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Posted by on in Indoor Air Quality

While moisture management in the home is often thought about, and if lacking is often linked to many problems, many homeowners find themselves unsure of what’s actually best for their home. Should it feel humid in my house? What’s too dry? How do we even measure the moisture in our home’s air? The answer to all of those questions—it depends.

Properly managing the humidity inside the home can sometimes be a tricky task. There are many factors that can influence the ideal humidity in your home. Your environment, for one, can heavily influence your home’s ability to maintain a desirable humidity level. Likewise, during different seasons, humidity management has different requirements. Summer and winter months present unique problems when it comes to humidity in the home. These problems each have unique preventative steps and solutions, which we’ll address in this post.

The measurement of this humidity is called relative humidity (RH). Ideally, a home’s relative humidity (RH) should be in the range of about 30% to 50%. For many, the summertime problem is keeping the RH low enough. Homes often get too damp, especially without proper air ventilation.

In some areas of the country, the opposite sometimes holds true in the winter, when it’s often difficult to keep the RH inside a home at a high enough level to fall within the ideal range mentioned above. Even in humid climates, the air in homes can get too dry (meaning the RH is too low), resulting in uncomfortable problems such as excessive static electricity, dry skin or respiratory issues.

However, here in the Pacific Northwest, the RH is very high on average. This fact is often disguised and unknown to many homeowners because homes can feel deceptively dry when heat sources are running during the cold winter months. Just because the air feels dry from the heat doesn’t mean the relative humidity is too high. This deception often causes homeowners to install humidifiers to take care of that dry feeling. Rather than resolving a problem, they could in fact actually be adding to the issue and making the inside of the home even more humid.

If the relative humidity inside the home is truly too low, there may be a larger issue at hand. It’s imperative to remember that cold air equals dry air. In the winter, air leakage is a huge culprit of low RH inside the home because cold air gets into the home through cracks and leaks. When this occurs, the home becomes dry. Naturally, homeowners decide to install a humidifier to increase the relative humidity in their home. While this may be a temporary fix, it is not solving the root problem of air leakage. In this case, humidifiers are just acting as band-aids to the problem.

Reducing or eliminating air leakage can make relative humidity management much, much easier in your home—and can potentially eliminate the need to install or purchase and expensive humidifier. Not only will this make you and your family much more comfortable, sealing air leaks will also make your home more efficient, saving you money in the long run on expensive energy bills.

Like with many home performance issues, it’s often very difficult to “go with your gut” and make home humidity decisions based solely on the way you feel inside the home. Sometimes, like in this case, more exact measurements and assessments of deeper issues are the only real, reliable solution. If you think your home may have humidity issues and you’d like to know why, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

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It’s true what they say – the easiest things to forget about when it comes to home maintenance and home performance are the things you can’t see on a regular basis. Your home’s drains certainly fall into this category.

It’s easy to forget about drains and keeping them clear until a problem arises. It makes sense – it’s tough to think about a clogged drain until there is actually a clog. The truth of the matter is, most homeowners wait until the problem escalates to try to remedy the situation.

At Bel Red, we understand the difficulty of knowing when your drain is about to face an issue. We also understand the frustration that comes with a suddenly backed up, slow or completely clogged drain. That’s why we’ve constructed an fast, easy, reliable and, perhaps most importantly, affordable service offering for drain cleaning.

Whether the culprit is your drain in your kitchen, bathroom sink, laundry room, shower, bathtub, toilet, toilets, sewer or any other drain, we can help. Our plumbers are clean, courteous, expert sewer and drain specialists. We do a complete, thorough clean up when our work is finished – you won't even know we were there.

For our main line drain cleaning service, we offer a price that can’t be beat for the quality and professionalism we provide with this package. The main line drain cleaning service includes the following:

  • 6 month warranty on stoppages for the main line.
    (If you have a stoppage on the same line within 6 months we will clear it one time at no charge)
  • We will use all of our experience and give it 110% effort to clear the line; however some stoppages cannot be cleared with this method. If we cannot clear the line after a reasonable effort we will still need to collect payment for the attempt. 
    (95% of the lines can be cleared with this method)
  • Camera inspection of main line available for additional charge of $129
  • The $99 price is good for lines with an accessible cleanout outside of the home only.
  • We can run our machines a maximum cable length of 100 ft.
  • This price includes two passes through the sewer line (in and out the line twice).
  • Sewer lines over 4 inches in size can be cleared at an additional cost.
  • Any repairs that may be needed can be completed at an additional cost.
  • Coupons not applicable towards these drain cleaning prices.
  • The $99 deal is only intended for the main sewer line only.
  • This special is for residential properties only.

If you’re experiencing slower than normal draining in any area of your home, it might be time to call in the experts to make sure your problems don’t escalate and become too expensive to afford. Take advantage of this special drain-cleaning offer today by giving us a call or filling out our form online.

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When it comes to heating systems in homes, we talk and think a lot about common heating systems of today, like furnaces, gas fireplace inserts and more. One heating source that may not come to the top of mind unless you have such a heat source installed for your home is a boiler system.

Boilers, which use hydronic heating to perform the same types of home heating functions you’d get from a more common furnace or heat pump system. The typical boiler heating systems heats water to high temperatures, then uses that heat energy to push warm air throughout the house. Multiple forms of energy, including gas, electricity or oil can be used to power these types of heating systems.

The Bel Red staff is highly trained to handle both common and uncommon problems with these systems. We not only service, but also install, many different boiler brands, including Raypak, Weil–McLain, Peerless, Lars, Burnham, Utica, Dunkirk, and Lochnivar.

Bel Red boiler repair service can address any number of problems you’ve been experiencing with your boiler system, including:

  • radiator repairs and installations
  • zoning issues
  • baseboard heating repairs and installation
  • gas piping
  • chimney liner remediation/relining

While we offer full repair and replacement on Bel Red, we also take care of associated zoning issues, baseboard heating repairs and installation, gas piping issues or installation, and chimney liner remediation and relining. Our staff is trained to handle all of these boiler related issues with care and safety in mind.

Just like any other major heating supply and source in the home, regular maintenance of your boiler is key to ensuring it lasts a very long time and performs at its peak throughout its life. Like furnaces, boilers should have annual maintenance and inspections in order to extend their lives and ensure they are working as properly and efficiently as possible. We offer comprehensive 17-point inspection for our boiler customers, which includes:

  • Burner cleaning (for both safety and efficiency)
  • Leak inspection
  • Inspection of electrical connections with the boiler system
  • Inspection of all boiler controls
  • Check and adjust PRV / pressure check valve operation

Boiler replacement, repair, maintenance or first-time installation requires the help of qualified and trained professionals. As with any type of major home heating systems, safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintenance, repair or replacement of a boiler. Boilers involve high pressure and temperatures and can present many dangers if not cared for properly during maintenance or repair.

If you have a boiler that needs repair, is on its last leg, or looking for the installation of a new boiler system, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Regardless of your boiler needs, we’re here to guide you down the path to peak boiler performance.

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Posted by on in Home Energy

If you are one of the many who sees their home energy bill spike during the coldest or warmest times of the year, it’s likely that your home isn’t sealed to its fullest potential. Air leaks, commonly around doors, windows, crawlspaces, or other troublesome areas are a huge cause for energy loss for homeowners. So, what can you do about them? Fortunately, a lot.

Proper air sealing can reduce and even eliminate the leaky air that causes these problems. If you are a homeowner, especially if living in an older home, you may be all too familiar with the issue of air leaks. Sometimes, you can even feel the air escaping from the home under a door or near a window, or, worse, feel unconditioned air rushing into the home. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do or get help with to make sure air leaks aren’t a problem.

One major step that needs to be addressed before fixing air leaks in the home is identifying the actual source of those leaks, which can sometimes be a tricky proposition. The most effective way to ensure your house is protected against air leaks is to get the help of a professional contractor, like our team at Bel Red. We can help provide a thorough inspection of all potential leak sites as part of a robust energy assessment. One major tactic we use to identify leaks is a blower door air leakage test. This includes a full depressurization of the house, which spots any areas where air is leaking into or out of your home. We can also help identify areas that may require more insulation to maximize indoor comfort, especially during the cold winter months ahead. Again, this is the best way to identify all air leaks and provide the best solution to address and eliminate this problem.

It’s also possible to identify bad leaks in some cases by yourself – either visually or by feel as we mentioned above. Some areas to pay special attention to include electrical outlets, switch plates, gas pipes and electric service entry points, the inside frames of windows and doors, baseboards, dryer vents, and more. Many cracks or holes that can be seen with the naked eye are most likely a large part of the problem when it comes to energy loss. These should be addressed immediately by weatherization solutions such as weatherstripping and calking, among others.

While some homeowners even go as far as building their own pressurization tests using things like incense sticks, we highly recommend getting professional help for this procedure. Without proper training, it’s very easy to miss the smaller (and often root) causes of the problem. Even if you’re able to identify some of the issues, it’s very possible that many leaks may go undetected without professional tests and services. Tests like the blower door test really show homeowners just how much conditioned air, and energy, they are losing.

If you know or are worried that air leaks are causing energy loss and discomfort in your home, spending a little bit of money to identify and fix the problem may save you a great deal in the long run. Give Bel Red a call today and we can schedule an appointment to make sure your air leaks are history.

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When thinking about home energy and savings, we often talk about making homes as “tight” as possible to keep warm or cool air from escaping or getting into the home through leaks, cracks, or other energy waste culprits. While paying attention to tightening up the home is extremely important in the world of home performance, it’s also important to keep in mind the freshness of the air inside your home. Sometimes, air can become trapped in the home and feel stuffy or stale, leading to a lack of comfort, and in some cases, health issues.

Especially in newer builds, homes today are constructed to be extremely tight in order to be energy efficient. Because of this, ventilation is more important than ever. In order to maintain a healthy home and a high indoor air quality, fresh air must be able to get in and “stale” air must be able to get out. This air exchange, when done properly, should provide this added comfort without compromising the performance of the home.

Poor ventilation can lead to a number of different problems in the home, from small issues up to significant issues that can cause a great deal of damage to the home. Common initial problems include odor problems. When air is not properly circulating, stale air can cause bad smells inside your home. Unfortunately, if there are bad smells inside your home, there is very likely a larger root problem causing this issue.

Once such problem is mold growth. With poor ventilation, mold can have a chance to grow inside your home. If exposed to mold, or even stale air, for an extended period of time, the potential for health issues can be high. Headaches and fatigue are common problems in homes with poor circulation. If not resolved, long periods of exposure to this air or mold can lead to much more sever health issues. Aside from health issues, poor air quality resulting in mold can also cause significant structural damage to a home.

By taking care of the root of the poor air problem through proper ventilation, all of these issues can be avoided. Sometimes, and obviously in the case of warmer weather outside, using your windows to your advantage is a great and easy way to change the stale air inside with the fresh outdoor air. Keeping windows open when the weather allows is a huge positive for natural ventilation. For colder times of the year or for more serious cases, this air exchange process can be expedited with the use of certain equipment. Bel Red offers a number of different options that help the exchange occur. Some of these options include:

  • Timed fresh air intakes
  • Exhaust fans
  • Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) / Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs)

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of poor ventilation in your home, including bad smells, stale air or mold, it is imperative that you reach out to a qualified contractor such as Bel Red. When we perform a home energy audit, we always take a look at proper ventilation. We can also give you recommendations on upgrades or new equipment that can help allow your home to breathe easy.

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