Damp & Cold Homes

In New Zealand, the condition of our housing is a major concern. It is estimated that about 49% of homes have issues with dampness and mould and a staggering 47% lack adequate insulation. Living in a damp or mouldy home can have significant effects on the health of children and adults. Children living in damp/mouldy homes have increased chances of respiratory problems, fevers, sore throats, and skin problems.


In New Zealand, 1 in 9 adults have asthma whereas worldwide the figure is only 1 in 20. There is evidence to suggest these figures are linked with our housing. Why is it, that in a developed country the condition of our housing is such a problem?

There are a number of things that contribute to the health of our homes including:

  • Lack of ventilation
  • The use of unflued gas heaters
  • Lack of insulation
  • Drying washing inside
  • Overcrowding of spaces
  • Not using lids on pots when cooking
  • Leaking pipes
  • Inadequate seals around windows
  • Moisture ingress

The health of a person’s home is also determined by the lifestyle they live, and the habits that are formed. Opening windows, drying washing outside, using lids, and preventing over crowding can go a long way in reducing moisture in the air. Cleaning mould and mildew as it appears will also help in the healthiness of a home. However, if a home has leaky pipes, no insulation, and inadequate heating, there is no quick fix. In renting situations, the tenants often have no control over forms of heating or insulation.

Many people are unaware what is making their home damp/mouldy because there can be a variety of causes. If these causes are not addressed a cycle can occur; the house is cold so a heater is used, the heat quickly escapes, the heater is turned up, this emits even more moisture into the air and increases power bills. When higher levels of moisture in the air are present, mould will grow faster.

Mould on walls Mould on wallpaper

There is no blanket solution to addressing damp homes. However, insulation, extractor fans that vent outside, dry heat sources, and home ventilation systems will help. By 1st July 2019 all rental properties are expected to be insulated to minimum standards where accessible. It will be interesting to see how this will affect the statistics relating to the health of New Zealand homes. If a home has a leaking shower, leaking roof, and moisture ingress through old worn-out windows, how much of a difference will insulation make?

Both homeowners and tenants can struggle financially and may put a healthy home at the bottom of their to do list as they do not realise the importance to their wellbeing. As each house is different, it is advised that individual homeowners investigate the cause of their damp home and find solutions as quickly as possible.

If you have a problem with dampness or mould call one of our friendly team today for a moisture inspection.

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