Many NZ homes making us sick

Last updated 10:35 13/08/2014
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Levels of mould and condensation in New Zealand are widespread, both of which are triggers of respiratory diseases, asthma and hospital visits.

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Many New Zealand homes are in such bad shape they cause health problems and increase their occupants' stress levels, a nationwide survey has found.

The State of the Home Survey was conducted by independent research company Buzz Channel.

It found more than half of respondents said they suffered in some way due to the state of their home.

The survey, commissioned by HRV, found levels of mould and condensation in New Zealand were widespread. Both are triggers of respiratory diseases, asthma and hospital visits.

Almost a third of respondents said the state of their homes reduced their wellbeing and 58 per cent said they suffered stress due to living in an unhealthy home.

One in five respondents said they had moved out of a house because it was cold, damp or mouldy. Almost 60 per cent of tenants surveyed said they had moved out of a house because it was unhealthy. Of those who stayed put, nearly a third faced increased heating costs and higher power bills.

However, even though Kiwis are living in chilly and damp homes, the survey revealed some novel approaches to staying warm in bed at night.

While most respondents said they threw a few extra blankets on the bed (61 per cent), many chose to wear warm socks (37 per cent), flannel pyjamas (29 per cent) and even a beanie (8 per cent) in winter.

Meanwhile, 11 per cent of respondents slept with their head under a duvet to stay warm. This was a particularly popular heating method among tenants.

Then there were the more adventurous winter-warming ploys such as one woman "trying to persuade my husband to go to bed early", and another person who slept naked all year round because their waterbed was constantly warm.

Other findings from the survey included:
  • Mould is prevalent in 59 per cent of homes and condensation in 31 per cent.
  • A quarter had curtains, carpets, clothes and other property damage from mould, dampness and condensation.
  • Thirty-seven per cent were concerned about heavy metals in water, followed by sediment (28 per cent) and chlorine (25 per cent).
  • Sixty-one per cent will throw another blanket on the bed if they are cold at night, rather than turn on a heating source.
  • Almost two-thirds of people would be happy to have their home undergo a housing warrant of fitness.
*Buzz Channel surveyed 505 people aged between 24 and 75 years. The margin of error on this sample is +/- 4.4.3 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.

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