Keeping Your Home Warm & Dry
Keeping Your Home Warm & Dry
Keeping your family healthy over winter means keeping your home warm and dry. Check out all the tips in the videos about how to keep your home warm and dry. Find out what support is available.
Key points to remember about keeping your home warm and dry
- create as much space to spread out around your home, rather than having to crowd in the same room
- having more warm rooms and more sleeping spaces available means germs such as strep throat, which can lead to rheumatic fever, are less likely to spread
- if you choose to follow even just a couple of tips, your home could be cheaper to heat and more comfortable to live in, and you will be helping to protect your family from health problems
How can I make my home warm and dry?
Find out how to keep your home warm and dry:
Kids cough and sneeze out germs when they sleep so create as much space as possible between their heads to make it harder for the germs to spread.
If they share a room place their beds on opposite sides of the room. If they are in bunk beds it is a good idea to have one child’s head at one end, and the other child’s head at the other end.
Open your curtains during the day to allow the sun to heat your home. But remember to close them just before sunset to keep the cold night air out.
If you choose to use sheets or lavalava instead of curtains, make sure you have a snug fit around the window frame. You might be able to get curtains free or cheaply from your local curtain bank.
Heat pumps are ideal as they heat a large area and don't cost as much as other heaters. Electrical heaters are also good. Avoid portable gas heaters as they are expensive to run, create dampness and give out dangerous fumes.
A heater with a thermostat will help control the temperature in your home and keep the cost down. 20 degrees is a good temperature when people in your house are up, and turn it down to 16 in the bedrooms at night.
Condensation, or water that has collected on windows and walls, makes rooms feel damp. It can also cause mould to grow. To help keep your home dry, wipe it off when you see it. A dry home is easier and cheaper to heat.
Open your windows for at least 20 minutes on fine days and a few minutes every day in winter. Bringing fresh air into your home is another great way to help keep your home dry.
To help prevent dampness and mould, open windows in the kitchen when you cook and in the bathroom when you take a shower or bath. This will help let steam out. Make sure you use your kitchen and bathroom extractor fans if you have them.
To stop cold air getting into your home, stop draughts around doors, windows and fireplaces.
If you don't have a draught stopper, you can roll up a dry towel and place it there, and that will stop the draught from coming in. You can also buy weather stripping to stop draughts around windows from hardware stores.
Mould grows in damp and wet places and can affect your family's health.
Bleach or white vinegar will remove mould from ceilings and walls. If using bleach: Add 2 teaspoons to 1 litre of water. If using white vinegar: Don't add any water. Never mix bleach and vinegar.
To help keep the damp out of your home, dry your washing outside, or in the garage or carport.
What help can I get to keep my home warm and dry?
There's help available with keeping your home warm and dry.
Check the Ministry of Health website for more information about the Healthy Homes Initiative - scroll to the bottom of the Ministry of Health's page for a map of Healthy Homes Initiative providers. You can find out where they are and how to contact them.
As an example of the kind of help some families may be able to get, check out Noho Ᾱhuru. Noho Ᾱhuru is a free service for Auckland families - it aims to support families to have warmer, drier and healthier homes. One of the team will visit families in their homes and identify any changes that could make the home warmer and drier. Noho Ᾱhuru are able to provide support and work alongside eligible families until the whole process is completed. Noho Ᾱhuru may be able to help with: insulation, ventilation, WINZ entitlements, emergency grants, budgeting services, curtains, bedding, heating, minor repairs etc. There are other providers in New Zealand - check if there's one in your area.
The 11 district health boards involved in providing the Healthy Homes Initiative are:
- Auckland through Noho Ᾱhuru
- Waitemata through Noho Ᾱhuru
- Counties Manukau through the Auckland-wide HHI (AWHI)
- Northland through Manawa Ora
- Waikato through Whare Ora
- Wellington region (Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast) through Well Homes
- Lakes through its Health Homes Service through Western Heights Health Centre
- Bay of Plenty through Healthy Homes BOP
- Hawke’s Bay through its Child Healthy Housing Programme
- Tairawhiti through Turanga Health HHI and Ngati Porou Hauora HHI
Get to know your heating options - Gen Less has advice on choosing heating options for your home.
Find out about getting your home insulated.
Insulation keeps heat inside your home in winter, and keeps it out in summer. This makes it easier to warm your home.
You may be able to get subsided insulation installed through the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
To get a grant you will need to:
- be the homeowner (owner-occupier) of a home built before 2008 AND
- have a Community Services Card or SuperGold combo card, OR
- own and be living in a home in an area identified as lower-income OR
- be referred by the Healthy Homes Initiative
Some local or regional councils offer insulation deals - check with them to see what's available.
- learn about insulation at Gen Less
- learn about the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme
- call EECA on 0800 749 782
- look up your local council
Get help from Work and Income
Some families may be able to get help from Work and Income to keep your home warm and healthy, or if your children are unwell.
Find out more about housing
This page last reviewed 12 October 2020.
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