Why Is My Boiler Leaking Water?

October 13th, 2014

In general, a boiler is an extremely reliable heating system that requires little repair over time. Boilers work by heating water and circulating it through a set of pipes and to a baseboard or radiant heat exchanger, such as a radiator or radiant floor heating system. Boilers can be very efficient, and radiant heating may be more comfortable than a forced air furnace.

Because boilers have few mechanical parts, they may not need as many repairs as other types of heating systems. However, with any type of system that involves the use of water, there is a risk of water leaking from time to time. If your boiler is leaking water, there may be many causes. A technician will check for the following problems when you call for heating system repair.

  • High Water Pressure: The expansion tank in your boiler helps protect it from problems caused by excessive water pressure. Your boiler is meant to keep water at a steady pressure level, but if there is a problem with this tank, water may leak from your unit. Luckily, the pressure relief valve safely releases water in the event of high pressure. A leaky pressure relief valve requires immediate repair.
  • Improper Installation: Unfortunately, some leaks occur simply because the system was not installed by expert heating installers. If this is the case, a technician may need to repair the fittings around the tank and solder any faulty connections. Unfortunately, major problems brought on by poor installation may require replacement.
  • Corrosion: If your boiler is leaking due to rust and corrosion, you may need a new unit entirely. While some leaks can be fixed, rust and corrosion generally means your boiler is too old, and there is simply no way to prevent further corrosion. Luckily, boilers are built to resist corrosion, so it should take a long time for rust to affect your system.

Leaks can damage the foundation of your home, lead to reduced heating, or cause mold or mildew to develop, so be sure to call a technician as soon as you suspect a problem.

For professional heating system repair throughout New Hampshire, call the expert heating team at HB Energy Solutions today!

How Does Solar Heating Work?

October 6th, 2014

In the continuing struggle to find viable forms of alternative energy, solar has taken the lead as having the most promise. More and more people are installing solar panels on their homes to supplement their traditional heating systems. What most people don’t know is how solar heating actually works. Let’s take a look at some of the most common options for solar heating.

Liquid Solar Heating

Similar to other heating systems, solar heating is split into liquid and forced air methods. Liquid solar heating is a radiant heating system, using pipes to distribute hot water throughout the house. These pipes then radiate the heat up through the floor boards or through the walls. Radiators and baseboard heaters are also common.

Rather than using a boiler to heat the water, solar heating collects thermal energy directly from a sun. Solar panels are usually mounted on the roof or a south-facing wall for maximum exposure during the day. The thermal energy collected by the solar panel is then directed to a solar storage unit, which heats the water and distributes it.

Like all solar systems, this kind of heating becomes less effective if access to sunlight is limited. Some storage units can serve as backup water heaters. You may still have difficulty heating enough water if demand is high during evenings or overcast days, though.

Forced Air Heating

Forced air solar heating works much the same way as other forced air systems. The solar panel on the outside of the house collects and uses thermal energy to warm the air in a collector unit. The collector then circulates the air throughout the house using an electric fan. Ducts are obviously required for this kind of heating if you want to heat more than one room.

Forced air solar systems tend to collect slightly more thermal energy than thermal systems. However, this advantage is usually balanced out by water being a much better medium for thermal energy than air is.

If you are interested in learning more about solar heating, contact HB Energy Solutions. We operate all over the Southern Vermont area.

What are the Benefits of Wood Pellet Conversion?

September 29th, 2014

If you have been looking for a way to make your home heating more green and energy efficient, you may want to consider a wood pellet conversion in New Hampshire. This simple process allows you to swap out the oil burner in your heating system for a wood-pellet burner so that you can heat your entire home using wood pellets. Seem easy? It is – for our Pellergy-trained and certified technicians. If you’ve been looking to convert to wood pellets for your central heating, call HB Energy Solutions today.

How Does a Conversion Work?

There are four main components to a wood pellet heating system: the burner, a hopper (where the pellets are stored) a conveyor, (which feeds the pellets into the burner), and a controller that works with your home’s thermostat to tell the heating system when to turn on and off.

The conversion happens with the burner: the burner is taken out of your boiler or furnace and replaced with a wood pellet burner. The hopper can be as large or small as you like, and may hold enough pellets for a week or a month. The converted system can also work with other existing pellet appliances, like pellet stoves.

What Are the Benefits of Converting?

Here are some benefits of converting your central heating fuel source to wood pellets:

  • Save in fuel costs – it’s estimated that homeowners can save anywhere between 25-40% in annual fuel costs by converting to wood pellets.
  • No permanent modification – should you need or want to go back to your previous fuel type, you can.
  • Very environmentally-friendly – wood pellets are carbon neutral and release very little greenhouse gases.
  • Available fuel supply – wood pellets are readily available at various retail outlets.
  • Can be used with different distribution outlets – wood pellet heating systems can be used for radiators, baseboard radiators and radiant floor heating.
  • Can be used with different heating systems – wood pellets can be retro-fitted for both furnaces and boilers.

Wood pellet heating systems do need to have the ash vacuumed once a week to ensure proper operation and the hopper needs to be filled regularly.

If you’ve been thinking of moving forward with a wood pellet conversion in New Hampshire, call HB Energy Solutions today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts today.


Does My Furnace Need Repair, or Is It Time for a Replacement?

September 22nd, 2014

Whether to replace or repair a furnace is a question we hear a lot during the fall. Fall is a good time to replace, if that’s what’s needed, but you should first assess whether or not your furnace needs replacing. There are some key factors to consider when deciding whether or not to replace your current heating system, and we’ve outlined them below. Whether you need replacement or repair for your furnace in southern Vermont, HB Energy Solutions has the trained technicians to assist you with all your heating needs.

Signs It May Be Time for Replacement

There are some telltale signs that it may be time for you to replace your current heating system:

  • Constant repairs – did you make a lot of repairs to your system last winter, and are facing more this year? Repair costs can add up, sometimes to the cost of a new system. It may be worth looking at where your money is better spent.
  • Rust, cracking and corroding components – it is normal for your system to incur some general wear and tear, but if you are seeing clear signs of physical breakage, it may be time to consider a replacement. Cracking and corroding parts can be dangerous – carbon monoxide may be able to escape from them – and it isn’t always possible to repair or replace the broken areas.
  • High energy bills – did you see high energy bills last winter, despite not changing how you use your heating system? Decreased energy efficiency is a symptom of a poorly-performing system.
  • Age – the average lifespan for a furnace or boiler is about 15 years. If your system is over this age, and is experiencing any of the above problems, you may be better off investing in a new heater.
  • Decreased comfort – an aging system may no longer be able to meet your heating needs. This is usually indicated by hot and cold spots in your home, or an inability to achieve the set temperature. If your heater is not operating effectively, it may be time to consider a replacement.

The best way to truly assess whether it’s best to replace or repair your furnace in southern Vermont is to work with an expert.

For all your furnace repair needs call HB Energy Solutions today and make an appointment with one of our heating specialists.

Finding the Right Company to Use for Whole House Plumbing Installation

September 15th, 2014

If you are building a new home, or you live in an older home with outdated galvanized steel plumbing, you will need to have professionals handle your whole house plumbing installation. This is a large job—probably the largest job you will ever need to call a plumbing company to handle—so you must make sure you bring in the best plumbing experts you can, people who will get the work done fast and accurately, leaving behind no impending repair problems.

Here are some tips on how to pick the right plumbing contractor to install whole house plumbing systems in Southern Vermont. We think that after you look around, you will decide that the best company to call is HB Energy Solutions.

Making the choice of companies for whole house plumbing

The first criteria to use when it comes to whole house plumbing is to search for a company that offers comprehensive services. New plumbing installation, from water pipes to gas pipes, covers the spectrum of appliances and systems in a home, so make certain that you hire a contractor who offers services that cover everything: installation, repairs, and maintenance for anything from water and sewer lines to water heaters.

Next, pay attention to the amount of years a contractor has served the community. Although it’s possible to find skilled technicians at a newer company, you have certainty that a company with many years to its credit has the experience a large job like whole-house plumbing requires. You should target a contractor with a minimum of 10 years in the business.

Look for a company that offers free estimates and second opinions. It’s important to know from the start what you should expect to pay for whole house plumbing installation, so look for a plumbing company that’s willing to tell you what it will cost before the work starts.

Finally, make certain that the contractor offers a satisfaction guarantee. This is an immense task that you need done, and you should have assurances upfront that it will get done right—or you won’t have to pay.

When you look over our qualifications at HB Energy Solutions, we think you’ll agree that we are one of your best options for any plumbing job, and especially for whole house plumbing systems in Southern Vermont.

We offer a 100% money-back guarantee and free estimates, and provide almost any plumbing service that you can imagine. Call HB Energy Solutions today.

How Whole House Surge Protection Works

September 8th, 2014

Damage from electrical surges is more common than people often realize. A lightning strike, a downed power line, or an accident at a power plant can result in large surges that can seriously damage appliances in a home and shut down the power. But these large-scale surges are only one type of power surge. There is a more insidious kind that can occur on a daily basis without a homeowner noticing it. Cumulatively, these smaller surges can end up inflicting as much damage on household appliances as the more catastrophic surges associated with storms and other disasters.

Power strips connected to outlets provide one layer of protection from power surges, but they are often not enough. If your home experiences frequent surges, or if you are concerned about protecting your valuable precision electronics, contact HB Energy Solutions and ask us about surge protection for a New Hampshire home. We can install a whole-house surge protector that goes to the next level of guarding your home from the damages of power surges.

What whole-house surge protection is

The small surges that can cause trouble for a home usually occur when a powerful appliance—a refrigerator, an air conditioner, etc.—abruptly makes a large demand on the electrical system, causing an imbalance and subsequent energy surge. You might notice this when the lights briefly flicker as the appliance comes on. These guttering lights are a good sign that you would benefit from the installation of a whole-house surge protector.

Professional electricians connect a surge protector into the home’s electrical panel. Unlike power strips, which simply cut off the power when excessive voltage tries to move through them, a whole-house surge protector diverts the power down through a home’s grounding power line. Each time the surge protector detects anything higher than 120 volts (the standard voltage for U.S. homes) moving through the control panel, it moves the energy safely away. This means that your home has protection from smaller surges without you needing to constantly reset switches.

The whole-house surge protector will also guard against lightning strikes and other major power spikes, although it may need to be reset. A warning light on the protector will inform you when it needs to be reset, so be sure to check on the system after your home experiences any large surge.

Even after you have a whole-house surge protection system installed, you should still keep your point-of-use protectors for your computers and other important appliances: it never hurts to have a second line of defense when it comes to valuable electronics.

At HB Energy Solutions, we not only offer residential whole-house surge protection in New Hampshire, but also surge protection for businesses.

Call our team of trained and certified electrical technicians to find out about all the electrical services we can provide for your home or workplace.

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at HB Energy Solutions hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

When Should I Schedule Heating System Maintenance in Southern Vermont?

August 25th, 2014

It’s always tough to say goodbye to summer and turn toward the colder months. But a winter in Vermont can be one of the loveliest in the country, and if you properly prepare your home for the coming cold weather, there’s no reason that you can’t make the winter as joyous a season as the summer.

With summer almost finished, now is the time to start thinking about your home’s heating system. You may not need to turn on your furnace or boiler, or switch the heat pump to heating mode, for a couple of weeks yet, but you should take advantage of this cooler time to schedule your annual heating system maintenance in Southern Vermont.

HB Energy Solutions is one of your best options for heating maintenance. We install and service an enormous variety of home comfort systems, from wood-burning boilers to solar-powered heat pumps. You can rely on our expertise to make sure that your heater is ready for the coming Vermont winter.

Why you should schedule heating maintenance now

Professional maintenance for a heating system is sometimes called preventive maintenance, because one of its principle objectives is to prevent repair problems and breakdowns. You don’t want to wade into the cold season without all the proper preventive measures done for your home’s furnace, boiler, etc. A repair issue or a complete breakdown during one of the coldest days of the year is something you definitely do not want to occur! With your heating maintenance taken care of a few months ahead of the heaviest colds, you will have the best assurance possible that you won’t need to make emergency heating calls.

Another reason to take advantage of the early fall for heating maintenance is that technicians have an easier time scheduling the sessions. Between the summer heat and fall chill, HVAC companies experience a lower amount of emergency calls, and you should have no trouble arranging a convenient time for a skilled technician to come to your home and inspect and tune-up your heater.

Call us to schedule your heating maintenance today

Yearly maintenance for a heater is mandatory: it keeps the system from prematurely aging and wasting energy, and it also protects you from malfunctions. Take care of the job as soon as you can so you can scratch one more “to-do” from your fall list. Contact HB Energy Solutions today to sign up for our maintenance plan, or download the plan from our website.

Let our wide range of expertise in heating and cooling help you receive the best heating system maintenance in Southern Vermont. Call us today!

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.