Bel Red Energy Blog
As mentioned in our previous post, Fall is upon us and the cold winter months are just around the corner. That means now is the perfect time to prepare your house for the change in seasons to ensure your home performs to its highest level.
Plumbing is no exception to this reminder and rule. Making sure your home’s plumbing is well maintained and in top shape can save you from large, expensive repairs in the future. Now is the perfect time of year to inspect and make small fixes to any problems or potential issues with your faucets, pipes and other plumbing areas. Here are a few more tips to round out this blog series:
- Take care of outside plumbing as necessary. If water hoses and other outside faucets aren’t properly disconnected or closed up (often closed on the interior), there could be issues with that uncommon (but very possible) hard freeze. If this isn’t dealt with before the winter season, you run the risk of not only damaging these faucets and hoses, but cracked or burst pipes that can cause major water problems inside your home as well.
- Test your sump pump and make sure its pit is clear. Knowing your sump pump is properly working can help you rest a bit easier when it comes to plumbing mishaps. These units help protect against flooding damage in your home and even reduce the threat of mold and mildew. Making sure yours is working properly and efficiently is key during this time of year.
- Dispose of your spooky pumpkins properly. Lastly, and for a bit of seasonal fun, it’s important that pumpkins used to decorate your home during this season are disposed of properly. It is highly recommended that pumpkin seeds and pulp are not put down the sink drain or even the disposal. Pumpkins can cause havoc for your disposal and drain because of its tough, stringy nature. Pumpkin seeds (if not made into a tasty snack) and pulp are best for either your compost or the trash.
- When in doubt, call an expert. Plumbing is an area of home maintenance and improvement that must be taken extremely seriously. If you don’t have experience plumbing, with either small or large jobs, it’s best to have someone come in to help. A small leak or dripping faucet may be the sign of a more serious (or potential for a serious) issue. Knowledgeable experts, like the plumbing staff at Bel Red can help you inspect, maintain and repair your home’s plumbing, regardless of the time of year.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this fall plumbing blog series. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. We’re here to help.
Fall is upon us and the cold winter months are just around the corner. As you know if you’re visiting the Bel Red site and reading this blog, there are many things that homeowners need to do during this time of year to prepare for the changing temperatures and conditions ahead.
One area that needs special attention is your home’s plumbing. Changing seasons and temperatures, as mentioned above, can be great reminders to make sure your plumbing systems are working properly and efficiently. Preparing your pipes, faucets and other plumbing areas for the colder weather can help save some big headaches and frigid repairs in the future. Here are some fall checklist tips for your home’s plumbing:
- Check faucets for signs of leaks. Leaky faucets can cause a great deal of water (and sometimes heat) waste. Even a faucet that drips extremely slowly can cause water waste of a gallon or more per day. If it’s hot water that is slowly leaking, this can also cause an unnecessary amount of hot water usage in your home, adding an extra cost to your monthly heating bills.
- Flush sediment from your water heater. You probably already know water heaters are big contributors to your energy costs. What you may not know, however, is that sediment buildup in your water heater can be a drain on its efficiency. Heat that should be solely heating water can instead work to heat up the sediment, wasting valuable energy. Draining this sediment, or having it done professionally, can potentially save you big.
- Prepare for cold spells. Though it’s not normal for our area here in the Pacific Northwest to experience long periods of temperatures below freezing, it’s very possible. Ensuring you take precautionary measures to prevent freezing pipes is a good idea during this time of year. Add insulation to necessary pipes. Fix all noticeable leaks now, as these leaks can cause pipes to burst under freezing temperatures. If you know you’re going away when the days and nights get cold, ensure your heat stays on at a reasonable temperature to combat pipe freezing. Paying attention to these and other preventative measures can save you from big headaches and repair costs.
- Test your water pressure in all faucets. Checking the pressure of your faucets and showerheads can alert you to potential plumbing problems. Low pressure may be caused by sediment buildup or problems with the water line that need to be addressed. Again, doing this now while it’s still warm can help you avoid doing it in the freezing cold when a larger problem presents itself.
We’ll be following up with a few more helpful plumbing tips in part 2 of this series shortly, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can contact Bel Red for all of your plumbing needs and advice.
As a follow up to our most recent blog post with tips of initial consideration for insulation projects around your home, we’ve outlined a few more below. If any questions arise based on these tips, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss with our team here at Bel Red.
- Pay attention to the R-value. R-value is the standard measurement of insulation materials. It measures a material’s resistance to heat flow (thermal resistance). The higher the material’s R-value, the better it insulates. The region in which you live will often dictate the R-value level that is appropriate to properly insulate your home. The Department of Energy has a useful R-value calculator that recommends how much insulation you should have in your home depending on your zip code. While insulation costs vary and can increase the higher the measurement, purchasing and installing insulation with a proper R-value can greatly increase your home’s performance and comfort. It can also help you avoid having to install additional insulation in the future.
- Install insulation in the right places. Like most home improvement and home energy projects, determining where to focus your attention with insulation is key to maximizing the potential of the project. Each home is unique in terms of where the best place is to install insulation. Again, this is an area where a qualified professional can help out. Typically, most heat loss in a home occurs through the roof, so the attic may be a good area to direct your attention first. If the attic is unfinished, insulation is typically installed on the floor. If it is finished and used as a living space, insulation can be installed in the attic ceiling for increased comfort and home performance.
- Couple proper ventilation with insulation projects. While properly sealing in heat during the cold months is a great idea and can certainly be done with increased insulation, it’s crucial that air can still circulate in the home. Properly ventilating your home is key to keep the air fresh and clean. Ventilation can also guard against moisture problems, which can result in costly troubles if not taken care of properly (or avoided in the first place).
Researching and determining the best path forward for your home’s insulation can be a lengthy process. Fortunately, we’re here to help if you need it. Making the right decisions and following the correct steps now can save you time and money in the future.
It’s getting to be that time of year—people all over are taking the necessary steps to prepare themselves for the cold days ahead. From heat system and HVAC maintenance to home weatherization, homeowners are getting their houses ready for winter. One topic that goes hand in hand with home energy savings and indoor comfort is insulation.
There are many steps that can be taken to ensure your home, especially if older, is protecting itself against the outside elements in the winter. In this blog series, we’ll lay out a few tips and considerations if you’re exploring the wonderful world of insulation.
- Know your own house. Whether you’ve just moved in or have been living in your home for years, it’s important to know how much insulation is in your home. It’s also imperative to know where it is (or is not) located. Pinpointing problem areas where there is not enough insulation the easiest way to fix the issue and not throw away your hard earned money. Bringing in a knowledgeable expert, like the staff at Bel Red, is a great starting point to lead you down the path of proper home insulation.
- Determine whether or not you have to remove old insulation before installing new insulation. Believe it or not, much of the older insulation you find in the walls of very old homes can be left in place when adding new insulation. You may find some interesting materials in the walls of very old homes (homes built in the early 1900s or before)—from newspaper to wood shavings—but these materials typically don’t have to be removed. Around the mid 20th century, some dangerous materials were introduced in insulation products, such as asbestos. These toxic materials can be huge health hazards and should be properly disposed of during your insulation renovation.
- Choose the type of insulation that is best for you and your home. There are a few different types of common insulation that you can select based on the age, style and performance of your home. Loose fill insulation (recycled materials), fiberglass rolled insulation, rigid foam board and expanding spray insulation are the most common types. Eco-friendly insulations are also making a strong push in the insulation market as well. Determining where you need to insulate and how much insulation you’ll need is the best way to map out the type of insulation you should purchase, as all types have varying degrees of performance and price.
As mentioned, it’s a great idea to contact a qualified professional to consult on your insulation improvement project. We’d be glad to help. In the meantime, stay tuned for a few more tips on getting started with insulation projects for your home this fall.
In our most recent post, we discussed the importance of carbon monoxide detectors when it comes to keeping your family safe from this harmful gas. As mentioned, Fall is the perfect time of year to make sure your CO detectors, which are required by law in our state, are installed and working properly. It’s also extremely important to brush up on your carbon monoxide knowledge. In the event of exposure, this knowledge may come in handy to keep you and your loved ones safe. To help, we’ve outlined below a few things you should know about carbon monoxide and its exposure.
- CO is impossible to detect without proper equipment. As stated in the previous post, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Without a carbon monoxide detector, it’s impossible to know whether or not carbon monoxide has been produced and is present in your home. A good detector is the only way to help prevent CO poisoning or worse.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be confused with other sicknesses. Many of the symptoms that come with CO poisoning can easily be confused with common flu symptoms such as headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea or others. People who are sleeping often don’t feel any symptoms before it’s too late. Again, all the more reason to make sure you have the warning of a good CO detector installed.
- All people are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. While CO may more quickly affect elderly or young children more quickly or with lower levels of concentration, carbon monoxide is dangerous for everyone. More than 20,000 people in the US alone make visits to the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning and exposure.
- You can help prevent the problem before it starts. There are many precautions, especially during this time of year, that can be taken to ensure your home is free from carbon monoxide and the dangers that come along with it. Maintaining your heating system properly and ensuring good ventilation in your home are two major steps you can take to prevent CO danger in your home. If you have to use a generator this winter because of a power outage, make sure it’s outside and not housed indoors or in the garage. Always make sure your car is outside before warming it up (or at the very least make sure the garage door is fully open).
While there are many other things to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide, taking simple steps now to prepare your home for the colder months ahead can greatly reduce your risk. Again, it’s a great idea to have a comprehensive home safety inspection or audit if you feel your home and family are at risk. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to test and replace your carbon monoxide detectors frequently!