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Posted by on in Safety

We’ve discussed on the blog about the importance of taking steps to ensure your home stays free of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. Another, similarly harmful gas that can result from poor indoor ventilation is radon. This dangerous gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because the air pressure inside your home is typically lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation, your home can potentially act like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.

 

Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. Regardless of the way radon enters your home, it is a very dangerous occurrence for you and your loved ones.

 

Radon is a cancer-causing gas that is estimated to cause many deaths in the United States each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country—second only to smoking. This is why it is so important to know the proper ways to mitigate radon in your home.

 

First and foremost, ensuring proper levels of ventilation in your home is key to avoiding radon problems. Especially in “trouble areas” such as basements or crawlspaces, ventilation allows clean air to circulate in your home. Vapor barriers also protect against harmful gases entering the home through these spaces. A closed home, especially in the winter months, can lead to an increased risk of radon exposure for the home’s inhabitants.

Posted by on in General

You’ve done it! You’ve just purchased your first home. Congratulations! You’ve successfully made it through the long process of finding and securing your first mortgage, found the perfect home for you and made it through the sometimes torturous waiting period from offer and acceptance to closing on the home. This is truly something to celebrate. Likely, there are some things you’ll probably want to change about the home when you first move in.

 

Once you have those keys in hand, you probably want to jump right in on those projects and upgrades to truly make the home yours. However, it can’t be stated enough that there are many safety steps and familiarizations you should be making with your new home as a first step. These can ensure you and your loved ones stay safe in your brand new home. We’ve listed a few below to help you get started.

 

·      Know where the water shutoff valve is located. Water can be a dangerous thing to any home. When you have a water emergency, the first immediate step should be to shut off the water coming into your home by turning the main water shutoff valve to the off position. To do so, you obviously need to know where that is located. If your home inspector did not show you during the home’s walkthrough, be sure to locate it yourself so you can be prepared for any water mishap. In addition, make sure your main water shutoff valve and all valves located throughout the house are in proper working order and made of durable materials. We recently just wrote about the importance of making sure your water shutoff valves are up to par in terms of performance and durability, so that post is a great place to start with this process.

 

·      Know where the gas shutoff is located. Perhaps more important than knowing the location of the main water shutoff valve is knowing where the gas shutoff is located in the home. Regardless of the type of fuel, it’s extremely important to not only know the location of the gas shutoff, but the process to actually shut it off. You likely have many different appliances that use this gas—whether your heating system, your water heater or washer and dryer. Shutting off the main gas line to your house can help avoid serious safety hazards in the case of an emergency.

 

·      Call 811 before digging a hole. Have a big landscape project on your mind for your new front or back yard? Make sure you know where the gas, water and electric lines are that run from the street to your home. By calling 811, which is a national dig-safety hotline, you can begin the process of identifying where these pipes are so you can be sure to avoid them. This service connects you to local contractors that can let you know where your pipes are located. In our area, you call also call Bel Red directly and we can help you with this process.

Posted by on in General

As the holidays are upon us, we wanted to take an opportunity to thank all of our great Bel Red family—including customers and employees alike. We take great pride in bringing you the highest quality service for all of your home energy, heating, cooling and home comfort needs, among others.

 

We greatly appreciate all of the support our customers provide our business and know we couldn’t be where we are today without you. As an ongoing thanks, we always make it our highest priority to bring you the highest level of customer service and satisfaction as possible. If you’re ever unsatisfied with our work, we will fix the issue as quickly as possible. On top of our guaranteed work, we provide prompt, expert service in a caring way. Our customers are well worth going the extra mile and it’s something we work to do more and more each day.

 

Aside from huge thanks for our customers, we’d also like to thank our hardworking staff here at Bel Red. Their dedication allows us to be a leader in the home energy industry, not only with their caring service, but also their overall knowledge and hardworking nature. As mentioned above, we look at our team here at Bel Red as family. As I’m sure you’ll be doing with your family and loved ones, our team will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow at home with their families and friends. We’ll be closed all day to allow them to take a much-deserved break to enjoy themselves and their loved ones.

 

At Bel Red, we have a specific set of core values that are not just phrases on our website or posters on the wall—they are values we live day in and day out. Our core values include:

Tagged in: Bel Red Thanksgiving

Posted by on in Heating

Overall, the economy has been slowly recovering over the past few years, and consumer sentiment and actions have started to match that slow recovery. This is true in the home energy and HVAC industry as well. Many people have been weighing the options of simply making repairs to their heating and cooling systems and totally replacing their units. While each case is certainly different, we thought we’d provide some helpful tips in case you’re in the market for upgrading or repairing your HVAC system.

 

Weigh your financial options. Given the overall investment needed to either repair or replace and HVAC system, this can be a big decision. It’s a good idea to do your homework before going down one path or the other. There are some very helpful tools, including our Repair vs. Replace calculator that allow you to enter specific data and get a cost-based recommendation to repair or replace the system. This calculator takes into account how long you think you can keep the current unit, the estimated cost of fully replacing the unit, the estimated repair costs (both now and in the future) to get your system running properly, and the average annual fuel cost associated with the system. Use this recommendation to help make an educated decision.

 

Think about the long-term. Even if you make repairs or have them done by a professional contractor, more problems can present themselves in the future—sometimes the very near future. Especially with old, unreliable units, repairs may be necessary much more often than you would like and repair costs may begin to pile up. It’s possible that soon after these initial repairs, more repair costs could amount to close to what it would have cost to replace the system originally.

We’ve all heard, or experienced, the nightmare that comes along with any type of water damage within the home. Whether it’s a flooded basement, a leak in the ceiling or roof, or faulty plumbing, even a small amount of water can do a great deal of harm. It’s a bit of a wonder, then, why something as important as a water shut-off valve isn’t always made of the highest quality materials.

 

In our experience, most homes are built with compression shut-off valves on the faucets and toilets. Worse yet, most valves even in newer homes are made of cheap plastic. This can be a huge problem when it comes to water leaks and damage. It’s not necessarily a question of IF these types of cheaper valves will fail, but more a questions of WHEN they will fail.

 

While they may do the job for a short timeframe, compression valves were not meant to last for a great deal of time. It seems most of these compression valves only function properly for about a decade—sometimes even much shorter. Like many mass-produced pieces and parts, speed and low cost is the number one priority for the manufacturer. If they can make a product that will last even a few years, they’re likely happy. Unfortunately, homes require technology that lasts much longer than this short time period—whether the house has the same owner or it is bought and sold many times.

Tagged in: Bel Red Plumbing