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It’s that time of year. Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner. On March 8th, it will be time to spring your clocks forward an hour.

 

The two times per year we have to remember to adjust our clocks can also be good reminders that we must stay sharp on key safety issues around the home. Changing the batteries on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is a crucial step toward ensuring the safety of you, your family and other home residents. The batteries in smoke detectors should be changed every six months, which is why the beginning and end of daylight savings time are perfect opportunities to set reminders to do so. According some studies, only three out of four homes reported changing the batteries in their smoke alarms in the last six months. We highly encourage you to remember to do so.

 

Furthermore, and perhaps more often forgotten than the battery changes, it’s extremely important to remember that sensors in carbon monoxide detectors don’t typically last as long as smoke detectors. The sensors in carbon monoxide detectors are only designed to last 2-3 years on average. Maintaining working carbon monoxide detectors is something extremely important, yet something not all homeowners do. While about 95 percent of U.S. homes report having at least one working smoke alarm, only 42 percent report having a working CO alarm based on 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. As a reminder, it’s suggested that carbon monoxide detectors (like smoke alarms) should be placed on every floor in the home and outside all sleeping areas.

 

If it's been more than 3 years since you replaced your carbon monoxide detector, it’s time for a change. You can contact Bel Red today and ask about our low-level CO detectors. These models provide the best protection available for you and your loved ones, along with a long-lasting 5-year sensor.

 

Please keep your home safe for you and your loved ones.  Once you take the necessary steps to check the batteries and functionality of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, go enjoy that extra hour of daylight!

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Have you seen ads in your area for deeply discounted air duct cleaning services? You may have seen them in the local paper or even in your mailbox? Perhaps they have even had an extra incentive for senior citizens? You’re not alone if you’ve seen these types of “too good to be true” ads. As it turns out, more often than not they are exactly that -- too good to be true.

 

These types of scams have been popping up all over the country and they don’t seem to be slowing down. The Better Business Bureau even has a name for them—the “bait and switch” scam. According to the BBB, there are now more than a dozen companies who have been connected with scams like these.

 

Scamming companies have been seeking out unsuspecting consumer prey, entering their homes through these “amazing” duct cleaning deals, and trying to persuade them into additional maintenance and charges that are completely unnecessary. Many bring up potentially harmful threats, such as mold issues that don’t exist, just to get more money out of the consumer. Those who have contracted these companies have been scammed into paying hundreds and in some cases even thousands of dollars to fix issues that don’t exist.

 

In recent years, the Better Business Bureau has received hundreds of complaints, all with similar stories of the customer being duped and spending way too much money for services, even though they thought they were getting a great deal from the start.

 

The bait and switch complaints have become so rampant, in fact, that NBC’s Dateline decided to do a story on the issue. They set up cameras and audio equipment in the homes of elderly individuals who had received similar ads. What followed, as you can expect, fell exactly in line with the repeated issues logged in the BBB complaints. These customers were getting scammed—plain and simple. You can check out the full episode of Dateline with the story at this link.

 

These stories put a huge exclamation point beside the statement that it is hugely important as a homeowner to understand who you are contracting with when it comes to any home improvement project, especially involving issues of safety and large expense items.

At Bel Red, we take these matters extremely serious and treat our customers with the highest levels of respect. We’re always honest and make recommendations not based on getting money from consumers, but based on what’s accurate and in their best interest.

Staying warm is imperative during these colder winter months. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your home. Furnaces are perhaps the most popular way homeowners keep their homes heated and comfortable. While there are many different sizes, shapes, models and types of furnaces, all of them have to be cleaned and maintained in order to maximize their efficiency and overall performance.

 

We’ve put together some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your residential furnace in this blog series. Below, enjoy the final part in this blog series of maintenance tips and items to keep in mind:

 

1. All furnaces are not created equally when it comes to lubrication. Some furnace models do not require regular lubrication. For some models, lubrication is a key aspect of furnace maintenance. However, many models today are permanently lubricated and sealed, not requiring any type of lubrication maintenance. It is extremely important to know what type of model you own, because if it is one that requires lubrication, ignoring this step could be extremely harmful to the furnace’s long-term performance and overall efficiency.

 

2. Shut off the power supply to the furnace before doing any maintenance or cleaning. Many people think a quick cleaning, belt check or other maintenance check without shutting down the power to the furnace. This is a big safety mistake. When doing anything around your furnace (or any electrical appliance or system, for that matter), you should shut off its supply. At your main electrical panel, switch off the appropriate circuit breaker or remove the fuse that supplies power to the furnace. If you’re not sure which circuit leads to the furnace and it isn’t clearly marked on the board, be safe and shut off the power supply to the entire house. Flashlights are your friends during furnace maintenance and cleaning.

 

3. Don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements. Furnace maintenance and cleaning packages are widely available through service providers, suppliers and contractors. It might be in your best interest to take them up on those offers. Letting professional clean and inspect your heating and cooling system on a regular basis will not only ensure you and your loved ones are comfortable, it can lead to a long, healthy and efficient life for your furnace. You may be able to avoid those dreaded larger replacement or repair bills if things aren’t taken care of properly on your own. Don’t be left out in the cold.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series on furnace maintenance and cleaning tips and reminders. Again, you can always contact Bel Red to speak in more detail about getting some help with these (and many other) furnace inspection and maintenance steps.

Staying warm is imperative during these colder winter months. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your home. Furnaces are perhaps the most popular way homeowners keep their homes heated and comfortable. While there are many different sizes, shapes, models and types of furnaces, all of them have to be cleaned and maintained in order to maximize their efficiency and overall performance.

 

We’ve put together some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your residential furnace in this blog series. Below, you’ll find part 2 in this series of maintenance tips and items to keep in mind:

 

1.   Keeping your furnace clean is the best step to maintaining the longevity and performance of your furnace. There’s no better way to maximize the efficiency of your furnace and overall heating system than to keep it clean. When you hire a professional for regular service, cleaning the unit will certainly be included in that process, as they know how important it is. While there are other steps to ensuring your furnace is in proper working order, such as checking or adjusting the belt or lubricating the furnace, cleaning should be tops on the inspection checklist. 

 

2.    Keep a calendar alert or mark for changing your furnace filter. Keeping in the realm of a clean furnace and heating system in your home, changing the filter is extremely important to making sure your furnace is not working harder than it has to be. Different types of filters have different time periods for which they can be used, so make sure you know the exact recommended time your unit can go before having a fresh filter. Most standard filters should be replaced every 1 to 2 months. While this is a very easy fix and replacement, it’s often on that is overlooked by homeowners, or they simply forget about it. Setting an alarm on your phone is a great way to make sure you never miss a filter replacement. Remember, the arrows on the replacement filters should face the direction of the airflow into the duct system.

 

3.    Check your furnace belts. Worn or frayed belts should be red flags during furnace maintenance and should both be replaced. Again, if you have a professional doing the service check, he or she will recommend replacement. A broken belt can lead to a quick, and major, problem—one that could lead to the need for an expensive repair call.

 

We’ll have one more post in this series with a few more furnace maintenance tips and reminders coming to the blog shortly. Again, you can always contact Bel Red to speak in more detail about getting some help with these (and many other) furnace inspection and maintenance steps.

Staying warm is imperative during these colder winter months. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your home. Furnaces are perhaps the most popular way homeowners keep their homes heated and comfortable. While there are many different sizes, shapes, models and types of furnaces, all of them have to be cleaned and maintained in order to maximize their efficiency and overall performance.

 

We’ve put together some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your residential furnace in this blog series. Below, you’ll find the first few tips:

 

1.   If you notice your furnace turning on and off very regularly, the thermostat may be to blame. Faulty thermostats sending “mixed messages” to furnaces can cause big problems when it comes to the efficiency of your furnace. It can also cause major issues for your home’s comfort when it is cold. If your thermostat is not functioning properly, it could be causing your furnace to kick on and off far too regularly, leading to wasted energy and temperature fluctuation in your home. If you notice your furnace is kicking on and off in short, irregular intervals, you may have a problem with the thermostat. Fixing or replacing may be a cost effective fix for your heating woes.

 

2.     Your furnace unit should be serviced once per year. Despite being one of the most used home systems and appliances during much of the year, furnaces are often ignored when it comes to inspections and maintenance. Even changing the filter seems like it’s an ignored task on a regular basis with far too many homeowners. Perhaps it is because furnaces are usually hidden in the basement and forgotten about for many. Unfortunately, furnace service and maintenance are crucial to ensuring efficiency and longevity for your heating system. Calling a professional in to have your furnace serviced once per year may cost a small amount of money, but that amount doesn’t even come close to the cost of unfortunate repairs or replacements necessary to fix problems with furnaces that have been left unmaintained and ignored for too long.

 

3.    Think about furnace service at an unpopular time. Speaking of furnace service and maintenance… most people understandably inspect and service their furnaces in the fall or early winter leading up to colder days. While this makes sense in terms of preparation, it’s not necessary that furnace service occurs during this time. Thinking about calling in a professional during the spring months, just after winter, is fine as well. Many contractors and professionals run specials and manufacturers offer rebates and incentives during this furnace “offseason,” potentially saving you some money when you make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape.

 

Stay tuned for more furnace maintenance tips and reminders coming to the blog shortly. You can always contact Bel Red to speak in more detail about getting some help with these (and many more) furnace inspection and maintenance steps.