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Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.

 

The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. Below, we’ve listed additional myths in the plumbing world with better alternatives:

 

  •       Myth #5: As long as stuff is going down the drain, everything is working correctly. Out of sight, out of mind doesn't really apply to the plumbing world. Even if you can't see it, food like pasta and rice will bloat in pipes causing clogs, blocking the passage for other waste to peacefully pass through the pipes. Without the proper amount of water to rinse it down, waste builds up in the pipes and makes drainage inefficient.

 

The Better Alternative: Prevent blockage and clogging problems by using sinks, toilets, and showers correctly. Make sure to fill basins with water before draining. For showers, place a hair screen in the drain to reduce the human hairballs that rival anything your cat coughs up.

 

  •       Myth #6: Water pressure regulators are always dependable. Water pressure regulators do give important information about water pressure, but don't place all of your trust in the readings they provide.

 

The Better Alternative: Personally check your water pressure! Doing so can save you a ton of hassle and money. How? Well, high water pressure is a major cause of floods, leaks, and that annoying sound your toilet makes as it continuously runs to relieve pressure.

 

  •       Myth #7: Water and Soap on Bathroom Fixtures Makes Them Just as Sparkly and Clean as Your Hands.You wash your hands at the sink and when you turn off the faucet, you leave a bit of soapy water on it. No big deal, right? Wrong! Water and soap cause faucets and fixtures to corrode, making them peel and bubble.

The Better Alternative: Wipe the fixtures off after use. This takes an extra second, but it will help prevent your fixtures from corroding. This will also protect your lifetime warranties on products, which are void when soap has rotted the finish.

 

 

We’ll be following up with one more plumbing myths post to conclude this series shortly. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Plumbing

Everybody knows it: it's 'conventional wisdom,' passed down generation to generation. It applies to anything and everything and unfortunately, in many cases, it's oversimplified or just plain wrong.

 

The conventional wisdom in plumbing is no different; there are many myths. Freshen your drains with lemon? Run water with the garbage disposal? Good ideas? Find out as we explore the top 10 plumbing myths that cost you money. We conclude this blog post series with the final few plumbing myths and alternatives below:

 

  •       Myth #8: Users manuals are only for people who don't know what they are doing.User manuals aren't just full of fancy labeled pictures and lists of parts. They actually contain some useful information as well. While they may not be the most entertaining read in the world, they can save you money and time in the long run.

The Better Alternative: Read the manual. Twice. User manuals contain information on warranties and proper usage that will increase the lifespan of the product.

 

  •       Myth #9: Plumbing fixtures are low maintenance. Ignoring plumbing fixtures because they are hard as stone and cold as steel is not only mean, it's detrimental to their performance. Lack of use allows a p-trap to evaporate, allowing dangerous sewer gas to smell up the house. If an electric water heater sits unused, it can create highly explosive hydrogen gas. In this case, you definitely want less bang for your buck.

 

The Better Alternative: Don't let your plumbing fixtures and equipment sit for long periods of time. Use them periodically to ensure health risks aren't created. The time it takes to turn them on every once in awhile could save you a fortune if you prevent your home from exploding.

 

  •       Myth #10: Ever Plumber Knows Exactly What to Do and How to Do It. Just because a plumber holds that title doesn't mean that they are educated in their field and licensed. Every plumber has opportunities to get continued plumbing education, certificates, and special cards to install some products. If a plumber installs something poorly or chooses the wrong fixture, you'll just have to spend more calling another plumber.

 

The Better Alternative: Use state boards and the BBB to ensure the plumber you are hiring is well qualified and well educated m the field.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series with common plumbing myths and find benefit in the corresponding alternatives we’ve outlined. If you ever have plumbing questions or needs, you can always contact us for help – we’d be glad to give you the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to plumbing!

 

 

 

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We get questions from customers every day on how to improve their home’s efficiency and make it a better (not to mention cheaper) place to live. Homeowners are always thinking about ways to save energy and make their homes as efficient as they can possibly be, as they should be. A lot of the questions we get are repeating questions and come up a lot. So, we’ve decided to put together some answers to a few of these common questions in this blog post.

 

1. Does showering use less energy and water than taking a bath?

In most cases, this is true. The typical standard low-flow showerhead uses about 25 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Taking a bath could result in water usage of 30-50 gallons. Plus, the amount of energy used to heat that same shower is much less than that needed for the water-heavy bath. When you can, always choose a quick shower over a bath to save water and energy (and time)!

 

2. If I run water from the faucet until it’s hot, will it take less time to boil when putting it on the stove?

The amount of time it takes to bring water to a boil shouldn’t necessarily be equated to the amount of energy used to get it to that point. Sure, hot water from the faucet may boil faster on the stove as opposed to cold water, but energy had to be used to get it warm in the first place. Your hot water heater used energy to heat up the faucet water. In the end, you’re not saving any energy by preheating the water for boiling those veggies.

 

3. If I leave my ceiling fan on while I’m gone, will I return to a cool house?

Many believe running a ceiling fan (or any other type of standard fan) will bring down the temperature in a room. The truth is, fans do not bring down the temperature of a room. They do, however, cool your skin. A fan works by circulating the air in a space; when the air moves across the skin, we feel cooler even though the air temperature in the room remains the same. Leaving a fan on while you’re away won’t make your house or room cooler for your return. In fact, all it does is waste energy and electricity.

 

4. Does leaving appliances, computers and other electronics on use less energy than turning them on and off repeatedly?

While this may have been the case with older appliances and computers that were more prone to energy surges, leaving today’s versions of these items on only results in wasted electricity and energy. Given the fact that small energy surges created by turning appliances or computers off and on utilize far less energy than leaving them on, it’s a good idea to always turn them off when their use is not required. The same can be said for lights, by the way.

 

5. Is the sole purpose of fiberglass insulation to keep cold air out of my home?

While properly installed fiberglass insulation certainly can lead to a more efficient home, it doesn’t necessarily do it by keeping cold air out of the house. Insulation actually does a better job keeping warm air inside than it does keeping cold air out. If there are leaks or cracks in the exterior of your home (in the walls, windows, doors, etc.), no amount of insulation will keep cold air from seeping in. Proper sealing is the best defense against keeping the cold outdoors.

 

If you find yourself having home energy questions not on the list above, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email. We’d love to help answer any questions you have and get you on your way to a more efficient home.

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Posted by on in Heating

In the previous post on the blog, we discussed some of the potential harms that can come from ignoring regular maintenance on your home’s gas furnace. Ignoring these crucial steps can not only hurt the performance of your furnace, but can also lead to home safety issues for you and your family.

 

Fortunately, Bel Red offers comprehensive furnace tune-ups, allowing you to rest assured your furnace will be in the top shape it can possibly be. What are the benefits of these maintenance checks and tunes? We’re glad you asked. Here’s what you get with one of our furnace maintenance visits:

 

  1.       Inspection of the heat exchanger for dangerous cracks. These can allow harmful Carbon Monoxide emissions to escape into the airstream and build up in your home.
  2.       Removal and cleaning of the burner assembly. Buildup here reduces the efficiency of your furnace making it much more expensive to heat your home.
  3.       Oiling the blower motor bearings. Some newer units have sealed bearings and don't require this step.
  4.       Inspection of the blower wheel for buildup of dirt and dust. A timely diagnosis of this condition can save very expensive repairs of the blower motor as well as improving efficiency and comfort in your home. Although the removal, disassembly, and cleaning of the blower assembly is an additional investment it is money well spent considering the alternative.
  5.       Cleaning or changing of the air filter. This step is typically performed by the homeowner, but it is nice to know you get to skip it this once.
  6.       Vacuuming and cleaning of the internal and external surfaces of the furnace.
  7.       Inspection of the internal electronic components to ensure safe and reliable operation of the equipment.
  8.       Inspection of the indoor coil for air conditioning or heat pump systems. Restrictions in the coil can cause severe performance issues making the system very expensive to operate.
  9.       Cleaning of the outdoor coil.
  10.       Test air temperatures and carbon monoxide levels. Many systems run for years at levels that don't maximize their efficiency and comfort capabilities.
  11.       Test refrigerant pressures. Over time air conditioners and heat pumps can develop leaks that go undetected. Without adequate refrigerant, the system can run continuously without significant heating or cooling being done. Also, the refrigerant carries oil that is essential for lubricating the compressor, the heart of the unit. A failure of the compressor can be costly and easily avoided.
  12.       Drain treatment can be added to keep the drain water from your furnace or AC flowing freely. Clogged drains can cause overflows and costly water damage. Drain treatments are usually as needed and a small charge for the service may apply.

 

If you don’t want to miss out on the most comprehensive furnace maintenance check on the market today, give us a call.

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Conventional wisdom says that every major piece of machinery or equipment, such as a vehicle or gas furnace, requires regular maintenance in order to function properly and to realize its expected useful life. However, especially in the case of gas furnaces, we don't usually hear why regular maintenance is important. Because of this, many people may assume that it's just a way for furnace service contractors to make more money. This couldn't be further from the truth! An unmaintained furnace likely leads to more high-cost repairs, and eventually the premature replacement of the furnace. These are areas where a furnace contractor makes a profit.

 

In reality, here at Bel Red Energy Solutions we don't make a profit when we perform a gas furnace maintenance. Why do them? We hope to develop long term relationships with our clients by providing a low cost, high value maintenance service. The reality is that every furnace, like any piece of mechanical equipment, will eventually fail. The key is to do everything we can to make sure the equipment functions optimally for as long as possible.

 

Here are a few ways that ignoring regular maintenance harms your gas furnace and poses a potential safety hazard to your family:

 

  1. Dirty Blower Wheel: A dirty blower wheel can cause several problems. It reduces airflow generated by the wheel, meaning the blower motor has to work harder and can fail as a result. Reduced airflow can also decrease the comfort of the home, and cause the furnace's heat exchangers to overheat and fail. Also, because the blower motor has to work harder, it will use more electricity, reducing the efficiency of your heating system. A dirty blower can also be unbalanced, putting further strain on the blower motor, further increasing the likelihood of failure.

 

  1. Dangerous CO Gas Released into Your Home: As part of a regular maintenance, a gas furnace technician will check your furnace for CO gas levels. Carbon monoxide gas (CO), also called the "silent killer," is tasteless and odorless and can be harmful or fatal at high levels. Heat exchangers in gas furnaces can develop cracks over time, through which CO gas is released. By having regular maintenance performed on your gas furnace, you will ensure that your home and its inhabitants are safe from these harmful exhaust gases.

 

  1. Clogged Filter: A clogged filter can cause a lot of problems for a gas furnace, reducing its efficiency and lifespan. When a filter becomes clogged, airflow through the filter is reduced. This causes the furnace blower to have to work harder, meaning it will use more electricity and be more likely to fail. System short cycling due to overheating also causes premature part failure of heat exchangers, igniters, high temperature limit switches and others. Reduced airflow will also cause problems with comfort and air quality in your home. As your filter becomes clogged and less air is allowed to flow through it, its ability to remove particles from the air is reduced, meaning the air in your home will contain more unfiltered contaminants. We recommend changing your furnace filter every three months, or at absolute minimum twice a year. If you have a lot of pet dander, dust, or other contaminants in the air in your home, you may consider changing the filter more often.

 

  1. Negligence Could Void the Manufacturer's Warranty: Most gas furnace manufacturers' warranties require regular maintenance. If your gas furnace fails due to prolonged negligence, it could void your warranty, piling onto an already unfortunate situation.

 

Avoiding these issues will help you be on your way to a clean, efficient and effective gas furnace for years to come. Bel Red offers comprehensive precision tuning for gas furnaces. Contact us today to find out more information. We’ll also dig into the benefits of these tune-ups in the next post on the blog. Stay tuned!

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