How do you work out if the house you are looking to buy gets any sun? Read on to find out the answer to this very important question when buying a house in NZ.
Does the House Get Sun?
The first house I ever bought had a lovely sunny deck and sun streaming into windows when I bought it in March – but spending the winter looking enviously at houses over the street basking in sunshine while my house did not get one single speck of sun for 3 months (due to an inconvenient hill…) was not fun...
I made it a mission from then on to find out all about the sun when I bought a house and now I am going to give you a few tips and tricks as to how to get a good idea of sun.
What parts of the house and section that get sun come down to three things, compass orientation, time of the year, and obstacles.
This is the most important. To find out your houses compass orientation, find north, you can usually work this out using a street map. All maps, including Google maps are orientated with north straight up. Now work out how your house is orientated around this north point.
The north facing side of your house is going to be the sunniest side; the sun comes around from east to west during the day, spending the most time shining on a houses north facing exterior walls.
The eastern and western house sides will get morning and afternoon sun and the south facing side of your house will get a small amount of early morning or late afternoon sun at the peak of summer – i.e. south facing sides get basically no sun. External walls that are moss coated are often a south facing give away.
Time Of The Year
During the summer the sun is higher in the sky and will penetrate into rooms of your house less. During the winter, the sun is lower in the sky and will often shine further into rooms because of this lower angle.
The sun is also lower in the morning and afternoon at all times of the year, so eastern and western sides of your house will get more penetrating sun. The sun moves from nearly south-east to nearly south-west at the height of summer (taking 15 hours) and moves from nearly north-east to nearly north-west (taking 9 hours) mid winter.
As a rough guide – the sun is half the height in the sky mid winter then it is mid summer and around 12-1pm is when the sun is at it’s highest (zenith) – good time for an open home...
Backing onto a hill, a big tree, a large neighbouring building can all have an effect on your sun. They may not have a major affect all year, but it is usually the effect of these obstacles in the winter (just when you appreciate all the sun you can get) that can really impact your enjoyment of a house.
Sunlight is one of the hardest, if not impossible things to change about a house – so it pays to work sun out when you are looking at buying new house.
Some Final Sunny Tips
The neighbours (on the same side of the street!) may be able to give you some sun insight, or you could drive by the house at different times of the day to check out the sun.
Another good way to get to know sun is to think about the house you live in now, what's its compass orientation? Where does the sun comes in to that house and when? If you can superimpose what you know about sun in your current house, on a new house, you can get a good picture of sun.
The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide
Want to know more about sun, or just want the technical bits so you can use your compass? We expend on this info in the Propertytoolbox website – the ‘Here Comes The Sun Guide’. You can even buy a comprehensive guide to it all to take with you with the Sun Guide eBook. Just after more advice and info? Head to our Home Buyers Guide.