology called Intelligent Adaptiflow Sensing.

Intelligent Adaptiflow Sensing uses an integral sensor located in the fan duct to sense changes in airflow, and adapts the fan speed intuitively to maintain a constant volume of extracted air.

Unlike other models which operate based on conditions at the time of installation, this sensor calculates and records the flow rate continuously, making hundreds of calculations each second to recognise consistent changes in airflow and adapt performance accordingly.

All the time, an integral datalogger also records the fan’s daily use so that data can be gathered and interpreted by a technician in case of dispute between tenant and housing provider.

All of this means a TRUE constant volume solution for life. And of course, with such innovation comes added value for wholesalers.