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Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.


The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. The first few myths are outlined below along with some real alternatives:


  •       Myth #1: Putting lemons in your disposal to make it smell Fresh is a good idea.When life gives you lemons, don't put them down your disposal! You might succeed in briefly creating a fresher aroma, but the citric acid from lemons corrodes the metal inside your disposal.


The Better Alternative: Use ice to polish your disposal up inside, which works just like a rock tumbler polishing rocks;it's noisy, but it works. Power-wash the scum causing the odor from the dram without miningyour disposal.


  •       Myth #2: "In tank" cleaners will keep your toilet sparkling and smelling like roses. Spending money on "in tank" cleaners marketed to make your chores easier and decrease the time you spend scrubbing your toilet is one cost you can cut. These products bleach smelly build-up white, but don't get rid of it. Eventually, the build-up can ruin your toilet.


The Better Alternative: Use vinegar down the overflow tube. Vinegar removes smelly build-up that can damage the flow of your toilet for a fraction of the cost.


  •       Myth #3: Lifetime warranties on bad products are really useful. When you buy something cheap and it breaks, don't expect to get it replaced with the latest and greatest product on the market. What you buy is what you're stuck with. Plus, you'll be spending time and money to keep reinstalling it.

The Better Alternative: Buy good quality products the first time around and avoid trading in junk for junk.


  •       Myth #4: Running water while using the garbage disposal helps the waste travel smoothly.Sure, it seems like the perfect combo: letting the faucet run while using the garbage disposal to help wash waste down the drain. It's something we've all done. And inevitably, we've all had to reach our hands down the drain to unblock whatever leftovers got jammed in the pipes. Following waste with water doesn't help if the blockage has already happened before the water shows up.


The Better Alternative: Fill the sink basin with a 4:1 ratio of water to waste so that the waste is separated and flows with ease down the drain.


We’ll be following up with more plumbing myths with better alternatives that actually work shortly on the blog. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!


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Posted by on in Heating

In the previous post on the blog, we discussed some of the potential harms that can come from ignoring regular maintenance on your home’s gas furnace. Ignoring these crucial steps can not only hurt the performance of your furnace, but can also lead to home safety issues for you and your family.


Fortunately, Bel Red offers comprehensive furnace tune-ups, allowing you to rest assured your furnace will be in the top shape it can possibly be. What are the benefits of these maintenance checks and tunes? We’re glad you asked. Here’s what you get with one of our furnace maintenance visits:


  1.       Inspection of the heat exchanger for dangerous cracks. These can allow harmful Carbon Monoxide emissions to escape into the airstream and build up in your home.
  2.       Removal and cleaning of the burner assembly. Buildup here reduces the efficiency of your furnace making it much more expensive to heat your home.
  3.       Oiling the blower motor bearings. Some newer units have sealed bearings and don't require this step.
  4.       Inspection of the blower wheel for buildup of dirt and dust. A timely diagnosis of this condition can save very expensive repairs of the blower motor as well as improving efficiency and comfort in your home. Although the removal, disassembly, and cleaning of the blower assembly is an additional investment it is money well spent considering the alternative.
  5.       Cleaning or changing of the air filter. This step is typically performed by the homeowner, but it is nice to know you get to skip it this once.
  6.       Vacuuming and cleaning of the internal and external surfaces of the furnace.
  7.       Inspection of the internal electronic components to ensure safe and reliable operation of the equipment.
  8.       Inspection of the indoor coil for air conditioning or heat pump systems. Restrictions in the coil can cause severe performance issues making the system very expensive to operate.
  9.       Cleaning of the outdoor coil.
  10.       Test air temperatures and carbon monoxide levels. Many systems run for years at levels that don't maximize their efficiency and comfort capabilities.
  11.       Test refrigerant pressures. Over time air conditioners and heat pumps can develop leaks that go undetected. Without adequate refrigerant, the system can run continuously without significant heating or cooling being done. Also, the refrigerant carries oil that is essential for lubricating the compressor, the heart of the unit. A failure of the compressor can be costly and easily avoided.
  12.       Drain treatment can be added to keep the drain water from your furnace or AC flowing freely. Clogged drains can cause overflows and costly water damage. Drain treatments are usually as needed and a small charge for the service may apply.


If you don’t want to miss out on the most comprehensive furnace maintenance check on the market today, give us a call.

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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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Posted by on in General

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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Posted by on in General

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.

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