One of the most important ways to keep our homes comfortable and dry is to make sure it’s properly ventilated. Many New Zealand homes are plagued with issues such as dampness and condensation which can lead to discomfort for those living in them.
A properly ventilated home means that stale air and moisture is given an opportunity to escape the home environment. As a result, the moisture isn’t given time to settle in and wreak havoc on walls, ceilings, windows and even furnishings. Thankfully ventilating your home is actually quite easy to do and better yet, it can be done in a number of cheap ways.
Why is Ventilation a Good Thing to do?
Through the simple act of living in a home, moisture is being produced. Bathrooms, laundries and kitchens all produce moisture through washing, cleaning and cooking. And, aside from that, we produce large quantities of moisture just by breathing or sweating. When moisture and stagnant air is left to sit inside a house without an escape route, it can result in dampness. This can then lead to things such as the growth of mould and mildew, damaged paintwork, wallpaper, curtains and ceilings, and a home that can be harder to heat.
To combat this, ventilation is needed to be sure that the moisture and air isn’t given the chance to take root, causing an influx of dampness to your home in the process. The idea behind ventilation is quite simple but it’s important to understand. Basically, ventilating your home means removing old air and moisture from inside and replacing it with fresh, dry air from outside. By creating a cycle of stale air being replaced with fresh air, moisture is continuously being removed from your home, preventing dampness.
Not only does ventilation remove moisture but it also allows pollutants to escape, helping to keep a high air quality indoors. The air inside New Zealand homes can even be more polluted than outside, with factors such as gas heaters, smoking and poor ventilation all contributing. With this higher rate of pollutants, those who spend more time indoors — the young, elderly and sick — are particularly vulnerable.
Cheap Ways to Ventilate Your Home
In order to combat the problems associated with moisture and stale air in homes, ventilating your house is extremely important. No matter your house’s age, there are steps you can take to ventilate that will improve your environment, even without making extensive modifications.
Opening doors: Create a cross-draught by opening all the doors in your house, allowing an opportunity for fresh, dry air to rush in and flush out the stale, old air. If there’s a breeze, you may need to use door stoppers to hold the doors open. By employing this tactic a few times a day you’re ensuring indoor air is quickly replaced.
Opening windows: Along with doors, opening windows is a great way to give escape routes for stagnant air and entry points for fresh breezes. While opening windows and doors wide is a great tactic during the day, you can also leave windows slightly open — about a finger’s width — as an overnight ventilation measure. Many windows are already equipped with safety latches, which means windows will open wide enough while also staying secure.
Extractor fans: In rooms around the home that produce higher amounts of moisture, installing extractor fans is the best way to put a stop to those areas becoming damp. Places such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchens are the biggest culprits, due to water being produced through showers, baths, sinks, washing machines and cooking in general. In this case, having the additional help of an extractor will draw the moisture out of your home quicker. When showering or doing laundry, switch the extractor fan on and also open a window if possible. Keep the fan on after the shower or laundry is finished to ensure all excess moisture has escaped. Meanwhile in the kitchen, make use of an extractor fan or rangehood while you cook. You can also take other steps to reduce moisture, such as cooking with lids on pans — it sounds simple but it can be effective.
Air purifying plants: Along with these ventilation tips, you can also work on improving the quality of the air inside your home. Much like trees outside, keeping houseplants around your home can also purify the air, which can in turn have a positive impact on your mood and even sleep. NASA research has found that house plants absorb and eliminate large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come from common household items such as carpets, paints, plastics, glues and computers. If you’re interested in investing in some green friends to help your home, consider some of the following air purifying plants:
- Peace Lily: Hard to kill, these hardy plants are helpful when eliminating a number of VOCs and will also absorb mould spores through their leaves to use as food!
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue: This plant may have an interesting name but it’s a truly helpful addition to your home. And, In addition to boosting air quality, it’s also easy to grow.
- Anthuriums: A plant that’s wonderful at filtering the air, an anthurium will soak up a number of VOCs with its large leaves. All it needs is filtered light and a well-ventilated space.
While these steps are all simple, easy ways to ventilate your home, they’re not always going to be great options during the cold winter months when keeping warm is key. Additionally, they’re also not good long-term solutions for your home. Consider investing in a more permanent solution to help prevent dampness without having to remember a daily ventilation routine.
Install a Ventilation System
If you’re looking to invest in a permanent ventilation solution, then installing a home ventilation system will benefit you and your family.
The HRV Next Generation is the #1 selling home ventilation system NZ-wide and works using a positive pressure ventilation system. This process takes the air from your home’s roof space, draws it through HRV’s nano-fibre filtration technology, and dispenses it through the entire house. This cycle forces the stagnant air out of your home and pushes fresh and filtered air to replace it. Because of this, homes tend to be less damp and easier to heat, providing a comfortable space for your family to enjoy.
There are also a number of add-on options to customise your ventilation system to fit your home environment best. The Heat Transfer Kit is the perfect solution for those who want to maintain an even temperature right throughout their homes. By taking excess heat produced by large heat sources, the kit transfers that warm air through a series of insulated vents, expelling it into cooler areas of your house. This is a great solution for the southern side of homes, or colder back bedrooms; it’s easily installed onto your ventilation system as the perfect accompaniment for the cooler months.
On the opposite end, HRV’s SummerKit can also be added to your core ventilation unit. The SummerKit helps to push fresh, external air into your house during those warm summer nights. Taking outside air from the south side of your home, the SummerKit increases your hours of ventilation and keeps the air moving on those hot sticky days. With the SummerKit working to keep your house ventilated, there’s no need to leave windows ajar, exposing your bedroom to mosquitoes, road noise and security risks as you sleep.
Your home could be installed with a home ventilation system that would permanently and consistently work to help keep dampness at bay. All of our systems come with a five year system warranty as well. The overall cost of fitting your house with a home ventilation system is unique to each dwelling, with a number of factors taken into account including house size and layout, power supply and roof cavity access. HRV’s professional installers will discuss the details with you such as your interior design preferences, the home’s location and other environmental factors. With everything taken into consideration, our installers then take care of the full installation process, leaving you to relax and enjoy your new ventilated environment.
Ready to learn more about a home ventilation system that works for you, your home and your family? Get in touch for a free home assessment now and our knowledgeable team will be able to explain your options.