800.352.1818
Guaranteed Heating and Cooling Efficiency & Solutions

Bel Red Energy Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
Recent blog posts

Posted by on in General

Do I really need to call for help with this project? Can I do this myself? Can I find someone who will just come in and provide a cheap, quick fix?

 

These are all common questions when being faced with a daunting home improvement project, especially one that involves home performance and energy savings. While there are certainly things DIYers can do around the house to improve the comfort, efficiency and savings of their home, it’s important to realize that not all home improvement projects are equal.

 

Believe it or not, by hiring a quality contractor for necessary projects, you can save a lot more than just time. You can save money. You can keep your loved ones safe. You can be comfortable and healthy. You can make sure your home isn’t using any more energy than what’s necessary. You can have the peace of mind you deserve.

 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of “contractors” out there who haven’t gone through proper training and education to be able to best serve their customers. There are those who cut corners to get the job done quickly instead of done right. There are, unfortunately, even those who don’t do what they say they promise to do and keep it hidden from their customers, but still run off with their money.  It’s important to know that these cheap options are rarely, if ever, a good choice for home improvement projects—especially those projects that include your safety. Paying a few extra bucks up front to ensure jobs are done correctly is extremely important.

 

While costs may initially seem higher for licensed contractors at an organization such as ours than they are for individual contractors working on a job-by-job basis, the cost savings of doing things right the first time can result in huge benefits.

 

The ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America Association) put together a video to give a quick overview of the value of hiring knowledgeable, professional and certified contractors for your home energy projects. See the video below:

 

 

If you’re ready to see what a good contractor can be worth to you, contact us today to get started. We’d love to help.

 

Last modified on

Naturally, we talk quite a bit on this blog about how to save energy and make sure your home is performing at its highest level so you can cut your monthly cost as well as your dependence on large amounts of resources to keep you comfortable. We’ve also discussed how being aware and knowledgeable is the best first step in realizing these potential savings.

 

However, each home is different. The size, shape, structure, surrounding climate and environment and age of your home could mean different requirements for energy. It can be difficult to pinpoint the amount of energy (and areas for the largest energy savings) needed for your home.

 

Luckily, there are some helpful resources out there to assist with this dilemma. First and foremost, knowledgeable professionals like our staff here at Bel Red can help you determine the best ways to maximize your home’s performance and let you know exactly how much energy is required to keep you comfortable. There are also a number of resources you can check out yourself online if you want to become a little bit more knowledgeable about your home’s energy situation.

 

One such resource is the Home Energy Yardstick from Energy Star. True to its name, the Home Energy Yardstick provides a rough measure for your consumption based on a few key factors. The tool calculates an energy score based on some personalized information about you and your home so you can see how you measure up to others when it comes to energy efficiency. The factors used to determine this score include:

 

  • Your ZIP code;
  • Your home's square footage;
  • Number of full time home occupants;
  • A list of all the different fuels used in your home (e.g., electricity, natural gas, fuel oil); and
  • Your home's last 12 months of utility bills

 

It’s very important to remember that the Home Energy Yardstick should not be used as a replacement as a professional home energy audit. If you find, using the Home Energy Yardstick, that your energy usage is perhaps higher than it should be for a home similar to yours, it’s a great idea to contact a professional contractor to perform a comprehensive home energy assessment. These professionals can pinpoint to exact problems your home is having and identify ways to improve the performance and efficiency of every part of your home.

 

Once you and your contractors have identified improvements that can be made and you have the energy use knowledge you need for your home, you can make some smart, targeted decisions to increase your home’s efficiency and comfort.

Last modified on

In a recent post on the Bel Red blog, we discussed the fact that more and more, homebuyers are requesting that a full home performance assessment be done before a deal is made. This is a trend that underlines the importance of knowing what to expect when it comes to energy issues, efficiency upgrade potential, and more. While this step is not necessarily required to sign on the dotted line for your new home, we agree that it can be a very valuable step for home purchasers.

 

Making an investment as large as buying a home understandably makes people examine most aspects of the deal with great scrutiny. Buying a home is likely the largest financial decision people go through in their lifetimes. That said, it’s sometimes easy to let the excitement of buying a new home get in the way of making sure every base is covered when it comes to buyer protection and knowing what they are getting when making the purchase.

 

While the style, size, location, and more are typically the items that initially make us fall in love with a house, other aspects should not be forgotten. How much should I expect in monthly energy costs during the winter and summer? How old and efficient is the HVAC system in the home? When was the last time the windows were replaced? These home performance questions (plus many more) are important to ask when you’re looking at a home. Having this knowledge will also potentially give you more buying power during the process as well.

 

The initial investment on a home can obviously be huge, but the hidden follow up costs on repairs, upgrades or new installations to replace old equipment can be “budget breakers” just the same. So how do you protect yourself and get all the answers you need when it comes to ensuring your potential new home is going to be a sound energy purchase? Simple – have a home energy audit done before you buy. There are many things that can be uncovered by having a comprehensive home energy audit completed, including:

 

  • Air leaks in your heating system, windows or doors
  • Problems not seen to the naked eye (using Infrared Thermal diagnostics)
  • Insufficient or problematic insulation
  • Design flaws or obstructions in ductwork
  • Gas leaks or other safety issues within the home’s equipment
  • Multiple miscellaneous problems with the home’s energy quality and efficiency

 

Having a full home energy audit done professionally can be a small price to pay to ensure you are maximizing the value of your large investment. If problems are uncovered, you have new buying power to negotiate fixes into the contract or drop the purchase price to cover them. This can save you a lot of money right away. It can also point out problems that should be addressed that, when taken care of, can increase the value of your home immensely over time. Having the home energy audit can also help you make decisions and avoid some unnecessary “upgrade” purchases and improvements.

 

All in all, having the peace of mind of knowing you are making a sound financial and emotional investment in your new home is certainly reason enough to have a comprehensive home energy audit completed before purchase. Knowing you are going to be walking into a comfortable and efficient new house will go a long way towards a happy new home. If you’re in the home buying process, please feel free to reach out to Bel Red. We’d be happy to help you through the home energy audit process to make sure you’ll be a fully informed buyer.

Last modified on

In a recent post on the Bel Red blog, we discussed the fact that more and more, homebuyers are requesting that a full home performance assessment be done before a deal is made. This is a trend that underlines the importance of knowing what to expect when it comes to energy issues, efficiency upgrade potential, and more. While this step is not necessarily required to sign on the dotted line for your new home, we agree that it can be a very valuable step for home purchasers.

 

Making an investment as large as buying a home understandably makes people examine most aspects of the deal with great scrutiny. Buying a home is likely the largest financial decision people go through in their lifetimes. That said, it’s sometimes easy to let the excitement of buying a new home get in the way of making sure every base is covered when it comes to buyer protection and knowing what they are getting when making the purchase.

 

While the style, size, location, and more are typically the items that initially make us fall in love with a house, other aspects should not be forgotten. How much should I expect in monthly energy costs during the winter and summer? How old and efficient is the HVAC system in the home? When was the last time the windows were replaced? These home performance questions (plus many more) are important to ask when you’re looking at a home. Having this knowledge will also potentially give you more buying power during the process as well.

 

The initial investment on a home can obviously be huge, but the hidden follow up costs on repairs, upgrades or new installations to replace old equipment can be “budget breakers” just the same. So how do you protect yourself and get all the answers you need when it comes to ensuring your potential new home is going to be a sound energy purchase? Simple – have a home energy audit done before you buy. There are many things that can be uncovered by having a comprehensive home energy audit completed, including:

 

  • Air leaks in your heating system, windows or doors
  • Problems not seen to the naked eye (using Infrared Thermal diagnostics)
  • Insufficient or problematic insulation
  • Design flaws or obstructions in ductwork
  • Gas leaks or other safety issues within the home’s equipment
  • Multiple miscellaneous problems with the home’s energy quality and efficiency

 

Having a full home energy audit done professionally can be a small price to pay to ensure you are maximizing the value of your large investment. If problems are uncovered, you have new buying power to negotiate fixes into the contract or drop the purchase price to cover them. This can save you a lot of money right away. It can also point out problems that should be addressed that, when taken care of, can increase the value of your home immensely over time. Having the home energy audit can also help you make decisions and avoid some unnecessary “upgrade” purchases and improvements.

 

All in all, having the peace of mind of knowing you are making a sound financial and emotional investment in your new home is certainly reason enough to have a comprehensive home energy audit completed before purchase. Knowing you are going to be walking into a comfortable and efficient new house will go a long way towards a happy new home. If you’re in the home buying process, please feel free to reach out to Bel Red. We’d be happy to help you through the home energy audit process to make sure you’ll be a fully informed buyer.

Last modified on

Sometimes when warmer weather is upon us, we tend to overlook important steps we should take to make our homes more energy efficient and help them perform at a higher level. Many homeowners tend to associate things like upgrading insulation and air sealing the home with colder months, especially if they don’t often use air conditioning in their homes during the summer.

 

The truth is, taking steps to ensure your home is most efficient is just as important in the summer as it is in the winter. Plus, it’s often easier to make these improvements while it’s nice out to prepare for colder months rather than waiting and trying to do it in the freezing cold. One such step that can lead to a more efficient overall home is weatherstripping.

 

Proper weatherstripping in your home is one of the best ways to save energy and money on both your heating and cooling related energy bills. Sealing your home using these effective materials will greatly reduce or eliminate the amount of wasted conditioned air escaping your home. Even better, weatherstripping materials are typically very cheap, making this an affordable home performance upgrade for almost anyone.

 

When choosing material for your weatherstripping project, it’s important to pick a material that will withstand a great deal of friction, weather changes and general wear and tear—especially on doors. Vinyl and metals tend to be best for the job and will typically last the longest. Try to stay away from felt and open-cell foams for these projects. While they may be cheap, they are also fairly ineffective when it comes to blocking airflow and can quickly break down very quickly. It’s absolutely better to pay a little bit more up front for good materials that will last. The Department of Energy has a great guide for recommendations on different types of weatherstripping materials.

 

Once you have chosen your materials, it’s also important to use proper installation techniques on your doors and windows. It’s important not to rush through the process of installation. Taking your time will mean a job well done and will ensure you don’t have to correct any mistakes down the road. When installing weatherstripping, it’s important to make sure the temperature is above 20 degrees Fahrenheit (another good reason not to wait until the cold winter months). For doors, make sure the surfaces on which you’ll apply the weatherstripping are extremely clean. Apply the material to the entire door jamb using one continuous strip. Make sure the materials meet tightly at the corners to avoid any leaks. The weatherstripping should be compressed when the door is shut, but it should not be so thick that the door is hard to shut. The same installation steps should be taken for windows. It’s important to remember that weatherstripping shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window, so make sure the materials you’re using are correct for the job.

 

Taking care of these energy saving upgrades in the warmer months will not only lead to more comfort in your home, it will also lead to more comfort while executing the job. As always, if you’d like help determining the most effective steps to a home with high-energy performance, contact us at Bel Red today!

Last modified on
  • icon blog
  • icon facebook
  • icon twitter
  • icon youtube
  • icon share