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

Air Conditioning Upgrades Available in Tewksbury

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Whether you are replacing an old air conditioner or want to maximize the performance and benefits of your current one, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has some great options for upgrading your air conditioning in Tewksbury. Why upgrade? Depending on the type of upgrade you choose, upgrades can help improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and put less strain on your system. Here are a few upgrades to consider for your air conditioning system:

  • New thermostat – your thermostat controls when your air conditioner cycles. If it is aging, malfunctioning or needing frequent repair, it could be costing you money and putting a strain on your air conditioner. By upgrading to a digital, programmable or wi-fi thermostat, you can increase your energy efficiency and significantly reduce the need to repair your thermostat.
  • Zone control system – many houses have rooms or spaces that cool differently from others. This can be from daytime heat gain, special architecture such as wall-to-ceiling windows, or your home’s floor plan. Whatever the cause of differentiating temperatures, they can create discomfort and energy inefficiency in your home. One of the best ways to combat these issues is with a zone control system. With a zone control system, you create separate zones – individual rooms, floors, etc. – in which the temperature can be individually controlled. How? Motorized dampers are installed into your ductwork; each damper is connected to a thermostat that is wired into a central control panel that gives you complete control over the temperature in each zone. This allows for customized comfort throughout your home, as well as better energy efficiency.
  • Energy recovery ventilator – an energy recovery ventilator, also known as an ERV, is a ventilation system that exchanges your indoor air with the outdoor air while using the energy from the outgoing air to pre-cool (or pre-heat) the incoming air. The component responsible for this exchange is the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. The end result is that you get a constant stream of fresh air in your home while adding great energy efficiency with the pre-treated air.

These are just a few examples of upgrades available for your air conditioner.

To find out more about how upgrades can improve your air conditioning in Tewksbury, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and schedule an appointment.

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What Is the Best Fuel Option for a Whole-House Generator?

Monday, July 21st, 2014

With a whole-house generator, you not only have protection for your family in case of a major, extended power loss, you have something even better: peace of mind.

However, when it comes to installing a generator for your home, you can’t simply pick any model and expect that it will do the job. You have some important choices to make so that the generator you end up with can handle the power needs of your home and work efficiently. One of the key choices you will need to make is the generator’s fuel source.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating specializes in fitting homes with propane and natural gas generators in Reading, MA and other parts of the MetroWest Area. We will help answer all your questions regarding whole-house generators to steer you to the model that will keep you certain throughout the year that your home will be ready for any energy emergency.

Let’s look at the two major fuel options for generators to help get you started with choosing one:

Propane generators

If you do not have access to a natural gas line for your home, then a propane generator is an excellent choice. Propane is stored in a tank for the generator to use, and does not require that you connect the generator to any municipal system.

There are two drawbacks to propane generators that make us advise homeowners who do have access to natural gas lines to opt for a gas generator instead. The first is that propane costs more than natural gas, and it is a more volatile fuel when it comes to price fluctuations. The second is that you can run out of propane; if you are caught with a low or empty propane tank during a power outage, you may experience difficulty getting more heating fuel.

Natural gas generators

These are the most reliable model of whole-house generators, and you should make them your top choice if you have a connection to a natural gas line. Natural gas burns cleaner than other fuels, like oil and propane. And it burns efficiently—it’s less expensive than using electricity. You won’t spend much more money to power your generator during an emergency than you would to run the power in your home at regular times. Because natural gas comes from a municipal supply, you won’t have to worry about running out of heating fuel or getting caught with an empty tank.

Aside from selecting the best fuel type for your home’s generator, you must also have the right sized system to match your needs for power during an outage. Even if you feel certain of the fuel type for your future generator, you will still require the generator installation expertise of professionals to see the work through to the end.

Whether it’s installing propane or natural gas generators in Reading, MA, you can trust the job—from start to finish—to Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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How Do Hot Water Recirculation Systems Work?

Monday, July 14th, 2014

If you have ever investigated ways to save water in your home, you will have seen the suggestion that you place a bucket beneath a faucet to catch the water that you would otherwise waste while waiting for a hot water tap to warm up sufficiently for a bath or shower. This delay for hot water occurs because the water sitting inside the pipes cools down when not in use, and each time a hot water tap comes on, this cool water must exit the pipes first before the arrival of the hot water.

Not only does this waste water while you wait for it to warm up, it is also an inconvenience. But there’s no way to avoid it, right?

Actually, there is: the technology of a hot water recirculation system. You’ll save time and save money thanks to one of these systems. We’ll explain how they work for your benefit.

To find out more about hot water recirculation systems in Hudson, MA, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We can tell you how best to add one to your existing plumbing, or for new home construction.

How hot water recirculation works

The basic operation of hot water recirculation is a plumbing system that constantly moves hot water through the pipes at all times without the use of a hot water tank. The system must still use a hot water heater, however, such as a boiler, but it does not store the hot water inside waiting for use the way that a hot water tank does. Instead, it keeps a steady flow of heated water moving in a continuous loop through the hot water lines which runs from the water heater to every fixture in a home. This means that whenever you turn on a hot water tap, there is a heated water supply immediately ready.

When the water has cooled down after going to every fixture, it returns through the existing cold water pipes (along with the entering cold water from the municipal supply) back to the water heater to start the cycle over once again.

Some hot water recirculation systems use thermostats to determine when the water needs to reheating, while others simply keep the water heater running constantly. Although systems with the thermostat can cost more to install, they will save money in the long run through reduced energy use. These thermostats will also help to keep the water that comes from your taps from emerging as too hot and possibly injuring someone.

Find out more about installation

The best time to have hot water recirculation systems in Hudson, MA installed is during a full plumbing installation for new construction of a home. However, you can choose to have a retrofit of your current plumbing system as well: plumbers will take out your water heater and install new piping, while maintaining the original cold water lines.

To learn more about what’s necessary for hot water recirculation installation, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today. We have helped the Metrowest Area since 1987 with plumbing solutions.

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Steps Involved in Leak Detection

Monday, July 7th, 2014

If you’ve experienced a leak in the pipes under your sink, you might think that “leak detection” is a simple process: just look for the gushing water! But most of your home’s plumbing lies hidden behind walls and floorboards, and some are set down in the concrete foundation. Leaks, both large and small, are often hard to find even after you notice evidence of their existence, like discolored spots on the wall or the growth of mildew.

To locate leaks, you need plumbers who come armed with the best detection equipment available. Thanks to the skilled leak detection in Bedford, MA from Basnett Plumbing & Heating, you can have any leak sealed up with minimal excavation and damage to your property.

The process of leak detection

  • Visual inspection: Before plumbers start to use the high-tech equipment to find a leak, they’ll use their own knowledge and skill to narrow down their search area. Plumbers are used to looking for hidden leaks using nothing other than their eyes and past experiences. Finding warped floor boards, spots of mildew, water discoloration, and combining with what they know of pipe placement, plumbers will target a specific area to begin the leak detection search.
  • Listening devices: This is one of the basic tools of leak detection, and usually the first device that plumbers will use. Listening discs, which operate on similar principals to a medical stethoscope, can hear the drip and escape of water that is causing pressure increases through hard building material. Often, listening devices are all that’s necessary for a plumber to pinpoint the leak.
  • Infrared sensors: If the listening discs still leave some area for doubt, plumbers will use infrared sensors to narrow further the search area. These sensors can pick up excess moisture in regions around pipes because the moisture will be at a different temperature as it leaks from the plumbing.
  • Video inspection: The last stage of leak detection—if it is feasible—is to use video pipe inspection equipment to probe down into the pipes with a camera that sends back a feed to a monitor. Through this method, plumbers can not only locate exactly where the leak is, but how large it is and what remedies will fix it.

One the plumbers have identified that leak location and its extent and type, they can begin careful excavation to reach the break and perform the necessary sealing or replacement work to repair it.

Skilled leak detection in Bedford, MA will save you time and money: no time-consuming and expensive tearing open of walls and floors to find the leaking plumbing.

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today if you think you have a leak plaguing your home. Whatever work needs to be done, our plumbers can do it—fast and right the first time.

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The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

Friday, July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at [company name] hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

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