Some Common Heat Pump Repairs in Pepperell

September 17th, 2014

We are getting ready to switch from cooling mode to heating mode as we head into fall weather here in Pepperell, MA. If you noticed toward the end of the summer that your heat pump wasn’t performing as well as it should be, it may be time to call for repair. It is normal for your heat pump to show signs of wear and tear considering the amount of work it has done over the last several months in keeping your home cool. Heat pump repair in Pepperell can be complex, which is why it should always be handled by trained and certified professionals, like the ones at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

Common Heat Pump Repairs

Here are some of the more common heat pump repairs our technicians see:

Problems with the Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is the component of your heat pump that allows you to switch from cooling mode to heating mode. One of the most common problems that develops with the reversing valve is that it gets stuck in a position and doesn’t allow the heat pump to work. The valve can become stuck in a specific mode (heating or cooling) as well as in between modes. Sometimes the valve can be repaired when it becomes stuck, but many times it needs to be replaced.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can develop within the heat pump, and will require the help of a professional for repair. Refrigerant must be handled by a person certified to do so, and leaks can be difficult to detect without the proper training. Refrigerant leaks do not improve over time, so it’s advisable to call for help as soon as you suspect a refrigerant leak.

Condensate Drain Clog

Heat pumps have condensate drains that remove the excess moisture from your home to the outside. This drain can become clogged with debris, mold, mildew, algae and other growths that thrive in moist, cool settings. Clogs need to be removed or the drain can back up and cause serious water damage.

Heat pumps can be great devices for your home, and because they work year-round, it’s important to repair them as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing issues with your heat pump, contact the trained professionals that you can always count on: Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

 

Signs That Your Furnace Needs Repair

September 15th, 2014

With the colder months coming up soon, it is time to make certain the furnace that keeps your home warm all the way to spring is up to the task. You do not want the first chilly day of the season to arrive only to discover that your heater cannot do its job properly—or worse, will cannot do its job at all. Take the opportunity during the waning warm days to turn on your furnace for a test run to see if there are issues that require repair attention. Below are some warning signs to look for that you should call for professionals to repair the furnace.

For fast and reliable furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA and throughout the Metrowest Area, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today. We have the skill to diagnose and fix whatever ails your furnace.

Common warning signs of furnace repair needs

  • Odd noises: One of the most common indications that a furnace is having problems is strange sounds from the cabinet. When you first turn on the furnace for the season, you may hear some clicking noises, as well as rumbling in the ductwork, but this is normal. However, if these sounds persist, they can indicate serious trouble. Pay special attention to booming sounds, loud clicking, hissing, and mechanical grinding.
  • Strange smells from the vents: When you check on the airflow coming from the vents connected to the furnace, check if there are acrid or burning odors coming out as well. This can indicate dirt on the motors, or a motor that is burning out.
  • Cold spots in the house: If a furnace starts to lose its heating power, it will result in heat not evenly spreading through a home. If rooms (usually ones farthest from the center of the house) feel cold, first check that the vents are open and no furniture is blocking them. If the cold spots persist, call for repairs: many different malfunctions could account for a loss of heating.
  • The furnace trips circuit breakers: If the furnace causes a circuit breaker to trip, there may be an electrical fault. Remember, even gas furnaces today require electrical power to start up (they use electronic igniters) and can cause trouble for a home’s electrical system if they malfunction.

Schedule pre-season maintenance

If you run your furnace test and do not notice anything unusual, you still need to schedule a regular maintenance session from a professional. Many repair problems in a furnace start small and are difficult to notice unless you are a trained HVAC repair technician. Part of pre-season maintenance is to identify these tricky small malfunctions and have them repaired before the cold weather arrives.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating offers different service agreements to help you maintain your furnace and avoid unnecessary furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA. Call us today for more details.

What the SEER Number Means for your New Air Conditioner

September 8th, 2014

One of the benefits of replacing an aging and/or malfunctioning air conditioner is gaining better energy efficiency. The best way to assess how energy efficient your new system will operate is by first reviewing and understanding its SEER number. Just as a car shows energy usage information through MPG, an air conditioning system does the same with SEER. Your air conditioning replacement in Worcester County should offer you increased comfort, better performance and increased energy efficiency, and with help from a Basnett Plumbing & Heating expert, you can install a new AC that can achieve all of these things for you and your home.

What Does SEER Mean?

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating and it appears on all air conditioning labels.

How Is SEER Calculated?

The SEER number is calculated by measuring the amount of cool air that the air conditioner puts out for every unit of energy it consumes. The scale for SEER is 1 to 23, with higher SEER ratings equaling better energy efficiency. One thing to understand about SEER numbers is that a higher SEER number doesn’t cool your home more than a lower one; rather, a higher SEER number will cool your home the same as a lower SEER number, but do it with less energy, so it will cost you less.

What Are Current SEER Standards?

Minimum SEER ratings are mandated by the federal government, and the current minimum for an air conditioner of any size is 13; this is a change from 2006, when the law had a minimum SEER of 10.

What Does This Mean for My AC?

First, when you purchase your new air conditioner, it will have a SEER of at least 13. However, you can purchase an air conditioning system with a higher SEER rating. Before you purchase, you want to determine what you’ll save monthly in comparison to how much you’ll spend on the purchase, because ACs with higher efficiency ratings are more expensive to purchase.

Energy.gov estimates that each SEER point higher can be as much as a 10% decrease in annual energy costs. As such, an AC with a SEER of 16 can save you upwards of 30% on monthly energy expenditures. However, you want to balance this savings with the cost to purchase to determine how long it will be before you recoup your initial out-of-pocket expenses.

Always Work With a Professional

Determining how SEER factors into your new air conditioning replacement in Worcester County can be confusing, so it’s best to work with a trained specialist who can help you. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has been helping customers install new AC systems since 1987, and we can help you with yours from start to finish.

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

What’s Involved in Duct Replacement

August 25th, 2014

Branching off from your heater and/or air conditioner in your home is a vital network of ducts that distribute conditioned air throughout the rooms and then draw it back into the system to re-circulate it. Although this ventilation network is a key part of keeping your home comfortable, it’s also easy to forget that it’s there at all, since almost all of the ducts remain hidden behind drywall and flooring. Just because you can’t see your ducts doesn’t mean they won’t develop problems that will requires sealing, repairs, or even replacements.

If you notice strange smells coming from the vents, detect a rise in your home’s humidity, notice a drop in heating or cooling power, or see an unexplained rise in your utility bills, you may have ductwork trouble that needs attention from indoor air quality specialists.

For duct replacement in Weston, MA, or other services for your HVAC system, contact the team that has helped the Metrowest Area since 1987: Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

The job of duct replacement

Small gaps or holes that permit air leaks in ducts usually only require repairs. In some cases, however, ductwork will need a full replacement. This is usually necessary if you have aging ducts that have developed heavy corrosion. Sometimes, ductwork can sustain damage because of construction, and in this case, the broken sections will also need replacement. Professionals will get access to the ducts in the walls, doing their best to cause no damage to other construction material, and detach the damaged ducts from the surrounding segments to put in the new section.

Duct replacement is sometimes necessary in order to install a new heater or air conditioner. A higher-powered system often requires larger or more extensive ducts than you currently have. To accommodate the new system, the duct replacement specialists will remove older ductwork and replace them with newer ones that can handle the change in the AC or heater. During this time, the ductwork specialists will also see that older duct material such as sheet metal is replaced with more flexible material.

You can’t delay when you need work of any kind on your ducts. Those old, leaking, or damaged ducts will place enormous pressure on your air conditioner or heater, making it work much harder to achieve its normal output. Your bills will skyrocket while your comfort dwindles, and the extra stress on the HVAC system will lead to more repair bills and a shortened lifespan for the system. The broken ducts will also risk reducing your indoor air quality, letting in excessive amounts of debris into the ventilation system and out into your home. When you need top-quality duct replacement in Weston, MA, call our team of duct replacement experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

Reasons to Have a Grease Trap Installed

August 18th, 2014

Fat, oil, and grease (also known as FOG) are major causes of problems in kitchen plumbing. They seem innocuous in their liquid form when they are hot, but once they cool down they change into waxy, solid material. If this develops inside the wastewater lines of your plumbing, it will lead to high water pressure, clogging, and interference with appliances.

Although you should avoid pouring FOG down your drains (remove it to a trash receptacle), there isn’t any way to prevent all of it from entering kitchen drains—and this is especially important for commercial kitchens, which deal with an immense amount of waste product from cooking and cleaning on a daily basis. If you need special help to stop the fat, grease, and oil from going down into the wastewater system of your home or business, then the installation of a kitchen grease trap will provide immense help.

At Basnett Plumbing & Heating, we are committed to keeping your kitchen, whether in a home or a workplace, free from problems associated with FOG, and we install grease traps in Middlesex County to help with this. Our installers will find the right sized grease trap for your establishment, and we will also provide the service to keep it working effectively.

Should you have a grease trap installed?

Not every home needs a grease trap, since the amount of FOG that goes down the drain is usually small (unless you are pouring it directly down the drains, which you should never do). A simple grease trap is often all that is necessary.

But for a commercial kitchen, grease traps are vital: you have the fat and grease from fryers and grills that must be washed away. This will cause extreme damage to your plumbing and lead to enormous clogging in the pipes that will require professionals to clean out. The clogging will also lead to higher water pressure, and that will cause leaking and damage along the pipes.

The biggest problem that a grease trap can prevent is excess FOG entering the sewer system. This can cause serious issues with the municipal waste system, and as a result may put your establishment in violation of health codes. Grease traps installed for your commercial kitchen will help keep away debilitating shuts-downs for your business.

We handle grease traps for Middlesex County businesses, as well as homes, that will keep away the trouble from any fat, grease, and oil that slides down the drains.

If you do not have grease traps installed for your establishment, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and talk to our plumbing specialists about having the work done.

What’s the Difference between Mechanical and Electronic Air Cleaners?

August 11th, 2014

To protect the indoor air quality of our homes, we sometimes need to do more than simply open up a few windows during the day. Adding in an air cleaning system, such as a mechanical air cleaner or an electronic air cleaner, will remove most of the contaminating particles that circulate through the ventilation system of your house. The cleaners are easy to install with the assistance of HVAC professionals who have indoor air quality experience, and the systems will work well for many years at keeping unwanted pollution from the inside of your house.

Since 1987, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has helped homeowners in Chelmsford, MA with air cleaners and other installations that improve the air inside their home. Contact us today to learn more about our improvements that will increase the comfort and health inside your home.

Mechanical air cleaners vs. electronic air cleaners

There are many choices available for installing air cleaners in a home, but they can be divided into two broad categories: mechanical and electronic. One is not automatically superior to the other; it depends on the specific home and its air quality issues.

  • Mechanical air cleaners: These cleaners are filters, such as HEPA filters. They consist of a mesh of fiberglass filaments that trap particle in the air that passes through them. HEPA filters can stop 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. These filters do not require any power to operate and are generally inexpensive; the only cost comes from installing replacements. Mechanical filters will take care of the air quality problems of most homes, but they do not affect gaseous or odor molecules.
  • Electronic air cleaners: These devices do not use filters at all, but instead electronic fields that ionize the particles of contamination that attempts to pass through them. Ionized particles are drawn down to a set of plates where they are trapped. Using this method, electronic air cleaners can prevent the passage of particles down to 0.1 microns in size, and they will also stop gasses such as carbon monoxide, smoke, formaldehyde, and odors. They are excellent choices if you need the extensive cleaning power to affect these smaller particles. They require power to run, so unless you need their action to combat minute particles, you should stay with mechanical filters.

In many cases, the best choice for the cleanest air is to have both types of cleaners installed. Rely on the advice from indoor air quality specialists to learn which option is ideal for your home. Trust to Basnett Plumbing & Heating for your indoor air quality needs.

Our experts with air cleaners in Chelmsford, MA will determine the purification system that will give you home the healthiest air possible. Call us today.

Some Benefits of Installing a Hot Water Recirculation System

August 4th, 2014

One of the small ways that you waste water every day is when you turn on a hot water faucet for a sink or a shower, then have to wait for the cold water to warm up. The reason you have this delay is that the water in pipes cools down when the taps aren’t in use, and it takes extra time for the water from the water heater to reach you. All the water that comes from the tap before the arrival of the hot water goes down the drain.

There is a way to solve this problem: hot water recirculation systems. With the assistance of a professional plumber, you can have one put into a new home, or choose to have your current plumbing system retro-fit for one. They are an especially good idea when you need to have your old water heater tank replaced.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating offers installation of hot water recirculation systems in Sudbury, MA. We have worked with these marvelous systems for many years, so place your trust in the experience of our team.

How does hot water recirculation work?

Although there are a number of different models, the most common is a demand-controlled system that doesn’t remain on constantly, but comes on from a switch or motion detector located near each fixture. This turns on the circulation pump which stops water from entering the return line; the pump moves room temperature water from the line back into the water heater. The hot water flows to the farthest tap and the sensor then shuts the pump off, leaving the hot water ready for use. A second type of system, an integrated loop system, simply keeps hot water in constant circulation through the pipes so it is always available for the taps. This kind of system uses more energy, however.

What are the benefits?

The benefit you will experience first is the convenience of no longer needing to wait for the water coming from a faucet or showerhead to heat up. Those minutes of testing the water for your shower in the morning will vanish—and those little minutes add up to a lot of saved time over a week, and month, and so on.

The bigger advantage, however, is one you won’t see immediately: water bill savings. For an average home, the amount of water wasted each year due to waiting for running water to heat up is approximately 1,000 gallons. If you eliminate this water from your budget you can achieve tremendous savings. The hot water recirculation system will pay for its own installation in only a few years.

Installing hot water recirculation systems in Sudbury, MA is a big task, so make sure you work with expert plumbers to find out if it is a worthwhile investment for your home.

Contact the team at Basnett Plumbing & Heating to find out more about this service and other ways we can help you with your plumbing.

Air Conditioning Upgrades Available in Tewksbury

July 28th, 2014

Whether you are replacing an old air conditioner or want to maximize the performance and benefits of your current one, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has some great options for upgrading your air conditioning in Tewksbury. Why upgrade? Depending on the type of upgrade you choose, upgrades can help improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and put less strain on your system. Here are a few upgrades to consider for your air conditioning system:

  • New thermostat – your thermostat controls when your air conditioner cycles. If it is aging, malfunctioning or needing frequent repair, it could be costing you money and putting a strain on your air conditioner. By upgrading to a digital, programmable or wi-fi thermostat, you can increase your energy efficiency and significantly reduce the need to repair your thermostat.
  • Zone control system – many houses have rooms or spaces that cool differently from others. This can be from daytime heat gain, special architecture such as wall-to-ceiling windows, or your home’s floor plan. Whatever the cause of differentiating temperatures, they can create discomfort and energy inefficiency in your home. One of the best ways to combat these issues is with a zone control system. With a zone control system, you create separate zones – individual rooms, floors, etc. – in which the temperature can be individually controlled. How? Motorized dampers are installed into your ductwork; each damper is connected to a thermostat that is wired into a central control panel that gives you complete control over the temperature in each zone. This allows for customized comfort throughout your home, as well as better energy efficiency.
  • Energy recovery ventilator – an energy recovery ventilator, also known as an ERV, is a ventilation system that exchanges your indoor air with the outdoor air while using the energy from the outgoing air to pre-cool (or pre-heat) the incoming air. The component responsible for this exchange is the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. The end result is that you get a constant stream of fresh air in your home while adding great energy efficiency with the pre-treated air.

These are just a few examples of upgrades available for your air conditioner.

To find out more about how upgrades can improve your air conditioning in Tewksbury, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and schedule an appointment.

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.