Having a well-ventilated home creates a comfortable, enjoyable atmosphere for you and your family to relax in. And, not only that, but it can also have a flow-on effect on our health. Cold and damp New Zealand homes have been linked to poor health, especially in those who are young, old, or ill, but these are both things that a well-ventilated home can help with.

New Zealand homes vary greatly in how well they’re built. While more recent homes are generally well-designed thanks to new builds being held to higher standards, there are also many homes which seem to be magnets for mould and damp. 

And while you may think it would be obvious to tell if your home has ventilation issues, it can be harder to tell than you think. So how do you know if your home has problems? We’ve compiled a list of 10 signs that will tell you.

1. Your Home is a Mould Magnet

If your home has problems with ventilation it means it’s harder for stale, moist air to escape. Left to sit inside your home, the moisture then settles in and causes havoc. Often this moisture will then develop into mould, bringing with it a whole new set of issues thanks to its nasty spores becoming airborne.

Making things even more difficult is the fact that mould isn’t always in obvious places. You may find that mould shows up in particularly moist rooms of the house, such as the bathroom, where steam vapour often doesn’t properly escape. You could also notice a buildup of mould around window sills where moisture is often drawn.

Another big problem area for mould is in closets and wardrobes, and on clothes. With the doors closed to a wardrobe, the air is trapped inside and the moisture settles in on your clothing. And, similarly, mould can also grow easily on furniture such as sofas, chairs, and beds.

2. Your Windows are Crying 

Condensation is a big giveaway that your home is not being adequately ventilated. Condensation on windows happens when warm, wet air is picked up and drawn to windows, which are generally the coolest points of your home. When it comes in contact with the cold glass, the air condenses, turning into water droplets.

Condensation in poorly ventilated homes can be extreme to the point of having to wipe down the glass and window sills with cloths or towels. In some areas of the country, condensation can even start freezing overnight as the night-time temperature drops and the water droplets freeze. In a well-ventilated home, the majority of the moist air will be able to escape the home, meaning any condensation is minimal.

window with condensation

3. Musty Smell in Rooms

Poor ventilation can be an assault on the senses, including smell. In a home or room where the moisture can’t escape, it can develop a musty smell that will be hard to get rid of. 

While a musty smell could develop throughout the entire home with ventilation problems, it could also only affect part of it. You may notice bedrooms on the south side of the home smell musty – or other places that may not get as much sunlight.

4. The Room is Dusty

Do you have any rooms that seem overly dusty in your home? No, we’re not passing comment on your cleaning regime, this could actually be because of ventilation issues.

A dusty room is a sign that excess dust could be making its way into the home through gaps and cracks in the building materials, such as window seals or doorways. With so many different ways dust can make its way into your home, you may find that some rooms are unreasonably dusty, which can especially be an issue in homes with asthma or allergy sufferers.

5. Constant Moisture on Surfaces 

A house is supposed to be a comfortable space for you to enjoy being in, but in a home with ventilation issues, it can be a cause of stress – particularly when fighting against dampness.

In a house with ventilation challenges, it’s not uncommon to find surfaces or objects that are constantly damp and never seem to dry. Like the crying windows we mentioned earlier, surfaces such as walls, benches, and tables, which are often quite cool, can become moist and can be hard to dry and keep dry. Soft furnishings can then become affected, especially as they’re often pushed up against walls, like beds and couches. 

From dampness can come a multitude of problems, making areas prone to mould, mildew, musty smells, and even making your home harder and more expensive to heat.

man wiping nose

6. You or Other Occupants Frequently Get Sick

In a home with ventilation issues, one possible side effect is members of your household often being ill. This is something that can truly have a big impact on your quality of life as well as school or work. 

A home with ventilation problems can make it difficult for asthma and allergy sufferers, as airborne particles and pollutants are trapped inside and can trigger symptoms. Not to mention that in a cold and damp house there could be an increased risk of developing asthma, or even a respiratory tract infection.

7. It’s Hard to Cool or Heat Rooms in Your Home. 

In a house with good natural ventilation, you should have a comfortable space all year round. 

In winter, the moist air should be able to escape easily, leaving your home a dry space. If your home is hard to heat in the winter, it could be because poor ventilation means there’s higher moisture content in the air – dry air is much easier to heat and it will cost you less in power.

Meanwhile, in summer, a well-ventilated home means your rooms won’t overheat and feel like a stuffy sauna. If warm air can get out of your home, your space will feel bearable, even during the hottest of days.

8. Your A/C, Heat Pump, or Air Purifier Hasn’t Been Serviced Recently

If you’ve got an air conditioner, heat pump, or air purifier, you might expect these to help with ventilating your home. However, if they haven’t been serviced or maintained frequently, they could be contributing to the problem.

If you suspect these items are not helping your ventilation problems, be sure to check your unit and make sure it’s running at its peak. You may be overdue to clean the filters, something that should be done around once a month. However, if you suspect a bigger issue, be sure to call in an expert to get it sorted correctly.


9. There’s Little Airflow Through the House

In a home that doesn’t have good natural ventilation, you might find that there’s bad air circulation. This can lead to air sitting stagnant in certain parts of the home and not easily flushed outside.

If you find that cooking smells rarely make their way into other parts of the house and seem to get trapped in the kitchen for a long time, it could be an indication that your home has poor airflow – the air isn’t travelling to other areas of the house or outside. Another sign could be that air in a room frequently feels stuffy and heavy, rather than the fresh air that ventilation would introduce.

10. You Don’t Have a Quality Ventilation System. 

If you’re living in a home without a ventilation system, you might find yourself struggling to keep up with the passive ventilation that’s required daily to keep on top of problems with damp, mould, and smells. 

A ventilation system, such as those available from HRV, takes this burden out of your hands and constantly works to ensure your entire home always has fresh air. A ventilation system takes dry, clean air from your ceiling space, cleans it with the help of filters and pushes it into all corners of your home. Because the system does this continually, there’s less of a chance of stale, moist air being able to settle in and cause problems associated with poor natural ventilation.

So there you have it, some reliable indicators that your home may not be well ventilated. If you frequently find yourself struggling with any of those items above, it could point to a problem with your home’s ventilation. 

However, the best way to know for sure is by getting in the experts. Book in for a free home assessment today and our expert team will be able to let you know if your home is up to standard, or whether you should consider a solution such as an HRV ventilation system.