Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog: Archive for March, 2012

Chelmsford Heating Tip: Different Types of Furnace Filters

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A good filter for your furnace is a must. Because that device heats and blows air throughout your Chelmsford home, you want to be sure that it doesn’t recycle contaminants and bacteria that could easily be captured at the air handler. That’s why it’s vital to choose the right furnace filter on the first try. Here are some furnace filters to consider and their various benefits to your home and family:

  • Electrostatic – Most electrostatic filters are permanent and must be washed on a regular basis. They are electronically charged to capture particles as they pass through, much like a magnet. These filters are effective because they are both physical and electronic. However, keep in mind that they are only as efficient as the cleaning they receive.
  • HEPA – HEPA is the highest rating available for a filtration system, removing up to 99.9% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, they are also inefficient when used in furnaces as they severely reduce air flow. They are not often recommended for this reason.
  • Pleated – Pleated filters come in both reusable and permanent forms and can be either purely mechanical or electrostatic. There is a very wide range of efficiency ratings for pleated filters so make sure you analyze your home’s specific needs before selecting any one pleated filter.
  • Activated Carbon – Activated carbon is unique from the other three filter types because it effectively removes fumes, odors and chemicals from indoor air along with other larger particles. It is recommended that if you choose an activated carbon filter, you supplement it with a pleated or electrostatic filter (or choose a combination filter) to remove all unwanted components from your home.

There are a lot of options when it comes to furnace filters. To make sure you get only the best air quality, talk to a Chelmsford heating professional who can help you determine which pollutants are the biggest problem in your home.

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Chelmsford Plumbing Tip: What You Can Do to Prevent Problems in Your Drains

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

When you look at your Chelmsford home’s drain, it seems fairly simple. You pour things down and they disappear into the ether, never to be seen again. Of course, that logic goes out the window the second the drain starts to backup or overflow. There are things you can do to avoid such problems though and most of the time, they cost nothing and take only a few minutes a week.

Simple Household Drain Maintenance

The first step to avoiding a problem is not putting anything down your drain that might cause said problem in the first place. Specifically, avoid grease, food, or other objects that might build up in your drains if not properly disposed.

Food can be broken down by a garbage disposal or, even better, placed in a compost pile. Grease, however, should never enter your sink at all. Pour all old kitchen grease into a coffee pot or bucket and dispose of it carefully. It can be thrown away in some places, or it can be recycled. Whatever you do, though, don’t pour it down the drain.

Another easy tip to keeping those drains clear is to pour a natural compound down every now and then like dishwashing liquid or baking soda and vinegar. Expensive drain cleaners are not only unnecessary – they are unsafe for the person using them and can cause damage to the pipes if you are not careful. To avoid such damage, stick with hot water based compounds and vinegar. The key is to do it preventatively.

If you wait until a full blown clog occurs, baking soda and vinegar may not get the job done and you’ll need to call a Chelmsford plumber who has a snake or other equipment to get the clog out.

Professional Maintenance

While regular flushing of your drain with hot water and vinegar allows you to clear out the vast majority of the stuff that builds up there every week, it’s also a good idea to call a professional for annual maintenance. Such annual maintenance involves visual inspection, professional grade clearing of food and waste products and a full flush. Done properly, this will minimize the cost of future repairs and replacements and keep your Chelmsford plumbing running smoothly for years to come.

For more information about how you can maintain your plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

 

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Westford Heating Tip: Dangers of Not Changing Your Furnace Filter on Time

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Of the many ways to heat a home in Westford, forced air systems are the simplest in function and the easiest to maintain.  They are so simple, in fact, it is easy to forget they need attention at all, but there are dangers to not changing your furnace filter on time that have a real and painful cost in efficiency and dollars.  Even health risks arise when filters have been neglected too long.

Contracting with a company like Basnett Plumbing & Heating ensures consistent maintenance and oversight to allow home owners the comfort and relaxation you deserve in your own home.

Back to Basics

Usually in the basement or a central location, a furnace heats air to a temperature set by the thermostat.  Over the years, technological improvements have enabled furnaces to be much smaller and fit into closets instead of the large and gangly monsters of old that could fill an entire basement.

By a fan in the furnace, the warm air is circulated through filters into a system of ducts to be distributed to grates in the wall or registers on the floor.  A second grate and duct system returns cooler air back to the furnace to be reheated.

The Dangers of Not Changing the Filter

When the system is properly maintained, it is clean, efficient and produces comforting heat on demand at the touch of the thermostat or consistently throughout the day and night.

The furnace filter is designed to remove dust from air as it passes through your furnace. The longer your furnace filter is in place the dirtier it becomes. The increase of particles caught in the filter creates resistance to air flow through the filter and reduces efficiency.

To make up for the loss of flow through a dirty filter, the heat exchanger, usually a gas or oil fired flame, must work harder to produce the same amount of heat to the space.  This becomes costly financially and causes undo wear and stress on the equipment, requiring a partial or full replacement much sooner.

Additionally, operating above ideal designed conditions, cracks in the chamber may appear from the over load which can allow carbon monoxide, a toxic gas, to be released into the duct work.  This gas in large quantities in the home can cause headaches, nausea, and in extreme circumstances, even death.

Regular Maintenance

To avoid problems and excessive strain, remember to change the filters at the beginning of each new heating season.  An annual maintenance check-up and thorough cleaning by a qualified company like Basnett Plumbing & Heating ensures a safe and comfortable season of warmth with no need to worry about the dangers of not changing filters in your Westford furnace.

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Still River Heating Tips: Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your Still River house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the HVAC system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your Still River home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort. If you have any questions about how to keep your home warm this winter, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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