Home Health and Comfort

Health and Comfort

Living in healthy and comfortable environment is desirable for all New Zealanders. Sadly our houses are often cold and damp. The good news is that, step by step, you can make changes to improve the health and comfort of your home.

Insulation

Insulation is priority one – the more the better to keep heat in your home!  And don’t just stop at your ceiling.  Insulate under your floors, and when you are renovating, take the opportunity to insulate your walls.

Double Glazing

Double glazing is the way to stop heat going out your windows.  There are an increasing number of options to double glaze your windows, including less expensive secondary glazing.  Remember you don’t have to do all your windows at once – start with colder south-facing rooms.

Moisture Control and Ventilation

The next most important step you can take for health and comfort is to keep your home dry and ventilated.  Damp homes are hard to heat, cause health problems and damage your home.  Make sure moisture doesn’t come into your home by fixing leaks and drainage issues and laying a vapour barrier under your floor.  Use extraction fans and rangehoods in bathrooms, laundries and kitchens. Regularly air your home – leave windows open or use passive ventilation such as louvres or vents in window frames to bring fresh air inside.

Passive Solar Design

Making the most of the sun is called passive solar design.  It is worth thinking about when you are buying a new home or making changes to your existing home.  The sun coming in a square metre of window for an hour produces 1 kilowatt of heat, the same as a one bar electric heater.  Make sure you have more north-facing windows than south-facing, and think about including materials that have the ability to store energy from the sun and store it for later release when the temperature drops (this is known as a thermal mass).

As well as keeping warm in winter, you will want to be cool in summer. There are a lot of simple steps you can take to achieve this, without increasing your power bill. Passive cooling is about having shade in the right place, creating breezes, and using the insulation and thermal mass you already have.

 

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