FPB Home Assessment Tool

Health & Safety

Indoor Air Quality

No Sometimes Yes

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As well as extracting moist, stale air, circulating an adequate amount of fresh, dry air through your home on a daily basis is important for your and your home's health. Newer homes particularly are very tightly sealed. If you are often out during the day and are unable to open your home to fresh air regularly, consider installing a mechanical ventilation system.
Most New Zealand homes suffer from moisture build up that can easily be prevented and controlled. Simple mechanical extraction takes moist, foul air efficiently and quietly from your home. It is important to extract hot steamy air before it becomes condensation to avoid peeling paint, damage to furniture and window treatments and mould on walls, windows and ceilings. Damp conditions and mould in your home are dangerous and can cause serious health problems. Install a rangehood in your kitchen and extractor fan in your bathroom. Make sure they vent outside of your home, not into wall or ceiling spaces. If you already have a rangehood and extractor fans and still have problems with condensation, they are not sized correctly for your needs. Consider upgrading to a suitable model.
Most New Zealand homes suffer from moisture build up that can easily be prevented and controlled. Simple mechanical extraction takes moist, foul air efficiently and quietly from your home. It is important to extract hot steamy air before it becomes condensation to avoid peeling paint, damage to furniture and window treatments and mould on walls, windows and ceilings. Damp conditions and mould in your home are dangerous and can cause serious health problems. Install a rangehood in your kitchen and extractor fan in your bathroom. Make sure they vent outside of your home, not into wall or ceiling spaces. If you already have a rangehood and extractor fans and still have problems with condensation, they are not sized correctly for your needs. Consider upgrading to a suitable model.

Mechanical (filtered, fan driven air in, stale air extracted) Passive (tiny holes in your window joinery) None

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New Zealand has one of the highest rates of respiratory illnesses in the world. In order to create a healthy environment for our families it is vital to ensure we have adequate ventilation in our homes. It is recommended that stale air is replaced by fresh air in your home 16-20 times per day. With older homes this happens naturally. Newer homes are constructed in a much more air-tight fashion, meaning you need to add some form of ventilation to your home. If you have a mechanical system, remember to change your filters every 12 months.
A household of 4 produces around 10 to 12 litres of water per day through breathing, cooking & showering! Too much moisture leads to condensation and the growth of mould, mildew and dust mites that can cause or aggravate allergic reactions and lung problems such as asthma. Ventilation systems vary from passive vents to forced air to heat exchange ventilation systems. While any ventilation is an improvement on none, the best systems will also reduce your heating bill by drying out your home and using heat from the stale, exhaust air to warm filtered, fresh air drawn from outside.
A household of 4 produces around 10 to 12 litres of water per day through breathing, cooking & showering! Too much moisture leads to condensation and the growth of mould, mildew and dust mites that can cause or aggravate allergic reactions and lung problems such as asthma. Ventilation systems vary from passive vents to forced air to heat exchange ventilation systems. While any ventilation is an improvement on none, the best systems will also reduce your heating bill by drying out your home and using heat from the stale, exhaust air to warm filtered, fresh air drawn from outside.

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Take off your shoes! A lot of dust and dirt is tracked into our homes on the soles of our shoes. Believe it or not, just removing our shoes at the front door cuts down on microscopic dust in the air by up to 50%.
Unlike conventional vacuums that can recirculate dust, a central vacuum system removes 100% of contacted dust, mites, pollen, animal dander and other allergens, and is superior to a conventional vacuum in providing relief from allergy symptoms.

Yes No N/A - I don't have carpet in my home

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For your health and to extend the life of your carpet, you need to maintain it. All carpets should be professionally cleaned every 6 - 12 months.
Dust mites, which live on minute flakes of dead human skin and other organic material in the home, mould and bacteria are all commonly present in standard carpet. These are major causes of asthma and allergic reactions. Laboratory tests show that treated carpet provides effective control of house dust mites as well as the growth of bacteria, mould, mildew, and fungi – important triggers for allergic and asthmatic responses, particularly in children.

Yes No N/A - I'm not renovating or decorating

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Many common household products can worsen the quality of indoor air. Make sure that you read labels, use as directed and select healthy products for your home. Generally speaking, the shorter and less complicated the list of ingredients, the better.
VOC's are the main cause of paint odours and also contribute to air pollution, both indoors and in the atmosphere. Paints with as little as 1g of VOC content per litre are available for interiors, meaning it is virtually odour free, so you can occupy freshly painted areas without delay. It is also less likely to have an impact on those who are sensitive to chemicals such as the elderly, infirm or infants.

Safety

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If you have rugs and mats on a tile or wooden floor, stick them down with Velcro or double sided tape. This will reduce the risk of slips.
Did you know that more New Zealanders are injured in their own homes than on the road, the sports field or in the workplace? In fact, one of us is injured in the home every 48 seconds – often from easily preventable accidents. Steps you can take are as simple specifying non-slip tiles when renovating or getting a non-slip treatment for existing tiles, using non-slip mats in the bath and shower and wiping up any water when you’re finished to wearing non-slip shoes or slippers inside.

Yes No

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Installing sensor lighting for walkways, stairs and entry areas will save up to 50% of the runnng costs and save you from tripping in the dark.
Have your stairs well lit and install a handrail if you don’t already have one. Using contrasting colours when the floor level changes reduces the risk of accident. Interior stairwells should be kept clear of obstacles, such as toys, sports equipment or surplus furniture.

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All fire extinguishers require a basic annual inspection and a 5-yearly pressure test. If you have a wet chemical or foam-type fire extinguisher, a more detailed check should be done every 3 years.
Cooking is the number one fire danger in your home. The top 5 pieces of advice for fire safety when cooking from the New Zealand Fire service are: Never leave cooking unattended. Always watch the pan or pot when cooking with oil or fat. If oil or fat is smoking, turn off the heat. Snuff out a fat fire with a pot lid or oven tray. Never carry it outside. Don't cook when you've been drinking — alcohol and cooking don't mix.

Yes No

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Make a fire escape plan for your family. Find two exits out of every room. Pick a meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect – hold a family fire drill at least twice each year.
Before going to sleep every night, the New Zealand Fire Service recommends doing a quick fire check. Check that kitchen appliances, TVs and so on are switched off at the wall (not just on standby). Put out any candles and empty ashtrays into a metal bin outside. Switch off heaters and make sure clothes are more than a metre from heaters or fireplaces. Close kitchen and living room doors to slow a fire from spreading to bedrooms. Make sure all passageways are clear and the house is secure with keys in the deadbolts for a quick escape. Finally, switch off electric blankets (at the wall) before getting into bed.

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Trim trees or remove shrubbery which might hide a burglar's activity.
Do all you can to improve the security of your home and reduce the risk that you will be targetted for burglary. Install good quality locks - preferably deadlocks - on all entry and exit points in your house and get into the habit of using them at night, when you're out and even if you're at home but in the garden. The New Zealand Police also recommend not leaving a door key hidden outside - burglars know all the places to look.

Yes No N/A - my home is above ground floor level (apartment etc)

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Install sensor lights on access paths or around main external doors. Have an alarm system professionally installed and consider having it monitored by a reputable security company
Burglary victims are often burgled again in the next few months. The main point of entry in over 60% of the burglaries is through an unsecured window. Windows are just as important to lock, as potential entry or exit points, as doors. Install effective security stays or deadbolts on your windows. Lock away any tools or ladders that might be useful aids to a break in.

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Did you know there are Registered MASTERelectricians who are trained in energy efficiency? Specialist electricians can provide advice and assistance on the best and simplest ways to reduce your electricity consumption, saving you money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions too.
While you may be able, as a homeowner, to undertake certain electrical work in your own home, most homeowners do not have the required competence, nor would they feel confident enough to put their family and property in danger. The best way to ensure you get a quality electrical contractor is to use a MASTERelectrician.

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