Bel Red Energy Blog
Each year, April 22 marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This day is Earth Day, and is the most recognized environmental holiday. The first Earth Day in 1970 came at a time when energy consumption had reached an all-time high up to that point. Cars and other vehicles were guzzling leaded gasoline and major industrial plants emitted massive amounts of smoke and sludge due to little regulations and fear or environmental consequences.
While there is certainly a long way to go and these issues are now more important than ever, industries of all types are coming up with ways of improving their efficiencies and consuming less energy. It’s a necessity for our future. The home energy industry is certainly no different.
It’s no myth that homes use a great deal of energy on an individual and collective scale. It’s important that we look at our energy consumption and what we’re doing to become more energy efficient and green to not only benefit ourselves, but others.
At Bel Red, we take environmental issues extremely seriously. In our industry, energy conservation and efficiency is a topic of dire importance. We are taking steps to make a real difference in our homes, neighborhoods, and in the world every day. From our Comfort Guard Program to our Home Energy and Safety Assessment, we feature a wide range of services designed to help you improve and maintain the efficiency of your home. We also offer a long list of environmentally friendly products, including:
- High-efficiency furnaces
- Ultra-efficient heat pumps, including geothermal and ductless systems
- Hybrid, tankless and solar water heaters
- Gas fireplace inserts
- Programmable thermostats
- High R-value Insulation
We also are committed to recycling and reclaiming old, inefficient products that we replace during service and installation calls. Our fleet management is also key to ensuring our service teams are driving the most fuel-efficient vehicles that will meet our needs. When designing our offices, we also took many measures to reduce energy consumption and waste and made sure the construction and design resulted in the most energy efficient building we could have. We’re doing our part to save energy and protect the environment. With our products, services and programs, we’re making it easier for you to do the same. Happy Earth Day!
When it comes to indoor air quality, dirty ducts are not our friends. If you have a forced air unit heating and cooling your home, it could be pushing dirt, dust and allergens throughout your home if it’s not properly cleaned and maintained over the years. This can create big problems when it comes to the overall air quality within the home. But, how do we fix a problem that we can’t even see?
It’s easy to jump to a quick conclusion and just decide to bring in a cleaning crew to take care of dirty ducts. While having ducts cleaned is an obvious and necessary solution, it may only be a temporary fix. Ideally, ducts are completely sealed systems. Properly sealed and functioning ducts should be enough to keep dirt, dust or worse from entering your heating and cooling system. Ducts that require regular cleaning are likely in need of repair or replacement in order to create a fully sealed system.
Leaks in the ducts are a very common cause of a faulty or regularly dirty system. Leaks that occur on the return side of the duct system are probable culprits of dirt and dust entering because this side of the system creates negative pressure, pulling air in. If the leak is in a dirty area of the house, such as the attic or crawl space, the result will be dirty air getting into the system.
Another common cause of dirty ducts, which can also be the root cause of the aforementioned leaks, is improper sealing of joints and duct connections. Expansion and contraction in these joint areas, especially in poor quality ducts, can cause leaks to form over time. Especially in older homes, many heating and cooling systems’ ductwork is out of date in terms of current code. Newer (and properly installed) systems should always be up to code and prevent leaks and air quality problems permanently.
Poor air quality caused by dirty ducts can lead to a home’s inhabitants experiencing increased allergy problems or overall respiratory discomfort. These issues can be severe if not fixed in a timely manner. A home’s overall safety is greatly reliant upon high quality indoor air, since so much time is commonly spent inside with all windows and doors shut.
Beyond bringing low quality or dirty air into the house, dirty ducts are also a big indicator of wasted energy (and money) in the home. Leaks in ducts can cause even the most efficient HVAC system to perform like a much lower efficiency model. Consumers can spend a lot on new heating and cooling units, but unless their ducts are in ideal condition, they may be throwing money right out the window.
If you are experiencing poor air quality, it may be a sign that you have dirty ducts. If you do, don’t just have them cleaned. Make sure you find help and get to the root of the problem the first time around with professionals like ours here at Bel Red. Rather than have to clean your ducts time after time, having a home energy audit performed by our team can pinpoint the problem and provide a permanent solution.
While we talk a lot about the work we do here at Bel Red from a home energy, performance, comfort and plumbing standpoint, we think it’s also important to mention some of the work Bel Red does to help in our community. We understand that a strong community is made up of both caring individuals and responsible businesses. We do whatever we can to apply this way of thinking to our everyday work. When we can help those a bit less fortunate, we feel a responsibility to do so.
We like to think we have a hand in moving our region forward in terms of energy efficiency and policy, but we also like to have a direct impact in other areas. From corporate partnerships and giving programs, to the volunteer efforts of our team members in the community, Bel Red and our people are committed to doing our part to make the Pacific Northwest a better place to live and work.
One example of this is the Feeding Hope program we have at Bel Red. We partner with local food banks affiliated with Food Lifeline to help provide some assistance to those who are hungry in our community. For every donation of a non-perishable food item from our customers, Bel Red will donate $1 to local food banks.
Food Lifeline is Washington's largest hunger relief agency, distributing food to more than a half million people at 300 neighborhood food banks, shelters and hot meal programs throughout western Washington. 38% of these people are children and 13% are seniors. One of the reasons we support this worthy cause is because of the efficiency of their operation:
- Only 5% of every financial donation to Food Lifeline is used for administrative costs
- For every $1 donated, Food Lifeline provides 5 meals to hungry people
- Many of their programs are unique to the Pacific Northwest, and include relationships with farmers, grocers and restaurants
We're proud to be partners with an organization that is so effective at helping people in the communities we serve. To learn how you can make a donation of non-perishable food items today, and have us match your donation with a $1 cash contribution, contact us at this link. With your help, we can make the lives of those who are struggling with hunger a little bit better, and make a real difference to people who need help in these tough times.
No matter what type of job, home or customer, Bel Red has always been committed to providing the best customer service in the most caring, most knowledgeable way. We always guarantee our work and provide prompt, expert service and exceptional value for any budget. Whether installing a new furnace or other heating and cooling unit, executing a comprehensive home performance assessment, or providing any one of our many other home energy services, we take pride in the work we do.
But, you don’t have to just take it from us! Our extremely high customer satisfaction rate is no more apparent than when reading through some of the testimonials we have received for recent work. Here are a few examples:
“When it was time to get a new furnace, we called Bel Red and were very happy that we did. Our salesman Greg not only gave us a great quote, but helped us understand what the right unit for our house would be. Thanks to him and the furnace, we have no more cold spots.
The installers were also able to get creative with the install so we were able to maintain the visual appeal of our home. Others wanted to install vent pipes because it was easier. Bel Red went the extra step to hide the vent pipes, even though it meant a more difficult install.”
– Peter Zevenbergen
“When it came to replacing our furnace and A/C unit, Bel Red came up with a creative solution that didn’t require any structural changes to our home and improved our energy efficiency, significantly saving on our gas and electric bills.
They are experts in their work, very professional, and their home energy consultant explained everything thoroughly, from cost to mechanics and was available for any questions. I truly feel that the primary concern of everyone at Bel Red is our comfort and I recommend their services to anyone.”
– J. Nevin
“Following a call to Bel Red about an urgent no-hot-water problem, Dwight arrived at my house. He immediately identified the problem, and within an hour he and his Bel Red associate Doug has restored my hot water. They proceeded to educate me, answering my extensive and detailed questions, and providing technical, performance and economic information on the full-range of energy-saving options from Bel Red.
Dwight and Doug are highly professional in every aspect of their work and customer interaction, great communicators, very courteous, and clearly dedicated to creating the best possible customer experience. Bel Red has demonstrated to me that they invest in their most important asset – their people.”
– Gail M.
These are just a few examples of customers who have seen great benefit from working with the team at Bel Red. If you’re in need of any home energy or plumbing project completion from kind, qualified professionals, we’d love the privilege of adding you to that list. Give us a call or send us an email today!
Modern heating equipment and systems, when purchased new from a reputable source and company, are almost always going to perform well for homeowners when coupled with proper installation. So, does that mean that you can purchase any system and have great performance, right? Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case.
First, as we mentioned briefly above, the installation process is crucial to a well performing furnace and air conditioning unit. If proper care and knowledge is not applied to the installation process, it could have major implications on the efficiency of the unit. Government and utility company research shows that more often than not, new heating and cooling systems do not perform to their potential because a few different reasons, including:
1. The new system may be the wrong size for your home.
2. The existing air duct system may have major hidden deficiencies.
3. The new system may be installed improperly
When it comes to home heating and cooling systems, it’s appropriate to find the size that’s just right for your home. The size and efficiency should match well to the size and efficiency of your house. Some contractors will readily sell you a bigger unit than you need. It costs you more to buy, and it can cost a lot more to operate and service. Even worse, an over sized system actually results in a less comfortable home.
Some systems that are too large for the house can actually heat or cool an area of the home too fast, resulting in less conditioned air making it to other areas of the home or not allowing the system to carry out other key roles such as humidity management.
At Bel Red, we’ll make sure to know the exact needs of your home and what it will take to match it with the most efficient unit you need to stay comfortable and keep your operational costs down.
If you’re exploring a new heating and cooling system (or one or the other), we’d be happy to help you determine the best system for your home and budget. We’ll not only let you know the best size unit for your home and situation, but also make sure your duct system and any other relevant areas of your home allow for maximum comfort and efficiency. Give us a call today.