Why Consider a Ductless Heat Pump?

March 20th, 2015

The range of our temperatures in Southern Vermont can be huge: we can see summer temperatures over 80 degrees and winter temperatures of -20. It may seem impossible to find one system to handle this range of temperatures, but there is one: a heat pump. Heat pump systems can deliver air through either ducted or ductless systems, and today we’re going to talk about how a ductless heat pump system can work in your Southern Vermont home.

The Components

A heat pumps system has an outdoor unit that contains the compressor, condenser and heat pump technology, and indoor blowers that deliver the air. Each indoor blower contains a fan, a set of coils and an air filter. The blowers are about 3 feet long and can mount flush against walls or hang from ceilings. Each blower connects to the outdoor unit via a conduit drilled into an exterior wall. The conduit contains a refrigerant line, a power cord and a condensate drain pipe. A single outdoor unit can support up to 4 indoor blowers.

The Benefits of a Ductless System

One of the first benefits a ductless heat pump system offers is that it will both heat and cool your home, and it isn’t necessary to have any kind of ductwork. A second great benefit is that heat pumps do not use any kind of fossil fuel; they only use a small amount of electricity – imagine heating your Vermont home without a single oil or gas bill all winter long! This makes heat pumps very energy efficient. A third benefit is the longevity: heat pumps last an average of 20-25 years versus traditional heating systems, which last 15-20 years. Lastly, the heating and cooling heat pumps provide is very comfortable. Why? Heat pumps blow gently on a low-volume, continuous basis, so the heating and cooling feels more gentle.

Heat pumps should only be installed by experts, so if you think a heat pump may be a good choice for you Southern Vermont home, contact HB Energy Solutions today!

How Does an Electronic Air Purifier Work?

March 13th, 2015

Homeowners have a lot of choices when it comes to installing a new air purifier in their homes. The two main choices are between UV germicidal lighting and electronic air purifiers. Today we’re going to review electronic air purifiers – there are two types – and how they can clean the indoor air in your New Hampshire home.

Types of Electronic Air Purifiers

The two types of electronic air purifiers available for home usage are ion generators and electrostatic precipitators. Each of these types of air purifiers uses electricity to capture contaminants, but does so in a different way.

With an ion generator, negative ions are generated and dispersed into the air. These negatively-charged particles attach to particles and contaminants in your indoor air, creating a single, negatively-charged particle. The new particles are attracted to the surfaces in your home, and land on them. When you clean the surfaces, the contaminants are removed.

An electrostatic precipitator is a little more specific. With this type of electronic air cleaner, air is pulled into the device and directed to a chamber known as the ionization section. When particles arrive in the ionization section, they are negatively charged; the charged particles are then collected on oppositely-charged metal plates. The metal plates should be cleaned every three months to ensure effective operation of the ion generator.

Which Should I Choose?

Both types of electronic air purifiers can be seamlessly integrated with your current HVAC system, so a lot of your decision will be based on your needs and preferences, and this is where the help of a trained expert comes in. When you work with a trained indoor air quality expert, you will be given the assistance you need to make the best decision for you, your family members and your home. You may want to focus more on controlling allergens, or you may be looking for a more generalized solution.

Whatever your indoor air quality needs may be, the experts at HB Energy Solutions are here to help. Call us today and schedule an appointment today!

How Can a Smart Meter Help My Home?

March 6th, 2015

A big part of reducing your energy usage is knowing how much energy you use on a weekly or monthly basis. But ascertaining exact numbers on your utility usage can be a challenge. One new tool that is making it easier for homeowners to get a handle on their energy usage is the Smart Meter. In fact, these meters are so helpful that in 2012, they became mandatory throughout the state of California. So what does a Smart Meter do that makes it so helpful? Let’s take a look.

What It Is

You are probably wondering what makes a Smart Meter so different, and here is the reason it is different: it reports on your electrical and natural gas usage daily. For residential properties, a Smart Meter reports on electrical usage every hour and gas usage at the end of every day; in commercial properties, electrical usage is reported every 15 minutes (gas reporting stays the same). The Smart Meter reports all this data to your utility company over a secure wireless network, and you can access your energy usage information right online. The Smart Meter can also work with solar energy, so you’ll be able to see in detail how much energy you are using from the power company and how much is generated by your solar panels. This specific information provides a baseline of your energy usage, which allows you to create a plan to reduce your overall energy usage.

What Are the Benefits?

Here are some of the benefits a Smart Meter can offer:

  • Instant outage reporting – because of the two-way communication between your Smart Meter and your utility company, any outage will be reported immediately by the Smart Meter. This helps provide better service from your utility company.
  • Reduce energy usage – having a direct reporting system allows you to see exactly when you may be overusing energy, which will help you to create an effective energy plan for your home or business.
  • Instant notification of over-usage – the Smart Meter can email you, text you or phone you when your energy usage goes too high, alerting you to potential problems with your energy utilities before they can become serious.

A Smart Meter upgrade for your southern Vermont property may be just the tool you’ve been looking for to help reduce your energy usage.

Professional Smart Meter installation is required, so call the experts at HB Energy Solutions today and see how a Smart Meter can help you!

The Importance of Maintenance for Your Boiler

February 27th, 2015

It’s been a long, cold winter here in New England, and it’s not over yet, which means you are continuing to count on your boiler to provide the heat you need. It’s not unusual for your boiler to start showing signs of wear and tear at this time of year, particularly when it’s been tremendously cold, as this year has been, but there’s a great solution that can perk your boiler right up: boiler maintenance for your system in New Hampshire. “Isn’t heater maintenance just for the fall or spring?” you may ask. The answer is no, and when we have harsh winters, it’s always a good idea to schedule a mid-winter maintenance appointment. The heating professionals at HB Energy Solutions are here to assist you with all your boiler needs, so if it’s been more than 12 months since your last boiler maintenance appointment, or your boiler seems sluggish, call our experts today!

Why Maintenance Is Important

There are several reasons why scheduling maintenance for your boiler is important. The first is energy efficiency. Have you noticed that your energy bills are slowly creeping up, or that you are going through fuel much faster than you should? When a heater is worn down from use, it needs more energy to work as expected. Maintenance helps restore energy efficiency because your boiler’s parts are cleaned, adjusted and lubricated, allowing the unit to work optimally. A second reason maintenance is important is that is helps prevent repair. During a maintenance appointment, your boiler goes through a thorough inspection that allows the technician to discover any existing or developing problems and head them off before they can become big issues. A third reason to schedule maintenance is to help extend the life of your system. When your boiler stays in good working order year after year, it has far less a chance of breaking down from premature aging and excessive wear and tear.

Call Us for Maintenance Today

A professional maintenance appointment is a full tune-up for your boiler in New Hampshire, so to gain the benefits maintenance has to offer, it’s always important to hire trained professionals for the job. The heating experts at HB Energy Solutions are ready to help you maintain your boiler, so call us today!

Can a Mid-Winter Maintenance Appointment Prevent The Need For Furnace Repair Down The Road?

February 21st, 2015

It’s been a cold and extra-snowy winter here in Vermont so far, and your furnace may be feeling it. There’s no reason to wait until you need furnace repair for your southern Vermont home to find out; instead, schedule a mid-winter maintenance appointment with your HB Energy Solutions technician and get ahead of potential repairs.

How Maintenance Helps Reduce Repair

There are a few reasons why maintenance can help reduce the level of repair that your furnace may need. The first is that your technician will conduct a thorough inspection of your entire unit. This helps the technician detect any developing or existing problems with the system. If small things are found, like a loose fan belt in the blower or frayed wiring, the technician will repair these items before they can become bigger issues. Another way a mid-winter maintenance appointment can help you get ahead of repairs is the cleaning, lubrication and adjustment aspects of the appointment. Your technician will clean and remove dust and dirt build-up on components, including the burner, and lubricate all moving parts so that no issues of grinding develop. Some components can shift or loosen during regular operation, and maintenance allows the technician to see this kind of issue and re-adjust the component so that it is positioned correctly.

Other Benefits of Mid-Winter Maintenance

Not only does a maintenance appointment help prevent future repair, it also helps with the following:

  • Better energy efficiency – the cleaning, adjusting, lubrication and small repair your system receives during a maintenance appointment allows the system to work optimally, which can help increase its energy efficiency.
  • Better performance – when your system is in good working order, as it will be after a maintenance appointment, you will get better performance from it.
  • Extends life of the equipment – systems that are well-maintained are far less likely to work under stressful conditions, which helps eliminate premature aging.

If you have concerns that your furnace in southern Vermont may be heading for a repair appointment, call HB Energy Solutions today and schedule a maintenance appointment with one of our experts.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at HB Energy Solutions hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

What Are My Ductless Heating Options?

February 5th, 2015

Ductless systems have become a great option for many homeowners, whether seeking whole-home heating and cooling or heating and cooling for a new expansion or retrofit. We have some pretty big temperature swings in our part of New England, with summer temps reaching the low 90s and winter temps that run below zero. As such, we’ve chosen two ductless manufacturers whose products can handle our New England whether while also being durable and offering the comfort you need and want from your ductless heating in New Hampshire: Mitsubishi and Fujitsu. We’ll go into more detail about these products below, but know that the experts at HB Energy Solutions are here to help you with all your heating needs.

Mitsubishi Ductless Systems

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating has been manufacturing heating and cooling products for over 30 years. As one of the leaders in ductless systems, the Mitsubishi brand offers a number of benefits that are specific to their brand:

  • INVERTER-driven compressor system – this compressor starts with a great deal of power to heat or cool quickly, then adjusts its speed as needed, so it operates at variable speeds. This can be a tremendous energy saver for many households
  • i-see Sensor 3D technology – this sensor detects where people are in a room and directs the heating or cooling toward them
  • Can effectively heat to temperatures of -13F and above

Fujitsu Ductless Systems

Fujitsu General has been in the heating and cooling industry for over 35 years. There are many designs to choose from with a Fujitsu system, including wall mounted, Universal floor/ceiling, floor mounted, slim duct, compact cassette, cassette and multi-systems. Some features of the Fujitsu systems are:

  • INVERTER technology
  • Effective operation up to -15F and above
  • Base freeze prevention – certain models are equipped with a base heater that prevents the condensate from freezing

Which Is Best for You?

Each system offers great benefits of heat pumps, including great energy efficiency and long lifespan.

To determine which ductless heating system will work best for your New Hampshire home, call HB Energy Solutions today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

How Solar Heating Benefits the Environment

January 29th, 2015

Solar heating involves the installation of solar collectors on the rooftop in order to harness the power of the sun to improve the efficiency of the home heating process. Consider how much your utilities decrease when you go out of town for a week. When you’re not relying on the utility companies for gas and electric heating, you save significantly, especially since we usually use our heating systems nearly nonstop day and night here in Southern Vermont. With solar heating, your system primarily depends on a free reliable source for energy: the sun. The sun’s rays have the power to transfer energy into your home for one specific purpose, like heating, or throughout the entire house.

Whenever you turn on your solar heating system, you’re not only saving money; you’re helping the environment as well. A solar heating system reduces your carbon footprint significantly, especially if you convert from an older standing pilot furnace. Standing pilot furnaces are no longer commonly manufactured, but they remain in some homes because their lifespan can be lengthy. Whereas today’s pilot lights operate on electronic ignition, turning on only when needed, standing pilots remained lit throughout the day, resulting in a lot of standby energy loss.

Replacing a standing pilot furnace with a solar energy system helps the environment in substantial ways, cutting down the amount of fossil fuels you use each year, reducing CO2 emissions that affect the environment. In fact, replacing any type of heating system with a solar-powered unit, from an electronic ignition gas furnace to a heat pump to an electric furnace can help to reduce your environmental impact. Any system that runs on gas, electricity, or any combination of the two contributes to greenhouse gases that pollute the air.

How It Works

Solar heating systems use solar collectors to collect thermal energy from the sun. A liquid such as water or antifreeze flows between the solar panels and a storage tank or heat exchanger. Storing the heated liquid for later is more efficient, but either system may need a backup for use when solar energy isn’t available.

Call HB Energy Solutions, we have installed solar heating systems in Southern Vermont for years, and strive to provide customers with excellent service for years to come.

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.