Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog: Archive for March, 2014

High-Efficiency Furnaces and Condensate Pumps

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Furnaces once had low heating efficiency ratings: they lost a large amount of energy through exhaust gases. However, heating technology has made significant strides during the last few decades, and the development of better venting, electronic igniters, and especially condensing furnaces have helped make these old standbys of the HVAC world into competitive models of energy-saving. Today, many furnaces earn the U.S. Department of Energy’s qualifications for the ENERGY STAR label, a sign of an efficient system that saves you money and benefits general energy conservation.

A part of keeping a high-efficiency furnace—or any furnace—protected from the condensation (exhaust vapor created during the heat exchange process) is a condensate pump. We’ll look a bit more at high-efficiency furnaces and condensate pumps in this post. When you need heating repair in Concord, MA for a condensate pump or furnace, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We’ve served the Metrowest Area with excellent comfort since 1987.

High-efficiency furnaces

How does a high-efficiency furnace attain its reduction in exhaust waste that leads to its energy-saving performance? The secret is taking the exhaust vapor that’s leftover in the heat exchanger after the exchanger cools down and moving the vapor to a second heat exchanger, releasing further heat through condensation. This decreases the amount of waste while increasing the amount of heat created in the exchangers. Although these high-efficiency condensing furnaces are more expensive than standard furnaces, they can return enormous savings in energy that soon pay back their installation costs. They can last longer than standard furnaces as well.

Condensate pumps

One way to prolong a furnace’s life is to remove as much condensate away from it as possible. Condensate is corrosive and acidic, and extended contact with the interior of your furnace will lead to destructive and even dangerous corrosion developing on the furnace. It can also be dangerous if it enters your home.

Installing a condensate pump will help prevent any excess condensation vapor from impairing your furnace or escaping to damage your home. You will need to have professionals install and maintain a condensate pump, and replace it if necessary.

Always trust to experienced installers

A professional HAVC technician will help you decide what sort of furnace will work best for your home, and can also recommend if a condensate pump will help you. Sometimes, a high-efficiency furnace is your best option for your long-term budget; in other cases, a traditional furnace will fit your requirements.

For all your needs for installation or heating repair in Concord, MA, look to Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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The Different Types of American Standard Heat Pumps

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Heat pumps have been used as an alternative to forced-air furnaces and boilers for heating in many homes across the US. And while a number of fine manufacturers have heat pumps on the market, American Standard is one brand that we recommend for our customers in the MetroWest area. The company divides their heat pumps into three different types, each of which contains its own features and options. Below is a quick breakdown of the different types of American Standard heat pumps .

  • Silver Series. The Silver Series is a comparatively small heat pump, which makes it work well for smaller homes or in places that don’t have a lot of extra room for an HVAC system. That also makes them a good choice for those hoping to save a little money on installation while still enjoying all of the benefits that a heat pump has to offer.
  • Gold Series. The Gold Series is the “middle ground” option for American Standard heat pumps. They can handle a larger load than the silver series, and tend to run more efficiently as well, thanks to patented American Standard features such as Duration technologies and SpineFin upgrades. Their increase efficiency and ability to handle a bigger workload makes them more expensive than the Silver Series.
  • Platinum Series. The Platinum Series is the top-of-the-line model. They use the same advanced technologies that the Gold Services does, and can support large spaces like the Gold Series does, but they utilize a two-stage heating and cooling process, which provides even more efficiency than the Gold Series.

Obviously, not every type of American Standard heat pump is right for every home, and you need to factor your needs before making a decision on the model that’s right for you. Luckily, for heating in Carlisle, MA and other nearby towns, you can call on the trained experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We have the skills and know-how to help you select the best unit for your circumstances, and will perform the installation with courtesy and care. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

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This Is Why Your Boiler May Not Be Giving You Heat

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Boilers provide an even heat throughout a home that many people find they prefer to the forced-air heating that comes from a furnace or a heat pump. The warmth that radiates from a baseboard heater or even an old-fashioned cast-iron radiator spreads quickly through rooms and carries none of the dust from a ductwork system with it.

But even though a boiler is durable and usually needs few repairs, it can still encounter problems that will lead to you losing your valuable warmth. Here are some reasons your boiler may have stopped providing you with heat. Make sure you call for the necessary heating repair in Littleton, MA as soon as you can: Basnett Plumbing & Heating has skilled technicians ready to get your boiler back in shape.

Some reasons for losing heat from a boiler

  • Dirty or rusted burner: If you have a gas-powered boiler—the most common type—the combustion gas that heats the water in the tank comes from a burner. If the burner becomes covered with dirt or grime, or if rust flakes start to form inside it, it will choke off the supply of oxygen that allow the gas jets to ignite, and the water in the tank will not heat up. Repair technicians can remove the burner unit and clean it so it works properly again.
  • Failed pilot/ignition: To light the burner, a boiler requires either a standing pilot light (older models) or an electrical igniter (newer systems). A pilot light can go out because of a draft, as well as a covering of dirt. The electrical igniter will eventually burn out after 3–4 years and require replacement.
  • Failed heating elements: For electric-powered boilers, the heat for the water comes from two electrical heating elements inside the tank. It only takes the failure of the top one to severely reduce your supply of hot water from the tank, leading to almost no heat. Technicians will need to replace the broken elements.
  • Running out of oil: With an oil burner, you need to keep a close watch on your supply of fuel. If your oil boiler stops giving you heat, check the oil supply to see if it has run out. Leaks can also cause you to run out of fuel without realizing it.

You’ll need professionals

For most of these problems, you’ll need expert technicians to perform the repairs. If you don’t know why your boiler has stopped giving you warmth, you’ll need HVAC experts to inspect the system and find what needs to be done. Don’t guess, and don’t try to do the work yourself!

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today if you require heating repair in Littleton, MA. Expect our technicians to arrive on time and get the job done right the first time.

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The “Silent” Toilet Leak and Plumbing Repair

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Any kind of leak in a toilet in your home presents a serious problem. It can stop the toilet from working, lead to flooding, create a massive and expensive waste of water, and cause structural damage to the floors of a bathroom. (In extreme cases, floors have collapsed beneath leaking toilets!) Many toilet leaks are easy to detect and you will know right away to call for professional repairs to take care of the problem.

However, there is an insidious type of toilet leak called the “silent” leak that is tricky to detect. We’ll look at what it is, how to find one, and what to do about it. For further help with your plumbing in Concord, MA, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

What is a “silent” toilet leak?

This kind of leak occurs because of an ineffective flush valve system inside the water tank. If the flapper inside the tank forms an imperfect seal, water will leak around it and flow into the bowl. A broken fill valve in the tank can also cause the shut-off valve to fail to close, meaning water will continuously flow into the tank and into the overflow tube. Neither will be obvious, but both will lead to a large waste of water, sometimes up to 300 gallons a day.

How can I tell I have this kind of leak?

Look for in increase in your water bills. If you suspect it may come from a toilet leak, place a few drops of water coloring in the tank. If the color enters the bowl within 10 minutes, you have a flush valve leak. Leaks with the fill valve are harder to find: you have to remove the lid from the tank and observe the overflow tube for a period to see if it is continually removing water from the tank.

Can I repair this type of leak myself?

Attempting to repair this on your own can lead to further damage. You need a professional to come in and figure out which components will need replacements and if other deterioration is occurring. Professional plumbers are used to seeing this type of leak and will be able to fix it quickly and accurately.

Don’t let water waste inflate your bills!

If you let silent toilet leaks continue without repairs, you can end up paying $500 more per year on your water bills—and there’s always the potential for the leak to increase if it begins to cause flooding and floor damage. Call in experienced plumbers as soon as you can.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating can handle your needs for plumbing in Concord, MA, whether it’s a leaking toilet, a water line burst, or a clogged drainpipe. We’ve served homeowners in the Metrowest Area since 1987.

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