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

Heating Services to Consider before Winter Arrives

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Another winter season in Massachusetts is approaching and will be upon us before we realize it. Before the temperature drops too far, make sure that your home is properly winterized to keep your family comfortable and your heating bills under control.

Here is some advice for heating services that will help you prepare for the chilly season. We have helped homeowners stay comfortable with heating services in MetroWest since 1987

Consider these heating services for winter preparation

  • Heating system maintenance: This isn’t a suggestion, actually. Annual maintenance is essential for a home heater to work its best, conserve energy, avoid emergency breakdowns, and achieve the longest possible service lifetime. You can arrange with a professional heating contractor to provide your heater with a complete inspection and tune-up so that it’s ready to handle the winter cold. The process requires about an hour of work, but it will pay off with excellent performance from the system and increased peace of mind for you. No matter what type or model of heater you have—boiler, furnace, heat pump, radiant floor heating—you need to schedule professional maintenance for it.
  • Thermostat upgrade: A new thermostat can make a tremendous difference for your home’s winter heating, especially if you have an old manual dial-and-sliders system. With a digital programmable model, you will have more precision temperature settings. You can also control when the heater comes on and off, so it can prepare the house before you come home in the evening without it needing to remain on all day. Also investigate the convenience of wireless thermostats.
  • Heating system replacement: If a heating system is many years old, it might be time to replace it—and you definitely want to have this job finished before winter arrives. Look over your heating bills for the last few years to check if they have started to climb steeply, and also examine the amount of repairs needed to keep the system running. If repair costs are greater than $500 a year, you should consider a replacement. A maintenance technician will help you with this choice during a regular visit. Make sure you schedule any replacement service soon so you won’t get caught with a old heater that dies during a cold winter night.

You can contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today to arrange for maintenance by signing one of our excellent service agreements. During maintenance, our technicians can give you advice on other heating services in MetroWest you may need to have a worry-free, comfortable, and economical winter.

Contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating, and let our experienced technicians assist you with getting energy-saving performance that will prevent your bills from soaring.

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Why Should I Consider Steam Boilers in Chelmsford?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

The name “boiler” is often a bit of a misnomer when it comes to heating homes today. Boilers originally did boil the water in their tanks, creating steam which then traveled through pipes to radiators where the heat entered the rooms. However, the majority of residential boilers constructed and installed today only heat the water, they do not create steam. The efficiency of these hot water boilers makes them effective for keeping homes warm.

Nonetheless, the steam boiler still exists, and sometimes it is the ideal option for keeping a home cozy during a tough winter. To find out more about installation and other services for steam boilers in Chelmsford, MA, call the heating experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We install, replace, maintain, and repair steam boilers throughout the MetroWest Area.

The advantages of a steam boiler

In general, a boiler that heats up water will provide a sufficient amount of warmth to keep a home comfortable through a cold Massachusetts winter. However, steam boilers can provide far higher levels of heat, and for some homes they are a necessity to create the level of warmth necessary make it through a harsh winters. They are especially beneficial for older homes that have insulation issues that make it harder to trap heat.

Because steam is a more effective heat transfer fluid than liquid water, it is extremely efficient at delivering heat. It also provides heat faster and with a high upper limit: most steam boilers can produce 300+ MBH of heat, far greater than a standard hot water boiler.

But it is extremely important for steam boilers to receive professional installation as well as regular service. Danger from escaping steam is significant because of the high temperature of the steam. These boilers have special safety systems such as limit switches to prevent damage to your family or home, but it requires annual maintenance from a professional technician to see that a boiler continues to work safely. Only qualified technicians familiar with steam boilers can deliver the maintenance and repairs you need to enjoy all the benefits of steam heating for your home.

Call us for steam boiler services

Not all heating companies have the equipment and training to handle service for steam boilers. Call our friendly staff today for answers to all your questions regarding steam boilers, whether you want one installed or need your current one serviced.

You will find all the expertise you need at Basnett Plumbing & Heating, where we specialize in installing steam boilers in Chelmsford, MA and throughout the MetroWest Area.

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Should You Replace Your Heating before Winter?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

With winter coming up, you want to make sure that your home is prepared. It’s time to evaluate your current heating system and decide if you think it will make it through the coming season, or if it is too costly to continue to run. If you have any doubts about the continuing operation of an older furnace, heat pump, or boiler, then you should call Basnett Plumbing & Heating and talk to our specialists in heating replacement in Maynard, MA about installing a new heating system. We can replace your current system with a similar one, or we can see if making a switch to a new kind of heater—such as going from a furnace to a heat pump—is the better option.

How are your heating bills?

One of the first things you should think about when you are considering a replacement heater is how much you are paying each winter season to keep your home pleasant. When a heater approaches the end of its service life, it will start to drop in energy efficiency and cost more to run. Look over your bills for the last few years: if you notice a significant rise, check on the heater’s age. If it is near to the close of its manufacturer’s estimated service life, then call on heating professionals to look over the system, because chances are high it is time to retire it.

Is the heating system performing up to its old standards?

Consider your comfort last winter. Did people in your home start complaining about cold spots, or feeling the house was generally too cold? If you scheduled repairs to deal with the problem, but still have not noticed a significant difference in comfort, your heater may be failing and you should consider replacing it.

What does it cost you in repairs to keep the heater running?

Most of the repairs that a heating system will need occur during the last two years of its service. When you start needing to call for repairs more than you used to, it’s a strong warning that the system is approaching a full breakdown. A good measuring stick to use is that if a heating system requires more than $500 a year in repairs to keep it operating, it is no longer cost-effective to keep it around. Also, any single repair that costs half the price of replacing the unit is too expensive, and you should opt for replacement.

We offer many kinds of heating installations, and we will help you decide if it is time to replace your heater so you can enjoy a worry-free winter in comfort.

If you have any doubts about whether it is time for heating replacement in Maynard, MA for not, get in touch with Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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How a Baseboard Heater Works with Radiant Heating

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Using radiant heat to warm up a room—that is, heating up an object in the room so it sends out waves of warmth that raise the temperature of other objects in the room is one of the more efficient and cozy home heating methods. For many decades, the standard form of radiant heating was sending hot water (and in some cases, steam) to a cast iron radiator. However, the most common way to provide radiant heating today is to circulate the hot water to a baseboard heater, which work as effectively as a radiator while taking up much less space. In many homes, a baseboard heater will provide a more even distribution of warmth than a radiator.

Is installation of radiant heating part of your future plans for home comfort? Or would you like to change your boiler from using radiators to using baseboard heaters? In either case, call our experts in radiant heating in Bedford, MA at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. You want professionals for this installation job, and with our team taking care of it, you will have your new baseboard heaters keeping your family warm in no time at all.

What baseboard heaters actually do

A baseboard heater is placed against the wall of a room down near the floor. Hot water circulates into the unit, but instead of working strictly through the radiant heat coming from the unit—as a radiator does—baseboard heaters also use convection.

Inside the baseboard heater is a series of metal fins that are heated by water. Cold air drops down the wall (usually from a window, which is why baseboard heaters are often positioned under windows) and into a vent in the baseboard heater. Once this air is warmed, it rises up from the baseboard heater and creates a curtain of warm air between the wall and the room. The air then cools down and falls, creating a convection current. This combination of radiant heating and convection heating is one of the fastest and most energy-efficient ways to heat a room. Like other hydronic radiant systems, it requires no ductwork at all, and it runs with very little noise.

There are also electric baseboard heaters unconnected to any central system. However, these systems are very inefficient and are usually only used to assist homes that already have another heating system installed. A baseboard heater connected to a hydronic system like a boiler is, on the other hand, a full-house solution for warmth.

To find out if using a baseboard heater for radiant heating in Bedford, MA is the optimal choice for your home, give our team at Basnett Plumbing & Heating at call today!

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Consider Something New for Your Heating Installation This Fall

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

When the day comes to retire the aging and inefficient heating system in your home, your first instinct will be to replace it with a similar type of heater. This makes sense, as you can use the same power source and existing distribution system, such as ductwork, hot water pipes, etc.

But perhaps this fall is the right time to look into a different type of heater. You may be missing out on some tremendous benefits—both in comfort and energy savings—available from other heating systems. For your new heating installation in MetroWest, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating and talk to our experienced professionals. They can tell you about your options for new installation, and then help guide you toward the best choice for your home. You may end up with a similar system to what you had before, but you will at least know that it’s the best of your options.

Electric furnace

Switching from a gas furnace to an electric furnace is a choice to consider if you have worries about safety. Some homeowners decide to change over entirely to electrical power for the home to increase home safety. Electric furnaces are also a less expensive option than gas furnaces.

Boiler

The modern hot water boiler can achieve high levels of heat while lasting for many years. Boilers also promote better indoor air quality than forced air systems like furnaces and heat pumps because they use the clean power of radiant heating. You do not need a gas connection to enjoy a boiler’s benefits: they also come in electric and oil-burning models.

Heat pumps

A heat pump works excellently as a replacement for a furnace, since it can use the same set of existing ducts. With a heat pump, you will also have a replacement for your air conditioner, since the system works as both an AC and a heater.

Radiant floor heating

A more recent development in heating technology, radiant floor heating uses hydronic or electric power to heat up the floorboards of rooms and generate an even and cozy-feeling heat through a space. Radiant floor heating is best for new construction projects, although professionals can retro-fit a current home for this technology.

With the many possibilities for residential heating available today, you need to make sure that you have professional assistance to pick the right unit for you. Heating experts, such as those at Basnett Plumbing & Heating, will look over your home and analyze its heating needs (using a process called a heat load calculation) and determine what type of new heater will work best.

When it comes to new heating installation in MetroWest, rely on the team of professionally experienced heating technicians at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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How Furnace Maintenance Helps Keep Your Heating System Safe

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Gas-powered furnaces have a reputation as dangerous heating systems; most of this is based on furnaces from decades past and does not apply to modern furnace designs that highlight safe operation. The furnace that keeps your household toasty warm through a Massachusetts winter should pose no greater danger to you than any other type of heating system… or your oven, stove, and toaster for that matter.

But to enjoy this level of safety with your gas furnace you must arrange annual maintenance from a heating professional. Maintenance helps your furnace avoid unnecessary repairs, slows down its aging, and keeps it efficient. Most important, it keeps your furnace safe.

Keep in mind, that we offer different service agreements that will see to your needs.

Furnace maintenance and furnace safety

The principle way that a gas furnace may turn into a hazard is trouble with venting the exhaust gas from the cabinet. A gas-powered furnace works by transferring heat from combustion gas to the air the blower sends into the ventilation system. The combustion gas collects in a metal container called the heat exchanger. After the heat exchanger transmits its heat to the air, the cooled down gas in the exchanger vents out a flue, safely removed from the house.

However, trouble with the heat exchanger or the flue can lead to the exhaust gas escaping into the home, where it poses dangers from toxicity and combustibility. Cracks in the heat exchanger are one of the main dangers an aging furnace might encounter. During regular maintenance, the technician will examine the heat exchanger to see if any damage has started to develop on it. The technician will replace the exchanger with a new one if anything appears suspicious. The maintenance technician will also examine the flue and check to see that the exhaust is escaping without blockage.

Maintenance looks for possible gas leaks along the burner and checks the connection to the gas line. Any place in the furnace that could be a source of a gas leak receives special consideration. Technicians keep an eye out for any signs of corrosion, which often indicates trouble with the exhaust.

Another item that a maintenance technician examines is the thermocouple/mercury sensor, a safety device that measures if the pilot light has gone out. If the thermocouple or sensor has failed, the technician will replace it.

Call us for furnace maintenance today

When you schedule regular furnace maintenance in Reading, MA from Basnett Plumbing & Heating, we will send an experienced technician to your home who will make your family’s safety the number one priority. Our service agreements also come with other benefits, such as discounts on repairs and service calls, upfront pricing, and priority scheduling.

Schedule this important pre-season furnace maintenance in Reading, MA and the surrounding areas through Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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How Ductless Heat Pumps Save Money

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Using ductwork to channel air from a heater, air conditioner, or heat pump has been the standard in homes for so many decades that the very concept of ductless heating and cooling often sounds odd to people. However, the installation of a ductless heat pump in a home has numerous benefits that include saving space for the purpose of new home construction and remodeling and helping to increase indoor air quality through the removal of the dust and dirt that often contaminate ducts.

There is another important advantage from going ductless: money savings. For a number of reasons, a ductless heat pump will help you save money on your heating budget. You can contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating to speak to our professionals in ductless heat pumps in Dunstable, MA for more information about installing one of these systems for your home. We will help you discover if ductless is a practical route for your home and how much you can save.

How ductless heat pumps mean energy savings for a home

The main reason that ductless heat pumps can reduce your heating and cooling costs is that they do not lose energy through ducts. As heated or cooled air travels through ducts in a home, it will lose energy—even if the ducts are in impeccable condition with no air leaks. Ductless systems blow air directly into rooms through wall mounted units, losing very little energy in the process.

Because ductless heat pumps are designed as zone systems (each individual blower can be controlled separately from the others), they will save money because you will no longer need to cool or heat your entire home every time the heat pump turns on. You can shut down the blowers in empty rooms, such as guest rooms, and only expend energy for locations that need it. This will add up to large savings, especially if you have a house with many rooms and zones.

Finally, lack of ductwork means no duct cleaning. In order to maintain an efficient HVAC system that uses ducts, the ductwork must receive regular professional cleaning to remove excess dust, dirt, and other contamination that can lead to a drop in efficiency and unhealthy indoor air quality. Without ducts, you won’t have to pay for duct cleaning or worry that dirty ductwork is interfering with airflow.

Ductless heat pumps are not ideal for all homes, so before you make any major decision about installing one, ask for help from professionals.

At Basnett Plumbing & Heating, we have many years of experience installing ductless heat pumps in Dunstable, MA and the rest of the Metrowest Area.

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Is Pipe Replacement the Right Choice for Me?

Monday, October 6th, 2014

The piping for a home is built to endure for many decades, but that doesn’t mean that the pipes in your home will necessary last that long—especially if they are constructed from older, outdated material like galvanized steel and iron. Aging and damaged pipes will eventually lead to serious troubles throughout the plumbing system, such as discolored water, leaking connectors, and high water pressure.

Pipe replacement is the best comprehensive solution to these problems, but as this is a large task, homeowners want to make sure that it is indeed the ideal option for their plumbing system. We will look into whether you should consider pipe replacement in Lexington, MA. To learn more detailed information about what pipe replacement for your home will entail, call our professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today.

When pipe replacement is a good choice

How old is your home? In Massachusetts, we have many historical and older homes built before World War II. Unless it has received a full repiping at some point in its history, a house of this vintage will have plumbing constructed either from steel or iron, materials that will corrode and begin to spring numerous leaks and contaminate the water supply. If your home is this old, you should contact a plumber to examine the pipes to see if replacement is necessary—which it probably will be.

You should also be concerned about pipe replacement if your home was built before 1970. Copper was still not as common a piping material then as it is today, and corrosion and damage may already have set in. Watch for warning signs that the plumbing is suffering from problems: regular leaking that requires repairs, discoloration showing up in the water from the taps, drainage issues, and trouble from high water pressure. If you find that you are continually worrying about plumbing problems, then the best solution is to bring in a plumber to replace the current piping with copper, CPVC, or PEX pipes.

The plumbing system in your home is vital for your family’s daily comfort, convenience, and health; you can’t get through a single day without using your home’s pipes. We have helped homes receive better plumbing since 1987.

If your plumbing has aged to the point where the pipes are regularly threatening your home with leaks, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating for pipe replacement in Lexington, MA.

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Don’t Get Left in the Cold, Utility Rebates are Available to Help You Replace Your Old Heating Equipment

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

When was the last time you checked your heating system to ensure it was running properly and efficiently? Have you been putting off replacing your old equipment due to cost? It’s time to take a look at what’s available to you in the form of rebates for some of the newest high-efficiency heating equipment.

Heating equipment is typically the largest energy user in your home. If you have a system that is more than 20 years old, it’s probably running very inefficiently compared to today’s models. One way to help offset the rising cost of energy and significantly reduce heating costs is to replace an old furnace or boiler with new high-efficiency heating equipment.  The newest ENERGY STAR rated furnaces  have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher, and the most efficient boilers now have an AFUE rating of 95% or higher.  This efficiency translates into savings on your heating bill and a more comfortable home.  In fact, a new furnace or boiler can save up to 30% of your heating energy use.

If you’re wondering about how you can take advantage of the rebates available through your local utilities then look no further.   Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC can help guide you in your purchase and customize a system that best fits your needs.

Call us today at 978-486-3767 and find out more about what makes this new high efficiency equipment so great and how you can save on installation!

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Is It the Right Time for Radiator Replacement?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The radiators in your hydronic heating system (a system that uses water to heat) need maintenance and possibly repair, just like any other component of your system. There may also come a time when a radiator will need to be replaced. Radiator replacement in Chelmsford isn’t as bad as it sounds, and replacement offers you the opportunity to install a radiator that may fit your needs better. The first step to take with any new radiator installation is to hire trained professionals who can assist with your installation from start to finish. Basnett Plumbing & Heating has been installing, repairing and replacing heating systems and heating components since 1987, and we can help you with all of your heating needs, too.

Signs It May Be Time for Replacement

Radiators are sturdy devices, but they can age, wear and break over time. Here are some signs it may be time to replace your radiator:

  • Too many repairs – are you calling for radiator repair too often? Radiators can leak and become bogged down with black oxide inside them, known commonly as “sludge.” While most of these things can be fixed, having to repair your radiator constantly means paying for repairs constantly, and your money may be better spent on a new one.
  • Age – radiators are built to last; there are many homes that still have their original cast iron radiators. However, if these radiators were not well maintained over the years, they may be too far gone to perform effectively.
  • Unrepairable leaks – there are a number of reasons a radiator can leak. Many times, leaks develop from faulty valves, but leaks can develop inside the radiator itself. Sometimes these leaks can be repaired with sealant, but sometimes they cannot. When they can’t, replacement will be necessary.
  • Wrong size – radiators need to be properly sized to effectively heat a room. If you have a radiator that is too small or too big, being comfortable in that space will be a constant struggle.

Replacing your radiator can help you achieve better comfort and better heating efficiency.

If you’ve been struggling with one or more of your radiators, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and schedule an appointment for radiator replacement in Chelmsford.

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