Warmer houses, better health - 25/05/2015

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. For North Canterbury 5 year old Liam MacAlpine-Berg living with asthma has meant 17 admissions to Christchurch Hospital, 3 to Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital and 4 ambulance trips. HRV got together with the Canterbury community to get Liam’s home prepared for the winter, and helped to decrease his chances of another hospital visit.

Asthma affects 1 in 7 kiwi kids

A Health Quality & Safety Commission NZ report on asthma prevalence found that 1 in 7 children aged 2–14 years and 1 in 9 adults reporting taking current asthma medication. Statistics indicate that New Zealand has the fourth highest hospital admission rates for asthma amongst OECD countries and that rate doesn’t appear to be slowing.

The causes of asthma’s high prevalence in New Zealand are widely debated, but a recent Otago University study found that living in damp or mouldy homes was connected with asthma, allergies, hayfever and eczema.

Warm houses, healthy lungs

When it comes to housing quality Kiwis often suffer from poor insulation and inadequate home heating systems. Liam is just one of the many, only his asthma means living in a cold home can be a danger to his health, and his life.

After Liam’s mother Sheena recently spoke out about Liam’s plight, the Canterbury community responded by raising some funds to help Sheena kit out their home with a ventilation system, heating system, and double glazing.

Here at HRV we arranged to install our Next Generation ventilation system, donated double-glazed HRV Windows for Liam's bedroom, and offered a discount for the price of the other windows in the house.


Sheena MacAlpine and her son Liam at the backdoor of their house where tradies work on installing a heat pump and circulation vents. Photo by Iain McGregor

Good home heating can help your health

Stepping out into the winter cold is enough to make anyone lose their breath, particularly when doing exercise. The lungs contract, and the body tries to protect itself from the chilly air temperature. But for asthmatics this reaction to the cold can be more severe. The risk of asthma attacks increases in winter for many people as their respiratory system struggles to respond to the damper, cooler temperatures.

One way to decrease these reactions, which can often lead to asthma attacks, is to keep a healthy home. A healthy home should have a temperature of 15-18 degrees celsius according to World Health Organisation recommendations; and an HRV heating system can be tailored to suit your specific environment and needs.

The true cost of a home ventilation and heating system

It costs about $1200 a day to treat a child for asthma in hospital and when you’re like Liam, taking multiple trips over a short space of time the cost starts to add up. When you purchase an HRV heating system or ventilation system, you can be assured that this one off cost is going to make a world of difference to your family.


If you want to improve the health of your home and your family, get in touch with HRV today.

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