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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.

Posted by on in Heating

You may know that different homes require different heating and cooling solutions. Your home’s size, style, age and surrounding climate/environment can all play a role in determining what heating and cooling system is right for you. While gas or electric furnaces, wood or pellet stoves, or propane heat sources are often the most common, one efficient heating and cooling solution that is often overlooked is a ductless solution—a ductless mini-split heat pump system.

 

Unlike other heat pumps, ductless mini-splits can be used in homes with no existing ductwork.  They are also great for homes where significant duct problems make traditional heat pumps impractical or even impossible.

 

Ductless mini-split heat pumps can have many advantages over traditional heat pumps or other heating sources with ductwork. First, their small size and flexibility make them great for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms. Some models can have as many as four indoor air-handling units, all connected to one outdoor unit. The number depends on how much heating or cooling is required for the particular house and it’s individual requirements. For example, the structure and size of the house, as well as how well the house is weatherized, will have an impact on how many indoor units are required. Each of the zones has its own thermostat, so you only need to condition occupied spaces. Different zones of the home can also be regulated to different temperatures, ensuring maximum control over comfort.

 

A study by local utilities including Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Snohomish County PUD and Seattle City Light found that, with proper sizing and installation, ductless heating and cooling systems can save homeowners 25% to 50% on their home utility costs vs. other heating sources.

 

Because they have no ducts, mini-split heat pumps avoid the energy losses associated with faulty or leaky ductwork of central forced air systems. Experts have analyzed that average duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic or unfinished basement.

Posted by on in General

The holidays are a perfect reminder that it’s important to always give back when we can. At Bel Red, we’re extremely committed to giving back to our community and beyond all throughout the year.  We care greatly about philanthropy and community efforts. From corporate partnerships and giving programs, to the volunteer efforts of our team members in the community, Bel Red and our people are committed to doing our part to make the Pacific Northwest a better place to live and work.

 

One such program we support here at Bel Red is the Food Lifeline, Washington state’s largest hunger relief agency. Only 5% of every financial donation goes to administrative costs at Food Lifeline. For every $1 donated, the organization provides 5 meals to hungry people. At Bel Red, we encourage both employees and customers to donate non-perishable food items to this cause. In fact, for every donation of non-perishable food items from our customers, Bel Red donates $1 to the Food Lifeline program.

 

We’re also proud to work with some partners and manufacturers that share this same sentiment. One such brand is Rheem, who recently extended a very successful philanthropy program called the Heart of Comfort Program.

 

The program, implemented at Rheem and executed by their employees, serves to help communities and citizens in need by supporting charities in the locations of Rheem’s sites across the nation. At the launch of the philanthropy program, Rheem also launched a new website to highlight the impact of Heart of Comfort and provide Rheem customers, friends, family members and the general public with information about how they can be part of the initiative. This community-focused effort has had a significant impact on communities all over.

 

“The Rheem employee family has always been committed to giving back in ways that benefit our own communities and those of our customers,” said Karen Meyers, corporate director, government relations. “Heart of Comfort allows us to unify all the efforts of our individual Rheem locations and bring them under a single, companywide program so that we can not only improve our current efforts, but expand and amplify those efforts. In just our first year of the program, we have watched our impact grow exponentially.”

Posted by on in Safety

We recently posted on our blog about the dangers the harmful gas radon can propose in your home through exposure to you and your loved ones. It’s important to remember that there are many harmful gases and airborne contaminants that can cause problems in your home without proper ventilation.

 

Especially in newer builds, homes today are constructed to be extremely tight in order to be energy efficient. Because of this, ventilation is more important than ever. In order to maintain a healthy home and a high indoor air quality, fresh air must be able to get in and “stale” air must be able to get out.

 

Poor ventilation can lead to a number of different problems in the home, from small issues up to significant issues that can cause a great deal of damage to the home. Common initial problems include odor problems. When air is not properly circulating, stale air can cause bad smells inside your home. Unfortunately, if there are bad smells inside your home, there is very likely a larger root problem causing this issue.

 

Once such problem is mold growth. With poor ventilation, mold can have a chance to grow inside your home. If exposed to mold, or even stale air, for an extended period of time, the potential for health issues can be high. Headaches and fatigue are common problems in homes with poor circulation. If not resolved, long periods of exposure to this air or mold can lead to much more sever health issues. Aside from health issues, poor air quality resulting in mold can also cause significant structural damage to a home.

 

By taking care of the root of the poor air problem through proper ventilation, all of these issues can be avoided. As mentioned above, replacing poor air with clean, fresh air is the key to maintaining high indoor air quality. This air exchange process can be expedited with the use of certain equipment. Bel Red offers a number of different options that help the exchange occur. Some of these options include:

 

·      Timed fresh air intakes

·      Exhaust fans

·      Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) / Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs)

Posted by on in Safety

We’ve discussed on the blog about the importance of taking steps to ensure your home stays free of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. Another, similarly harmful gas that can result from poor indoor ventilation is radon. This dangerous gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because the air pressure inside your home is typically lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation, your home can potentially act like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.

 

Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. Regardless of the way radon enters your home, it is a very dangerous occurrence for you and your loved ones.

 

Radon is a cancer-causing gas that is estimated to cause many deaths in the United States each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country—second only to smoking. This is why it is so important to know the proper ways to mitigate radon in your home.

 

First and foremost, ensuring proper levels of ventilation in your home is key to avoiding radon problems. Especially in “trouble areas” such as basements or crawlspaces, ventilation allows clean air to circulate in your home. Vapor barriers also protect against harmful gases entering the home through these spaces. A closed home, especially in the winter months, can lead to an increased risk of radon exposure for the home’s inhabitants.