FB Integrated Solutions Inc. Blog : Archive for January, 2015

Benefits of Zone Heating in Boston

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Central forced air heating is by far the most popular kind of home heating system in the country. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s without its issues. Central forced air heating often relies on a single thermostat, which is normally installed close to the center of the home. Due to the differences in room cooling rates, and the fact that the thermostat can only measure the area directly around itself, this can lead to very uneven heating across the house. Central heating is also incapable of heating just one or two rooms of the house, which leads to wasting a lot of energy on areas that aren’t even occupied. Zone heating solves for these problems, making your heating system more efficient and comfortable. Let’s take a look at how zone heating works, and why you may want to install it.

What is Zone Heating?

Zone heating, also called zone control heating, is a system of dampers installed in the ductwork of your home. The dampers are basically large valves that can open and shut to direct air flow. A damper is installed at each room junction, effectively splitting the house into a number of isolated zones. A thermostat is installed in each room with a damper, allowing that room total control over the air flow into it.

What are the Advantages of Zone Heating?

Zone heating is often installed to remedy the two problems mentioned above. Normal central air heating is inaccurate in which rooms it heats, so zone heating isolates each room to allow precise control over their climates. Central air heating causes a lot of uneven hot and cold spots, due to its reliance on a single thermostat. Zone heating compensates for this by installing many thermostats, ensuring that each room can be set to the comfort level of whoever occupies it.

By solving these two issues, zone heating saves energy and makes the rooms in your home more comfortable to be in.

If you’re interested in installing a zone heating system in your home, call FB Electrical Services. We provide zone heating services throughout the Boston area.

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Why Install a Whole House Generator?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Until very recently, owning a home generator was nearly unthinkable, as generators were only in use in buildings where a power outage could be detrimental on a large scale such as at hospitals and data centers. But now, portable and whole house generators are available for installation in nearly any home. Portable generators can power a handful of appliances at once, but a whole house generator connects to your home’s electrical wiring, detecting at once when the power has shut off and switching on in a matter of seconds. If you’re unsure of whether a generator would be of benefit to your household, check out some of our top ways whole-house generators benefit homeowners in Wellesley, MA.

Many Homeowners Rely on a Steady Power Source

In some cases, electricity is necessary for members of the household to go on with their routine. Having an electrical backup source is a matter of life or death if family members rely on home medical equipment to keep them alive. But in other cases, going without electricity can be a health and safety risk or it can have a negative impact on a career. For people who work from home or own businesses, going without a computer for hours at a time may end up hurting their company. Other homeowners simply worry about children or household members with disabilities who may risk injury without any lighting in the house.

Power Outages Cost a Lot of Money

And if you don’t think you’d be too inconvenienced in case of a major power outage, consider the potential expenses that could result from an extended outage. Power outages cost homeowners in the U.S. billions of dollars every year.

  • Spoiled Food: When your refrigerator is suddenly out of commission, you may end up replacing hundreds of dollars’ worth of food.
  • Flooded Basement: If you rely on an electrical sump pump to prevent flooding, you may end up spending thousands making renovations and removing mold.
  • Alternative Shelter: You may be unable to use your heating and AC equipment overnight during a power outage, which sometimes necessitates spending hundreds on hotel stays.

At FB Electrical Services, we recommend whole house generators for most homes in Wellesley, MA, and offer professional installation and friendly advice. Call us today!

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How a Lack of Airflow Leads to Heating Repair

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Air flow is obviously a very big part of forced air systems. Without air flow, the entire system doesn’t work. It’s just producing heat and not sending it anywhere. It is precisely that issue that can cause a great deal of damage to your heating system. There are a couple of different ways that your heating system can be prevented from circulating air, but we’re going to focus on one: the air filter. Let’s take a look at what the air filter does, and how it can create air flow issues that lead to heating repair.

The Air Filter

All forced air heating systems have an air filter installed in their air handlers, to protect the system from any dust and debris that might be carried through the ducts. The air filter itself is a woven fiber mesh, stretched over a frame and inserted into the air return. It is designed to capture any harmful particulates that come into contact with it, while allowing air to continue flowing into the system.

The problem occurs when the filter is not cleaned or replaced every couple of months. If not regularly cleaned or replaced, the filter becomes so clogged with debris that it actually restricts the air flow into the system. This leads to a dangerous issue called “short-cycling”

Short-Cycling

When a clogged air filter is restricting air flow into the system, it deprives the system of the air it needs to maintain a safe temperature. The air moving through the system is being warmed by the heater, but the heater is also being cooled by the air. Without that airflow, the heat the heater is producing becomes trapped in the system. Eventually, the temperature rises past a safe level and the system shuts down to prevent overheating. Once the system cools off a bit, it starts up again and overheats again, and the cycle of on/off continues indefinitely. This places enormous strain on the heater, shortening its lifespan and increasing the risk of a more immediate breakdown.

If you think your heater might be having a problem with your heater, call FB Electrical Services. We provide heating repair throughout Boston.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Outdoor Lighting This Winter

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

New England is notoriously cold and dark during the winter, with the most challenging months being November through February. As such, good outdoor lighting isn’t just for outdoor décor, it’s a necessity. Whether you use motion-sensor lights to illuminate your way back into your home or need steady light to see spots of ice and snow in your driveway, good outdoor lighting during the winter helps keep you safe and secure. But no one wants a spotlight emanating from their home, which is where outdoor lighting design and installation in Somerville, MA become important. Working with professionals who have experience in both design and installation of outdoor lighting is the key to creating a well-lit outdoor atmosphere, so call the people you can count on: FB Electrical Services.

Ways Outdoor Lighting Helps

As mentioned above, outdoor lighting helps you see during the darkest part of the year. But it can also help achieve a warm, comfortable and inviting look to your home. Lighted walkways both illuminate the walkway and provide a level of security by seeing who (or what) may be walking around your property. You can easily incorporate holiday lights into an existing design, and if you are looking to install new outdoor lighting, winter allows you to do so without disturbing plants as they are dormant this time of year.

If you already have outdoor lighting, you can help maintain it by doing some of the following:

  • Replace burned-out bulbs on a timely basis
  • Remove leaves and other yard debris that may be around the lighting fixtures and bulbs
  • Re-bury any cables or wiring that should be in the topsoil
  • Clean dirty lenses
  • Adjust any fixtures that have shifted due to weather, snow, etc.
  • Cut back or remove any plant growth that may be interfering with your lighting

Good outdoor lighting can provide safety and security while making your home more aesthetically appealing.

If you are interested in seeing what outdoor lighting can do for your property in Somerville, MA, call FB Electrical Services today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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What to Look for when Selecting a Commercial Electrician

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Choosing a commercial electrician is a bit different from choosing a residential one. You likely have a much larger and more complex infrastructure than most homes. You almost certainly have less time to meddle around with unnecessary follow up visits and poorly done jobs. You have a business to run, and that means that any electrical work has to be done right the first time, preferably as quickly as possible. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you should look for when selecting a commercial electrician.

Experience

There are many things that home and commercial electrical systems share, and a home electrician might be able to figure out a few ways to help a commercial system. However, the stakes for repairing a commercial business system are much higher than a home system. If the commercial electrical grid experiences problems, it could severely interfere with your daily operations. No business owner want to have to shut down for a day because the electricity is out. As such, it pays to choose an electrician who is qualified to service commercial electrical systems.

Services

As with any kind of professional service, you’ll want to pick a commercial electrician that offers a wide variety of services. As previously mentioned, a commercial electrical system is more complex on average than home systems. It needs to be able to run a much larger number of appliances reliably, and do so for a much longer time compared to smaller systems. That means more and different parts in each system, with each requiring a separate set of procedures to maintain and repair it. The more services a commercial electrician offers, the more likely it is that he or she will be able to address any possible issues that may arise with your system. After all, you probably don’t want to have to switch between two or three different electricians, depending on what is wrong with your system.

If you’d like to know more about what to look for in a commercial electrician, call FB Electrical Services. We provide commercial services throughout Somerville, MA.

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Is a Furnace a Good Heating Option for My New Home?

Monday, January 5th, 2015

It depends on your individual circumstances, but the answer is very likely “yes.” Furnaces are the most common form of home heating in the country, and for good reason. There is a very wide variety of different furnace types available, each suited to a different environment. They are relatively easy to install and repair, and almost every HVAC company you encounter will have technicians who can service them. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that furnaces provide over other heating systems, and whether one would be a good fit for your needs.

Furnaces are Versatile

Furnaces can be found in any home in any geographical location in the country. Part of the reason for this is that they can cope with virtually any environment. A properly sized furnace can keep a home warm whether it’s a bit chilly outside or it’s several degrees below zero. This is due to the most common fuel source for furnaces: natural gas. When natural gas burns, it puts out an incredible amount of heat compared to the amount of fuel consumed. A natural gas furnace is more than capable of keeping up with the heating demands of any home.

Natural gas isn’t available in every location, however. Usually, a gas line has to be installed by the city in order for a gas-powered furnace to operate. That’s no problem, however, as furnaces can use many different kinds of fuel to provide heat. Electric furnaces are becoming more popular, as they can work anywhere that electricity is readily available. Though electric furnaces are not quite as efficient as natural gas furnaces, they are still able to provide for any heating needs.

Furnaces are Everywhere

It may seem like circular reasoning, but furnaces are a popular choice precisely because they are so common. If a part of the furnace breaks, a replacement can usually be easily found or ordered. Some other heat systems are so specialized that it takes weeks to get a replacement part. HVAC companies make sure that they can service furnaces, because they are often the most common heating systems in the area. If you install a furnace, you can be sure that anything you need for it will be much easier to obtain than with other systems.

If you’d like to install a new furnace, call FB Electrical Services. We service furnaces throughout the Boston, MA area.

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12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at FB Electrical Services Inc. hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

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