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Trickle Vents

Welcome to the HandleStore range of trickle vents for the replacement of existing, tired, missing or broken slot vents found on double glazed windows. Our aluminium vents (look for the reference VAL) have thermal seals to stop draughts when closed. These trickle vents are screwed to the frame and can be operated by simple finger control. There is so much to offer in this quality range of vents that our Technical team have come up with a quick guide on how to fit trickle vents to help you find the size and colour you need along with the technical information you may need regarding any air flow stipulations like EA values (Equivalent Area). We are always introducing more sizes, brands and colours to the range like a new and popular grey coloured trickle vent. We've also introduced aluminium trickle vents where more strength is needed as well as cord operated trickle vents for those hard to reach windows. Buy replacement trickle vents here.

How To Install Trickle Vents

Replacement of existing trickle vents is a relatively simple matter that involves only a few measurements and a simple installation. These tips will help you:

  • Finding a manufacturers marking on the trickle vent itself is a good start as the sizes and fixings can be in the same place (if you are lucky).
  • Even if you have found the trickle vent manufacturer you can still measure up and find a suitable size of vent that will cover the existing slot or slots you have now. This won't limit you to finding something that may not be there any more.
  • All of the trickle vents we sell are screw fix types but you can also get push-on or clip-in types. These can be released by a little bit of manipulation but we always think it is stronger to screw fix the vents to the window and that is easy enough to do as they are self tapping screws, so just need a small pilot hole like a size of 2mm.
  • Use our retrofitting trickle vents guide to find the size of trickle vent you need. Measure from the ends of the slots and allow enough for a screw fix each side. This guide will also give you the EA ratings of each if you do have stipulations particularly when having new windows done.

Retrofitting trickle vents to existing windows is however a lot more trickier to do and may be beyond basic do-it-yourself skills. Here are some pointers to help you think about the task ahead.

  • Check the glass line before drilling as the glass is hidden behind the frame rebate. Measurements and marking out is crucial.
  • Take the window out of the frame if it is easier particularly if you decide the vent is the best option to place the vent otherwise it will be done in the head of the window where there is no interference from the glass
  • If installing trickle vents to upvc frames then be aware there may be a metal reinforcement section inside the window frame cavities which will make it harder to get through. Timber is the easiest material to install trickle vents to but aluminium windows are very difficult and may not be possible.
  • Be aware of any building regulations for trickle vents that may apply and particularly gas vents as these must meet a specific air flow area and must be left open.

How Do Trickle Vents Work

The concept is easy enough to understand as a slot is cut through the window and a vent cover is placed on the inner and the outer side of the window. The trickle vent on the inside is controllable in that you can usually switch them on or off (not so for some installations like where gas vents are fitted as an example). Different manufacturers have different trickle vents designs as Greenwood trickle vents are a more direct open and close action compared to the Titon trickle vents which can be adjusted to direct the air flow up or down or open and closed.

Quick Tips & Links

To replace your trickle vents just measure the slots in the frame or use our Size Guide. These are all screw fixed.

Are the internal window trickle vents supplied with the external canopy?

Some do and some don't but you can identify a pair or a singular trickle vent from the picture and its product details. However, the website allows you to select the correct matching canopies or trickle vents and to order them at the same time.

What do I need to know before replacing a window trickle vent?

You need to ensure that the size of the new trickle vent is compatible with your old vent and/or the slot underneath the vent. The best way to check this is to take the existing vent off the window. Vents are usually attached by a series of small lugs that clip-fit into a slot or by two fixing screws. If the vent is clip-fixed you will need to carefully rock and prise the vent away from the slot.

When you take the existing vent off the window you will see a slot or two slots cut through your window.

Measure the slot length and width (if two slots then measure the complete span across both including the middle part). The width will be quite narrow but ensure that you measure it accurately. Then compare the sizes against our guide How To Fit Trickle Vents which tabulates all the vents on the website into size order.

Each of the window trickle vents shown on the website have a series of drawings with sizes to help you find the correct vent.

Check the following:

  • The width of your slot against the ‘to suit frame slot size of …’
  • The overall length of the slot against the screw fixing points size (ensure there is enough room past the slot at each end to get a screw into the frame.
  • The overall length of the vent fits onto the window or opening sash.

 How do I fit the new trickle vent?

Initially just offer the trickle vent up to the slot on your window and check the vent actually covers the slots and sits flush onto the frame.

Handlestore only supply vents that can be screw fixed onto your existing frame. You may have screw-fixing points already that can be re-utilised, or it is more likely that you will have to drill two new holes. Drilling into a plastic frame is easy but you need to ensure that you have marked the position of the fixing points carefully. The best way to do this is to hold the vent in its position and then drop a pencil into the fixing holes to make a mark. All of our vents are provided with the correct screws for uPVC frames but you will need to use a 2mm drill for the screw to tighten correctly.

It is recommended that you screw the vent down into position using a hand screwdriver not a drill or any other mechanically/electrically operated device. The screws will appear quite tight but this is important to cut a suitable thread into the plastic. Provided you don’t over-tighten the screws the vent will be adequately fixed.

All vents are provided with two cover caps to disguise the screws and finish off the installation by simply pushing into place.

Can I fit trickle vents to windows without any ventilation?

You can retro-fit these ventilators as long as you are confident with your DIY skills.

The windows you have will require slots cutting through them that are the correct dimensions. By drilling holes this will not allow enough air through because of the bridges between the holes.

The website gives  a very good indication of the slot tolerances but for more information on all our vents view the guide How to fit Trickle Vents.

The basis of these window ventilators is to pass air through the frame and to do this you will need to form a slot within the tolerances shown. This can be done on uPVC or timber windows but aluminium or steel windows is not advisable. The vents can then be screwed to the frame and operated quite simply.

We should point out that there may also be extra difficulty with uPVC if there is a metal reinforcement section inside the hollow profile of the frame. This can be the case but not always and the metal can be either aluminium or galvanised steel. The metal sections tend to be quite thin but the galvanised surface of steel is difficult to drill through.

There are two options to consider when positioning the vents on your window. The first is to put them on the outer frame of the window at the very top of the window or alternatively to position them at the head of the opening window itself. The latter may be easier to do as you can take the window off by the hinges and place the complete unit on a table or bench to carry out the work. It is also easier to assess whether any reinforcement is present within the window unit (uPVC) by withdrawing some of the screws to view the screw type. Drill point screws are used for reinforcement metal and self tappers are most likely to be for uPVC only.

Other points to consider:

  • Take care to ensure that you are not drilling into the glass unit!
  • If you are installing new vents to comply with gas or building regs then please ensure that you are familiar with the requirements for airflow.

My new window trickle vent does not sit down flat onto the frame?

There are several reasons for this.

  • The new vent may contain a series of lugs that need to go inside the slot in your window. It is most likely that the new vent is too big for the slot and you need a narrower vent or you will need to slice the lugs off with a sharp knife (Stanley type).
  • The new fixing centres are pulling the plastic vent down flat but under tension. Release and re-position carefully.
  • The plastic vent is so long it doesn't fit perfectly flat onto the surface of the window. In that case consider the aluminium vents which are more rigid and sturdy.

Should the trickle vent be open all the time on my window?

Yes they should. The purpose of a trickle vent is to provide permanent ventilation into rooms. There are building regulations that cover the exact amount of free flowing air into rooms and these must be maintained. Should you get a gas or carbon monoxide leak these vents could play an important part in saving your life! Trickle vents also help reduce condensation and reduce mould growth caused by dampness.

Handlestore trickle vents are designed to allow for adjustment of the air-flow direction. So to avoid direct drafts you can tilt the vent upwards or downwards as required.

Under no circumstances should you block the vent.

Do trickle vents require any maintenance?

The important thing is to periodically check for any blockage that may occur. The external canopy of the vent is designed to stop insect migration and other foreign matter getting into the vent.

What materials are trickle vents made from?

The trickle vent is a thermoplastic moulding made from a UV stable grade of PBTP (PolyButylene TerePhthalate) and POM (PolyOxyMethylene). This material gives excellent properties in strength and rigidity (with spring like qualities) as well as resistance to wear and organic solvents.

The canopy is made from uPVC and like your windows has excellent weathering properties.

Are trickle vents tested?

Handlestore supply window trickle vents that are made by recognised UK market-leading manufacturers. All of our vents are tested in-house and externally to BS 6375 Part 1 – 1989 – “Performance of windows – classification for weathertightness”