Craig’s tips for breathing easy at home
The quality of the air inside your home can directly affect your health and, because we spend more time there, we’re more likely to be affected by pollutants inside our homes.
Poor air quality can cause stuff like condensation, mildew, water stains on windows, swelling and rotting wood and bubbling and flaking of paint. It all brings down the quality of the air we breathe in our homes, contributing to respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Moist air in our home is not healthy, takes more energy to heat, and gives dust mites a place to thrive. Cold houses are more often than not also damp houses – cold air can’t manage the moisture, so it settles on surfaces in the house such as windows and can cause, for example, condensation.
To make the air in our homes healthy, we need to get the right balance between temperature, ventilation and moisture. Here are a few tips on how to keep the air dry, warm and clean.
- Good ventilation in your bathroom. An open window is often not enough – it relies on the wind blowing the right way and can sometimes blow moisture in rather than out. An efficient extractor fan like this one is ideal. Read more about the ones we recommend and sell here.
- Good ventilation in your kitchen. For the same reason as above, a good extractor beats an open window any day.
- Open your windows and doors for at least 30 minutes a day, even on cold days. If you have a mechanical ventilation system such as an HRV or DVR, that’s probably not necessary, but everyone needs a bit of fresh air sometimes.
- If you regularly get condensation, consider investing in a Scoopy to get rid of it so the water doesn't collect on window sills.
- Avoid drying clothes inside. A load of washing can release as much as four litres of moisture into air!
- If you have a dryer, make sure it has a vent to the outside – again, a load of washing can release up to four litres of moisture as it dries.
- Plants and fish tanks can make a house feel like a home, but can actually put a fair amount of moisture into the air, think about whether you need them.
- Get a good heating source. Unflued gas heaters can release half a litre of moisture per hour as well as releasing toxic gases, so look at alternatives. Non-glowing radiant heaters like this one or this one are a healthier choice.
- Exposed soil under the floor of a 100sqm house can release up to 40 litres of moisture a day. If you can access the underfloor, look at putting down a Ground Vapour Barrier.
- Fix any leaking pipes or overflowing gutters.
- Clean mould off surfaces with a mix of 70 per cent white vinegar and 30 per cent water.
- Keep your pillows fresh – they hold dead skinflakes which dust mites eat. According the the UK’s Sleep Council, pillows should be replaced every two years and duvets should be thrown away after 5 years.
- Vacuum regularly to keep dust mites in carpets and floors at bay.
If you'd like us to come and talk to about changes you could make at home to make it warmer, drier and healthier, book a free two-hour home assessment with us
Also in Ask an expert
With summer behind us, it’s time for the third blog post in our series helping our community be more informed about home insulation – this time, we’re helping you know what to look out for when choosing an insulation provider.
Lighting costs the average Kiwi household $220 per year – roughly 12 percent of its electricity bill. As LEDs use up to 85% less energy, installing LED downlights can mean a substantial saving for families around NZ. Find out more here.
Did you know that one mouthful in three is directly thanks to bee pollination? Bee Aware Month (every September) is a chance for us to learn about the incredible value bees bring to our lives and find out how we can help them!