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What is Asthma & How Can a Home Ventilation System Help?

Unless you’re already a sufferer of asthma, you probably don’t think about the condition very often. But while we hate to be the bearer of bad news, anyone can be diagnosed with asthma – at any stage in life. Unfortunately, there’s no cure, but there are ways to prevent and minimise asthma attacks (AKA episodes or exacerbations), which is what World Asthma Day is out to highlight.


World Asthma Day 2022 fell on the 3rd of May. It’s a day to raise awareness of asthma all across the globe, as part of an initiative to reduce asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality.

But what is asthma and what does it have to do with home ventilation? Read up with SmartVent so you can be sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent the onset of asthma or reduce symptoms, starting with your home’s ventilation system.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory condition with symptoms that span from difficulty breathing to coughing attacks, wheezing and shortness of breath. It’s caused by airways that narrow and swell, making it hard to breathe in, and even harder to breathe out.

Depending on the level of asthma severity and the level of control , asthma attacks could be frequent, infrequent, or brought on by particular activities or ‘triggers’, such as exercise, pollen, cold air.

It’s estimated that more than 600,000 kiwis suffer from asthma – . That equates to 1 in 7 children, and 1 in 8 adults. Internationally, New Zealand has one of the highest hospital admission rates for asthma of OECD countries.

Why is the risk of asthma in NZ so high?

These stats got us thinking: Why are we so at risk of asthma in New Zealand? 

Experts don’t know the answer to this question but one contributing factor is that New Zealand homes are often cold and damp. Air circulation is another cause, as are things like mould, pet hair and pollen. Without proper air circulation – that extends beyond just opening a window every now and again – mould can form, which can have a dangerous effect on human health.

The risk of rentals

Around one-third of NZ homes are damp, with Auckland abodes particularly at risk thanks to the humid climate. But rental homes, as a general rule, are more prone to mould and mildew. This means those that rent their home could have a higher risk of being impacted by asthma caused by dampness.

Usually, this mould is caused by condensation in the home, which forms when moisture in the air comes into contact with a cold surface. This can happen when tenants forget to regularly open windows or don’t properly heat the home, or when a rental is left unoccupied for a while. Otherwise, it can be down to poor insulation, faulty heating or a lack of ventilation systems installed by the landlord.

Ventilation in new homes

Buying a new build? A study by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government looked into ventilation and indoor air quality in new homes in England. 

The results pointed to “poor indoor quality in a number of the monitored homes” with only 2 out of 55 properties meeting the guidance in terms of ventilation. The study also found issues around the ventilation of internal emissions of moisture, bio-effluents (body odour) and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

For some further reading on this topic, check out our blog on home ventilation systems for new builds.

Home ventilation systems vs. asthma

Sufferers of asthma could be exposed to triggers in their homes, with poor indoor air quality wreaking havoc on the lungs and making symptoms worse.

Some common triggers include:

  • Damp
  • Mould and mildew
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Pets
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Aerosols and sprays 
  • VOCs
  • Cold air

The good news is that a quality ventilation system reduces these triggers and improves overall air quality – for a dryer, healthier home. That’s because these systems don’t just circulate poor quality air around the home; they actually remove toxins by substituting in filtered air.

They do this by drawing in fresh air from the roof space and outside the home, driving out the toxins and moisture from the air that can trigger symptoms for asthmatics.

Get peace of mind with SmartVent

Protect your home with SmartVent Lite+ and SmartVent Lite2, the home ventilation systems that protect your property investment from moisture, mould and mildew. Our most popular option for landlords across New Zealand who want to ensure their tenants have a safe home and their property is looked after, the Lite range makes sure quality air is circulating – always.

This system is complemented by a rental lock feature, which gives the property owner or landlord control over the system. So, tenants won’t be able to switch it off and you can be confident the place is being ventilated at all times.

Book a free home visit

Your home should be a safe place – not a health hazard. Keep asthma symptoms under wraps with better home ventilation. At SmartVent, we provide systems for all types of properties, and our team can carry out a home assessment to help you choose the best product for you and your family.

Book a free home visit or contact us for an instant online quote.