Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog: Archive for October, 2013

Hard Water and Your Plumbing

Monday, October 28th, 2013

In this post, we’ll explain to you exactly what hard water is, and what worries it can cause your plumbing in Concord, MA. Basnett Plumbing & Heating has served the Metrowest Area with high-quality plumbing services since 1987, so if you have plumbing damage from hard water, contact us for help.

Hard water is water that contains high levels of the minerals calcium and magnesium (and sometimes other minerals as well, but these are the most common). This condition often occurs in water from a municipal supply. The good news about hard water is that it’s rarely harmful for you to drink, although it won’t taste as good as water with the proper balance of minerals. Hard water tends to make it difficult to work up a decent lather of soap, which is often an early warning of its presence in your plumbing.

Hard water is most troublesome for your pipes and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. The high amount of calcium in hard water will leave calcite deposits any place that your plumbing reaches. You’ll notice white deposits around faucets and drains. But the biggest problems will go unseen, inside your piping. Calcite will begin to build up inside the pipes. Although there is almost no danger that this buildup will completely close off the pipe, the growing calcite layer will restrict the water flow, and this will cause an increase in water pressure throughout your plumbing. High water pressure can lead to leaks springing up in numerous places, wasting water and threatening drywall, wood, plaster, and other building material.

Don’t ignore a hard water problem. If you would like to prevent these kinds of issues and make the water in your home taste better, ask your plumber about installing a water filtration system.  You want to catch these problems before the leaks can start—once water starts dripping, the repair needs will begin mounting.

Your plumbing in Concord, MA will be in excellent hands with the aid of Basnett Plumbing & Heating. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

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Littleton, MA Furnace Repair: Problems with Your Heat Exchanger

Monday, October 21st, 2013

A furnace uses heated air sent through ductwork to give you the warmth you expect in your home during a Massachusetts winter. The way a gas furnace transfers heat from its gas jets to the air is through the heat exchanger. This chamber is heated from the inside, and the furnace blower moves air across and through it to transfer the heat. Problems in the heat exchanger will seriously impair your furnace’s ability, and could lead to other trouble.

Before proceeding, you need to know this about heat exchanger issues: heat exchanger damage can lead to carbon monoxide leaks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cautions that exposure to carbon monoxide causes flu-type illnesses, including dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irregular breathing, and nausea. Carbon monoxide also poses a serious risk of explosion. Under no circumstances should you attempt to make repairs yourself because of these hazards. If you suspect a damaged heat exchanger in your gas furnace, shut off the gas and call a professional immediately.

You’ll be in sure and safe hands for heat exchanger repairs with the Littleton, MA furnace repair specialists at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

Problems you may encounter that will cause heat exchanger leaks:

  • Cracks: Heat stress can cause cracks in the exchanger because it expands and contracts during the heating cycle. Cracks may also occur because of faulty manufacturing
  • Mechanical holes: If screws in the heat exchanger come out, or were forgotten during cleaning, it can cause leaking.
  • Rust: An improperly maintained furnace can develop corrosion problems. Rust will weaken the metal, and lead to breaks. Rust is a concern in a damp environment. Watch out for water leaks from humidifiers or air conditioners if they are located in the same area as the furnace.

Leaks in the heat exchanger are one of the most serious problems that can develop in a furnace, and if you suspect this has happened, shut off the gas and contact professionals immediately. Pay attention to clicking sounds within the cabinet, as this is often a warning of cracks along the exchanger. When in doubt, get in a trained technician to see what the problem is.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has served Littleton, MA with furnace repair since 1987: you can trust us to safely handle the work when you think you may have trouble with your gas furnace.

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More Efficient Heating in Groton, MA

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The cold weather in Massachusetts can bring along with it some beautiful scenery. But a beautiful winter is still winter! Your home heating system helps you enjoy the winter, so make sure that you’re getting efficient warmth from it. If your heater starts having difficulty keeping you cozy and you notice a climb in your power bills, you need to take action.

Here are a few tips for getting efficient heating in Groton, MA this coming winter. Professionals can always help you get the most from your heater. Basnett Plumbing & Heating is one of the best options in Groton, and has been since 1987!

Change the furnace filter

Furnaces are among the most common heating systems in the United States. If you have one in your home, there is a simple step you shouldn’t ignore that will make your heating far more efficient and save you on future repairs: change the filter regularly. The filter traps dust, dirt, lint, and other contaminants to keep them out of the furnace cabinet. During the winter, when your heater runs the most often, change the filter once a month. During the warmer seasons, you can reduce the frequency to every three months.

Repair broken ducts

If your heater uses ducts to distribute air through your home, such as a heat pump or a furnace, then any damage to the ductwork will whittle down the heater’s efficiency. Ducts are supposed to be sealed along their length to maintain air pressure and keep heat from leaking out. Breaks and gaps from corrosion will lower how much heat comes from your vents, and your heater will then overwork to get back to its target temperature. Hire a professional company to handle sealing up the damages in your ducts.

Get a thermostat update

If you still have a traditional thermostat that uses sliders or dials, you are missing out on an opportunity for better heating throughout your home. These manual thermostats lack the precision of digital models, making it harder to get to an energy-saving temperature and stay there. The higher quality digital thermostats are also programmable, and this gives you heating control when you’re away from home. This will add up to immense energy savings so you don’t have to heat your house when you’re not there—but you can come back to a cozy environment every time!

Make certain that you have the warmth this winter to make it one of your favorite times of the year. If you need repairs, maintenance, or just advice about your home heating in Groton, MA, look to Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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Phasing Out HCFC Refrigerants To Protect The Ozone Layer

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, are chemicals that are mainly used as refrigerants. Unfortunately, releases of HCFCs deplete the earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to climate change. R-22 is an HCFC refrigerant that is often used in air-conditioning equipment. To protect the earth’s protective ozone layer, the United States is phasing out R-22, along with other chemicals.

As the United States phases out refrigerant R-22, you will need to make informed choices when having an existing air-conditioning unit serviced or repaired, or when purchasing a new unit. The EPA has banned the manufacture of new equipment that contains R-22. As a homeowner, you need to consider and balance several key factors in your decision to purchase a new unit, such as energy efficiency, performance, reliability, cost, and the refrigerant used.

The lengthy phase-out period allows you to replace your air-conditioning equipment that contains R-22 when you normally would, for instance if it becomes old, inefficient, or ineffective. Realizing that supplies of R-22 will become more limited and that the price may increase should also be factors. In the meantime, R-22 remains available for servicing equipment made before 2010.

 

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*Source: epa.gov, PDF Source: Service Roundtable

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Littleton, MA Plumbing Repair Tip: What Sewer Odors Can Mean

Monday, October 7th, 2013

One of the most unpleasant problems you can experience with the plumbing in your home is when sewer odors start to infiltrate inside, usually through sinks or toilets. Since your plumbing is designed to prevent a backflow of sewage into your home, the presence of these smells indicates something is wrong. The troubles can be small or large, but whatever they are, you’ll want them fixed as soon as possible.

The Littleton, MA plumbing repair experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating use the most advanced and specialized tools available to work on your plumbing. If you want those foul sewage odors stopped, contact us right away.

Let’s look at some of common causes of sewer odors:

  • Poor toilet installation: A gasket in your toilet between the bowl and the flange is responsible for sealing the passage against sewer gas. If the toilet was badly installed, this seal can come loose because of a poor fit. If this is the trouble, the toilet may need re-installation and a new gasket put in.
  • Dry p-trap: The curved pipe you find below sinks and toilets is called a p-trap. The water that pools inside it prevents sewage gas from escaping back up through the drain or toilet. A p-trap that becomes dry allows sewer odors through. This usually occurs on sinks or toilets that haven’t seen much use—but leaking could also be responsible.
  • Broken or clogged sewer line: The pipe that takes the sewage from your home out to the municipal system in the street is the sewer line. If it becomes blocked or broken due to corrosion or pressure from tree roots, the whole sewage system in your home will become backed up. Foul odors are one of the first warnings of this, and the line will need repair before leaks appear in your home’s foundation. Call in a professional plumber right away.

Although some sewer odors can be fixed as easily as pouring water down a toilet to fill a dry p-trap, be cautious about the possibility of a significant problem. Professional plumbers will use high-tech tools such as pipe cameras to locate the source of the trouble and fix it without causing additional damage. Don’t drag out a set of wrenches and try to do your own repairs: contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating, your Littleton, MA plumbing repair professionals.

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