Bel Red Energy Blog
In a new blog post series called Bel Red Safety Essentials, we’ll dive into some best practices, safety products and other home safety related topics. Home safety is one of our top priorities here at Bel Red and we’re excited to share some of our knowledge with you on the blog. If you have any questions about these or any other safety posts, don’t hesitate to reach out today to make sure we can help you and your family remain 100% safe in your home.
In the first safety essentials post, we’ll examine the benefits of duct-mounted smoke detection systems.
While it’s required by law to have smoke detectors on each floor and in certain levels of your home, it’s not always the case that these detectors are the only units in the home to keep you safe and ensure you’re warned at the impending danger of a fire. When it comes to house fires and related hazards, more people are injured or die from smoke inhalation than from fire every year. In a house with a duct system that shifts warm or cool air throughout the house, the risk for smoke inhalation can become much worse very quickly.
In the instance of a fire in such a home, extremely harmful fumes and smoke can quickly make their way to every far reaching corner of the home, greatly increasing the risk of inhalation for you and your loved ones. Smoke from even a small, contained fire can quickly consume a majority of the house.
Fortunately, there’s a way to protect from this duct danger—duct-mounted smoke detectors. These units are installed directly onto duct systems. Duct –mounted smoke detectors sample currents in the air handling equipment to determine if smoke or fumes are present. If smoke is detected, the device will close dampers, stop fans and blowers, and trigger an audible and visible signal at the fire control panel. The halted flow of harmful smoke and fumes can greatly decrease the risk of inhalation dangers prior to escape.
Furthermore, these systems can also be a way to greatly reduce smoke damage from a small fire since it keeps the smoke contained. Especially if you live in a larger home with a big duct system, it’s a good idea to keep your duct system from spreading smoke through your home in the event of a fire. A duct-mounted smoke detector can help you do just that.
Many of us today like to buy the latest and greatest electronics and home appliances. These electricity-reliant machines and systems are often a big point of pride for many homeowners. Many of us save up money to get a great new TV, computer or other electronic device that brings much joy to us and our loved ones.
With so much effort and attention paid to the purchase of these systems, you’d think we’d do anything we can to keep them safe and make them last for enjoyment for as long as possible. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t think about the dangers that things like power surges and storms bring to these expensive home electronics.
Even many who do think to protect these units sometimes only opt to buy individual power strips to cover one of two electronic devices or appliances. Many homeowners believe that surge protection begins and ends with plugging their computer into one of these power strip. Unfortunately, that's seldom the case. First and foremost, not all surge protectors live up to their name; some are little more than glorified extension cords and don’t provide the protection promised on their packaging. Second, a surge will follow any wire into a house — phone and cable lines included — and threaten phones and answering machines, televisions, satellite systems, computers, and modems. This is a huge risk that is commonly overlooked.
Fortunately, there’s a way to get coverage for all of these electronics and appliances without having to purchase individual protection for each. Whole-house surge protection as a blanket of safety that protects from surges of power that can do a lot of damage to these valuables.
At Bel Red, we provide both whole-house and inline surge protection. Whole-house or in-line surge arrestors can protect your comfort system or even ALL of your sensitive and valuable electronics from damage in the event of power surges, spikes and brown-outs.
These protection systems, when coupled with plug-in surge protection for your most valuable electronics and appliances, provide you the peace of mind knowing that even the most severe storms or other outage issues won’t have any harmful effect on your home. You’ll be able to enjoy these beloved systems before, during and after the storm no matter what.
Contact us today to learn more about the proper surge protection for your home.
Despite the fact that we may want to be outside as much as possible in the fresh, clean air, it’s a fact that the average person spends most of his or her time indoors. Unfortunately, that same clean air we get when we’re outdoors doesn’t tend to follow us inside.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside our homes can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. This comes from a number of factors, including mold, dust, allergens and other pollutants circulating throughout the home and not escaping outside.
What shocks many is that this problem can sometimes be even worse in newer, more energy-efficient homes. These homes tend to be much better sealed and don’t allow air to exchange regularly from the inside to outside. This keeps contaminated air in and fresh air out.
Fortunately, there are some ways to keep your inside air clean and pure without having to constantly leave your windows open. Ultraviolet (UV) air purification systems use ultraviolet light to rid the air of these harmful contaminants and also prevent things like mold from becoming an issue in your home. They help reduce and eliminate mold, bacteria and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
At Bel Red, we offer two useful ways to disinfect your home’s air with the installation of two UV products/systems:
• Ultraviolet coil lamps – by keeping damp indoor AC coils clean, these systems not only make your air healthier to breathe, they also help maintain the efficiency of your cooling system. Bel Red offers several models to fit most any system.
• Ultraviolet catalytic air purifiers – providing the ultimate in clean air, these devices convert odors, fumes and toxic chemicals into harmless water and carbon dioxide by-products with no ozone generation.
UV treatment systems have been proven effective in reducing molds and certain airborne contaminants in your comfort system and in the air your family breathes. If you’re interested in learning more about cleaning up your indoor air with ultraviolet light, contact us today.
Do I really need to call for help with this project? Can I do this myself? Can I find someone who will just come in and provide a cheap, quick fix?
These are all common questions when being faced with a daunting home improvement project, especially one that involves home performance and energy savings. While there are certainly things DIYers can do around the house to improve the comfort, efficiency and savings of their home, it’s important to realize that not all home improvement projects are equal.
Believe it or not, by hiring a quality contractor for necessary projects, you can save a lot more than just time. You can save money. You can keep your loved ones safe. You can be comfortable and healthy. You can make sure your home isn’t using any more energy than what’s necessary. You can have the peace of mind you deserve.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of “contractors” out there who haven’t gone through proper training and education to be able to best serve their customers. There are those who cut corners to get the job done quickly instead of done right. There are, unfortunately, even those who don’t do what they say they promise to do and keep it hidden from their customers, but still run off with their money. It’s important to know that these cheap options are rarely, if ever, a good choice for home improvement projects—especially those projects that include your safety. Paying a few extra bucks up front to ensure jobs are done correctly is extremely important.
While costs may initially seem higher for licensed contractors at an organization such as ours than they are for individual contractors working on a job-by-job basis, the cost savings of doing things right the first time can result in huge benefits.
The ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America Association) put together a video to give a quick overview of the value of hiring knowledgeable, professional and certified contractors for your home energy projects. See the video below:
If you’re ready to see what a good contractor can be worth to you, contact us today to get started. We’d love to help.
In a recent post on the Bel Red blog, we discussed the fact that more and more, homebuyers are requesting that a full home performance assessment be done before a deal is made. This is a trend that underlines the importance of knowing what to expect when it comes to energy issues, efficiency upgrade potential, and more. While this step is not necessarily required to sign on the dotted line for your new home, we agree that it can be a very valuable step for home purchasers.
Making an investment as large as buying a home understandably makes people examine most aspects of the deal with great scrutiny. Buying a home is likely the largest financial decision people go through in their lifetimes. That said, it’s sometimes easy to let the excitement of buying a new home get in the way of making sure every base is covered when it comes to buyer protection and knowing what they are getting when making the purchase.
While the style, size, location, and more are typically the items that initially make us fall in love with a house, other aspects should not be forgotten. How much should I expect in monthly energy costs during the winter and summer? How old and efficient is the HVAC system in the home? When was the last time the windows were replaced? These home performance questions (plus many more) are important to ask when you’re looking at a home. Having this knowledge will also potentially give you more buying power during the process as well.
The initial investment on a home can obviously be huge, but the hidden follow up costs on repairs, upgrades or new installations to replace old equipment can be “budget breakers” just the same. So how do you protect yourself and get all the answers you need when it comes to ensuring your potential new home is going to be a sound energy purchase? Simple – have a home energy audit done before you buy. There are many things that can be uncovered by having a comprehensive home energy audit completed, including:
- Air leaks in your heating system, windows or doors
- Problems not seen to the naked eye (using Infrared Thermal diagnostics)
- Insufficient or problematic insulation
- Design flaws or obstructions in ductwork
- Gas leaks or other safety issues within the home’s equipment
- Multiple miscellaneous problems with the home’s energy quality and efficiency
Having a full home energy audit done professionally can be a small price to pay to ensure you are maximizing the value of your large investment. If problems are uncovered, you have new buying power to negotiate fixes into the contract or drop the purchase price to cover them. This can save you a lot of money right away. It can also point out problems that should be addressed that, when taken care of, can increase the value of your home immensely over time. Having the home energy audit can also help you make decisions and avoid some unnecessary “upgrade” purchases and improvements.
All in all, having the peace of mind of knowing you are making a sound financial and emotional investment in your new home is certainly reason enough to have a comprehensive home energy audit completed before purchase. Knowing you are going to be walking into a comfortable and efficient new house will go a long way towards a happy new home. If you’re in the home buying process, please feel free to reach out to Bel Red. We’d be happy to help you through the home energy audit process to make sure you’ll be a fully informed buyer.