What Is the Best Fuel Option for a Whole-House Generator?

July 21st, 2014

With a whole-house generator, you not only have protection for your family in case of a major, extended power loss, you have something even better: peace of mind.

However, when it comes to installing a generator for your home, you can’t simply pick any model and expect that it will do the job. You have some important choices to make so that the generator you end up with can handle the power needs of your home and work efficiently. One of the key choices you will need to make is the generator’s fuel source.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating specializes in fitting homes with propane and natural gas generators in Reading, MA and other parts of the MetroWest Area. We will help answer all your questions regarding whole-house generators to steer you to the model that will keep you certain throughout the year that your home will be ready for any energy emergency.

Let’s look at the two major fuel options for generators to help get you started with choosing one:

Propane generators

If you do not have access to a natural gas line for your home, then a propane generator is an excellent choice. Propane is stored in a tank for the generator to use, and does not require that you connect the generator to any municipal system.

There are two drawbacks to propane generators that make us advise homeowners who do have access to natural gas lines to opt for a gas generator instead. The first is that propane costs more than natural gas, and it is a more volatile fuel when it comes to price fluctuations. The second is that you can run out of propane; if you are caught with a low or empty propane tank during a power outage, you may experience difficulty getting more heating fuel.

Natural gas generators

These are the most reliable model of whole-house generators, and you should make them your top choice if you have a connection to a natural gas line. Natural gas burns cleaner than other fuels, like oil and propane. And it burns efficiently—it’s less expensive than using electricity. You won’t spend much more money to power your generator during an emergency than you would to run the power in your home at regular times. Because natural gas comes from a municipal supply, you won’t have to worry about running out of heating fuel or getting caught with an empty tank.

Aside from selecting the best fuel type for your home’s generator, you must also have the right sized system to match your needs for power during an outage. Even if you feel certain of the fuel type for your future generator, you will still require the generator installation expertise of professionals to see the work through to the end.

Whether it’s installing propane or natural gas generators in Reading, MA, you can trust the job—from start to finish—to Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

How Do Hot Water Recirculation Systems Work?

July 14th, 2014

If you have ever investigated ways to save water in your home, you will have seen the suggestion that you place a bucket beneath a faucet to catch the water that you would otherwise waste while waiting for a hot water tap to warm up sufficiently for a bath or shower. This delay for hot water occurs because the water sitting inside the pipes cools down when not in use, and each time a hot water tap comes on, this cool water must exit the pipes first before the arrival of the hot water.

Not only does this waste water while you wait for it to warm up, it is also an inconvenience. But there’s no way to avoid it, right?

Actually, there is: the technology of a hot water recirculation system. You’ll save time and save money thanks to one of these systems. We’ll explain how they work for your benefit.

To find out more about hot water recirculation systems in Houston, TX, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We can tell you how best to add one to your existing plumbing, or for new home construction.

How hot water recirculation works

The basic operation of hot water recirculation is a plumbing system that constantly moves hot water through the pipes at all times without the use of a hot water tank. The system must still use a hot water heater, however, such as a boiler, but it does not store the hot water inside waiting for use the way that a hot water tank does. Instead, it keeps a steady flow of heated water moving in a continuous loop through the hot water lines which runs from the water heater to every fixture in a home. This means that whenever you turn on a hot water tap, there is a heated water supply immediately ready.

When the water has cooled down after going to every fixture, it returns through the existing cold water pipes (along with the entering cold water from the municipal supply) back to the water heater to start the cycle over once again.

Some hot water recirculation systems use thermostats to determine when the water needs to reheating, while others simply keep the water heater running constantly. Although systems with the thermostat can cost more to install, they will save money in the long run through reduced energy use. These thermostats will also help to keep the water that comes from your taps from emerging as too hot and possibly injuring someone.

Find out more about installation

The best time to have hot water recirculation systems in Houston, TX installed is during a full plumbing installation for new construction of a home. However, you can choose to have a retrofit of your current plumbing system as well: plumbers will take out your water heater and install new piping, while maintaining the original cold water lines.

To learn more about what’s necessary for hot water recirculation installation, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today. We have helped the Metrowest Area since 1987 with plumbing solutions.

Steps Involved in Leak Detection

July 7th, 2014

If you’ve experienced a leak in the pipes under your sink, you might think that “leak detection” is a simple process: just look for the gushing water! But most of your home’s plumbing lies hidden behind walls and floorboards, and some are set down in the concrete foundation. Leaks, both large and small, are often hard to find even after you notice evidence of their existence, like discolored spots on the wall or the growth of mildew.

To locate leaks, you need plumbers who come armed with the best detection equipment available. Thanks to the skilled leak detection in Bedford, MA from Basnett Plumbing & Heating, you can have any leak sealed up with minimal excavation and damage to your property.

The process of leak detection

  • Visual inspection: Before plumbers start to use the high-tech equipment to find a leak, they’ll use their own knowledge and skill to narrow down their search area. Plumbers are used to looking for hidden leaks using nothing other than their eyes and past experiences. Finding warped floor boards, spots of mildew, water discoloration, and combining with what they know of pipe placement, plumbers will target a specific area to begin the leak detection search.
  • Listening devices: This is one of the basic tools of leak detection, and usually the first device that plumbers will use. Listening discs, which operate on similar principals to a medical stethoscope, can hear the drip and escape of water that is causing pressure increases through hard building material. Often, listening devices are all that’s necessary for a plumber to pinpoint the leak.
  • Infrared sensors: If the listening discs still leave some area for doubt, plumbers will use infrared sensors to narrow further the search area. These sensors can pick up excess moisture in regions around pipes because the moisture will be at a different temperature as it leaks from the plumbing.
  • Video inspection: The last stage of leak detection—if it is feasible—is to use video pipe inspection equipment to probe down into the pipes with a camera that sends back a feed to a monitor. Through this method, plumbers can not only locate exactly where the leak is, but how large it is and what remedies will fix it.

One the plumbers have identified that leak location and its extent and type, they can begin careful excavation to reach the break and perform the necessary sealing or replacement work to repair it.

Skilled leak detection in Bedford, MA will save you time and money: no time-consuming and expensive tearing open of walls and floors to find the leaking plumbing.

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today if you think you have a leak plaguing your home. Whatever work needs to be done, our plumbers can do it—fast and right the first time.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at [company name] hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

3 Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier in Andover, MA

June 27th, 2014

Just because we live in the northeast doesn’t mean we don’t get hot and humid during the summer. In fact, our summer months can get very uncomfortable, particularly when it comes to humidity levels. And when it’s excessively humid outside, your air conditioner has to work that much harder to achieve the comfort you want inside your home.

One of the best ways to help beat the summer humidity is by installing a whole-home dehumidifier to your air conditioning system. Adding a dehumidifier to your Andover, MA property can offer several benefits, which we’ll outline below.

Benefits of Adding a Whole-Home Dehumidifier

Your air conditioner dehumidifies your home as it cools, but in times of excessive humidity, your air conditioner may not be able to dehumidify as needed. Here are some benefits to adding a dehumidifier to your home:

  • Decrease allergic reactions – dust mites thrive in humid environments. By adding a dehumidifier to your system, you can remove the extra moisture that dust mites love, helping to greatly decrease their presence in your home. This can be especially helpful to the allergy sufferers in your home, including anyone who suffers from asthma that is triggered by allergic reactions.
  • Prevention of mold growth – mold can be a serious problem in homes, particularly to those who are allergic. Mold needs moisture in order to grow, so removing extra moisture via a dehumidifier can go a long way toward hampering its growth in your home. Mold can also damage property, like furniture, photos, books, bedding and linens. Mold damage can be costly, but it can be prevented with the installation of a dehumidifier.
  • Less strain on your air conditioner –periods of excessive humidity mean your AC works even harder to achieve the set temperature in your home. A dehumidifier gives your air conditioner that extra help, putting less strain and wear-and-tear on your system.

If you have been looking for a way to improve your indoor air quality, as well as put less strain on your air conditioner during the summer months, a whole-home dehumidifier may be just the item you need.

Call Basnett’s Plumbing & Heating today and speak to one of our specialists about installing a dehumidifier in your Andover, MA home.

What Are Energy Recovery Ventilators?

June 20th, 2014

Low indoor air quality has turned into a major health concern in the United States. Because contemporary buildings and homes are designed with energy-efficiency in mind, they have heavy heat sealing that prevents heat from escaping during cold weather and entering during hot weather. This sealing, however, makes it difficult for fresh air to circulate through the building, resulting in stale air that continuously cycles through the ventilation system, collecting dust, debris, and other contaminants.

In your home, you can open up doors and windows to help bring in fresh air. However, this also ruins the heat sealing, forcing your air conditioning and heating systems to work harder. (It’s also not practical to have open windows and doors during many days of the year.) There are a number of options available to overcome this dilemma, among them are energy recovery ventilators.

To find out more about the installation of energy recovery ventilators in Lexington, KY, call our indoor air quality specialists at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today.

How energy recovery ventilators work

Energy recover ventilators (ERVs) are a way to bring outdoor air into your home and transfer heat between the indoor and outdoor air. This way you remove the stale air from your house without losing or gaining heat.

The way an ERV achieves this is by drawing outdoor air though a vent into the ducts of your HVAC system. It then runs the fresh air past the stale air drawn from the home. Through a process called counter-flow heat exchange, the heat from one transfers to the other. During hot weather, the warm outdoor air loses its heat to the outgoing indoor air. During cold weather, the process reverses: the warm indoor air transfers its heat to the incoming cold outdoor air. Filters inside the ERV help to filter out any particles that might infiltrate from the outside.

So not only does an ERV bring in fresh outside air, it recovers energy and re-uses it, making your HVAC system more efficient. A well-installed ERV can recover 85% of the energy from outgoing air. You will end up with savings on your utility bills and increased comfort and health from improved air quality.

Professional ERV installation

For an energy recovery ventilator to work correctly, it needs to have installation from skilled professionals. It also needs the work of professionals to repair and maintain it so that it will continue to work properly for many years.

Our experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating will help you choose an ERV model to match your home and budget requirements. They will then handle the installation work that will ensure you’ll receive the highest energy efficiency and air quality possible. Contact us today.

When energy recovery ventilators in Lexington, KY sound like the solution to your issues with indoor air quality, contact the experts at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. 

3 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

June 13th, 2014

In Reading, MA, we have it all: dry cold in winter, sticky humidity in summer and allergies from spring to fall. All of these things can be a problem indoors, too. Since 1987, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has been helping customers in the Metro West area achieve the level of indoor air quality they need to be comfortable and healthy. Does your indoor air quality in Reading need improvement? Let us demonstrate 3 ways you can use your cooling system to improve your Reading indoor air quality:

#1: Dehumidifier

It’s no secret that eastern Massachusetts can get very hot and humid in the summer, particularly in July and August. When it gets excessively humid outside, your air conditioner has to work extra hard to keep things cool inside. One way to help both yourself and your air conditioner work better during humid stretches of weather is to install a whole-home dehumidifier.

A whole-home dehumidifier removes excess humidity from the air, helping lift the load from your air conditioner. A whole-home dehumidifier can also help reduce mold growth, the proliferation of dust mites, and increase your indoor comfort level.

#2: Air Filter

Your air conditioning system comes with a built-in air filter, but the job of this filter is to help stop dirt and dust from entering your air conditioning system – not improve the air quality. So, if you suffer from allergies or sensitivities to air pollution, this air filter will not assist you very much. By adding a more efficient air filter to your air conditioner, you will be able to screen out allergens like pollen, pet dander, mold spores and other microbes that can be a problem for the allergy sufferers in your home.

#3: UV Germicidal Lights

Do you have concerns about bacteria and mold coming through your air conditioning system? Then you may want to consider the installation of UV germicidal lights to your air conditioner. UV germicidal lights are installed in your indoor unit, above the coils. The UV light effectively kills 99.9% of all viruses, bacteria and mold, making it a very healthy addition to your air conditioning system.

Breathe Better, Live Healthier

You spend a lot of time in your home, so it makes sense that your indoor air quality should be where you need and want it to be.

Let Basnett Plumbing & Heating help you improve your indoor air quality in Reading with one of our many tried and true techniques – call us for an appointment today!

When Is It Time to Replace My Heat Pump?

June 6th, 2014

Having a heat pump working in your home is a great way to achieve year-round comfort, whether you needs crisp summer cooling or cozy winter heating. You can expect a well-maintained system to last you over 15 years in most cases… but a time will come when you will need to take into serious consideration scheduling a heat pump replacement in Concord, MA.

It’s important that you anticipate a heat pump’s failure so you can arrange for a convenient time to have it replaced that will cause as little disruption as possible for your family. Waiting for a heat pump to fail will mean a period of discomfort for your household while waiting for new installation.

Here are some of the common warning signs of a heat pump near its last go-round. When you notice these, call on Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We’ll help you decide if it’s best to have the system replaced, and we will help you with the necessary next step, whether its repair or new installation.

The heat pump can no longer effectively heat or cool the house

As a heat pump ages, it will start to lose effectiveness when its parts wear down, particularly the compressor. This will affect it in both heating and cooling modes. When this occurs and basic repairs don’t seem to affect it, look into replacement. Keep the age of the system in mind; if it is older than 15 years, a drop in conditioning power almost always means you should retire the system.

Utility bills are rising without stop

Along with losing heating and cooling power with age, a heat pump will also need to strain harder to work. No amount of repairs or maintenance can stop a heat pump from eventually wearing down to the point where it drains excess power to run. When your utility bills start to rise for no discernable reason, you should investigate the possibility that the heat pump is the cause of it.

Noisy operation

A few strange noises here and there in a heat pump are usually indicative of a repair need that a technician can apply. But if loud and disruptive noises are becoming the norm during regular operation, then the heat pump is coming close to a final breakdown due to aging components. Check with a technician to see if there are any repairs that might fix the problem… and if not, schedule a replacement.

Never hesitate in seeking a professional opinion about whether you should repair or replace a heat pump. Skilled technicians can give you an honest, straightforward answer. If the best choice is to replace, then rely on those same technicians to guide the process.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has worked on heat pump replacement in Concord, MA since 1987. Trust in our experience for the best in year-round comfort.

3 Advantages of Owning a Generator

May 30th, 2014

Generators act as a sort of ace in the hole for your household in the event of a disaster. When fueled and well-maintained, they can offer a number of advantages for your home. Here in Lexington, generators are a popular addition to numerous homes, and if you are a homeowner, you might seriously consider having one installed.

3 Advantages of Owning a Generator

  • Reliability. Storms have a way of wreaking havoc with even the most reliable civic system, and when the power goes out, you could be stuck in a very tough spot. A generator gives you the power to keep food refrigerated, run lights and heaters, and even stay in contact with the outside world. We all hope we never need such self-sufficiency, but when the time comes, a good generator can be worth its weight in gold.
  • Low operating costs. Assuming you have the right sort of fuel and keep it well maintained, generators are very easy on the pocketbook. They don’t cost an excessive amount to install and running them during an emergency can be surprisingly affordable. That enhances their attractiveness during the installation stage: the only time when you seriously have to watch the costs involved.
  • Resale value. When the time comes to sell your home, a functioning generator can be an attractive component: adding value to the home and increasing its attractiveness to potential buyers. In the long run, it might even cover the cost of installation, and at the very least will help make the initial costs more affordable.

For more advantages of owning a generator, or to schedule an installation session, contact the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We have the skills and experience to do the job right, and we can discuss your options with you before installing a generator perfectly suited to your needs. If you live in Lexington, generators can be a godsend whenever the weather gets dicey.

We’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction at every turn and we won’t rest until you’re happy.  Give us a call today to set up an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

3 Signs of Inefficiency in an Old Air Conditioner

May 23rd, 2014

Getting the most out of your air conditioner can be a good thing, but there may come a point when trying to get the most can lead to costing more. It may not be completely evident when your aging air conditioner is costing you more than it should, so our experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating have put together a list of 3 signs that can indicate inefficiency with your AC, and some tips about whether or not you should consider an air conditioning replacement in Carlisle.

Your monthly energy bill is higher than before.

If you have noticed that your energy bill has risen, and there hasn’t been any real change in your personal usage or a price hike by your power company, the most likely culprit is your air conditioner. Aging air conditioners become inefficient due to natural wear-and-tear and lower-than-normal energy ratings. They also just don’t work as well as they did, particularly if the system is 10+ years old. If you’ve seen a jump in your electric bill, it may be time to sit down with a Basnett Plumbing & Heating specialist and see if your air conditioner is costing you more money that it should be.

You are paying for frequent repairs due to breakdown.

Are you calling for repairs to your air conditioner too frequently? Are some of these repairs quite costly? The simple truth is that at some point, it may be less expensive to purchase a new air conditioner versus paying for continual – and potentially costly – repairs.

No matter what, your home just isn’t comfortable.

Have you tried setting your thermostat up and down, only to find that nothing is making your indoor temperature feel comfortable? The older an air conditioner gets, the harder it can be for it to properly cool your home, even if it is the correct size. Pushing your AC to perform by lowering your thermostat can cause it to overwork, and raising the temperature to help your system catch up may contribute to your discomfort – something no one wants on a hot summer day.

Get the Right Size with More Efficiency

If you think it may be time to purchase a replacement for your air conditioner, speak with a Basnett Plumbing & Heating expert first. There are a number of factors to consider before purchasing any air conditioning system to ensure that the replacement will cool your property as needed, and at a level of energy efficiency that you want.

For almost 30 years, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has done air conditioning replacement in Carlisle. Let us help you be comfortable this summer, no matter what the temperature.