Help for families to heat cold homes
No more sleeping bags in the lounge, no more socks for the midnight trip to the bathroom.
Winter at Erin Buchan and Andrew Burrow’s house will be much more comfortable when the rental property gets floor and ceiling insulation later this month.
The young family is one of more than 150 to benefit from the Warmer Healthier Homes programme in Marlborough in the past two years.
Stay-at home mum Erin says she is most excited about having lower power bills, after trying to heat her old, cold house.
‘‘Our power bills have been like $500, but we have the heat pump in the lounge, the fan heater, and the panel heater in the hallway running all the time.
‘‘We get the condensation on the walls and the windows ... you get mould on the windowsills, so you have to wipe them down every morning.’’
Erin, Andrew and their sons, Matthew, 3, and Jack, 1, all have asthma, which strikes when it is particularly cold, Erin says.
They are especially grateful to their landlord, who must pay half of the cost of insulation.
‘‘He’s a great guy. We’re just trying to keep our family warm, and he’s even bought us new curtains and things like that,’’ Erin says.
More than 600 homes have been insulated through the programme in the top of the South.
To be eligible for the Warmer Healthier Homes programme, families need a Community Services Card or Super Gold Card, and must be living in a home built before 2000.
Tenants can ask Absolute Energy or their GP about the programme, while homeowners need to be referred by Nelson Marlborough Health, primary care health professionals, or nongovernmental organisations that employ a health worker.
The programme is partly funded by the Marlborough District Council, Nelson Marlbor- ough Health, the Rata Foundation, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.
Landlords are asked to pay half of the cost, while homeowners are asked to pay 20 per cent.
Funding for the programme is limited, so referrals are prioritised for families like Erin’s with children under 5-years-old, or people with respiratory and other chronic conditions that are worsened by cold and damp living conditions.
Absolute Energy assesses homes and installs the insulation, and provides advice to families on how to reduce heat loss and conserving power in order to keep the power bills down.
Andrew Burrow with son Matthew, 3, have been using hot water bottles and sleeping bags to keep warm.