Archive for October, 2013

Southern Vermont Electrical Guide: What Are GFCI Outlets?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The presence of electricity at the flick of a switch is one of the marvels of the modern home—one that we now almost take for granted. We not only expect electrical devices in our home to work when we turn them on, but also that they won’t produce a dangerous electrical shock. This is why it’s vital to get electrical repairs done as soon as anything goes wrong: you not only risk the loss of the power you need in your daily life, but you also risk a shock.

One of the key parts of your electrical system that keeps you safe from injuries are GFCI outlets—something your home may not have if it’s older. Here are the basics you need to know about these crucial safety devices. If you want help keeping your electrical system in your Southern Vermont home operating safely, contact HB Energy Solutions today.

GFCI stands for “ground-fault circuit interrupter.” A GFCI outlet is designed specifically to prevent you from receiving an electrical shock from your household appliances, and in this way is different from a fuse, which protects wiring from overloads that could cause a fire. The way a GFCI outlet works is to detect differences between the two sides of the current from the outlet, the “hot” and the “neutral” side. If it detects an imbalance—even one as small as 4 or 5 milliamps—it could mean that power is flowing into a person. The outlet immediately cuts off the power supply to the device that is leaking electricity to prevent further shock. The reaction time can occur as fast as 1/30th of a second.

You can usually tell if you have GFCI outlets in your house: they will have reset buttons located between the two outlets. They are usually installed in your home in places with a lot of water use, such as your bathrooms and kitchen.

At HB Energy Solutions, we strive to be your one-call service company: heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical. We have local Southern Vermont electrical experts ready to provide you complete services that will satisfy your needs. Contact us today for your home energy solutions.

Heating in New Hampshire: How Pellet Stoves Work

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Although we no longer use fireplaces and wood-burning stoves as the only way of heating a New Hampshire home, they can still help out during the cold months if you want to gather around a roaring flame and take in the loveliness of an old-fashioned hearth.

But just because the fireplace is an old-fashioned idea doesn’t mean that a fireplace has to be old-fashioned—or even inefficient. The wood pellet stove is a great alternative to a fireplace for people who don’t want to worry about woodpiles. And a pellet stove is also an effective method of providing heat for your home, much better than a standard fireplace. If you want to know more, contact HB Energy Solutions, where we install top-of-the-line pellet stoves.

A wood pellet stove burns pellets made of recycled wood and sawdust leftover from the lumber industry. The pellets have low-levels of pollution and are inexpensive to purchase. They are very dense, so they burn slowly, and with their low moisture, they produce hotter flames.

The pellets go in a hopper on the top or bottom of the stove. An auger (resembling a long screw) delivers the pellets into a burn pot, which electricity then ignites and begins burning the compressed pellets. Ashes fall into an ash pot, which you will need to clean out regularly.

To get your home heated, a pellet stove uses convection. A convection blower draws in air from the room and passes it over the pellets, which helps them burn stronger and also raises the temperature of the air. The heated air passes through a heat exchanger, and a room blower sends warm air into the room, very much like a furnace does. The exhaust goes out a pipe in the back to the outside—which means you don’t need a chimney installed to get the benefits of a pellet stove. However, insert pellet stoves can fit into your existing fireplace if you want to upgrade.

With the control offered by a thermostat, you can get the right amount of heat you want. That’s something you’d have a much harder time doing with a traditional fireplace.

HB Energy Solutions installs and maintains pellet stoves that can give you a cozy home with the benefits of a fireplace and few of the drawbacks. We’ve been heating New Hampshire homes for 21 years, and so call us today to learn more!

New Hampshire Heating Installation FAQ: Why Install a Boiler

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

A boiler is one of the most common methods of heating homes in the United States. Boilers work by heating water, with the steam or hot water circulated through pipes or radiators in your home. As the water or steam cools, it travels back to the boiler to start the process again. When it comes to installing a new heating system in your New Hampshire home, boilers make a lot of sense. Why install a boiler in your home? The answers vary, but boilers provide a number of tangible advantages. A few of the biggest are listed below.

  • Evenly distributed heat. Unlike furnaces, which usually use a system of ducts to blow hot air throughout the house, boilers don’t heat the space unevenly. Water-based heating infuses the existing air with heat, rather than redistributing hot air throughout the system. This can eliminate drafts, cold spots and other problems with furnace heating.
  • Efficient heating. Boilers can easily heat larger houses and apartment buildings. Big spaces are less of a problem for a properly sized boiler than they are for furnaces or space heaters, and boilers can be scaled to fit the size of whatever space they are heating. Besides that, boilers don’t blow dust around the way furnaces do, and they don’t generate much noise the way that furnaces do. All of that increases their overall efficiency.
  • Zone controls. With boilers it’s very easy to install zone controls, which let you tailor the heat to fit specific tastes and needs. You can choose to heat just the area you’re occupying while leaving the rest of the house cold, or set one temperature for your kitchen and another for the bedroom. That not only gives you greater control over the heat, but helps keep monthly costs in check.

If you know the answer to “why install a boiler?” and need further advice on your New Hampshire heating installation options, call the experts at HB Energy Solutions for advice. We can explain your options to you, then install a boiler in your home with courtesy and professionalism. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

HB Energy Solutions is Hiring!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

HB Energy Solutions is looking for a few good people to help fill some open positions. If you’re in the market for a job that offers excellent wages and superior benefits including insurance, paid holidays, and employee discounts, then look no further. Our company continues to enjoy steady, sustained growth. We are currently hiring experienced professionals for the following positions: Electrical Estimator/Salesman; Plumbing Estimator/Salesman; Mechanical Systems Estimator/Salesman; Solar Systems Estimator/Salesman, Licensed Plumbers; Licensed Electrician; Oil Burner Technicians; Propane Technicians; Solar Technician; Septic Tank Pumper/Driver.  If you have experience in any of the positions linked here then please apply today!

We are a local, family business dedicated to providing excellent energy solutions to the state of Vermont and New Hampshire. Apply today to join our growing team and become a part of a company that cares about its customers and community.

Click Here for a List of Open Positions

Southern Vermont Heating Guide: Protect Your Budget This Winter

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Few winter landscapes look more beautiful than those in Vermont. But beauty does not equal comfort. You’ll need a dependable and efficient heater in your home this coming winter to keep you warm enough to enjoy the season.

But just getting sufficient heat is not enough: you want to get heat that won’t drain your budget by the end of the season. Is it possible to get decent, comfortable heating without seeing your energy bills balloon? There are some basic steps you can take to protect your budget from unpleasant surprises this winter. HB Energy Solutions has advice for your heating system that will help you keep those energy bills under control:

Find a pleasant, lower temperature on the thermostat

The U.S. department of energy has found that simply dropping your thermostat ten degrees for eight hours a day can mean an almost 20% savings on your annual energy bill. Don’t set the thermostat up to the high 70s or 80s: with an extra layer of clothing, you’ll find that 68°F is ideal for comfort. When you’re sleeping, you may be able to turn the temperature down even more.

Update to a programmable thermostat

This goes hand-in-hand with keeping the thermostat down. A programmable thermostat gives you precision control over temperature, and the automation means you won’t need to remember to change the setting when it’s necessary. You can also have the thermostat lower the temperature when you leave for the day, and then start warming the house up before you return.

Schedule maintenance for your heater

Getting a maintenance check-up on your heater isn’t only to avoid extra repairs and abrupt breakdowns. The maintenance technician will give your heater a tune-up so it won’t drain extra power when it runs. A heater in good repair is a heater that will run its best, and you won’t see unnecessary spikes in your power bills.

It’s a good idea to schedule maintenance for your heater right now, so you’ll not only be prepared for winter, but you’ll take advantage of a slower time for HVAC professionals. We at HB Energy Solutions offer a maintenance plan that will keep your heater in prime health. We’re ready to answer any questions you may have about getting additional savings on heating in Southern Vermont.