Guide2.co.nz has reported (29/09/2015) on what to look for when buying a healthy home.
Christian Hoerning, senior advisor at EECA ENERGYWISE, says that it is worth putting in some thought to how houses will perform in the depths of winter even when looking to buy during the warm months. He says that a house that is hard to heat can make you miserable and sick.
Ideally a house should get maximum winter sun by facing north. Be aware of trees or buildings that may block the sunshine during the winter months.
The house should have adequate underfloor and ceiling insulation. If you look into the roof space, the ceiling insulation should be more than 12 cm thick. If not, you should consider replacing or topping it up. Look into the subfloor space if you can to check for underfloor insulation. Check to see if it is ripped or loose and the coverage area. Also look out for damp, wet and rodent or bird damaged insulation.
If the house does not have insulation, budget around $4000 to install it for a 100 sq meter house. Check out if you qualify for free insulation under the Government's Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes Programme. Some councils allow you to add the cost of home insulation to the rates.
If the roof or ceiling space is not accessible it will add substantial costs to installation.
Tenants are more likely to stay long term in homes that are dry, warm and easy to heat so consider insulation if you are buying property as an investment.
A house will be very unhealthy if it is damp. It is worth getting the house inspected by a registered building surveyor to check for hidden moisture content.
Look out for energy efficient heating that is adequate for the area that you are heating. Clean effective forms of heating include modern wood or wood pellet burners, flued gas heaters and some heat pumps.