‘Coldest I’ve ever been’: What these migrants find hardest about living in Australia

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun24,2024
A recent temperature dip has Australians — and migrants living here — taking to social media to ask an important question: why are our houses so cold?
Canadian content creators living in Australia like Alexandra Tuohey and writer Iona — who blogs under the name Iona on the Coast — are among those to recently highlight Australia’s chilly interiors.

“People say to me, ‘You’re Canadian so you shouldn’t be able to feel the cold,'” Touhey says in a TikTok video.

“The coldest I have ever been is living in a Melbourne sharehouse in the middle of July, and lying in my own bed trying to sleep and being able to see my own breath, while only being able to warm myself with a tiny space heater and an electric blanket.”
Sydney and Melbourne experienced their chilliest morning of the year on Wednesday, with lows of 6.5C and 1.4C respectively.

Days earlier, Central Queensland had its iciest night on record at 5.6C, with residents waking up to unseasonable frost covering the ground.

Since then, multiple videos have gone viral on social media of people complaining that Australian houses are ill-equipped for the weather.

Why are Australian homes so cold?

Most homes in Australia are poorly insulated with inefficient heaters that can be expensive to run, says RMIT senior lecturer Nicola Willand.

“If you don’t have that, heat just dissipates out, so even though you may be heating (the room), you don’t really feel the room warming up,” she said.

That was especially so for homes built before the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme was introduced in 2004, she said.

While new homes are required to reach an energy rating of seven out of 10, such properties are often too large to keep warm.

Cold homes can have serious health impacts

The chill is not only uncomfortable, . Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases spread more easily in cold conditions, as does mould.
The freezing weather also has implications for mental health and lifestyle.

“People don’t want to invite friends over for dinner, for example, because it’s cold,” Willand said.

“Children don’t want to sit in their own bedrooms, where it would be quiet to do the homework.

“They come into the kitchen, which is often the warmest room … and then they can’t concentrate.”

Some Australians are moving to warmer locales

To escape the bone-chilling temperatures experienced in some homes, one in five Australians is looking north to warmer climates to earn a brief reprieve from the cold.
NSW residents are most likely to head to Queensland during the colder months, with 21 per cent indicating a Sunshine State holiday this winter, followed by 17 per cent of Victorians, according to Tourism and Events Queensland research.

Tropical north Queensland, the Whitsundays, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are among the destinations interstate travellers intend to visit.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said it was not just because the temperatures were milder during winter in the north — many experiences such as whale watching were exclusive to winter.
A tropical holiday might not fit into the budget for some Australians this year so heating homes will fall to other solutions.

A lot of people would burn wood for heating as cost of living pressures bit but that polluted the air, Willand said.

Tips to treat a cold home

Fortunately, there are cost-effective solutions.
Willand said draught-proofing — plugging the gaps between doors and windows and the surrounding walls — was the easiest way to better insulate your home.
“If you see little gaps around the windows — you can see the sky — that means there are holes where the warmth just flows out very quickly,” she said.
Draught-proofing materials such as tape or panelling can be found in most hardware stores and applied without professional experience.
Ceiling insulation also helps prevent heat from rising.

Heavy curtains, particularly ones that reach the ceiling, will also stop heat from exiting through windows.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *