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Posted by on in Indoor Air Quality

Like many other areas of home comfort, home energy and home performance, indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a topics that requires homeowners having a base level of knowledge to get the most out of their home. With this knowledge, they can make simple improvements on their own and know when to call in the reinforcements of a qualified home energy professional team like the one at Bel Red for some help.

While some may have a fantastic understanding of the factors and causes behind high or low indoor air quality, we wanted to be sure to give a detailed overview of this important topic. Ensuring you have high indoor air quality could not only make your home a more comfortable place to live, it could also keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are some questions and answers that should give you a great overview on the importance of indoor air quality:

First – the basics. Indoor air quality is the air quality within your home as it relates to the home’s inhabitants’ health and comfort. Poor indoor air quality is typically caused by a few different factors. First, indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of poor air quality. In addition to these sources, inadequate air ventilation can cause these gases and particles to become even more harmful. Typically, a certain amount of outdoor air needs to be brought into the home to dilute these harmful particles and gases within the home to maintain a high indoor air quality. If not enough fresh air is able to circulate, the overall air quality will suffer greatly. High temperature and humidity can also play a huge part in increasing the concentration of these harmful pollutants.

Sources and factors that may cause poor indoor air quality have a wide variety, making it important to have a well-rounded knowledge of potential causes of poor indoor air quality. Very commonly, heating sources including gas, oil, kerosene, coal or wood can all be the beginnings of harmful pollutants if not properly ventilated. These heating sources can emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide if not properly cared for. Additional sources include dangerous and harmful things such as mold or asbestos within the house. Malfunctioning appliances, specifically stoves or space heaters can also be harmful to your home’s indoor air quality.

Fortunately, outdoor air can play a big factor in diluting these pollutants, which we can obviously take advantage of in a big way during these warm summer months. Outdoor air enters the home in one of three ways: natural ventilation, infiltration and mechanical ventilation. Natural ventilation occurs through open windows and doors letting air into the home. Infiltration is when air enters the home through openings, joints and cracks in walls, ceilings and around doors and windows. Wind and differences in temperature can have an impact on how much air infiltrates into the home. Finally, there are a number of mechanical devices that bring fresh air into the home to provide ventilation. These units not only bring fresh air into the home, they are also used to remove bad indoor air and circulate it outside.

Remember,  poor indoor air quality can affect your health in big ways. It can have both immediate and long-term effects on the health and safety of those within a home. Immediate health effects can often mimic symptoms of a cold or other respiratory and/or viral diseases. Other irritations and allergy-like symptoms can also show in the short term. Long-term effects can be much more severe and debilitating. These problems can range from respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer, and can be severely harmful or even fatal under extreme circumstances.

It is incredibly important to always try to be improving poor indoor air quality or maintaining high indoor air quality in your home. It will keep you and your loved ones safe and increase the comfort you experience when you’re inside—which is a large portion of the year for most people. If you’re unsure of your indoor air quality or know you have to improve it, we’d love to help. Our experts can analyze the air quality or your home and determine the best way to make sure your indoor air quality is the highest it can possibly be. Just contact us here.

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Posted by on in Safety

When it comes to home safety, there are certain topics and areas that we feel are extremely important to be brought up a few times a year, which is what we try to do here on the Bel Red blow regarding carbon monoxide in the home. Preventing sickness, or worse, caused by this “invisible killer” can be very easy with the right equipment and base level of facts and knowledge. Below, we’ve laid out some of these facts. As always, we highly encourage you to stay on top of maintaining and testing your carbon monoxide detector as is required by law.

The CO (carbon monoxide) detector is something that all homes require in order to keep them safe from this dangerous and odorless gas.  Despite the fact that it’s fairly common knowledge to have properly working CO detectors in the home, there are some other facts about these devices that many do not know. These facts contradict certain myths regarding CO detectors. We want to make sure you know about them so you can protect yourselves and your loved ones.

As you probably know, carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be extremely dangerous through high levels of exposure. These types of levels are typically a result of improper ventilation from home heating sources or garages. Most homes properly expel this gas, but under certain circumstances this gas can build up and result in serious illness or even death from CO poisoning. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 600 Americans die due to accidental acute carbon monoxide poisoning each year. More than 20,000 become ill from this harmful gas on an annual basis. Clearly, its dangers cannot be understated, which is why having a properly functional and high quality CO detector is extremely necessary.

Many homeowners think that having a standard CO detector will keep them safe from carbon monoxide poisoning no matter what. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case, especially depending on who lives in your home. Believe it or not, most common and standard CO detectors are built to standards designed to “only protect a healthy young adult.” Furthermore, this definition of “young adult” is said to include a healthy individual between the ages of 18 and 22, which clearly leaves out a majority of individuals within a home.  Essentially, this means lower levels of carbon monoxide in your homes air will not set off visual or audible warnings, which could pose dangerous threats to the health of those not deemed “healthy young individuals.”

So, how do you ensure your home’s residents aren’t in danger regardless of their age or health? First, make sure you have a low level CO detector (or multiple detectors) in your house. These models can alert you of potentially hazardous levels of carbon monoxide in the air before they become a threat or problem. Many of these models, including those offered by Bel Red, sample the home’s air every 10 seconds, providing a “real-time” approach to CO monitoring. These detectors are battery powered to ensure they are still in working order even during power outages, which can often be dangerous times for CO in homes and garages if you operate equipment such as generators.

Regardless of the model or quality of CO detector you’re using in your home, it’s essential to make sure it is in proper working order and replaced regularly. Typically, it’s best to have your CO detector replaced every 2-5 years (depending on the quality of the detector). Low-level CO detectors typically have a lifespan much longer than standard models. If you’re interested in the highest level of carbon monoxide protection, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Bel Red today. We offer the highest quality CO detectors available, which can’t be found in stores. We’d be happy to perform a CO detector installation for you so you can rest assured your family doesn’t have to worry about this harmful gas.

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Posted by on in General

Taking on a home improvement project yourself, or even having something big and important done by a trained professional staff, can be a daunting task to think about. In both cases, a great deal of preparation is needed before the job starts. Preparing mentally, financially and even physically in certain instances is important. Clearing your schedule and being mindful of how long projects will actually take can also be a great stress reliever.

If you’ve ever undertaken a home improvement project, you know things can get messy. Not just in the sense of a few things going wrong from time to time with the actual project, but things can actually get messy around your home. Dust, dirt and debris can come out of seemingly nowhere and cover your house—not just the room in which the improvement is occurring. Installing a major piece of equipment in your home certainly falls under this construction category of home improvement. Aside from the temporary mess of home improvement and installations, unforeseen problems and damage are also sometimes realities.

Even with the best professional installers of contractors, these problems can arise. As a homeowner, it’s important to know that good professionals, like our team at Bel Red, will also do their best to mitigate these problems, and resolve them if they do occur. However, we understand it can be frustrating for homeowners who bring in professionals when these types of things happen, so we wanted to provide a few notes on how to best prepare for these types of large projects.

Remodeling or upgrading a piece of expensive equipment such as an HVAC unit can be an emotional and stressful process for a homeowner. Hopefully, contracting companies such as Bel Red can reduce this stress to a minimum. Preparing yourself mentally for the entire process is a great way to keep calm during the installation or home improvement. Having important discussions with contractors and asking the right questions can give you as much knowledge as possible before the project begins. With this additional knowledge, you as a homeowner can feel more comfortable not only with the contractor, but with the project itself. If you understand and prepare for the worst in this scenario, you will be able to shrug off any minor mishaps that may occur during the work.

It is also extremely important for homeowners to have as clear a schedule as possible during the installation or home improvement project. Being on hand regularly allows for ongoing conversations between the contractor and homeowner and ensures everyone is on the same page from start to finish. Some questions may also come up along the way that the contractors have for the homeowner. Being able to have those questions answered quickly allows for the most efficient and effective overall process. Contractors like Bel Red will provide all customers with a detailed schedule of work in advance, which will hopefully make it easier for the homeowner to free up as much time as possible for the project.

Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, it’s extremely important with any large home improvement process for homeowners to prepare for some unforeseen costs or issues unrelated to the actual install or improvement project. While contractors should provide you with an accurate estimate for the actual project beforehand, unforeseen issues are common in this business. Many project we undertake involve quite a bit of demolition and constructions, so many times we uncover underlying issues such as mold, dry rot, termites or other harmful issues. While these can sometimes be expensive, many of these issues are things that must be fixed to keep your home and loved ones safe. Being prepared for these issues will help you keep your sanity if something like this does come up.

We know the stress of a large home improvement or installation can be hard to handle. But, we’re here to help. From start to finish, we want to make sure our customers are prepared, informed and comfortable with the entire process. Dust and dirt will inevitably get in your home and problems may arise during the process, but in the end, we’ll make sure you’re 100% satisfied with the work and will always deliver it fairly and professionally.

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Posted by on in Safety

While one of our biggest focuses here at Bel Red is keeping our customers comfortable in their homes in the most efficient and affordable ways possible, our number one goal is keeping them safe and providing them with the knowledge to do so.

 

There are many things that can potentially go wrong in the home and it’s important to know how to keep you and your loved ones safe (or to work closely with professionals who know how to help you). Below and as a follow up to our previous post, we’ve outlined a few ways in which you can take simple steps to start making your home a safer place, all while staying as comfortable as possible.

  • Use a programmable thermostat. Near the top of the “comfort essentials” list in any type of home, you’ll likely see programmable thermostats. These devices can make keeping your home at peak comfort level year round a breeze. There are many models available today that meet the needs of any homeowners looking to increase comfort in their homes. As another (huge) bonus, programmable thermostats can save the average homeowner up to 33% in annual heating and cooling costs. That’s comfort for your home and your wallet.
  • Check to see if your appliances have water damage protection devices. Condensing appliances, such as air conditioners or heat pumps, can sometimes get damaged if they develop a leak. Water sensors and automatic shut-off devices on these important appliances and systems can help avoid these problems. Being proactive and having these installed can help minimize damage and keep these home comfort systems running smoothly.
  • Install an automatic earthquake shut-off valve. In the event of an earthquake, homes can realize damage and safety concerns beyond foundation or structural damage or disturbance. Gas leaks and pipeline damage can also occur. Fortunately, there are automatic earthquake gas shutoff valves that will prevent dangerous gases leaking into your home as a result of an earthquake.

Ensuring the comfort and safety of our customers is the number one priority for our team here at Bel Red. The list above includes just a few tips that every homeowner can keep in mind when it comes to maximizing the comfort and safety of their homes and families. At Bel Red, we pride ourselves on identifying and recommending the most important of these steps to all of our customers. If you think you and your loved ones may be at risk of safety or comfort issues, don’t hesitate to enlist our help. We can provide a comprehensive audit of your home and make sure it’s comfortable and safe for years to come.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Safety

While one of our biggest focuses here at Bel Red is keeping our customers comfortable in their homes in the most efficient and affordable ways possible, our number one goal is keeping them safe and providing them with the knowledge to do so.

There are many things that can potentially go wrong in the home and it’s important to know how to keep you and your loved ones safe (or to work closely with professionals who know how to help you). Below and in a follow up post coming soon, we’ve outlined a few ways in which you can take simple steps to start making your home a safer place, all while staying as comfortable as possible..

  • Install an electrical surge protector. Electrical surge protectors can ensure your comfort (heating and cooling) system, appliances and other valuable electronics don’t get harmed during a power surge, spike or brownout. Depending on your needs, you can choose from whole-house or in-line surge arrestors. Both are very effective at preventing damage to your home’s precious systems and equipment.
  • Upgrade to duct-mounted smoke detectors. It’s common knowledge to have wall-mounted smoke detectors on all floors of the home. However, also installing duct-mounted smoke detectors can further protect you and your loved ones from spreading smoke in the event of a fire in your home. More people are injured or die from smoke inhalation than from fire each year. A warning from a duct-mounted smoke detector can help make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
  • Switch to a low-level carbon monoxide detector. Similar to lower-quality smoke detectors, many homeowners only have standard carbon monoxide detectors. Much of this colorless, odorless gas may not get detected by these models. Low-level carbon monoxide detectors will alert you of dangerous gas in your home’s air, even if it’s just extremely low levels. We recently wrote a detailed post on low-level CO detectors, which you can read here.

Ensuring the comfort and safety of our customers is the number one priority for our team here at Bel Red. The list above includes just a few tips that every homeowner can keep in mind when it comes to maximizing the comfort and safety of their homes and families. At Bel Red, we pride ourselves on identifying and recommending the most important of these steps to all of our customers. If you think you and your loved ones may be at risk of safety or comfort issues, don’t hesitate to enlist our help. We can provide a comprehensive audit of your home and make sure it’s comfortable and safe for years to come.

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