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Spring has finally sprung. The cold days are (well, for the most part) behind us but the heat of summer hasn’t yet arrived. Because of the “in between” nature of temperatures during the Spring season, many don’t think about home efficiency and energy. Spring is often a time when homeowners can get away with both little heat and still almost no air conditioning energy in the home to keep things comfortable.

 

The truth is, Spring is perhaps one of the best times to keep home energy and performance top of mind if you’re a homeowner. It’s a great time for maintenance, improvement projects and efficiency steps to help ensure your home is in tip top shape. One of the ways to take advantage of Spring is to have a home performance assessment. Doing so in this “off season” has a lot of different benefits.

 

First, a break in the cold weather from the winter months often means a break in the schedules of top contractors and home energy experts. Scheduling a comprehensive energy assessment may be easiest and most flexible during this time. Home energy professionals have spent the last few months not only carrying out assessments, but also answering to calls of heating emergencies. Theoretically, these emergencies become few and far between as things start to warm up. However, waiting too long can mean the busy summer season will kick into full swing. For these reasons, Spring may be the perfect time to explore having a home performance assessment done in your house.

 

As we’ve discussed on the blog, full home performance assessments, like those we perform at Bel Red, can include thermographic analysis—the use of infrared technology—to identify areas in your home where leaks occur and where efficiency can be improved. These tests only work when there is still a fairly drastic difference between the indoor temperature and outdoor temperature of your home. Waiting until it is warm outside during the summer means these tests aren’t often possible. During the Spring it still gets cold at night, making Spring mornings perfect for infrared testing. This enables home energy professionals to identify the biggest areas of heat loss in your home, which will also lead to keeping your cool air in during the upcoming summer.

 

Speaking of getting ready for summer, preparation and knowledge are the most powerful tools in battling the trials and tribulations of home efficiency. By determining how your home can be most efficient during an offseason like Spring, you can have some time to make improvements prior to another heavy energy usage season like Summer. Heightening your home’s performance before the first day of hot weather even hits is the best way to ensure you’ll be saving as much energy (and money) as possible.

 

If you’d like to explore the benefits of having your own Spring home performance assessment, contact us today at Bel Red.

Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.

 

The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. We conclude this blog post series with the final few plumbing myths and alternatives below:

 

  •       Myth #8: Users manuals are only for people who don't know what they are doing.User manuals aren't just full of fancy labeled pictures and lists of parts. They actually contain some useful information as well. While they may not be the most entertaining read in the world, they can save you money and time in the long run.

The Better Alternative: Read the manual. Twice. User manuals contain information on warranties and proper usage that will increase the lifespan of the product.

 

  •       Myth #9: Plumbing fixtures are low maintenance. Ignoring plumbing fixtures because they are hard as stone and cold as steel is not only mean, it's detrimental to their performance. Lack of use allows a p-trap to evaporate, allowing dangerous sewer gas to smell up the house. If an electric water heater sits unused, it can create highly explosive hydrogen gas. In this case, you definitely want less bang for your buck.

 

The Better Alternative: Don't let your plumbing fixtures and equipment sit for long periods of time. Use them periodically to ensure health risks aren't created. The time it takes to turn them on every once in awhile could save you a fortune if you prevent your home from exploding.

 

  •       Myth #10: Ever Plumber Knows Exactly What to Do and How to Do It. Just because a plumber holds that title doesn't mean that they are educated in their field and licensed. Every plumber has opportunities to get continued plumbing education, certificates, and special cards to install some products. If a plumber installs something poorly or chooses the wrong fixture, you'll just have to spend more calling another plumber.

 

The Better Alternative: Use state boards and the BBB to ensure the plumber you are hiring is well qualified and well educated m the field.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series with common plumbing myths and find benefit in the corresponding alternatives we’ve outlined. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!

 

 

 

Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.

 

The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. Below, we’ve listed additional myths in the plumbing world with better alternatives:

 

  •       Myth #5: As long as stuff is going down the drain, everything is working correctly. Out of sight, out of mind doesn't really apply to the plumbing world. Even if you can't see it, food like pasta and rice will bloat in pipes causing clogs, blocking the passage for other waste to peacefully pass through the pipes. Without the proper amount of water to rinse it down, waste builds up in the pipes and makes drainage inefficient.

 

The Better Alternative: Prevent blockage and clogging problems by using sinks, toilets, and showers correctly. Make sure to fill basins with water before draining. For showers, place a hair screen in the drain to reduce the human hairballs that rival anything your cat coughs up.

 

  •       Myth #6: Water pressure regulators are always dependable. Water pressure regulators do give important information about water pressure, but don't place all of your trust in the readings they provide.

 

The Better Alternative: Personally check your water pressure! Doing so can save you a ton of hassle and money. How? Well, high water pressure is a major cause of floods, leaks, and that annoying sound your toilet makes as it continuously runs to relieve pressure.

 

  •       Myth #7: Water and Soap on Bathroom Fixtures Makes Them Just as Sparkly and Clean as Your Hands.You wash your hands at the sink and when you turn off the faucet, you leave a bit of soapy water on it. No big deal, right? Wrong! Water and soap cause faucets and fixtures to corrode, making them peel and bubble.

The Better Alternative: Wipe the fixtures off after use. This takes an extra second, but it will help prevent your fixtures from corroding. This will also protect your lifetime warranties on products, which are void when soap has rotted the finish.

 

 

We’ll be following up with one more plumbing myths post to conclude this series shortly. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!

 

 

 

Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.

 

The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. The first few myths are outlined below along with some real alternatives:

 

  •       Myth #1: Putting lemons in your disposal to make it smell Fresh is a good idea.When life gives you lemons, don't put them down your disposal! You might succeed in briefly creating a fresher aroma, but the citric acid from lemons corrodes the metal inside your disposal.

 

The Better Alternative: Use ice to polish your disposal up inside, which works just like a rock tumbler polishing rocks;it's noisy, but it works. Power-wash the scum causing the odor from the dram without miningyour disposal.

 

  •       Myth #2: "In tank" cleaners will keep your toilet sparkling and smelling like roses. Spending money on "in tank" cleaners marketed to make your chores easier and decrease the time you spend scrubbing your toilet is one cost you can cut. These products bleach smelly build-up white, but don't get rid of it. Eventually, the build-up can ruin your toilet.

 

The Better Alternative: Use vinegar down the overflow tube. Vinegar removes smelly build-up that can damage the flow of your toilet for a fraction of the cost.

 

  •       Myth #3: Lifetime warranties on bad products are really useful. When you buy something cheap and it breaks, don't expect to get it replaced with the latest and greatest product on the market. What you buy is what you're stuck with. Plus, you'll be spending time and money to keep reinstalling it.

The Better Alternative: Buy good quality products the first time around and avoid trading in junk for junk.

 

  •       Myth #4: Running water while using the garbage disposal helps the waste travel smoothly.Sure, it seems like the perfect combo: letting the faucet run while using the garbage disposal to help wash waste down the drain. It's something we've all done. And inevitably, we've all had to reach our hands down the drain to unblock whatever leftovers got jammed in the pipes. Following waste with water doesn't help if the blockage has already happened before the water shows up.

 

The Better Alternative: Fill the sink basin with a 4:1 ratio of water to waste so that the waste is separated and flows with ease down the drain.

 

We’ll be following up with more plumbing myths with better alternatives that actually work shortly on the blog. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!

 

Posted by on in Heating

In the previous post on the blog, we discussed some of the potential harms that can come from ignoring regular maintenance on your home’s gas furnace. Ignoring these crucial steps can not only hurt the performance of your furnace, but can also lead to home safety issues for you and your family.

 

Fortunately, Bel Red offers comprehensive furnace tune-ups, allowing you to rest assured your furnace will be in the top shape it can possibly be. What are the benefits of these maintenance checks and tunes? We’re glad you asked. Here’s what you get with one of our furnace maintenance visits:

 

  1.       Inspection of the heat exchanger for dangerous cracks. These can allow harmful Carbon Monoxide emissions to escape into the airstream and build up in your home.
  2.       Removal and cleaning of the burner assembly. Buildup here reduces the efficiency of your furnace making it much more expensive to heat your home.
  3.       Oiling the blower motor bearings. Some newer units have sealed bearings and don't require this step.
  4.       Inspection of the blower wheel for buildup of dirt and dust. A timely diagnosis of this condition can save very expensive repairs of the blower motor as well as improving efficiency and comfort in your home. Although the removal, disassembly, and cleaning of the blower assembly is an additional investment it is money well spent considering the alternative.
  5.       Cleaning or changing of the air filter. This step is typically performed by the homeowner, but it is nice to know you get to skip it this once.
  6.       Vacuuming and cleaning of the internal and external surfaces of the furnace.
  7.       Inspection of the internal electronic components to ensure safe and reliable operation of the equipment.
  8.       Inspection of the indoor coil for air conditioning or heat pump systems. Restrictions in the coil can cause severe performance issues making the system very expensive to operate.
  9.       Cleaning of the outdoor coil.
  10.       Test air temperatures and carbon monoxide levels. Many systems run for years at levels that don't maximize their efficiency and comfort capabilities.
  11.       Test refrigerant pressures. Over time air conditioners and heat pumps can develop leaks that go undetected. Without adequate refrigerant, the system can run continuously without significant heating or cooling being done. Also, the refrigerant carries oil that is essential for lubricating the compressor, the heart of the unit. A failure of the compressor can be costly and easily avoided.
  12.       Drain treatment can be added to keep the drain water from your furnace or AC flowing freely. Clogged drains can cause overflows and costly water damage. Drain treatments are usually as needed and a small charge for the service may apply.

 

If you don’t want to miss out on the most comprehensive furnace maintenance check on the market today, give us a call.