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Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Old Oct 31st 2015, 4:45 am
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Default Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

I've been reading a lot of threads on NZ. Is it really that hard to find a well insulated, damp free, warm home..for those winter months?

So many people have ended up in these miserable homes it makes me wonder if warm homes are just not there.

I would be interested in renting not buying a place. If so which cities are the best to find a decent cozy place to rent...I hate the cold. Thanks.
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Old Oct 31st 2015, 5:16 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

We're in Rotorua and find our house to have fairly reasonable insulation. It is a rented property and there was mould on the curtains when we moved in and condensation does form on the windows, but its by no means a miserable home! Our only heat source is a heat pump in the living room/kitchen and that heats the room quite nicely. As for the rest of the house, a winter duvet and a woollen blanket serves us well during colder nights!

When looking for a place I would certainly look for signs of mould on the walls/ceilings/curtains and what the heat source is (heat pump or woodburner).

As for which cities...probably nowhere too far south! I'd imagine you'd need some fairly decent insulation and a good heater/burner to stay comfortable down there! Up in the north it stays fairly mild, relative to the south.
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Old Oct 31st 2015, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Ive never lived in a damp or mouldy house here yet

Current one is all wood, over 100 years old with central heating
M gas bills can get up there in the cold months but it'd be just as warm
if I fitted heat pumps, i just can't be arsed.

Last one was also wooded, again nice and toasty

one before that was brand new, a bit soulless but again, warm and dry
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Old Oct 31st 2015, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

It's not that hard but you have to know what to look for.

1. Note that sunnier locations are north facing (not south as in the UK). So see if you can look at the property when the sun is out to see how much enters the house. The only damp property I lived in here was double-glazed and insulated but got very little sun.

2. Big windows are good for letting in the sun, but if not double-glazed they can be cold in winter. One easy solution for this is thermal lined curtains. You can pick these up ready-made and cheap at places like Warehouse, and, of course take them with you when you leave.

3. In many parts of NZ where there is high humidity, a dehumidifier is a good idea. I found that it reduced 'weeping windows' significantly. Again, this is something you can take with you when you move.

4. It's common in British homes with central heating to dry your clothes inside - this will cause damp in a house without central heating, so find an alternative.

5. Check to ensure that there are vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom. If not, make sure you open any windows when there is steam/moisture, and close them in the evening.

6. In the old days, the plucky British housewife would air the bedding and mattresses - time to return to that tradition if you don't have central heating or hrv.

My requirement for a rental would be a heat pump. If you have access to cheap fuel a wood burner might be a good alternative. You will have a high electricity bill in winter, but it drops down quite a lot in summer.

Of benefit, but hard to find, is a house with HRV air circulation (or similar brand). I have this in my house and, while I live in a very damp location in a coastal property, I have no damp or weeping windows at all. Highly recommend it, but most landlords won't bother to put it in.

You have to put some effort in to find the right place because the good ones are always in demand.
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 5:54 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

I would echo jmh's post. We live in a lovely warm mould free home now, however our rental beforehand wasn't great. We knew our rental would be cold and damp but at the time the rental market Christchurch was crazy. We were even lucky to have a roof over our heads, albeit a damp one! Without stating the obvious be prepared to part with more money for a warm, insulated, non leaky home. IMO it's worth every cent. It really is miserable living in a cold and damp house with no decent heat source. Not only does it feel cold and miserable but you risk respiratory illness too.

I'm living just outside of Christchurch, any questions fire away
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 1:29 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Thxs for all the posts. Very informative!
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

It depends.

How much are you willing to spend? How big a property do you need and in what area?

In the area we live in we pay $580 for a 4 bed house. That's $2514 a month when you average out that some months have 5 weeks. For that we get a house with no insulation and no heating. Unfortunately my husband rented the house before we arrived and he wasn't concerned about heating.

Winters is bitterly cold. I'm home all day so I don't get to go to a warm office and inside is colder than outside. We run a dehumidifier for easily 12 hours a day every day during winter and have two heaters running in the evening. My kids struggle with the cold. The clothes in my walk-in have been covered in mould and the bean bags and couches in my lounge have also been affected by mould, and the living room is the room in the house that gets the most sun.

We are stuck in the area we are in due to catchment for the school and the commute to work for husband. At the moment there are only 2 properties to rent in catchment. One is $620 a week, it is only 3 beds and is exactly like this house. No heating or insulation. The other one is new and is fully heated 4 bedroom house. It is $700 a week and has the joy of high tension power lines going directly over the house and an enormous pylon less than 10m away from the front door.

So if you are in our situation then yes finding a warm, decent house is difficult.

Last edited by MegMac; Nov 1st 2015 at 8:22 pm.
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Old Nov 3rd 2015, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

In answer to your question - yes
We have lived in 3 places, none are insulated or have any form of heating except a small electric fan fire, and certainly no double glazing.
Insulation is only just being seen as needed here, and DG and heating is definitely seen as a luxury here.
We bought a 4 bed house for over $500k and it had one very small electric fan as heating. Not even a fire.
It is common to use electric blankets and a plug in form of heat here.
Yes wet windows are also acceptable, they spend all evening trying to heat their rooms then open the windows the next day, even in winter, to get rid of moisture many families and kids get ill and have asthma
So we have just paid a fortune and insulated, put in DG and gas central heating. Now we are warm and no illnesses this winter, but kiwis still think we are excessive.
So buy a house from a Brit
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Old Nov 3rd 2015, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

One other point to make. When you are used to central heating, doing without it is HARD. My first two winters I felt cold, but now that I have adjusted I haven't noticed the winter as being particularly cold.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 4:43 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Wow..looks like we'd have to do a lot of research. We wouldn't buy only rent...and even that sounds tricky. Good tips! Thank you.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 6:04 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

No it's not, we've never lived in a cold uninsulated house. You've just got to know what to look for. Both our rental and our current house are warm and dry (yes, they've been fully insulated and heated with heat pumps).

Houses on concrete bases are warmer than those which are raised.
Houses which face north are warmer.
Both our rental and the house we now own have heat pumps and wood fires so we have never been cold and we've never suffered from damp or mould.
Our heat pump acts as air conditioning in the summer which is an added bonus.

Our bedroom windows are aluminium and get a bit damp in the winter, but it takes seconds to dry them with a 'scoopy'. We lit our fire for a few evenings (literally) between June - August as we live in a warm part of the country (in comparison to windy Wellington) and we turn the heat pump on in the mornings in winter/summer if we need to for heat/cooling as I don't have time to light a fire before work. Our electricity bills are never more than $250-280 winter or summer.

As JMH says, do your homework and know what to look out for. It's perfectly possible. Just remember the walls aren't as solid as houses in the UK for obvious earthquake reasons. One good tip is to check the size of the window ledges - if they're normal by UK standards then your walls are thicker and are likely to be insulated.
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Old Nov 8th 2015, 8:27 pm
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Originally Posted by MOSO View Post
One good tip is to check the size of the window ledges - if they're normal by UK standards then your walls are thicker and are likely to be insulated.
That's a good tip.

Our house is a good 40 years old. Cedar wood cladding and a tin roof. Part on piles and part concrete base. It is a very warm house in winter and cool in summer. That is all about how it is angled for the sun & also because it is insulated. Walls. Floors. Roof.

One wood burner to heat the home which is lit sometime in May through to September , weather depending.

We do have some crying windows to the rear of the house & need to watch for mould but other than that, I'd say we have a good, solid home.
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Old Nov 9th 2015, 1:28 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

I don't mean to be otherwise but our house is on a concrete base and all the living areas and kitchen are north facing, so get sun all day.

The window ledges are also normal UK size ledges.

Yet our house is still damp and mouldy.

Unless you are moving into a fairly new house, there is no guarantee that you will get a warm, dry house.
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Old Nov 9th 2015, 4:11 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

if you buy a new house (building now...) its warmer.... definitely.
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Old Nov 9th 2015, 11:33 am
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Default Re: Is it really that hard to find a warm home?

Seems like choosing a new home would give us a chance of a warm dry home. Building standards have changed then? That's good!
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