How to Ventilate your Home
Homes in New Zealand are built to a variety of different specifications - largely depending on the age of the building. Homes built in 2019 have much higher requirements for insulation and may not require much effort to ventilate. Older homes may suffer from poor ventilation, condensation build-up, mould and other issues. Here are some simple tips on how you can keep your home dry, healthy and well ventilated.
1) Open Windows and Doors
Pretty simple right?! Open your windows - even just a fraction - every day. Try and get a cross breeze by opening a window on one side of the house and another on the other side of the house. This will help circulate that old musty air out of your home and replace it with fresh air. Do this even in winter, even if its raining. You might feel like you will let in dampness, but there is always a certain amount of moisture in the air, and that's ok. The important thing is ventilation and removing old, stale air. Just half an hour a day might be enough to freshen your air.
Opening windows in bathrooms, toilets and laundries is especially important. The moisture buildup from steam from your shower or hot wash needs to be vented outside, or moisture will build up in your home, leading to mould and rot.
2) Insulate your Home
All new homes in New Zealand are required to have adequate insulation, however older homes may not have much - or any - insulation. Get up into your ceiling space and check you have proper insulation there. This is the easiest place to check. If you don't have proper insulation, or are unsure, call a professional.
Floor and wall insulation are harder to check. If you have access to your underfloor area, you can have a look to see if you have insulation. If not, you may need to hire a professional to come and check for you. The walls and floor may be able to be insulated without pulling all the floorboards or gib off, but this is something you can chat to a professional about.
EECA Energywise provide some really great helpful articles on how to check your insulation, how to install it and also provide funding and installation services.
3) Install or Use Ventilation Products
Kitchens are bathrooms are generally the most important places to ventilate when it comes to moisture buildup. One way to tackle this is with a ventilation system. These systems use different technologies and methods to extract the air, smells and moisture from the surrounding area and vent it outside (make sure it is not vented into your ceiling space).
In your kitchen, look for a rangehood to install above your oven or hobs. There are lots of types of rangehoods available in New Zealand, with varying effectiveness, quality and capabilities. Be sure to have a chat to your local supplier to ensure you get the right hood for your kitchen space.
For your bathroom, laundry or toilet space, a bathroom extraction fan is probably the right ventilation product for you. Again, there are lots of different types of extraction fans available. Make sure the fan you install is capable of managing your space and ensure it is vented externally.
You can also purchase a portable dehumidifier which will remove moisture from the air for you.
4) Keep your Home Dry
Cold air is generally not ideal for good health and avoiding moisture issues. Try and keep your home warm with adequate heating. If you use a gas heater, ensure this is vented externally.
When you dry your washing, try and hang it outside on the line. Or if you need to dry it inside, open a window to try and cycle that damp air outside. You can also read this article for further ways to keep your home dry and warm.
5) Identify Problem Areas
Have a look through your home. If you have moisture issues you will likely be able to see this quite clearly. Look for mould or "wet" looking areas on your ceiling or walls. Move wardrobes, dressers, beds etc at least 10cm from external walls, especially if they are not insulated.
Watch this video to find ways you can effectively reduce dampness in your home.