It’s no secret that New Zealand’s housing stock is notoriously cold, damp and unhealthy. But the problem might be more serious than otherwise thought.
According to last year’s Aotearoa Housing Survey carried out by AMI Insurance and Habitat for Humanity, more than 300,000 Kiwi families go to bed earlier to stay warm during winter, while 145,000 households heat only one room to reduce costs.
Poor (or in some cases, no) insulation, causes cold and damp homes that can result in chronic health issues like asthma and pneumonia. The survey found 42% of households were worried about dampness in their homes, while almost one in 10 households were worried about significant mould. For households with significant mould, 20% said that mould, dampness or condensation worsened the breathing of those living in the house.
The cost of heating a home is much higher when there’s poor or no insulation. A third of survey respondents (approximately 635,000 households) said their winter power bills were excessive, with 37% of respondents saying they used as little heating as possible to keep their power bills down.
The survey also found that 60% of tenants are more likely to be concerned that their home is too cold compared with 40% of people who own their own homes.
As temperatures plummet all over Aotearoa and New Zealanders hunker down for the next couple of months, industry experts are reminding homeowners and landlords about the impact good insulation and heating can have on all Kiwi families.
Director of PinkFit® Auckland – Central & South, Chris Lowrey says good insulation is a must-have for all Kiwi homes. But while retrofitting older homes is possible, it’s not always easy.
“I’ve been in some homes where it feels warmer outside than it does inside,” Mr Lowrey says. “Retrofitting insulation in older homes can improve the performance of a home, however in many cases it’s very difficult. Installing insulation in the ceilings and under the floors is good, but it’s a bit like putting a single sheet on a queen bed: you can’t cover it all. Installing thorough insulation right throughout a home, including in all the walls, is the ideal, but it’s often not practical or affordable for many people to rip out their walls and essentially start over.”
An energy-efficient home retains heat in winter and keeps a home cool in summer by reducing the amount of thermal transfer between inside and out. The higher the insulation rating, the high performing it is, and therefore the warmer and drier the home will be. A well-insulated home is more affordable to heat during winter too, because more hot air is trapped inside.
Lowrey says insulation is only one part of the home improvement puzzle, though.
“High-quality insulation that has been installed correctly needs to be paired with heating sources and good ventilation to get the most out of a home,” he says. “Minimising the size of windows, installing double glazing, ensuring all timber framing is airtight, using lined curtains, installing good ventilation, having reliable and cost-effective heat sources in all rooms – combined, all of these work together to create a warm, comfortable, cost-effective, and healthy home.”
Thanks to building code updates in recent years, all new builds are required to meet stringent insulation standards. Installing insulation can be very labour-intensive job though. PinkFit® is an insulation installer network that installs Pink® Batts® in new builds, renovations and retrofit projects all over New Zealand.
“In recent years, building has become more modular with specific trades carrying out specific parts of the building process,” says Lowrey. “Insulation is increasingly becoming one of those jobs that can be outsourced to save time and ultimately money on a building site. PinkFit® makes installing insulation easy and significantly faster. Previously it might have taken a couple of apprentices a solid day or two to insulate a new build, or a DIYer a week of late nights. Our teams can insulate a standard-sized three-bedroom home in half a day which saves a building team a significant amount of time.”
PinkFit® offers a level of certainty that doing it yourself can’t provide, and with the new H1 insulation changes in place, it has never been more important to ensure correct installation so that your insulation can perform over the lifetime of your building.
“Previously anyone thought they could install insulation,” says Lowrey. “Now there’s more training required and more emphasis on getting it right. All PinkFit® installers are accredited which reinforces our industry reputation. We’re tied to the Pink® Batts® brand too, which is one of the country’s most renowned insulation products, which just adds to our reputation.”
PinkFit® is prepared to put their money behind their work too.
“We back our work so much that we guarantee it,” says Lowrey. “PinkFit’s Pre-Line Promise guarantees builders that they’ll pass their pre-line inspections first time around. If they don’t, we’ll reinstall the product and cover the cost of any reinspection.”
Other benefits of getting the professionals to install your installation include reduced wastage and having all Pink® Batts® insulation delivered direct to site.
“PinkFit® is all about saving time, hassle and waste on the building site,” says Lowrey. “Before we install anything our team will detail a property, so we get an accurate measure of how much product we need to bring onto site. The fact that we bring it all with us on installation day makes life easier for builders – no more trying to find a dry, out of the way place to store loads of massive bags in the middle of a building site! And while we take care of the insulation, the builders can spend their valuable time on other things.”
PinkFit® is the only accredited installer of Pink® Batts® in New Zealand. With 22 licensees throughout the country, PinkFit® installers ensure Pink® Batts® insulation is installed correctly and performs as expected over the life of the building, saving builders, renovators and DIYers time, hassle and money in the process.
For more information about PinkFit® and to book a no-obligation assessment and quote, visit www.pinkfit.co.nz or call 0800 746 522.