What is the fixation with living in one room during the winter months when the temperature dial heads South?
Why Kiwis settle for just ‘spot-heating’ was published on Stuff.com in early July 2017. The article provided a balanced review of central heating and it benefits. It clearly highlighted the fact that Kiwis hunker down, preferring to heat one room, during the winter months. Why? Is it because heating is simply too expensive? Have Kiwi’s never really experienced central heating? Is it just a simple case of education so Kiwis “get it”. Surely its time that Kiwis woke up to central heating.
Why Kiwis settle for just ‘spot-heating’ (Stuff.com/Homed July 2017)
A warm home is vital for your comfort and health. In fact, ‘adequate shelter’ is one of our most basic physiological needs – in other words, it right up there with air, water and food.
But how warm is warm enough?
The World Health Organisation’s recommended minimum indoor temperature is 18°C in living areas and 16°C in bedrooms. Recommendations for babies and elderly people are even higher.
Many New Zealand homes don’t meet that standard. And we’re not talking about the decrepit dwellings that feature prominently in most media stories. Even relatively new homes, owned by financially stable people, can fall well short of ‘comfortable’ in the winter.
But why? And what’s the best way to change that? Any northern hemisphere immigrant, or Kiwi returning home from an OE in Europe or the States will probably answer: central heating.
Over two-thirds of the world uses warm-water central heating to keep comfortable during the colder months. But every winter we’re hearing the same stories about how unhealthy cold and damp persists in most Kiwi homes.
According to Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand (EHINZ): “Cold, damp and mouldy homes impact on our health and our children’s health. Cold homes have been linked to cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness. Indoor dampness and mould have been linked to: asthma, respiratory infections and rheumatic fever.”
Here in New Zealand, people use electricity, gas or wood to heat their homes. Still, most of those solutions are ‘spot-heating’ – there’s the heat pump or wood-burner in the living area, and maybe an oil heater in the bedroom, but the hallway and the bathrooms are like Siberia.