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Weatherizing your home is one of the leading ways to create a more airtight, efficient home. It can reduce or eliminate air leaks, which can keep your conditioned air, whether warm or cool, inside or out of your home—wherever you prefer it to be depending on the season.

Many do not know, however, that proper steps must be taken to ensure safety within the home when going through (and after) the weatherization process.

Believe it or not, weatherization can lead to some safety risks and cause some unwanted hazards if all appropriate steps are not taken and a great deal of attention is not paid to ventilation in the home. Many of these risks come into play when a home with some type of fuel burning system is used.

These systems, such as a common gas furnace, gas dryer, fireplaces, boilers, water heaters, and more require an intake of air in order to operate properly. All of these gas-burning units require combustion during operation, which requires air from an outside source. 

It’s clear that the main goal of weatherization is to seal your home properly in order to save as much energy as possible. The goal is to manage (and reduce) the amount of wasted conditioned air out of or unconditioned air into the home. However, when proper ventilation is ignored after a complete weatherization process, the risks for combustion problems with these gas systems can greatly come into play.

Once your home is sealed, there must be a good source for “make-up” air getting to them in order to remain properly functional and safe. If these systems cannot get this new air, the problems begin. They may begin to draw air from less than desirable places. Backdrafting and dirty air recycling can occur, which can have dangerous consequences. Combustion byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, can potentially get into the home, which can be extremely dangerous.

Modern building codes require make-up air inlets and ventilation sources so these combustion problems don’t occur. A qualified and knowledgeable contractor will take appropriate steps to make sure these problems are avoided before (or while) going through a full home weatherization.

With any major home performance project, it’s a great idea to call in a qualified professional like Bel Red before making major changes to your home. Not only will they provide the best recommendations for maximizing your home, we will make sure your home is safe after all of the renovations, installations or upgrades. Give us a call today to set up an appointment so you can safely begin and complete the home weatherization process.

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Posted by on in Green Economy

At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Below is the final blog installment in this series. Enjoy!

  • Save water whenever possible. Water is not only a valuable resource around the house, but also a huge use (and cause of use) of energy in the home. Saving water whenever possible is one of the most important ways you can make your home and lifestyle greener. Taking shorter showers, Using water-saver nozzles on showerheads and faucets, turning the water off while brushing your teeth—these habits, among many others, are great ways to limit your living impact around the home.
  • Change your laundry temperature. Making the simple switch from hot water to cold while washing laundry can help save a lot of energy over many loads. Cold water will clean laundry just as well, and removing the need to heat up that great deal of water can really cut down on your electric or gas bill depending on the type of washing machine you own. One flip of a knob can be a big energy saver when it comes to an appliance you use so much.
  • Switch to grilling on the summer. For your meal prep and cooking needs, switching to more meals using the grill outside can help save a lot of energy inside. Constantly using an oven on a daily basis adds a great deal of heat not only to your kitchen, but to the entire home. This means your air conditioning unit has to kick into overdrive and work much harder to keep your house cool. Grilling will keep this heat outside while you prepare your delicious meals!
  • Think about a prefabricated home. If you’re in the process of (or thinking about) building a home, you may want to explore the possibilities of having a prefabricated home built for you. These aren’t the “mobile homes” of yesteryear. New green companies are producing and delivering maximum efficiency, modern homes that people love. By building in the factory, less waste is also created. This is obviously a big step, but one worth exploring if you want the ultimate green home.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

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At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Below is part 2 of the series. Enjoy!

  • Make your landscaping eco-friendly. While we spoke about living walls and rooftop gardens in the previous post, implementing eco-friendly landscaping practices around your home in general can have a great impact on energy savings as well. Going along with the theme of saving water just discussed, collecting rainwater whenever possible to use in the garden or on other plants is a great energy savings and eco-friendly practice. Strategically installing trees and shrubs can also help shade your home and act as external insulation, reducing energy needs inside the home.
  • Add plants to your home. Speaking of the power of plants, adding some greenery to the inside of your homeLiving walls and roof gardens, while around for many, many years, are making a comeback with the green wave. These plant coverings fight pollution by absorbing both noise and carbon dioxide alike. They can also add an additional layer of insulation to your home. This may be the most literal tip for “greening” your home, but it can be one of great benefit and provide added visual appeal in your home as well!
  • Rely on natural light. While we discussed the impact the installation of CFL light bulbs can have on your overall energy consumption, nothing can beat turning off your lights completely and using natural light whenever possible. Make sure windows aren’t blocked so as much outside light can enter your home. If you’re in a position to install new windows (or are building a new home), place the windows strategically so you’ll maximize the amount of sunlight getting into the home.
  • Upgrade your light bulbs. If you can't rely on natural light all time time (which you can't), This is a small and rather inexpensive change that can have a major impact. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with eco-friendly and high performing CFL bulbs can make a huge (and positive) dent in your monthly energy use and bill. This option is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

Last modified on

At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Enjoy!

  • Get a professional home performance assessment. It’s hard (or impossible) to know how to fix an energy problem if you don’t know what that problem is in the first place. By bringing in professionals and specialists like the team here at Bel Red, you can rest assured that you’ll have all energy and overall home performance issues pinpointed. Once you have the problems identified, these same professionals can lay out a roadmap and path to fixing the problem. This added help will be set up in a way that’s reasonable for your home budget and lead to ensuring your home’s environmental footprint is as small as it can possibly be given your unique situation.
  • Use power strips for your electronics and appliances. Plugging multiple electronics or small appliances (chargers, TVs, computers, coffee makers, etc.) and turning the strip off when things are not in use may seem like a small change, but it can be a great habit to get into. The collective savings you’ll get from doing a hard shutoff of these devices can be big—in some cases saving you more than 10% on your annual electric bill. Training the whole family to shut off the strips is a great idea and can really reduce unnecessary energy consumption in your home.
  • Clean your appliances regularly. Cleaning appliances and home heating and cooling systems can drastically increase their efficiency over the long-term. Dirty or clogged appliances can cause energy usage to skyrocket. Unless these units and systems are maintained and kept clean, they will have to work extra hard to perform, meaning you’re going to be using way more energy to keep your home and way of living in order.
  • Adjust your heating and cooling. One of the biggest culprits of high and sometimes unnecessary energy use comes with not properly adjusting the temperature settings in your home. Many people don’t take advantage to helpful tools and practices like scheduling your thermostat to allow for lower energy usage when nobody is home. Even if you are home, can you adjust the temperature a degree or two and still be comfortable? Even a slight change like that can add up to big energy savings over time.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

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When it comes to energy loss in the home, air leaks are a big culprit. We are seemingly always trying to figure out ways to make our homes more air tight, both in the warmer Summer months that are approaching and during the colder months that have just passed.

There are two main types of leaks that can cause problems when it comes to your home’s performance – general air leaks around the home and duct leaks in your HVAC system’s duct work. While a bit different in nature, both can cause major efficiency problems. It’s important to either be able to identify and fix these common problems yourself as a homeowner or, perhaps better yet, bring in knowledgeable professionals so you can be assured that all leaks are identified and fixed properly.

At Bel Red, we have an immense amount of experience dealing with both and can bring you the latest technologies and approaches to help your home perform to the best of its ability. In order to provide some immediate help to those of our readers in need, we’ve decided to put together a quick overview of some of the general air leak issues homeowners face. In this blog post, we’ll examine the common problem spots and fixes of general air leaks.

Air leakage, sometimes referred to as infiltration, occurs when air from outside your home enters the home through cracks, faulty or low-performance windows, gaps, or other openings. Air leaks in your home can increase your energy expenditure greatly. In some cases, air infiltration can increase your home’s monthly energy bill by as much as 30 to 40 percent. During colder months, air creeps into the home, making it harder to heat the entire house. Your heating system has to work harder than it normally would without leaks to keep the temperature at a desirable level. The same can be said for keeping your home cool during warmer seasons with your home’s cooling system.

So where are the most common air leak and infiltration problem areas? These issues most commonly occur in or around one of the follow areas:

  • around plumbing or wires that enters the home from the outside
  • around windows and doors that are old or not properly sealed
  • in attics
  • by chimneys, chimney dampers or external oven vents
  • through poorly sealed recessed or can lighting
  • through electrical outlets or switches
  • in dropped ceilings throughout the home

Once you’ve identified the problem area(s) where infiltration is the biggest problem in your home, it’s important to know how to address these issues. The process of fixing air leaks is called air sealing, which involves using different materials and processes to stop air from getting into your home when it’s not supposed to.

There are many common materials that can be used to fix these common air leak issues. They include caulk, expanding foam, backer rod (crack filler), rigid foam insulation, weatherstripping materials, and mastic or special tapes. While selecting the right material for the job is crucial, knowing how to properly apply each material to each specific problem area will provide the best results and the most effective air sealing in your home.

Again, professionals like the team at Bel Red can perform very specific and detailed tests, such as the blower door test, to identify many more air leak issues than a typical homeowner can with the naked eye as part of our comprehensive home energy performance assessment. Contact us today to get one set up. Stay tuned as we next will discuss air leaks in a home’s duct work—an equally challenging set of issues many homeowners face.

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