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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

Posted by on in Plumbing

We all know how what a hassle food scraps and food garbage can be. Not only can it cause a mess during daily meal cleanup, it can also be a smelly process to rid your household of these leftover bits of food. Regardless of where you keep your garbage can, rotting food scraps can cause bad odors in your home or garage that can be a big pain to get rid of. Bagged garbage can also attract animals and insects if those bags are full of old food and can potentially even create unsanitary conditions in your home. Fortunately, there is a great way to deal with the problem of food garbage after your meals and snacks – food disposers. More good news? These disposers have gotten a lot more effective in recent years.

 

Food disposers also have a very positive impact on the effectiveness of your kitchen pipes and plumbing system. By properly grinding up and disposing of your food with a food disposer, you’ll not only avoid terrible rotting smells in these pipes, you’ll also help keep those pipes clean and clear. Especially around this big cooking and baking time as we approach the holiday season, it’s extremely important to keep this plumbing working effectively.

 

New models from a leading disposer brand, InSinkErator, recently hit the market and are blowing away the performance of the old competition. Anything from chicken bones to coffee grinds can be handled effectively with these new models within the InSinkErator Evolution® series.

 

The Evolution Excel model takes performance of food disposers to a new level, featuring SoundSeal Plus™ technology, which delivers ultra-quiet performance. Gone are the days when conversations have to stop when the disposer switch is flipped on because of the extremely loud noise. The InSinkErator Multigrind Plus™ technology ensures food is sheared, shredded and grinded into fine bits before washing through your pipes. This makes plumbing clogs and backups caused by your food very rare, and in most cases completely eliminates their possibility when these machines are used properly and effectively. You can watch the video at the bottom of this post to see the Evolution Excel in action.

Posted by on in General

It’s that time of year again. Time to get our kids dressed up for school parties, community gatherings and, of course, trick or treating on Halloween night. Their excitement can be clearly felt and seen. It can be an extremely fun night for all involved. Unfortunately, Halloween night can also pose some dangers to children. We thought we’d share a few Halloween safety tips to keep in mind when taking your kids around town or welcoming trick-or-treaters this week.

 

·      Remember walking safety. With many more walkers than the typical night, it’s important to remember standard walking safety tips for Halloween night. Chances are it will also be dark when you and your kids go around town to collect your treats, so it’s even more important to obey safety tips and laws when walking. It’s always a good idea to keep your walking routes to streets with sidewalks away from the road. Always carry a flashlight (or multiple flashlights if you’re in a larger group), as it can be very hard for drivers to see children, especially when they are in costumes.

 

·      Keep costumes safe. As mentioned above, costumes can actually add to safety issues for children walking the streets. When possible, avoid large or elaborate masks that obstruct the views of your children. Have your children carry bags with reflective tape or stickers so drivers can clearly see them walking. It’s also important to make sure costumes are not way too large for your children. Oversized costumes can lead to tripping or falling.

 

·      Drive carefully on Halloween night. Regardless of whether or not you have kids, it’s extremely important to be mindful of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. If you find yourself driving through a residential area, especially between the popular Halloween times of 5:30pm to 9:30pm, drive extremely slowly. Given their excitement, children often ignore traffic patterns or walking safety and could try to dart across the street when going from house to house. Be sure to also exit and enter driveways very slowly and carefully, as children may not be aware to notice your care when they are walking through.

Posted by on in General

Buying a home is an exciting time. The anticipation of a new house can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, especially with all the necessary steps needed to be taken in order to get the keys handed over for the first time. Many of these steps are mandatory—set in place by government or bank regulations before loans can be approved or sales can be finalized. It’s very easy to get caught up in these mandatory process points. Unfortunately, many important aspects of buying a home sometimes get lost if home buyers do, in fact, get caught up in those items.

 

One such common oversight on the part of homebuyers, as well as home builders, is the HVAC system (and other “hidden” mechanical systems in the home.) Especially with new homes, we often see much of the available budget going to upgraded finishes and visually appealing features. Many builders and their clients often think that just having a “new” HVAC system is good enough. They often don’t leave enough money in the budget for important items such as a high-quality duct system or high efficiency furnace. We even see this problem in extremely expensive new builds. Not enough money is set aside initially and the homeowner ends up with a cheap HVAC system. This results in poor home comfort almost immediately, which almost always leaves the homeowner frustrated and wondering why their new house is so uncomfortable given the huge amount of money they paid.

 

The same can be said for homes on the existing market. Similarly to the problem stated above with new builds, homebuyers often tend to ignore some of the most important questions when it comes to home buying, or simply don’t have the knowledge to make an informed inquiry and decision. Most people rely on just the simple, required home inspection. While this inspection can certainly point out some great things to alert the homeowner, there are some items that may go overlooked. Depending on the quality of the inspector, they may just go down the “required” checklist in order to satisfy all parties and approve the sale. As long as things are in decent working order, the inspection will pass. Unfortunately, when it comes to things such as the quality of the HVAC system, homebuyers are often left in the dark before making that ultimately huge decision. They understandably don’t have the knowledge to predict and know the comfort level of the home without help and guidance from a trained professional.

Posted by on in Heating

The ACCA recently released a fantastic video overview and guide to home heating and air conditioning that gives consumers some extremely helpful tips as they think about maintenance and upgrades for their HVAC systems. You can watch the video below or visit the videos section of the Bel Red site to learn more. If you find yourself in a position needing more information regarding a wide range of home heating and air conditioning needs, we highly recommend this video as your first stop.

 

The video talks about a few common precautions and “traps” that homeowners can find themselves in when being locked into a contract with a bad contractor. We’ve talked before on the blog about the value and worth of a good contractor. The video explains the importance of ACCA training and certification for contractors, which is something Bel Red certainly understands and makes a high priority.

 

The informative video goes on to talk about common times when consumers are thinking about replacing and upgrading their heating and cooling systems. One great point the video makes regarding the “right” time for equipment replacement is the fact that being proactive and replacing a system before it dies can save a lot of hassle, stress, comfort and even money. If you have an old system and know it may be in its final years, you may want to seriously think about replacement now rather than risking a sudden shutoff.

 

Once you’ve made the decision to replace your old system, there are two main decisions left to be made. First, as mentioned above, it’s extremely important to do your research and find the right contractor for you. Pay attention to certifications and memberships (such as NATE certification or ACCA membership), overall knowledge and service offerings, testimonials from other consumers and even check for reviews online. Making an informed decision will ensure you’re making a safe and effective choice when it comes to your contractor, even if it means spending a few extra bucks up front.