Is Your Home Warm Enough in Winter?

Cold, damp, and miserable … not sure if we’re talking about the state of the winter weather or the state of homes in New Zealand? In winter 2018, Kidspot surveyed New Zealand families about their homes during the colder months.

We received responses from 225 families. Find out more about the results from our survey below.

Let’s get to know our responders first

Here’s a few quick questions that we asked about our surveyed households:

Do you heat only the rooms you are using? Yes 73% : No 18.3%

Does your home suffer from condensation? Yes 65.5% : No 28.2%

Does your home have mould/mildew issues? Yes 34.7% : No 57.1%

Do you have somewhere outside to dry washing when it’s raining? Yes 43.8% : No 50.2%

Is your home draughty? Yes 37% : No 56.2%

(NB The remaining percentage was ‘not applicable’ or ‘don’t know’).

What type of heating do we use?

Almost half of households surveyed confirmed that they used a heatpump to heat their home. This was closely followed by electric or oil heaters (42.5%), then woodburners or fireplaces (33.5%) and panel heaters (15%). Around half of the families surveyed used a combination of sources to heat their homes. Around 4% of homes had no heating.

winter home

Graph: What type of heating do you use in your home? (Click the image for a larger version)

The convenience and energy efficiency of heatpumps are making their mark in New Zealand homes. But there are still a lot of families using electric or oil heaters (either through necessity or choice) which tend to be expensive to run and far less efficient at keeping our homes warm.

How are we keeping the warmth in and the cold out?

Insulating your home makes it easier and cheaper to heat and in the past homes would only have the basic ceiling insulation. Our survey showed that almost three-quarters of homes had ceiling insulation, but other forms of insulation were also becoming popular. Underfloor insulation was present in 43% homes and 36% had insulation in external walls.

Windows can account for up to 30% of the total loss of heat from your home. Installing double-glazing can reduce this heat loss and installing thermal curtains on your windows and external doors will help to keep the cold out. Over a quarter of homes surveyed had double-glazing and almost half were using thermal curtains to keep the cold out.

If you are considering installing or upgrading your home’s insulation you may be eligible for an insulation grant. Check with your local council to find out what is on offer locally. Or free call EECA ENERGYWISE on 0800 358 676 or visit energywise. to find out about the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes initiative.

Are we feeling the cold?

How much are we relying on heating sources to keep our homes at an acceptable temperature? We asked our respondents if they felt their home was warm in winter. With the heating off, only 6.4% said that their home was the perfect temperature (most likely those up in the ‘winterless north’), a quarter said that the temperature was OK, but 68% said it was a bit chilly or too cold. With the heating on (and the energy bills up!), 41% reported that their home was the perfect temperature, with another 41% just giving an ‘OK’ response. 15% said it was still a bit chilly. But almost 4% still said it was too cold.

How is the cold affecting our family’s health?

We all know from the horrific amount of children and elderly people that suffer every year with respiratory illnesses that a lot of our homes are cold, damp and unhealthy. So we asked our responders how they felt their home was affecting their family’s health. Remember, this is just a small snapshot of households in New Zealand.

winter home

Graph: How do you feel the warmth of your home affects your family’s health? (Click the image for a larger version)

Do you feel that your home is warm in winter? Does your home affect your family’s health? Join the discussion in the comments below.

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  1. felicity beets 05/08/2018 at 9:57 pm

    Interesting article. I can’t believe how much heat is lost through windows – will need to look into thermal curtains when we are buying new ones.

  2. Shelz69 02/08/2018 at 8:44 pm

    I’d love to get double glazing and I know it would make such a difference but I just can’t afford it. I know its a worthwhile investment I just don’t have money spare at the end of the week for this. I do have a quote at home to do one door, so I’m hoping to maybe do one window at a time. I hope this will help.

  3. Mands1980 01/08/2018 at 6:38 pm

    We have quite a warm house with heat pumps and a fire as well. But we find we still get condensation unless a window is always open. After spending one year with no heating in the rooms we put in a ducted heat pump it was expensive but now the bedrooms are really warm and we turn of when the kids go to bed. We did this as we had ice inside the rooms as it was a real harsh winter that year.

  4. kymmage 01/08/2018 at 5:46 pm

    Really interesting to see the split of heating types. Condensation is a big issue for us. We have gas heating but it is flued. I suspect it still doesn’t help us with the condensation though. When there’s more moisture it feels colder too

  5. Jen_Wiig 01/08/2018 at 5:03 pm

    I know our home isn’t warm enough but I deff don’t have the means to be able to have a heat pump installed so I do the best I can and use eco panel heater in lounge and upstairs Hall area… Turn them on at yam when I get up so boys wake up to warmth and usually turn them on for an hour or 2 around 7pm so rooms are not so cold when it’s bed time other than that extra blankets and warm pj’s it is. Our rental is partially insulated in the sense the roof is done and there is double glazed windows, thermal curtains but there is a deff draught in a lot of areas of the home… Do u know how hard it actually is getting those door things we used to have back in the days… So I’ll use old blankets rolled up or whatever I can find hahaa… I’m glad the new government introduced the wof and that houses have to be insulated there are far too many cold, damp homes in NZ and I know first hand how rhematic fever and Streep throat effect the kiddos.

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