Time for spring cleaning, already?

It’s officially spring which means it’s time for spring cleaning!  It’s your favorite time of the year, right?  If not, it should be.  There’s nothing like a clean house where everything smells fresh and you can open your windows to let that spring breeze in.  It can be considered therapeutic to some, even!

First, there are a couple of cleaning measures for us to take care of in your home: your annual air conditioner tune-up and possibly cleaning your air ducts (let us take a look to decide if it’s necessary or not because they don’t need a professional cleaning very often).

The above should only be done by professionals but the rest is for you to tackle!

Change your air conditioner’s filter and check it monthly, replacing when necessary.  While this isn’t just a spring cleaning thing, it is necessary so your air conditioner will work properly…and everyone needs a reminder!

Open your windows (weather permitting) to air out your house of all of that stale winter air that’s built up over the past six or so months.  You’ll be stirring up a lot of dust and dirt during your deep cleaning and who wants that trapped in your home when it can travel outside, instead?  If you’re using chemical cleaners, this step is very important to help dilute the amount of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in the air.

  • Side note: VOCs can be found in household cleaners, air fresheners, paint, and various other household products.  Elevated amounts in the home can lead to cold and flu-like symptoms, including nausea, headaches, sore throats, and dizziness.

Clean everywhere that you can see…and all of the places that you can’t.  Don’t forget to dust the tops of your fan blades (so dust won’t go flying when you turn it on!) and behind the books and knickknacks on your shelves.  When was the last time you wiped down your walls?  Walls are one of those areas that you never think of to clean but can really collect allergens if they’re never cleaned.  Vacuum everywhere.  This includes moving furniture to clean under it and thoroughly vacuuming all baseboards.  Air returns/register covers love to collect dirt and pet fur, so those are also important to tackle.

The more dust you can remove from your home, the better your air quality will be.  One way to cut down on the amount of allergens in the air in general is by installing a whole-home purification system.  These devices are seriously awesome, especially for those who suffer from allergies and asthma.

Now, get out there with your mop and bucket and wage war on those dust bunnies!

If comfort is your plan, call the Beloman for all of your heating, cooling, plumbing, and pest control needs in the Belleville, Illinois area.

 

Avoid clogs in the bathroom!

It’s common knowledge that some things are better to go down drains and to be disposed of in the toilet than others.  However, common knowledge and absentmindedly tossing things in the sink or toilet are completely different and can lead to some major plumbing issues if you’re not careful.

When it comes to your shower, it’s fairly simple to keep things beside water (here’s looking at you, excessive amounts of hair) out of the drain as long as you install a drain cover to catch it.  Drain covers are very cheap and can save you hundreds on snaking blocked pipes.  You can also purchase them for your sink’s drain, too.  Oh, and another thing.  Resist using large amounts of body wash, shampoo/conditioner, hand soap, and toothpaste because too much of it (especially when it’s not fully lathered) can cause a buildup in your drains, making it harder for water to flow through.

Only flush items meant for the toilet down the toilet.  Unless it’s human waste or toilet paper (used sparingly, too much at once can cause major clogs), it shouldn’t go in the toilet.  This means that Kleenex, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, and baby wipes should be thrown in the garbage because none of these products are made to be flushed.  Some products will say on the packaging that they’re flushable, but the real truth is that they can’t break down fast enough.  The above list is only a small fraction of what shouldn’t be flushed, but it’s a good place to start (common sense is the name of the game).  Always supervise children when in the bathroom so they can’t flush whatever they can get their hands on–whether it’s a whole roll’s worth of toilet paper or their favorite toy that wanted to go for a swim.

Remember that we’re here to help if you find yourself with a backup of some sort in your bathroom.  We understand that plumbing emergencies don’t always happen during business hours, which is why we offer emergency after-hours service if you’re in need of it.  Call us anytime at 618-BELOMAN or for after-hours emergencies we can be reached at (618) 398-9484.

Uh oh! My pipes froze…now what?

The weather we’re experiencing this winter is nothing less than abnormal and the way we’ve been going it feels like we’re going to see snowfall until about June.  Okay, so June may be a slight stretch, but extremely cold temperatures seem to be the norm and they aren’t going away anytime too soon.  Because of the days upon days of below freezing temperatures, we’ve been receiving a lot of calls regarding frozen pipes.  When in doubt, call an expert, but if you’re handy and want to undertake this project yourself, below are a few tips to make the process as simple as possible.

First off, if you’re going to attempt to thaw your pipes yourself, be careful and be prepared for the unexpected.  You never know when the frozen pipe might decide to burst due to expansion.  We’re not saying it will happen, but it’s always a possibility.  To prevent an even bigger mess than you already have on your hands, turn off your water at the source.  If the pipe breaks you’ll have much less of a mess to clean up if the only water that spills out is what was stuck in the pipe.  After you have turned off your water supply, open your faucet a little to give the melting ice a place to go when it starts to thaw (this will also release problem-causing pressure.)

Never, ever use an open flame of any sort to attempt to thaw your pipes.  This means no blow torches, candles, or even small pocket lighters anywhere near the problem because you could cause a fire, which is much worse than a frozen pipe.

If you own a space heater or can borrow one, it’s a good idea to turn it on in the area that the pipe is frozen.  Remember to keep it at least three feet away from anything potentially flammable and keep an eye on it.  This route will take awhile, but it does work by slowly heating up the room so the pipes will warm by proxy.  Hair dryers can also be used to melt the frozen spots, but do this very cautiously.  There is the risk of electrocution if the pipes drip on the dryer, so be vigilant and keep it moving.  Keep the hair dryer at least six inches away from the pipe and have it in motion at all times.  We also recommend heating the sides and top and keeping it away from the bottom to lessen the risk of being dripped on.   Lastly, warmed towels can be wrapped around the pipes to bring some heat to the source of the problem.

While the home remedies can usually help small frozen areas, we highly recommend calling a professional for any widespread or unknown amounts of freezing.  If anything seems out of the ordinary, you hear cracking, or become uneasy about the project, call us immediately.  Trust us, it’s much cheaper to have us thaw your pipes than repair or replace broken ones.

If you suspect you have a frozen pipe or other plumbing issue, give the Bel-O Man a call at 618-235-6626.  You can also visit our website at www.beloman.com or swing by our office at:

5909 Cool Sports Rd

Belleville, IL 62223

New Year, New Bathroom

How long have you wanted to remodel your bathroom?  Six months?  Two years?  Why have you been putting off the remodel?  Time and/or money constraints?  Well, 2014 is the year to finally pull the trigger and upgrade your bathroom from just a place to shower to a small piece of heaven that you can’t wait to get home to.  

If you’re undertaking a remodel on your own, you’re probably going to get overwhelmed and it’ll end up dragging on far longer than you expected (we’ve all been there and can relate), but there’s another option.  We offer full bathroom remodels that are done by professionals (meaning no guessing on the plumbing hook ups and fit of materials within the space).  Trust us, it is much better to leave the work to professionals instead of reading up on a project online and trying to tackle complicated plumbing work yourself.  Remember, it’s a lot cheaper to hire professionals the first time around so you don’t end up messing something up yourself and have to have us come and do damage control.

Another reason to update?  If you have any plans to sell your home in the next couple of years, it is very much worth it to update your bathroom.  Not only will it add value to your home, but it’ll be a huge selling point to potential buyers down the road.  As fantastic as that sea foam green tile was twenty years ago, it’s very much dated now and something buyers will turn their nose up at.

A few trends hitting bathrooms in 2014 and beyond:

Radiant heat/ heated flooring:  Who doesn’t want heated floors on a freezing winter morning?  This is one of those small additions that really help with resale value because it seems luxurious and is something people don’t realize they want until they’ve experienced how comfortable it is.  

Multiple sinks/ shower heads:  Having two sinks in a bathroom helps keep the peace so there isn’t any fighting over who can brush their teeth at a certain time.  It’s a nice way to have that personal space you crave in a common space.  On the subject of more than one of something in the bathroom are shower heads.  The standard for years and years has been the single shower head that rains down over your head that requires you to turn in circles to properly rinse your body.  Now, however, the trend has been transitioning to a more spa-like experience with multiple shower heads that spray from all directions.

Glass tiles:  Not only do they come in a myriad of colors (which ties in with the trend below), but they are shinier and reflect light, which makes bathrooms appear larger than they are.  Glass is also a great choice because it doesn’t absorb any water like ceramic tile can and is much more resistant to mold and mildew.

Bold colors:  A bright color can really liven up a room and give it personality so it feels more like home.  Having an accent wall with a bright red or hunter green gives your bathroom the pop it needs without feeling like you’re being overwhelmed by the color.

Give us a call at 618-BELOMAN and ask for Mark Munie for more information on your future bathroom remodel or visit our website to send an inquiry.

The Silent Killer

When you think of things that can make you sick you likely think of the flu or massive outdoor pollution.  What you probably don’t think of is carbon monoxide, which can make you even sicker than the flu–it can kill you if you’re exposed to high enough amounts.  Exposure to small amounts of carbon monoxide can mimic other illnesses such as food poisoning or the flu with nausea, headaches, and dizziness.

Carbon monoxide is invisible, tasteless, and doesn’t have a scent, so it’s impossible to tell the level in your home by just using your senses.  Detectors are the only way to know for sure if there are above-normal levels and should be taken seriously if it goes off.  Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at hardware stores, online, or directly from us inexpensively, so there is no reason not to have at least one in your home.  

Minus a very select few exceptions, Carbon monoxide detectors are required in all living spaces in Illinois within fifteen feet of bedrooms.  Specific requirements and more information can be found here.

Carbon monoxide is produced by vehicles, gas furnaces, stoves and a myriad of other places where combustion takes place.  Because of this, you should never warm up a vehicle in a garage attached to living quarters or use the fireplace without proper ventilation.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air and seek treatment immediately.  Also, it’s a good idea to regularly have all fuel-burning appliances inspected regularly by a trained technician to ensure there aren’t any leaks.  If you have any questions about carbon monoxide detectors, give us a call and we’d be happy to answer them.  We can be reached at 618-BELOMAN or http://www.beloman.com

What we’re thankful for

It’s nearing the end of the year already and Thanksgiving has crept up on us very quickly.  Thanksgiving is the time of year where we sit down with our friends and family and think about what we’re thankful for (along with eating a lot of delicious food).

Here at Bel-O we’re thankful for our customers, young and old, new or with us for over thirty years.  If we aren’t receiving calls, we can’t stay in business and provide for our families.  Because of this, our customers are on the top of Bel-O’s “thankful for” list.  The growing demand for our services has helped us hire more technicians and plumbers and we know that they are thankful for that!

So really, what we want to say to everyone out there reading is THANK YOU!  We know there are a lot of options for heating and cooling, plumbing, and pest solutions companies out there, and we appreciate that you have chosen us.  We hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, family, and some relaxation thrown in!

Bel-O Sales & Service has been in business for over 50 years in the Belleville, IL area. For more information or to set up an appointment, please reach us at 618-BELOMAN (618-235-6626).

Don’t be shocked this season!

…At least not in your home because of low humidity.

The cool, dry air is moving in and the moisture in the air is officially practically non-existent.  While this means you aren’t feeling clammy, you are instead dealing with enough static electricity that you feel like you could power an electric car.  The good news is, you aren’t stuck living in an overly dry home this winter because you can do something about it. Whole home humidifiers are an investment well worth the money since they have so many benefits.

Humidity or lack thereof can be problematic for both your health and your home.  A lot of viruses thrive in low humidity areas, increasing your chances of getting sick with a cold or flu.  If you suffer from a constant cough and/or sore throat in your home in colder months, you can blame the low humidity.  You may experience upper respiratory issues that seem like cold symptoms but aren’t, giving you that sick feeling that you can’t shake.  Allergy and asthma symptoms are also worsened by overly dry air.

You skin hates cold, dry weather just as much as your throat does.  Those with eczema tend to see more flare ups and are generally miserable when winter strikes.  Even if you don’t suffer from any sort of skin conditions, you probably still have to deal with itchy, dry skin when the air is dry.  Chapped, cracked lips?  Yup, that’s low humidity, too.  So, instead of investing in a year’s supply of lotion and chap stick, you would probably be better off using a humidifier.

 

It’s not just people that are affected by low humidity.  Your home can suffer just like you do.  The walls of your home and hardwood floors can have the moisture sucked right out of them and, in return, crack.  The same can happen with furniture, certain types of artwork and electronics.  Paint can also chip right off of your walls because of dry air.

Did you know you can save money on your heating bills with a humidifier?  It’s true!  Moist air makes you feel more comfortable and allows you to lower your thermostat a couple of degrees.   The more moisture in the air, the warmer it feels.  Cool, huh?

So, as you can see, dry air isn’t a pleasant thing to deal with in your home.  Thankfully, though, humidifiers can be installed as part of your heating and cooling system to disperse moisture throughout your home.  Keeping your home at an appropriate moisture level will help your health and the health of your home.  It’s recommended to keep your relative humidity in your home around 50%, but a little higher or lower won’t hurt, either, depending on your preferences.  With a whole-home humidifier, you can set the moisture level your’re after and it’ll do the work for you.

We’d be happy to come out to your home to determine which type of humidifier would be the best fit for your home.  We know the choices can be overwhelming which is why we’re here to help.  Bel-O is based in Belleville, IL and services the surrounding areas in the Metro East.  Give us a call at 618-BELOMAN for more information on humidifiers or any other home comfort needs.