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Posted by on in Efficiency

If you own a newer home built within the last decade or two, it is probably equipped with many up-to-date home performance and energy efficient features. It’s likely that it has new, high efficiency heating and cooling systems and insulation with high R value. Leaks and cracks around windows and doors are less likely to be present. Water heaters, appliances and electronics probably require much less energy than their older counterparts, and so much more.

But, what about older homes? What about homes that your family stays in for many years and decades, even?

Well, it’s obvious that if a family stays in their home for a very extended period of time, their home is going to age with them. Just like we have to continue to take care of ourselves as we get older, we have to pay attention to and take care of our homes to keep it performing well over time.

Many homeowners stay in their homes for an extended period—at times many, many decades. Over this large span of time, an aging home can come with some tricky challenges when it comes to rising costs associated with operating that particular home. Without significant changes or certain upgrades, a home requires the same amount of fuel and energy to keep it warm or properly functioning. It’s obvious that the costs of fuel rise dramatically over a long period of time.

This could make it difficult to keep up with rising costs. Many older homeowners, especially those on fixed retirement incomes, often struggle with these rising prices. Energy efficiency upgrades can help make that home much more efficient, therefore lowering the overall energy usage and costs associated with keeping the home comfortable. By increasing the home’s performance, the added efficiency can help offset the rising costs discussed above.

Speaking of down the line, homeownership is an investment that can provide a great return for future generations. If you plan on eventually passing your home along to a loved one, it’s important to make all the necessary upgrades and enhancements that are financially feasible so that the investment will continue to grow value over time and not deteriorate with an uncared for home. There are many great resources, including this link that lists some finance programs, tax credits and incentives in place to make these improvements easier on the wallet in our Pacific Northwest area.

If you’re in an older home that has definitely aged over time and you’d like to explore upgrading its performance and making it feel (and act) like new again, contact Bel Red today for help.

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Your home’s water can be one of the biggest energy users in the home. Many factors come into play when taking into consideration how much energy you’re using to heat water for both everyday and sporadic activities around the house. The type of water heater you have, usage habits, and many other considerations should be made when thinking about ways to save energy while still keeping your home and selves comfortable.

In this blog post series, we’ll touch on a list of items that you should keep top of mind when it comes to your home’s water heater.

  • Use cold water during washing machine cycles. While many think using warm or hot water for all of their clothing wash cycles will get your clothes and linens cleanest, that’s often not the case. In most cases, using cold water during the wash portion of the cycle is just as effective. Cold water can always be used during the rinse portion of the cycle. Switching these habits can lift a lot of weight off your water heater, saving you energy.
  • Consider a washing machine and/or dishwasher upgrade. Speaking of washing machines, if you have an older machine, especially one that is more than 10 years old, you could be saving a lot of energy, and water for the matter, by upgrading to a new Energy Star rated machine. In fact, water savings alone from a newer high efficiency model could save an average of $135 per year according the Energy.gov. The same can be said for your dishwasher. Older, less efficient dishwashers tend to use a large amount of hot water. Energy Star qualified washers can save over 30% on both energy and water.
  • Call in the experts. As with any energy savings efforts, if you’re not very sure what could be saving you money, or if you just don’t have the time to dedicate to checking on these items or making installations yourself, it’s a good idea to call in experts such as our knowledgeable service staff at Bel Red. Qualified (and certified) professionals will be able to give you dedicated, caring support and individual problem solving tips to help you make sure you’re using less energy to heat the water you need at home.

For a more detailed and personalized list of improvements for you and your home, please contact Bel Red today. We’ll help guide you through not only the items on this checklist, but also individual recommendations built just for you and your budget.

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Your home’s water can be one of the biggest energy users in the home. Many factors come into play when taking into consideration how much energy you’re using to heat water for both everyday and sporadic activities around the house. The type of water heater you have, usage habits, and many other considerations should be made when thinking about ways to save energy while still keeping your home and selves comfortable.

In this blog post series, we’ll touch on a list of items that you should keep top of mind when it comes to your home’s water heater.

  • Think about upgrading your water heater. Especially if your water heater is more than 7 or 8 years old, it may be time to think about an upgrade if you’re looking to have more efficient hot water in your home. There are many high efficiency models, both with tank and tankless, from which to choose. Plus, being proactive about upgrading to and installing a new  water heater will allow you to avoid disaster if your current water heater fails! You can check out a few internet specials exclusive to Bel Red at this link.
  • Lower the thermostat. Much like managing the thermostat on your home heating and cooling system, the thermostat on your water heater can be key to saving a ton of energy and money. Just a few degrees lower can help save you big over time. The lower the temperature, the shorter the system has to work to get the water to temperature. Test the water coming out of your faucets and see if you’d be comfortable lowering the temperature a few degrees. It’s likely the case! 120 degrees is a good place to start, then lower it from there depending on your personal preference and hot water needs.
  • Skip the bath – stick to the shower. Showers typically use far less water than a bath. Filling your bathtub can take a very long time, which means that’s a lot of hot water used. That also means that your water heater has to work overtime to constantly heat new water to go into the tub. Sticking to the shower (and even going a step further and reducing your time in the shower) will really help you save water and energy.

For a more detailed and personalized list of improvements for you and your home, please contact Bel Red today. We’ll help guide you through not only the items on this checklist, but also individual recommendations built just for you and your budget.

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Your home’s water can be one of the biggest energy users in the home. Many factors come into play when taking into consideration how much energy you’re using to heat water for both everyday and sporadic activities around the house. The type of water heater you have, usage habits, and many other considerations should be made when thinking about ways to save energy while still keeping your home and selves comfortable.

In this blog post series, we’ll touch on a list of items that you should keep top of mind when it comes to your home’s water heater.

  • Repair leaky faucets and pipes. If you’re seeing leaks in your plumbing, specifically more common problems such as constantly leaking or dripping faucets, it’s a great idea to get them repaired immediately. If the water that’s leaking is hot, that means it had to have been heated up by your water heater. This wasted water also means wasted energy. Proper plumbing can play a big role in saving hot water energy.
  • Install low-flow faucets and showerheads. Most of the hot water in your house is typically used in the shower and during more water-intensive activities such as cooking. Low-flow showerheads can obviously save a big amount of water per shower, which also means energy savings as a result. During cooking, activities where an exact amount of water isn’t required (such as rinsing vegetables), low-flow faucets can have the same result.
  • Insulate your water heater storage tank and pipes. If you have a tank water heater, it can be a very good idea to insulate its exterior and pipes. This will help keep heat in when it’s not running, which will mean the system won’t have to work as hard next time it comes on to heat that water to the desired temperature. An important note – be sure to not cover the thermostat with the insulation.
  • Drain the sediment from your water heater regularly. It’s a good idea to think about draining some of the water from your water heater every 3-6 months. Sediment that collects on the bottom of the water heater should drain with the water. This sediment can impede heat transfer and make the system much less efficient over time.

For a more detailed and personalized list of improvements for you and your home, please contact Bel Red today. We’ll help guide you through not only the items on this checklist, but also individual recommendations built just for you and your budget.

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Posted by on in Plumbing

While we may not initially think about it, the cold months of winter are an extremely important time of year for the plumbing system in your home. Some of the biggest catastrophes can happen during this time, and those problems are the most difficult, annoying and even downright painful to fix while it’s freezing cold out.

Any change in season is a good time to inspect and maintain your home’s plumbing system. In this short blog post series, we’ve laid out some helpful tips that you can follow to help make sure your home plumbing is flowing like a champ this winter. Below is second and final part to this blog post series:

  • 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.
  • Don't forget about your outdoor plumbing. 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.
  • When in doubt, give Bel Red a call. Don’t hesitate to call in the reinforcements! 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.

As always, if you don’t feel comfortable inspecting your home’s plumbing or think there may be some issues, don’t hesitate to contact Bel Red’s team of plumbing experts today

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