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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:21 pm 
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Hi,

Desperate for some advice as i'm ::b

I am a housing association tenant who moved in to the property some 18 months ago. There have a been a number of problems and in that short space of time have had all old timber framed windows ripped out and upvc windows put in, new upvc front door, (old timber back door remains), new combi boiler installed, new rads installed with a additional ones put in and other increased in size.

We have had mould problems from day one, and the above where fixes to try and cure it, but to no avail.
We are in a mid terrace 19 year old, 2 bed property with no window to the bathroom.

We have condensation on the windows most mornings, trickle vents are open at all times, and windows open ajar during the day when weather permits.
Currently we have black mould around the glazing of the timber back door, and on the new kitchen window that was installed 7 months ago.

The housing decided to call in some 'experts' Airtech Environment Services, they sent a surveyor who then advised on the following:
- Humidstat fans installed in bathroom and kitchen
- passive vents installed on exterior walls of both bedrooms.

We agreed to the humidstat fans, but raised concerns about the passive vents as due to lack of exterior wall space these would have to be installed above the beds.

The fans were installed 2 months ago and we recently had a 'data' visit where they download data from the fans and advise on the effect they have had - Attached.

This is where the ::b starts

They say the kitchen fan is performing as it should and all is ok...... so why is there mould growing on the window, and even when we pull the cord to boost the fan it's not powerful enough to open the louvres from the extraction vent on the outside of the external wall.

They say the bathroom fan is not coping because we refused the passive vents, and again they state this is what is needed. What it doesn't say is the concerns we had which remain unanswered, and also ignores our repeated requests that instead of passive vents, that a PIV unit is installed instead........ this was actually mentioned on one of their visits and they did a loft inspection confirming that a PIV unit could easily be installed.

I'm trying to take a step back here and asking for different eyes, are we worrying about nothing about passive vents being installed over our beds? Is a PIV unit not as effective as passive vents? or are we correct in our concerns, and have a case that the ventilation required would be better taken from the loft space, rather than knocking big holes in external walls that wouldn't be easily reversed if it caused more problems than good?

The kitchen issue i take as i a given that the fan is not extracting the air nearer to the window as the louvres are not opening - perhaps the reason the humidistat fans is giving 'normal' readings is that it has been sited far away from the window.

Any advice / recommendations most appreciated, especially on the Passive vs PIV solutions.

Thank you


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:31 pm 
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Can I ask where about in the country you live?
Do you have children and do you use a tumble drier?
How is the property constructed?

None of the above may be relevant but I'm just trying to build a picture of the problem.



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:45 pm 
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Mrwilson wrote:
Can I ask where about in the country you live?
Do you have children and do you use a tumble drier?
How is the property constructed?

None of the above may be relevant but I'm just trying to build a picture of the problem.


Live in oxfordshire, new'ish housing estate (19 years), no children just the wife and me.
Use a condenser dryer in the winter, purchased this year, it's in the spare bedroom and we have windows open when it's in use. It's on 2-3 times a week.
House is brick n mortar with tiled roof, mid terrace, windows face east and west, house is only 1 room wide. No cavity insulation.

What has been pointed out to me is perhaps a good place to start would be lowering the set points on the humidistat's to 60, as currently kitchen set at 70, and bathroom 75. Kitchen fan rarely comes on, and bathroom one will only come on at the end of a shower unless we pull the boost cord prior.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:59 pm 
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Ok, that's obviously all old ground and nothing to do with the problem. Not sure about altering the set points, that may alleviate the problem but shouldn't really be necessary?
Do the neighbours all have a similar problem?



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:07 pm 
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Mrwilson wrote:
Ok, that's obviously all old ground and nothing to do with the problem. Not sure about altering the set points, that may alleviate the problem but shouldn't really be necessary?
Do the neighbours all have a similar problem?


We are in a row of 4, us and an end terrace neighbour have had new windows installed, the other mid-terrace and the other end terrace have not.
The end terrace with the new windows same as us have no problems anymore.
The other 2 with the old windows have condensation issues worse than us.
When we had new windows it alleviated the problem slightly.

We didn't have issues in the kitchen before when we had a more powerful fan that was on a switch.
But when this company came in they swapped it for a less powerful fan with a humidistat and although they do a more powerful one, they say it's not needed.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:22 pm 
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So it's a fundamental construction issue and not a problem associated with life style or how you use the property by the sound of it.
If you have access to a loft hatch it might be worth leaving it open for a couple of days to see if that makes any difference. A bit chilly at this time of year I know but it'll show whether it's air movement or lack of it that's causing the issue. I know there has been a bit of discussion over moisture barrier placement and ideas have changed over the years as is the case with so many other things.
If it's something like this that's at fault then it may not be so easy to overcome. If the end property has go it sussed though then you'd think that you can't be far off solving it.

Just thinking aloud here, sorry. It's an interesting conundrum for me as an outsider but I know it must be somewhat more of a nuisance for you.



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:35 pm 
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Mrwilson wrote:
So it's a fundamental construction issue and not a problem associated with life style or how you use the property by the sound of it.
If you have access to a loft hatch it might be worth leaving it open for a couple of days to see if that makes any difference. A bit chilly at this time of year I know but it'll show whether it's air movement or lack of it that's causing the issue. I know there has been a bit of discussion over moisture barrier placement and ideas have changed over the years as is the case with so many other things.
If it's something like this that's at fault then it may not be so easy to overcome. If the end property has go it sussed though then you'd think that you can't be far off solving it.

Just thinking aloud here, sorry. It's an interesting conundrum for me as an outsider but I know it must be somewhat more of a nuisance for you.


Yes, i would agree not a lifestyle issue - we have abide by all that we can on that and still the problem persists.
We do have access to the loft hatch and could do as you suggested, thank you.
We have our 2 bedroom windows open 24/7 purely as my wife's preference, and the 2 spare room windows are opened during the day - this made me wonder how putting passive vents in these bedroom would assist as we are doing the same as what a passive vent would do anyhow.

There is a difference with the end property that has the same windows as us, in that they have a window they can use for their bathroom, but also we had a new combi boiler fitted last year, but they refused it rather sticking to the immersion heater and tank in the loft....... if that would make a difference?

Also i notice on those charts, at the bottom it records the times the fans are running, and it shows the kitchen fan is rarely on and if so not for long at all, and the bathroom fan only comes on when we have a shower, be that once, or twice a day...... this leads me to thinking the fans are not extracting enough moisture simply because the humidistats are not switching them on long enough, which made me think of lowering the set-points could help.
If that worked it would be ideal as no holes in walls or landing ceiling for the piv unit.
Maybe i'm convincing myself we create enough airflow with open windows as it is and it's the extractor fans that are not performing as they should.

Do you know if there is a common setting for humidstats, as 75 for a bathroom does seem high to me?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:01 pm 
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The humidistat settings are very much a suck it and see thing as far as I can work out. So many variables, geography, house type, occupation, make of equipment etc. It's impossible to give a hard and fast fix-all answer.
It's an easy and cheap experiment though as long as you're happy to try it and give it a while for the results to actually mean something.
I don't think the combi boiler versus immersion heater thing should be making any difference, it's got to be something that's peculiar to your set of buildings and the way they're built. I assume there are more terraces like it in the estate, same problem everywhere?



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:39 am 
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Mrwilson wrote:
The humidistat settings are very much a suck it and see thing as far as I can work out. So many variables, geography, house type, occupation, make of equipment etc. It's impossible to give a hard and fast fix-all answer.
It's an easy and cheap experiment though as long as you're happy to try it and give it a while for the results to actually mean something.
I don't think the combi boiler versus immersion heater thing should be making any difference, it's got to be something that's peculiar to your set of buildings and the way they're built. I assume there are more terraces like it in the estate, same problem everywhere?


There is just one other row of 4 across the way that we don't have anything to do with, the other houses in the close are private 4/5 bed detached, quite different to ours.
The other house, they are a family of 2 adults, 2 children, and they dry their clothes on radiators and in airing cupboard, so it's confusing why they don't have any problems. They even said they only have the trickle vents on the windows half open, whilst ours are open fully.... all i can think that is different is they have the bathroom window.
I did suggest additional trickle vents, they worked at a precious property we lived in - but they are not prepared to do that.
We really don't want these passive vents in our bedrooms above the beds, and are prepared to other things even if it means giving it a month or so to see if the results improve.
The one thing that scares me also about the passive vents in the bedroom wall is we are already doing the same job a passive vent will do by leaving the windows open. So if they drill these big holes in the walls, put in the vents and then it doesn't improve the situation, we are stuck with them..... not as if they will fill the holes back up!
That's why i have been requesting they try a piv unit as it's less evasive, but no doubt with the passive vents being the cheaper option that is the real reason why they are trying to push that forward.

One other thing i didn't mention, is i suffer from sleep apnea, and use cpap machine each night, and with it is attached a humidifier which i go through no more than 1/4 litre of water each night.... is that contributing to the problem, if it is i can't see it being the sole problem looking at those bathroom readings.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:13 pm 
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Email from Airtech this morning, agreeing for both sensors to be adjusted down to 60 to see how they perform. The cowl to be upgraded for the kitchen fan, and they will sterilise the mould around the kitchen window and back door.
Now just have to wait for another department in the company to call me, to arrange a date when it can be done.


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