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

The Benefits of Hydronic Baseboard Radiators

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Hydronic heating systems, those that use water to heat your home, have a choice of outlets by which to disperse heat. One of these choices is the baseboard radiator. Baseboard heating first appeared after World War II as a way to efficiently heat without having to deal with the bulk of a traditional iron radiator. A baseboard radiator installation can offer you a number of benefits, but the key to gaining these benefits is hiring professionals to install your new heating. As part of a hydronic system, correct piping is critical for baseboard radiators, and using amateurs for the installation can be risky. The heating experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating have been serving the MetroWest and surrounding areas since 1987, and they bring these years of experience to every job. If you are ready for a new radiator installation in Tewksbury, call us today!

How Does Hydronic Baseboard Heating Work?

There are two types of hydronic baseboard radiators homeowners can choose from: one is a self-contained baseboard radiator that does not have to be connected to your boiler, and the other is connected to your boiler. Both use hot water to warm your living spaces, but they work a little differently. A baseboard radiator that is connected to your boiler works very much the same as a larger room radiator: hot water is circulated to its inner pipe and heat is released through the baseboard. When the water cools, it exits the radiator and returns to the boiler for re-heating in the next cycle. A self-contained baseboard radiator also uses water (or a heat-transferring fluid), but the water isn’t circulated in and out; instead, the fluid is held inside the narrow metal tube in the radiator and heated via electricity when the baseboard’s thermostat calls for heat.

Benefits of Hydronic Baseboard Heating

What are some of the benefits you can enjoy from a hydronic baseboard radiator? Here are some to consider:

  • Great for allergy sufferers – hydronic baseboard heating is a type of radiant system, so you don’t have to worry about swirling dust and pet dander with this type of system, as you do with a forced air system.
  • Quiet – a baseboard heating system is virtually soundless because they radiate heat, they don’t blow it.
  • Space-savers – baseboard heaters don’t have the bulk that larger radiators do, and baseboard heaters can be sized in varying lengths without sacrificing a lot of space.

Interested to see if your home in Tewksbury can benefit from the installation of baseboard radiator heating? Call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating today!

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Signs That Your Furnace Needs Repair

Monday, September 15th, 2014

With the colder months coming up soon, it is time to make certain the furnace that keeps your home warm all the way to spring is up to the task. You do not want the first chilly day of the season to arrive only to discover that your heater cannot do its job properly—or worse, will cannot do its job at all. Take the opportunity during the waning warm days to turn on your furnace for a test run to see if there are issues that require repair attention. Below are some warning signs to look for that you should call for professionals to repair the furnace.

For fast and reliable furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA and throughout the Metrowest Area, contact Basnett Plumbing & Heating today. We have the skill to diagnose and fix whatever ails your furnace.

Common warning signs of furnace repair needs

  • Odd noises: One of the most common indications that a furnace is having problems is strange sounds from the cabinet. When you first turn on the furnace for the season, you may hear some clicking noises, as well as rumbling in the ductwork, but this is normal. However, if these sounds persist, they can indicate serious trouble. Pay special attention to booming sounds, loud clicking, hissing, and mechanical grinding.
  • Strange smells from the vents: When you check on the airflow coming from the vents connected to the furnace, check if there are acrid or burning odors coming out as well. This can indicate dirt on the motors, or a motor that is burning out.
  • Cold spots in the house: If a furnace starts to lose its heating power, it will result in heat not evenly spreading through a home. If rooms (usually ones farthest from the center of the house) feel cold, first check that the vents are open and no furniture is blocking them. If the cold spots persist, call for repairs: many different malfunctions could account for a loss of heating.
  • The furnace trips circuit breakers: If the furnace causes a circuit breaker to trip, there may be an electrical fault. Remember, even gas furnaces today require electrical power to start up (they use electronic igniters) and can cause trouble for a home’s electrical system if they malfunction.

Schedule pre-season maintenance

If you run your furnace test and do not notice anything unusual, you still need to schedule a regular maintenance session from a professional. Many repair problems in a furnace start small and are difficult to notice unless you are a trained HVAC repair technician. Part of pre-season maintenance is to identify these tricky small malfunctions and have them repaired before the cold weather arrives.

Basnett Plumbing & Heating offers different service agreements to help you maintain your furnace and avoid unnecessary furnace repair in Tewksbury, MA. Call us today for more details.

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Air Conditioning Upgrades Available in Tewksbury

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Whether you are replacing an old air conditioner or want to maximize the performance and benefits of your current one, Basnett Plumbing & Heating has some great options for upgrading your air conditioning in Tewksbury. Why upgrade? Depending on the type of upgrade you choose, upgrades can help improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and put less strain on your system. Here are a few upgrades to consider for your air conditioning system:

  • New thermostat – your thermostat controls when your air conditioner cycles. If it is aging, malfunctioning or needing frequent repair, it could be costing you money and putting a strain on your air conditioner. By upgrading to a digital, programmable or wi-fi thermostat, you can increase your energy efficiency and significantly reduce the need to repair your thermostat.
  • Zone control system – many houses have rooms or spaces that cool differently from others. This can be from daytime heat gain, special architecture such as wall-to-ceiling windows, or your home’s floor plan. Whatever the cause of differentiating temperatures, they can create discomfort and energy inefficiency in your home. One of the best ways to combat these issues is with a zone control system. With a zone control system, you create separate zones – individual rooms, floors, etc. – in which the temperature can be individually controlled. How? Motorized dampers are installed into your ductwork; each damper is connected to a thermostat that is wired into a central control panel that gives you complete control over the temperature in each zone. This allows for customized comfort throughout your home, as well as better energy efficiency.
  • Energy recovery ventilator – an energy recovery ventilator, also known as an ERV, is a ventilation system that exchanges your indoor air with the outdoor air while using the energy from the outgoing air to pre-cool (or pre-heat) the incoming air. The component responsible for this exchange is the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. The end result is that you get a constant stream of fresh air in your home while adding great energy efficiency with the pre-treated air.

These are just a few examples of upgrades available for your air conditioner.

To find out more about how upgrades can improve your air conditioning in Tewksbury, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today and schedule an appointment.

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Littleton, MA Plumbing Question: Why is it Important to Schedule Sump Pump Maintenance?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The sump pump is designed to remove the risk of basement water flooding. When professionally installed it should work well for years to come. As with any aspect of your home, the sump pump needs professional maintenance from time to time in order to make sure it’s there when you need it. Because the sump pump may only be used occasionally, maintenance becomes all the more important. The sump pump is a kind of insurance against the risk of serious water damage, and as such, its ability to perform should be a source of confidence, not cause for concern. For more information about your sump pump, or to schedule Littleton, MA plumbing service, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today!

  • Reliability: The entire principle of the sump pump rests on its reliability in the face of storms and flooding.  Reliability is the key to ensuring that your basement does not flood during groundwater swells or long rainstorms. Routine sump pump maintenance will make sure that you can have confidence in your system.
  • Effectiveness: Reliability depends upon the effectiveness of the sump pump. Its ability to pump water from the lowest point in your basement requires the cooperation of various parts. The grate on the bottom of your unit will need to be cleaned periodically to remove stones and other debris that may have collected there as a result of the unit’s suction.
  • Efficiency: The efficient removal of water is critical to the sump pump’s effectiveness. You want to be sure that your sump pump is not overpowered by the amount of water coming in, and therefore, all of its components need to be in excellent working condition. If there are any leaks in the outlet pipe, or if the drainage system is not adequately distanced from your home foundation, the sump pump can be incredibly inefficient.

Still unconvinced? For exceptional sump pump maintenance, as well as repair and installation, call the experts at Basnett Plumbing & Heating for Littleton, MA plumbing services.

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Groton, MA Heating Efficiency Tips

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Sometimes it seems like winter just won’t end. With the costs of energy being so high this can be a real drain on your budget. That is why the Groton, MA heating professionals at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning have put together some helpful heating efficiency tips for you.  We may not be able to bring winter to an early end or lower the cost of energy, but we can help you heat your home in a more efficient way. Take these tips into consideration, incorporate them into your heating habits, and watch the saving start to build up.

One of the most effective ways to boost energy efficiency in your home is also one of the simplest. Take a trip to your local hardware store and pick up some shrink wrap and weather stripping material. It’s a lot easier to heat your home efficiently if the heat you pay for is not leaking out of your home. Install the weather stripping in your door frames and cover your windows with the shrink wrap to keep heat from naturally moving to the colder outdoors. You can even put a beading of caulk around stationary windows for extra protection from the cold.

Also, do not shut off your ceiling fans once summer ends. It may seem counterintuitive, but those ceiling fans can actually help you heat your home more evenly and efficiently. There is a switch on the fixture of a ceiling fan that, when flipped, allows you to reverse the direction in which the blades turn. In the winter this allows your fans to push heated air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the living space. This lets you heat your home more evenly, reducing the need to raise temperature settings at the thermostat.

Of course, the best way to keep your heater working efficiently is to schedule routine heating maintenance with a qualified professional. Contact the Groton, MA heating technicians at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more. We have the tools, skills and services you need to heat your home in a more efficient way this heating season.

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Common Causes of Boiler Problems in Concord, MA

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The boiler in your Concord, MA home is one of the hardest working pieces of equipment that you own. Boilers are also extremely durable and dependable. Because of this durability, though, problems are sometimes not noticed or ignored until damage is done to the system. Here are some examples of the most common causes of boiler repairs that we see at Basnett Plumbing & Heating. Keep these in mind, pay attention to the warning signs that your boiler exhibits, and schedule professional repair services as soon as you suspect a problem with your boiler in Concord, MA.

Among the most common problems homeowners experience with boilers is the lack of heat or hot water. This often seems to be a bigger problem than it actually winds up being, but it still always requires the service of a professional boiler technician. Any number of problems can lead to this issue, from a faulty thermostat to low water levels or a valve failure.

Your boiler is full of water, and the development of any leaks in your boiler system can lead to serious damage to your system and your property. Corrosion, loose connections and other problems can lead to a boiler leak. If you notice low water levels in your boiler or pooling around the equipment be sure to call a professional right away.

One of the most common service calls we receive has to do with strange noises emanating from a boiler. Again, this can be nerve racking but frequently is the result of a minor issue. There may be air in your system or your boiler may be kittling, which happens when lime scale builds up in the boiler. The only way to know for sure is to give us a call to inspect and, if necessary, repair your system.

If your boiler keeps switching itself off prematurely it could be a problem with the circulation of water throughout your system. A broken thermostat could cause this short cycling, or water pressure may be too low. Whatever the cause, the sooner the issue is resolved the less likely serious damages are to your boiler.

Many boiler repairs wind up being fairly minor. This does not mean that they should not be immediately performed by a qualified heating contractor, though. The longer any problems go unresolved the more likely they are to cause big issues with your heating system in Concord, MA. Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating today for more information about boiler repair service in your neighborhood.

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Arlington, MA Plumber’s Tip: Common Plumbing Clogs

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Maintaining the drain lines in your Arlington, MA area home is one way to avoid common plumbing clogs. This includes regular drain cleanings and avoiding flushing or washing anything down your drains that could cause a clog. It helps to know what these common clogs are and how to prevent from from occurring.

Call Basnett Plumbing & Heating any time if you have further questions or need plumbing repairs.

Toilet Clogs

Toilet clogs could be temporary or an indication that you may have a larger plumbing problem. While there could be a clog deeper in the drain line, you could have something caught near the base of the toilet. The only way to know is to call a plumber, since plunging it is only temporary. Toilets that are backing up often usually means there’s a larger issue. You don’t want to be left with a leaking sewer line at a joint where a clog is located.

Sink Clogs

Grease clogs are one of the most common kitchen sink clogs. Avoid putting grease or cooking oil down your drains or in your garbage disposal. Also avoid using conventional drain cleaners since they have chemicals that can hurt your pipes. Call for a professional drain cleaning service or use natural cleaning products.

Shower Drains

Hair, dirt, and soap scum can cause slow shower drains or clogs, so get a hair trap to avoid this. However, it is important to clean these out often so that the hair and other debris don’t cause slow drains or get backed up in the drain.

Call the Arlington, MA plumbers at Basnett Plumbing & Heating if you would like to know more about common plumbing clogs and how to prevent them.

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Littleton MA Heating Question: What Is Involved in Replacing an Old System?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

When your Littleton MA HVAC system starts to fail — or if it already has — your options essentially come down to two: replace or repair. There are a lot of factors that go into making such a decision, but in general, if it is a newer system with a small problem and you haven’t had much trouble with it, then a simple repair clearly makes sense.

For older systems, or ones that have been repaired all to often lately, or ones that seem to be on their last legs, repair may be the only reasonable course of action.

Surely you know that a total system replacement would be a big job, but have you ever thought about just how big? Sure, you know you will have to swap out the failing furnace, and you may as well replace the air conditioning unit while you’re in there, but that’s it, right?

Actually, there is a lot more to an HVAC system than just those two machines. Think about all the behind-the-scenes components and the little components that are often overlooked, such as:

  • Ducts – Keep in mind that your ducts are probably as old as that furnace you are replacing, and that a new, efficient unit cannot operate at nearly its full potential with faulty duct work.
  • Thermostats – Your old ones may not even be compatible with a new furnace or air conditioner.
  • Wiring – For the thermostat, among other things.
  • Insulation – Many homeowners forget that insulation is part of an HVAC system, too. Just like we said about duct work, old insulation does not help a new system achieve maximum performance.
  • Piping – Such as refrigerant piping on a geothermal system or a ductless air conditioning system.

You can see that the job starts to get pretty complex pretty fast. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from a necessary replacement, just make sure that you fully consider the scope of what you need done, as well as the budget and time frame you have to work with.

For more information about heating system replacement in Littleton MA, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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Littleton Plumber’s Guide: Water-Saving Tips and Tricks

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Here are some of our favorite water-saving tips. They are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle – and can save you hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water a year. For more tips about how to improve your Littleton plumbing, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

Whole House

  • Check for leaks – you may save thousands of gallons a month! You can find leaks by looking, listening, and monitoring your water bill for unusually high usage. To check for toilet leaks, put food coloring in your tank. If it gets into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Don’t forget to look for leaks in your outdoor plumbing too.
  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. In the event of a major problem, you’ll save thousands of gallons of water – and maybe your possessions as well.

Outdoors

  • Adjust your sprinklers so that you water only your lawn – not your sidewalk or driveway.
  • Consider adding a patio or “outdoor room” to your home. You’ll have less lawn to water and will add thousands of dollars to your home’s value.
  • Do two chores at once – water the grass by washing your car or your pet on the lawn. Be sure to use natural, biodegradable soaps.
  • Have your Littleton plumber re-route your laundry waste water to your lawn (check with local authorities first to be sure this is legal in your town).

In the Bathroom

  • Turn off faucets when you’re not actively using water – such as when you’re lathering your hands, shaving, or brushing your teeth. You’ll save hundreds of gallons each month. New touchless water faucets (or very affordable converters for your existing faucet) make this easy and fun to do, especially for kids.
  • Shorten your shower by only a minute or two, and save 150 gallons of water a month. (You can do this by turning off the shower while you lather your hair.)
  • Replace your old showerhead with a new WaterSense water-saving showerhead. They’re inexpensive and easy to install. You’ll save up to 750 gallons a month (and it’s a great opportunity to get a nice style upgrade too!).
  • Install WaterSense-certified aerators on all your faucets – another inexpensive upgrade that can save hundreds of gallons a month.
  • Insulate hot water pipes so don’t have to run the water as long while you wait for it to heat up.
  • Plug the tub before turning the water on for your bath, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it heats up. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.

In the Kitchen and Laundry Room

  • Install a tankless water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it warms up.
  • If your dishwasher is new, scrape off excess food, but don’t pre-rinse. Modern dishwashers are built to handle un-rinsed items.
  • Upgrade your old water-cooled refrigerator, air conditioner, or ice-maker to a new air-cooled model for a significant reduction in water use
  • When buying new appliances, look for the EnergyStar label, which guarantees high efficiency. Also, look for models that offer cycle and load size adjustments.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when they are full – you can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

If you need plumbing service in the Littleton area, give Basnett Plumbing & Heating a call!

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Lunenburg HVAC Question: What Does the EPA Do for Indoor Air Quality

Monday, July 30th, 2012

There are a number of agencies in the United States dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of citizens. What does that mean for you in Lunenburg? It means many of the rules and regulations related to indoor air quality are directly overseen by the EPA and the US government. For a better idea of how this impacts your currently lifestyle, here’s a quick look at what the EPA does.

Formation

The Environmental Protection Agency was formed in 1970 by Richard Nixon and the US Congress to oversee the regulation and oversight of air, water, land and hazardous waste. In short, the EPA works to keep our environment clean and safe.

The EPA and Homeowners

While much of what the EPA does relates to corporate pollution, regulations for manufacturing and consumer products, and development of safe methods of production for things like oil, food and water, the EPA has a big hand in ensuring your home stays safe.

Specifically, the EPA started and oversees the Energy Star program to help consumers purchase appliances and HVAC systems that use the least possible energy. Additionally, the EPA oversees the measurements and minimum requirements for home insulation and ventilation. This has as direct impact on indoor air quality.

Current EPA regulations are based on the ASHRAE Standards for low rise buildings and has been revised in the last two decades to ensure proper ventilation and insulation to reduce energy waste and maintain clean, fresh air.

The clean air act has a big impact on how homes are ventilated and maintained and the EPA does a lot of public service work to educate the public on ways to stay safe, including a recent campaign to get your home tested for radon – a potentially life threatening gas that can exist in any home, regardless of age.

Getting to Know the EPA

If you have an indoor air quality problem in Lunenburg, one of the best resources on the Internet is the EPA’s indoor air quality website. It contains laws and regulations that impact your home (if you plan on remodeling or adding on to your home) and dozens of resources for testing and understanding the levels of pollutants in your home. For more information about keeping your indoor air clean, call Basnett Plumbing & Heating!

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