Archive for February, 2014

Is Solar Heating in New Hampshire a Good Investment?

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The technology of solar power continues to advance each year, making it easier for homeowners to take advantage of the energy from the Sun—free renewable energy—to run appliances in their house, from water heaters, to air conditioners, to heating systems.

Solar energy carries an upfront cost larger than that for standard heating systems. Our customers often ask us if having installation of solar heating is a worthwhile investment. What sort of returns can they expect from choosing to go solar for their home’s heating?

Let’s look at what solar power can do for you and why you should give it serious consideration. For more in-depth answers, as well as an assessment for your individual home, contact HB Energy Solutions.

Solar Energy Benefits

Yes, the installation of solar panels and a solar heating system comes with a higher price tag than that for a furnace or heat pump. However, there are two factors to consider here:

  1. The cost of solar panels has dropped significantly over the last few years, so the cost isn’t as much as you may think it is.
  2. The energy savings with solar panels can be immense, paying back the cost of installation in as little as 3–7 years according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

How much can you save with solar powered heating? If we consider a payback period of 3–7 years, and a service lifetime well over 20 years (with few moving parts, solar systems do not wear down fast), the return on investment can be enormous. Studies conducted in New York, a state with similar cloud cover patterns to New Hampshire, projected savings over 20 years at $30,000. Savings in Hawaii approached $65,000!

The efficiency of using the free power of the Sun isn’t the only way you can save money with solar heating. These systems require few repairs and have low-cost maintenance. The federal government also offers tax incentives to go solar with the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit.

Solar energy technology is far more reliable today than it once was, so you should have little concern about having sufficient power stored in your solar cells for your home’s needs.

Solar Installation with HB Energy Solutions

Solar power won’t work for every home, so consult with our New Hampshire heating experts at HB Energy Solutions to find out if you’ll receive all the benefits of installing solar heating. We have licensed electricians on staff so you won’t need to hire subcontractors for your solar installation, which will help us complete your job on time and on budget. We can help you get the most from your investment in solar power.

Why Pinhole Leaks Are Such a Serious Problem

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The term “pinhole leaks” is a bit misleading. Although it does accurately describe the size of these leaks that can appear in your pipes, it tends to minimize them so they sound like minor problems. But nothing could be further from the truth: pinhole leaks are one of the most problematic repair needs that can crop up in plumbing. The U.S. EPA has identified pinhole leaks as a significant danger not only to plumbing systems, but also to homes in general.

Fortunately, pinhole leaks are not a difficult problem for professional plumbers to fix once they know of their existence. If you have leaks of any kind—or suspect that you do—call for assistance from experts in plumbing in Southern Vermont. HB Energy Solutions is ready around the clock and the calendar to help you!

What exactly are pinhole leaks?

Pinhole leaks are tiny holes along pipes. They usually appear close together across a single patch of pipe, and they can occur to modern copper piping. The EPA has studied the causes of pinhole leaks and determined that they are likely the result of a “localized copper corrosion called pitting corrosion.” The EPA isn’t certain, however, what causes pitting corrosion, since copper pipes are highly corrosion-resistant and have become popular as a replacement for galvanized steel pipes.

Why are pinhole leaks something to worry about?

Pinhole leaks only allow a small amount of water to drip out, but because they are tiny enough to at first escape detection, their leaks will soon build up to the point where they will cause damage to building material and promote mold and mildew growth. Water will destroy drywall and warp wood floors, and mold will increase the speed of destruction.

How can I detect pinhole leaks?

This is big obstacle with pinhole leaks: they are difficult for homeowners to detect until they start to cause extensive damage. The best way to find them is to have regular inspections done on your plumbing from a professional. Schedule an inspection once a year; your plumber will use leak detection equipment to locate problems. Keep watch for smaller indications of leaking: a drop in water pressure, an unexplained increased in water bills, or discoloration appearing on the wallpaper.

Call for repairs as soon as you can

Protect your valuable home plumbing in Southern Vermont: turn to expert plumbers for fast repairs the moment you sense anything is wrong. HB Energy Solutions can handle all your plumbing needs, and we have excellent leak detection services to find those troublesome pinhole leaks.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at HB Energy Solutions hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

Why Would I Want a Wood Boiler Installed?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

In the earliest days of hydronic heating, boilers used wood or coal as their fuel source. Today, the majority of boilers use either natural gas or electricity, although oil remains common as well.

But wood boilers still exist today. And not only as antiques. There are modern boilers designed to burn wood for their fuel. HB Energy Solutions offers wood boiler heating installation in New Hampshire for customers interested in this alternative to standard gas and electric models. We carry Tarm Biomass and Pro Fab Empyre wood boilers.

Of course, this begs the question: “Why would I want a wood boiler?” There are some good reasons to consider wood boiler installation for a modern home.

Here’s what a wood boiler can offer you

  • Locally available, renewable fuel: Wood boilers support local industries, and in small towns this can be extremely important. Unlike natural gas, wood is a renewable energy source, and the planting and harvesting of trees is a key regional industry.
  • More efficient than ever: Burning wood has a lower AFUE rating than natural gas or oil, but with the advances in wood gasification combustion technology, wood boilers burn much more efficiently than ever, using less wood than you would expect—and producing between 100,000 to 330,000 BTUs output of heat energy.
  • Low-cost installation: Many wood boiler models cost less to install than standard large tank boilers.
  • Energy savings: Using wood pellets instead of electricity or natural gas can save homeowners approximately 40% off their annual heating costs. Wood is also rarely affected by global market trends that cause inflation in the prices of gas and oil.

Discover if a wood boiler is right for you

Wood boilers do have disadvantages, of course, and they may not be the best choice for your home. If you are interested in a wood boiler for heating installation in New Hampshire, contact HB Energy Solutions to set up an appointment to investigate the possibilities. Our boiler experts will determine how much you can save with a wood boiler and if it will provide sufficient heat for your home. If a wood boiler is ideal, we’ll help you select the right model and install it so you’ll receive all its wonderful benefits. And if a wood boiler isn’t optimal, we’ll find and install a system that is.