Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or renter there is no getting away from hearing about insulation. Left and right we are being told to insulate our homes but what’s the real deal?
Almost everyone we know grew up in a home that didn’t have insulation and it seems we all came out just fine. Is this another case of society just being soft or is this something we really need to start paying attention to?
Sadly, many of us know what it’s like to live in an uninsulated home. It feels like no matter how many heaters you switch on and how many extra layers of clothes you put on, you just can’t get warm enough. Isn’t this just the way things are? Or should we take this more seriously?
No she won’t be right
It looks like it’s time to get serious and New Zealand has recently started to tackle the problem of poorly built homes for the weather conditions that exist. At least we as a country are finally doing something about it.
The Government has stepped in with initiatives for private homeowners through the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) and rolled out the Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme.
This programme offers grants on heater and home insulation installation to qualified homeowners. Those who qualify can save two-thirds on the cost of their heating and insulation making it more affordable to keep your home warmer, drier and healthier.
But I’m renting so what good does that do for me?
Well, you’re in luck too because the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has rolled out requirements for landlords to install insulation that meets or exceeds a minimum standard on all rental properties which was to be completed by 1 July 2019. We know a number of landlords have not complied with the regulation by the July deadline.
If you are a landlord and still haven’t insulated your property, then it would be wise to get this work done ASAP. Watch this space as we will be regularly updating you with information on the progress of non-compliance. Whether you like it or not, the government is taking the issue of creating warm and dry homes in NZ seriously and that the mind shift around healthy homes is underway.
In the winter, New Zealand gets a lot colder than people think with temperatures dipping into the negatives in the South Island and staying close to zero in some parts of the North Island. So having a home built to suit the weather conditions is a must. New Zealand is also a lot more humid than most countries which means more moisture and mould in the home if it’s not built or maintained with adequate insulation, ventilation or heating.
THE TENANT MATTERS
Homes with young children and elderly people are most vulnerable to damp homes which can cause various illnesses. Having a healthy home also means healthier occupants. Nobody wants to be breathing in mould spores. It’s important to do everything you can to reduce the occurrence of moisture and mould in your home, installing extraction fans in the bathroom and kitchen, wiping down window condensation, removing mould, using a dehumidifier and installing a ground vapour barrier all have a significant impact on the amount of moisture present in your home. Home insulation can help to reduce moisture in the home but will also help retain heat which helps to reduce mould.
What happens to older homes that weren’t built to new home standards you ask? Well, the good news is that you can do a lot to bring your home up to standard. Most homes will get underfloor and ceiling insulation installed which will dramatically improve the home’s efficiency to keep the warm air in. Retrofitting wall insulation can get a little more tricky depending on the construction but there are solutions that can get it done. The most important takeaway from this is that no matter what you do to your home to improve the insulation, it will make it a better and more comfortable home for you and your family.
INVESTMENT OR COST
Here’s the thing, while there is a higher initial investment cost of insulating your home, the long term benefits are endless. Not only do you save money on everyday home heating and cooling but you have a warmer home in winter, a cooler home in summer, and it can even reduce noise. Insulating your home also has great health benefits as you are left with a less damp home which means less mould. Pair this with draught-proofing or double-glazed windows and a heat pump and you have more savings in the long term and further eliminate the possibility of mould and moisture.
Insulation is often perceived as being beneficial in the winter to keep your home warm. Don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely one of the most important functions of insulation but wait, there’s more! Insulating your home will also help you keep your home cool in the summer. How you ask? Well, it’s the same principle, insulation creates a barrier between you and the outside world. When you use heaters in winter the insulation keeps the heat in and the cold out. The same thing happens in the summer. When you cool down your home, the insulation will keep the heat out making your home cooler and requiring less cooling to maintain a comfortable home.
The best way to use insulation is by insulating your ceiling, walls, and floors along with having good home ventilation, a heat pump, a well-drained property and of course double glazed windows (ensuring there is no draught coming through your window frames). This would be the ultimate healthy home. Getting any one of these done will already be one step closer to saving money on your heating or cooling bill and living in a more comfortable home.