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

How Can I Prepare for New Furnace Installation?

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Most homeowners in the United States trust furnaces to heat their home. Today’s furnaces rely on the same reliable conventional technology used in furnaces build decades as well as modern efficiency upgrades and added safety components. In fact, a new furnace may have much greater efficiency, are better protected from damage, and contain fewer hazards than older furnaces. If your older furnace is out-of-date and near the edge of failure, or if you need a furnace for a new home, it’s time to find a company to install one for you. But what can you do at home to prepare?

Select the Right Technician for the Job

If you need new furnace installation, the very first step you should take is to call a technician. Technicians are simply more informed about the selection process, proper installation procedure, sizing, and inspection practices. First, you’ll need the technicians help in selecting the new unit. You’ll need a furnace with a high efficiency rating but also one that is neither over- nor under-sized. Technicians can calculate the precise measurements our new unit will have to be to perform at its best, essentially preventing an early breakdown.

Then, you need a certified heating technician for installation. A trained technician will make sure that every bolt is screwed in properly, every safety switch is hooked up to the control board, and that combustion gases are ventilated properly. A technician will employ up-to-date industry standards that help to ensure safety and efficiency, many of which an untrained installer will not know of. And a technician will inspect your unit after the install for safety and operational functions. Select a technician with a lot of experience installing residential furnaces for assurance of a job well done.

Set Aside Some Time

You should also prepare for furnace installation by setting aside plenty of time for the setup to be completed. Furnace installation can take several hours or a whole day, and if there are any complications it can take even longer. Plan to have someone at your home throughout the process and don’t settle for a company who promises to get in and out as quickly as possible, as you want to make sure they do a thorough job.

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating to schedule professional installation in Maynard today!

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The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Basnett Plumbing and Heating, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

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Is It Too Late to Schedule Heating Maintenance in Littleton, MA?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The cold weather has already arrived in Littleton, but we can expect even colder temperatures to roll in during the months ahead. We still have a long road to travel before reaching the spring thaw.

You have probably already turned on your home’s heating system to keep your family warm and cozy for the season. Did you remember to schedule regular maintenance for the heater during the fall? If you didn’t, you may think that it’s too late to have it done now since the winter has already gotten underway. Maybe you should skip this year and simply have it done next fall.

Please don’t do this! Although the fall is the ideal time to have professional heating maintenance in Littleton, MA, it’s much better to have it done later than to skip doing it for the year altogether. Let our maintenance technicians at Basnett Plumbing & Heating explain why:

Reasons it isn’t too late to schedule heating maintenance

  • Prevent loss of efficiency: It only takes one year without a regular maintenance session to clean and tune-up a heating system for it to start to work inefficiently and cost more to run than it should. On average, heating systems will lose 5% or more of their efficiency for every year they miss professional maintenance. You don’t want to pay more for heating your home than you have to, so have maintenance done before you waste any more money.
  • Avoid an emergency breakdown: One of the most important reasons to have regular maintenance is to protect your home from an abrupt system breakdown that leaves you in the cold until repairs can arrive. Maintenance significantly reduces the chance of such a heating emergency. Have maintenance done as soon as possible, scheduling a convenient time so you don’t run into a very inconvenient breakdown later on.
  • You still have plenty of winter left: We are only in the middle of December now; there are many more cold days ahead, and your furnace will undergo heavy stress between now and April. You have ample time to benefit from professional maintenance.

You can trust us to handle any repairs or other services you may need this winter to keep your heater running.

To get started with heating maintenance in Littleton, MA, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and ask about our service agreements that will take care of your heating each year.

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Is a Hot Water Recirculation System Difficult to Install?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Whether your home has a standard storage tank water heater or a tankless water heater, you will still run into a similar problem each time you turn on a hot water tap: the water that first flows out of the tap will be cold, and you’ll have to spend a few seconds (or longer in the case of a tankless system) before the water starts to warm up and reaches the desired temperature. The reason this occurs is that the water sitting in the pipes loses heat over time and cools down. The lag time before the water turns warm means not only time wasted, but plenty of water wasted.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has a solution to this problem, giving you convenience and water savings in one package: a hot water recirculation system. Call us today and speak to our plumbing professionals to learn more about whether hot water recirculation systems in Weston, MA are something you should consider for your house.

Are these systems difficult to install?

What a hot water recirculation system does is use a water heater, such as a boiler, to keep hot water running in a continuous circle through a loop of pipes in a home. The water remains constantly hot, ready at a moment’s notice to rush to the water taps. No storage tank is required, making the system a variety of tankless water heater.

However, a hot water circulation system is best installed as part of new home construction: the installation work requires extensive new plumbing, and should be planned to work as part of a boiler system that will also operate as the heating system for the house. Because new homes must have a completely new plumbing system, it is fairly simple to install hot water recirculation as part of it.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot have your current home switched over to have one of these useful systems installed—but it does take more work. We recommend that you give hot water recirculation serious consideration if your home suffers from enormous heat loss from the pipes during cold weather. If you are planning to replace an aging storage tank water heater, you should also call specialists and ask if a hot water recirculation system makes sense for the house. In some cases, you may be better off installing a tankless water heater instead if you are replacing a storage water heater.

We install numerous plumbing and heating systems, including a variety of different water heaters, and we can help you find the right way to have convenient and energy-saving hot water for your home.

The best way to know for certain if you should invest in one of the hot water recirculation systems in Weston, MA is to talk to specialists at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

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How Do I Know It’s Time for a New Boiler in MetroWest?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

If you have a boiler providing comfort for your home, you want to make sure that it will work all through the winter months. But if you have reason to believe that your boiler is too old to do its job properly, or worse, you have concerns that it may break down at some point in the coming cold months, you should investigate having a replacement put in as soon as possible. With the assistance of the MetroWest heating services at Basnett Plumbing & Heating, you can have a new boiler installed in your house in only a short time, leaving you with many years of cozy household comfort with only minor worries about malfunctions or interruptions in heating.

How to tell that you should schedule new boiler installation

Regular maintenance from heating technicians is the best way to tell if you should have a new boiler installed. During the annual visit—which you should arrange every fall before the winter starts—the technician will examine your boiler to check that it is running efficiently and not suffering from issues such as corrosion or trouble with its heating elements and/or burner. The technician will inform you if the boiler is losing heating power and energy efficiency due to its age, and whether repairs are still worth the time and effort or if replacement is the best option. Trust to the technician to help you make the optimal choice, and then to arrange for the right unit to replace the old boiler if a new installation is the best way to proceed.

Increasing heating bills over the years that show no indication of going down, regardless of what repairs or maintenance you have, are a major warning sign of a boiler in a decline. It is more cost-effective to replace a slowly failing boiler rather than to continue to pay a high price for home comfort every year. Consult with a technician about new installation to see if it is the most budget-friendly way to proceed.

Look out for your repair bills for your boiler: if the total cost to keep a boiler running with repairs exceeds $500 during year, then the repair is probably not worth the cost and the boiler should be replaced. If any single repair for an older boiler would cost more than half the price to replace the unit, you should also opt for replacement.

Call us for professional boiler installation and replacement

Basnett Plumbing & Heating has a long history providing quality heating services in the MetroWest area. We have helped numerous households with new boiler installation.

Contact us for a trained eye on whether you should have a new boiler placed in your home—we can handle the work necessary, whether repairs or a replacement.

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How Do Ductless Heat Pumps Heat a Home?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The technology of home comfort advances each year. Although the older methods of home heating, furnaces and boilers, are still around and still delivering cozy indoor environments through the winter, the more recent heat pumps have become common choices for many homeowners. Going one step further from the advances of the heat pump is the ductless mini split heat pump, which permits a home to receive central heating (and cooling) through forced air, but without requiring a single foot of ductwork anywhere in the house.

Our team at Basnett Plumbing & Heating installs ductless heat pumps in Southborough, MA and throughout the MetroWest area. If you are interested in having a ductless heating system for your home, call our technicians today and they can give you all the information you need to help make a decision about the best option for your family’s comfort.

How ductless heat pumps work

The way that heat pumps operate without using a network of ducts installed in the walls and ceilings is to combine some of the functions of window air conditioning units with central heating and air. Window ACs provide spot cooling for rooms by blowing air directly from their cabinet: the blower is installed in the unit along with the evaporator coil. What a ductless heat pump does is use multiple smaller blower units containing fans and coils placed throughout the house to send conditioned air directly into rooms: no ducts necessary.

But how is this a “centralized” heating and cooling system? Each of the blowers connects to an outdoor unit through refrigerant, condensate, and power lines. The outdoor unit works as a condenser when the heat pump is in cooling mode, and as an evaporator when the heat pump is in heating mode.

Otherwise, a ductless mini split heat pump works in the same fashion as a standard heat pump: the system moves refrigerant in a cycle that transports heat from one location and deposits it in another. When you need to warm up your house, the heat pump moves refrigerant from the compressor in the outdoor unit to each of the indoor blowers, where they release heat along the coils and fans sends the warm air into the rooms. The refrigerant from each blower then returns to the outdoor unit where it absorbs heat from the outside. (Yes, even in cold weather, there is heat available in the air for the heat pump to absorb.)

Is a ductless heat pump right for my home?

To answer this question, you should call our specialists at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. They can look over your home and determine if it will benefit from a ductless mini split heat pump or not. For Southborough, MA, ductless heat pumps are especially helpful for older and historic homes that do not have space for ductwork. But they are also excellent if you planning remodeling or a new home construction.

Let us help you make the best choice for your family’s comfort.

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What are HEPA Air Filters?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

These days, we tend to keep our homes tightly sealed, shutting the windows and retrofitting the home with insulation so that we can save a lot of energy every month. This can do wonders for our energy bills, but it may severely affect the indoor air quality. Any loose particles or microorganisms just continue to cycle throughout your ducts and blow out into your home. This is particularly problematic for those of us with allergies, asthma, or immune disorders.

Your HVAC system most likely contains an air filter already, but this may only be able to remove a certain amount of particles from the air. Hospitals and other commercial properties sometimes rely on HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which may also be available for use in your home. HEPA filters are unlike any type of air filter available out there today. These filters must meet Department of Energy standards that they filter out 99.97% of particles over 0.3 micrometers in size. In fact, HEPA filters were first developed to remove radioactive contaminants from the air when the atomic bomb was invented.

You may also be able to add an additional carbon filter, which can help filter out odors from pets or cooking as well. Unfortunately, a HEPA filter may not actually work with every type of heating and air conditioning system. This is because the thickness of a HEPA filter may inhibit airflow in some types of HVAC systems. Your system needs a certain amount of airflow in order for it to function properly. Without the right amount of airflow, your heating and air conditioning system could have a struggling motor or it could cause a coil to freeze over. For this reason, sometimes it is recommended that you pick a filter with a high MERV rating over a HEPA filter.

You may choose a HEPA filter for your home, or you may decide that an energy recovery ventilator or UV germicidal light is better suited for your needs.

Learn more about your options for air filtration in Sudbury Air by calling the indoor air quality experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today.

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Benefits of the Different Kind of Boilers

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

If you’re looking for a heating installation for your new home in Marlborough, you may have overlooked boilers, particularly if you’ve owned one in the past. Older boilers can make a lot of noise, need frequent repairs, and run fairly inefficiently. However, most boilers today require very little energy to run, many operating far more efficiently than those built decades ago and better than many new furnaces. Furthermore, advancements in technology make today’s boilers quieter and offer better performance than ever before. Let’s look at a few of the different types you can choose between for your home.

Gas Boilers

The most common boilers found in homes are gas boilers, which rely on natural gas, usually supplied through a gas line from your municipality, to operate. Today’s gas boilers are not what they used to be, and that’s a good thing. Many gas boilers have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of well over 90%, meaning that a vast majority of the energy they use goes into heating your home. Besides, the comfort of the radiant heat given off by a boiler simply cannot be beat.

Oil Boilers

Oil boilers are designed for use in areas that natural gas is not as readily available. Although this scenario is somewhat rare, more and more homeowners have used oil boilers by choice recently because of the development of more environmentally-friendly oil-based fuels. The addition of these biodiesel fuels also makes these oil boilers very efficient and you could end up saving on monthly heating costs.

Steam Boilers

The term boiler is confusing to some because, usually, water is not actually boiled. Instead, water is heated to a very high temperature and then circulated through your home. However, a steam boiler heats water to a much higher temperature so that it can heat a space very quickly even in the harshest of winters. Steam boilers are more common in commercial application, though they may be used residentially in some cases.

The best person to help you choose which type of boiler works best in your home is a trained technician.

Call the friendly professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating and ask about heating installation in Marlborough today!

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