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Posted by on in Efficiency

Labor Day weekend 2016 is fast approaching. With it, as always, means closing the door on summer and looking ahead to the cooler temperatures and falling leaves of Autumn. Like any other season, Fall brings with it a unique set of challenges and reminders for home performance and home energy.

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, we thought we’d develop a blog series with ways that you can ensure you’re saving the most energy possible as we move into cooler temperatures this fall.

As always, we highly recommend contacting a knowledgeable professional to perform a home energy assessment to pinpoint the exact areas of improvement in your home to maximize your dollars when it comes to saving energy and improving your home. Here are some tips that you can follow on your own to help:

  • Find and seal air leaks and cracks. Now, while it’s still warm, is the perfect time to seek out and seal those energy sucking air leaks and cracks around your doors, windows and other troublesome places. By sealing these areas with caulk or weatherstripping now, you’ll be reducing or eliminating the drag they have on your home’s energy use when the heat gets turned on in the coming days and months.
  • Clean the refrigerator. While it may sound strange, a poorly functioning refrigerator can eat up a great deal of energy, bringing down the overall efficiency of your home. By checking and cleaning the coils and ensuring proper temperature inside the refrigerator at least once a year (fall is the perfect time), you’ll increase the efficiency of this energy hog of an appliance.
  • Seal your windows with plastic. Window insulation kits are inexpensive (and ideally short-term) solutions to drafty or leaky windows as temperatures begin to drop. This is a relatively simple installation process and can help your home keep heat in and cold out. If you want to take the next step to energy savings greatness, explore installation of Indow Windows—they can save you BIG!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this DIY blog post series in honor of Labor Day with home efficiency tips for the fall. Again, to ensure you’re making all the right moves to minimize your home’s energy usage, contact Bel Red today for a comprehensive home energy assessment.

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Posted by on in Efficiency

Labor Day weekend 2016 is fast approaching. With it, as always, means closing the door on summer and looking ahead to the cooler temperatures and falling leaves of Autumn. Like any other season, Fall brings with it a unique set of challenges and reminders for home performance and home energy.

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, we thought we’d develop a blog series with ways that you can ensure you’re saving the most energy possible as we move into cooler temperatures this fall.

As always, we highly recommend contacting a knowledgeable professional to perform a home energy assessment to pinpoint the exact areas of improvement in your home to maximize your dollars when it comes to saving energy and improving your home. Here are some tips that you can follow on your own to help:

  • Change your furnace filters. Something that is easy to forget yet can have a major impact on your heating system’s performance—switching out furnace filters. This 10 second project, though sometimes hard to remember, is a necessity. Switch out these filters once per month during the months in which you use your furnace the most. Your furnace will thank you for it.
  • Use the heat from the sun. If you have curtains on your windows, open them on the south-facing windows of your home during the day in colder months. This will allow warm sunlight to naturally add heat to your home, reducing the need to switch on (or turn up) your heating source on nicer days. Close these curtains during the nights to reduce drafts or chills you may feel from the cold windows.
  • Insulate your pipes. We regularly talk about the importance of lowering your water heater thermostat settings, but often ignore the source of getting that hot water to where you want it used. Insulating hot water pipes will ensure you’re not wasting the energy it took to heat up the water in the first place. Pipe insulation is cheap and can do wonders for your water heating costs and energy requirements.

We’ll be following up with more tips for the fall to increase your home’s efficiency shortly. Stay tuned for our final blog post in this Labor Day weekend home performance tips series!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Efficiency

Labor Day weekend 2016 is fast approaching. With it, as always, means closing the door on summer and looking ahead to the cooler temperatures and falling leaves of Autumn. Like any other season, Fall brings with it a unique set of challenges and reminders for home performance and home energy.

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, we thought we’d develop a blog series with ways that you can ensure you’re saving the most energy possible as we move into cooler temperatures this fall.

As always, we highly recommend contacting a knowledgeable professional to perform a home energy assessment to pinpoint the exact areas of improvement in your home to maximize your dollars when it comes to saving energy and improving your home. Here are some tips that you can follow on your own to help:

  • Lower your water heating requirements. Many of us have our water heaters set far too hot, which is not only unnecessary for the hot water we use, but also a huge culprit when it comes to heat usage in your home. In fact, water heating can account on average for 14-25% of the energy usage in your home. By lowering the temperature setting to around 120 degrees, you’ll save a lot of energy and money. Not to mention, you’ll also avoid scalding hot water that can burn you or your loved ones!
  • Insulate the attic door. This is a project that many put off, but making sure all parts of your attic are properly insulated and sealed can pay off big time for saving energy in the colder months. Even making sure the attic door is properly insulated can save you a lot of energy and money. A poorly insulated attic door, in some cases, can account for 10-15% of heat loss in a home when it is cold. Many attic doors are just drywall that sits on a frame, making it easy for heat to escape that should be kept inside the home. A quick insulation project can go a long way here.
  • Seal or block the bottoms of your doors. You may have seen commercials for silly-looking “draft snakes” that slide beneath your door. The truth is, these can actually be a very inexpensive way to make a big improvement to old or inefficient doors. By blocking drafts coming into the house and disallowing warm air to escape, your home will not only use less energy, it will be much more comfortable in these areas.

We’ll be following up with more tips for the fall to increase your home’s efficiency shortly. Stay tuned!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Efficiency

Labor Day weekend 2016 is fast approaching. With it, as always, means closing the door on summer and looking ahead to the cooler temperatures and falling leaves of Autumn. Like any other season, Fall brings with it a unique set of challenges and reminders for home performance and home energy.

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, we thought we’d develop a blog series with ways that you can ensure you’re saving the most energy possible as we move into cooler temperatures this fall.

As always, we highly recommend contacting a knowledgeable professional to perform a home energy assessment to pinpoint the exact areas of improvement in your home to maximize your dollars when it comes to saving energy and improving your home. Here are some tips that you can follow on your own to help:

  • Adjust your thermostat when you are gone. When nobody is home, heat isn’t needed nearly as much. Before you are away, lower your thermostat 10-15 degrees (that is, if you can’t get away with turning it off completely). Just this minor switch could save more than 10% on your annual heating costs. When you are home, find a good balance between comfort and minimizing energy usage. When you get your next monthly energy bill, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Run ceiling fans in reverse. Though not commonly known, many ceiling fan models have switches built in to reverse the direction of the blades as they spin. While fans are thought to only be for cooling you when you’re in the same room in the summer, ceiling fans running in reverse can push warmer air that has risen to the top of the room back down into air circulation, lowering the requirement for additional heat.
  • Maintain your heating system. Before you start to use your heating system (whatever that system may be) on a daily basis, have it cleaned and inspected. Not only will this ensure that your system will run safely during the fall and winter, it will also maximize its efficiency. By having a professional inspect and/or clean your heating system, you’ll save big time.

We’ll be following up with more tips for the fall to increase your home’s efficiency shortly. Stay tuned!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Heating

Even though we’re still hanging onto the beautiful August summer weather, now is a great time to be thinking a few months ahead and determining if your current heating solution is right for you and your home. While there are many options out there, as you probably know, we’re going to focus the next few blog posts on one green, safe and reliable option in particular—gas fireplace inserts.

Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the benefits of gas fireplace inserts. To find out the full range of benefits and to learn if this year is a good year for you to make the switch to a safe, green and affordable heating supply or heat supplement for your home, please contact our team today.

  • Fireplace inserts are extremely convenient. Let’s face it—hauling wood for traditional fireplaces is a pain. Even if someone else is doing the chopping, you still have to get that wood to the fireplace log by log. Starting fires can be a challenge depending on the type and quality of wood you’re burning, as well. This can be frustrating when all you want is a quick, hot fire to warm your home. Gas fireplace inserts light with the flip of a switch—literally! You can have fast heat and fast comfort with no work at all.
  • Gas fireplace inserts are safe. Direct vent gas fireplaces are extremely safe when installed by professionals. Wood-burning fireplaces have been linked to carbon monoxide problems due to open burning inside the home. Vented gas inserts pull fresh air directly form outside, then flow gases and smoke directly back outside.
  • No need for huge gas tanks. Because gas fireplaces and inserts typically run on natural gas, there’s no need to invest in a large gas tank to sit outside your home. In most cases, the natural gas needed to use the fireplace can be received directly from your home’s regular gas line provided by your energy company. Your energy company meters usage as well. More good news? Burning natural gas in a fireplace insert is very efficient, so you’ll likely see savings on your energy bill compared to other heating sources.
  • Temperature management is easy. With gas fireplace inserts, you have control over the temperature, much like other non-fireplace heating systems. With wood-burning fireplaces, the fire is either burning or not, so temperature management is often difficult. Many gas fireplace inserts come with thermostat management so you can set your desired temperature and be done.
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