Archive for August, 2012

Air Conditioning Service Review

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Air Conditioning Review | Littleton | Basnett Plumbing & HeatingWe were having problems with our AC and had used another company to evaluate the problem. They said that we needed to replace the entire system at a cost of $7,000.00. That’s when we call Basnett for a second opinion. I spoke with Nancy who was very professional and knowledgeable and set up our appointment.

It took less than an hour for their technician Wayne to discover the problem and fix it without having to replace the entire unit for a fraction of what proposed by the other company. I was totally impressed and will recommend to anyone who is in need of services that they provide.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating provides plumbing, air conditioning, heating, air filtration and water heater services throughout Massachusetts and the MetroWest area.

Maynard Heat Pump Tip: Heat Pumps and Energy Efficiency

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Heat pumps offer a number of great benefits. For one, they are inclusive heating and cooling solutions, so they can maintain your Maynard home at a comfortable temperature year round without the need for an additional system.

They run on electricity, so you don’t have to worry about the inconvenience of additional bills and keeping a fuel supply around. They are also quiet and relatively easy to maintain—the list goes on and on. The point is, provided you live in a climate where heat pumps can operate properly, they make for great heating and cooling options.

One other huge advantage of heat pumps is that they are very energy efficient, often much more so than other heating and cooling options. For one, the heating efficiency of heat pumps can range from 150-300%, meaning that the amount of heat energy they are able to produce is 1.5 to 3 times greater than the amount of electricity they draw to do it. That is an incredibly efficient exchange.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency awards the EnergyStar to devices and appliances that surpass energy efficiency guidelines. Heat pumps that have earned the EnergyStar are even more efficient than their brethren, sometimes by as much as 9%, according to the EPA. If you have an older heat pump in your home already, a newer EnergyStar rated model may be as much as 20% more efficient.

While these numbers by themselves may not seem Earth shattering, consider two things. First, in an age of constantly escalating energy costs, any savings are welcome. Second, rewarding energy efficient homes has been a focus of the federal government for a few years. To that end, homes with EnergyStar rated heat pumps installed may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to 30%. So, not only do these devices help you save on your bills, but on your taxes as well.

The benefits of heat pumps are numerous, but perhaps none is a bigger plus than their extremely efficient use of energy. You can save electricity and save money, all while keeping your home comfortable year round.

If you are considering a heat pump for your Maynard home, these benefits are important to keep in mind while making your decision. Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today to learn more!

Basnett Plumbing & Heating Recycles

Friday, August 24th, 2012

At Basnett Plumbing & Heating we believe in recycling and doing what we can for the environment. We recycle as much as we can. We have a super-sized bulk container for all of our scrap metal (furnaces, boiler, hot water tanks, etc.) and a cardboard recyclable container and we recycle all refrigerant. We encourage our customer to recycle as much as they can as well.

Recycling | Littleton | Basnett Plumbing & HeatingMassachusetts State Regulation requires that the following materials MUST be recycled:
Glass (Bottles and Jars only)
Tin and Aluminum Cans
Plastics (31 and #2 only)
Newspaper, cardboard and mixed paper
Yard Waste (grass and Leaves)
Brush (Fee)
Appliances (Fee)
Tires (16 inch maximum, Fee)
Used Motor Oil and Antifreeze
Scrap Metal
Returnable Cans and Bottles (for non-profit groups)
Cathode Ray Tubes (TV’s and Computer Monitors, Fee)

Basnett Plumbing & Heating provides quality plumbing, heating, air conditioning, water heater and air filtration services in Littleton, MA and the surrounding areas. We proudly serve the residents of Essex County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County and Worcester County. If you are looking for reliable HVAC technicians or plumber who you can trust call Basnett today!

Littleton Air Conditioning Guide: When Should You Check Your AC Filters

Monday, August 20th, 2012

The filters on your Littleton air conditioning unit are vital for keeping out the dust and debris that make indoor air quality worse. And it’s important that you take personal responsibility for checking those filters. Sure, you have a Littleton AC professional visit your home once a year to check the air conditioning, but you should also check the system yourself on a semi-regular basis for possible filter degradation.

Monthly Checks

So, how often should you check? Think of it this way. There is no such thing as checking too much, but you can easily not check often enough. So, we recommend checking your filter at least once every 4 weeks. It may not always need to be changed during that four week checkup (sometimes it can last 6 weeks or longer), but it’s good to take a peek.

Why is this so important? Because filters that haven’t been checked and changed as needed have a habit of building up excess sediment and debris. Not a problem when it comes to actually working, but a huge problem when it comes to your energy bill. The harder a system has to work to keep you house cool, the more energy it draws and the more you pay to have cool air in your home. And it will break down much faster as a result of overwork and dirty filters.

Changing an AC Filter

If your filter is ready for a swap, here are some quick tips to get the job done:

  • Find Your Filters – If you don’t know where your filters are, ask your contractor on the next visit or look near the return grills by the thermostat.
  • Remove the Filters – Open the latches and pull the old filter out to check it. You should be able to see clearly if a permanent filter is dirty and a disposable one should still be white. If this isn’t the case, it’s time for a cleaning/replacement.
  • Clean the Area – Clear the grill and area of any debris and sediment that might make the filter worse after replacement.

Proper filter maintenance only takes five minutes and it will save you money every month you run your Littleton AC – not a bad deal for a few minutes’ work. If you are not sure how to change your air filters or you would rather have a professional take care of the job, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

Boiler Replacement Rebates Extended!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Is your boiler 30 years old or older? The NSTAR and National Grid are offering generous rebates to residential customers to replace their boilers. This program has been extended to September 30th, 2012. Customer services by providers other than NSTAR and National Grid should contact those utility providers for similar rebates.

Rebates | Littleton | Basnett Plumbing & Heating Do you qualify?

  • Residence must be located in Massachusetts
  • Customer must have NSTAR or National Grid as their electric and/or natural gas service provider
  • Municipal Electric customer must heat with natural gas provided by NSTAR or National Grid
  • Residence must have natural gas, oil or propane heating

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today to find out if your home qualifies for a rebate to replace your boiler. These rebates are very generous but are only available through September of 2012. Basnett provides top quality plumbing, heating, boiler, air conditioning and water heater services in Littleton and the MetroWest area.

Lancaster Plumbing Tip: A Low Cost Way to Brighten a Kitchen or Bath

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Many older homes in Lancaster still have the original faucets, toilets, shower heads, and other plumbing fixtures installed by the builder. Like most contractor-grade components, those fixtures were  probably designed to be strictly practical, with very little styling or decorative flair.

Contractors aren’t architects or interior designers. They’re focused mainly on installing the infrastructure of the plumbing system – the water delivery and waste pipes. It’s not their job to pick out elegant or cutting edge fixtures. They also can’t predict the taste of a home’s future occupants, so it makes no sense to install distinctive fixtures that might be removed or, worse, contribute to a potential buyer’s negative impression of the home.

That means many homeowners spend years living with plumbing fixtures deliberately intended to be bland and unnoticeable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but consider how many times each day we use our bathroom and kitchen faucets. How many times per week do we take a bath or use the shower? The simple pleasure of seeing and touching an attractive, well designed faucet is a little perk that can help brighten the day.

Higher end plumbing fixtures can be pricey, but factor in how long most fixtures last and you’re only paying a few pennies or less per day. Plumbing fixture design has become much more consumer-driven. Companies must compete by offering an expanding variety of styles.  The new passion for cooking has increased the demand for professional grade kitchen faucets that can stand up to hard use, have pullout sprayers, and accommodate large pans. New shower head designs provide a more comfortable, invigorating spray. Sink faucets with elegant finishes of bronze, brushed nickel, or brilliant brass can liven a bathroom. Ergonomically correct handles are easier to use and more inviting to touch.

There are also practical reasons for replacing fixtures. With improvements in materials technology the interior seals of faucets and other fixtures are more resistant to mineral build up and corrosion that can cause leaks. Metal finishes are more durable and resistant to dulling from soap or detergent.

Installing a new, attractive faucet won’t provide a total kitchen or bathroom makeover, but it will provide a spark that brightens the room and makes everyday living just a little more fun.  For more information about how to improve your Lancaster plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

Heating and Air Conditioning Rebates for Massachusetts Residents

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Energy Rebates | Littleton | Basnett Plumbing & HeatingHurry these rebates only last a few more months! If you are interested in upgrading your heating or cooling system find out about the money saving rebates available for MA residents by calling Basnett Plumbing & Heating today! When you purchase qualifying equipment through Basnett we can help you get the most out of your purchase by explaining which rebates you qualify for and helping to fill out the rebate paperwork. You can also get great financing deals, including Mass Save HEAT Loan Zero Interest Financing. Basnett Plumbing & Heating offers plumbing, heating, air conditioning and water heater services in Littleton, MA and throughout the MetroWest area.

There are rebates available for all of the following products and systems:

  • Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Central Air Conditioner or Heat Pump
  • ENERGY STAR® Heating and Cooling Installations
  • Residential High-Efficiency Heating Equipment
  • High-Efficiency Oil and Propane Heating System
  • Home Energy Assessments
  • Residential High-Efficiency Oil or Propane Indirect Water Heater
  • 7-Day Programmable Thermostats
  • Weather Responsive Controls for Oil or Propane Forced Hot Water Heating Systems

Littleton Plumbing Queston: What Size Water Heater Do I Need for My Home?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

When installing a new water heater in your Littleton home, it is important to get one that is the appropriate size. Of course, one that is too small will not handle the capacity you need, so you will be stuck with water that is not quite hot enough.

You may think to just buy one that you are sure can more than handle the capacity you need, but there are drawbacks to this strategy. A water heater that is “too big” will also draw more power, resulting in waste and unnecessarily high bills. Plus, it will cost more up front than you really need to spend.

The trick is to get a water heater that is the correct size for your needs. For a conventional water heater with a tank, the metric you will need to refer to is the unit’s first hour rating, or FHR. To determine the necessary FHR, you first need to determine during which hour of the day your home uses the most water. Typically, this is either first thing in the morning or later in the evening, when most people are bathing. Once you know this, determine what the water usage is during that hour based on average usage for each task. For example, let’s say a typical morning in your home consists of:

  • 3 showers (average of 12 gallons each)
  • 1 food preparation (5 gallons)
  • 1 hand dishwashing (4 gallons)

That’s about 45 gallons of hot water needed during that hour, so you need a unit with an FHR somewhere in that ballpark. The U.S. Department of Energy has a good worksheet to use for these measurements, which includes average usage rates for common household hot water tasks.

If you are looking at getting a tankless water heater system, the process is a little more complicated. The important figure to know in that situation is the maximum temperature increase possible for a particular flow rate. That means adding up the flow rates for all the various appliances you may use at once, then figuring out how much you need to increase the temperature.

If you find any of this confusing, consider a professional consultation with Basnett Plumbing & Heating during the selection process. That will ensure you get the water heater that is right for you.