More than 200 households in Tauranga and the Western Bay have used government grants to make their homes warmer, healthier and cheaper to heat.

Warmer Kiwi Homes grants cover two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation for lower-income homeowners in some areas, and $2500 grants for efficient heaters were also available.

According to data from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which administers the grants programme, 156 households in Tauranga and 64 in the Western Bay were given grants in the past financial year.

EECA's Warmer Kiwi Homes manager Eddie Thompson said other homeowners should take advantage of this funding to make their homes "warmer, drier and healthier".

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"Too many Kiwi homes are cold and damp, leading to preventable diseases such as rheumatic fever and asthma.

"Well-installed insulation and efficient heaters make a home warmer, drier and healthier, which means fewer visits to the doctor or hospital, and more comfortable homes."

A well-insulated home was also cheaper to heat, Thompson said.

The grants were available to those with a Community Services Card or people who live in an identified lower-income area, he said.

Tauranga Community Housing Trust acting manager John Gibson said the trust promoted these subsidies to clients through its BOP Healthy Homes programme.

"We refer families who are eligible to approved providers of insulation and heating.

"Where applicable we support the installation and access to appropriate other subsidies attached to the programme, which lowers the cost even further for low-income families.

Gibson said those who had accessed these subsidies had definitely benefited from having warmer homes.

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Age Concern Tauranga's general manager Tanya Smith said the organisation had been promoting the scheme to members in a recent newsletter.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for people to help themselves to make their homes warmer and drier, and more comfortable to live in, and less expensive to heat."

Warmer Kiwi Homes grants in the Bay of Plenty region

(in the 12 months to June 30, 2019)
• 156 households in Tauranga City

• 64 in the Western Bay of Plenty District

• 616 grants paid out in the Bay of Plenty region totalling $1,110,838
Source: EECA

Other top energy-wise warmer homes tips

• Draw curtains at dusk to keep the day's heat in

• DIY window insulation kits from hardware stores and online shops cost a fraction of the price of double-glazing

• If you own a dehumidifier run it when heating a room to warm the room up faster

• If you run a heat pump, clean the filters regularly. Heat pumps clogged with dirt and dust don't run efficiently

• Stop draughts by making sure windows and doors fit their frames

• Use draught-stopping tape and make or buy door snakes to keep cold draughts from sneaking under doors
Source: EECA