Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Bolton’

What Is an Indirect Fired Water Heater?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Water heater technology has continued to evolve over the years, moving away from the traditional storage tank models to newer innovations such as the tankless water heater, which delivers hot water on demand and will never run out of its supply. There are also options for high-efficiency condensing water heaters.

One excellent choice that we offer at Basnett Plumbing & Heating is the indirect fired water heater, which has superior energy efficiency compared to storage tank water heaters. To find out more about indirect fired water heaters in Boston, MA, call up our water heater specialists on staff and they will be happy to share with you what one of these home appliances can do for you.

How does an indirect fired water heater work?

What makes an indirect fired water heater stand out as a water heating option is that it is integrated into an already existing heating system instead of standing on its own. An indirect fired water heater is connected to the boiler that provides heat for a home. The water heater does not have its own energy supply; instead, it uses the heat supply from the boiler and applies it to the water that goes to your taps. Because this type of water heater consumes far less energy—you only use a single energy source where normally you would use two—it costs far less to run.

An indirect fired water heater is also more durable than a storage water heater and you can anticipate it to last as long as the boiler (and boilers are the most long-lived of all standard heating systems). You can expect excellent performance from the system for many years without it requiring major repairs.

You can choose to have an indirect fired water heater installed as either tank model, which applies the energy from the boiler directly to a tank of water, or as tankless model that heats the water you want as you want it. When you call for installation of a water heater, ask your technician about the options so you can find the unit that will provide you with the best combination of efficiency and effectiveness.

We can help you with all your water heater needs. We install and service indirect fired water heaters in Boston, MA as well as a variety of other kinds of models.

Contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and get started toward the best water heater possible for your home in the Metro West Area.

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Littleton Plumbing Repair Tip: What to Do if a Pipe Bursts

Monday, April 30th, 2012

If you live in a cold climate, you are more likely to have experienced the disaster of a frozen pipe bursting. There are other causes of burst pipes, so rest assured you are not alone; plenty of homeowners have had to face a burst pipe as well.

When this happens, there are three fronts on which to attack the problem: stopping the flooding, repairing the pipes and preventing future bursts.

Before doing anything else, you need to stop the flooding in your house. Start by turning off the water supply, either to that pipe or to the whole house. It doesn’t matter which, as long as it’s shut off. Turn on cold water taps around the house to drain remaining water from the pipes. Turn off the water heater. This will at least prevent the flood damage from being too extensive.

Get a sump pump and or some absorbent material to start sopping up the water that leaked into your home, then call a Littleton plumber. The pipe and fitting will need to be replaced, and some adjacent ones may need to be as well, so the best solution here is just to call in a professional rather than try to do it yourself. The last thing you need is another burst pipe.

Finally, prevent future breaks in pipes by implementing some of these strategies:

  • Insulate your pipes
  • On cold days, keep your pipes warmer by opening up doors to the attic or basement
  • When going away in the winter, shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system

By keeping your pipes as warm and insulated as possible, you decrease the likelihood that the water within will freeze, potentially causing a leak or break in the pipe. Burst pipes are not necessarily completely preventable, so it is important that you now know what to do if and when a pipe bursts in your home.

Water damage, especially flooding, can cause serious trouble in your home, so everything you can do to prevent and mitigate the risk is a good step. For more advice on how to deal with emergency plumbing repair in Littleton, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating!

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Bolton Plumbing Repair Tip: Common Plumbing Problems

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Plumbing may seem like a complex mystery, but some common plumbing problems you can investigate yourself before calling in a Bolton plumber.

 Drainage Difficulties

Whether it’s a slow drain, a backed up drain, strange gurgling sounds emanating from a drain or unexplained wet spots on the lawn along the path of a drainage pipe, no one wants to deal with a messy drainage debacle.

However, if you are experiencing one of those problems, here are some steps to try in order to get to the bottom of it:

  1. Explore the extent of the problem. If it is just your kitchen sink that runs slowly or backs up, then you know it is localized, but if all  your toilets are backing up, then that is probably a different kind of problem.
  2. If there is just one offending drain — as in the kitchen sink example — flush it with boiling water and/or white vinegar. If necessary, you can also try a commercial drain clearing product.
  3. With a more general plumbing problem, it helps to determine the route along which the water is draining. See if you can figure out where the drain pipes run through your home, which can help you determine if the problem is somewhere along the drainage line.

 Wasted Water

Has your water bill gone through the roof lately? This could be due to wasted water that you don’t even know about. Below are some  causes of wasted water and how to determine them.

  1. Dripping faucet or running toilet. This can be pretty obvious because they make noise, so listen up! Especially pay attention if the toilet runs sporadically at unexpected times.
  2. A leaky pipe. This culprit is trickier, so look for signs of water along your base boards, on the floor near plumbing fixtures and underneath sinks.
  3. If you still can’t find the culprit, check your water meter and note the reading. Then check it again in an hour to see how much was used. This piece of information can at lease clue you in to the extent of the problem.

These techniques aren’t foolproof and won’t help you determine 100% of problems, so don’t be afraid to call Basnett Plumbing & Heating to fix any problems you might be having with your plumbing!

 

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Lunenburg HVAC Tip: DIY Home Maintenance

Friday, January 13th, 2012

If you own a home in Lunenburg, there are a lot of fun ways you can stay on top of regular maintenance without hiring a contractor. Sure, there are some tasks only a Lunenburg contractor should perform, but there are plenty of others you can take care of with a little spare time on the weekend.

  • Fixing Leaks – Unless it’s in a main line or in your sewer, you can usually fix a leak or clog in your pipes by yourself. Replacing a faucet, snaking a line, or taking apart a fixture should still be done with the help of manufacturer’s guidelines, but as long as you turn the water supply off correctly, you should be okay taking things apart and making quick repairs.
  • Yard Installations – Short of digging it up (always have it checked for gas and electricity lines), you can do pretty much anything on your own in the yard. This includes composting, landscaping, adding a barbeque pit or upgrading your back porch.
  • Painting – Feel free to paint anything in or around your home without the help of a pro. Just make sure to use proper ventilation and to ensure that you remove any old paint carefully. If you’re not sure about the age of your paint, it should be tested for lead before you chip it clean, especially if you have children.
  • Replace Appliances – Old appliances can be removed and replaced relatively easily as long as you have someone to help you get rid of the old ones. Also, if you have a gas stove or other appliances that run on gas, always have them checked by a professional. Never unplug gas lines without someone there to ensure the gas supply to your home is off.
  • Tiling – Tiling is something anyone can do, but make sure you’re ready for the time commitment. Especially if you plan on putting tiles on a wall, it’s easy to make a mistake and ruin good tiles or good walls. Also, proper sealing around water fixtures like a bathtub or sink is vital. If you’re not sure, call a plumber to help.

There are a lot of ways you can have fun and fix up your house without paying for a professional’s help. But, remember not to take on jobs that are too much for you. If you aren’t sure how to complete a task or you want a second opinion, never be afraid to call a pro in for some help. Even if they just check your work, it will save you money and you get the satisfaction of having done the work yourself.

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A Guide from Bolton: How to Shut Off Your Water Supply

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

In the case of a plumbing emergency, the last thing you want to do is watch as more water continues to pour into your Bolton home through a burst pipe, broken appliance or busted water valve. So, the first step should always be to turn off your main water supply valve. Here are some tips for finding that valve and getting the water supply off as soon as possible.

Finding Your Main Water Supply Valve

The valve is almost always located in one of two places. It will either be outside at the entry point for the water supply to your house or it will be located in your basement or garage between the inlet and the main water line. In some cases, it may be even be under an access panel in basement. However, this is less common than the first two options.

Once you find the main water supply valve, turn it off to immediately stop more water from entering your home. If you notice that water is continuing to enter your home, you have a problem before the entry valve and should call the city immediately because one of their pipes might have burst.

Shutting Off Individual Appliances

In many cases, the problem is related to a single appliance. If this is the case, you don’t necessarily need to turn off the entire water supply – just the supply valve for the specific appliance or fixture. Every major water fixture and appliance in your home should have its own shutoff valve in an easy to reach place. This goes for every sink, toilet, shower, dishwasher, and washing machine in your home – not having those valves can be dangerous.

Once you have turned off your water supply, it’s time to call a plumber. Make sure to keep track of everything you do (take notes if you can) and supply that information to the plumber both on the phone and when they arrive. It will help them diagnose and solve the problem much faster.

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An Ayer Contractor Guide: Pros and Cons of Various Heating Systems

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When it comes time to install a new heating system in your Ayer home, there are a lot of options to consider. Many people get overwhelmed when confronted with all of the furnaces, boilers and heat pumps on the market these days. So, to help you get a handle on what each has to offer and which will offer you the best benefits, here is an overview of the modern heating system market.

Furnaces

Furnaces are the core of a forced air heating system and use gas, oil or electricity to heat air which is then circulated through your home by a blower in your air handler. Furnaces are among the most fuel efficient heating systems on the market today with options available at up to 95% AFUE (meaning it uses up to 95% of the fuel consumed to produce heat). They are also inexpensive to install and while they don’t last quite as long as boilers, they are highly efficient when well cared for.

Boilers

Boilers use gas, oil or electricity to heat water or steam which is then circulated through your home into radiators or baseboard heaters. The heated water or steam releases heat into your home and heats it in turn. While not quite as energy efficient as a high efficiency furnace, boiler heat is perfect for homes with existing radiators and no room for vents and ductwork. It also has less of an impact on indoor air quality since there is no air movement and boilers tend to last a very long time when well maintained.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates where it rarely gets below 40 degrees F. A heat pump uses the same technology as an air conditioner to extract heat from outside using a compressor, evaporator coils, and condenser coils with refrigerant.

It is most efficient in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, but it uses much less energy than either a boiler or furnace and it can be used in the summer to cool your home. When properly maintained, a heat pump will last 10-20 years and save quite a bit of money, though it is recommended that you have an emergency heat source for days when the temperature outside gets below 40 degrees F.

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How Can I Prevent Clogged Drains? A Question from Maynard

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

One of the most frustrating plumbing issues any Maynard homeowner will encounter is a clogged drain. Not only are clogged drains a nuisance, they are largely avoidable, so it becomes that much more frustrating when it happens since you know that you could have taken preventative measures long before the problem occurred. To help stop your drains from clogging in the future, here are some useful preventative tips:

  • Set Cooking Grease Aside – Cooking grease is thick, viscous and clings to the sides of almost all types of pipes. So, instead of pouring it down your sink and hoping it clears out on its own, pour it into a coffee can and set it aside. There are a number of places where you can recycle old grease.
  • Flush Garbage Disposals – When you use your garbage disposal, it is imperative that you flush cold water through the system at the same time. Without water to flush the food particles through the pipes, anything ground up in the disposal will become stuck and with the application of grease or other food particles can easily become a thick clog.
  • Pour Boiling Hot Water Down the Pipes – At least once a week it is a good idea to pour 2-3 quarts of boiling water down your sinks and bathtub to loosen any pre-clogs that have formed. Things like soap, grease, food, and hair can all be dislodged by an application of hot water on a regular basis.
  • Taking Care with Your Toilet – A toilet is not designed to flush anything that will technically fit down the hole. Even for paper products that seem to be flushable, take care in what goes into the toilet bowl. Paper towels, garbage, and wrappers should not be flushed or they are likely to cause clogs.
  • Use Strainers – Install strainers on all of your sinks, including the ones in your bathroom. A simple strainer will catch excess bits of food, hair, and other grime that has a habit of falling down the drain and getting flushed along with the dishwater or during a shower.

With care, your drains will remain clog free and never require the services of a snake or a plumber. If you do get past the point of no return, do not panic just yet – there are a number of steps you can take to remove a small clog without chemicals or professional help. However, if the clog refuses to budge or begins to backup, know when to call a plumber.

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What Size Furnace is Right for My Home? A Question from Bolton

Friday, November 11th, 2011

When it comes to your Bolton home’s heating equipment, the right size is very important.  An incorrectly sized furnace may result in many cold spots in your home, an overworked furnace, or higher utility bills.

An undersized furnace will turn off and on frequently, which is called short cycling. Short cycling can lead to moisture in the system, causing less efficiency and damage to equipment from accumulating moisture in the heating system. The constant cycling adds to wear and tear on equipment, too. An oversized furnace may not be able to keep up with the demand for heat during the coldest days. The furnace may be constantly running and unable to keep up – adding to higher utility costs. So size really does matter when it comes to selecting the right heating equipment for your home.

But a big furnace does not mean it is right-sized. Have you ever seen a “five-way” gravity furnace? It was manufactured in the mid-1900’s and took up a lot of room – as much as half of a basement – while being extremely inefficient. The key here is efficiency. A furnace that works right is sized to the space it is heating, which does not include attics, crawlspaces, or uninsulated rooms (porches, mud rooms, etc.).

A furnace must make efficient use of its Btu’s, which is abbreviated for British thermal unit. Btu is used to measure a furnace size. Furnaces are often rated by input Btu, which is the amount of energy consumed when running. The output Btu may be different based on the system. And output Btu is the best way to select a furnace, since this is the actual heating capacity.

When sizing a furnace, the first thing to do is to determine the inside space that will be heated. If you are looking to heat your home, you can measure the square footage of each room (multiply width by length). The rooms should include bathrooms and hallways but exclude attics and crawlspaces. Add up the totals and match up the Btu output to the total square footage. If you aren’t sure of your calculations, call a qualified heating and cooling contractor.

There are many factors that go into heating a home and today’s energy efficient furnaces give homeowners many more choices. Whatever furnace you choose to purchase, make sure you do your homework and hire a qualified professional HVAC contractor to determine the best size furnace for your home.

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