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

Littleton Plumbing Tip: What to Keep Out of Your Drains

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

You depend on a lot of different systems in your home to make it through your day as comfortably and conveniently as possible. Few, if any, of these systems are as important as your plumbing, though. Needless to say, you want to take every measure possible to ensure that your plumbing system is kept in the great shape. Here are a few tips about items to keep out of your drains from the Littleton, MA plumbing team at Basnett Plumbing & Heating.

First of all, make sure that any time you shower there is some sort of trap over the drain. The most effective way possible to keep your drains clear and effective is simply to not allow anything other than wastewater down them. When you shed hair or shave in the shower, those small amounts of hair and whiskers can get stuck in the drain. As time goes on, a full blown clog can develop.

The kitchen sink is one of the most common plumbing trouble spots in many homes. This is because many homeowners are simply careless when cleaning up after meals. If you allow food scraps to make it into the sink, some of those scraps are going to make it down the drain. Even the best drain covers cannot prevent this completely. Make sure that you scrape any scraps into the garbage or compost prior to putting dishes in the sink.

Also, never pour grease or fat down the drain. These substances are only liquids when they are hot. When they cool down in your drains they can cause serious clogs and trap many other items that would otherwise make it through just fine.

To learn more about keeping your drains clean, call the Littleton, MA plumbing professionals at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We want to make sure that your plumbing system gives you the performance you deserve. Schedule service today.

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Littleton Plumbing Tip: Equipment Every Homeowner Should Have

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Are you concerned that you may not be prepared should an emergency arise in your home? While professional service is necessary to handle any major plumbing problems in your home, it can be helpful to know what type of equipment you should keep on hand in the event that something does go wrong with your plumbing. At Basnett Plumbing, we are committed to informing our customers about their plumbing systems, and that includes making sure they know what equipment they should keep on hand. In today’s post, the Littleton plumbing experts here would like to help you assemble a starter plumbing toolkit.

  • Plunger: Make sure that you have a good plunger at your disposal. It’s best to pay slightly more at a good hardware store, than to be frustrated at a cheap model’s inability to handle even the most minor of clogs. These can often be used to unclog drains as well as the toilet.
  • Auger: An auger is a flexible hose that has a variety of attachments on its end. It is inserted into the sink or toilet to dislodge stubborn clogs and blockages that are preventing normal operation. But be careful with the use of your auger. There are different augers for different applications, and using the wrong attachment can actually cause significant damage to your plumbing system that can result in high repair costs.
  • The phone number of a good plumber: While some homeowners are more enthusiastic about approaching their plumbing system, everyone needs the phone number of a good plumber. Make sure you keep yours in a place within easy reach in case something goes wrong with you plumbing. This is an essential part of your plumbing equipment.

Call Basnett Plumbing today for comprehensive Littleton plumbing services

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Concord, MA Plumbing Repair Tip: Why Drain Clogs Are Serious Business

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

For most homeowners, the word “plumbing” makes us think of the kitchen sink, of showerheads, faucets, and hot water. But the pipes in your plumbing system are a complex and integral part of your home that needs professional attention just like any other part. In particular, most non-professionals are apt to take the wastewater disposal system for granted.  By swiftly removing organic waste from your home and disposing of it in the septic tank or municipal waste management system, your plumbing allows you to flush the toilet, take a hot shower, and wash your clothes and dishware. That’s why drain clogs are serious business, and should not be taken lightly. Call Basnett Plumbing for comprehensive Concord, MA plumbing repair services.

There are numerous potential causes of drain clogs. Considering how much wear and tear they endure, it’s no wonder that hair, grease, food, and other organic waste may begin to accumulate on the interior surface of the piping. While you’re probably familiar with having to plunge the toilet or remove an unsightly clump of hair at your shower drain, clogs can also occur deep within your plumbing system, which makes them difficult to fix without professional equipment and skill.

Another problem arises when mineral deposits attach themselves to the interior of your drainpipes, having been left behind by hard water. Such blockages are much more difficult to remove than other types of clogs, but can be removed by hydrojetting. Another potential cause of a clog occurs if your sewer main fails. If it has collapsed or it becomes blocked by penetrating tree roots, then your plumbing system simply can’t work properly.

Fortunately, you have options. Professional plumbing technicians can repair such issues by using video camera inspection and other tests to determine the location and type of problem. Once it is diagnosed, then he can offer a solution that works for you. It’s best to call immediately for professional Concord, MA plumbing repair, to ensure that it doesn’t worsen. Call Basnett Plumbing today!

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Littleton, MA Heating Guide: Why You Need a Load Calculation for Your New Heating System

Monday, March 11th, 2013

A load calculation should be performed by a heating professional before selecting your new heating system in your Littleton, MA home. Only a comprehensive evaluation of your home and property, including house layout, orientation, and size, will be able to indicate what type and what size your heating system should be. For professional advice and installation of your new heating system, you can rely on the Littleton, MA heating experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. As one of the leading providers in the area, we can perform a comprehensive load calculation of your home so that we can make sure your new heating system works effectively and efficiently. Call us today!

A load calculation seeks to measure the potential for heat gain and heat loss of your home. There are a variety of measurements and factors to take into consideration. Heat gain is how much your heating system can produce, which is typically measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). If your heater is too small or large, it won’t be able to create the appropriate amount of heat, which can cause all sorts of problems, from overheating your system to unpleasant indoor temperatures.

Heat loss is just as important. It is the measurement of how much heat your home will lose and how fast the temperature will fluctuate. The size and thickness of your walls, windows, floors, basement, ductwork, roof, doors, as well as the quality of your ventilation, and the slab grade all determine how much heat loss your system will undergo during the heating season. It depends not only upon the durability of these parts of your home, but also upon their installation. Like all mathematical calculations, however, it is only an estimate, and it has to make certain assumptions in the process. For example, a typical heating load calculation will assume, for the purpose of measurement, that heat transfer occurs instantaneously, and that all materials are the same.

That’s why you need a heating contractor with real-world experience. If you’re considering a new heating system for your home in Littleton, MA, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating. We can perform an accurate load calculation for your home, in order to ensure that your new heater provides lasting comfort and energy-efficiency. Call us today!

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Hydronic Heat and How It Works: A Reading, MA Heating Guide

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

While many people in Reading, MA enjoy the reliable and comfortable heat provided by their boiler, few actually know how they work. At Basnett Plumbing & Heating, our heating technicians have been providing boiler services throughout the Reading, MA area for many years. We thought it would be helpful if we put together a quick explanation of what hydronic heat is and how boilers work.

Hydronic Heat

Put simply, hydronic heating is the use of water or steam to transfer heat into a space. Some of the most common types of hydronic heating systems are hot water radiators and radiant floor heaters.

How Hydronic Systems Work

Hydronic heating systems are pretty simple. Here are their essential parts:

  • Boiler or heating tank – A large tank where the water is heated or vaporized.
  • Piping – In modern systems this is almost always PEX tubing. In older systems you’ll likely find steel or copper pipes.
  • Pump – The pump keeps the water circulating through the system so that it is always hot.
  • Heat exchanger – This can be the radiator in each room, the floor or wall piping or some other element that transfers heat into the room.

Types of Hydronic Systems

There are many different types of hydronic heating systems available on the market.

  • Hot water radiators – While their name might imply that they provide radiant heat, they actually form a hot air convection current in the room. The radiators are fed hot water by a boiler.
  • Steam boilers – These are some of the oldest hydronic systems. They are almost identical to hot water radiators.
  • Under floor and wall radiant heating – These systems actually do provide radiant heat. A series of coils are installed in the floor or wall. Hot water or steam is circulated through them that provides comfortable heat to the home.

If you’re interested in learning about the benefits of hydronic heating, call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. Our plumbers have years of experience working with all types and brands of heating systems. We would love to talk with you about any issues that you’re having or new installations that you’d like to do. Give us a call today!

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Andover Air Conditioning Q/A: Is it Cost Effective to Use a Ceiling Fan and AC at the Same Time?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

There are a lot of ways to keep your house cool in the summer, and chances are you’ve incorporated more than one of them into your home already. For instance, ceiling fans are great and can really keep you comfortable in moderately hot weather. But when the heat and humidity really start to pick up, you really need your Andover air conditioning system to keep your home cool.

One or the Other?

If you’re like most people, you switch off your ceiling fan when the AC comes on. After all, the air conditioner is powerful enough to cool the house on its own. So is it really worth it to expend energy running another, secondary cooling device?

In fact, it is. Ceiling fans in particular use very little energy. Yet they’re quite effective at making your home feel cool and comfortable. So there’s really no reason not to take advantage of their benefits while running your AC.

Cutting Costs

You might be surprised to learn that far from being a waste of energy, using your ceiling fan and AC at the same time can actually save you money. That’s because the cooling power of the fan allows you to turn up the thermostat on your AC unit a couple of degrees without compromising your comfort levels.

And turning up the thermostat on the AC just that small amount will translate into pretty substantial savings on your monthly energy bills. That savings will more than pay for the cost of running the ceiling fan, and you save money.

Better Air Circulation

Running the ceiling fan with the AC on or off is always helpful in terms of promoting good air circulation throughout your house. And the more air circulates, the more comfortable your indoor environment will be. Good air circulation is also important because it helps to minimize the number of air contaminants that build up inside.

More Efficient Heating

The benefits of ceiling fans don’t stop with cooling either. In fact, you can run them in reverse to help maintain even heating in the winter. Essentially, there are few investments you can make that will serve you better throughout the year than a ceiling fan regardless of the other home heating and cooling systems you have in place.

For more ideas about how to effectively use your Andover air conditioning system, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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Westford Heating Tip: Dangers of Not Changing Your Furnace Filter on Time

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Of the many ways to heat a home in Westford, forced air systems are the simplest in function and the easiest to maintain.  They are so simple, in fact, it is easy to forget they need attention at all, but there are dangers to not changing your furnace filter on time that have a real and painful cost in efficiency and dollars.  Even health risks arise when filters have been neglected too long.

Contracting with a company like Basnett Plumbing & Heating ensures consistent maintenance and oversight to allow home owners the comfort and relaxation you deserve in your own home.

Back to Basics

Usually in the basement or a central location, a furnace heats air to a temperature set by the thermostat.  Over the years, technological improvements have enabled furnaces to be much smaller and fit into closets instead of the large and gangly monsters of old that could fill an entire basement.

By a fan in the furnace, the warm air is circulated through filters into a system of ducts to be distributed to grates in the wall or registers on the floor.  A second grate and duct system returns cooler air back to the furnace to be reheated.

The Dangers of Not Changing the Filter

When the system is properly maintained, it is clean, efficient and produces comforting heat on demand at the touch of the thermostat or consistently throughout the day and night.

The furnace filter is designed to remove dust from air as it passes through your furnace. The longer your furnace filter is in place the dirtier it becomes. The increase of particles caught in the filter creates resistance to air flow through the filter and reduces efficiency.

To make up for the loss of flow through a dirty filter, the heat exchanger, usually a gas or oil fired flame, must work harder to produce the same amount of heat to the space.  This becomes costly financially and causes undo wear and stress on the equipment, requiring a partial or full replacement much sooner.

Additionally, operating above ideal designed conditions, cracks in the chamber may appear from the over load which can allow carbon monoxide, a toxic gas, to be released into the duct work.  This gas in large quantities in the home can cause headaches, nausea, and in extreme circumstances, even death.

Regular Maintenance

To avoid problems and excessive strain, remember to change the filters at the beginning of each new heating season.  An annual maintenance check-up and thorough cleaning by a qualified company like Basnett Plumbing & Heating ensures a safe and comfortable season of warmth with no need to worry about the dangers of not changing filters in your Westford furnace.

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Still River Heating Tips: Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your Still River house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the HVAC system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your Still River home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort. If you have any questions about how to keep your home warm this winter, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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Still River Heating Guide: Inspecting Your Furnace Heat Exchanger for Leaks

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Like all the heating and cooling components in your Still River home, your furnace needs regular maintenance and annual checkups performed by certified HVAC technicians. Here are some things that a professional heating maintenance technician can do to make sure your furnace is functioning safely.

One of the main concerns with any type of furnace is the potential for carbon monoxide gas leaks, which can be fatal if not detected. The heat exchanger is designed to prevent dangerous flue products from leaking into the home; therefore, it is important to inspect the heat exchanger for any cracks or excessive corrosion.

There are a few methods for introspecting a furnace heat exchanger for leaks and potential repairs (again, best performed by a professional HVAC technician):

  • Visual Inspection of the Furnace Heat Exchanger. Use a strong flashlight to visually check the heat exchanger thoroughly for cracks or open seams, particularly in areas that are susceptible heat or mechanical stress. Some seams may have been joined improperly during manufacturing, so be sure to check all joints. Also check for rust or corrosion in areas exposed to any type of moisture. Make sure you can gain access to all the parts of the heat exchanger. If you see any cracks, holes, or severe deterioration, your heat exchanger needs a professional repair. Ultimately, you may not be able to see all the parts of your heat exchanger, so further testing is recommended in addition to a visual inspection.
  • Flame Test. You can also observe the flame after the furnace is first turned on to detect potential damage to the heat exchanger. Turn off the furnace for at least five minutes, and sit close enough to the furnace to observe the burner flame. Have someone turn up the thermostat, and watch the flame for any changes in color or irregular patterns in the flame. If the flame makes any sudden changes, this could mean that the heat exchanger is damaged. Keep in mind that like the visual test, the flame test cannot determine damage to your heat exchanger alone.

In addition to increasing efficiency and lowering your heating bills, inspecting your furnace will ensure that your heating system operates safely throughout the winter. Along with having your heat exchanger inspected, we recommend that you test all the carbon monoxide detectors in your home on a regular basis, as well as changing the filter every month and cleaning out the ventilation system.

If you need further assistance, or suspect any leaks in your furnace, you will need to schedule an appointment with a Still River HVAC technician. Keep your home warm and safe this winter.

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Carlisle Plumber’s Guide: History of Plumbing

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Everyone in Carlisle knows that water runs downhill, right? That’s because of gravity. And that simple theory was the key milestone in the history of plumbing. As far back as the days of the Roman Empire, people were using gravity to move water from its source to where it was used. There were no systems of piping back then and no way to pressurize a means of transporting water from one location to another.

The beauty of the gravity movement was how the Roman engineers achieved it – through the use of aqueducts. These aqueducts carried water from higher elevations in mountains to the cities below. Some of them were outdoor architectural marvels but most of the water was carried through underground tunnels. The gravity that carried the water was achieved by a slight pitch in the tunnel or aqueduct. It is estimated that as much as 300 million gallons of water found its way into Rome every day.

The fall of the Roman Empire brought the demise of this elaborate system but other plumbing marvels followed in the decades and centuries to come.

The means of transporting water changed from aqueducts and tunnels to something that was very abundant in the early stages of developing countries like the United States – namely wood. Hollowed out logs were the forefathers of modern iron pipes. These wooden pipe systems were found in the northeastern U.S. in the 1800s. Unfortunately, wood exposed to water soon deteriorated and rotted – and also left a bad taste to the water.

Iron and steel water pipes began to show up in the late 1800s in the U.S. These pipes were characterized by their heavy weight. The next generation of piping was made from copper. This material was introduced in the early 1900s and became commonly used by the middle of the century. Eventually, plastic was used to replace copper and steel. It is less expensive and just as durable.

Of course, any type of indoor plumbing was deemed a luxury for the “common” homeowner in the 1800’s and 1900’s. Indoor plumbing was not a standard and as late as the 1940s and 50s, many homes still utilized the good old fashioned outhouses as toilet facilities. That happened, in part, because towns did not have central water pumping and treatment facilities – and there were no city sewer lines to tap into. And the cost of indoor plumbing was out of some household budgets.

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