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A few months ago, we wrote about the importance and some of the legality of having a permit on the job when performing a furnace replacement or installation. We noted that it’s often difficult for homeowners to know if permits are necessary for specific home improvement projects. Furnace installation and replacement sometimes falls into this category. Many who need the work done are left wondering if this falls into the “permit zone.” This is where the help and knowledge of licensed contractor comes in. They can let you know the right answer to this question.


That answer? Yes. In Washington State, a mechanical permit or furnace permit is required by law in order to replace and install a furnace. These are major home projects that require a great deal of work by contractors and installation teams and require skilled work (such as gas piping, exhaust venting, and electrical) to be performed correctly. Homeowners should always have peace of mind that the contractor performing this work is fully licensed, knowledgeable and follows all proper laws and industry protocols when completed a job like furnace replacement.


Unfortunately, there are some “contractors” out there that, in order to grab a quick job, trick homeowners into thinking a permit isn’t necessary for this type of replacement. They offer them a low cost, do the work quickly, and get out before anything has a chance to go wrong. As you can imagine, this is wrong on many different levels.


First, there are specific inspections that come along with the permit process that involve checking the work of contractors to ensure the safety and well-being of the homeowners and their families. These inspections make sure the work is done properly and to code. Without the permits in place, these other dubious contractors never get their work checked. This is an even larger problem because these individuals typically have far less training and experience than licensed contractors, so they often make mistakes, cut corners or overlook safety steps.

We just posted about the increased home comfort that ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems can bring to the home. However, there’s a rather large list of benefits these units can offer that extends beyond the area of comfort. Efficiency is often the name of the game for these systems and often the reason many homeowners are jumping to this type of heat pump units for their heating and cooling needs.


We’ve outlined the increased comfort benefits of ductless mini-splits, but let’s take a moment to discuss a few ways in which these systems can have an extremely positive impact on your overall energy usage, and wallet, through greater efficiency:


·      Efficiency for every room in the home.Heating and cooling systems often have to work very hard to get all areas of your home to a desirable and comfortable temperature. Whether it’s cooling the house on those sweltering summer days or warming things up when the thermometers are sinking, temperature management can be inefficient and expensive without the right equipment and systems. Ductless mini-split systems provide easy-to-manage solutions for many different areas of your home, which means the system, as a whole, doesn’t have to work as hard to push hot or cold air from one source to all areas of the house. The ability to manage individual areas separately can greatly increase your home’s performance and efficiency.


·      Less energy means lower bills.Ductless mini-split heat pumps, on average, use 25 to 50 percent less energy to heat your home. This means your monthly energy bills, especially during peak usage times during the year, will be significantly reduced. Because temperature management can be controlled differently for different areas of your home, you’re able to focus energy usage to very specific sections and times. Heating or cooling rooms that are rarely used can be a thing of the past. Mitsubishi mini-split heat pump units rank among the top energy saving heating options on the market, often times up to 26 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio).


·      All-in-one solutions. Ductless mini-split systems, like those manufactured by Mitsubishi and offered by Bel Red, can meet not only heating needs for your home but also cooling and air conditioning needs. These units bring the same levels of high efficiency to cooling your home. This allows homeowners to get rid of those noisy, clunky and extremely inefficient air conditioning window units.

Though not as prevalent in homes as more traditional heating sources such as furnace and ductwork, ductless mini-split heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. Many are starting to realize the benefits of these systems—ranging from increased control over home comfort to increased efficiency. Installation of mini-split models, such as those manufactured by Mitsubishi (which Bel Red sells and installs), are a great step toward increasing the overall levels of comfort in your home—regardless of the season.


Here are a few benefits that the installation of a ductless mini-split system can bring to your home as it pertains to home comfort:


·      Targeted heating and cooling for hard to reach places in your home.An ultra-quiet fan evenly circulates air, eliminating hot and cold spots in rooms and improving the comfort of your main living spaces. Homes often have “trouble rooms” when it comes to heating and cooling. Additions, sunrooms, bonus rooms or loft spaces often present many challenges when it comes to keeping them at a desired and comfortable temperature. Whether through inefficiency or poor design, duct-based heating systems or electric baseboard heating can sometimes fail when it comes to proper, whole-house comfort. Mini-splits heat pumps are adjustable by area of the home or room, so temperature management becomes a breeze.


·      A near silent comfort.Ductless mini-split heat pumps not only increase the temperature control you have in your home, they also eliminate the loud noises that are sometimes associated with old furnaces and other heating systems. These systems work extremely quietly, which adds to the level of comfort you experience when heating or cooling the home. The Mitsubishi ductless mini-split models that Bel Red sells and installs have virtually no compressor or fan noise.


·      Cleaner air means a healthier, more comfortable home. Most mini-split heat pump models come with multi-stage allergen filtration mechanisms, making them a very clean alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. With ducted systems, dust, dirt and allergens can build up inside over time. This obviously causes dirty or unhealthy air to be pushed out into the home, potentially causing respiratory issues for individuals in the home. Mini-splits with filtration offer a clean air alternative, increasing comfort in more ways than just managing temperature.

Posted by on in General

A home with poor indoor air quality can be hard to bear for homeowners and those who live with them. Indoor air quality is essential to the overall comfort of the home. Stale, old air that gets trapped inside the house can not only present comfort problems for those inside the home, it can also lead to health issues. Replacing stale indoor air with fresh outside air is key to keeping the indoor air quality high and it’s done best with one solution—good ventilation.


Many ask the question why older homes, without new ventilation equipment, technologies or tricks, didn’t have many of the same problems issues we see with a newer home with poor ventilation. Most commonly, this can be attributed to the leaky nature of older homes. Although it greatly diminished overall home performance and efficiency, these leaks and cracks around doors, windows or other troublesome places actually provided a means to ventilating the home and bringing fresh outdoor air inside. Newer homes tend to be more airtight overall; so many times they require the use of specific ventilation tactics or equipment to ensure that the house remains properly ventilated. These procedures often differ depending on the time of year or surrounding environment for the home.


So, what are the common types of ventilation that keep indoor air quality high? They can be broken into several different topics, including:


·      Exhaust mechanical ventilation refers to homes that solely use exhaust fans, most commonly in bathrooms, to get rid of stale air or moisture in specific rooms. Beyond the removal of this air and moisture, these fans also create a negative air pressure within the home, which causes fresh outside air to enter the home, preferably through intake fans tied to your HVAC system, or open windows, but often through leaks in your home’s envelope. This approach is relatively low cost, which makes it very common.

·      Supply ventilation is a process of bringing fresh outside air directly into the home and dispersing it throughout the home. The forced fresh air causes stale air to leave the home through cracks and leaky areas. Using this technique, fresh air is commonly dispersed to other rooms in the house through ducts.

Posted by on in Safety

We recently posted a short list of precautionary inspection tips in order to avoid the chance of you or your loved ones getting carbon monoxide poisoning. The odorless CO gas can be extremely dangerous to those exposed to it and steps need to be taken to keep a home’s inhabitants safe. This dangerous gas can lead to severe health issues or even worse.


Many wonder how to detect carbon monoxide in the home since it is both colorless and odorless.  The best and most obvious way is the have properly installed CO detectors in multiple areas, preferably each floor and any secluded room, in the home. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t take every necessary precaution when it comes to CO detection and avoiding putting themselves or their loved ones at risk. Sometimes, carbon monoxide poisoning can come in very low-level amounts, which means these individuals don’t know there is carbon monoxide present until a great deal of exposure and health deterioration occur.


In many carbon monoxide cases, homeowners have been said to have gotten the symptoms actually caused by exposure to CO gas confused with lengthy common cold or flu symptoms. The symptoms list for carbon monoxide poisoning can be extremely lengthy, and common cold or flu symptoms are almost all on that list. So, poor CO detection combined with the odorless and colorless nature of the harmful gas can lead to a misunderstanding of the cause of a sickness. Furthermore, a common cold or flu can often spread to multiple, or all, individuals living under the same roof, so these individuals aren’t quick to make the jump to a cause other than a spreadable virus or sickness.