June 25th, 2015


(no subject)

In New Zealand, we have a problem with cold houses.

"But it's a South Pacific island, how can that be?"

Well, exactly. Islands in the South Pacific apparently don't need no stinking insulation. Or so they thought when they started building houses here. What I can't work out is how they didn't very quickly realise that actually, we *do* need insulation. And double glazing. And preferably a form of heating as well.

Many houses in New Zealand are damp and cold. As in, damp enough to grow mould, and cold enough to see your breath rise inside. People have been dying from it.

Our house is one of these houses. It has no double glazing, no built in heating system, large windows, and is only insulated top and bottom. It's made of wood, and for the last week, the temperature inside hasn't gone above single digits.

16 degrees is the temperature below which health experts believe the cold will begin to affect health.

I heat the room I sleep in, but that's it. When I get home from work, unless I leave heaters running all day, the house is the same temperature inside as out, and it's not worth trying to heat it for the time I'm up, so I just turn on the electric blanket and a heater, and jump into bed.

In the morning, the windows are covered in condensation.

People love to tell us our house is cold, which is kind of like telling a fat person they're fat.

WE KNOW, believe me.

The thing is, it's a rental. If it were ours, it'd be double glazed, insulated, and have a heat pump by now. And we'd have cut down that goddamn pine tree that fills the gutters up with needles so they don't work properly too.

Our options are to tolerate it, convince the landlord to do something about it, or move.

By the way, this isn't a cheap rental, it's well over the average for our area. The housing situation in NZ is such that there are loads of people way worse off than us. The government recently refused to support the concept of a 'warrant of fitness' for rental housing, saying it'd push rents up.

News flash: rents are already up, and housing is substandard, and people are dying.

Anyway, we are privileged. There's no two ways around it. We have options that many people here don't. What I think we'll end up doing is:

a) clean the guttering (pointless but necessary for c)
b) get the house thermally imaged to see if it's leaking, which may explain how we've been getting respiratory problems due to mould spores in late summer
c) talk to the landlord about the results.
d) depending on result of c, either await improvements or consider moving.

I don't want to move. I love the location, the view, the layout, the garden - there's a lot to love about our house.

But it's cold, and that's making us sick.

Don't move to NZ unless you can afford to buy your own house and upgrade it to a standard suitable for living in, because chances are you'll have to, and landlords* generally don't.

* We are also landlords. The place we rent out is warm and dry, and we installed double glazing and thermal blinds to make it better. We are the exception rather than the rule, I suspect.