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

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Basnett Plumbing & Heating wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Basnett Plumbing & Heating! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year. We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

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Reasons for Your Furnace to Break Down

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The cold weather has arrived in Massachusetts for the winter, and it’s time to settle in with the cozy warmth from your furnace until the spring arrives. But wait…the furnace won’t turn on. Or it’s making noise, but nothing else is happening. No heat, no warmth, no air from the vents… nothing.

For excellent furnace repair in Littleton, MA, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

Common Reasons for Furnace Problems

  • Gas line trouble: If you have a natural gas furnace (the most common type), trouble in the gas line will stop the furnace from working at all. The pilot light won’t come on, nor will the gas jets. Gas line problems can happen for numerous reasons, but you don’t want to investigate on your own—the risk of toxic gas exposure or explosions is too high. Contact professional repair specialists to handle this problem.
  • Electrical ignition failure: Modern gas furnaces and all electric furnaces use an electrical ignition to active the heating cycle. If the electrical ignition fails, the furnace will not turn on at all.
  • Broken motor, belts, and bearings: These are mechanical troubles inside the furnace. The motors are responsible for running the fans that allow for the transfer of heat and then the distribution of heat. If the motors break down, their bearings become too worn, or the fan belts break, the whole furnace is in danger of ceasing operation.
  • Lack of regular maintenance: The most common reason for a furnace to break down is an overarching problem that affects all aspects of the unit: failure to schedule regular preventive maintenance. Furnaces contain numerous moving parts that work hard during the heating season, and without routine tune-ups and necessary replacements, these parts will wear down and eventually stop working. Lack of maintenance means a furnace aging faster toward the end of its service life. Make sure that you enroll in a maintenance program with a trusted heating contractor so that your furnace will remain in its best condition throughout the year.

Whatever the cause of your heater’s breakdown, don’t try to fix it yourself. Whether you have an electric, gas, or oil furnace, the job is too risky and complicated for anyone except those with the proper training.

Call up Basnett Plumbing & Heating when you need emergency furnace repair in Littleton, MA. We also offer different service agreements that will deliver you regular maintenance and other savings so your furnace will have less chance of breaking down in the future.

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When to Call in a Plumber for Leak Detection

Monday, December 9th, 2013

You know that leaks are bad news for your plumbing. However, you might not know how bad they can become. Leaks not only prevent your plumbing from functioning properly, but they can also cause water damage, mold growth, and many other issues.

Leaks are sneaky and insidious: they are difficult to detect because they often spring up in pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or spaces in the basement or garage; and once they begin, they start to worsen and spread. You need to find and repair leaks as soon as possible.

Here are some ways you can tell that it’s time to call a Littleton, MA leak detection expert. Basnett Plumbing & Heating is ready to help you stop up those damaging leaks before they get out of control.

Signs of leaking

Discolored stains on the wall: Because much of your plumbing runs through your walls, leaks will often first start to emerge on their surfaces. If you find wet spots on your walls, or you notice rusty stains, it means that water is leaking through the drywall, starting to destroy it and cause the growth of mildew. If you notice wallpaper peeling and warping, it’s another possible sign of leaking.

Warped floor boards: Leaking that occurs from pipes in your floors will start to warp wooden boards. If you discover uneven spots in your floor where you’ve never encountered them before, you may have an issue with leaks that are rapidly growing.

Unexplained high water bills: Even small leaks can add up to immense water waste given time. Keep a close watch on your water bill each month; if you notice an increase for which you have no explanation, then you may need to call a plumber to investigate where this loss of water is coming from.

Damp smells: As water accumulates from leaks, it will stagnate and develop a moldy and damp smell. If cleaning doesn’t eliminate these odors, the problem may come from leaking occurring out of your sight.

Don’t wait: call for leak detection and repair!

Leaks will get out of control quickly if you ignore these signs. Avoid the high cost of repairs and water wastage, and hire a profession to find and repair the leaks as soon as possible.

If you think you have a leak in your home, call the Littleton, MA leak detection experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We strive for prompt service and work that is done right the first time.

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Can High Pressure Lead to Boiler Repair Needs?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Your boiler depends on a regular balance of pressure inside its tank and throughout its pipes. To prevent an increase in water pressure, boilers come equipped with an expansion tank and a pressure release valve. Under most circumstances, you should not encounter problems with high water pressure in your boiler.

However, no boiler is problem-proof, and a number of factors can occur to raise the water pressure. This will almost certainly lead to a need for repairs, principally fixing leaks. High water pressure will cause leaking to occur in the boiler tank and all along the pipes. Leaking will threaten the operation of the boiler and will endanger the construction in your home. You need to have leaks fixed immediately, as well as whatever originally caused the boiler’s water pressure to rise to problematic levels.

If you need help with your boiler, or with any other heating repair in Concord, MA, look to Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We’ve worked since 1987 earning the trust of the community through quality work.

What causes an increase in water pressure inside a boiler? There are a number of causes, some of which you can take steps to avoid—mostly through regular maintenance.

The pressure relief valve on the boiler can sometimes become blocked, and this will lead to a water pressure increase. The other safety mechanism, the expansion tank, might also suffer damage to its inner membrane which will prevent it from regulating high pressure.

Issues inside the boiler tank itself will often cause high pressure. Corrosion infiltrating the boiler will start to cause an imbalance in the heat inside, since corrosion acts as an insulator. This can raise the temperature in the tank and make the water pressure spike. Sediment deposits that settle at the bottom of the tank (usually entering through breaks in underground pipes) will decrease the available volume in the boiler’s tank, which will also cause overheating and high pressure. Regular maintenance can prevent both of these problems: technicians will replace the anode rod that discourages corrosion and flush out the tank to remove excess sediment.

You should have maintenance done annually on your boiler to catch any of the troubles that might lead to high water pressure. Technicians will also look for leaks that have already started to occur and fix them. You don’t want to have to schedule emergency repairs because of leaking from high water pressure, so make sure you act fast at the first sign of trouble and keep up the regular maintenance.

Contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating in Concord, MA for heating repair that will get your boiler back in shape. We offer two levels both an Ultimate Savings Agreement and an Ultimate Maintenance Agreement to fit your budget and needs.

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