Boston Standard Company Wins 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award

For the 8th consecutive year, Boston Standard Company has won the Angie’s List Super Service Award. The award is issued annually by Angie’s List, and it is based on verified customer reviews. The award is given only to the top 5% of companies in each category.

We’ve been named a plumbing and heating Super Service Provider in Boston for eight straight years, and we have only our customers to thank for that. We’re grateful that our clients think highly enough of our service to take the time to review our work. By letting others know about their experiences with service providers in a public forum like Angie’s List – positive and negative – they help identify both reputable and disreputable contractors in our field.

Boston deserves great heating, cooling and plumbing services

At Boston Standard Company, we strive to provide the highest quality service to our customers each time we enter their home or business. Our customers don’t usually call us when things are going right. We get the call when the furnace won’t work, a pipe is leaking or a drain is clogged.

We know our customers rely on us to diagnose their problems accurately, and provide a solution that gets them back on track fast. Fixing a problem in your home or business isn’t like fixing a problem with a car. We know that in order to serve you, we need to come into your home, and some people aren’t comfortable with that.

We also know that repairs and installations can be messy. We take the time to protect your belongings and floors from spills, splatters, dirt and debris. Other than the repair itself, we like to “leave no trace” of the time we spend in your home.

We try to be clear and honest in our communications with you regarding your unique situation. Our trained and licensed staff can offer options for immediate repairs, as well as longer-term solutions for your situation, if that’s warranted. We don’t try to scare our customers into making expensive, unnecessary repairs. We also have a range of solutions that can save you money on your long-term heating and cooling costs.

Our focus is always on meeting our customers’ needs. We take the time to train, prepare and equip our technicians to diagnose problems and provide rapid solutions. We also offer 24-hour emergency service plans that give you the emergency plumbing, heating and cooling services you need around the clock.

Once again, thanks to our Boston area customers who took the time to review our work and recommend us on Angie’s List in 2017!

Photo Credit: Angie’s List

Tips for beating the cold temperatures!

The most unpleasant part of winter has got to be the ultra-cold temperatures that rush in from the Arctic. If you’re going to do battle with an Alberta Clipper, you’re going to have to be prepared. Here are a few tips for beating the cold, no matter where you are.

Protecting yourself from cold temperatures

The best way to beat the cold is to employ two strategies – one designed to keep yourself warm, and the other to keep your home safe!

Let’s tackle personal comfort, first.

Keep moving. Keeping your body moving is the best way to maintain your personal comfort. Moving regularly will help you avoid the aching joints and muscles that always seem to accompany Arctic air.

Layer your clothes. Keeping your core warm – that is, your head, chest and abdomen – will coax your body into maintaining good blood flow to your extremities. Your body’s first priority is to keep its internal organs warm, so it will naturally reduce blood flow to your extremities if it’s having trouble minding the store. Keeping your core warm with layers of clothes will make it easier to maintain proper circulation throughout your body. Even if it means wearing a jacket, vest, hat or sweater inside, keeping your core warm will benefit your entire body.

Wear wool and down. Wool and down are traditional winter wear, but they have a special property that other materials don’t have. Both wool and down will retain heat even when they’re wet. Other fabrics lose their insulating properties when they come in contact with water. Choose wool and down over other materials – including synthetics – to keep yourself downright toasty.

Ditch your wet clothes. If you have to go outside and your clothes get wet, change them ASAP. Wet clothes offer a double whammy. First, they generally don’t retain heat. Worse than that, the water will freeze before it will evaporate. That puts you at serious risk of developing hypothermia.

Helping your home beat the cold

Now, let’s look at ways to improve the comfort of your personal space.

Use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can actually help you save money and heat your home to a comfortable temperature. Regardless of your programmed schedule, leave the heat turned up when temperatures drop to single digits or below zero. At that point, your pipes are at risk of freezing. It costs less to run the furnace than it does to repair your plumbing!

Humidify your home. Dry air will make you feel cold, even when the temperature is 70°F or better. A whole house humidifier attached to your furnace can help keep your home comfortably warm and save you money, too.

Adding humidity to dry air will help the air retain heat better and will make you feel more comfortable. It also reduces the air’s ability to transfer moisture from your body. 50% humidity is ideal. If your home’s humidity is lower than that, you’ll feel cold, even when the thermostat says you shouldn’t.

If you don’ t have a whole house humidifier, leave your bathroom door open while you shower. You can also put shallow dishes of water near the heat ducts and radiators to force more water into the air.

Run your ceiling fans clockwise. Ceiling fans have a switch that allows them to run clockwise or counterclockwise. In the winter, run your ceiling fans clockwise, so they force heat that has risen to the ceiling back toward the floors.

Change your furnace filters regularly. Keeping your furnace filters clean is the best way to maintain your heating system’s efficiency. Clogged filters make the furnace work harder, and causes it to consume more energy. Regular filter maintenance will also improve the air quality in your home.

A special note about pipes

Take care of your pipes. Keep pipes from freezing by keeping the heat on. Open sink cabinet doors to help air circulate around the pipes. If the worst happens, turn the water off as the shutoff. Clean the area around the pipe to remove cobwebs, lint, dust and insulation. These things can all ignite! Use an incandescent bulb or a hairdryer to thaw a frozen pipe. You can also use heat tape. Do not use a torch!

If you have to thaw a pipe, open the tap and work your way back to the frozen section. Pressure from the ice will have weakened the affected pipe. It will need to be replaced, even if it isn’t leaking.

Because water expands when it freezes, ice exerts enormous pressure on a pipe. According to one insurance adjuster, the average cost to repair a frozen pipe and its associated damage is $10,000. The repair process can take weeks or months. Most often, water damage caused by pipes isn’t covered by insurance.

The best way to deal with frozen pipes is to avoid them! If you have pipes on or near an outer wall or crawl space, insulate them. Pipe insulation is inexpensive and is readily available at home improvement stores. Flowing water doesn’t freeze readily You can open the tap and let the water run continuously in a stream about the diameter of a pencil. If the thought of wasting water bothers you, remember that paying a larger water bill is cheaper than repairing the damage from a broken pipe.

At Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating, we’re here to help. If you experience trouble with your plumbing, furnace or boiler, or you’d like more information about adding a humidifier to your home, please give us a call at (617) 288-2911.

Photo Credit: Marcus Jeffrey, via Flickr

Caring for high efficiency boilers

“High efficiency” is all the rage. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about heating and cooling equipment, furnaces or automobiles. People want to get the most out of what they’re paying for. So why does maintenance for a high efficiency boiler cost so much?

High efficiency boilers need regular maintenance

Marketers use “efficiency” as a synonym for “saving money.” It’s true – you can save money by improving the efficiency of just about any device. Briefly, efficiency is a comparison of what you put into something versus what you get out of it. When you can reduce your input but increase your output, you gain efficiency. On the other hand, when you put a lot in and don’t get much out, your efficiency suffers.

The same is true with boilers. You burn fuel, and you expect to get a certain amount of heat out. High efficiency boilers specialize in producing a lot of heat while consuming less fuel. The trick to maintaining high efficiency is regular maintenance. But regular maintenance can be expensive. Maintenance on a high efficiency boiler can be even more expensive – but why?

Boilers might perform the same service in your home that a furnace or other heating system does, but they’re not the same thing. “High efficiency” generally means that the item – whatever it is – will have a premium price tag. High efficiency furnaces and water heaters, for example, may cost 30%-50% more than a similar piece of equipment that doesn’t sport the “high efficiency” label.

A high efficiency boiler might cost twice as much as a non-HE boiler. You can trace back some of the increased cost to design and manufacturing changes. You can also chalk some of the increased cost up to the limited number of manufacturers of high-efficiency boiler equipment. Scarcity makes the price of anything go up.

High efficiency boilers and the total cost of ownership

The higher price to purchase and install a high efficiency boiler is definitely offset by its operating costs. High efficiency boilers can achieve 85%-95% efficiency during the middle of winter. The boiler returns the vast majority of the fuel to you as heat, and that’s what you want!

The disadvantage is that high efficiency devices require a lot of maintenance. Corrosion affects a high-efficiency boiler in the same way it affects lower-efficiency equipment. The design of the boiler might actually impair the operation of the heat exchanger, resulting in higher maintenance costs. A new boiler may also not play well with other components of your heating system, causing either a reduction in efficiency or increased maintenance costs.

High efficiency boilers also have much higher water flow rates than conventional boilers do. To maintain proper operation, the pump must be sized correctly to meet the boiler’s need for a higher water flow rate.

In addition, regular maintenance for a high efficiency boiler includes changing out the parts that either wear out through use, or that become unsuitable for use when a technician disassembles the combustion chamber.

One way to think about the cost of high-efficiency boilers is in terms of your total cost of ownership (TCO). Boilers have fixed costs – purchase, installation, maintenance – and ongoing costs – the cost of fuel to operate the boiler. Depending upon your fuel source and the efficiency of your boiler, your operating costs could make up the majority of your total annual or lifetime costs. By keeping your operating costs low, you’ll come out ahead.

Your high efficiency boiler could replace your water heater

Another thing to keep in mind is that your boiler can also provide your domestic hot water. If you have a boiler and also a separate water heater, you could potentially save money by having your boiler take over the water heating duties. Eliminating the conventional water heater will reduce your overall utility costs.

If you’d like more information about high efficiency boilers, boiler maintenance or configuring your boiler to provide hot water for your taps, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing and Heating at (617) 288-2911.

Photo Credit: Weil McLain

Oil to gas conversion debate rages in winter

When the temperature drops, Boston homeowners who rely on heating oil always ask, “Should I do an oil to gas conversion?” Heating oil is a commodity, so prices can fluctuate significantly during the heating season. To some extent, Boston homeowners can offset price increases by stocking up on heating oil before the heating season gets into full swing.

In some cases, however, homeowners can’t take full advantage of lower heating oil prices when they occur. When prices are relatively low, homeowners may not have sufficient space to store heating oil. They also may not have the extra cash on hand to top off their heating oil supplies.

Right now, heating oil prices are comparatively low, at about $2.70 per gallon. That doesn’t mean that heating oil customers are getting a break, however. In 2016-17, the average cost per gallon of heating oil was about $2.50. According to the experts at the Energy Markets Division (MassDOER), the average Massachusetts natural gas residential customer spent about $730 to heat a home last year. In comparison, the average Massachusetts heating oil customer spent nearly $2,200. With oil prices already above last year’s averages, homeowners that use heating oil can expect to spend more this year to heat their homes.

Can an oil to gas conversion save money?

Is an oil to gas conversion worth the expense? When you can reduce your operating costs by two-thirds, it’s definitely worth considering. Over a five-year period, homeowners could reduce their heating expenditures by more than $7,000. With such a significant reduction in operating costs, an oil to gas conversion quickly pays for itself!

Overall, the price of natural gas has been remarkably stable over the past seven years. The price of other fuel types, including heating oil, propane and electricity, have experienced wide fluctuations. Experts predict continued stability in the cost of natural gas heat. That means homeowners can expect to see stable winter heating costs for the foreseeable future.

In addition to significant cost savings, there are other benefits. First, the cost of heating is spread out over the course of the season. Natural gas is a metered service, so your bill is based on what you use during a particular billing period. Unlike heating oil, you don’t need to come up with a big payment up front. Utilities also offer “budget” plans that amortize the cost of gas consumption over the course of an entire year. A budget plan allows you to equalize your utility payments each month. By itself, that can be a big stabilizer for your annual energy costs.

Even if you don’t want to budget through your utility company, you can still set aside your “average” utility cost each month in a separate savings account. In the summer, you’ll be setting aside more money when your utility bills are low. In the winter, you’ll be drawing on the extra cash you’ve socked away. You’ll get the benefit of stability in your heating and cooling budget, and remain in control of your cash.

An oil to gas conversion offers other benefits

Another benefit to consider is environmental. When you convert to natural gas, you no longer store fuel on your property or in your home. You eliminate the danger of a spill or leak. Oil spills and cleanups are carefully regulated by the State. Cleaning up a leak – even a relatively small one – can be remarkably expensive. Further, heating oil is toxic. Contact with skin and inhalation of vapors can cause serious health issues.

Even if your oil tank is in good condition, other events in and around your home can cause problems for your tank. Broken pipes or excessive rain can cause flooding that compromises the integrity or stability of the tank. Careless refilling and other accidents can cause significant spills. When you do an oil to gas conversion, you eliminate these hazards and make your home healthier and safer.

If your goal is to reduce your home’s carbon footprint, an oil to gas conversion will help you! Heating oil combustion releases about 38% more carbon dioxide into the air than natural gas combustion does. In fact, natural gas combustion releases less carbon into the atmosphere than coal of any type, diesel fuel, heating oil, gasoline or propane.

Most consumers in the Boston area qualify for 0% interest loans to finance energy efficiency upgrades. In addition, some homeowners can qualify for 0% loans of up to $50,000 for large improvement projects that improve weatherization or heating system upgrades.

For more information about an oil to gas conversion, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing at (617) 288-2911.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, via Flickr

Boston DIY Plumbing Workshop

Plumbing and heating are two of your home’s most important systems. When they don’t work correctly, they can jeopardize the comfort and safety of your home. The good news is that homeowners can manage many common problems that can arise with heating and plumbing systems, thanks to an excellent DIY plumbing workshop coming up this weekend.

Plumbing and Heating Workshop


Joseph Wood, owner of Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating will be on hand to deliver a great classroom-style DIY plumbing workshop designed just for homeowners who want to know how to maintain and repair issues like plumbing leaks and drain clogs, and perform routine maintenance on heating systems.

In addition to repair and maintenance tips, Joseph will share advice for homeowners who want to reduce their water consumption without sacrificing performance. He will also address questions and concerns about pipes and pipe replacement, heating and cooling system replacement, rebates and incentives for system improvements, and offer preventative maintenance strategies. Joseph will also show attendees how to spot more serious plumbing and heating issues that require professional attention.

The DIY plumbing workshop is also a great opportunity for anyone who’s considering a career in plumbing or heating and cooling. The next decade will see tremendous growth in employment for trained, licensed plumbers and heating and cooling professionals. As an apprentice, you’ll begin working immediately and developing the skills you’ll need to earn your plumbing license.

Joseph has been working in plumbing, heating and cooling for more than 20 years, and owns Boston Standard Plumbing and Heating in Dorchester. Boston Standard Plumbing and Heating has been recognized annually since 2010 with an Angie’s List Super Service Award. Boston Standard has also been recognized by the Better Business Bureau and the Best of Boston for its outstanding service.

The DIY plumbing workshop takes place Saturday, November 5 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM at Boston Building Resources, 100 Terrace Street in Boston. Please visit the Boston Building Resources website to register for this workshop. The registration cost is $25. We hope to see you there!

Photo Credit: clement127, via Flickr.com

Heat Pump Water Heater Rebates and Credits

If you’re thinking about replacing your electric water heater, now is a great time to take advantage of an excellent rebate opportunity from MassSave. If you install a qualifying heat pump water heater and you receive your electrical service from a MassSave program sponsor, you can take advantage of a $750 rebate.

Until December 31, 2016, you can also take advantage of a federal income tax credit of $300 on your heat pump water heater purchase. That means you can reduce the cost of installation of a heat pump water heater by $1,000 just by acting right now.

Heat pump water heaters keep saving

The savings don’t stop there. A heat pump water heater can reduce your annual energy spending by more than $300! There’s no reason not to take advantage of this exceptional rebate-and-credit offer.

Heat pump water heaters aren’t appropriate for every space because they extract heat from the surrounding air. Heat pump water heaters work best in spaces that remain at a temperature of 50° F or higher. They also need about 750 square feet of space to work. Heat pump water heaters aren’t approved for use in utility closets, even if the closet has a louvered door.

Worried about not having enough hot water on a cold winter morning? Most heat pump water heaters are hybrid devices. They work first as a heat pump, but have an electric backup system to ensure that your hot water is always hot!

If you’d like more information about heat pump water heaters, this excellent rebate opportunity through MassSave, or you’re trying to figure out whether a heat pump water heater is a good choice for your home, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 to schedule a consultation. This rebate program and the associated tax credit are both time limited offers, so don’t wait!

Photo Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, via Flickr.com

Should you invest in a WiFi thermostat?

WiFi thermostats have been gaining ground in the US marketplace for a few years. Today, many manufacturers offer WiFi enabled options for controlling the temperature in your home. Is now the time to invest in a WiFi thermostat?

Choosing a WiFi thermostat

Nest Labs has received a lot of attention for its Wi-Fi thermostat, but Nest, which was founded in 2010, isn’t actually the first WiFi enable thermostat on the market. That honor goes to Ecobee, a Toronto company that was founded in 2007. Ecobee is now on its third-generation device.

Aside from Ecobee and Nest, Honeywell, Trane, Schneider Electric, Lux/Geo, Emerson, Aprilaire, Venstar and a host of others offer WiFi enabled thermostats. Generally speaking, WiFi thermostats – when used properly – can reduce your energy expenditures by about 20%-25%. Since heating and cooling account for the majority of a home’s energy consumption, it’s fair to say that you can realize significant savings using a WiFi thermostat. How much you save will depend upon how much you consume.

If you’re purchasing a new heating and cooling system, chances are good that the manufacturer makes a WiFi enabled thermostat. Going with a thermostat that’s made by the manufacturer of your equipment virtually eliminates the issue of compatibility.

If you’re going with an after-market product, you’ll need to do a little research on your candidates to verify that a particular product works with your heating and cooling equipment. You may need additional wiring to support WiFi operation. You’ll also need to verify that a product is compatible with your household wireless router. Finally, you’ll want to know that the product you select works with the mobile devices you use. iOS is the most popular mobile platform, followed by Android. Windows is less popular, so if you carry a Windows phone or a Windows mobile device, you will want to make sure a compatible app is available so you can control your thermostat while you’re away.

If you’re good with technology, WiFi thermostat installation can be a do-it-yourself project. If you’re not good with technology, or your system needs additional wiring to support the thermostat, you may want to go with professional installation and setup.

Right now, customers of Eversource, National Grid, Columbia Gas, Liberty Utilities and Berkshire Gas can purchase certain WiFi thermostats at a discount through the MassSave program and have them professionally installed at no cost! In addition, you may be eligible for rebates of up to $100 on WiFi thermostats not available through MassSave’s discount purchase program.

If you’d like more information about WiFi thermostats, or would like to have one installed through MassSave, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to help you select a WiFi thermostat that’s right for you, and get it up and running!

Photo Credit: ecobee

Converting from oil to natural gas for Earth Day

If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Earth Day, consider converting your heating oil furnace or boiler to natural gas. Not only will you save money, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 40%. Aside from coal, no other fuel releases more carbon into the atmosphere. In fact, heating oil releases more carbon into the atmosphere than gasoline does!

Replacing heating equipment that uses fuel oil can also save you as much as 50% on your energy expenditures each year. Homeowners can borrow as much as $25,000 in the form of a 7-year, 0% interest loan to finance the cost of replacing a heating system with a new, high-efficiency system. You can finance a fuel conversion with a MassSave loan. This program gives you a great opportunity to make a significant reduction in your home’s carbon emissions, as well as reducing the cost of heating your home in the winter.

If you already have a natural gas furnace or boiler, but it’s an older, less efficient model, there is a different program through MassSave that you can take advantage of. This program, the Early Boiler/Furnace Replacement program, cannot be used to help reduce the cost of a fuel conversion, but it can help reduce the cost of replacing working but inefficient heating equipment.

This program offers rebates of up to $3,500 on the purchase and installation of qualifying heating equipment. For natural gas furnaces that are at least 12 years old but still operational, this program offers a rebate of $1,000 when replaced by a natural gas furnace with an ECM blower and an AFUE (efficiency rating) of at least 95%.

The Early Boiler Replacement program offers rebates of up to $3,000 on a natural gas, forced hot water boiler with an efficiency of at least 90% for owner-occupied properties. The rebate for a rental property is $3,500. Steam boilers with efficiency ratings of at least 82% also qualify for an early replacement rebate of $1,900. With the Early Replacement program, it’s important to remember that your older heating equipment must be in working condition. Working boilers must be at least 30 years old. Working furnaces must be at least 12 years old to qualify for the replacement rebate.

If you’d like more information about converting from heating oil to natural gas, the MassSave 2016 Heat Loan program, or replacing a working furnace or boiler under the MassSave Early Boiler/Furnace Replacement program, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We’ll be happy to conduct the required energy audit and help you choose qualifying, high-efficiency equipment.

Happy Earth Day!

Photo Credit: Sandor Pinter , via FreeImages.com

2016 Heating Equipment Replacement Rebates

MassSave has announced its 2016 Early Heating and Cooling Equipment Replacement rebates! This program provides a rebate incentive to replace WORKING but inefficient residential heating and cooling equipment. Non-working equipment is not eligible for rebates under this program.

To qualify for rebates under this program, a homeowner or landlord must replace a working boiler that is at least 30 years old or a working furnace that is at least 12 years old. Rental properties with up to 4 units qualify for this rebate. Properties with more than 4 units are not eligible to participate.

The rebate program is limited to customers of Berkshire Gas, Blackstone Gas Company, Cape Light Compact, Columbia Gas of MA, Eversource, Liberty Utilities, National Grid and Unitil. Eligible installation dates vary by utility, but most installations must be completed and rebates must be requested by December 31, 2016. Rebates through some utilities expire on October 31, 2016.

The rebate program is not available to customers who want to switch fuel sources. For example, you cannot receive a rebate if you intend to switch from an oil furnace to a natural gas furnace.

Heating oil: Rebates of between $750 and $1,900 are available for the replacement of oil furnaces and boilers, provided the new equipment’s AFUE rating is 86% or higher for furnaces with an ECM blower and forced hot water boilers, and 84% for a steam boiler.

Propane and Natural Gas: Rebates of between $1,000 and $3,500 are available for the replacement of propane or natural gas furnaces and boilers, provided the new equipment’s AFUE rating is 95% or higher for furnaces with an ECM blower, 90% for forced hot water boilers in rental units and owner-occupied single-family residences, and 82% for steam boilers. Fuel source conversions are not eligible.

Electric: Homeowners can take advantage of rebates of between $750 and $1,000 on early replacements for central air conditioners and heat pumps of any age, as long as the replacement central air conditioner is rated with a SEER of at least 16 and an EER of at least 13. Central heat pumps of any age are eligible for a $750 rebate, as long as the replacement heat pump is rated with a SEER of at least 16 and a HSPF of at least 8.5. Central heat pumps of any age are eligible for a $1,000 rebate, as long as the replacement equipment is rated with a SEER of at least 18 and a HSPF of at least 9.6.

If you have older, inefficient but working heating and cooling equipment in your home, the 2016 Early Heating Equipment Replacement rebates offer a great opportunity to replace your system(s) with more efficient ones. You’ll recover the cost of the upgrade more quickly through reduced operating costs, and you’ll be doing your part to help the environment.

If you would like more information about the MassSave Early Heating and Cooling Equipment Rebate program, or would like to schedule a visit, please call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911.

Photo Credit: Nerijus J., via FreeImages.com

Air Source Heat Pumps Can Save Money

You might be tempted to think about heat pumps as “new” technology. They’re not. The concept of a heat pump was actually described in 1852 by Lord Kelvin, and even that was a refinement of a demonstration of artificial refrigeration – one that took place in 1748! Robert C. Webber developed the idea (and a working prototype) for a ground source heat pump in the late 1940’s, with a little help from his water heater and an accidental encounter with the business end of his freezer. (He burned himself by touching the freezer’s refrigeration line – which was hot!) After re-routing the refrigerant line through his water heater as a test, he built a full-sized heat pump that served his entire home.

There are many different heat pump designs, but they all do the same basic thing – they move heat from one place to another using refrigerants. Although they may have operated on the same basic principles, those basic heat pumps are a far cry from today’s air-source heat pumps. If you have dismissed heat pumps as being too expensive to operate, or not robust enough to make it through a Boston winter, keep reading.

In very basic terms, a heat pump is an air conditioner that operates in reverse, generating heat instead of cool air. A mini-split or ductless system is a reversible system, so it can generate both hot and cold air. When refrigerants are compressed, they heat up. When they’re expanded, they get very cold. By circulating uncompressed (cold) gases, the system can make the refrigerants “absorb” heat. When the system forces the gas to expand, the refrigerant dumps heat.

Early heat pumps used the ground as a heat source, so refrigerant loops were buried in the ground around a house or building. Advances in technology have made air-source heat pumps more efficient and less expensive to install and operate. Today’s heat pumps aren’t like heat pumps that were installed even 10 years ago. New refrigerants are exceptionally efficient because they can compress and decompress much better than older refrigerants. This “supercompression” allows the refrigerants to absorb and transport heat from the air much more readily than ever before.

As an added bonus, air-source heat pumps (think mini-split ductless systems) can operate in both directions. The refrigerant flow is reversible, so when the refrigerant moves in one direction, it delivers heat into a home. Reverse the flow of refrigerant and the refrigerant will absorb heat from the home and dissipate it outdoors.

Air-source heat pumps are electric, so when you install one, your electric bill will rise, but because air source heat pumps are so efficient, the rise in your electric bill will offset the cost of heating your home using another fuel. As an added advantage, you get both heating and cooling in one package without the need to install ductwork – a major source of inefficiency. They’re also incredibly quiet. When they’re operating, the indoor units are acoustically no louder than a whisper.

If you’d like more information about using an air-source heat pump or a ductless mini-split heating and cooling system, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We can schedule a visit and show you how an air-source heat pump can heat and cool your home.

Photo Credit: Stig-Espen Soleng, via FreeImages.com