Archive for June, 2014

The Advantages of Whole-House Surge Protection

Friday, 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

Friday, 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.

What Does the Bend in the Pipe Below My Sink Do?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Most of the plumbing in your home remains hidden from view. The pipes snake between the walls, under the floors, and through closed-off utility rooms. But there is one section of plumbing that you probably know well, and that’s the drainpipes located directly below your sinks. You see these any time you open up the cabinet doors to retrieve something. Every time you do this, you’ll see an oddity about this piece of piping: the odd U-shaped bend it makes before it enters the wall.

That bend in the pipe serves an important purpose, but it can also lead to plumbing troubles as well.

We have 22 years of experience serving Vermont and New Hampshire. Should you encounter trouble and need plumbing repair in Southern Vermont, call HB Energy Solutions.

The p-trap

The bend in the drainpipe that you see is called the “p-trap.” The reason for the name is that the bend makes the pipe resemble a “P” with an open back when looked at from the side. (And you thought it was going to be called a “u-pipe” or something like that.) What it traps is water: after water pours down the drain, gravity traps an amount down within the bend. As long as water runs down the drain regularly, the p-trap will remain filled.

This water plug does the important job of stopping sewer gases from decaying material further down the pipe from coming back up and escaping through the drain. Without the p-trap, sewer odors would invade your home constantly.

Should your p-trap dry up—something that happens in sinks that aren’t used for a long stretch, like one in a guest room—the empty trap will allow the sewer odors to come up. If you encounter foul smells in areas with an unused sink, run some water down the drain for a few minutes, and that should take care of the problem.

P-traps can become sources of clogs. When debris that shouldn’t go down a drain does, it will often catch in the p-trap. Over time, the p-trap will develop a congestion of soap scum, hair, and food (depending on where the sink is located) that will lead to a slow drain or clog. Too much contamination can also lead to corrosion and leaks.

For serious clogs (anything a plunger cannot handle) you must have the assistance of professional plumbers armed with motorized drain snakes and hydro-jetters. Do not attempt to take out a set of wrenches and unscrew the p-trap yourself: this risks disaster. Instead, reach for the phone and call for plumbing repair in Southern Vermont from HB Energy Solutions. We offer full plumbing services to take care of all your needs, from blocked pipes to water heater installation.

What Is Involved with Photovoltaic Installation?

Friday, June 6th, 2014

People today, especially in Vermont, are looking for paths toward clean, renewable energy that will both reduce the negative impact on the environment and also offer large savings on utility bills. Although harnessing renewable energy from sources such as the Sun and geothermal heat can cost money upfront, the work will pay back its initial costs many times over.

Solar power is one of the best known of all renewable energy sources: since the dawn of history, humans have watched the Sun in the sky, felt its heat, and sought a way to use it. Thanks to efficient photovoltaic panels, the dream of having the Sun working to power your own home is now a reality.

HB Energy Solutions is proud of the services we provide for green technology to our customers. For photovoltaic installation in Southern Vermont, call up our solar team today.

The PV installation job

Installing photovoltaic panels isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, although you will still need professionals to handle the task so that it works ideally. (Also, you don’t want to spend too much time climbing around your roof if it’s not necessary.)

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are mounted on the roof, where they change radiant heat from the sun into electrical energy. The number of panels necessary depends on how much power you require and how many systems you intend to run.

The installers plan out a configuration based on your needs. A team then lays down a support framework on the roof of the house. One by one, the PV panels are securely attached to the frame. Once the entire panel set is completed, the installers must connect the panels to the power grid and test the system to verify that it is correctly hooked up. They will check polarity, grounding, and wiring: the job isn’t over until they are certain that the system works as efficiently as it can.

Remember: the energy of the Sun is free. You will have some power requirements to run the indoor parts of the solar power system, but otherwise the electricity you receive through the PV cells costs you nothing: it should only take a few years for the solar power cells on the roof of your house to pay back their installation costs.

Talk to solar experts today

When you consult with a specialist in photovoltaic installation in Southern Vermont, you’ll find out how your home can best be set up for harnessing the free power of the sun.

At HB Energy Solutions, we not only offer solar solutions for homes, but for businesses as well—and that includes repairs and maintenance. Call us today to go green with the power of the Sun.