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Mr. Hoffman recently experienced common problem homeowners with older homes face – original or out-of-date heating systems shutting down or not working properly. Recognizing the need to an upgrade to his system, he called in our Bel Red professionals to take a look.

 

During a full evaluation and assessment of Mr. Hoffman’s home, the Bel Red team found areas for major improvement that could have big impacts on his home’s efficiency and comfort. In addition to the installation of newer equipment in his home and water heating systems, Mr. Hoffman selected to change from electric heating to gas heating. This required running almost 100 feet of new gas pipe to five different locations in his home.

 

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To replace the home’s original gas furnace, our team installed a 95% efficient Rheem RGFG furnace with all new venting and condensation drains. This top of the line, two-stage model from Rheem will certainly lead to a huge reduction of energy needs to make Mr. Hoffman’s home comfortable. This Rheem furnace provides exceptional comfort with a modulating gas valve to provide only as much heat as is needed, coupled with a variable speed fan to gently mix and distribute the air throughout the home. To complete the furnace portion of the job, the Bel Red team added three new supply duct runs to allow for proper airflow to the new furnace. A media filter was also installed to increase filtration of the air that was being heated.

 

 

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(original furnace and water heater)

 

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(new furnace and water heater)

 

In addition to the installation of the new furnace system, proper sealing and insulation was also installed in Mr. Hoffman’s attic, which will have a huge impact on his monthly energy bill bottom line all year round. Full weatherization work was performed in his attic, with all penetrations between the house and attic being sealed. This should also help maximize the comfort of his home.

 

Finally, the Bel Red installation professionals helped Mr. Hoffman check the final item off his heating checklist by installing a new Bradford White power-vent hybrid water heater. This hybrid water heater model will provide exceptional hot water delivery to Mr. Hoffman’s home while saving a great deal of energy. All upgrades we recently made to Mr. Hoffman’s home heating systems will have a great impact on his overall energy use and needs. If you’d like to explore how you can save energy and money on your monthly energy bills through home energy improvements, don’t hesitate to reach out today.

Posted by on in General

Before diving into this post, you may have first read the title and thought “What is home performance?” Essentially, home performance is taking a look at your house as a whole and making it work to the best of its ability and provide the most quality and efficiency to the owners and residents. All round, a home that maximizes performance means a home that is a great place to live. Just like the human body acts best when all of the different systems within it are working properly, a home’s systems combine to make it perform. If one system fails, the whole house suffers.

 

There are four essential aspects to examine when looking at home performance. Below, we’ll give an overview of each and let you know how they can all lead to a better home for you.

 

1.     Comfort - It’s no secret—living in a comfortable home makes our lives much better. Constantly breathing in clean air and being surrounded by the perfect temperature in our homes leads to maximum comfort and happiness. High comfort comes from heating or cooling a home to the right temperature, then maintaining that temperature for an extended period of time. This means home features such as good insulation and air sealing are just as important as having functional furnaces or air conditioning systems. The inability to reach and maintain a suitable temperature in the home will lead to discomfort. A home performance audit and assessment can determine how your home’s overall comfort can be improved.

 

2.     Health and Safety – It’s a common misconception that being outside is more harmful when it comes to dust, pollen and allergens than being inside.In fact, the opposite can hold true if the air in our home isn’t clean. These particles can easily get trapped and keep cycling around inside our homes without proper ventilation and filtration, which can lead to harm to our health and safety. If you or another resident of the home has allergies and they appear to be worse inside the house than outside (and if the allergies aren’t pet related), you probably have poor indoor air quality. Fortunately, there are many solutions to improving the air quality inside your home. Energy audits and home performance assessments can also check for safety issues with your home, such as risks for combustion or harmful gas in your home.

Posted by on in Products

According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies, levels for air pollutants may be up to five times higher indoors than outdoors. Poor indoor air quality can be extremely bothersome, make us uncomfortable when inside the home, and can even lead to health issues. Dust, pollen and other airborne particles can be annoyances and health hazards if we’re constantly breathing them in during the days and nights spent inside.

 

Fortunately, there are also a number of remedies that can lead to improved air quality within the home. While we always recommend fixing underlying issues in the home causing these problems, you should also consider whole-house air filtration, which can improve and maintain high indoor air quality within your home.

 

In terms of whole-house filtration products, there are two main options that can help get the job done. The first, and perhaps most effective, is a powered air cleaner. These filtration systems deliver superior performance and provide excellent value with permanent, cleanable media, eliminating the need to purchase filters. At Bel Red, one of the great products we offer is the Trane CleanEffects Air Cleaner. The CleanEffects is the world’s most effective whole-house air filtration system. This filtration system clears the air of 99.98% of allergens and has an industry-leading clean air delivery rate, which means your house will have a constant supply of clean air if this product is installed. Perhaps the best features for homeowners are the low operating cost of this product and the fact that there is no need to buy and replace filters for the unit. The CleanEffects product has undergone extensive tests to back its claims. It has been performance-tested by LMS Technologies and Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), with the results verified by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health. Another option in terms of powered air cleaners is the electronic air cleaner. At Bel Red, we offer a wide range of electronic filtration models to provide superior filtration that will fit most existing systems.

During the hot summer months, a central air conditioning system can be a lifesaver in our homes. It provides cool relief from the heat and gives us an escape from the sweltering outdoors. That said, it’s also an extremely important system to care for properly. Many disregard proper maintenance or ignore warning signs when care is needed on these systems. As we mentioned in a recent post, improper maintenance can lead to a great deal of noise coming from these systems, which can not only lead to annoyance, but also a breakdown of functionality. There are some smaller things homeowners can do to care for their cooling system on a regular basis. For larger problems or maintenance, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.

 

As you probably know, especially if you have a central air conditioning unit in your home, most of these systems are connected to the same forced-air distribution system that runs your home’s heat. So, some of the same maintenance and issues that can arise are the same as heating system maintenance and care. To keep your system working at peak efficiency, there are a number of steps that should be taken—both annually and on an ongoing long-term basis.

 

While it’s true that professionals should be called in for most maintenance when it comes to air conditioning systems, there are a few things that homeowners can do themselves to ensure their units are in proper working order for as long as possible. First and perhaps foremost, homeowners should always keep up to date on filter replacement. Replacing or cleaning air filters in the system every 1-3 months, depending on the type of system and filter used, is the best way for individuals to maximize the efficiency of the cool unit. Another step homeowners can take is to check the insulation on the refrigerant lines of the cooling unit. Insufficient or damaged insulation can greatly impact the overall performance and efficiency of the air conditioning unit. A third, often overlooked, maintenance step homeowners can take with their cooling systems is to ensure the areas around outdoor units are kept clear of plants and debris. If these outdoor units are not kept clear, airflow into the system can be greatly reduced. This makes the job of the entire system much more difficult, which can lead to lower efficiency, higher bills and more required maintenance down the road.

Posted by on in General

The typical home and family requires a lot of hot water for everyday needs. From showers, to laundry to dishwashing, our homes require a lot of hot water on a very regular basis. The amount of hot water needed tends to grow exponentially for families with children living at home. A big chunk of a homeowner’s gas or electric bill is usually attributed to the their water heating needs. According to the Department of Energy, water heating is the second largest energy expense in the average home. It typically accounts for upwards of 18% of a home’s utility bill. So, naturally, people often ask how they can save some money on these bills when it comes to the water heating line item. Here are a few tips that can help accomplish that goal:

 

1. Use less hot water. While this may seem like common sense, it’s easy to get carried away with the amount of hot water we use in the home. Whether it’s staying in the warm shower for a few extra minutes or leaving the faucet running constantly while washing dishes by hand, it’s easy to add up the gallons of hot water we’re using. Fortunately, we can take actions like installing low-flow faucets and showerheads or repairing leaky faucets to cut down on the amount of hot water used. Believe it or not, a leaky faucet can waste gallons of water in a very short period of time. Consolidating laundry or dishwasher loads and making sure these appliances are completely full each time they are run is another great way to save hot water. These actions will also help save on your home’s overall water bill, if you get water from a public source.

 

2. Insulate your water heater tank and pipes. Insulating both electric and gas water heaters can help save a lot of money as well. As you likely know, traditional tank water heaters monitor the temperature of the water and kick on if the water drops below a specified temperature. By properly insulating these units, you can maximize the time the water in these tanks stays hot, reducing the overall needed heating time. When insulating, it’s important to remember not to cover the thermostat on electric water heaters. On gas models, be sure to not cover the top or bottom of the unit, the thermostat of the unit, or the burner compartment. It’s also a good idea to properly insulate both the hot and cold water pipes connected to the units. The DOE recommends insulating the first 6 feet of each of these pipes. If you’re unsure of proper water heater insulation techniques, be sure to either consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a professional.

 

3. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. This is perhaps one of the most overlooked money saving tactics for homeowners’ hot water usage. If your water gets too hot to touch, or even close to it, chances are good your thermostat temperature is set much higher than it needs to be. We mentioned in the last tip that tank water heaters maintain the temperature of hot water for when it’s needed. Even lowering this maintained target temperature a few degrees can have a big impact on the overall energy usage. A temperature of 120 degrees is typically sufficient for the needs of most households.