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

How Tankless Water Heaters Provide Hot Water On-Demand

Friday, February 27th, 2015

There’s been a lot hub-bub about tankless water heaters, and they’ve been gaining in popularity for some good reasons. However, it’s not clear to many homeowners how these devices provide hot water for an entire home when they don’t have a holding tank for the water. If you’ve been thinking about the installation of a tankless water heater in your Chelmsford home, it behooves you to understand how the system works. It is also in your best interest to hire a trained professional to install your tankless water heater as they are somewhat more complex than tank water heaters. The plumbing professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating can help you with your tankless water heater installation from beginning to end, so if you are contemplating the installation of a tankless system, call us today!

Water On-Demand: How It Works

The key to tankless water heaters providing hot water to your home on-demand lay with the heat exchanger at the core of the device. When you open a hot water tap in your home, the heat exchanger turns on and at the same time, the cold water valve opens and flows water directly to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers heat to the cold water and once the water heats to the pre-set temperature, which takes a matter of seconds, the heated water flows into the open hot water tap.

Why Choose a Tankless Water Heater?

There are a few benefits tankless hot waters heaters can offer homeowners, and one of the biggest is the elimination of standby heat loss. Tank water heaters can lose up to 25% of their heat daily simply because the hot water sits in a tank; when you install and use a tankless hot water heater, this standby heat loss disappears. Tankless water heaters are also very energy efficient. Energy.gov estimates that tankless water heaters are anywhere from 24%-34% more energy efficient than tank water heaters, which can be a big savings for your home. Lastly, you never have to worry about running out of hot water with a tankless water heater.

A tankless water heater in your Tewksbury home can be a great addition, but professional installation is the key.

Call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating and schedule a consultation about tankless hot water heaters today!

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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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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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What’s the Difference between Mechanical and Electronic Air Cleaners?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

To protect the indoor air quality of our homes, we sometimes need to do more than simply open up a few windows during the day. Adding in an air cleaning system, such as a mechanical air cleaner or an electronic air cleaner, will remove most of the contaminating particles that circulate through the ventilation system of your house. The cleaners are easy to install with the assistance of HVAC professionals who have indoor air quality experience, and the systems will work well for many years at keeping unwanted pollution from the inside of your house.

Since 1987, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has helped homeowners in Chelmsford, MA with air cleaners and other installations that improve the air inside their home. Contact us today to learn more about our improvements that will increase the comfort and health inside your home.

Mechanical air cleaners vs. electronic air cleaners

There are many choices available for installing air cleaners in a home, but they can be divided into two broad categories: mechanical and electronic. One is not automatically superior to the other; it depends on the specific home and its air quality issues.

  • Mechanical air cleaners: These cleaners are filters, such as HEPA filters. They consist of a mesh of fiberglass filaments that trap particle in the air that passes through them. HEPA filters can stop 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. These filters do not require any power to operate and are generally inexpensive; the only cost comes from installing replacements. Mechanical filters will take care of the air quality problems of most homes, but they do not affect gaseous or odor molecules.
  • Electronic air cleaners: These devices do not use filters at all, but instead electronic fields that ionize the particles of contamination that attempts to pass through them. Ionized particles are drawn down to a set of plates where they are trapped. Using this method, electronic air cleaners can prevent the passage of particles down to 0.1 microns in size, and they will also stop gasses such as carbon monoxide, smoke, formaldehyde, and odors. They are excellent choices if you need the extensive cleaning power to affect these smaller particles. They require power to run, so unless you need their action to combat minute particles, you should stay with mechanical filters.

In many cases, the best choice for the cleanest air is to have both types of cleaners installed. Rely on the advice from indoor air quality specialists to learn which option is ideal for your home. Trust to Basnett Plumbing & Heating for your indoor air quality needs.

Our experts with air cleaners in Chelmsford, MA will determine the purification system that will give you home the healthiest air possible. Call us today.

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Chelmsford HVAC Tip: Basic Terminology

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Ever try to look up basic information about your Chelmsford heating and air conditioning systems? There are dozens of terms that might as well be Greek for all you know – a mishmash of words and phrases talking about energy efficiency and air flow ratios. To make your next upgrade a little easier and give you a baseline with which to work, here are a few of the most common HVAC terms you’ll hear in the industry:

  • AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – This is a simple measurement of how much fuel a furnace converts into actual heat in your home. So, if a furnace converts 92% of the fuel it consumes into heat, it has an AFUE rating of 92.
  • Watts – A single watt is a measurement of electricity. Commonly, your electricity use is assured in kilowatts or kilowatt hours (kWh).
  • BTU – British Thermal Unit – A BTU is a common measurement of how much energy is produced or consumed by an appliance. When referring to an air conditioner, one “ton” refers to 12,000 BTUs.
  • SEER/EER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to how many BTUs can be produced with a single Watt of electricity per hour. So, an air conditioner with an SEER of 14 can produce 14 BTUs of cooling per watt consumed each hour.
  • HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor – Refers to the efficiency of the heating elements in your heat pump.
  • COP – Coefficient of Performance – A measurement of how effective your heat pump is at heating a space compared to standard electrical resistance heat. The lower the temperature gets outside, the lower the COP will be. Equipment is usually measured for COP at 47 and 17 degrees to give an idea of seasonal performance of a new heat pump.
  • Refrigerant – Refrigerant is any gas that is used to draw heat from the air in a particular environment through an air conditioner or heat pump. It has a much lower boiling point than water, allowing it to cool despite the temperature outside. Currently, most equipment uses R-22 refrigerant while the new standard will be R-410A (Puron), legally required in all cooling units by 2020.
  • CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute – Used to measure the volume of air passed through an air handler by an air conditioner or furnace.

There are a number of complicated details to keep track of when choosing a new air conditioner or furnace. If you have any questions about your HVAC system, never hesitate to call Basnett Plumbing & Heating!

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Chelmsford Heating Tip: Different Types of Furnace Filters

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A good filter for your furnace is a must. Because that device heats and blows air throughout your Chelmsford home, you want to be sure that it doesn’t recycle contaminants and bacteria that could easily be captured at the air handler. That’s why it’s vital to choose the right furnace filter on the first try. Here are some furnace filters to consider and their various benefits to your home and family:

  • Electrostatic – Most electrostatic filters are permanent and must be washed on a regular basis. They are electronically charged to capture particles as they pass through, much like a magnet. These filters are effective because they are both physical and electronic. However, keep in mind that they are only as efficient as the cleaning they receive.
  • HEPA – HEPA is the highest rating available for a filtration system, removing up to 99.9% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, they are also inefficient when used in furnaces as they severely reduce air flow. They are not often recommended for this reason.
  • Pleated – Pleated filters come in both reusable and permanent forms and can be either purely mechanical or electrostatic. There is a very wide range of efficiency ratings for pleated filters so make sure you analyze your home’s specific needs before selecting any one pleated filter.
  • Activated Carbon – Activated carbon is unique from the other three filter types because it effectively removes fumes, odors and chemicals from indoor air along with other larger particles. It is recommended that if you choose an activated carbon filter, you supplement it with a pleated or electrostatic filter (or choose a combination filter) to remove all unwanted components from your home.

There are a lot of options when it comes to furnace filters. To make sure you get only the best air quality, talk to a Chelmsford heating professional who can help you determine which pollutants are the biggest problem in your home.

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Chelmsford Plumbing Tip: What You Can Do to Prevent Problems in Your Drains

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

When you look at your Chelmsford home’s drain, it seems fairly simple. You pour things down and they disappear into the ether, never to be seen again. Of course, that logic goes out the window the second the drain starts to backup or overflow. There are things you can do to avoid such problems though and most of the time, they cost nothing and take only a few minutes a week.

Simple Household Drain Maintenance

The first step to avoiding a problem is not putting anything down your drain that might cause said problem in the first place. Specifically, avoid grease, food, or other objects that might build up in your drains if not properly disposed.

Food can be broken down by a garbage disposal or, even better, placed in a compost pile. Grease, however, should never enter your sink at all. Pour all old kitchen grease into a coffee pot or bucket and dispose of it carefully. It can be thrown away in some places, or it can be recycled. Whatever you do, though, don’t pour it down the drain.

Another easy tip to keeping those drains clear is to pour a natural compound down every now and then like dishwashing liquid or baking soda and vinegar. Expensive drain cleaners are not only unnecessary – they are unsafe for the person using them and can cause damage to the pipes if you are not careful. To avoid such damage, stick with hot water based compounds and vinegar. The key is to do it preventatively.

If you wait until a full blown clog occurs, baking soda and vinegar may not get the job done and you’ll need to call a Chelmsford plumber who has a snake or other equipment to get the clog out.

Professional Maintenance

While regular flushing of your drain with hot water and vinegar allows you to clear out the vast majority of the stuff that builds up there every week, it’s also a good idea to call a professional for annual maintenance. Such annual maintenance involves visual inspection, professional grade clearing of food and waste products and a full flush. Done properly, this will minimize the cost of future repairs and replacements and keep your Chelmsford plumbing running smoothly for years to come.

For more information about how you can maintain your plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

 

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Chelmsford Heating System Preventative Maintenance

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” His famous quotation can apply to many things in life, including the heating system in your Chelmsford home. While heating systems in Ben Franklin’s time consisted of wood burning stove and fireplaces requiring little maintenance, today’s sophisticated furnaces and building controls require a good dose of preventative maintenance in order to avoid mechanical failures and inefficient operation.

For example, a furnace runs better and lasts longer when you maintain a regular schedule of filter cleaning or replacing. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow from the furnace into your home’s ventilation system and cause the furnace to work harder, putting more wear and tear on it and taking months, if not years, off of its useful life. If your furnace uses disposable filters, check them every month and replace them if necessary. If your furnace uses an electronic filter that requires cleaning, check it on a monthly or semi-monthly basis and clean it with soapy water and a hose. Be aware of the change of seasons which could add extra pollutants into the air like pollens, ragweed, and cottonwood. This debris easily finds its way into the filters and creates an unhealthy indoor environment.

You can also perform a simple visual inspection of working components inside your furnace by removing the access cover and checking – with a flashlight – for loose fan belts, frayed electrical wires, or a build-up of dirt and dust. Simple solutions include tightening or replacing belts, repairing wiring, and vacuuming out dirt and dust with a hose attachment. All of these actions will keep your furnace working better and prevent future failures.

You can also do a visual check of your home’s ventilation system, paying close attention to any cracks in duct seams or holes in flex ductwork. Using sealing cement or duct tape can usually fix these problems and allow for better, unrestricted air flow. Again, these actions will help your furnace work more efficiently and avoid premature failures.

Maybe the best advice for preventing heating system breakdowns is to have a regular maintenance schedule with a local qualified heating contractor. Most contractors can set you up with annual furnace and ventilation system inspections. Having a service agreement – as a rule – gives you priority emergency repairs and discounts on parts and services. Besides that, planned maintenance is also preventative maintenance, something that will give you peace of mind in the long run.

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Heat Pumps and Zone Control Systems: A Guide from Chelmsford

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

When you’re putting a heat pump in your Chelmsford home, it may also be a great time to look into having a zone control system put in as well. These types of systems can do a lot to both lower your energy bills and make your home as comfortable as possible throughout the year.

Zone control systems actually allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of your home. They use a system of dampers to direct more heat to certain areas and less to others. For instance, you may like to keep the living room nice and cozy in the winter because you’re typically just lounging around when you’re in there.

When you’re working in the kitchen, on the other hand, you’re usually generating some heat yourself from the stove and oven, so you don’t need to keep the temperature quite as high as it is in other parts of the house in order for the kitchen to remain comfortable. Of course, in the summer, these situations are likely reversed, and a zone control system will allow you to adjust accordingly.

Having the type of refined temperature control that zone control systems provide can be beneficial on several levels. It certainly helps make your home more comfortable, but it can also make it easier to reduce some of your home heating and cooling costs because you don’t have to heat or cool your whole house to keep it that way.

Zone control systems can also be a great way to end those constant thermostat battles that tend to erupt from when certain members of the household prefer one temperature, while the rest of the people in the house are more comfortable with another.

If you’re thinking of integrating a zone control system with your heat pump, you should make sure that the heat pump you get is as compatible as possible with this type of system. Most heat pumps will, in fact, work with zone control systems, but certain types are better than others.

The most important thing to look at when you’re trying to find the best heat pump to fit with a zone control system is the type of compressor the unit has. Heat pumps are available with one-speed, two-speed and multi-speed compressors and this affects how well they work at part of a zone control system. For best results, it’s good to opt for a two-speed or multi-speed compressor when you’re installing a zone control system as well.

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