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Posted by on in Heating

Homeowners have many options for heating their homes. Many homes have wood-burning fireplaces that, for many years, homeowners have relied upon for either their main or complementary heating sources. Wood-burning fireplaces can come with their own set of maintenance, operation and energy challenges.


Gas fireplace inserts have become increasingly popular as a major heating source for homeowners all over. These safe, efficient units have a number of benefits. In this blog series, we’ll be outlining their benefits to help you decide if a gas fireplace insert is right for you and your home. We kick off the benefits below:


  • Gas fireplace inserts are sealed for efficiency. One major issue with wood-burning fireplaces is the loss of efficiency when warm air from the home escapes through the flue. This can occur either through faulty sealing or, most commonly, when someone forgets to close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. This can also allow cold air drafts to enter the home. Both problems obviously contribute to lower efficiency and poor comfort levels for your home during cold months. When installed correctly, gas fireplace inserts all but eliminate air leaks and heat loss—even when installed in existing fireplaces!


  • Fireplace inserts are extremely convenient. Let’s face it—hauling wood for traditional fireplaces is a pain. Even if someone else is doing the chopping, you still have to get that wood to the fireplace log by log. Starting fires can be a challenge depending on the type and quality of wood you’re burning, as well. This can be frustrating when all you want is a quick, hot fire to warm your home. Gas fireplace inserts light with the flip of a switch—literally! You can have fast heat and fast comfort with no work at all.


  • Temperature management is easy. With gas fireplace inserts, you have control over the temperature, much like other non-fireplace heating systems. With wood-burning fireplaces, the fire is either burning or not, so temperature management is often difficult. Many gas fireplace inserts come with thermostat management so you can set your desired temperature and be done.


  • Gas fireplace inserts pump out heat. Many remember the early days of gas fireplace inserts, which were typically more for decoration than for actual home heating. Those days have passed and fireplace inserts are now powerful heat sources that can efficiently heat a large portion of your home.


  • They provide heat when the power goes out. Unlike many other sources of heat, gas fireplace inserts can be used when the power is out, which is especially useful during times like these when we’re experiencing high wind storms.


Bel Red offers installation of many different types and models of gas fireplace inserts. If you’re looking to benefits from one of the advantages listed above (or in the next post), contact us today!


As mentioned in our previous post, Fall is upon us and the cold winter months are just around the corner. That means now is the perfect time to prepare your house for the change in seasons to ensure your home performs to its highest level.


Plumbing is no exception to this reminder and rule. Making sure your home’s plumbing is well maintained and in top shape can save you from large, expensive repairs in the future. Now is the perfect time of year to inspect and make small fixes to any problems or potential issues with your faucets, pipes and other plumbing areas. Here are a few more tips to round out this blog series:


  • Take care of outside plumbing as necessary. If water hoses and other outside faucets aren’t properly disconnected or closed up (often closed on the interior), there could be issues with that uncommon (but very possible) hard freeze. If this isn’t dealt with before the winter season, you run the risk of not only damaging these faucets and hoses, but cracked or burst pipes that can cause major water problems inside your home as well.
  • Test your sump pump and make sure its pit is clear. Knowing your sump pump is properly working can help you rest a bit easier when it comes to plumbing mishaps. These units help protect against flooding damage in your home and even reduce the threat of mold and mildew. Making sure yours is working properly and efficiently is key during this time of year.
  • Dispose of your spooky pumpkins properly. Lastly, and for a bit of seasonal fun, it’s important that pumpkins used to decorate your home during this season are disposed of properly. It is highly recommended that pumpkin seeds and pulp are not put down the sink drain or even the disposal. Pumpkins can cause havoc for your disposal and drain because of its tough, stringy nature. Pumpkin seeds (if not made into a tasty snack) and pulp are best for either your compost or the trash.
  • When in doubt, call an expert. Plumbing is an area of home maintenance and improvement that must be taken extremely seriously. If you don’t have experience plumbing, with either small or large jobs, it’s best to have someone come in to help. A small leak or dripping faucet may be the sign of a more serious (or potential for a serious) issue. Knowledgeable experts, like the plumbing staff at Bel Red can help you inspect, maintain and repair your home’s plumbing, regardless of the time of year.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this fall plumbing blog series. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. We’re here to help.

Fall is upon us and the cold winter months are just around the corner. As you know if you’re visiting the Bel Red site and reading this blog, there are many things that homeowners need to do during this time of year to prepare for the changing temperatures and conditions ahead.


One area that needs special attention is your home’s plumbing. Changing seasons and temperatures, as mentioned above, can be great reminders to make sure your plumbing systems are working properly and efficiently. Preparing your pipes, faucets and other plumbing areas for the colder weather can help save some big headaches and frigid repairs in the future. Here are some fall checklist tips for your home’s plumbing:


  • Check faucets for signs of leaks. Leaky faucets can cause a great deal of water (and sometimes heat) waste. Even a faucet that drips extremely slowly can cause water waste of a gallon or more per day. If it’s hot water that is slowly leaking, this can also cause an unnecessary amount of hot water usage in your home, adding an extra cost to your monthly heating bills.
  • Flush sediment from your water heater. You probably already know water heaters are big contributors to your energy costs. What you may not know, however, is that sediment buildup in your water heater can be a drain on its efficiency. Heat that should be solely heating water can instead work to heat up the sediment, wasting valuable energy. Draining this sediment, or having it done professionally, can potentially save you big.
  • Prepare for cold spells. Though it’s not normal for our area here in the Pacific Northwest to experience long periods of temperatures below freezing, it’s very possible. Ensuring you take precautionary measures to prevent freezing pipes is a good idea during this time of year. Add insulation to necessary pipes. Fix all noticeable leaks now, as these leaks can cause pipes to burst under freezing temperatures. If you know you’re going away when the days and nights get cold, ensure your heat stays on at a reasonable temperature to combat pipe freezing. Paying attention to these and other preventative measures can save you from big headaches and repair costs.
  • Test your water pressure in all faucets. Checking the pressure of your faucets and showerheads can alert you to potential plumbing problems. Low pressure may be caused by sediment buildup or problems with the water line that need to be addressed. Again, doing this now while it’s still warm can help you avoid doing it in the freezing cold when a larger problem presents itself.


We’ll be following up with a few more helpful plumbing tips in part 2 of this series shortly, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can contact Bel Red for all of your plumbing needs and advice.

Posted by on in Safety

In our most recent post, we discussed the importance of carbon monoxide detectors when it comes to keeping your family safe from this harmful gas. As mentioned, Fall is the perfect time of year to make sure your CO detectors, which are required by law in our state, are installed and working properly. It’s also extremely important to brush up on your carbon monoxide knowledge. In the event of exposure, this knowledge may come in handy to keep you and your loved ones safe. To help, we’ve outlined below a few things you should know about carbon monoxide and its exposure.


  • CO is impossible to detect without proper equipment. As stated in the previous post, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Without a carbon monoxide detector, it’s impossible to know whether or not carbon monoxide has been produced and is present in your home. A good detector is the only way to help prevent CO poisoning or worse.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be confused with other sicknesses. Many of the symptoms that come with CO poisoning can easily be confused with common flu symptoms such as headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea or others. People who are sleeping often don’t feel any symptoms before it’s too late. Again, all the more reason to make sure you have the warning of a good CO detector installed.
  • All people are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. While CO may more quickly affect elderly or young children more quickly or with lower levels of concentration, carbon monoxide is dangerous for everyone. More than 20,000 people in the US alone make visits to the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning and exposure.
  • You can help prevent the problem before it starts. There are many precautions, especially during this time of year, that can be taken to ensure your home is free from carbon monoxide and the dangers that come along with it. Maintaining your heating system properly and ensuring good ventilation in your home are two major steps you can take to prevent CO danger in your home. If you have to use a generator this winter because of a power outage, make sure it’s outside and not housed indoors or in the garage. Always make sure your car is outside before warming it up (or at the very least make sure the garage door is fully open).


While there are many other things to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide, taking simple steps now to prepare your home for the colder months ahead can greatly reduce your risk. Again, it’s a great idea to have a comprehensive home safety inspection or audit if you feel your home and family are at risk. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to test and replace your carbon monoxide detectors frequently!

Posted by on in Safety

Carbon Monoxide, commonly referred to as the “silent killer,” can be a very dangerous thing for you and your loved ones. This odorless, colorless gas can be the result of just about any type of burning that occurs in or around your home. Whether you’re burning gasoline, wood, propane, natural gas, oil or coal, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced under the right conditions. Without proper ventilation, even small amounts can be enough to make you sick. Larger amounts can be much, much more serious—potentially even resulting in death.


Fall is the perfect time of year to check to make sure you take the proper precautions to protect yourself against this harmful and potentially deadly gas. You’re about to start using your heating system again, along with other combustion appliances to keep your home warm during the colder months. Now is the time to take steps to ensure your home will be safe during this upcoming time of year.


There are a few important steps to reducing your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. First, it’s extremely important to make sure all fuel or wood burning appliances within the home are well maintained and working properly. Any combustible appliance should be kept in a safe area of the home and in areas that are very well ventilated. Perhaps the most important (and easiest) step, however, is to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. These devices can sense even low levels of this harmful gas and alert you to the danger so you and your family can get to safety before it’s too late.


A carbon monoxide detector uses sensitive gas sensors to detect this otherwise unnoticeable gas. While there are many different types and models of CO detectors on the market, we recommend installing low-level carbon monoxide detectors. These are extremely sensitive and give you the best probability of alerting you to CO gas before levels become harmful. Not only are carbon monoxide detectors good to have in your home, they are required by Washington State law.