Archive for May, 2014

Use Insulation to Keep Your Home Cool

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Here in New Hampshire, insulation is often considered a winter-only feature. Our winters are as cold as they come, and naturally you want a well-insulated home to stay cozy and warm when the snows start falling. But the same principle that keeps the warm air in during the winter can keep hot air out in the summer. You can use insulation to keep your home cool, and because insulation installation is often less expensive in the summertime, now is the perfect opportunity to add more to your home. Here’s a breakdown of the principles involved.

All insulation adheres to three specific concepts: conduction (the process by which heat passes through solids), convection (the process by which heat passes through liquids and gasses) and radiation (the process by which heat passes through air or vacuum). Insulation curtails all of those process, slowing the passage of heat out of your home. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have insulation in your attic, since warm air rises and can escape out of the roof if you don’t take steps.

But there the process isn’t just one way: moving out of your house instead of in. Just as the heat from your home can escape in the winter, so too can hot air get into your house in the summer. If you have insulation, however, that process is severely retarded, allowing your home or retain cool air just as readily as it retains hot air.

If may be that you already have as much insulation as your home can hold. But technological advances mean the newer and better form of insulation are always arriving, and even if they don’t, most homes can use another layer or two.  We operate throughout New Hampshire, insulation is one of our primary services, and we won’t rest until the job is done right. Pick up the phone and give us a call today or schedule an appointment online. You’ll be glad you did!

If you know how to use insulation to keep your home cool, then the next step is to contact HB Energy Solutions to see about installation.

Are Ductless Heat Pumps Preferable to Centralized Heat Pumps?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Ductless heat pumps may seem like recent innovations, but they existed in the commercial HVAC world long before making the leap over to homes. Instead of using a single indoor unit that sends conditioned air through a ventilation system, a ductless heat pump instead works through multiple indoor blower units mounted on walls that send the air directly into rooms.

If you are interested in ductless heat pump installation in New Hampshire for your home, make sure you consult with professionals to decide if this is the best choice.

Call HB Energy Solutions, where we have delivered quality heating and cooling services to New Hampshire for more than two decades.

A list of the advantages of ductless heat pumps make them sound automatically superior to any centralized heat pump:

  • No indoor air quality issues due to ducts – Because ducts can collect dust and other contamination, they will eventually affect indoor air quality and require cleaning. Ductless systems remove this hassle.
  • More freedom with construction and remodeling – If you are planning to build a new home or extensively remodel your current one, then a ductless system gives you more options because fitting ducts into planning is no longer necessary.
  • Zone control – Because ductless heat pumps work through separate blowers, you only need to heat or cool down rooms that require it, which leads to significant energy savings.

However, a ductless system is not always preferable to a standard centralized one. In some cases, you may be better off staying with a familiar ducted system. Here are some considerations that may sway you away from ductless heat pumps.

  • Your home already has ducts – Unless remodeling is on the horizon, a ductless system is usually redundant for a house that has a ventilation system.
  • A heat pump in general isn’t the best choice – Ductless systems are all heat pumps, and in some cases—such as when a home is difficult to heat—it is better to stay with the combination of an air conditioner and furnace/boiler for cooling and heating than to switch to a heat pump.
  • It isn’t cost-effective – Ductless heat pumps are more expensive to install because of the blower units than hooking up a heat pump to current ductwork. If the other positives of a ductless mini split heat pump aren’t enough to overcome this, than you may be better with a centralized system.

If you still find yourself torn between going for a ductless or a central heat pump, you can always call professional installers. They will take into account your home’s construction and your budget plans to advise you which route is the best for you.

HB Energy Solutions will help you with heat pump installation in New Hampshire, whether you end up going with a ductless system or a more traditional ducted one. Whatever heat pump you end up with, we will install it for you right the first time.


3 Factors to Consider with Air Conditioning Installation

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Most people think Vermont homes don’t need air conditioning, but the truth is we can get quite hot and humid during the summer months. For over 20 years, HB Energy Solutions has been providing customers in southern Vermont with air conditioning installation for their properties to help them get through those hot days. When looking at air conditioners, there are a few factors to consider before choosing one. To help you narrow down those factors, our HB Energy Solutions experts have put together a list of 3 factors to consider for your southern Vermont air conditioning installation.

Does your property have ductwork?

Not too long ago, properties that didn’t have ductwork had only 2 choices for air conditioning: purchase a window unit or put in ducts, which can be a costly endeavor. But with the advent of ductless air conditioning, also known as ductless mini-split air conditioners, homes without ducts and/or those that need a home addition cooled now have access to quality air conditioning without needing to put in expensive ductwork.

How much cooling do you really need?

Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to air conditioning. In fact, purchasing an air conditioning system that is too large for your home can lead to discomfort and premature wear-and-tear. This is why it’s important to do a calculation that determines exactly how much cooling your home really needs. When doing a calculation like this, several factors are considered, such as your property’s orientation to the sun, daytime heat gain and square footage. Your AC technician can do this calculation to help ensure you purchase the right-sized air conditioner for your home.

Are you concerned about energy efficiency?

All newly-installed air conditioners need to have a SEER number (seasonal energy efficiency rating) of at least 13; the scale for SEER is 0 to over 20. The higher your SEER number, the more energy efficient your air conditioner. If energy efficiency is high on your list of priorities, speak with your specialist about finding an energy efficient air conditioner that also fits your other needs.

Installing an air conditioning system is a big job that starts with assessing the kind and size of air conditioner you need. Working with your HB Energy Solutions expert can you help you answer these questions and more when it comes to your southern Vermont air conditioning installation.

Summer is almost here, so if you’ve been thinking of installing or replacing your air conditioner or air conditioning system, call HB Energy Solutions today!

3 Reasons to Upgrade Your Circuit Breaker

Friday, May 9th, 2014

The circuit breaker panel has replaced the fuse box as a way to protect homes from the dangers of electrical fires. Whenever a circuit breaker detects an increase in voltage from an overload, the breaker trips and cuts off the circuit’s electrical flow to prevent damage. The homeowner can then easily reset the breaker to re-connect the circuit.

Although circuit breakers improve over the performance of fuses, circuit breaker panels will become outdated and require upgrades. If you have encountered recent trouble from frequently tripped breakers, or if you have a panel that is more than a decade old, you should consider scheduling a professional to investigate it and suggest upgrade options.

For Southern Vermont electrical services to help you with your circuit breaker panel, contact a trusted name: HB Energy Solutions. We have served Vermont and Southern New Hampshire with superb electrical work for twenty-one years.

3 excellent reasons to upgrade your circuit breaker panel

  1. To better handle modern electrical needs: The amount of energy the appliances in modern homes need to operate is far greater than it was even ten years ago. A circuit breaker panel older than this will not have the appropriate capacity to handle the amount of amperage that advanced devices in your home require to run, and this will lead to frequently tripped breakers. Upgrades or even a full replacement of the panel will elevate its capacity to fit your home.
  2. Increase fire safety: The main reason for circuit breakers in the first place is to prevent electrical fires due to short circuits and sparking. An aging panel that no longer fits with the outlets and the energy demands of a home can begin to turn dangerous.
  3. Convenience: Do you want to get up every other day, fumble with the circuit breaker panel, find the tripped switch, and reset it just because you turned on the TV and opened the refrigerator at the same time? Or worse, do you want to stumble in the dark looking for the panel because tripped breakers have shut off the lights during the night? Of course you don’t, and if you start experiencing this you have no excuse to keep going through these motions: just call a skilled electrician to upgrade your circuit breaker.

And, if you still have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker panel, you should have already replaced it. Fuse boxes are rarely up to the challenge of modern electrical systems, and enlarging the fuses to handle more power is a serious fire hazard.

HB Energy Solutions has the skill in Southern Vermont for electrical upgrades and repairs of all types. We will examine your circuit breaker panel and find the best way to improve it and improve your life.

The Necessity of Septic Maintenance

Monday, May 5th, 2014

A septic system for a home is a solution for waste disposal when regular sewage treatment plants are unavailable. The standard septic system, the one most likely attached to your home’s sewage line, consists of a septic tank, a drainfield, and the soil beneath. The tank separates solids from wastewater, a process that removes most of the disease-causing bacteria and pollutants. The water then enters the drainfield, where it trickles down into the soil, which filters out the remainder of the toxic organisms and safely releases the water into the ground.

For this system of waste management to work, a septic system must have routine maintenance. We’ll explain why this is a necessity, not merely a way to have the septic tank work more effectively. The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Public Welfare emphasizes the importance of septic maintenance to avoid the escape of disease-causing organisms.

HB Energy Solutions offers full services for New Hampshire septic systems. For pumping, maintaining bacteria levels, and other important septic system care, you can count on our team.

Why a septic system must have maintenance

The solids that gather inside the bottom of the septic tank gradually build up as sludge (bacteria consumes some, but not all). This layer of sludge must be regularly pumped from the tank. How often you need to have pumping done depends on the tank size, its age, and the volume of waste it regularly receives. You should have the tank pumped when the layer of sludge takes up 25–33% of the tank volume. Without regular pumping, the waste material will eventually flood the tank, first blocking the intake pipes and then clogging the sewage system, which can be disastrous for your home. The solids can also enter the drainfield and contaminate the soil so that the soil’s pores become blocked and stop wastewater flow. This can result in the sewage moving upward and onto the surface.

Along with pumping the tank, the bacteria levels inside the system must be maintained. Although a septic system removes bacteria from wastewater, some level of bacteria needs to remain to help digest the solids in the tank. Anti-bacterial liquids that enter the wastewater, such as detergents and bleach, can lower the bacteria level and result in sewage overflow from rapid sludge build-up.

Maintenance frequency

How often do you need general maintenance services beyond regular pumping? We advise that an average-sized family schedule septic maintenance every three to four years. Along with bacteria balancing and necessary pumping, technicians will examine the condition of the tank and drainfield for leaks and damage.

Your septic system should take care of its important job without you noticing it. To make sure it stays that way and becomes neither a nuisance nor a danger, contact a New Hampshire septic service for regular maintenance. HB Energy Solutions can handle all your septic system needs; call us today to find out about our services.