How Can I Make Sure New Gas Piping Installation Is Handled Safely?

January 15th, 2015

While appliances that use natural gas to operate were once considered a health and safety risk, today’s gas-powered systems are safer than ever. Most gas appliances contain plenty of safety features that help to prevent gas from leaking into your home. Today, people do not have to worry as they once did about a pilot light going out and leaving the gas running. In current standing gas pilot heating systems, a flame sensor detects there us a safety hazard and shuts off the unit immediately. Other modern gas burners only ignite when needed, with plenty of safety components to prevent any hazards that may prevent gases from venting as well.

But, as with anything that uses natural gas, there is an unfortunate risk of a gas leak, particularly if an appliance is poorly installed. And if the gas pipes themselves are not installed as they should be, the risk of a leak is high. You may need new gas piping installation for a new home, an extension, or for a major renovation. Similarly, you may need new gas pipes if you’ve decided to remodel a room like the kitchen, and you need to extend gas pipes to accommodate a new oven.

Whatever your gas piping needs, you need a professional, even for the smallest of installations. The only sure way to verify that your new gas pipe is installed as safely as possible is by choosing an expert that is trained and certified to deal with a natural gas line. A professional will check all of the connections and should be able to spot any potential damage with ease. Trained technicians can also check your entire piping system if desired.

Gas leaks are a serious issue for a couple of reasons. A natural gas leak can have very serious health effects, and it’s highly flammable. Never attempt to repair a gas appliance or a gas pipe on your own and evacuate the home as soon as you suspect a leak.

The technicians at HB Energy Solutions have years of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing gas piping in Southern Vermont. Call us today!

Why Switch Your Electric or Gas Meter to a SmartMeter?

January 8th, 2015

Have you ever wished your gas or electric meter would provide more information than just a tally of your usage? With a SmartMeter, you can get more. SmartMeters are being used around the country by individuals and businesses alike to help track and monitor energy usage in order to help reduce overall energy usage and costs. SmartMeters are not like simple utility meters; they can both output and receive data, making them somewhat complex devices; this is why it’s important to hire an electrical expert in New Hampshire for installation. The trained specialists at HB Energy Solutions are ready to help you install a SmartMeter, so call us today!

What Is a SmartMeter?

A SmartMeter is a metering system that collects electric and natural gas usage information for your home or business. SmartMeters collect residential electrical usage on an hourly basis and business electrical usage every 15 minutes; natural gas usage is collected daily. SmartMeters have two-way communication with your electrical grid; they can also transmit data over a secure wireless network so that you can see your energy usage first-hand.

What Are the Benefits of a SmartMeter?

  • Easy-to-read digital display (for electric meters)
  • Track energy usage hourly, daily, weekly or monthly
  • Sends notification via email, text or phone when your energy usage is higher than normal
  • Can be used for residential or commercial properties

Why Consider a SmartMeter?

The main reason to consider a SmartMeter is to reduce your overall energy usage. This can help you save money, whether for your home or business. Second, reducing your energy usage is good for the environment and your carbon footprint. Future applications for the SmartMeter will include pinpointing power outages.

If you’ve been looking for a way to track, monitor and reduce your energy usage, it may be time to consider the installation of a SmartMeter for your home or business.

Contact HB Energy Solutions and schedule an appointment with one of our electrical installation experts in New Hampshire.

Is a Heat Pump Ideal for Heating in Southern Vermont?

January 2nd, 2015

Heat pumps are a really great option for any homeowner looking for a safe and efficient home heating system. There are some climates that merit specific considerations, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Right now, let’s take a look at how a heat pump works, and why you would want to install one.

Heat Pump Operation

In order to understand how a heat pump works, you have to understand the different parts that make up the system. There are two primary parts that make up a heat pump, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. The two units are connected by a conduit, which contains power and refrigerant line. The refrigerant line runs to a coil installed in each unit, before running out of it again and back to the other unit.

When the heat is turned on, the coil in the outdoor unit begins to evaporate refrigerant. The now-gaseous refrigerant acts as a heat sink, drawing thermal energy out of the surrounding air and into the coil. The refrigerant gas then travels back down the line to the indoor unit, where it is condensed back into a liquid. This releases the thermal energy, which is used to heat the home.

Why Install a Heat Pump?

As previously mentioned, heat pumps are both safe and extremely energy efficient. They are not combustion-based systems, which means they don’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead, they operate entirely off of electricity to move heat from outside inside. This saves energy because the heat pump doesn’t burn any sort of fuel during operation. For the same reason, the heat pump is safer than combustion-based heating systems. Combustion-based systems produce toxic byproducts, which the heat pump doesn’t have to worry about.

Now, there is something you should consider before installing a heat pump. Heat pumps rely entirely on the outside air for thermal energy. Even in cold climates, there is often enough thermal energy to keep a home comfortably heated. In extremely cold areas, however, there is much less thermal energy available for the heat pump.

If you’re concerned that a heat pump may not be able to heat your home efficiently, call HB Energy Solutions. We provide heating services throughout Southern Vermont, and will be able to recommend the best solution for you.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at HB Energy Solutions hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.” This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at HB Energy Solutions, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

How Does Wood Pellet Conversion Work?

December 18th, 2014

Though most home heating systems rely on natural gas as a fuel source, there are still many that use older fuels. Oil-burning heaters still have their adherents across the country. However, oil is not the most efficient of fuels, and must be carefully stored and used to avoid a fire. With that in mind, many oil heating system owners are starting to convert their systems to use wood pellets instead. Let’s take a look at how wood pellet conversion works.

Anatomy of a Wood Pellet System

Most wood-pellet systems are comprised of a burner, a storage unit, a conveyor, and a controller. The storage unit stores anywhere from a week to a few months’ worth of pellets. The conveyor is responsible for moving the pellets from the storage unit to the burner. The burner is self-explanatory, and the controller automates all the other systems.

The rest of the heating system works more or less the same way as any other heating system of the same type that uses other fuel types.

Converting to a Wood Pellet System

The great thing about converting your heater into a wood pellet burning system is that it doesn’t require any permanent or involved modifications. All that needs to be done is the original oil burner needs to be taken out, to make room for the wood pellet system. If you decide later on that you’d prefer to switch back, you can switch the mechanisms again with ease.

Advantages of a Wood Pellet System

There are a few different reasons to switch to a wood pellet system. For one thing, it’s cheap. Wood pellets are just about the cheapest fuel source available for heating systems. For another, it’s a green fuel. Wood pellets are made from trees often grown locally, and supported by their local community for having a small environmental footprint. If you’re worried about the impact your heating is having on the environment, wood pellets are a great way to ease those fears.

If you’d like to know more about wood pellet heaters, call HB Energy Solutions. We install wood pellet furnaces throughout New Hampshire.


The Best Type of Garage Heater for Southern Vermont

December 12th, 2014

Many people use their garage as an extra space to work in, rather than as a place to park their cars. You may use your garage, shed, or alternative detached structure as a workshop for woodworking or automotive repair, crafting, or even as a play area for the children. When winter hits in Southern Vermont, these activities should not have to cease. You can find a few different options for garage heating, and we’d like to help you decide on the best choice for you.

At HB Energy Solutions, we believe one of the best units available for heating a garage or any similar space in this climate is the Hot Dawg gas-fired garage heater. This heater has many special features including a 10-year warranty, quick installation, and quiet operation. It can run on natural gas or propane and features a flexible, low-profile design. The standard version is power vented to the outdoors, but you can get additional features if you choose a separated combustion unit.

The separated combustion unit offers several added benefits so that you don’t have to breathe in stale indoor air that may contain dangerous chemicals or other contaminants. The fan in a separated combustion heater draws in air from the outdoors instead of from the space around the unit. This can help to make the air feel more comfortable and control humidity levels. Besides eliminating some toxins from the air, these units also offer an increased AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating and greater durability.

You can still add ventilation to your garage with a separate heat recovery ventilator, even if you choose the standard power-exhausted Hot Dawg models. When you install a heat recovery ventilator, a fan draws in air from the outside and preheats it so that the stale indoor air can vent outside.

When you need garage heaters in Southern Vermont, the people at HB Energy Solutions are here to help. We are proud to offer Hot Dawg garage heaters for installation, and we’re happy to help you come up with a good system for ventilation as well.

Give our office a call today!

Tips for Maintaining the Electrical Wiring in Your Home

December 4th, 2014

Your number one concern in your home is safety, which is why the electrical system in your home should never be neglected. You use electricity for so many of the tasks you complete throughout the day, and, while it’s generally reliable, there is a safety risk attached when you are dealing with wiring. To protect the electrical components of your home and to protect your safety, follow some of the following tips that can improve the safety of any whole house electrical systems in New Hampshire.

  • Perform a Visual Check: Never ignore a perceived problem with your electrical system—no matter how small. Look for damage in the cables, overloaded sockets, malfunctioning equipment, flickering lights, or other problems that signal something is not quite right. Call a skilled electrician to ask what should be done about your particular issue.
  • Consider a Service Panel Upgrade: You may consider upgrading your service panel if you have an older home or if you’ve had a lot of problems with the service panel in the past. Older homes were not built to handle the amount of electrical appliances we use today. Because your home wasn’t meant to handle the voltage you require, you may blow a fuse (in older service panels) or trip the circuit breakers frequently. In this case, a new panel is often your best bet.
  • Only Allow Experts to Work on Your Home: One of the best ways to make sure the electrical components of your home are in top shape is to make sure you never trust a job to amateurs. Electrical wiring jobs can be dangerous, and faulty wiring can lead to fire hazards or even smaller problems like high energy bills and frequent outages.
  • Schedule Routine Maintenance: Finally, you should schedule routine maintenance to ensure that all of the parts of your electrical system are working as they should. Electrical maintenance is key to keeping your home safe, comfortable, and efficient.

Call HB Energy Solutions for any type of repairs, installation, or maintenance on whole house electrical systems in New Hampshire or to get valuable safety information about your electrical equipment.

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at HB Energy Solutions, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

How to Choose the Right Technician for Commercial Refrigeration Services

November 17th, 2014

Your commercial property depends on high-performance commercial refrigeration systems and appliances to keep business running as smoothly as possible. If your commercial cooler, ice machine, or refrigerator is on the fritz and needs repair or replacement, or if you’re looking into purchasing commercial equipment for the first time, you want to make sure you choose a quality contractor so that the most integral equipment to your business is protected from damage. So how do you choose the right contractor for the job? We’ll go over some of the things to look out for and ask about in this guide.

Steps to Choosing a Quality Technician

  • Make sure the contractor carries and distributes a wide range of products for installation. First, search through the website or ask your contractor what types of equipment they service and install, to make sure the range of products you need serviced or may need to purchase in the future are covered.
  • Ask about the various types of services they perform. Right now, you may only need a company to install or repair a single piece of equipment. However, you should try to make sure your company offers additional services you may need in the future, so that you won’t have to search around for another company when the time comes. You should especially consider choosing a contractor that offers routine maintenance, so that you can call on them to clean, inspect, and adjust your system every year and prevent repairs.
  • Find a company that offers 24-hour emergency service. Some companies offer 24-hour emergency services as well. Repair needs can occur at any time of night, and a broken refrigeration system in the middle of the night can mean big trouble for your commercial property.
  • Request an estimate. Finally, a quality contractor stands by their pricing, so make sure you can get a free estimate before the work begins.

HB Energy Solutions is a company committed to quality customer service. We offer a 100% guarantee on our work, free estimates, and free second opinions so that you know the full price of our work before we begin.

To speak with a knowledgeable customer representative about commercial refrigeration in Southern Vermont at any time of day, give our team a call!