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Conventional wisdom says that every major piece of machinery or equipment, such as a vehicle or gas furnace, requires regular maintenance in order to function properly and to realize its expected useful life. However, especially in the case of gas furnaces, we don't usually hear why regular maintenance is important. Because of this, many people may assume that it's just a way for furnace service contractors to make more money. This couldn't be further from the truth! An unmaintained furnace likely leads to more high-cost repairs, and eventually the premature replacement of the furnace. These are areas where a furnace contractor makes a profit.

 

In reality, here at Bel Red Energy Solutions we don't make a profit when we perform a gas furnace maintenance. Why do them? We hope to develop long term relationships with our clients by providing a low cost, high value maintenance service. The reality is that every furnace, like any piece of mechanical equipment, will eventually fail. The key is to do everything we can to make sure the equipment functions optimally for as long as possible.

 

Here are a few ways that ignoring regular maintenance harms your gas furnace and poses a potential safety hazard to your family:

 

  1. Dirty Blower Wheel: A dirty blower wheel can cause several problems. It reduces airflow generated by the wheel, meaning the blower motor has to work harder and can fail as a result. Reduced airflow can also decrease the comfort of the home, and cause the furnace's heat exchangers to overheat and fail. Also, because the blower motor has to work harder, it will use more electricity, reducing the efficiency of your heating system. A dirty blower can also be unbalanced, putting further strain on the blower motor, further increasing the likelihood of failure.

 

  1. Dangerous CO Gas Released into Your Home: As part of a regular maintenance, a gas furnace technician will check your furnace for CO gas levels. Carbon monoxide gas (CO), also called the "silent killer," is tasteless and odorless and can be harmful or fatal at high levels. Heat exchangers in gas furnaces can develop cracks over time, through which CO gas is released. By having regular maintenance performed on your gas furnace, you will ensure that your home and its inhabitants are safe from these harmful exhaust gases.

 

  1. Clogged Filter: A clogged filter can cause a lot of problems for a gas furnace, reducing its efficiency and lifespan. When a filter becomes clogged, airflow through the filter is reduced. This causes the furnace blower to have to work harder, meaning it will use more electricity and be more likely to fail. System short cycling due to overheating also causes premature part failure of heat exchangers, igniters, high temperature limit switches and others. Reduced airflow will also cause problems with comfort and air quality in your home. As your filter becomes clogged and less air is allowed to flow through it, its ability to remove particles from the air is reduced, meaning the air in your home will contain more unfiltered contaminants. We recommend changing your furnace filter every three months, or at absolute minimum twice a year. If you have a lot of pet dander, dust, or other contaminants in the air in your home, you may consider changing the filter more often.

 

  1. Negligence Could Void the Manufacturer's Warranty: Most gas furnace manufacturers' warranties require regular maintenance. If your gas furnace fails due to prolonged negligence, it could void your warranty, piling onto an already unfortunate situation.

 

Avoiding these issues will help you be on your way to a clean, efficient and effective gas furnace for years to come. Bel Red offers comprehensive precision tuning for gas furnaces. Contact us today to find out more information. We’ll also dig into the benefits of these tune-ups in the next post on the blog. Stay tuned!

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It’s that time of year. Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner. On March 8th, it will be time to spring your clocks forward an hour.

 

The two times per year we have to remember to adjust our clocks can also be good reminders that we must stay sharp on key safety issues around the home. Changing the batteries on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is a crucial step toward ensuring the safety of you, your family and other home residents. The batteries in smoke detectors should be changed every six months, which is why the beginning and end of daylight savings time are perfect opportunities to set reminders to do so. According some studies, only three out of four homes reported changing the batteries in their smoke alarms in the last six months. We highly encourage you to remember to do so.

 

Furthermore, and perhaps more often forgotten than the battery changes, it’s extremely important to remember that sensors in carbon monoxide detectors don’t typically last as long as smoke detectors. The sensors in carbon monoxide detectors are only designed to last 2-3 years on average. Maintaining working carbon monoxide detectors is something extremely important, yet something not all homeowners do. While about 95 percent of U.S. homes report having at least one working smoke alarm, only 42 percent report having a working CO alarm based on 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. As a reminder, it’s suggested that carbon monoxide detectors (like smoke alarms) should be placed on every floor in the home and outside all sleeping areas.

 

If it's been more than 3 years since you replaced your carbon monoxide detector, it’s time for a change. You can contact Bel Red today and ask about our low-level CO detectors. These models provide the best protection available for you and your loved ones, along with a long-lasting 5-year sensor.

 

Please keep your home safe for you and your loved ones.  Once you take the necessary steps to check the batteries and functionality of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, go enjoy that extra hour of daylight!

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Have you seen ads in your area for deeply discounted air duct cleaning services? You may have seen them in the local paper or even in your mailbox? Perhaps they have even had an extra incentive for senior citizens? You’re not alone if you’ve seen these types of “too good to be true” ads. As it turns out, more often than not they are exactly that -- too good to be true.

 

These types of scams have been popping up all over the country and they don’t seem to be slowing down. The Better Business Bureau even has a name for them—the “bait and switch” scam. According to the BBB, there are now more than a dozen companies who have been connected with scams like these.

 

Scamming companies have been seeking out unsuspecting consumer prey, entering their homes through these “amazing” duct cleaning deals, and trying to persuade them into additional maintenance and charges that are completely unnecessary. Many bring up potentially harmful threats, such as mold issues that don’t exist, just to get more money out of the consumer. Those who have contracted these companies have been scammed into paying hundreds and in some cases even thousands of dollars to fix issues that don’t exist.

 

In recent years, the Better Business Bureau has received hundreds of complaints, all with similar stories of the customer being duped and spending way too much money for services, even though they thought they were getting a great deal from the start.

 

The bait and switch complaints have become so rampant, in fact, that NBC’s Dateline decided to do a story on the issue. They set up cameras and audio equipment in the homes of elderly individuals who had received similar ads. What followed, as you can expect, fell exactly in line with the repeated issues logged in the BBB complaints. These customers were getting scammed—plain and simple. You can check out the full episode of Dateline with the story at this link.

 

These stories put a huge exclamation point beside the statement that it is hugely important as a homeowner to understand who you are contracting with when it comes to any home improvement project, especially involving issues of safety and large expense items.

At Bel Red, we take these matters extremely serious and treat our customers with the highest levels of respect. We’re always honest and make recommendations not based on getting money from consumers, but based on what’s accurate and in their best interest.

Staying warm is imperative during these colder winter months. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your home. Furnaces are perhaps the most popular way homeowners keep their homes heated and comfortable. While there are many different sizes, shapes, models and types of furnaces, all of them have to be cleaned and maintained in order to maximize their efficiency and overall performance.

 

We’ve put together some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your residential furnace in this blog series. Below, enjoy the final part in this blog series of maintenance tips and items to keep in mind:

 

1. All furnaces are not created equally when it comes to lubrication. Some furnace models do not require regular lubrication. For some models, lubrication is a key aspect of furnace maintenance. However, many models today are permanently lubricated and sealed, not requiring any type of lubrication maintenance. It is extremely important to know what type of model you own, because if it is one that requires lubrication, ignoring this step could be extremely harmful to the furnace’s long-term performance and overall efficiency.

 

2. Shut off the power supply to the furnace before doing any maintenance or cleaning. Many people think a quick cleaning, belt check or other maintenance check without shutting down the power to the furnace. This is a big safety mistake. When doing anything around your furnace (or any electrical appliance or system, for that matter), you should shut off its supply. At your main electrical panel, switch off the appropriate circuit breaker or remove the fuse that supplies power to the furnace. If you’re not sure which circuit leads to the furnace and it isn’t clearly marked on the board, be safe and shut off the power supply to the entire house. Flashlights are your friends during furnace maintenance and cleaning.

 

3. Don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements. Furnace maintenance and cleaning packages are widely available through service providers, suppliers and contractors. It might be in your best interest to take them up on those offers. Letting professional clean and inspect your heating and cooling system on a regular basis will not only ensure you and your loved ones are comfortable, it can lead to a long, healthy and efficient life for your furnace. You may be able to avoid those dreaded larger replacement or repair bills if things aren’t taken care of properly on your own. Don’t be left out in the cold.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series on furnace maintenance and cleaning tips and reminders. Again, you can always contact Bel Red to speak in more detail about getting some help with these (and many other) furnace inspection and maintenance steps.

Staying warm is imperative during these colder winter months. Luckily, there are many different ways to heat your home. Furnaces are perhaps the most popular way homeowners keep their homes heated and comfortable. While there are many different sizes, shapes, models and types of furnaces, all of them have to be cleaned and maintained in order to maximize their efficiency and overall performance.

 

We’ve put together some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining your residential furnace in this blog series. Below, you’ll find part 2 in this series of maintenance tips and items to keep in mind:

 

1.   Keeping your furnace clean is the best step to maintaining the longevity and performance of your furnace. There’s no better way to maximize the efficiency of your furnace and overall heating system than to keep it clean. When you hire a professional for regular service, cleaning the unit will certainly be included in that process, as they know how important it is. While there are other steps to ensuring your furnace is in proper working order, such as checking or adjusting the belt or lubricating the furnace, cleaning should be tops on the inspection checklist. 

 

2.    Keep a calendar alert or mark for changing your furnace filter. Keeping in the realm of a clean furnace and heating system in your home, changing the filter is extremely important to making sure your furnace is not working harder than it has to be. Different types of filters have different time periods for which they can be used, so make sure you know the exact recommended time your unit can go before having a fresh filter. Most standard filters should be replaced every 1 to 2 months. While this is a very easy fix and replacement, it’s often on that is overlooked by homeowners, or they simply forget about it. Setting an alarm on your phone is a great way to make sure you never miss a filter replacement. Remember, the arrows on the replacement filters should face the direction of the airflow into the duct system.

 

3.    Check your furnace belts. Worn or frayed belts should be red flags during furnace maintenance and should both be replaced. Again, if you have a professional doing the service check, he or she will recommend replacement. A broken belt can lead to a quick, and major, problem—one that could lead to the need for an expensive repair call.

 

We’ll have one more post in this series with a few more furnace maintenance tips and reminders coming to the blog shortly. Again, you can always contact Bel Red to speak in more detail about getting some help with these (and many other) furnace inspection and maintenance steps.