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Looking for a new rental?

 

This is a guide for tenants who are looking for a warm and dry rental.

Simply complete this form as you go around a property.  When you get to the end, it will be emailed to the address provided.

 

Keeping warm in a rental

The Healthy Homes Standards (HHS) go a long way to ensure rentals are warm, dry and healthy to live in. However, there is much more to look at if you are in the market for a rental that is easy to heat.  Fill in this checklist while looking at a rental. It will help you to understand what you need, to have a warm place that can be heated cost-effectively, so you can truly 

 

Love Your Home!

 

Your Email Address (to receive the form to) *
Address of Prospective Rental *
North facing windows for the lounge

Large north facing windows are beneficial as they will provide natural warmth from the sun, saving on heating bills.  However, large windows on the south side are a substantial source of heat loss even when they are double glazed.  Trees shading the house may prevent you taking advantage of the sun’s free heat.

North facing windows for the lounge
Notes
Underfloor fully insulated

Underfloor insulation and a ground moisture barrier are required under the Heathy Homes Standards for rentals.  However, some older homes don't have enough space under the house to retrofit insulation to modern standards and install a ground moisture barrier. They are likely to have an exemption for these requirements under the Healthy Homes Standards.  A house without adequate underfloor insulation and vapour barrier can be more damp and colder than other houses.  Homes situated on hillsides may be only partially insulated due to insufficient crawl space.

Underfloor fully insulated
Notes
Ceiling fully insulated

Ceiling insulation is required under the Healthy Homes Standards.  Houses with flat roofs, skillion roofs (including cathedral ceilings) and low pitch roofs have no or insufficient crawl space and may not be fitted with ceiling insulation.  They are likely to have an exemption for this requirement under the Healthy Homes Standards.  Ceiling insulation became mandatory in 1977 and if no insulation was installed during the build, it is unlikely that there is ceiling insulation.  As most of the heat is generally lost through the ceiling, this means it can be a lot harder to heat such a house.

Ceiling fully insulated
Notes
No downlights in living areas

‘Old style’ downlights cannot be insulated over and will have sizeable gaps left around them.  If you can see the bulb or a gap in the ceiling, they are usually 'old style' downlights. A ceiling with lots of these downlights may be insulated to the Healthy Homes Standards. However, the insulation will have lots of gaps (much like Swiss cheese) due to the required clearances around these lights. The insulation won't be as effective as a fully insulated ceiling with IC-rated LED downlights.  ‘Old style’ downlights are often open to the ceiling, inviting draughts.  LED downlights are closed and most (i.e  the IC-rated ones) can be insulated over.

No downlights in living areas
Notes
Wall insulation installed

Under the Building Code, wall insulation has been a requirement for new homes since 1977. However, as wall insulation is not easy to retrofit, it has not been incorporated into the Healthy Homes Standards for rental properties.  Houses built before 1977, are unlikely to have wall insulation, unless it has been retrofitted during renovations or earthquake repairs.

Wall insulation installed
Notes
Good curtains

Curtains are not just there for decoration and privacy.  Good curtains and tracks are important to shut out the cold and keep in the warmth.  They are just as important in homes with double glazing as they are for singled glazed windows.  The ideal curtains are double layered, have no loops at the top and close well in the middle. They should generously cover the sides and the window sill, and sit on an enclosed track (this is a track without brackets). Our Curtain Bank may be able to help with free, recycled curtains if the curtains in the rental are ineffective.

Good curtains
Notes
Double glazing

Not all double glazing is created equal.  Many aluminium framed double glazed windows are not thermally broken.  Thermally broken means there is an insulation barrier, within the frame. Without this barrier,  aluminium frames will feel cold to touch and will lose heat. The air in the room that touches the cold frame will cool and drop (hot air rises, cold air drops), causing uncomfortable downdraughts. If the humidity in the house is relatively high, you will get condensation on these cold frames too.

Double glazing
Notes
Bathroom heater

A bathroom extractor fan is required under the Healthy Homes Standards.  However, it can only remove water vapour. It cannot remove water that has condensated on cold walls and a cold ceiling. If there is a bathroom heater, you can preheat the bathroom before showering or bathing.  Preheating means the air is warmer and can hold more water vapour so less will condensate on walls and ceiling.  This allows the extractor fan to properly do its job. Wet walls and ceilings can grow mould which can be a health issue.

Bathroom heater
Notes
Insulated hot water cylinder

Heating hot water is a large part of most households' power bills.  A cylinder that is insulated with a wrap or a modern cylinder with a high level of internal insulation will save you power.  Cylinders with a high level of internal insulation are labelled A-grade and will have a blue A displayed on the cylinder.

Insulated hot water cylinder
Notes
Low flow shower head

A low flow shower head mixes air with the water of your shower (aerates the water), making it feel like having a good flow while using less water.  With hot water requiring a large amount of power in most households,  a low flow shower head can save a substantial amount of power.  Low flow shower heads are relatively inexpensive.  If the shower head in the rental can be easily swapped for another one, you could buy and use your own for the time you are staying there (with permission of the landlord).

Low flow shower head
Notes
Ability to dry washing outside or a dryer vented to the outside

Drying washing inside (e.g. on an airer) or in a dryer that cannot be vented to the outside, can make the house very damp.  Moisture exacerbates cold-related illnesses.  As damp homes are a lot harder to heat, drying washing inside will also increase your heating bill.  Moisture from the washing can also contribute to condensation and mould problems.  Having the ability to dry washing outside, in the sun, or the presence of a vent so your dryer can be vented outside, will keep the house much drier.

Ability to dry washing outside or a dryer vented to the outside
Notes
Ventilation system

Many whole house ventilation systems get their ‘warm, dry’ air from the ceiling cavity.  However, this air is rarely ever warm when you want it (at night and/or in winter). This will most likely cool down the house considerably. If the ventilation system has a pre-heater, this will be a very inefficient way to heat the house.  These kind of ventilation systems (positive pressure systems) are more like permanently having a window open.

 

A whole house ventilation system which is vented to the outside and has a heat exchanger where the warmth of the outgoing air is transferred to the incoming air, will be beneficial to the occupiers (balanced pressure system).  They are generally only found in high-end new homes.

Ventilation system
Notes
Energy efficient appliances

The more stars an appliance (e.g. dishwasher, oven) has, the more you will save on power.  If there is no star rating available look the model up online.  Ovens are especially power-hungry appliances.  Check seals are working well: if you can slide a piece of paper between the closed door and the appliance body, the seal or hinge is not working properly and should be replaced.

Energy efficient appliances
Notes
General Observations / Notes
*
 

Community Energy Action

0800 GET WARM

(0800 438 9276)

+64 3 374 7222

info@cea.co.nz

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