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Do Windows Need Trickle Vents?

Wooden Windows With Trickle Vents

So, do my windows and doors need trickle vents?


In England from the 15th of June 2022 and in Wales from the 23rd of November 2022 it is the law that the overwhelming majority of windows and potentially some doors will require trickle vents.


Are there any exemptions to fitting trickle vents to my windows and doors?


The only exemptions are for listed buildings and within conservation areas. Due to the sensitive nature of listed buildings it is important to retain all existing detailing such as single glazing and original construction methods. However, discussions with building control, listed building officers, National Parks, architects and specifiers as required are important to ensure appropriate compliance.


If this all sounds a bit draconian it's not quite quite as bad as it seems. Trickle vents have been a part of new builds and change of use projects for a very long time.


What is the purpose of a trickle vent?


A trickle vent is a fitting that allows fresh air from outside to flow in and circulate within a room and also to allow the polluted air to escape. A trickle vent allows for ventilation, even when the window is closed.


Why do I need trickle vents?


The way we live and the fabric of our homes has changed a great deal. All windows and doors we make now have draught resistant seals installed which prevent uncontrolled draughts. With less movement of air, condensation with resultant mould can become much more prevalant along with pollutants. While a trickle vent won't stop these issues they do at least reduce problems.


But I don't want trickle vents to spoil the look of my new joinery?


I hear you! In this regard I practice what I preach. All the wooden windows in my home are fitted with trickle vents and I am very happy with them. When you look at a trickle vent in isolation they don't look great, but I try to think about it in context. The window in the photo above has a trickle vent fitted. The natural shaddow created by the inset reveal hides the vent to some degree. Also, we paint our vent if required to match the paint colour chosen by our clients. This step reduces the impact even further. Considering the view from inside it's common to have blinds and or curtains. I find I don't notice the vents with this extra visual distraction.


Can't I just sign a waiver or have an indemnity policy taken out if I don't want trickle vents fitted to my wooden windows?


This is a really bad idea and it's not an appropriate way for us to work with customers. Trickle vents are a regulatory requirement, it’s not up to the consumer to decide what they do and don’t want to comply with. A wavier would offer you no protection.


How do I find out more about what the governement say about this?


The government have put together a very good guide that you can find here


Could I fit an air brick or some other means of ventialtion instead of a trickle vent?


In theory this is possible. But how realistic is this? Consider that every habitable room, kitchen and bathroom require vents that would mean a very time consuming job of punching through air bricks. The process of fitting the air bricks is likely to be far more destructive, likely to cause further issues and be far more obvious than a trickle vent. We appreciate you might be against trickle vents but we would urge you not to overthink this.


Does every single window need to have a trickle vent?


Trickle vents are fitted to windows to ensure a room has enough ventialtion. At the time of writing this article the guidance is;


  • Habitable Room - 8,000mm2 EA
  • Kitchen - 8,000mm2 EA
  • Bathroom - 4,000mm2 EA
  • Utility and WC - No minimum.


Therefore it is important to think about the rooms. We balance a consistent look with the correct ventilation. For instance, we could make a 3 sided bay window and have 8,000mm2 in each of the three sides which would be a complete overkill.


Do I need to fit trickle vents to my front door?


Although the new law does apply to doors as well it is very unusual to have a front door that opens into a habitable room without there being enough windows to manage ventialtion. We've only had two jobs within the last 10 years that had doors like this. On both occasions they weren't front doors but bedrooms and a kitchen. It's very unlikely any exterior door will need a trickle vent but the room dictates what ventilation is required.


If you have any questions about trickle vents or solid wood joinery in general please get in touch 01769 572 134 or send us an email via our contact us page.