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Posted by on in Safety

It’s something we hear about all the time as part of homeownership horror stories. Mold. It’s an all too common problem in the world of home energy and home safety, yet one that can be avoided with the right combination of knowledge, care products and professional help.

While there are certainly some problems areas in the home, mold can grow almost anywhere in the home. It can be found on interior walls, carpet, damp or dirty clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.

As a follow up to a recent post on home humidity management, we have decided to put together a blog post series on mold eradication and prevention. If you think you could be at risk for mold growth in your home, don’t hesitate to get it taken care of right away, starting with these tips!

 

  • Building a new home or making a big renovation? Use mold-resistant products.  While they may be a bit more expensive, mold-resistant products can save big mold removal or cleaning bills down the road. Mold-resistant drywall or mold inhibitors in paint can go a long way toward preventing any mold from developing—even in high-risk areas.
  • Know your home and your surrounding environment. As is the case with most home performance and safety improvements made to your house, knowing your own house and the climate in which it resides is perhaps the most important step in combating mold. Many climates and areas are much more susceptible to mold growth. If you live in a wet area or floodplain, your home may be at greater risk without taking the necessary steps to waterproofing your house—both inside and out. Adjusting your humidity, as mentioned in a previous post in this series, requires a unique level depending on your home and comfort preferences. Knowing this information (and more) will allow you to pick the best first steps toward getting rid of mold or avoiding it altogether.
  • Clean or repair roof gutters. Water management outside your home can sometimes be just as important as humidity management inside the home. Gutters play a huge role in keeping water from running down your exterior walls and getting into the home, where it can cause big problems. Regularly inspect and clean your gutters to ensure they are working properly. Look carefully for yellow or brown water stains on the gutters, which can indicate leaks that could lead to much bigger problems.

We’ll have one more additional moisture management and mold prevention post with some more tips on the blog shortly – don’t miss it.

If you have been experiencing mold issues or if you think your home is at a higher risk and want some expert advice on avoid any problems in the future for your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Bel Red today.

 

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Posted by on in Safety

It’s something we hear about all the time as part of homeownership horror stories. Mold. It’s an all too common problem in the world of home energy and home safety, yet one that can be avoided with the right combination of knowledge, care products and professional help.

While there are certainly some problems areas in the home, mold can grow almost anywhere in the home. It can be found on interior walls, carpet, damp or dirty clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.

As a follow up to a recent post on home humidity management, we have decided to put together a blog post series on mold eradication and prevention. If you think you could be at risk for mold growth in your home, don’t hesitate to get it taken care of right away, starting with these tips!

  • Gain some moisture knowledge - monitor and manage the humidity inside your home.  Knowing the humidity inside your home is the first step toward maintaining a moisture level that’s both comfortable and low risk for troubles like mold. Luckily, moisture and humidity can be easily monitored using a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store if you don’t already have one. The Environmental protection agency recommends keeping your home better 30 and 60 percent humidity, depending on your individual needs, comfort and surrounding environment.
  • Help prevent moisture inside your home with proper ventilation. Without proper ventilation throughout your home, especially in areas such as the kitchen or bathrooms, simple, everyday tasks could be causing mold to grow in your home. These areas that are prone to dampness or wetness more than others are sometimes the root causes of moisture problems that can lead to mold growth. Showering, cooking, doing laundry, etc. are a few of these common routines that a homeowner may not think can lead to moisture problems, but they can. Keeping your home ventilated to circulate the moist air and bring in fresh, dry air will help fight moisture problems inside. Also, remember that windows are your friends when it comes to moisture management as they can keep things properly ventilated—especially in well-sealed energy efficient homes.
  • Dry wet areas inside your home immediately.  Mold needs moisture to grow and spread. By drying wet areas such as condensation on the inside of windows or leaks from a heavy rainfall should be wiped up immediately. If you’re starting to develop damp carpet in your basement, think about removing it soon to dry things up. Mold spores can even spread quickly on items you may not think about such as wet or damp clothes near the laundry, bathroom rugs or even damp towels. Make sure all are replaced very regularly and kept dry.

Stay tuned for some additional moisture management and mold prevention tips on the blog shortly.

If you have been experiencing mold issues or if you think your home is at a higher risk and want some expert advice on avoid any problems in the future for your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Bel Red today.

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As you probably know well if you’re a homeowner, humidity inside the home can be a tricky thing to manage. Humidity can vary greatly by external environment, home age and style, heating and cooling system variations, and much more. On top of those factors, each can present a difference in and of themselves depending on the season during the year. Each humidity factor has its own unique challenges when it comes to humidity management in the home. In this post, we’ll provide some reminders on how to keep the humidity inside your home at a proper level for our area.

The measurement of this humidity is called relative humidity (RH). Ideally, a home’s relative humidity (RH) should be in the range of about 30% to 50%. For many, the summertime problem is keeping the RH low enough. Homes often get too damp, especially without proper air ventilation.

In some areas of the country, the opposite sometimes holds true in the winter, when it’s often difficult to keep the RH inside a home at a high enough level to fall within the ideal range mentioned above. Even in humid climates, the air in homes can get too dry (meaning the RH is too low), resulting in uncomfortable problems such as excessive static electricity, dry skin or respiratory issues.

However, in the Pacific Northwest, the average RH is very high on average. This fact is often disguised and unknown to many homeowners because homes can feel deceptively dry when heat sources are running during the cold winter months. People often think of the Pacific Northwest as being damp, humid and cool at all times. Just because the air feels dry from the heat doesn’t mean the relative humidity is too high. This deception often causes homeowners to install humidifiers to take care of that dry feeling. Rather than resolving a problem, they could in fact actually be adding to the issue and making the inside of the home even more humid.

If the relative humidity inside the home is truly too low, there may be a larger issue at hand. It’s imperative to remember that cold air equals dry air. In the winter, air leakage is a huge culprit of low RH inside the home because cold air gets into the home through cracks and leaks. When this occurs, the home becomes dry. Naturally, homeowners decide to install a humidifier to increase the relative humidity in their home. While this may be a temporary fix, it is not solving the root problem of air leakage. In this case, humidifiers are just acting as band-aids to the problem.

Reducing or eliminating air leakage can make relative humidity management much, much easier in your home—and can potentially eliminate the need to install or purchase and expensive humidifier. Not only will this make you and your family much more comfortable, sealing air leaks will also make your home more efficient, saving you money in the long run on expensive energy bills.

By having a chat with a qualified home contractor like Bel Red, you will be able to determine whether humidification is necessary to properly manage RH levels inside and keep your home comfortable.

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Weatherizing your home is one of the leading ways to create a more airtight, efficient home. It can reduce or eliminate air leaks, which can keep your conditioned air, whether warm or cool, inside or out of your home—wherever you prefer it to be depending on the season.

Many do not know, however, that proper steps must be taken to ensure safety within the home when going through (and after) the weatherization process.

Believe it or not, weatherization can lead to some safety risks and cause some unwanted hazards if all appropriate steps are not taken and a great deal of attention is not paid to ventilation in the home. Many of these risks come into play when a home with some type of fuel burning system is used.

These systems, such as a common gas furnace, gas dryer, fireplaces, boilers, water heaters, and more require an intake of air in order to operate properly. All of these gas-burning units require combustion during operation, which requires air from an outside source. 

It’s clear that the main goal of weatherization is to seal your home properly in order to save as much energy as possible. The goal is to manage (and reduce) the amount of wasted conditioned air out of or unconditioned air into the home. However, when proper ventilation is ignored after a complete weatherization process, the risks for combustion problems with these gas systems can greatly come into play.

Once your home is sealed, there must be a good source for “make-up” air getting to them in order to remain properly functional and safe. If these systems cannot get this new air, the problems begin. They may begin to draw air from less than desirable places. Backdrafting and dirty air recycling can occur, which can have dangerous consequences. Combustion byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, can potentially get into the home, which can be extremely dangerous.

Modern building codes require make-up air inlets and ventilation sources so these combustion problems don’t occur. A qualified and knowledgeable contractor will take appropriate steps to make sure these problems are avoided before (or while) going through a full home weatherization.

With any major home performance project, it’s a great idea to call in a qualified professional like Bel Red before making major changes to your home. Not only will they provide the best recommendations for maximizing your home, we will make sure your home is safe after all of the renovations, installations or upgrades. Give us a call today to set up an appointment so you can safely begin and complete the home weatherization process.

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Posted by on in Green Economy

At Bel Red, we’re big fans of sustainability, especially when it comes to making your home a little greener. We have many products and service solutions that are centered around not only saving energy and conservation, but going green in general. Energy conservation and energy savings upgrades are a big part of our work, so we’re involved in green home discussions on a regular basis.  Whether it’s policy, rebates and incentives or another green home topic, our knowledgeable staff is always on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to a low environmental impact around the home.

In this blog post series, we’ll share a few tips and tricks for making your home, and the way you live in it, as green as it can possibly be. Below is the final blog installment in this series. Enjoy!

  • Save water whenever possible. Water is not only a valuable resource around the house, but also a huge use (and cause of use) of energy in the home. Saving water whenever possible is one of the most important ways you can make your home and lifestyle greener. Taking shorter showers, Using water-saver nozzles on showerheads and faucets, turning the water off while brushing your teeth—these habits, among many others, are great ways to limit your living impact around the home.
  • Change your laundry temperature. Making the simple switch from hot water to cold while washing laundry can help save a lot of energy over many loads. Cold water will clean laundry just as well, and removing the need to heat up that great deal of water can really cut down on your electric or gas bill depending on the type of washing machine you own. One flip of a knob can be a big energy saver when it comes to an appliance you use so much.
  • Switch to grilling on the summer. For your meal prep and cooking needs, switching to more meals using the grill outside can help save a lot of energy inside. Constantly using an oven on a daily basis adds a great deal of heat not only to your kitchen, but to the entire home. This means your air conditioning unit has to kick into overdrive and work much harder to keep your house cool. Grilling will keep this heat outside while you prepare your delicious meals!
  • Think about a prefabricated home. If you’re in the process of (or thinking about) building a home, you may want to explore the possibilities of having a prefabricated home built for you. These aren’t the “mobile homes” of yesteryear. New green companies are producing and delivering maximum efficiency, modern homes that people love. By building in the factory, less waste is also created. This is obviously a big step, but one worth exploring if you want the ultimate green home.

For a personalized analysis and recommendations on how to go green around your home that are developed just for you, give us a call today. Bel Red is happy to help you become more energy independent than you’ve ever been.

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