What makes a home healthy? Is it the sun beaming through every floor to ceiling glass panel? Is it the lemon tree growing outside to give you the citrus boost you need? Is it having efficient and effective heating? Or is it a home that isn’t damp, filled with condensation or mould?
For New Zealand it’s the ‘norm’ to only live in one room during the winter months in your beautiful home. As New Zealanders we often have the mentality of ‘grab another blanket or hoody’, ‘you’ll be alright’. But are we really alright? Does having an inadequately heated home cause us more harm than we realise?
For years now, many New Zealand homes haven’t been built for the climate, and anything from a plug-in heater to a wall-mounted heat pump that heats one area classes as adequate ‘heating’. Research by the Building Research Association of New Zealand said, about half of our homes aren’t adequately insulated (47 percent), have insufficient heating (46 percent), and are damp, and show visible signs of mould (49 percent).
In 2019, New Zealand’s national average temperature for June/July was 8.6 degrees, with the lowest temperature of -6.2 degrees in Clyde in July. It’s no wonder many homeowners reached for the extra blanket during winter. Research has shown if your home is below 13 degrees, it is too cold and can increase your blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease and it doesn’t stop there, indoor dampness and mould have been linked to asthma and respiratory infections.
So how do we battle this?
Even though a handful of garlic and filling up on vitamin C is said to help you from getting sick, having a warm centrally heated home would be more beneficial. Only five percent of properties across New Zealand have central heating, whereas 2/3 of the world have central heating implemented into their homes, buildings, and building codes. Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago professor at the Department of Public Health in Wellington, said “New Zealand should be concerned about cold houses because more people get sick and die during winter. Heating only one room in the house is also a problem.”
Central Heating is a method of whole-home heating, in which warm water circulates through a closed network of pipes, carrying heating around the home. These pipes can lead to radiators or be installed as underfloor heating. It’s not uncommon to have a combination of both radiators and underfloor.
Lyall Smith, director of Central Heating New Zealand said “Putting central heating in an old house can eliminate up to 80 percent of condensation problems because the air is dryer. And, because there is no forced air flow, central heating is perfect for people with respiratory or allergy problems.”
The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) said “Warmer, dryer homes with better ventilation lead to lower mortality, fewer medical costs and visits for circulatory and respiratory illnesses, and fewer days off work and school.”
At Central Heating New Zealand, we think a warm evenly heated home is the key to what creates a healthy home.