How Tankless Water Heaters Provide Hot Water On-Demand

February 27th, 2015

There’s been a lot hub-bub about tankless water heaters, and they’ve been gaining in popularity for some good reasons. However, it’s not clear to many homeowners how these devices provide hot water for an entire home when they don’t have a holding tank for the water. If you’ve been thinking about the installation of a tankless water heater in your Chelmsford home, it behooves you to understand how the system works. It is also in your best interest to hire a trained professional to install your tankless water heater as they are somewhat more complex than tank water heaters. The plumbing professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating can help you with your tankless water heater installation from beginning to end, so if you are contemplating the installation of a tankless system, call us today!

Water On-Demand: How It Works

The key to tankless water heaters providing hot water to your home on-demand lay with the heat exchanger at the core of the device. When you open a hot water tap in your home, the heat exchanger turns on and at the same time, the cold water valve opens and flows water directly to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers heat to the cold water and once the water heats to the pre-set temperature, which takes a matter of seconds, the heated water flows into the open hot water tap.

Why Choose a Tankless Water Heater?

There are a few benefits tankless hot waters heaters can offer homeowners, and one of the biggest is the elimination of standby heat loss. Tank water heaters can lose up to 25% of their heat daily simply because the hot water sits in a tank; when you install and use a tankless hot water heater, this standby heat loss disappears. Tankless water heaters are also very energy efficient. Energy.gov estimates that tankless water heaters are anywhere from 24%-34% more energy efficient than tank water heaters, which can be a big savings for your home. Lastly, you never have to worry about running out of hot water with a tankless water heater.

A tankless water heater in your Tewksbury home can be a great addition, but professional installation is the key.

Call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating and schedule a consultation about tankless hot water heaters today!

The Benefits of Hydronic Baseboard Radiators

February 26th, 2015

Hydronic heating systems, those that use water to heat your home, have a choice of outlets by which to disperse heat. One of these choices is the baseboard radiator. Baseboard heating first appeared after World War II as a way to efficiently heat without having to deal with the bulk of a traditional iron radiator. A baseboard radiator installation can offer you a number of benefits, but the key to gaining these benefits is hiring professionals to install your new heating. As part of a hydronic system, correct piping is critical for baseboard radiators, and using amateurs for the installation can be risky. The heating experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating have been serving the MetroWest and surrounding areas since 1987, and they bring these years of experience to every job. If you are ready for a new radiator installation in Tewksbury, call us today!

How Does Hydronic Baseboard Heating Work?

There are two types of hydronic baseboard radiators homeowners can choose from: one is a self-contained baseboard radiator that does not have to be connected to your boiler, and the other is connected to your boiler. Both use hot water to warm your living spaces, but they work a little differently. A baseboard radiator that is connected to your boiler works very much the same as a larger room radiator: hot water is circulated to its inner pipe and heat is released through the baseboard. When the water cools, it exits the radiator and returns to the boiler for re-heating in the next cycle. A self-contained baseboard radiator also uses water (or a heat-transferring fluid), but the water isn’t circulated in and out; instead, the fluid is held inside the narrow metal tube in the radiator and heated via electricity when the baseboard’s thermostat calls for heat.

Benefits of Hydronic Baseboard Heating

What are some of the benefits you can enjoy from a hydronic baseboard radiator? Here are some to consider:

  • Great for allergy sufferers – hydronic baseboard heating is a type of radiant system, so you don’t have to worry about swirling dust and pet dander with this type of system, as you do with a forced air system.
  • Quiet – a baseboard heating system is virtually soundless because they radiate heat, they don’t blow it.
  • Space-savers – baseboard heaters don’t have the bulk that larger radiators do, and baseboard heaters can be sized in varying lengths without sacrificing a lot of space.

Interested to see if your home in Tewksbury can benefit from the installation of baseboard radiator heating? Call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today!

Types of American Standard Heat Pumps

February 21st, 2015

Heat pumps can offer your home both heating and cooling as well as high energy efficiency, no matter the season. This is one of the reasons why Basnett Plumbing & Heating carries heat pumps as a heating and cooling option for our customers. One of the brands we carry is American Standard, a company that has been a staple in the heating and cooling industry for over 130 years. There are 3 levels of heat pumps that American Standard offers for your home in Lancaster, and we’ll outline them below.

Platinum

The Platinum series, as the name indicates, is the top of the American Standard heat pump line of products. These units have a SEER of 18-20, which can save you up to 50% in annual energy costs. The Platinum line heat pumps are also multi-stage systems that operate at variable speeds, ensuring you have the exact comfort level you need without increasing your energy usage. There are several Platinum models to choose from, and your Basnett Plumbing & Heating specialist can help you determine which model will best fit your home.

Gold

The American Standard Gold heat pump offers homeowners 2-stage operation, with the unit operating the vast majority of the time at 70 percent capacity, which can save a great deal of energy. The SEER rating for the Gold models is 17.25; the minimum requires SEER is 13, so this model is also very energy efficient.

Silver

The Silver series is the most cost-effective of the American Standard heat pumps, having the lowest initial costs of all the American Standard heat pump products available. With SEER ratings ranging from 14-17, these units are very energy efficient but operate more simply at a single stage.

Warranties

American Standard heat pumps come with the following warranties, as long as the unit is registered:

  • Platinum and Gold – 12-year limited warranty on compressor
  • Silver – 10-year limited warranty on compressor
  • All – 10-year limited warranty on outdoor coil
  • All – 10-year limited warranty on internal functional parts

In addition, many models carry the Energy Star rating.

 

If you have been considering the installation of a heat pump for your home in Lancaster, you may want to review the American Standard line of heat pump products.

Need help? Contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating and schedule an appointment with one of our experts!

What Is Aeroseal Duct Sealing?

February 20th, 2015

The ducts in your home are vital to your heating and air conditioning system, delivering conditioned air into every room in the home by forming a pathway from the air handler to the vents. When ducts are installed, technicians should take every precaution to protect them from leaks. Unfortunately, ducts are often improperly sealed, or they develop small leaks over time that can really add up. Most homes leak air from the ducts, often close to 30% of the conditioned air.

When air leaks out of the ducts instead of moving into your home, it takes longer to heat or cool the space. This leads to higher energy bills and overworked HVAC equipment which could break down prematurely. Professional duct sealing is the best way to combat this, but it can seem difficult since leaks may be in an area of ductwork that is difficult to reach. In severe cases, duct sealing can take days, but not if you choose professionals who use Aeroseal duct sealing.

For this process to take place, a thorough inspection is necessary to begin with. Technicians will measure the air pressure in your ducts and print out a report of their findings. Once it has been determined that Aeroseal sealing is the best approach, they’ll seal up any vents and other the indoor air handler. Then, they seal a tube onto the ducts which blows adhesive particles into the ducts.

This is where the process gets interesting. These adhesive particles essentially search for holes in the ducts and latch onto the edges of these holes. They attach only to the holes, not to the lining of the ducts, and this process goes on until every hole is taken care of. The entire process usually takes about 4-8 hours. After it is complete, they’ll take additional measurements and give you a report comparing the ducts before and after sealing, so you can see just how efficient they’ve become.

Not all technicians use this unique system, but we are certified to provide this service and we can also help you to find other ways to maximize your energy savings in Weston.

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating if you’d like access to technicians who use Aeroseal duct sealing technology throughout the MetroWest area.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Basnett Plumbing & Heating hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Why Consider a Thermostat Installation with a New HVAC System Installation?

February 13th, 2015

Thermostats are one of the most important parts of any HVAC system. The thermostat is the control center of your heater and air conditioner, responsible for determining when they activate and for how long. Despite being so vital, however, thermostats are among the most neglected when it comes to maintenance and replacement. Many homeowners have thermostats that are significantly older than the heating systems they operate, and for no other reason than they aren’t considered a problem as long as they’re working properly. Actually, there are a number of very good reasons to have a new thermostat installed along with a new HVAC installation. Let’s examine some of those reasons now.

Efficiency

If you opened up a thermostat from 30 or 40 years ago, you’d find that it was more or less entirely mechanical. Most thermostats in those days used temperature sensors that were extremely inaccurate, despite being the best available at the time. Ampules filled with mercury and heat-sensitive coils did the job decently, but they had huge dead zones where they were not sensitive enough to activate the heater or air conditioner when needed. Later electronic thermostats had a huge advantage in terms of sensitivity and energy efficiency, which is why you’ll find them in most homes today. However, a lot of homeowners seem content to use a thermostat that’s over a decade old, despite much more accurate models being available.

Modern thermostats are leaps and bounds better than older electronic thermostats, just as those thermostats were better than the previous generation of mechanical thermostats. New sensor technology gives more modern thermostats even greater control over a home’s climate, making your living space more comfortable.

Some thermostats are even becoming adaptive, able to learn and anticipate your heating and cooling needs. With these systems, you barely have to touch the thermostat to achieve a comfortable home climate. The options that these new thermostats present make them worth using, both because they’ll save you money and make your home more comfortable.

So, if you’re installing a new HVAC system and you have an older thermostat, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We provide thermostat installation throughout the MetroWest area.

How Maintenance Can Keep Your Heating System Running Strongly This Winter

February 6th, 2015

Heat is critical for you and your home at this time of year, and there is a simple way to help it maintain good operation: schedule a heating maintenance appointment for your Acton home.

How Does Maintenance Help?

Maintenance is a full tune-up of your heating system that includes cleaning of components, testing, lubrication of all moving parts and small repair. Dust and dirt can seriously hamper system operation, and seasonal wear can effect performance. How does the work done during a maintenance appointment help your heating system? Here are some of the ways:

  • Better energy efficiency – your heating system was manufactured to operate at a certain level of efficiency. When the system is dirty and dusty, it can’t perform as needed, and will use more energy to achieve your set temperature. Any time your system uses more energy, your energy efficiency decreases.
  • Prevents repairs – no one likes walking into a cold home after a long day at work because the heating system isn’t working. When you schedule maintenance, the thorough inspection conducted by the technician helps to detect existing and developing problems that can be addressed before they become large issues.
  • Better comfort – a heating unit that hasn’t been maintained can struggle to reach your desired temperature. Maintenance allows your system to work optimally, so achieving the heating you want isn’t a challenge.
  • Extends life of equipment – maintenance keeps your heater in good working order, which can help extend the life of the equipment.

Can I Schedule Maintenance in Winter?

While it’s always good to get ahead of the winter season with a fall maintenance appointment, the real importance is have your heater properly maintained. A mid-winter maintenance appointment is actually a great time to have your system tuned-up, as it will allow the system to work well for the balance of the winter season. Additionally, it’s recommended that you schedule your heater for maintenance every 12 months, so if it’s been more than that since your last maintenance appointment, it’s best to call sooner rather than later.

The experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating are available to help with all your heating maintenance needs in Acton, so call us today!

What Is a Laundry Pump?

February 5th, 2015

Many people have their laundry appliances in the basements of their homes. However, a potential challenge for some homeowners using this schematic for their laundry is that their washing machine is below their main wastewater line. So how can you get rid of the gray water (wastewater) that is created when you do a load of wash? Install a laundry pump in your Reading home.

When Gravity Can’t Help

Plumbing utilizes gravity in many ways: water flows down from faucets, it flows down drains and flows down into your main sewer or septic line, which is usually a few feet below the surface of your yard. But gravity can also work against you, especially if your main waste line is above some of your plumbing, as it can be with a washing machine. When this happens, you need the help of a pump.

What a Laundry Pump Does

A laundry pump’s job is to push the gray water from your finished wash cycle up to the waste line so that it can be properly disposed of. The way a laundry pump works is that once a cycle is finished, the water is drained into a small holding tank. Most laundry pumps operate automatically using a float to detect the rising water. When the water level reaches a certain pre-set level, the level of the float triggers the pump to operate, and the gray water is pumped from the tank up to the waste line pipe. When the float drops back down to a certain level, the pump shuts off and a valve inside the pipe stops any backflow from occurring. For those pumps that aren’t automatic, you can manually activate the pump with a switch. It isn’t uncommon for items like buttons and coins to wash into the holding tank, so it’s important to check the tank periodically for these items so they can’t cause a clog.

Plumbing installations should always be handled by a professional.

If you are in need of a laundry pump for your Reading home, call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and schedule an appointment.

Is a Propane Generator Right for My Home?

January 30th, 2015

When it comes to fueling a whole-home generator, there are three fuel choices: natural gas, diesel and propane (LP). Deciding which type of generator will work best for your home based on the fuel type is determined partly by preference and partly what is available to you. All three types can keep the major systems of your home operational during a power outage, so how do you choose? This is where you’ll want to start working with a trained expert.

Using Propane

Not all homes have access to a natural gas line, and if you don’t have access to one, your next choice is propane. Propane is typically stored in a tank, an option that isn’t available for natural gas. Propane is part of the chemical make-up of natural gas, so the two fuels come from the same family; as such, they behave and work in a similar way.

How an LP Generator Works

An LP whole-home generator works just as any other home generator: it connects directly to your home’s electrical panel and is equipped with sensors that detect when an outage has occurred. Should an outage occur, the generator automatically takes over providing electricity to the electrical box so that your home’s major systems stay operational. The main difference between an LP generator and a natural gas one is that instead of being connected to a main pipeline for fuel, the generator is connected to the LP tank.

Why Consider an LP Generator?

In addition to the general benefits a generator provides, here are some others to consider that are specific to LP:

  • LP has a long shelf life
  • LP is clean-burning
  • An LP generator can easily supply the power you need to keep your home operational
  • LP fuel is available during an outage (tank needs to be filled)

If you are interested in installing a whole-home generator but have hesitated because you don’t have access to a natural gas line, you may want to consider a propane generator for your Maynard, MA home. Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and speak to one of our experts.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating can help you pinpoint which type of generator will work best to meet your needs. If you are ready to install a whole-home generator, call us today.

Why Install a Condensate Pump for HVAC Equipment?

January 29th, 2015

Air conditioners and condensing boilers and furnaces create excess water during operation; this excess water is known as condensate. Condensate needs to be removed from any of these systems, and is typically done so by the condensate array in each unit. Standard condensate arrays work with the laws of gravity and allow the condensate to flow down into your home’s exit plumbing to either your sewer or septic system. But close proximity to the exit plumbing isn’t always a given, and in these cases, it is necessary to use a condensate pump for your MetroWest property to ensure proper drainage of the condensate.

How Does a Condensate Pump Work?

A condensate pump is a small plastic box, about the size of half a shoe box. Its main components are a float switch, a small reservoir and the small electric pump mechanism. As condensate drips into the box, the reservoir fills. The float switch has a pre-set that determines how high the float can go before it activates the pump. Once the amount of condensate reaches this pre-set limit, the float switch activates the condensate pump and pumps the water up to the exit plumbing.

Why Install a Condensate Pump?

The condensate from any whole-home system has to be properly disposed of; allowing the condensate to simply drip into your foundation or into a bucket is not acceptable. As such, you will need to install a condensate pump. A couple of side benefits you can gain from a condensate pump are a cleaner, more aesthetic look around your condensate array area and less risk of bacterial growth since the pump ensures that the condensate water will be removed.

Can I Install It Myself?

The condensate array is an important part of your HVAC system, so unless you are an expert, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to perform the installation.

Condensate problems can result in mold and mildew infestation, problems with your system and potential water damage to your property.

If your heating or cooling system in the MetroWest area, is in need of a condensate pump, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today.