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

Types of American Standard Heat Pumps

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Heat pumps can offer your home both heating and cooling as well as high energy efficiency, no matter the season. This is one of the reasons why Basnett Plumbing & Heating carries heat pumps as a heating and cooling option for our customers. One of the brands we carry is American Standard, a company that has been a staple in the heating and cooling industry for over 130 years. There are 3 levels of heat pumps that American Standard offers for your home in Lancaster, and we’ll outline them below.


The Platinum series, as the name indicates, is the top of the American Standard heat pump line of products. These units have a SEER of 18-20, which can save you up to 50% in annual energy costs. The Platinum line heat pumps are also multi-stage systems that operate at variable speeds, ensuring you have the exact comfort level you need without increasing your energy usage. There are several Platinum models to choose from, and your Basnett Plumbing & Heating specialist can help you determine which model will best fit your home.


The American Standard Gold heat pump offers homeowners 2-stage operation, with the unit operating the vast majority of the time at 70 percent capacity, which can save a great deal of energy. The SEER rating for the Gold models is 17.25; the minimum requires SEER is 13, so this model is also very energy efficient.


The Silver series is the most cost-effective of the American Standard heat pumps, having the lowest initial costs of all the American Standard heat pump products available. With SEER ratings ranging from 14-17, these units are very energy efficient but operate more simply at a single stage.


American Standard heat pumps come with the following warranties, as long as the unit is registered:

  • Platinum and Gold – 12-year limited warranty on compressor
  • Silver – 10-year limited warranty on compressor
  • All – 10-year limited warranty on outdoor coil
  • All – 10-year limited warranty on internal functional parts

In addition, many models carry the Energy Star rating.

If you have been considering the installation of a heat pump for your home in Lancaster, you may want to review the American Standard line of heat pump products.

Need help? Contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating and schedule an appointment with one of our experts!

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Lancaster, MA Plumbing Question: Why Is My Water Heater Rumbling?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

If your water heater rumbles or makes other strange and unusual sounds, it may be an indication that you need professional plumbing repair. Often, the sounds your appliances make are warning signs that something needs to be fixed and it’s important that you heed those symptoms. Not only will repair get your water heater working again, but it may also prevent future repairs and premature replacement.  If your water heater makes too much noise, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating plumbing repair in Lancaster, MA today.

There are several different reasons your water heater makes a rumbling noise:

  • Scale. About 85% of homes in America have hard water. Hard water refers to high levels of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate in your water supply. These deposits tend to build up on the inside of your water heater and on the heating elements. Those deposits are commonly called limescale and often cause problems in your water heater’s tank–including overheating. A professional repair service will likely delime your tank in order to get it working again.
  • Sediment. Silicate and sand can build up on the inside of your water heater. Whether drawn from the main water supply or introduced into the system by pipe leaks underground, sediment can also cause your tank to overheat. It can typically be removed by periodic system flushing. Check with a pro to see what the best course of action for your water heater is.
  • Cold water. If the amount of cold water entering your water heater is excessive, then this can also cause a rumbling sound. If there is a leak around the input valve, this can lower the total temperature of the tank and cause your heater to work more than it needs to. The rumbling noise occurs as a result of cold and hot water mixing together.

Sounds are difficult to diagnose during plumbing repair. Let the Lancaster, MA plumbers at Basnett Plumbing & Heating figure it out for you. We offer exceptional plumbing services for all of your home’s needs. Call us today. 

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Common Boiler Problems in Lancaster, MA

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Boilers have long been a favorite home heating option, and it is easy to understand why. They are durable, require little maintenance and have a very long life expectancy. They are also a very efficient way to heat your Lancaster, MA home. This does not mean, though, that you will never experience a problem with your boiler. Every home heating system is going to need some sort of repair service eventually, and your boiler is no exception. As with any heater the most important thing to remember is to call a professional heating service provider immediately upon realizing there is a problem with your boiler. At Basnett Plumbing & Heating we know that heater problems can be a serious inconvenience, and that is why we work hard to ensure that all repairs are handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some of the more common boiler problems that you may face in your home.

One of the most alarming problems that your boiler may suffer from is a failure to produce any heat or hot water at all. The good news is that this is a very common issue as far as these problems go, and that there are a number of relatively minor problems that could be the cause. Problems with your thermostat, air locks or motorized valves may be the cause, and all can be quickly and affordably repaired or replaced.

A common issue with any unit storing is water is leaking. Your boiler system may leak water from a number of different areas. Sometimes it is as simple as an improper seal at a joint, while other times corrosion or other damages may be the cause. Either way it is important to have the problem addressed and repaired as quickly as possible.

Don’t ignore the development of strange noises in your home heating system. If you hear banging, gurgling or other unusual sounds call Basnett right away. It may be as simple as air in your pipes, or you may have a buildup of lime scales in your boiler’s components which is known as kittling. A professional heating technician can determine the exact cause of the issue.

Uneven heating in your home may be a problem with your boiler system, but there are a number of other problems that could be the cause. Having a professional assess the problem will rule out other common problems, including poorly calibrated thermostats. Seeking professional assistance is the only way to ensure that your boiler problem is being solved correctly and completely.

When you have problems with your boiler in Lancaster, MA, call the boiler repair professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We have years of experience with boiler service, and we’ll make sure that your problem is resolved reliably.

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Lancaster MA Plumber’s Tip: Green Your Plumbing

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

These days, “green plumbing” is getting increasing attention, especially in areas like Lancaster MA.

“Green plumbing” helps the environment by doing one or more of the following:

  • Saving water
  • Saving energy
  • Using environmentally-friendly materials

There are a wide range of green plumbing products that can make a big difference in how much water and energy your Lancaster home uses. They range from simple accessories that cost less than $20 to major home remodels. Here are a few of them, ranging from the simple and immediate to larger investments with a longer-term payback.

  • Low-flow showerheads and faucet accessories (often called “aerators”). Check the side of your current faucet and showerhead to see if they use more than 1.5 GPM and 2.0 GPM, respectively. If they do, you can benefit from an upgrade. Look for the EPA WaterSense label to be sure that your new showerheads and faucet accessories are water-efficient.
  • Hot water heater blankets and pipe insulation.You don’t need to insulate your hot water heater and  pipes to prevent freezing, but doing it will save money, water, and energy, and (as a bonus) you’ll enjoy hotter showers in the winter. This is a simple DIY job and the materials are extremely affordable.
  • Touch-free faucets. When you’re not actively using them, touch-free faucets shut off. According to industry estimates, the result can be a water savings of up to 70%. Touch-free faucet technology has improved greatly in recent years, and sensors are now very reliable. If you like your current faucet and want to keep it, there are also touch-free faucet conversion kits.
  • Dual-flush toilets. As the name suggests, these toilets have two different flushes: a “half-flush” for liquid waste, and a “full flush” for solids. Dual-flush toilets are standard in many European countries and are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. because of their water-saving potential (up to 68% over conventional toilets) and sleek styling.
  • Tankless water heaters. Unlike conventional tank heaters, which use energy constantly to maintain a reserve supply of hot water, tankless heaters only use energy when hot water is needed.  Tankless water heaters are not quite “instantaneous”, as some manufacturers claim, but they provide hot water within a few seconds. Good quality heaters can provide hot water to multiple fixtures simultaneously.
  • Sprinkler system upgrades. Much of the water from spray sprinkler systems evaporates. Trickle and drip irrigation systems can improve water efficiency by delivering smaller amounts of water directly to the base of the plant. Other products, such as pressure regulating spray heads and rotors and automatic rain sensors, can also save thousands of gallons a year.

For more tips on how to improve your Lancaster MA plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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Lancaster Plumbing Tip: A Low Cost Way to Brighten a Kitchen or Bath

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Many older homes in Lancaster still have the original faucets, toilets, shower heads, and other plumbing fixtures installed by the builder. Like most contractor-grade components, those fixtures were  probably designed to be strictly practical, with very little styling or decorative flair.

Contractors aren’t architects or interior designers. They’re focused mainly on installing the infrastructure of the plumbing system – the water delivery and waste pipes. It’s not their job to pick out elegant or cutting edge fixtures. They also can’t predict the taste of a home’s future occupants, so it makes no sense to install distinctive fixtures that might be removed or, worse, contribute to a potential buyer’s negative impression of the home.

That means many homeowners spend years living with plumbing fixtures deliberately intended to be bland and unnoticeable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but consider how many times each day we use our bathroom and kitchen faucets. How many times per week do we take a bath or use the shower? The simple pleasure of seeing and touching an attractive, well designed faucet is a little perk that can help brighten the day.

Higher end plumbing fixtures can be pricey, but factor in how long most fixtures last and you’re only paying a few pennies or less per day. Plumbing fixture design has become much more consumer-driven. Companies must compete by offering an expanding variety of styles.  The new passion for cooking has increased the demand for professional grade kitchen faucets that can stand up to hard use, have pullout sprayers, and accommodate large pans. New shower head designs provide a more comfortable, invigorating spray. Sink faucets with elegant finishes of bronze, brushed nickel, or brilliant brass can liven a bathroom. Ergonomically correct handles are easier to use and more inviting to touch.

There are also practical reasons for replacing fixtures. With improvements in materials technology the interior seals of faucets and other fixtures are more resistant to mineral build up and corrosion that can cause leaks. Metal finishes are more durable and resistant to dulling from soap or detergent.

Installing a new, attractive faucet won’t provide a total kitchen or bathroom makeover, but it will provide a spark that brightens the room and makes everyday living just a little more fun.  For more information about how to improve your Lancaster plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

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Lancaster AC Guide: Quick Tips to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Monday, June 18th, 2012

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your Lancaster air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your house. With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash cooling costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your Lancaster air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable unit and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use. To schedule your annual maintenance visit, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call today!

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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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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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