Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Do I Need GFCI Outlets?

Monday, May 7th, 2018

GFCI-outletWhile there are many handy homeowners out there, the fact remains that there are still plenty of jobs that must be completed by trained, professional electricians in Acworth, NH. Case in point, the installation of new outlets in a new home or in those homes that are ready for an upgrade. One important question, in such instances, is which type of outlet should be used. If you think that all outlets are the same, then you are obviously not familiar with GFCI outlets—though chances are that you have seen an, in all likelihood, used them previously.

GFCI outlets provide a bit of extra protection from the potential dangers that are inherent with the use of electricity. Now, modern electrical systems are typically very safe for people to use, and that is precisely the point. If you think that you don’t need something like GFCI outlets because your system is already safe, well: it’s safe precisely due to such technologies. So read on, and let us know if you are ready to upgrade your outlets.

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Why Does My Heater Keep Shutting Down?

Monday, December 18th, 2017

chilly-couple-on-couchDecember is somehow already nearly halfway over. We’ve got a lot of the heating season left to go, though, and this being Vermont means that the cold weather is going to be pretty severe for the foreseeable future. If you hope to make it through the heating season in true comfort—or anything even resembling it—then you really need your heater to be firing on all cylinders. The fact that your heater is generating heat does not necessarily mean that it is doing so in the proper manner.

One question that we get from concerned homeowners now and again is why their heaters seem to be running in short bursts. The system starts up, but stays on only briefly before shutting back down again. While this may seem at first to be something of an odd quirk, the fact is that any problems with your heater have the potential to seriously disrupt your comfort. This particular problem is called short cycling, and it can definitely spell trouble for your heater in Ludlow, VT.

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Is a Furnace the Right Heater for Me?

Monday, August 28th, 2017

opening-furnace-cabinetFor many homeowners, August is one of the months that hits the old air conditioner the hardest. In this part of Vermont, though, it is when you start to feel the night air chill back down, a sign of autumn just waiting to make its triumphant return. We are just about at the end of August as it is, and that means that it is probably time to start really thinking about your home heating system. This is especially true if you are going to need a brand new heater installed this year.

If so, we recommend that you consider the installation of a furnace in your home. We offer a number of fine oil-fired furnaces for you to choose from, including those from trusted manufacturers such as Thermo Pride and Olsen-Airco. A furnace is a fine fit for many homes and can satisfy the user preferences of many homeowners. However, it is important to remember that there is no single furnace that is perfect for everyone. Read on for more information and feel free to contact us with any questions that you have regarding the use of a furnace in Ludlow, VT. (more…)

Why Is There Ice on My Ductless Mini Split?

Monday, February 13th, 2017

ductless-blowerWinters are famously tough in this part of the country. Frigid, sub-freezing temperatures are the norm. Because of this, many homeowners have been skeptical of using heat pumps to keep their homes warm and cozy. Because heat pumps, including ductless mini split heat pumps, transfer heat from the air outside into the house, common sense may dictate that they couldn’t handle the type of cold that we deal with in this part of the country.

Common sense isn’t always what it seems, though. In fact, ductless mini splits in Springfield, VT
have become more and more common in recent years. While it is true that heat pumps may have to work a bit harder and may lose a bit of that renowned efficiency when temperatures are very, very cold, they are actually capable of heating homes in our area all winter long. No system, of course, is totally problem free.

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Schedule an Energy Assessment Before Winter Arrives

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

You are probably still enjoying your trips to our many lakes, rivers, and streams just now, but summer is definitely going to be drawing to a close before long. Soon enough we’ll be seeing the leaves turn, and we’ll be revving up our heaters in place of our air conditioners before you know it. If you want to heat your home efficiently this winter, scheduling an energy assessment before turning your heater on is a good idea.

With a professional energy assessment in Bellows Falls, you’ll have the information that you need in order to prepare your home for an efficient heating season. A thorough energy assessment is not something that you can hope to complete on your own, so make sure that it’s our number you dial. We’ll determine what issues are present and we can resolve them for you effectively.  (more…)

How Can a Smart Meter Help My Home?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

A big part of reducing your energy usage is knowing how much energy you use on a weekly or monthly basis. But ascertaining exact numbers on your utility usage can be a challenge. One new tool that is making it easier for homeowners to get a handle on their energy usage is the Smart Meter. In fact, these meters are so helpful that in 2012, they became mandatory throughout the state of California. So what does a Smart Meter do that makes it so helpful? Let’s take a look.

What It Is

You are probably wondering what makes a Smart Meter so different, and here is the reason it is different: it reports on your electrical and natural gas usage daily. For residential properties, a Smart Meter reports on electrical usage every hour and gas usage at the end of every day; in commercial properties, electrical usage is reported every 15 minutes (gas reporting stays the same). The Smart Meter reports all this data to your utility company over a secure wireless network, and you can access your energy usage information right online. The Smart Meter can also work with solar energy, so you’ll be able to see in detail how much energy you are using from the power company and how much is generated by your solar panels. This specific information provides a baseline of your energy usage, which allows you to create a plan to reduce your overall energy usage.

What Are the Benefits?

Here are some of the benefits a Smart Meter can offer:

  • Instant outage reporting – because of the two-way communication between your Smart Meter and your utility company, any outage will be reported immediately by the Smart Meter. This helps provide better service from your utility company.
  • Reduce energy usage – having a direct reporting system allows you to see exactly when you may be overusing energy, which will help you to create an effective energy plan for your home or business.
  • Instant notification of over-usage – the Smart Meter can email you, text you or phone you when your energy usage goes too high, alerting you to potential problems with your energy utilities before they can become serious.

A Smart Meter upgrade for your southern Vermont property may be just the tool you’ve been looking for to help reduce your energy usage.

Professional Smart Meter installation is required, so call the experts at HB Energy Solutions today and see how a Smart Meter can help you!

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at HB Energy Solutions hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Is a Heat Pump Ideal for Heating in Southern Vermont?

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Heat pumps are a really great option for any homeowner looking for a safe and efficient home heating system. There are some climates that merit specific considerations, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Right now, let’s take a look at how a heat pump works, and why you would want to install one.

Heat Pump Operation

In order to understand how a heat pump works, you have to understand the different parts that make up the system. There are two primary parts that make up a heat pump, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. The two units are connected by a conduit, which contains power and refrigerant line. The refrigerant line runs to a coil installed in each unit, before running out of it again and back to the other unit.

When the heat is turned on, the coil in the outdoor unit begins to evaporate refrigerant. The now-gaseous refrigerant acts as a heat sink, drawing thermal energy out of the surrounding air and into the coil. The refrigerant gas then travels back down the line to the indoor unit, where it is condensed back into a liquid. This releases the thermal energy, which is used to heat the home.

Why Install a Heat Pump?

As previously mentioned, heat pumps are both safe and extremely energy efficient. They are not combustion-based systems, which means they don’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead, they operate entirely off of electricity to move heat from outside inside. This saves energy because the heat pump doesn’t burn any sort of fuel during operation. For the same reason, the heat pump is safer than combustion-based heating systems. Combustion-based systems produce toxic byproducts, which the heat pump doesn’t have to worry about.

Now, there is something you should consider before installing a heat pump. Heat pumps rely entirely on the outside air for thermal energy. Even in cold climates, there is often enough thermal energy to keep a home comfortably heated. In extremely cold areas, however, there is much less thermal energy available for the heat pump.

If you’re concerned that a heat pump may not be able to heat your home efficiently, call HB Energy Solutions. We provide heating services throughout Southern Vermont, and will be able to recommend the best solution for you.

The Best Type of Garage Heater for Southern Vermont

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Many people use their garage as an extra space to work in, rather than as a place to park their cars. You may use your garage, shed, or alternative detached structure as a workshop for woodworking or automotive repair, crafting, or even as a play area for the children. When winter hits in Southern Vermont, these activities should not have to cease. You can find a few different options for garage heating, and we’d like to help you decide on the best choice for you.

At HB Energy Solutions, we believe one of the best units available for heating a garage or any similar space in this climate is the Hot Dawg gas-fired garage heater. This heater has many special features including a 10-year warranty, quick installation, and quiet operation. It can run on natural gas or propane and features a flexible, low-profile design. The standard version is power vented to the outdoors, but you can get additional features if you choose a separated combustion unit.

The separated combustion unit offers several added benefits so that you don’t have to breathe in stale indoor air that may contain dangerous chemicals or other contaminants. The fan in a separated combustion heater draws in air from the outdoors instead of from the space around the unit. This can help to make the air feel more comfortable and control humidity levels. Besides eliminating some toxins from the air, these units also offer an increased AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating and greater durability.

You can still add ventilation to your garage with a separate heat recovery ventilator, even if you choose the standard power-exhausted Hot Dawg models. When you install a heat recovery ventilator, a fan draws in air from the outside and preheats it so that the stale indoor air can vent outside.

When you need garage heaters in Southern Vermont, the people at HB Energy Solutions are here to help. We are proud to offer Hot Dawg garage heaters for installation, and we’re happy to help you come up with a good system for ventilation as well.

Give our office a call today!

Common Repairs for Commercial Refrigerators

Monday, 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.