Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ventilation: Getting Fresh?

Do you keep a can of air freshener in your bathroom?  And is the said bathroom infested with mould?  If you live in Britain, chances are that at least one, probably both, of the above suppositions will be true of you.

Air freshener, according to Wikipedia, contains “formaldehyde, aerosol propellant, petroleum distillates, and p-dichlorobenzene. Air freshener preparations often also include terpenes such as limonene. Aldehydes, ketones, esters, alcohols and other synthetic fragrances are also used. A report issued in 2005 by the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) found that many air freshener products emit allergens and toxic air pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, terpenes, styrene, phthalates, and toluene.[2] Air fresheners may also contain phosphates, chlorine bleach, or ammonia” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_freshener).
Do you really want to be spraying that stuff into the air you breathe?

Mould likes damp environments, and seems, in the British Isles, to be a fact of life.  Many are the horror stories we have heard (wait till Halloween and we'll share them!) of plumbers who, when fixing the bathroom, instead of removing mould, have simply covered it up with silicone.  It's enough to make your blood freeze!

Another common feature of British building maintenance is what we usually refer to as the Great Mould Cover-up.  Got some mould in yer bedroom, love?  Get a builder in to paint it a lovely shade of magnolia –  problem solved!  But is it?  Well, no. Wait till winter, when things get a bit damp again, and the mould will be happily sprouting as thick as ever.

Revolting Picture I: Here's the mould still visible behind a heater
after a builder painted over all the other mould with a lovely shade of magnolia
 What's all this got to do with air freshener, then?  Well, the root to all these problems is ventilation – or rather lack of it.  You rarely find ventilation more sophisticated than the “bash a hole in the wall” approach in Britain.  Holes in the wall, as we may have mentioned once or twice before, do not constitute ventilation.  This is why we quite literally filipped, capered and frolicked with joy when we came across a company called Envirovent in our local paper! They supply the kind of ventilation system that houses in many civilised countries have fitted as standard. 

We supply here, for your edification, a diagram of a functioning system of ventilation.  It's got an intake of air, an outflow, and, crucially, a heat exchanger.  This means that the whole house is supplied with fresh air without any loss of heat.  

Picture from http://www.homeventilation.co.uk/heat-recovery.php

Now, isn't that better than that bloody air brick making your living room cold, damp and miserable?

Revolting Picture II: A hateful air brick, or hole in the wall
 Information on household chemicals from the WWF:
More information about cleaning products and hints on avoiding harmful chemicals in the home:
A good place to buy ecological cleaning products is Oxfam.

This all looks like one big ad for the ventilation company, doesn't it? Rest assured that we haven't sold out - we were just genuinely thrilled to see this product advertised!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...