Regulation 8 Ventilation

Exposure to Pollutants

People who do not ventilate their homes properly expose themselves to harmful levels of pollutants, according to experts.

Specialists at the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit say modern homes are built to be too airtight and the unit has made a series of recommendations to reduce pollutants.

Professor Tim Sharpe head of the MEARU, says "There are clear links between poor ventilation and ill-health so people need to be aware of the build of CO2 and other pollutants in their homes and their potential impact on health".

The Unit conducted a survey of 200 homes which were constructed to modern building standards.  It found that most householders keep trickle vents and bedroom windows closed a night.

Levels of pollutants can be five times higher indoors than outdoors and when vents and windows are kept closed, the chemicals have nowhere to go.  Common pollutants include carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds from carpets and soft furnishings, formaldehyde in MDF and plywood and chemicals used in plastics.

These chemicals cause eye and skin irritation, damage the central nervous system and have been linked to cancer.

For Irish rental properties to comply with current Regulations (Article 9) all habitable rooms in a dwelling should have unobstructed external wall ventilation with some additional mechanical measures for kitchens and bathrooms.

Simple steps experts recommend to reduce risks include

  • Keeping trickle vents or windows open when cooking or showering
  • Increasing ventilation when cleaning
  • Open windows at night
  • Dry laundry near an open window
  • Ensure to understand how the ventilation system of a property works