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

Acton Heating Repair Question: Why is my Furnace Making Noise?

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Every mechanical device makes noise during operation, but there is a difference between normal operational noises and noises that indicate something may be wrong. There are normal sounds your furnace will make as it cycles, such as a click when the system turns on, or a whoosh sound as the air moves through the vents. But there are other sounds that can indicate it’s time for heating repair in Acton. If you hear one of these sounds, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating and schedule an appointment with one of our trained specialists.

Sounds That Can Indicate Problems with Your Heating

Here are a few examples of sounds that your furnace should not make:

  • Wobbling noise – If it sounds as though a component in your furnace is unbalanced, the blower wheel may be loose.
  • Screeching noise – a screeching noise can be indicative of a loose or worn belt, or issues with the fan motor.
  • Booming – a booming noise occurs when the burners are so dirty that the ignition process does not happen instantaneously, as it should. As a result, a small amount of gas will build in the time it takes the burner to light, and when it does light, causes a boom sound. This is a potentially dangerous situation and a technician should be called as soon as possible.
  • Thumping – blower systems have ball bearings at each end of the blower shaft. If these bearings become too dry or move out of alignment, they may make a low-level thumping sound as your system operates.

Can I Fix It Myself?

It can be very tempting to try and repair certain things on your own, especially when it’s cold out and you may not be getting the warmth you need from your heating system. Trying to repair a heating system problem on your own is not advisable for several reasons, the top reason being your safety. Heating systems require expert knowledge for repair; unless you have expert knowledge, it’s best to call for a technician.

If your heater is acting up, Basnett Plumbing & Heating is ready and available to help you with all your heating repair needs, so call us today!

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What Are Direct Vent Gas Fireplaces?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Everyone loves a good fire when the weather gets cold, but not every home is built with a fireplace. Adding a chimney and fireplace to a home can be very costly, but with the installation of a direct vent gas fireplace in Shirley, you can have your own fireplace without having to build one. Direct vent fireplaces have been around for a while, but newer technology and innovations have helped them become a popular choice among homeowners. If you have always wanted a fireplace in your home, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today.

How Does a Direct Vent Fireplace Work?

Direct vent fireplaces can be installed just about anywhere in your home; however, they do need gas to fuel them. The fire is started by an igniter that can be activated via switch or remote control. The fireplace draws in air from the outside through the venting pipe to create combustion. Direct vent fireplaces have sealed glass fronts, enabling them to operate while also distributing heat.

Venting

The reason a direct vent fireplace can be installed into virtually any home is because of the way it vents: these fireplaces vent directly out of an exterior wall via a coaxial pipe; this allows for very flexible placement. Using the coaxial pipe – a pipe where a smaller pipe is inside a bigger one – a direct vent fireplace releases its pollutants through the smaller, interior pipe and pulls in air from the outside for combustion through the surrounding larger pipe.

Benefits of a Direct Vent Fireplace

There are several benefits of a direct vent fireplace:

  • High energy efficiency – because of their venting design, direct vent fireplaces do not have the same kind of air loss that regular fireplaces do.
  • Safety – direct vent fireplaces vent all pollutants and fumes directly outside, so there’s no worry about carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Zero clearance – direct vent fireplaces are installed with “zero clearance,” meaning that all heat is radiated from the front of the unit. As such, you can place furniture or other combustible items on either side of a direct vent fireplace without worry.

A direct vent gas fireplace in Shirley can give you the comfort you’ve always wanted from a fireplace. Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today to learn more!

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Some Key Components of Boilers

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Boilers are part of a hydronic heating system.  Hydronic systems use water to transfer heat to a distribution source, like a radiator, to heat a home. Hydronic systems can heat via hot water or steam, depending on the type of boiler used. The boiler is the part of the system that heats the water to be distributed. Boilers can be good choices for homes as they have several benefits other systems may not have, and if you already own a boiler in Andover, it is useful to know what the main components of your boiler are. Our Basnett Plumbing & Heating specialists have put together a list to outline what the key components of a boiler are:

  • Burner – the burner is the component of your boiler that provides the heat that heats the water of your system. The fuels used can be natural gas or oil.
  • Heat exchanger – the heat exchanger of your boiler allows the heat from the burner to heat the water in your system. The job of the heat exchanger is to carry the heat from the burner to the water without having direct contact with the water. It’s a similar idea to boiling water in a pot.
  • Supply lines – hydronic heating systems use piping to deliver the heated water or steam to the distribution points, and the supply lines are the pipes that distribute the hot water or steam to the radiators.
  • Return lines – when the water cools, or the steam cools and changes states back to water, the return lines bring this water back to the boiler for re-heating.
  • Firebox – the firebox is where the fuel of your system meets the air, creating a flame. The firebox can be constructed in one of two ways, depending on the type of boiler you have.
  • Refractory – refractory actually refers to refractory materials that are used for filling any gaps and/or openings that may be around the fire box – this helps ensure the fire stays in the fire box.
  • Circulator pumps – circulator pumps push the hot water or steam from your system to the heat distributors in your home.

Having a healthy boiler is crucial to your home’s comfort during the cold months, and one of the best ways to keep your boiler in Andover in great shape is by scheduling annual maintenance.

Do you have specific questions about your boiler? Call Basnett Plumbing and Heating and speak to one of our heating specialists today.

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Some Common Heat Pump Repairs in Pepperell

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

We are getting ready to switch from cooling mode to heating mode as we head into fall weather here in Pepperell, MA. If you noticed toward the end of the summer that your heat pump wasn’t performing as well as it should be, it may be time to call for repair. It is normal for your heat pump to show signs of wear and tear considering the amount of work it has done over the last several months in keeping your home cool. Heat pump repair in Pepperell can be complex, which is why it should always be handled by trained and certified professionals, like the ones at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

Common Heat Pump Repairs

Here are some of the more common heat pump repairs our technicians see:

Problems with the Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is the component of your heat pump that allows you to switch from cooling mode to heating mode. One of the most common problems that develops with the reversing valve is that it gets stuck in a position and doesn’t allow the heat pump to work. The valve can become stuck in a specific mode (heating or cooling) as well as in between modes. Sometimes the valve can be repaired when it becomes stuck, but many times it needs to be replaced.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can develop within the heat pump, and will require the help of a professional for repair. Refrigerant must be handled by a person certified to do so, and leaks can be difficult to detect without the proper training. Refrigerant leaks do not improve over time, so it’s advisable to call for help as soon as you suspect a refrigerant leak.

Condensate Drain Clog

Heat pumps have condensate drains that remove the excess moisture from your home to the outside. This drain can become clogged with debris, mold, mildew, algae and other growths that thrive in moist, cool settings. Clogs need to be removed or the drain can back up and cause serious water damage.

Heat pumps can be great devices for your home, and because they work year-round, it’s important to repair them as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing issues with your heat pump, contact the trained professionals that you can always count on: Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

 

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Signs That Your Furnace Needs Repair

Monday, September 15th, 2014

With the colder months coming up soon, it is time to make certain the furnace that keeps your home warm all the way to spring is up to the task. You do not want the first chilly day of the season to arrive only to discover that your heater cannot do its job properly—or worse, will cannot do its job at all. Take the opportunity during the waning warm days to turn on your furnace for a test run to see if there are issues that require repair attention. Below are some warning signs to look for that you should call for professionals to repair the furnace.

For fast and reliable furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA and throughout the Metrowest Area, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today. We have the skill to diagnose and fix whatever ails your furnace.

Common warning signs of furnace repair needs

  • Odd noises: One of the most common indications that a furnace is having problems is strange sounds from the cabinet. When you first turn on the furnace for the season, you may hear some clicking noises, as well as rumbling in the ductwork, but this is normal. However, if these sounds persist, they can indicate serious trouble. Pay special attention to booming sounds, loud clicking, hissing, and mechanical grinding.
  • Strange smells from the vents: When you check on the airflow coming from the vents connected to the furnace, check if there are acrid or burning odors coming out as well. This can indicate dirt on the motors, or a motor that is burning out.
  • Cold spots in the house: If a furnace starts to lose its heating power, it will result in heat not evenly spreading through a home. If rooms (usually ones farthest from the center of the house) feel cold, first check that the vents are open and no furniture is blocking them. If the cold spots persist, call for repairs: many different malfunctions could account for a loss of heating.
  • The furnace trips circuit breakers: If the furnace causes a circuit breaker to trip, there may be an electrical fault. Remember, even gas furnaces today require electrical power to start up (they use electronic igniters) and can cause trouble for a home’s electrical system if they malfunction.

Schedule pre-season maintenance

If you run your furnace test and do not notice anything unusual, you still need to schedule a regular maintenance session from a professional. Many repair problems in a furnace start small and are difficult to notice unless you are a trained HVAC repair technician. Part of pre-season maintenance is to identify these tricky small malfunctions and have them repaired before the cold weather arrives.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating offers different service agreements to help you maintain your furnace and avoid unnecessary furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA. Call us today for more details.

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What the SEER Number Means for your New Air Conditioner

Monday, September 8th, 2014

One of the benefits of replacing an aging and/or malfunctioning air conditioner is gaining better energy efficiency. The best way to assess how energy efficient your new system will operate is by first reviewing and understanding its SEER number. Just as a car shows energy usage information through MPG, an air conditioning system does the same with SEER. Your air conditioning replacement in Worcester County should offer you increased comfort, better performance and increased energy efficiency, and with help from a Basnett Plumbing & Heating expert, you can install a new AC that can achieve all of these things for you and your home.

What Does SEER Mean?

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating and it appears on all air conditioning labels.

How Is SEER Calculated?

The SEER number is calculated by measuring the amount of cool air that the air conditioner puts out for every unit of energy it consumes. The scale for SEER is 1 to 23, with higher SEER ratings equaling better energy efficiency. One thing to understand about SEER numbers is that a higher SEER number doesn’t cool your home more than a lower one; rather, a higher SEER number will cool your home the same as a lower SEER number, but do it with less energy, so it will cost you less.

What Are Current SEER Standards?

Minimum SEER ratings are mandated by the federal government, and the current minimum for an air conditioner of any size is 13; this is a change from 2006, when the law had a minimum SEER of 10.

What Does This Mean for My AC?

First, when you purchase your new air conditioner, it will have a SEER of at least 13. However, you can purchase an air conditioning system with a higher SEER rating. Before you purchase, you want to determine what you’ll save monthly in comparison to how much you’ll spend on the purchase, because ACs with higher efficiency ratings are more expensive to purchase.

Energy.gov estimates that each SEER point higher can be as much as a 10% decrease in annual energy costs. As such, an AC with a SEER of 16 can save you upwards of 30% on monthly energy expenditures. However, you want to balance this savings with the cost to purchase to determine how long it will be before you recoup your initial out-of-pocket expenses.

Always Work With a Professional

Determining how SEER factors into your new air conditioning replacement in Worcester County can be confusing, so it’s best to work with a trained specialist who can help you. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has been helping customers install new AC systems since 1987, and we can help you with yours from start to finish.

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The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

Monday, September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

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