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Posted by on in Safety

Carbon monoxide, as we’ve written about on the blog previously, is one of the most dangerous gases that can be present in the home. Because of its odorless nature, it can be very difficult to detect before it becomes a danger to those living in the home. In order to help mitigate the risks of carbon monoxide leaks and other problems, simple inspection and maintenance steps should be taken on all home gas heating systems and other appliances.


Here are a few tips and precautions to take that can help you prevent carbon monoxide issues in the home:


·      Look for rust or soot around the point of flame or heat exchange in your heating unit. Discoloration or abnormal flame color can also be warning signs of ineffective or incomplete combustion, which can lead to excess gas making its way into your home.

·      Check all venting systems for proper functionality on your heating system. By ensuring proper venting and air flow where necessary, you can prevent air and gas flow issues from presenting a problem when it comes to carbon monoxide. The vent system should always be in good condition and of high integrity.

·      Make sure your entire system is clean. Regular cleaning and maintenance is key to avoid blockages and restrictions, which can potentially lead to dangerous issues with gas units. Pay attention to areas around flue passages and near combustion points like heat exchangers. These areas are especially crucial when it comes to cleanliness and proper functionality.

·      Beyond visual inspection of the flame from the burner, proper tests should be done. There are some that can be done by experienced homeowners. It is highly recommended that an electronic carbon monoxide analyzer with digital display is used when testing CO levels in these heating units.

·      Always have working carbon monoxide detectors in your house. If you run into any issues or dangers with carbon being present, an effective monitor can alert you to the issue so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Perhaps you are one of the many homeowners who knows your house is losing energy and isn’t as efficient or comfortable as it could be. But, how do you identify the cause of this problem? A great number of homeowners are faced with this problem every day. As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, a comprehensive home energy audit is the place to start. It can help pinpoint the exact root causes of your energy usage and efficiency woes.


The primary method used to identify energy problems within your home is the Blower Door Test. As part of the full home energy assessment, a qualified contractor like Bel Red can use this Blower Door tool to effectively identify how much air is flowing in or out of your home. The airtightness of your home is sometimes a big key (or culprit) to overall energy loss. Whether cold air is getting in during the winter months or escaping during summer months, air leaks can be a costly burden for homeowners looking to maximize efficiency in their home.


The basic operation of the Blow Door tool is fairly simple to understand. The contractor carrying out the testing places and seals a powerful fan in a doorway, creating a pressure difference between the indoors and outdoors of the home, usually by depressurizing the house. All the air that the fan blows out of the house is replaced by air coming in through all the leaks. The amount of air leakage (which equates to energy loss) is measured by how much air blows through the fan.


This process also allows trained contractors to easily identify where leaks are coming from in each room of the house. In some cases, these leaks are strong enough to even be identified by the hand. In other cases, smoke tools and other devices like infrared cameras are used to identify these leaks. This type of diagnosis allows the contractor and homeowner to identify the biggest root causes of their air leak problems.

Posted by on in Heating

When it comes to heating topics on this blog, we’ve written quite a bit about furnace maintenance repair and heat pumps—both specialties of Bel Red and our talented and knowledgeable staff. You might be wondering, “Do they do installation, maintenance, and repairs on boiler systems?” There’s an easy answer to that—of course!


Boilers, which use hydronic heating to perform the same types of home heating functions you’d get from a more common furnace or heat pump system. The typical boiler heating systems heats water to high temperatures, then uses that heat energy to push warm air throughout the house. Multiple forms of energy, including gas, electricity or oil can be used to power these types of heating systems.


Bel Red’s staff of licensed plumbers and HVAC technicians are highly trained to handle both common and uncommon problems with these systems. We service most boiler brands, including Buderus, Baxi, Raypak, Weil–McLain, Peerless, Lars, Burnham, Utica, Dunkirk, Lochnivar, and many more.


While we offer full repair and replacement at Bel Red, we also take care of associated zoning issues, radiator repairs and installation, gas piping issues or installation, and chimney liner remediation and relining. Our staff is trained to handle all of these boiler related issues with care and safety in mind.


Like furnaces, boilers should have annual maintenance and inspections in order to extend their lives and ensure they are working as properly and efficiently as possible. We offer comprehensive 17-point inspection for our boiler customers, which includes:


                  Burner cleaning (for both safety and efficiency)

                  Leak inspection

                  Inspection of electrical connections with the boiler system

                  Inspection of all boiler controls

                  Check and adjust PRV / pressure check valve operation


We also make sure any maintenance or repairs are going to help maximize the life of your boiler with proactive inspections and a full system analysis. These precautionary steps will help prevent inconvenient breakdowns and help uphold the manufacturer’s warranty on these systems.

It can often be perceived that contractors in our industry are just out to sell homeowners as many products and services as possible—whether or not they truly need them. At Bel Red, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have always prided ourselves on taking care of our customers; focusing on education and service that will provide them the best possible indoor living environment they can experience.


When it comes to home performance, our goal is not to sell customers products or services they don’t need. Just because we carry top quality products and provide an extremely high level of service and care doesn’t mean every customer needs everything we have to offer. Our goal is to help them identify the root causes of the problem at hand in their home when it comes to comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency, then offer them solutions to those problems.


When customers bring us a problem, we do what we can to fix it. It’s not about selling insulation or heating equipment. It’s not about selling them a new furnace or heat pump. It’s about providing our customers testing, education and consulting—with no goal in mind other than giving them the indoor environment they have always wanted and needed, but didn’t yet have.


This is a big piece of our commitment to taking care of our customers. More than just sales people, we’re a team of qualified, educated professionals who want to help solve any home performance issues with which we’re presented.


We always guarantee and stand behind everything we sell and do. But, deep down, we’re about great people dedicated to serving our customers in a fair way that makes sense for each individual person we service.


Our technicians deliver the information, products, and skills you need to make your home as comfortable, efficient, safe and healthy as possible. We take the time to thoroughly examine your system, explain all options to you, and answer any questions you have so you can make the best decisions possible for you and your home. This understanding between our team and our customers is an extremely integral part of the process of any job that needs to be done by Bel Red.

Home permits can be a tricky area for homeowners. While it’s common sense that permits are needed for large construction or other projects, it’s often somewhat difficult to find out if permits are necessary for specific home improvement projects. Furnace installation and replacement sometimes falls into this category. Many who need the work done are left wondering if this falls into the “permit zone.”


The short answer—yes. In Washington State specifically, a mechanical permit or furnace permit is required by law in order to fully replace a furnace, even like-for-kind replacements. These are major home projects that require a great deal of work by contractors and installation teams. A permit helps ensure the contractors carrying out this work are licensed and in a proper position to do so.


Additionally, a low-voltage electrical permit is also required during this process for the control wiring and thermostat work that comes along with the territory of furnace replacement—even if the old thermostat is going to be reused with the new furnace system. As mentioned above, permits bring peace of mind to the project, as it can be dangerous if carried out by someone other than a licensed professional.


Furnaces, whether gas or electric, are vented appliances that must be properly installed to ensure safety. If not properly installed, furnaces can cause illness, injury or even death. As mentioned above, permits ensure the contractor executing the installation is licensed, insured and bonded. These permits provide a 3rd party inspection that ensures the installation meets manufacturer’s guidelines and code requirements for safety and proper operation.


In the case of a furnace installation, permits can also help in the case of a mishap. If you do not have the proper permit and have your furnace installed improperly, homeowner’s insurance will most likely not cover the cost of damages, repairs or replacement. As you can imagine, this can be a very costly mistake.