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Houses that are warm, dry and well ventilated help to keep us healthy and well.

Your health is affected by your housing – where it is, how well it is built, how warm, dry, well insulated and well ventilated it is, how many people live in it, and how much it costs you to live there.

Even though Auckland has a warmer climate than most of New Zealand, it is damp and often cold in winter. Many Auckland homes are cold, damp and unhealthy:

  • In winter, New Zealand homes are on average 6°C below the World Health Organization recommended minimum indoor air temperatures of 18°C 
  • 45 percent of all New Zealand homes have significant mould inside 
  • New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the developed world
  • The air inside New Zealand homes can be more polluted than outdoor air because of gas heaters, smoking and insufficient ventilation
  • Damp, draughty, poorly insulated houses are much more expensive to heat.

Cold and damp houses can cause illness such as asthma and serious chest infections. Overcrowded homes are linked to the spread of infectious diseases such as rheumatic fever.

Crowded housing is an increasing problem in the Auckland region. About 140,000 more people are expected to live in the region within 20 years. Good urban design and housing can help people have better health and wellbeing.

  • Insulate your home; this will keep it cool in summer and warmer and drier in winter
  • Draught-proof all windows and doors
  • Put a moisture barrier under your house if you can
  • Put lids on pots when cooking
  • Open windows in the bathroom and kitchen or use extractor fans to remove steam
  • Dry clothes outside
  • Open windows on fine days to let air through, and to reduce mould and dampness
  • Close curtains before it gets dark to keep the heat in; curtains are better than blinds
  • Avoid using portable or unflued indoor gas heaters as it increases moisture and releases toxins
  • Remove mould using a cloth or sponge and household bleach (1-part bleach to 9-parts water).

You may be eligible for financial and practical assistance to make your home healthier. There are two Healthy Homes Initiatives (HHIs) in Auckland that work with eligible families, agencies and local partners to make homes healthier. They can give advice, funding and direct assistance to create warm, dry and uncrowded homes. The Healthy Homes Initiatives are there to help:

  • families with pre-school children who have been in hospital with an illness linked to housing,
  • families on low income, overcrowded housing or with some difficult family situations;
  • households with someone aged under 15 who has had rheumatic fever
  • women who are pregnant or have new babies

In South Auckland, contact AWHI on (09) 950 3325, or referrals@awhi.co.nz

In North, West and Central Auckland contact Kaianga Ora on (09) 281 2314.or housing@adhb.govt.nz 

You can get more information about the Healthy Homes Initiatives on their website.

Your doctor or health centre may be able to help you with getting referred and assessed by the Healthy Homes Initiative.

There are many services that can help make homes warmer and healthier. They are available to people that own their own houses, and to people that rent. Many of these services are free or subsidised to residents in the Auckland region.

EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) Energywise

The EECA Energywise scheme offers several types of subsidies to eligible New Zealanders needing to insulate their homes. There are also grants available to help towards efficient heating systems. Community Services Card Holders can get additional subsidies. 

Retrofit your home

Auckland Council runs a Retrofit Your Home scheme for Auckland residents. This is a loan scheme for Auckland ratepayers. If your house was built before the year 2000 and you meet the other eligibility criteria, you can apply for financial assistance through Auckland Council.

Ecodesign adviser service

Auckland Council supports the Ecodesign adviser service. This is a free service available to all Auckland residents. An Ecodesign adviser will visit your home (either your own home or rented or leased accommodation) and will provide specific recommendations on home insulation, heating, water use and other specialist advice to ensure better use is made of resources.

Smarter homes

The Smarter homes website offers free, impartial information about making your home warmer, drier, healthier, more affordable and kinder to the environment.

ARPHS supports other agencies with advice and information about housing quality. ARPHS also provides assessments on housing issues related to disease and illness.

  • Insulate your home; this will keep it cool in summer and warmer and drier in winter
  • Draught-proof all windows and doors
  • Put a moisture barrier under your house if you can
  • Put lids on pots when cooking
  • Open windows in the bathroom and kitchen or use extractor fans to remove steam
  • Dry clothes outside
  • Open windows on fine days to let air through, and to reduce mould and dampness
  • Close curtains before it gets dark to keep the heat in; curtains are better than blinds
  • Avoid using portable or unflued indoor gas heaters as it increases moisture and releases toxins
  • Remove mould using a cloth or sponge and household bleach (1-part bleach to 9-parts water).

You may be eligible for financial and practical assistance to make your home healthier. There are two Healthy Homes Initiatives (HHIs) in Auckland that work with eligible families, agencies and local partners to make homes healthier. They can give advice, funding and direct assistance to create warm, dry and uncrowded homes. The Healthy Homes Initiatives are there to help:

  • families with pre-school children who have been in hospital with an illness linked to housing,
  • families on low income, overcrowded housing or with some difficult family situations;
  • households with someone aged under 15 who has had rheumatic fever
  • women who are pregnant or have new babies

In South Auckland, contact AWHI on (09) 950 3325, or referrals@awhi.co.nz

In North, West and Central Auckland contact Kaianga Ora on (09) 281 2314.or housing@adhb.govt.nz 

You can get more information about the Healthy Homes Initiatives on their website.

Your doctor or health centre may be able to help you with getting referred and assessed by the Healthy Homes Initiative.

There are many services that can help make homes warmer and healthier. They are available to people that own their own houses, and to people that rent. Many of these services are free or subsidised to residents in the Auckland region.

EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) Energywise

The EECA Energywise scheme offers several types of subsidies to eligible New Zealanders needing to insulate their homes. There are also grants available to help towards efficient heating systems. Community Services Card Holders can get additional subsidies. 

Retrofit your home

Auckland Council runs a Retrofit Your Home scheme for Auckland residents. This is a loan scheme for Auckland ratepayers. If your house was built before the year 2000 and you meet the other eligibility criteria, you can apply for financial assistance through Auckland Council.

Ecodesign adviser service

Auckland Council supports the Ecodesign adviser service. This is a free service available to all Auckland residents. An Ecodesign adviser will visit your home (either your own home or rented or leased accommodation) and will provide specific recommendations on home insulation, heating, water use and other specialist advice to ensure better use is made of resources.

Smarter homes

The Smarter homes website offers free, impartial information about making your home warmer, drier, healthier, more affordable and kinder to the environment.

ARPHS supports other agencies with advice and information about housing quality. ARPHS also provides assessments on housing issues related to disease and illness.

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Last updated 23.11.2018

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