Bel Red Energy Blog
Indoor air quality has such a large impact on the way we live within our homes. The difference between good and bad air quality inside the walls of your home can be the difference between good health and bad health, high comfort and low comfort, and so much more.
Unfortunately, without proper care or equipment, it can be extremely difficult to manage the indoor air quality of your home. According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies, levels for air pollutants may be up to five times higher indoors than outdoors.
The good news? Bel Red offers detailed indoor air testing of your home’s structure to locate the root cause of air quality problems with our Home Energy and Safety Assessment. We also offer revolutionary air purification and cleansing systems that can do much, or all, of the work when it comes to keeping your home’s air fresh and clean.
One of these systems is called Air Scrubber Plus. Air Scrubber Plus® is a revolutionary new system designed to help eliminate indoor air quality risks by reducing air pollutants, VOCs (chemical odors), cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, mold, odor-causing bacteria and odors caused by pets and cooking.
Air Scrubber Plus® with ActivePureTM technology, cleans, freshens and purifies the air using specialized germicidal UV light waves along with a proprietary catalytic process that creates enviroscrubbing molecules of oxygen and hydrogen, just like nature’s outdoor scrubbers. As we mentioned above, the more we can get your indoor air and its quality to mimic that of outdoor air, the better. Trust us, your lungs will thank you for making this purchase and installation.
Stay tuned on the blog as we’ll shortly be posting more details and an outline of some of the benefits of Air Scrubber Plus technology.
Begin breathing easier inside your home. Contact Bel Red today to arrange for testing in your home and learn how you can improve the quality of your home's indoor air with revolutionary cleansing technologies like Air Scrubber Plus.
One heating source that we haven’t ventured into much on the blog recently is geothermal heating. Believe it or not, this heat pump system is the most energy efficient way to heat and cool your home. It is also one of the most all-around eco-friendly heating and cooling methods as well.
When compared to furnace or other air-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pump systems produce far less greenhouse gases. Unlike air-source systems that require changing the temperature of outdoor air, they rely on fairly consistent or constant ground temperatures to heat and cool the home. The renewable resource of the earth’s heat (and coolness) is the key to this unique heating and cooling method.
This efficient method provides a number of great comfort benefits with extremely low operating costs, including:
- Summertime comfort – using relatively cool temperatures below ground to cool your home
- Winter comfort – extracting warmth from the ground to heat your home
- Year-round savings – incredible efficiencies of over 300% on even the coldest of winter nights, running on only a small amount of electricity
Geothermal heating and cooling systems use a ground heat exchanger or “loop” buried beneath the earth in trenches or boreholes. Like we’ve discussed recently with other heating and cooling systems, proper sizing and installation of this ground loop is critical for the operation and efficiency of your geothermal system.
Bel Red provides unsurpassed performance and reliability with International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) certified staff to size and install your ground loop and geothermal system.
While the installed price of a geothermal system can be several times that of an air-source system, the additional costs can be returned to you in energy savings in as little as 5–10 years. Beyond the savings you can see on your utility bills, you can often save even more with federal tax credits of up to 30% with no caps and great utility rebate programs.
To see if a geothermal heat pump is right for you and your home, contact Bel Red today for a no-obligation in-home consultation.
Each year, April 22 marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This day is Earth Day, and is the most recognized environmental holiday. The first Earth Day in 1970 came at a time when energy consumption had reached an all-time high up to that point. Cars and other vehicles were guzzling leaded gasoline and major industrial plants emitted massive amounts of smoke and sludge due to little regulations and fear or environmental consequences.
While there is certainly a long way to go and these issues are now more important than ever, industries of all types are coming up with ways of improving their efficiencies and consuming less energy. It’s a necessity for our future. The home energy industry is certainly no different.
It’s no myth that homes use a great deal of energy on an individual and collective scale. It’s important that we look at our energy consumption and what we’re doing to become more energy efficient and green to not only benefit ourselves, but others.
At Bel Red, we take environmental issues extremely seriously. In our industry, energy conservation and efficiency is a topic of dire importance. We are taking steps to make a real difference in our homes, neighborhoods, and in the world every day. From our Comfort Guard Program to our Home Energy and Safety Assessment, we feature a wide range of services designed to help you improve and maintain the efficiency of your home. We also offer a long list of environmentally friendly products, including:
- High-efficiency furnaces
- Ultra-efficient heat pumps, including geothermal and ductless systems
- Hybrid, tankless and solar water heaters
- Gas fireplace inserts
- Programmable thermostats
- High R-value Insulation
We also are committed to recycling and reclaiming old, inefficient products that we replace during service and installation calls. Our fleet management is also key to ensuring our service teams are driving the most fuel-efficient vehicles that will meet our needs. When designing our offices, we also took many measures to reduce energy consumption and waste and made sure the construction and design resulted in the most energy efficient building we could have. We’re doing our part to save energy and protect the environment. With our products, services and programs, we’re making it easier for you to do the same. Happy Earth Day!
When it comes to indoor air quality, dirty ducts are not our friends. If you have a forced air unit heating and cooling your home, it could be pushing dirt, dust and allergens throughout your home if it’s not properly cleaned and maintained over the years. This can create big problems when it comes to the overall air quality within the home. But, how do we fix a problem that we can’t even see?
It’s easy to jump to a quick conclusion and just decide to bring in a cleaning crew to take care of dirty ducts. While having ducts cleaned is an obvious and necessary solution, it may only be a temporary fix. Ideally, ducts are completely sealed systems. Properly sealed and functioning ducts should be enough to keep dirt, dust or worse from entering your heating and cooling system. Ducts that require regular cleaning are likely in need of repair or replacement in order to create a fully sealed system.
Leaks in the ducts are a very common cause of a faulty or regularly dirty system. Leaks that occur on the return side of the duct system are probable culprits of dirt and dust entering because this side of the system creates negative pressure, pulling air in. If the leak is in a dirty area of the house, such as the attic or crawl space, the result will be dirty air getting into the system.
Another common cause of dirty ducts, which can also be the root cause of the aforementioned leaks, is improper sealing of joints and duct connections. Expansion and contraction in these joint areas, especially in poor quality ducts, can cause leaks to form over time. Especially in older homes, many heating and cooling systems’ ductwork is out of date in terms of current code. Newer (and properly installed) systems should always be up to code and prevent leaks and air quality problems permanently.
Poor air quality caused by dirty ducts can lead to a home’s inhabitants experiencing increased allergy problems or overall respiratory discomfort. These issues can be severe if not fixed in a timely manner. A home’s overall safety is greatly reliant upon high quality indoor air, since so much time is commonly spent inside with all windows and doors shut.
Beyond bringing low quality or dirty air into the house, dirty ducts are also a big indicator of wasted energy (and money) in the home. Leaks in ducts can cause even the most efficient HVAC system to perform like a much lower efficiency model. Consumers can spend a lot on new heating and cooling units, but unless their ducts are in ideal condition, they may be throwing money right out the window.
If you are experiencing poor air quality, it may be a sign that you have dirty ducts. If you do, don’t just have them cleaned. Make sure you find help and get to the root of the problem the first time around with professionals like ours here at Bel Red. Rather than have to clean your ducts time after time, having a home energy audit performed by our team can pinpoint the problem and provide a permanent solution.
While we talk a lot about the work we do here at Bel Red from a home energy, performance, comfort and plumbing standpoint, we think it’s also important to mention some of the work Bel Red does to help in our community. We understand that a strong community is made up of both caring individuals and responsible businesses. We do whatever we can to apply this way of thinking to our everyday work. When we can help those a bit less fortunate, we feel a responsibility to do so.
We like to think we have a hand in moving our region forward in terms of energy efficiency and policy, but we also like to have a direct impact in other areas. 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 example of this is the Feeding Hope program we have at Bel Red. We partner with local food banks affiliated with Food Lifeline to help provide some assistance to those who are hungry in our community. For every donation of a non-perishable food item from our customers, Bel Red will donate $1 to local food banks.
Food Lifeline is Washington's largest hunger relief agency, distributing food to more than a half million people at 300 neighborhood food banks, shelters and hot meal programs throughout western Washington. 38% of these people are children and 13% are seniors. One of the reasons we support this worthy cause is because of the efficiency of their operation:
- Only 5% of every financial donation to Food Lifeline is used for administrative costs
- For every $1 donated, Food Lifeline provides 5 meals to hungry people
- Many of their programs are unique to the Pacific Northwest, and include relationships with farmers, grocers and restaurants
We're proud to be partners with an organization that is so effective at helping people in the communities we serve. To learn how you can make a donation of non-perishable food items today, and have us match your donation with a $1 cash contribution, contact us at this link. With your help, we can make the lives of those who are struggling with hunger a little bit better, and make a real difference to people who need help in these tough times.