Our advice to homeowners across New Zealand

If you are currently buying or building a house, we know how exciting (and stressful) this time is for you!

There are so many things to consider …kitchen bench surfaces, appliances, wall colours, tile, carpet … the list goes on. Chances are, your top priority is to create a healthy environment for your family.

Recently, there has been an increased focus on homes, old and new, being well insulated and airtight in order to increase energy savings and – more importantly – protect against asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

But are well-insulated, airtight homes enough to satisfy today’s discerning homebuyer?

In addition to good insulation it is vital for homes to be well ventilated. This prevents excess moisture from building up. Showers, unflued gas heaters, cooking and even breathing create moisture and dampness. Condensation is the visible symptom of unhealthy air in homes.

The Kiwi climate, often cold and wet in winter, makes it impractical to open doors and windows all year long. This is where a residential ventilation system can help!

So… what does a home ventilation system actually do and why would I include one in my new build?

You would be surprised by the amount of moisture a new home can produce even before occupants commence creating moisture by cooking, showering and even breathing! Concrete slabs contain several thousand litres of water and can take an average of one month per 25mm of slab thickness to dry completely, that’s a lot of moisture to combat.

Home ventilation systems use fans to move air into the house, providing continuous ventilation regardless of the weather. This helps to maintain air quality and remove moisture from everyday living activities. Well designed and installed residential ventilation systems deliver required air replacement continuously and independently of weather conditions, while taking temperature into account. Some also measure humidity, which is handy as moisture can be measured and controlled more accurately.

Massey University research shows that residential ventilation systems reduce fungal spores, moisture and carbon dioxide, making a home drier and healthier. Occupants experience fewer headaches, sneezing and eye irritations. Drier homes can also be heated more effectively and are more durable.

Whole house positive pressure ventilation & heat recovery systems

Keeping your home warm during the chilly NZ winters can feel like an ongoing battle. Since dry air is easier to heat, the first step is to reduce any sources of dampness and ensure you have good insulation in place.

Still noticing issues with condensation and ventilation? Then it’s time to install a residential ventilation system that will help to keep your entire house warm and dry. Without proper ventilation, the damp air naturally produced in your home (through cooking, cleaning and showering) can lead to condensation, mould, hazardous airborne particles and health complications for your family.

There are two types of residential ventilation system to consider:

Positive pressure ventilation systems

These systems (which are most commonly used in New Zealand) draw fresher, drier air into the home from either the roof cavity or outside. This air is then passed through a high efficiency filter and introduced into the home. This introduced air forces out the moist, stale air that causes condensation, mould and mildew.

Balanced pressure heat/energy exchanger ventilation systems

These systems use the energy the household has paid for, say to heat from the lounge, and pass it through an advanced heat or energy recovery converter. It then tempers the fresh, dry air from outside before moving it to rooms that need it most. Balanced pressure systems (also known as heat recovery systems) are especially suited to modern airtight homes or those homes in the colder parts of New Zealand, assuming the property already has adequate heating, insulation and is built to modern building standards.

Since this system works via an air-to-air heat exchanger that transfers heat from the inside air to the air coming in from outside, it is most effective for airtight homes, as more of the heat can be recovered and utilised.

Which system is best for your home?

It depends on many factors such as the design of your house, its floor area, the type of roof and the local climate. Each house is different so send us your plans to request a design, or Book a Free Home Assessment to discover what system suits you most.