Creating a healthy home

How Mitre 10 can help your home be a healthy one, especially over the colder months.

Homes are where we go to be warm, safe and dry; a space we spend time with our family and switch off after a long day. But unfortunately, not all Kiwis get to enjoy a home environment that is healthy to be in: many are cold, wet and mouldy.

Thankfully, there are things we can all do to feel happy, healthy and cosy in our homes – whether as a renter or homeowner.


Keeping a space warm starts with having sufficient insulation. Heat can escape your home through the walls, floors and ceilings, and insulation prevents this – acting as a barrier between inside and outside temperatures. It’s a low-cost way to maintain a comfortable temperature, and it’ll make your home more energy efficient – saving money over the long term.

For landlords, there are laws requiring homes to be insulated in the property’s ceiling and underfloor where it is reasonably simple to install. Mitre 10 has easy-to-follow DIY guides for insulating ceilings, under flooring, and in walls.

If you are renting and would like to complement your insulation with other heat retention products, door and window frame sealers are a good DIY, rent-friendly option to stop the cool air coming inside. Draught door stoppers are also good if you’re on a budget! Plus, having a well-insulated home will make it quicker, easier and more cost-effective to heat in winter.


When it comes to heating, it’s important to choose the right heating for your living spaces and consider the ongoing costs and environmental impact of the options available.

Before you purchase a heater, heat pump, or wood burner, work out how much power is required to heat your home (most indoor heating solutions state how many kilowatts of heat they deliver). As a landlord, you need to ensure that the main living room has a qualifying heater that can heat the living room to at least 18°C throughout the year.

It’s also important to do what you can to keep the heat in the room. We know that insulation plays a major role here, but did you know that up to 20 per cent of heating can be lost through draughts? Keeping curtains closed after the sun has gone down can help keep heat in and stop any of the warm air escaping through cracks. 

Reducing moisture and dampness

Dampness is a serious problem in many New Zealand homes, causing mould and dust mites to thrive – leading to allergies, asthma and respiratory issues. Damp air also requires more energy to heat, so it means higher power bills in winter.

Musty smells in rooms, damp or mouldy clothes in wardrobes, and mould or mildew forming on ceilings and walls are all signs of excess moisture in the home.

To prevent moisture, good ventilation is key. To stop pollutants and moisture building up in enclosed spaces, there are a number of ways to improve ventilation.

How to ventilate your home:

Opening windows is the simplest and cheapest way to increase airflow in the home. To make sure old air is being replaced with fresh air in the home, open windows on opposite sides of the room to create cross-ventilation.

Keep your kitchen and bathroom extractor fans clean.

In the kitchen, always cook with the rangehood turned on; and in the bathroom, turn the extractor fan on just before you turn on the shower, and leave it running for a few minutes after you’ve finished.

Install a ventilation system or modify your heat transfer system. This will extract air from either outside the home or from the ceiling space, passing it through a filter and then distributing it around the home. Mitre 10 has DIY systems that are easy to install.

With at least 70 per cent of our time spent inside the home, it’s important to do what we can for our home to be comfortable.

A healthy home is one that is warm and dry, and uses energy and water efficiently – to save you money.

Ways to keep your home warm and dry

Window film as a temporary alternative to double glazing.

Install door brush strips – this can help with heat retention in your home by stopping draughts from exterior doors.

Ensure moisture from appliances is directly transferred outside. In the laundry room, a non-ducted clothes dryer can pump at least five litres of water into your home per load of washing.

Keeping a window slightly ajar overnight can prevent excessive moisture. Security stays can be attached to joinery to make sure no compromises on security are made.

Good quality, lined curtains that fit windows well are best at keeping the warmth in.

To find out more, visit mitre10.co.nz/healthyhomes

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