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City of Sails or City of Shivers?

It’s a common human trait to ignore uncomfortable facts. For New Zealanders – and Aucklanders in particular – this foible takes the form of acting as though we enjoy year-round subtropical weather.

It’s not uncommon to see someone walking down the street on a cold winter’s day in their shirtsleeves, with no warm jacket in sight. The homeowner’s equivalent of this is ignoring the need for house insulation in Auckland.

Here’s a reality check. While frost is a rarity in northern New Zealand, the average daily maximum in midwinter hovers around seven degrees Celsius. At night, it can drop into negative territory.

Still think it’s unnecessary to consider home insulation in Auckland? It gets worse.

Auckland has more rainy days than many British cities that would be considered very wet indeed. In midwinter, it rains on average for 21 days out of 30 in Auckland, compared to 15 days in London and 18 in Birmingham. This is great for our gardens but not such good news if you’re looking to flourish indoors.

Persistent moisture makes houses much harder to heat and stimulates the growth of toxic moulds and spores. That should send a shiver down any Aucklander’s spine. The vast majority of houses in the Auckland region are constructed of timber framing with weatherboards or panels to keep out the rain. Previous generations relied on a fireplace to provide heat but the days of roaring fires are pretty much gone. What we’re left with is a wooden structure that’s pleasantly cool in the summer but unpleasantly cool and damp in the winter.

Key facts about insulation in Auckland

The good news is that Auckland house insulation can be easily upgraded. Ceiling spaces can be overlaid with a modern blanket of highly efficient insulation. Underfloor insulation can be installed in the space below the floorboards. Simply implementing these measures will save around 50% of the heat that’s currently being lost from the house.

That leaves the interior dampness caused by Auckland’s wet winter climate. Installing a modern ventilation system will circulate dry, warm air from the roof space into the rooms below. This creates a much healthier environment indoors and prevents the growth of nasty moulds. A dry house is much easier to heat, too. In addition to Energywise funding worth up to $1,300 from the government, Auckland ratepayers can obtain up to $5,000 financial assistance from their local Council. This sweetener could make house insulation a very attractive package for Aucklanders.

Get a financial sweetener from the Council

Sorting out house insulation in Auckland is the common-sense thing to do. Not only does the climate demand it, but the authorities will even give you money to get the job done. Make this winter the last one where you shiver indoors in the City of Sails.

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