Hutt at Heart
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Eco Design Tips: Draught-proofing your house before winter

Heating, moisture and ventilation are key to a healthy indoor environment.

Heating, moisture and ventilation are key to a healthy indoor environment. Many pathogens struggle to survive within the 40% – 60% relative humidity range. Ventilation is an important part of this.

‘Ventilation is good’ – is true – if it is managed. Ventilation from draughty windows wouldn’t be considered as an ideal form of ventilation as it usually can’t be closed-off if needed. Uncontrolled ventilation can be particularly unhelpful as it will counteract any heating that is being applied.

Some of the old housing stock in New Zealand has as many as 20 air-changes per hour, compared to 8-10 air changes for a standard house or about 5 air changes for a modern house or 0.6 for a high-comfort passive house.

Cold draughts entering equate to heat loss and your heater will have to compensate by working harder – which uses more energy – which you will have to pay for – especially if you have an electric heater that isn’t a heat-pump. In some situations draughts can make a house almost impossible to heat.

Start your winter by looking for draughts in your house and eliminating them if possible.

Some common sources of draughts and their remedies are:

  • Windows – draught-sealing around the edges usually draught-strip or even retrofit draught seals.
  • Doors – draught-sealing around the edges and often an under-the-door draught seal. Some doors can’t be fixed.
  • Fill cracks and gaps around scribers. Cover or fill holes and openings in the exterior of the house.
  • Cat doors are best situated in a still place – better still is to have one that seals shut. If it is redundant then tape shut or better still remove and cover the hole
  • Draughts through gaps between floorboards in older houses such as villas and bungalows can be remedied by high density or wind-proof insulation, a membrane or a wind proof carpet underlay.
  • Draughts can be quite difficult to fix – especially in old windows or doors. Sometimes replacement is recommended. One of the benefits of replacing old windows with double glazed windows is that new windows should be airtight, having the benefit or reducing draughts too.

Hutt City Council offers a free home assessment service by our in-house Eco Design Advisor.

For a full house assessment and advice,

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