How to get rid of mould, damp, and allergens in your home

  • 06/09/2023
  • Sponsored by - HRV

The epidemic of damp, mouldy homes in Aotearoa New Zealand is a concern for many. Damp carpets, mouldy furnishings, and cold, draughty bedrooms and living spaces are common in this country.

The rate of respiratory illnesses in New Zealand is massive, with over 700,000 Kiwis living with respiratory diseases which can be caused or aggravated by unhealthy living environments.

"I believe that the issues around unhealthy homes are bigger than we know" says Norman Woods, HRV Group General Manager.

In a 2021 report, 46 percent of New Zealanders said they live in homes that are damp and mouldy, 37 percent reported regular condensation on windows during winter, and 29 percent said they needed to remove water from their windows every day.

When it comes to our houses, we can think of it this way: there's a triangle of features that lead to a comfortable, healthy home: insulation, heating, and ventilation.

In recent years a lot of emphasis has been placed on insulation, which means homes are required to be better insulated according to the building code and the Healthy Homes Standard for rentals. However, there's a downside that often gets overlooked. With more insulation there is less ventilation, less air movement.

Heat pumps and gas heating are great for warming up our homes, however when combined with good insulation, can create more issues as houses become more closed off and sealed to the outside world.

Ventilation is the third corner of the triangle and one that shouldn’t be forgotten when making sure your home is healthy for you and your whānau.

Ventilation brings fresh filtered air into your home, reducing condensation and improving indoor air quality. "It's very important for our homes to be ventilated," Woods says. "It's paramount for our children and our community."

Not only are there health benefits when it comes to ventilation, it's also more economical. Good ventilation makes it easier to heat our homes, saving money on heating.

"The easiest thing to say is 'open windows and open doors'," says Woods.

"However, that allows pollen and dust into our homes. That really starts to impact us. I have a wife and daughter with asthma so I've seen first-hand the distress that can cause."

Spring has arrived, and pollen is a common allergen that can get into our homes and aggravate respiratory issues, emphasising the need for good ventilation.

Taking the air out of the ceiling and putting it through a good filtration system before pumping it back into the main area of the house can help avoid triggers like pollen. HRV's world-class filtration removes tiny particles like mould spores and pollen out of the air.

"It's such an integral part of the healthy home," Woods says.

"We can't only have good insulation or good heating. The three have to work together."

It’s not just an issue with older homes, ventilation is also crucial in newer homes too. They have strong, airtight insulation and moisture can get trapped in the home due to cooking, cleaning, and showering all producing moisture.

With older homes you can clearly see the moisture manifesting itself as condensation on the windows, but with newer homes you don’t see the condensation thanks to the double or triple glazing on windows, so it can hide in areas such as couch cushions or curtains.

Over a period of 21 years HRV has become New Zealand’s number one trusted home ventilation brand, as voted by New Zealanders in the 2022 and 2023 Reader's Digest Trusted Brands Survey. HRV’s purpose is to make all Kiwi homes healthier.

HRV has also partnered with the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ to help support Kiwis living with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

"Everything we do is built around that," says Woods. "We know the benefits of having a healthy home and we know the role we play within that. Our standpoint is that you should have ventilation in your home. We'd like you to choose us as your home ventilation partner, but the most important thing is to have ventilation."

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Article created in partnership with HRV.