Common Repairs for Commercial Refrigerators

August 18th, 2014

If you operate a food service company, whether a restaurant, bar, bakery, or commercial kitchen, refrigeration is probably an important part of the daily routines. A commercial quality refrigerator will sometimes require repairs, and for that you will need to contact specialists with high-end equipment: this isn’t work for technicians who are only familiar with household refrigerators.

HB Energy Solutions provides commercial refrigeration services for New Hampshire. We can handle repairs and maintenance for walk-in coolers, ice machines, and refrigerators, as well as installations. We can also help update your equipment to more energy-efficient models.

Here are some of the common repairs that commercial refrigerators needs:

Door sealing/door repairs

A problem that’s common for commercial refrigerators are “sweating” doors: perspiration begins to occur along the door of the sides of the unit. This is usually the fault of insufficient sealing along the door, or a door that is shutting improperly. The cold from inside the refrigerator mingles with the warmer, moister air outside it and causes water condensation. The inside of the refrigerator will start to gain heat, leading to insufficient temperatures and spoiled food. Technicians will locate where the leaking issue is occurring on the sealing or why the door is incorrectly closing and do what is necessary to restore the heat sealing.

Compressor repairs

The heart of any refrigeration device is the compressor that circulates refrigerant through the system to absorb heat from inside the unit and exhaust it to the outside. If the compressor begins to malfunction because of bad motors, bad capacitors, or electrical issues, it will seriously impair the refrigerator’s operation and may lead to a complete breakdown. Compressor problems need to be fixed as soon as possible (pay attention to odd noises interrupting the refrigerator’s usual humming) before the compressor burns out… which will often require that the whole refrigerator be replaced.

Fixing the defrost system

Gaining heat is a problem for a refrigerator, but there is also the opposite problem of the development of frost, which can lead to freezer-burn that damages foodstuffs and liquids. The defrost system in the refrigerator is designed to prevent frost from developing along the evaporator coil. Problems with the defrost timer and defrost heater will need professional repairs before frost build-up threatens the inside of the refrigerator. Frost will usually start to develop along the back wall of the interior first, so if you notice a layer of ice on the rear wall of your refrigerator, call for repairs right away.

Make sure that you contact quality commercial repair specialists: you can’t have just anyone with some refrigeration experience come in and take care of this job.

HB Energy Solutions offers refrigeration services for New Hampshire and Southern Vermont that will handle all of your needs. You can trust to our 22 years of experience.

Air Conditioning Guide: What Is Refrigerant?

August 11th, 2014

The modern air conditioner requires numerous components to make it work: blowers, motors, a compressor, coils. But all of these together would create nothing more than an oversized fan if not for the presence of refrigerant running through the lines of the air conditioner. Refrigerant is the life-blood of an AC necessary for the process of heat exchange that cools down the inside of a building.

Like all the parts of an air conditioner, refrigerant is something that must remain in the hands of professionals. If you encounter a loss of refrigerant in your AC, call for experts to handle the problem.

HB Energy Solutions has 24-hour service in Southern Vermont from air conditioning specialists who will take care of whatever is amiss with your cooling system. Call us today. 

The details of refrigerant

Refrigerant is a chemical blend that can easily shift from liquid to gaseous state and back again. Refrigerant begins in an air conditioner’s compressor, where the action of the compressor changes it into a high-pressure, high temperature gas. The refrigerant then travels to the outdoor coil, where it releases heat to the outside through condensation. It then moves to the inside cabinet, passing through an expansion valve that lowers its pressure and further reduces it temperature so that it shifts back into liquid form. The cooled refrigerant then moves through the indoor coil, where it absorbs heat through evaporation, cooling down the air. The refrigerant finally returns to the compressor to begin the cycle over.

Today, the refrigerant found in most home air conditioning systems is a blend called R-410A, a non-ozone depleting chemical mixture designed to replace an earlier blend, R-22. There have been many different types of refrigerants over the years. The earliest were toxic, combustible, or acidic, and it wasn’t until the invention of the first safe refrigerant, which was given the trademarked name “Freon,” that air conditioners started to enter use in homes. Continual advances in the production of refrigerant have resulted in increased air conditioner efficiency.

Refrigerant loss

During the heat exchange cycle of condensation-evaporation, refrigerant does not dissipate. It remains at the same level—called its “charge”—throughout the air conditioner’s life, unless a leak occurs. Leaking refrigerant will threaten an AC’s ability to cool and could lead to damage to the compressor due to overheating.

Should you notice a drop in cooling, ice appearing along the indoor coil, or strange hissing sounds from your AC, the system may be losing refrigerant. You will need professionals to locate the leak, seal it, and then recharge the system with the proper blend of refrigerant.

Call HB Energy Solutions for assistance with your air conditioning in Southern Vermont if you think you have a refrigerant leak. You can count on our 22 years in the business of making homes comfortable.

The Different Types of Solar Hot Water Systems

August 4th, 2014

When it comes to making a transition to using clean, renewable solar energy for your home, one of the best places to start is with a solar hot water system. Compared to other solar installations, solar water heaters are relatively inexpensive, quick to install, and take up little space. They make an excellent introduction to the advantages of using the power of the sun as a substitute for more expensive forms of energy.

Solar hot water systems for New Hampshire do not come in “one size fits all” configurations. There are different models and ways they use the Sun to heat water. The two main types are passive and active water heaters; there is also the option for direct systems. To find out which of these is the better installation for your home, call the solar professionals at HB Energy Solutions. We specialize in helping people find new ways to power their homes.

The basics of solar water heaters

Passive and active solar water heaters share many elements in common. They use a solar collector installed on the roof a home that absorbs energy from the sun. Inside the solar collector are tubes that hold refrigerant which collects the heat from the sun. The refrigerant then travels down to a water tank, where a heat exchanger moves the heat absorbed by the refrigerant to the water in the tank. (The water tank can also have a gas or electric heating system attached as a back-up should the solar collector not gather enough heat.)

Passive water heaters

A passive system does not use a pump to circulate the refrigerant from the collector plate and down into the heat exchanger, but instead relies on the convection current from the heated refrigerant itself. These systems are a less expensive option and require almost no maintenance because of the lack of moving parts. However, they are less efficient than active systems, and they must have protection from freezing during a New Hampshire winter.

Active water heaters

An active system uses pumps to circulate the refrigerant through the heat exchanger in the tank. These systems are much more efficient than passive systems and allow for more design freedom since the tank can be located farther away from the collector. Electronic controllers allow a homeowner more ways to adjust the system. Active systems do cost more than passive systems, however.

Direct water heaters

These solar hot water systes heaters do not use refrigerant or a heat exchanger. Instead they heat water directly using the solar collector. They are at risk of freezing and during hot weather can overheat, so they must be installed with caution—although they can potentially work in cold climate thanks to the development of freeze-tolerant solar collectors.

We highly recommend installing one of these solar hot water systems in New Hampshire for your home. The savings are immense: essentially, you receive free energy for your hot water.

Have the professionals at HB Energy Solutions recommend an ideal water heater model and then install it so it gives you excellent, worry-free performance.

The Common Tools Used in Professional Leak Detection

July 28th, 2014

Leaks are among the most common problems that can afflict a home’s plumbing. Despite their frequency, leaks are also notoriously difficult to locate, especially smaller ones hidden behind drywall and floorboards, or leaks that occur under concrete foundation slabs. Once you start to notice signs of leaks happening in your home—such as high water bills, mold and mildew growth, or water damage appearing on walls and floorboards—you must contact professional plumbers to perform leak detection in order to pinpoint the leaking and fix it with the least amount of disruption to your home.

Leak detection is a specialized skill that requires equipment available only to professional plumbers. Below are some of the devices that our plumbers at HB Energy Solutions use for leak detection in Southern Vermont homes. Call us any time of the day or night when you need work for household leaks.

The basic leak detection tools

  • Acoustic devices: Sound is one of the ways that plumbers locate leaks through building material. The escaping water makes a distinctive noise which plumbers can locate using listening discs or ground microphones. The discos work very similar to medical stethoscopes, and can locate leaking acoustically even through thick concrete slabs. The plumbers will first use visual clue to narrow down the search area, and the use the acoustic equipment to determine the more exact location of the problem.
  • Pressure and heat sensors: A more advanced set of tools are pressure- and heat-sensing devices. Water escaping from leaks causes increases in pressure around the pipe and also temperature changes. These electronic sensors can locate these areas.
  • Video inspection equipment: The most precise way to locate leaks—and also the best way to find out how to fix them—is with video inspection equipment. These devices consist of flexible fiber-optic cables with digital cameras and LED lights mounted at the ends. Plumbers send these cameras down through pipes and watch a video feed on monitors to spot where leaking is occurring. The plumbers will also know the size and nature of the leaks, which will help the repair work go faster.

Not only is leak detection equipment too expensive for consumer use, but it requires years of training to operate properly and interpret the results. Make sure that you put your trust in professional plumbers when you need leak detection in Southern Vermont for your home’s plumbing.

For professional leak detection services in Southern Vermont call on HB Energy Solutions, and we will put our more than 20 years of experience to work for you.

How Do Solar Water Heaters Work?

July 21st, 2014

Solar energy is a rapidly expanding field that offers the potential to use a renewable and clean source of power to run every appliance inside a home. But if you feel a bit intimidated at the prospect of an immense overhaul of your house and power system to accommodate solar power, you can always start smaller and build from there. A good place to start: installing a solar water heater.

As we’ll explain, solar water heaters are simple devices that do not require large-scale installation jobs or immense upfront costs. If you schedule an appointment with HB Energy Solutions, we can show you how easy it is to fit homes in New Hampshire with solar water heaters… and we think you’ll find the prospect of using the free energy of the sun so enticing that you’ll want to expand solar power to more of your daily life.

Solar water heaters: the basics

As with most solar-powered systems, solar water heaters use a solar collector mounted on the roof that picks up the radiant energy of the sun. With active solar water heat systems, a pump moves water or a heat transfer fluid through the collector where it gains the sun’s heat.

Active solar water heaters come in two types: direct circulation systems and indirect circulation systems. In general, we recommend the indirect systems for installation in New Hampshire because direct circulation systems can have difficulty in sub-zero temperatures.

With indirect circulation systems, the water does not circulate though the collector itself to receive heat energy. Instead, a pump sends a heat-transfer fluid through the collectors to gain energy. This fluid is designed not to freeze in low temperatures. The heated fluid then runs through a heat exchanger within a water tank, and this heats up the water stored there.

A ­passive solar water heater does not use a pump, but instead relies on the natural rise of water as it heats and the sinking of colder water. These systems are less expensive, but tend to be less efficient as well.

Rely on professional installers to determine which of the various systems listed above will provide you with the best supply of hot water at maximum efficiency.

Solar powered water heaters in New Hampshire make a fantastic gateway to the use of the power of the sun to run a home.

Our team at HB Energy Solutions is committed to helping you with sustainable options for energy that will not only help save money, but help protect the environment at the same time.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Ductless Air Conditioning

July 14th, 2014

No ducts? No problem! Ductless air conditioning systems offer a great alternative to central air conditioning, which uses the ductwork of a home in order to distribute cool air. If you need an air conditioning system, but your home or room addition makes ductwork installation difficult, the advantages of ductless air conditioning installation may outweigh the drawbacks.

The main advantage of ductless air conditioning systems is that they do not require any ducts to cool your home. Sometimes your home or room addition does not have ductwork installed, and ductwork installation may be a hassle because of the layout of your home. Also, central air conditioning systems often use more energy than is necessary because cool air can easily escape through the ducts before it reaches the rooms that need cooling. Ductless air conditioners eliminate this potential energy loss.

Ductless air conditioning systems are made up of an outdoor unit and several indoor air handlers which provide both heating and cooling. These indoor air handlers are installed in different rooms in your home, and these individual zones can be controlled via separate thermostats or with a master thermostat that controls them all. This is a great advantage for family members who have different temperature specifications. Furthermore, central air conditioners often use energy to cool unoccupied rooms. With a ductless system, you can turn off the AC in a room if nobody is using it, ultimately reducing energy costs.

One drawback of ductless air conditioning, however, is that the system itself may be more costly upfront. However, the long-term energy savings that come with owning a ductless system may offset this cost. Another drawback may be the appearance of large indoor air handlers in your home. However, these can be mounted high on the wall or suspended from the ceiling, so they may not interfere with the décor of a room at all. They also generally have a more pleasant appearance than window air conditioners.

When ducted system installation is not practical for your home, call HB Energy Solutions for ductless air conditioning installation in Southern Vermont today!

How to Factor Plumbing into Your New Construction

July 7th, 2014

When your business expands, either with additions to its current space or with a completely new building, you will have a swarm of issues to worry about, and some will receive more attention than others. One issue that deserves a great deal of your attention is the new plumbing, which is as important as hooking up the electrical power.

It can be tricky trying estimating how plumbing will integrate with the new construction work, and that’s why you should always have a company with extensive new construction plumbing in New Hampshire working with you. HB Energy Solutions is a full service energy installation company, and we handle new construction plumbing services, as well as electrical services. Contact us before you start your new business’ new construction project.

Consider these factors for plumbing in new construction

  • Are you connecting old plumbing to new plumbing? If your new construction is an addition to your current building, then the most important consideration is how to fit the new plumbing to the old, and how much of the older plumbing will also need replacement in order to accommodate the new. Part of this will involve the water heater; you will almost certainly need a new water heater installation to supply enough hot water for the expansion. Professional plumbers will help you with the planning to properly integrate older plumbing with the new installation.
  • Match the plumbing with your budget: Budget will always be on your mind when it comes to any major project for your company. When you are involved in new construction, make sure that the expenses necessary to install the plumbing will match with your allocated budget. It’s often easy to take the plumbing for granted in construction, but it is a major item to consider that can affect the layout, and mistakes in either building design or plumbing will be costly in both the short and the long term.
  • Make sure to hire the right contractors: This can be difficult, but even a company that handles light commercial plumbing work and installation will not necessarily have experience with new construction plumbing. Take the time to find a company with years of experience and a specialty in plumbing for new construction; this is the most important step you can take with the planning to factor in new plumbing, because if you make the right choice, most of your other choices will be taken care of.

We can also install the necessary electrical systems and water heaters: everything that you need to supply your new construction with the water, drainage, and power it needs. We will take into account all the factors necessary to make your light commercial construction and expansion a success.

At HB Energy Solutions, we can handle your light commercial new construction plumbing in New Hampshire, whether it’s a complete new plumbing system or gas piping. Call us today!

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at HB Energy Solutions hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

The Advantages of Whole-House Surge Protection

June 27th, 2014

Power surges are sometimes an everyday occurrence in homes, a fact that people can find hard to believe. Because the term “power surge” comes pre-packaged with images of downed power lines, lightning strikes, and massive storms, people usually make the connection between a power surge in a home with catastrophic events.

But a power surge is any increase in voltage in an electrical system above normal that lasts for more than 3 nanoseconds. (Less than 3 nanoseconds and it’s known as a power “spike.”) This jump in power can happen because a large appliance in a home makes a sudden larger demand on the power supply, causing an imbalance that raises voltage. This may not trip circuit breakers, but it can cause damage to a home and its appliances.

When it comes to guarding your house from surges both large and small, you should invest in a whole-house surge protector installed with the help of electrical professionals. Contact HB Energy Solutions to speak to one of our staff members regarding surge protection in Southern Vermont.

Why whole-house surge protection?

We recommend that homeowners use power strips (point-of-use surge protectors) for computers, entertainment systems and other precision equipment, but not to rely on them entirely. These strips provide a level of defense against surges that shuts off the power flow to the device when an increase in voltage occurs. However, they do not provide the protection from both extreme and small surges that you will receive from a whole-house protector.

A whole-house surge protector is hard-wired into your electrical panel, where it re-routes increases in power into a home’s grounding. This makes them more effective at protecting a home than power strips that simply cut off current when surges occur. The smaller surges will make it through power strips, causing damage to computers and other appliances in amounts that will cumulatively become ruinous. Larger surges, such as those from a lightning strike, will overcome these defense and cause serious damage. A whole-house surge protector can handle both: regulating small surges and capable of handling enormous ones (except perhaps a lightning bolt striking right next to your home) without permitting damage to your property or equipment.

When it comes to shielding your home from electrical damage and defended your high-precision equipment and computer hard drives and SSDs, you can never have too much surge protection. Along with your power strips (which are also a safe way of increasing the number of outlets in your home) call an electrical contractor to wire a whole-house surge protector.

We will keep your home safe all year long, and we’re always a call away any time of the day or night.

HB Energy Solutions has 22 years of experience providing Southern Vermont with surge protection and other electrical services. Call us today to find out what we can do for your home.

3 Things to Consider When Adding Outdoor Lighting

June 20th, 2014

Since you spend most of the night inside your home and not outside it, you probably have not given much thought to your house’s exterior lighting. However, there are numerous benefits to adding on to your outdoor lighting: increased safety on walkways and patios, longer use of outdoor recreational facilities, decrease in the chance of crime, and a higher resale value on the property.

To get all of these benefits, you need to have professional electricians and installers on the job of adding to your outdoor lighting in New Hampshire.

Call HB Energy Solutions today to find out more about the ways our outdoor lighting experts can help improve your home with additional outdoor lighting.

Here are 3 things to consider for your outdoor lighting additions:

  • Add energy-efficient lights: Increasing your outdoor lighting doesn’t mean you have to exponentially increase your electricity bills. You can have energy-efficient LED lights installed as an alternative. Although LED lights costs more upfront than standard incandescent light bulbs, they can last many years more and use significantly less energy. LED lights with the U.S. ENERGY STAR label use at least 75% less energy and last 35 to 50 times longer, which means you have even more years of use to reap the savings from their reduce energy use.
  • Increase front and “guide” lights: If you have a limited budget for outdoor lighting additions, place the focus on lighting the front of the house and the paths leading to the door. The idea is to create a sense of “inviting” visitors toward the front of the house—while also keeping them safe with a well-illuminated walkway. Professional electricians will make sure that the new lighting fixtures fit well with your home’s architectural style.
  • Landscape lighting: Outdoor lighting doesn’t need to focus only on places where people move (although it’s crucial to have this to keep a home safe). Excellent landscape lighting that focuses on gardens and trees are an easy way to enhance your home’s beauty during night. Simple uplighting placed to light up trees—while pointing away from your home’s windows and the neighbors’—does marvels at making your home more appealing.

The electrical worked involved in enhancing the outdoor lighting for a home is complicated and requires technicians who not only know about correct lighting placement but also voltage demands and safety concerns. Only trust this work to experienced electricians with a background in home improvements.

HB Energy Solutions has served New Hampshire with outdoor lighting and numerous other electrical services for 22 years. Aside from our installation work for lighting, we are also available 24 hours for whatever electrical repairs your new lighting system may need.