With such historic issues of dampness in New Zealand homes, more Kiwis than ever before are now prioritising both their own health and the health of their home by investing in home ventilation solution.
A long-term home ventilation system has already changed the way many New Zealanders enjoy their home environment and to understand why these households made the switch, we took a look at the key reasons why people have a home ventilation system installed. We also spoke with two families to get the inside scoop on their individual experiences with how their HRV ventilation systems have helped them solve their ventilation problems.
What Does Poor Ventilation Mean for Your Home?
Poor ventilation can mean your home may suffer from a plethora of issues. Poor ventilation occurs when stale, moisture-laden air is trapped inside your home and cannot easily escape. Without the flow of fresh air replacing the older air, it just sits in your home which is exactly when problems start happening.
Common Problems in New Zealand Houses
If you’ve lived in a New Zealand home for any length of time, you’re probably already quite familiar with the common problems caused by bad ventilation. Chief amongst them – as you may expect when moist air is stuck inside your home – is dampness.
With all of that water vapour in the air, damp will find any cold surface it can to condense onto and become liquid. This could mean your windows constantly battling with condensation. Or perhaps your walls, ceilings, windowsills, and benchtops are cool and wet to the touch. Not to mention that dampness can be a nightmare with soft furnishings, turning couches, beds, chairs and clothes soggy.
If your home has damp, mould and mildew cannot be far behind. You may see walls or ceilings with the tell-tale signs of black, grey, blue, or green mould, which left alone will quickly take over. Mould in the house is particularly fond of growing in places such as bathrooms – where there is high moisture content – but can be found in all areas of your home, including behind furniture like beds and couches where the air gets stuck. And not only that but mould and mildew will also grow on clothes, especially if they’re stuck somewhere such as a wardrobe where there might not be good airflow.
Because air cannot escape or be easily replaced in a home with poor ventilation, this can mean that air quality inside your home can be quite poor. According to BRANZ, poor indoor air can contain high levels of pollutants. They also note that moisture is a precursor to high levels of certain indoor pollutants.
With poor air quality, it can exacerbate allergies for those who are vulnerable. BRANZ has noted that both hayfever and eczema are both associated with dampness and mould – in addition to other common factors found indoors, such as dust mites, cats, dogs, and fungi.
A home with poor ventilation can also be difficult to either heat or cool. In winter, homes that are difficult to heat will find that it can be costly, with their heating systems working overtime to keep your spaces adequately heated. In summer, that heat will have no easy escape, making it easy for your space to overheat and be very stuffy.
With all that stale, moist air trapped inside, anyone who has had poor ventilation problems will be able to tell you that bad smells are another issue that can be difficult to live with. While it might not be as mould or allergy issues, bad smells make a home an uncomfortable place to live.
Causes of Issues in the Home
There can be several factors that contribute to the issues above, including many which are totally unavoidable. But here are some of the bigger things to keep in mind so you can take action where needed:
- Cooking: Cooking produces a lot of steam which then condenses into a liquid. While we all need to prepare food in our homes, open kitchen windows or use range hoods to whisk the vapour away. And use lids on pots and pans to reduce the amount of vapour put into the air.
- Showers: Steam from showers and baths can also cause problems in your home – including mould in bathrooms. Be sure to use an extractor fan that vents outside every time the shower is used.
- Washing machines: With so much water being used to wash clothes, it’s no surprise that this activity contributes to a lot of moisture in a poorly ventilated home. Try to open windows near your laundry and make sure that the water can easily drain away so it doesn’t sit inside.
- Drying clothes inside: Each load of washing that dries can put up to five litres of moisture into your home. Try and dry clothes outside, or at least near open doors or windows to passively ventilate and encourage the moisture to escape.
Introducing the Reece Family
Despite Phillip and Tracey Reece living in a newly built home with their baby daughter Amelia, the couple found that their home was actually too airtight. The airtightness was causing problems like crying windows and mould growth as the air had no easy escape from indoors. With the family frequently having to wipe down wet windows, they were eager for a better solution and called HRV.
After working with HRV representative, Hemi to find a solution that worked for them, the Reece family had a home ventilation system installed and saw results instantly. Phillip and Tracey’s Riverhead home is now much easier to heat and they’ve noticed that their condensation problem has completely stopped – as has any issues with mould.
Introducing the Gaitau Family
In a story that will be familiar to many New Zealanders, Glen Eden resident Sharon Gaitau always found that her home of 33 years was always really cold. Not only that, but her home also experienced problems with dampness and mould.
After speaking with HRV, the Gaitau family opted to have a heat pump put in the lounge and a home ventilation system installed throughout the whole house. The installation has made a huge difference to the whole family, especially in the mornings, when the air inside is noticeably drier than it was before the system was installed.
Install a Home Ventilation System
When installing a long-term solution like this, you want to be sure you have the best home ventilation system for you and your family. An HRV system works to constantly replace the air within your home, creating a well-ventilated and drier space to relax in.
Our systems achieve this with roof ventilation – having a main unit installed in your home’s roof cavity. From there it is connected to your home by a series of ducts and discreet vents, allowing the air to flow into the rooms of your home.
When the system is operating it takes in the dry, fresh air from your roof space and cleans it by taking it through nanofibre filtration technology. A fan then pushes the air along the ducts and it is dispersed into your home through the vents.
With this new dry, filtered air being released into your home, the older air is then forced out so there’s room for the new stuff. This cycle repeats up to three times every hour, ensuring your home is properly ventilated and that there’s no time for the old, moisture-laden air to settle and cause problems.
Additional Benefits of a Home Ventilation System
With your home fitted with an HRV ventilation system, you’ve ensured there’s a long-term solution to your ventilation woes. But not only that, your home will always be filled with drier, filtered air that is particularly great for those who have younger or older family members, or those who have allergies.
The dry air is also great news for your heating bill! A dry house is much faster to heat, meaning you’ll be efficiently using your heating units. Without having to work so hard to keep your home warm, your power bills will reflect this and you can keep more money in your pocket.
And naturally, when your home is well ventilated it will be considerably drier. With this reduction in moisture levels, mould in the house will be more unlikely to grow, any smells in your home will improve, and the air will generally be of a higher quality.
Are you interested in learning more about what an HRV home ventilation can do for your home and family? Book a free home assessment today and our knowledgeable professionals will be able to walk you through your options.