Bel Red Energy Blog
There’s no avoiding it if you’re a homeowner—the Spring cleaning list. You probably already have a lengthy annual checklist to begin to take care of now that winter is at its close. One question to ask, however, is if you have home performance, indoor air quality and home energy maintenance items included on that Spring cleaning list. These are extremely important items for this time of year when it comes to ensuring your home is as comfortable as it can possibly be.
In this blog post series, we’re laying out some items that you can include on your Spring cleaning checklist with some benefits and reasons for taking care of each. You can find the part 1 tips below:
Clean the fireplace. If you have a fireplace that you use regularly throughout the winter, Spring is the best time to make sure everything is cleaned out. The last thing you want with a wood burning fireplace is to have dirty ash and soot sitting in there until next winter. If cleaning out a wood burning fireplace is turning out to be too much of a hassle (not to mention all that hauling of wood!), it might be a good idea to think about having Bel Red install a gas fireplace insert.
Walk the outside of your home. Making sure the exterior of your house is clean of debris build up from the neglected winter time can help with the efficiency of your home, believe it or not. Doing so will not only clean things up, but alert you to possible air leak or other efficiency issues.
Shine those windows. Cleaning all of the windows in your home will not only make things looks squeaky clean, it will also maximize the amount of sun that can get in and start warming things up sooner.
Don’t forget about the curtains and window shades. Speaking of window cleaning, it’s important to not neglect cleaning or shaking out window curtains and shades during the Spring. Remember, these are some of your best energy efficiency friends any time of the year, but especially as things start to heat up. Proper shades and curtains can help manage temperature inside the home. Clean curtains and shades can also help the quality of the air inside your home and eliminate the dust and allergens that have built up on them in previous months.
We’ll be back with more home energy and indoor air quality Spring cleaning tips shortly. Stay tuned and as always, if you need help with any of these items, or other items related to your home energy and performance needs during this crucial Spring season, don’t hesitate to contact us at Bel Red today.
With March upon us, the official start of Spring is just around the corner. That means homeowners can worry a little less about their heating needs for the remaining cold days of the year. Often times, this level of reduced worry is coupled with a sense of complacency when it comes to home energy and efficiency. The increased energy consumption of the hot summer days is still a distant thought for many. Perhaps it’s a good idea to think about this a bit differently this Spring.
Like many home improvement tasks, Spring is perhaps one of the best times to keep home energy and performance top of mind if you’re a homeowner. It’s a great time for maintenance, improvement projects and efficiency steps to help ensure your home is in tip top shape. The home energy “off season,” if there really is such a thing, is a perfect time to think about assessing the home energy qualities and performance of your home for a few different reasons.
First, as stated by the “off season” comment above, the break between the cold winter months and the warm summer days often means a break in the schedules of top contractors and home energy experts. Scheduling a comprehensive energy assessment may be easiest and most flexible during this time, meaning added convenience for you and your schedule. Home energy professionals have spent the last few months not only carrying out assessments, but also answering to calls of heating emergencies. Theoretically, these emergencies become few and far between as things start to warm up. However, waiting too long can mean the busy summer season will kick into full swing. This availability alone can make scheduling that home performance assessment simple and easier than ever.
Another big plus for home energy assessments and comprehensive audits in the Spring is the difference in temperature between the daytime and night. The high tech testing we do at Bel Red during these assessments works best during these times of high temperature fluctuation from night to day. During the summer when nights are sometimes nearly was warm as the days can make good results from these tests difficult or even sometimes not possible. During the Spring we’re able to identify the biggest areas of heat loss in your home, which will also lead to keeping your cool air in during the upcoming summer.
By determining how your home can be most efficient during an offseason like Spring, you can have some time to make improvements prior to another heavy energy usage season like Summer. This preparation is key to being the best homeowner you can be.
If you’d like to explore the benefits of having your own Spring home performance assessment, contact us today at Bel Red.
Spring is right around the corner, which is welcome news for most. More sun, warmer temperatures, longer days. However, for some, Spring signals a time for outdoor allergies. If the air inside your home isn’t kept clean, it can seem like you just can’t escape air full of allergens regardless of where you go—inside or out.
While those of us affected by allergies in the Spring can’t count on controlling Mother Nature, we fortunately can take steps to reduce the amount of allergens in our home. Below, we’ve listed a few ways to do jus that:
- Install air filtration equipment for the cleanest air possible. As we mentioned in a recent post on the blog, sometimes you need a little assistance when it comes to keeping your air completely clean. There is some amazing equipment that we offer and install to help you do just that, including the CleanEffects™ whole-home filtration system. These machines work wonders and can remove harmful elements from the air inside your home.
- Switch to hardwoods or tile. If you have carpet in your home, you already know how difficult it is to keep clean. The truth is, it may be next to impossible to do so. There’s a lot of dust and dirt that gets trapped in carpeting, especially if it’s longer in nature. This means a lot of the issues causing your allergies to worsen may be starting at the ground level—literally. Replacing your carpet with hardwood or tile may be a huge step to keeping your floors clean and reducing your indoor allergens.
- It’s time to de-clutter. Many homeowners fully admit to it—they have too much stuff lying around the house. This clutter can be a big contributor to low quality air in your home. Having lots of cluttered items that haven’t moved in months (or worse) can lead to dust and dirt building up. If you can’t get rid of the items, store them in properly sealed containers. Clutter that does remain should be dusted and/or deep cleaned regularly, just like anything else in the home.
- Wash your curtains and blinds. Any type of cloth or fabric material inside the home is a goldmine for dust and allergens. They cling to anything they can, causing big problems for your lungs if you’re sensitive to them. Spring is the perfect time to launder all of these “secondary” fabric items in your home to limit the amount of harmful particles that can get into your home’s air.
- Bath time for your pets. While most of us are pet lovers, they can be big culprits of dirty homes and allergen filled inside air. Especially during the wet, muddy Spring, animals get dirty very, very easily. Cleaning your pets once a week, or even once every few weeks, can reduce the possibility of them carrying dirty particles into your home, onto your furniture and rugs, and eventually into the air inside your home. Giving your pets a bath isn’t just for them—in fact it’s mostly for you. Your lungs will thank you.
At Bel Red, we even offer complete indoor air testing with Air Advice™, so you can know exactly where your indoor air quality stands. Contact us today to set up an appointment. It’s true there are many steps you can take, like some of those above, to improve your indoor air quality. However, there are just some allergens and homes that are too tricky to handle for those with bad allergies. We can help make sure the air inside your home is clean, fresh and easy to breathe.
When we think about maintenance on any system or piece of equipment in the home, it’s sometimes easy to focus on a “quick cleanup” or tightening a few screws here or there and the moving along. However, when it comes to an important system that your home relies on so heavily, like your furnace, there are some extremely important implications of regular (or irregular for that matter) maintenance.
At Bel Red, we understand the importance of regular furnace maintenance for a number of reasons. First—the safety of our customers is of utmost importance. An improperly maintained gas furnace, for example, can lead to many safety issues. Second, the performance of the furnace itself relies upon regular maintenance so it performs at its highest level possible. Third, a well maintained furnace makes it so much easier, and cheaper, to provide your home with the highest level of comfort possible.
If a gas furnace is ignored and not regularly maintained or checked by a professional, it could be at a number of risks that could hinder its performance, make you and your loved ones less comfortable, or worse, pose a big safety threat. Some consequences of ignoring gas furnace maintenance include:
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In reality, here at Bel Red we don't make a profit when we perform a gas furnace maintenance. Why do them? We care deeply about the safety and comfort of our customers, that’s why. 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 and keep things as safe as possible through that process.
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.
The term “getting some fresh air” always refers to going outside, and there’s a reason for that. The air outside is referred to as fresh because, despite some instances of allergies or pollutions, for the most part it is clean and can be breathed easily. The air is refreshing outdoors. What about inside? Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels for air pollutants may be up to five times higher indoors than outdoors. There’s a reason (or many reasons) why indoor air quality is sometimes a tricky thing to get right in the home energy and comfort world. There are so many causes of poor indoor air quality, from dirty carpets, to pets, to clutter… the list goes on. An equally long list is made up of reasons why many homes aren’t sufficiently equipped or designed to take care of these issues and help improve the air quality inside our homes.
Regardless of the cause, poor indoor air quality can be extremely bothersome, make us uncomfortable when inside the home, and can even lead to health issues for home residents. Dust, pollen and other allergens can be annoyances and health hazards if we’re constantly breathing them in during the days and nights spent inside.
Fortunately, there are a number of remedies that can lead to improved air quality within the home. One such remedy is whole-house air filtration, which is a great solution for not only improving, but also maintaining high indoor air quality within our homes.
Sometimes you need that extra bit of help to make sure your indoor air is as clean and fresh as possible. At Bel Red, we offer multiple solutions to help with the indoor air quality in your home.
One option is installing a powered air cleaner, which are whole house filtration systems that deliver superior performance and provide excellent value with permanent, cleanable media, eliminating the need to purchase filters. You can read more about them here, including the CleanEffects filtration system.
The second option for whole-house air filtration is a media filter. Media filters provide good removal of dust, pollen, and other large particles, media filters are an excellent option for good filtration at a lower upfront cost than air cleaners.
Your home may have specific needs that require specific, individualized air filtration or general indoor air quality solutions. We’d be happy to help you figure out a great path forward so you can breathe a bit easier in your home.