Bel Red Energy Blog
Even though we’re still hanging onto the beautiful August summer weather, now is a great time to be thinking a few months ahead and determining if your current heating solution is right for you and your home. While there are many options out there, as you probably know, we’re going to focus the next few blog posts on one green, safe and reliable option in particular—gas fireplace inserts.
Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the benefits of gas fireplace inserts. To find out the full range of benefits and to learn if this year is a good year for you to make the switch to a safe, green and affordable heating supply or heat supplement for your home, please contact our team today.
- Gas fireplace inserts are sealed for efficiency. One major issue with wood-burning fireplaces is the loss of efficiency when warm air from the home escapes through the flue. This can occur either through faulty sealing or, most commonly, when someone forgets to close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. This can also allow cold air drafts to enter the home. Both problems obviously contribute to lower efficiency and poor comfort levels for your home during cold months. When installed correctly, gas fireplace inserts all but eliminate air leaks and heat loss—even when installed in existing fireplaces!
- Maintenance is a breeze. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, you know maintaining it properly can be a fairly large burden. Regular cleaning of the chimney is crucial to avoid potential chimney fires and to maximize performance. Ashes and soot need to be removed from inside the fireplace on a very regular basis to maintain safety and to make sure logs can breathe properly to stay lit. With a gas fireplace insert, maintenance is much easier and requires much less work and attention. Regular inspection is still important, but beyond that maintenance is simple.
- Placement and design of gas fireplaces are flexible. While many models, specifically those that retrofit to an existing fireplace, are designed to utilize the current chimney, other direct-vent models can be placed in other areas. This gives design flexibility when thinking about the installation of a gas fireplace. Some models vent directly out to a sidewall in the home, eliminating the need for a chimney. Gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts also come in a variety of designs and sizes, making each unique to the home and homeowner’s preference.
- Gas fireplace inserts pump out heat. Many remember the early days of gas fireplace inserts, which were typically more for decoration than for actual home heating. Those days have past and fireplace inserts are now powerful heat sources that can efficiently heat a large portion of your home.
- They provide heat when the power goes out. Unlike many other sources of heat, gas fireplace inserts can be used when the power is out, which is especially useful during times like these when we’re experiencing high wind storms.
If you’ve been a customer with Bel Red or have just perused our website to learn more about our services and products, you may have seen or heard about our 100% guarantee. It’s not something we take lightly here. We thought we’d write a blog post explaining why.
We’re extremely passionate about bringing out customers top-level service through our team of experts, regardless of the project. We know home energy and home performance projects can be huge considerations for homeowners. It’s not just about knowing what needs to be done to repair or improve something in the home, it’s about finding the right team to help with the necessary steps. From detail determination all the way through to project completion, Bel Red will be by your side in a friendly, caring way. We pay attention to every detail. We take pride in coupling our experience and existing expertise with the newest training and education. We are about our customers on a deep level.
That’s why we feel so strongly that we can guarantee our work. You want your repairs and installations done right the first time. We agree. That’s why we provide the best guarantee in the business and back it up, including the following elements:
- 100% Guarantee on All Repairs
If a repaired part fails in the first year, we’ll replace it at no cost. For Comfort Guard Maintenance Plan members, this coverage is extended for the effective life of the covered system (up to 15 years of age), as long as you remain on this program.
- No-Risk Performance Guarantee
If your new comfort system does not perform as designed within the first year, and we can't correct the problem, we'll remove the system and refund 100% of your money so you have nothing to lose.
- No-Nonsense Parts and Labor Warranty
With proper installation and maintenance, quality comfort systems should provide trouble-free operation for years. This warranty provides peace of mind with parts and labor coverage on all repairs for the first year on systems we install, with an optional 5-year warranty available.
- No-Lemons Guarantee
If the heat exchanger on your new furnace, or compressor on your new AC or heat pump, fails within the first 5 years, we’ll repair it at no charge.
- Lifetime Installation Guarantee
We guarantee the quality of our installation for life. This includes all metal work, fasteners, clamps, straps, etc.
Let’s partner on a project soon and you’ll get the same service guarantee outlined above. We’re excited to work for you.
Like many necessary but unfortunately hidden items around the home on our maintenance checklists, sewer and drain lines often fall off the list of things homeowners regularly check for issues. That is, of course, until it is often too late and problems have already begun.
Clogs or backups in sewer and drain lines can cause some big and expensive issues on top of the inconvenience they can bring. Slow draining of sinks, showers and baths is often the first sign homeowners notice when a clog or full blockage is starting to take form. Getting this taken care of right away can be the difference between a few days of inconvenient slow drains and much more extensive and expensive problems like water damage or large repairs and drain fixes.
Luckily, the experienced and highly trained plumbing team at Bel Red can bring you the help you need before your drain clogs and backups become a nightmare.
With our drain cleaning services, we can take care of everything from smaller kitchen or bathroom sink clogs to heavier issues with the main sewer line to your home. In fact, we handle everything in the home, including kitchen drains, bathroom sink drains, bathtub drains, shower drains, laundry drains, floor drains, clogged toilets, sewer drains, and last and perhaps most importantly, main line drains.
With our $99 main line drain service calls, we use our specially designed cable sewer machine to enter your sewer line through an accessible clean out. We will then clear out the stoppage with the cable machine. We will then evaluate the repairs needed (if any) and give you a written estimate to establish the full flow back to your sewer line. The service details are as follows:
- 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 in need of main drain line or any smaller internal drain maintenance and service, bring in a knowledgeable plumber from Bel Red today. You’ll be glad you did!
Regardless of home age and style, attics can be a hugely troubling area of the home when it comes to efficiency and home performance maximization. Homeowners tend to ignore this area and many don’t even know what type or amount of insulation is in their attics. Many are hard to get to, so it’s an understandably downplayed area.
That’s where we come in.
Drafts, cracks and especially poor insulation in hard to reach corners and little used spaces like the attic are often those that go most ignored by homeowners when they think about making improvements to their home’s performance. Unfortunately, ignoring this space could mean ignoring one of the biggest opportunities to increase the efficiency of your home. Sealing and insulating the attic can save you big bucks on your energy bill. This is one home performance and efficiency project that can pay off big time over the long run.
So, you’ve made the leap and decided to add (or replace) additional insulation in your attic. What kinds are you supposed to use? What should you be paying attention to once you know the insulation type that is right for your home? One thing is constant for all types of insulation, and that’s the performance measurement. The R-value measures how resistant the insulation is to heat flow. The higher the R-value on the insulation, the better it will be when it comes to keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you have (or want to add) multiple layers of insulation in your attic, the R-value on each layer is cumulative. For example, if you place two layers of insulation with an R-value of 20, the total R-value would be 40. This is where adding extra insulation to a place like an attic comes in extremely handy for boosting your home’s efficiency.
The two most common types of insulation homeowners and contractors tend to use in home attics are loose-fill insulation, which you may have heard referred to as blown insulation and batt and roll insulation, commonly called blanket insulation.
Blown insulation is made of small clumps materials such as recycled fiberglass, cellulose or mineral wool. It is usually installed by using special equipment to spray it onto the attic floor and into the attic walls and ceiling. It’s important to remember that this type of insulation, especially that comprised of cellulose, can lose up to 20 percent of its R-value as it settles and compacts over time, so it's a good idea to install extra to account for that settling over time.
Batt and roll insulation is typically made of fiberglass and comes in a variety of widths. Its length can be cut to fit the specified area in the attic wall or ceiling and pushed in to fit. While this is an easier attic insulation choice for the do-it-yourselfer, it’s still important to be sure to do proper research prior to installing yourself. This type of roll insulation is typically the cheapest form you can buy.
Insulation is key to home performance and knowledge about the right insulation and amounts of it are a crucial first step. Our team at Bel Red can give you extremely specific and personalized recommendations. If you’re ready to get your attic insulation in order, contact us today.
As we’ve mentioned on the blog in the past, there are two main types of air leaks in the home--general air leaks in different areas of the home and duct leaks in your HVAC system’s duct work. These problems are sometimes not related and can occur in many different types of homes—both new and old.
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 extensive knowledge and experience in identifying where your biggest problems lie, including comprehensive and detailed tests like our Blower Door Test—all part of our home performance assessments.
In this post, we’re laying out a few general air leak problems so you can be aware of common issues.
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.