Keeping Your Home Warm & Dry

Keeping Your Home Warm & Dry

Keeping your family healthy over winter means keeping your home warm and dry. Check out all the tips in the videos about how to keep your home warm and dry. Find out what support is available. 

Key tips for a warmer, drier home – 1/9 – Sleeping (English)

Key tips for a warmer, drier home.

Created by New Zealand's Ministry of Health.


Key points about keeping your home warm and dry

  • create as much space to spread out around your home, rather than having to crowd in the same room
  • having more warm rooms and more sleeping spaces available means germs such as strep throat, which can lead to rheumatic fever, are less likely to spread
  • if you choose to follow even just a couple of tips, your home could be cheaper to heat and more comfortable to live in, and you will be helping to protect your family from health problems

How can I make my home warm and dry?

Find out how to keep your home warm and dry:


Kids cough and sneeze out germs when they sleep so create as much space as possible between their heads to make it harder for the germs to spread. 

If they share a room place their beds on opposite sides of the room. If they are in bunk beds it is a good idea to have one child’s head at one end, and the other child’s head at the other end.  

Watch a video on sleeping


Open your curtains during the day to allow the sun to heat your home. But remember to close them just before sunset to keep the cold night air out.  

If you choose to use sheets or lavalava instead of curtains, make sure you have a snug fit around the window frame. You might be able to get curtains free or cheaply from your local curtain bank. 

Watch a video on curtains


Heat pumps are ideal as they heat a large area and don't cost as much as other heaters. Electrical heaters are also good. Avoid portable gas heaters as they are expensive to run, create dampness and give out dangerous fumes. 

A heater with a thermostat will help control the temperature in your home and keep the cost down. 20 degrees is a good temperature when people in your house are up, and turn it down to 16 in the bedrooms at night. 

Watch a video on heating


Condensation, or water that has collected on windows and walls, makes rooms feel damp. It can also cause mould to grow. To help keep your home dry, wipe it off when you see it. A dry home is easier and cheaper to heat. 

Watch a video on condensation


Open your windows for at least 20 minutes on fine days and a few minutes every day in winter. Bringing fresh air into your home is another great way to help keep your home dry. 

Watch a video on windows


To help prevent dampness and mould, open windows in the kitchen when you cook and in the bathroom when you take a shower or bath. This will help let steam out. Make sure you use your kitchen and bathroom extractor fans if you have them. 

Watch a video on steam


To stop cold air getting into your home, stop draughts around doors, windows and fireplaces.  

If you don't have a draught stopper, you can roll up a dry towel and place it there, and that will stop the draught from coming in. You can also buy weather stripping to stop draughts around windows from hardware stores. 

Watch a video on draughts


Mould grows in damp and wet places and can affect your family's health. 

Bleach or white vinegar will remove mould from ceilings and walls. If using bleach: Add 2 teaspoons to 1 litre of water. If using white vinegar: Don't add any water. Never mix bleach and vinegar. 

Watch a video on mould


To help keep the damp out of your home, dry your washing outside, or in the garage or carport. 

Watch a video on washing

You can also watch the videos in Māori and English, Samoan and English, and Tongan and English.

What help can I get to keep my home warm and dry?

There's help available with keeping your home warm and dry.

Check the Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand website for more information about the Healthy Homes Initiative. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of Healthy Homes Initiative providers. You can find out how to contact the one nearest to you.

An example of the kind of help some families may be able to get

Noho Ᾱhuru is a free service for Auckland families. It aims to support families to have warmer, drier and healthier homes. One of the team will visit families in their homes and identify any changes that could make the home warmer and drier. Noho Ᾱhuru are able to provide support and work alongside eligible families until the whole process is completed. Noho Ᾱhuru may be able to help with: insulation, ventilation, WINZ entitlements, emergency grants, budgeting services, curtains, bedding, heating, minor repairs etc. There are other providers in New Zealand. Check if there's one in your area.  

Heating options

Get to know your heating options - Gen Less has advice on choosing heating options for your home.


Find out about getting your home insulated. 

Insulation keeps heat inside your home in winter, and keeps it out in summer. This makes it easier to warm your home.

You may be able to get subsided insulation installed through the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.

To get a grant you will need to:

  • be the homeowner (owner-occupier) of a home built before 2008 AND
  • have a Community Services Card or SuperGold combo card, OR
  • own and be living in a home in an area identified as lower-income OR
  • be referred by the Healthy Homes Initiative

Some local or regional councils offer insulation deals - check with them to see what's available.

Get help from Work and Income

Some families may be able to get help from Work and Income to keep your home warm and healthy, or if your children are unwell.

Find out more about housing

This page last reviewed 12 October 2020.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it