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At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Below is part 2 of the series. Enjoy!

  • Make your landscaping eco-friendly. While we spoke about living walls and rooftop gardens in the previous post, implementing eco-friendly landscaping practices around your home in general can have a great impact on energy savings as well. Going along with the theme of saving water just discussed, collecting rainwater whenever possible to use in the garden or on other plants is a great energy savings and eco-friendly practice. Strategically installing trees and shrubs can also help shade your home and act as external insulation, reducing energy needs inside the home.
  • Add plants to your home. Speaking of the power of plants, adding some greenery to the inside of your homeLiving walls and roof gardens, while around for many, many years, are making a comeback with the green wave. These plant coverings fight pollution by absorbing both noise and carbon dioxide alike. They can also add an additional layer of insulation to your home. This may be the most literal tip for “greening” your home, but it can be one of great benefit and provide added visual appeal in your home as well!
  • Rely on natural light. While we discussed the impact the installation of CFL light bulbs can have on your overall energy consumption, nothing can beat turning off your lights completely and using natural light whenever possible. Make sure windows aren’t blocked so as much outside light can enter your home. If you’re in a position to install new windows (or are building a new home), place the windows strategically so you’ll maximize the amount of sunlight getting into the home.
  • Upgrade your light bulbs. If you can't rely on natural light all time time (which you can't), This is a small and rather inexpensive change that can have a major impact. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with eco-friendly and high performing CFL bulbs can make a huge (and positive) dent in your monthly energy use and bill. This option is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

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At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Enjoy!

  • Get a professional home performance assessment. It’s hard (or impossible) to know how to fix an energy problem if you don’t know what that problem is in the first place. By bringing in professionals and specialists like the team here at Bel Red, you can rest assured that you’ll have all energy and overall home performance issues pinpointed. Once you have the problems identified, these same professionals can lay out a roadmap and path to fixing the problem. This added help will be set up in a way that’s reasonable for your home budget and lead to ensuring your home’s environmental footprint is as small as it can possibly be given your unique situation.
  • Use power strips for your electronics and appliances. Plugging multiple electronics or small appliances (chargers, TVs, computers, coffee makers, etc.) and turning the strip off when things are not in use may seem like a small change, but it can be a great habit to get into. The collective savings you’ll get from doing a hard shutoff of these devices can be big—in some cases saving you more than 10% on your annual electric bill. Training the whole family to shut off the strips is a great idea and can really reduce unnecessary energy consumption in your home.
  • Clean your appliances regularly. Cleaning appliances and home heating and cooling systems can drastically increase their efficiency over the long-term. Dirty or clogged appliances can cause energy usage to skyrocket. Unless these units and systems are maintained and kept clean, they will have to work extra hard to perform, meaning you’re going to be using way more energy to keep your home and way of living in order.
  • Adjust your heating and cooling. One of the biggest culprits of high and sometimes unnecessary energy use comes with not properly adjusting the temperature settings in your home. Many people don’t take advantage to helpful tools and practices like scheduling your thermostat to allow for lower energy usage when nobody is home. Even if you are home, can you adjust the temperature a degree or two and still be comfortable? Even a slight change like that can add up to big energy savings over time.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

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When it comes to energy loss in the home, air leaks are a big culprit. We are seemingly always trying to figure out ways to make our homes more air tight, both in the warmer Summer months that are approaching and during the colder months that have just passed.

There are two main types of leaks that can cause problems when it comes to your home’s performance – general air leaks around the home and duct leaks in your HVAC system’s duct work. While a bit different in nature, both can cause major efficiency problems. 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 an immense amount of experience dealing with both and can bring you the latest technologies and approaches to help your home perform to the best of its ability. In order to provide some immediate help to those of our readers in need, we’ve decided to put together a quick overview of some of the general air leak issues homeowners face. In this blog post, we’ll examine the common problem spots and fixes of general air leaks.

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.

Again, professionals like the team at Bel Red can perform very specific and detailed tests, such as the blower door test, to identify many more air leak issues than a typical homeowner can with the naked eye as part of our comprehensive home energy performance assessment. Contact us today to get one set up. Stay tuned as we next will discuss air leaks in a home’s duct work—an equally challenging set of issues many homeowners face.

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There are many ways to save energy in the home. Many times, we turn to experts for some advice or reminders on ways we can be using less and paying less for our energy by reducing needs and becoming more efficient. At Bel Red, we pride ourselves on being experts in this area. Another expert is certainly the Department of Energy. The DOE regularly shares some great tips of energy efficiency and energy savings and has a great perspective on our country’s collective energy use. Energy.gov is a resource that can be used for many different things, including getting tips on simple ways to save energy around the home.

Below, you’ll find a summary of some of the main tips from the DOE that will help you save energy in and around the home:

  • Wasted air means wasted money. By properly air sealing and weather-stripping your home, you can quickly save a ton of wasted energy and instantly cut back on energy bills.
  • Turning your thermostat down during the cold months even a few degrees eight hours a day or more can have drastic savings on the amount of energy required to heat your home. In fact, reducing the set temperature by 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs.
  • As we mentioned in this water heating post, reducing the temperature on your water heater can also have a big impact on your energy usage. We detailed additional savings tips for your water heater in our blog post, so please check that out to find out more on this topic.
  • It’s a common misconception that strictly using hot water in your washing machine will result in cleaner clothing. Using cool or cold water can be just as effective at getting your clothing clean and can save you a bundle on heating your water.
  • Don’t use energy you don’t need! Even a change as simple as using the auto-sleep function on your computer, you can save as much as $30 per year on your electric bill. That’s just one small awareness change that can lead to big savings on electricity.
  • Building on the last tip, don’t forget to unplug all appliances when not in use. Shockingly, in the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off, which could cost about $100 a year.

It’s very true, even the smallest, simplest changes can make a big impact on your energy bottom line. At Bel Red, we’re extremely conscious of energy savings and want to be as informative as possible to consumers regarding this topic. If you’d like to discuss ways to reduce your energy consumption and cut back on energy bills in your home, please contact us today.

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While we’d argue that it’s important to keep all of the systems in your home well maintained, there certainly are items of particular importance when it comes to maintenance. Certainly your heating and cooling system is at or near the top of the list, since proper maintenance keeps you safe, comfortable and helps things run more efficiently.

Maintenance on the home’s plumbing should also be a top priority. Failure to do so could result in some big expenses that could have been avoided altogether with proper, professional care and consideration. Plumbing maintenance is one of our specialties at Bel Red, and it’s our goal to ensure you don’t run into a flood of issues in your home.

It’s an unfortunate reality that with many homeowners, out of sight can mean out of mind, but like other home maintenance needs, a proactive approach to your home’s plumbing offers significant savings—both saving water and money. Leaky faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water every day. These are just two scenarios in which a plumbing system that isn’t cared for properly can be extremely wasteful. The good news? With a little maintenance, you can prevent little problems as well as big ones.

With our annual plumbing maintenance programs and packages here at Bel Red, you can realize some great benefits that will make your life easier and potentially save you a great deal of money over time. There are some significant advantages of the plumbing maintenance programs. All of our plumbing maintenance programs and packages include the following:

  • Assurance of a smooth-running of systems
  • Access to the latest water and energy conservation techniques
  • Prevention of water temperature spikes
  • Protection warranties and guarantees
  • Practical advice and suggestions
  • Assurance that your plumbing is up to code and safe

We also understand that some homeowners just don’t have the time to devote to proper maintenance on home plumbing systems even if they do have the proper knowledge. We’re here to help.

If you’d like to discuss any of our plumbing maintenance services and packages, give us a call today or shoot us an email. We’d be happy to help make sure things are flowing smoothly in your home!

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