Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kiwi houses are "bl**dy cold"!

Well I guess the title sums up this post really. It has been really cold here the last few days, not cold by British standards but pretty cold when you are not expecting it to be. The sun is out and shinning brightly but the wind is biting cold, blowing antarctic air and its absolutely freezing. The weird thing is we haven't had any frosts but our house at night has been really chilly (It was 8C in our lounge this morning!). People told me that houses in New Zealand were like this but I guess I didn't really believe it would get this cold.

I obviously grow up with nice insulated, double glazed and centrally heated houses and I think this must of made me a bit soft by Kiwi standards. But really I didn't expect to feel the need to put a hat on at night and several layers of clothing on my kids before they go to bed.

I have been moaning about this a fair bit and my husbands kind response is "what do you expect we are living in what is basically a wooden shack". And I suppose he is right. Its a lovely new house with all the modern luxuries and there are no obvious drafts. However it only has single pane glazing and virtually no insulation in the walls of the house. So I imagine that most of the heat is just lost through the walls.

Central heating is unheard of in New Zealand. Some lucky people might have wood burning stoves or fires but most don't have any form of heating other than the electric fires and storage heaters which you can find in all the shops at this time of year. We have a DVS system in our house which is not a heating system but a way of keeping the house dry by making sure the air circulates and the moisture is removed. It does have a heating element which you can switch on and this slightly heats the air coming into the house. We used this for the past month but will not be using it this month as our electricity bill was enormous.

A friend I have met recently has just had a heat pump installed in her house. This sounds like a good idea as its theoretically fairly economical. It works by extracting the heat from the air outside the house (its the same principal as a fridge extracting the cold air) and then circulates it in the house. Apparently it works really well. So when we get our own house we will be buying one of those.

Until then we have invested in slippers from the Warehouse shop. This was very popular with the girls. I am keeping an eye out for thermal underwear and woolly hats!

This is a photo for my Nan and Grandad - to say thank you for the colouring books. As you can see the girls made good use of them.


  1. LOL, this post totally brings me back to my first two winters in NZ. We were living in Johnsonville, and our house had this huge lounge that was impossible to keep warm with a gas fire. In NZ you just heat one room, and we couldn't even do that. And you definitely need a DVS or dehumidifier. Polyprops? Are the most wonderful things EVER.

  2. Boy what a softy, 8-10 degrees is really warm, but I am glad we are coming over in the Summer.P.S. What the hell are 'polyprops'