How Do Boilers Heat Homes?

October 22nd, 2014

Boilers are an increasingly popular option for central home heating in the U.S. Though boilers have long been an option for home heating, they have been eclipsed by furnaces for quite a while. This has led to a widespread ignorance among homeowners regarding how boilers actually heat homes. Read on for an explanation of what a central boiler can do to heat your home.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating involves the installation of water pipes in every room of the house you want heated. These pipes can be installed in the walls, or between the floor and subfloor. Occasionally, the pipes will be connected to external systems like baseboard heaters and radiators. These pipes are then connected to a boiler. The boiler heats and distributes water through the house using these pipes. Heat then radiates through the pipes, or the external systems, and into the room.

This kind of heating provides a couple of unique advantages when compared to forced air heating systems. When a forced air system blows air into a room, the heat causes the air to rise to the ceiling. As the air cools, it will sink to the floor of the room. This causes uneven and uncomfortable heating, where one part of a room may be warm while another may be quite cold. Radiant heating solves this problem by transmitting its heat through solid objects instead of through the air. Because radiant heating is often installed in the floor, the heat it gives off stays near the floor of the room where it is most effective.

Radiant heating is also much more efficient than most forced air systems. Standard forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to duct leaks. Radiant systems avoid this problem completely, delivering more heat to the intended areas. Water is also a much better conductor of thermal energy than air is, providing a medium that can store and deliver heat more efficiently.

If you are thinking of installing a boiler in your home, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We professionally install boilers in the North Potomac area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Signs You Need Well Pump Repairs

October 15th, 2014

Many, many years ago, homeowners would have to use buckets and rope to collect water from the wells outside of their homes. Of course those days are long over, but when your well pump is not working properly or is not working at all, you may long for this simple solution. Fortunately, you can call a plumber in Bethesda at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for quality well pump repair whenever there is no water coming into your home. Here are a few more signs that indicate the need for immediate well pump repair.

  • Low Water Pressure: Low or no water pressure could indicate trouble with the faucets or pipes in your home, but your well pump is also a probable culprit, particularly if the trouble persists in every area of the home. Municipal water supplies stay pressurized so that water can flow into homes with ease. While a well is a less expensive way to acquire water, it requires a working well pump to supply adequate pressure in order to reach the home. Low water pressure may mean there is a problem with the motor or an electrical issue.
  • Intermittent Water: You may only receive water in intermittent bursts, which can also indicate a problem with the motor. However, sometimes this simply means the components of your pump are worn down and replacement may be the best option. A plumber will make sure you get the correctly sized replacement for efficiency and longevity.
  • Noises: Finally, strange noises can indicate problems with the pump, even if you don’t notice much of a change with the water pressure. There are a number of possibilities for unusual noises, depending on the type of system you own, either a submersible pump or a jet pump. There may be a clogged nozzle or a hole in the pipe, among other issues. It’s best to call a technician to ensure you’re not at risk of losing water pressure entirely.

If you rely on well water, you can save a lot on utilities, but this requires maintenance and occasional repairs to keep it working as it should. Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing when you decide it’s time to see a plumber in Bethesda for well pump repair.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Your Heater to Break Down Before Scheduling Heating Repair

October 8th, 2014

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a common attitude when it comes to things like heating maintenance. Why bother spending the extra money to have an HVAC technician take a look at your heating system when nothing is wrong with it? While it may seem like common sense, this kind of approach is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Read on to discover the reasons why your heating system needs preventative maintenance.

Cost vs Benefit

If we’re going to stay in the realm of clichés, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could be answered with “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sure, you could save a bit of money by waiting until your heating system breaks to call a professional. Whatever small amount you save, however, will be cancelled out by the cost of replacing parts or even the entire unit. Regular, preventative maintenance allows for relatively inexpensive fixes to be applied to problems before they grow into bigger issues. The longer you let a problem go unchecked, the more damage it could cause to your system. Rest assured that replacing your entire heating unit is many times more expensive than a simple maintenance visit.

Convenience

Most HVAC professionals recommend that you have your heating system serviced once a year. One maintenance visit a year isn’t that much of an inconvenience, especially for the benefit of drastically reducing the chances of your heater breaking down. By contrast, if you wait for your system to break down before calling a professional you could be waiting for days. This is especially true in winter, when demand on HVAC technicians tends to be high. If you have the bad luck to lose your heat in the middle of winter, the last thing you want is to wait several days for it to be fixed.

When you look at the pros and cons of regular maintenance vs spot repairs, the winner is clear. Have your heater checked at least once a year to ensure that it is working properly. If you haven’t scheduled your annual heating maintenance yet, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today. We provide professional heating repair service in Bethesda, MD area.

Important Repairs for Your Kitchen Sink

October 1st, 2014

The kitchen is one of the most useful rooms in the home, and the kitchen sink is at the center of it all. This fixture makes so many of the most common kitchen tasks easier. You throw food scraps in the disposal for easy cleanup during meal preparation, and you rely on your faucet for fresh drinking water, among other uses. So if you need repairs for your kitchen sink, you need them done right away.

If you find yourself in need of repairs for your kitchen plumbing in Rockville, call one of the friendly professionals at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Here are some of the most common problems we see and the most important repairs you can schedule for your kitchen sink.

  • Fixing a Leaky Faucet: A leaky faucet is not only an annoyance; it can also cost you far more on your water bill than is needed. Get repairs done quickly and accurately by calling a plumber with the right tools and know-how for fast service.
  • Unclogging the Drain: Kitchen drain clogs can mean foul odors and quite the mess during meal cleanup. These clogs are best left to professionals with the proper drain cleaning tools, such as augers that grip on to tough clogs to pull them to the surface. Liquid drain cleaners can further damage the pipes and cannot dissolve most types of blockages.
  • Replace a Broken Garbage Disposal: Your garbage disposal is responsible for breaking food up into smaller pieces so that it can move into the sewer lines with ease. A broken garbage disposal simply cannot get the job done. Try the reset button at the bottom of your unit for a slow or stopped unit. If this does not work, a technician can install a new one.
  • Descaling the Pipes: If you’ve noticed low water pressure in one or more faucets or fixtures, it could be due to mineral buildup in the pipes. A plumber will need to descale the insides of the pipes and may recommend solutions.

For necessary repairs to your kitchen plumbing or any other needed plumbing repairs for your Rockville home, call an expert at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today!

Ways to Tell You Need Duct Repair in North Potomac

September 24th, 2014

We are in that small seasonal window where you don’t need your air conditioning full-time any more, and haven’t switched to heating yet. It’s a great time of year to perform maintenance on your system, including duct repair in North Potomac. Your ductwork isn’t visible like other parts of your HVAC system, which can make it difficult to decipher the signs of problems with your ducts. As such, the technicians at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing have put together a list of common signs that indicate it may be time to repair your ductwork.

Signs of Faulty Ductwork

Here are some signs to look for if you think your ductwork may be faulty:

  • Whistling sounds – are you hearing pronounced whistling noises every time your HVAC system runs? This can be an indication that air is leaking though holes and cracks in your ductwork.
  • High energy bills –  faulty ductwork can account for up to 30% of total air loss in your home. When you lose this much air, your system has to compensate for it, and does so by working harder. If your system has to work harder, it will need more energy to do so.
  • Uneven heating and cooling – are you experiencing numerous hot-and-cold spots in your home? This could be a sign of broken or disconnected ductwork.
  • Decrease in indoor air quality –with faulty ductwork, not only does air escape from your system, outside air and particles can also get into your system through the holes and cracks. This can compromise your indoor air quality and also increase the amount of humidity in your home.

Duct Testing Helps Pinpoint the Problems

Determining exactly where your ductwork is failing can be challenging, which is why our technicians will conduct duct testing. With duct testing, your ductwork is pressurized, which allows the technician to check for the parts of your ductwork where the air flow is interrupted. Once the problems are assessed, steps can be taken to repair them.

Faulty ductwork can cost you money, compromise your comfort and decrease your indoor air quality. If you suspect your ductwork may be faulty, schedule an appointment by calling Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today and ask us about our professional duct repair service in North Potomac.

How to Tell You Need Water Line Replacement

September 17th, 2014

The water line of your home runs from the municipal water supply to the appliances and fixtures in your house. These pipes should stay in good condition for many years, but, eventually, you will need to replace the water line to ensure your water supply is safe. But these pipes are buried deep under the ground, and it may be difficult to determine the right time for water line replacement.

In general, you don’t want to wait for a major repair need to flood your yard or basement before scheduling replacement. While you should ultimately trust an expert’s advice, here are some of the ways you may be able to tell you need water line replacement in Bethesda.

  • Frequent Leaks: Leaks may occur from time to time, but if you feel you’ve repaired your pipes over and over again, it simply makes more sense to replace. Most likely, your pipes are corroding and will continue to corrode until you’ve amassed quite a few repair bills. Scheduling replacement means a one-time service charge and peace of mind knowing leaks will not occur for some time. Not sure if you have a leak? Low water pressure throughout the home is a good indicator.
  • Older Pipes: If your pipes are leaking too often, it may be a sign of old age. Pipes built before the 1970s were made from galvanized steel, a material which can easily be home to rust and other major plumbing problems. These days, most pipes are made from copper or plastic. It’s important to replace pipes made from galvanized steel, even if you don’t notice any problems, in order to protect your potable water supply.
  • Mineral Buildup: Low water pressure may be a sign that minerals have built up along the insides of your pipes and that the problem is too serious for repairs. Have a professional install a water softener to keep this from becoming a problem, but a plumber may recommend total water line replacement.

Choosing a dependable professional plumber like one of the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help you decide whether you’re ready for water line replacement in Bethesda. Give us a call!

Are Air Conditioning Repairs Still Urgent During the Fall?

September 10th, 2014

When you have a problem with your air conditioning system, you may be tempted to wait for repairs. It’s already fall, and you don’t expect to have to use your air conditioner for much longer. Are air conditioning repairs really still urgent in the fall?

If you put off repairs until spring, you may run into serious problems with your system. Problems with your air conditioner often worsen over time, or a damaged component may eventually affect other components of your unit as well. Even if you only plan on running your air conditioner a few more times this fall, you’ll bring your system one step closer to a sudden breakdown. Let’s look at a couple of examples of problems that can’t wait until the next cooling season.

Low refrigerant is a common problem that often results from a leak. When your system was installed, refrigerant was measured out according to the cooling capacity of your unit. Refrigerant is meant to stay at this level throughout the life of the air conditioner, but corrosion or loose connections may cause it to leak from the system. If you have a refrigerant leak, you may notice reduced cooling power from your system. But low levels also keep other components from working properly. The compressor, for example, is sized to handle a certain load of refrigerant. If you wait for repairs, and you turn on your unit the first day of the cooling season, more refrigerant may have left your system. In this case, your compressor will struggle to turn on and may overheat.

Another problem that can’t wait for repairs is a frozen evaporator coil. This may happen if there is a faulty fan motor, low refrigerant, or even a dirty air filter. Every time you turn on your unit, ice continues to build on the coil, and every time you turn it off, water may leak into your home or damage your unit. It’s important to have a technician find the cause of the frozen coil and check for further damages as soon as possible.

If you have problems with your air conditioning system in Clarksburg, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing right away. Our experts can get your unit back to normal so you can feel secure running your system on an unseasonably warm fall day. Call us today!

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Warning Signs That You Have Leaky Pipes

August 27th, 2014

If you’re not a professional plumber, you are probably not able to pinpoint the source of a leak anywhere along your intricate home plumbing system. However, it’s important for homeowners to know the warning signs of leaky pipes so they can call for plumbing repair at the first sign of damage. Here are some of the common ways you can tell whether there is a leak in your home.

  • Pooling Water: Perhaps the most obvious sign of a leaky pipe is pooling water, but it’s vital to know that pooling water may indicate a serious problem. Only a certified plumber can locate and repair the leak and find out whether damage has extended to other areas of the pipes.
  • Low Water Pressure: When you need a hot shower, you expect a certain amount of water pressure when you turn on the tap. Unusually low water pressure is not just an inconvenience. Your water supply is pressurized so that it can flow freely from faucets, so this problem may indicate a leak in the pipes that prevents water from reaching your showerhead quickly enough.
  • High Water Bills: Even the smallest of leaks can have an impact on your water bills. If you notice a spike in your water usage, you may have a hidden leak somewhere in your system.
  • Odors: A musty, moldy smell may also me a sign that water has leaked into your home. In this case, it may be a difficult and unpleasant experience for the average homeowner to locate the source of the problem, so call a plumber to find the exact location.

Water leaks can cause serious problems for your plumbing, your home, and your health. Leaks may damage the structure of your home, allow for the growth of harmful mold and mildew, or lead to more costly plumbing repairs if left alone for too long. If you have a leak anywhere in your home, you need to call a professional as soon as possible. When you need plumbing repair in Silver Spring, the people at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can find and repair leaks to get your plumbing back to normal. Call us today!

How Long Does Geothermal Installation Usually Take?

August 20th, 2014

If you have any familiarity with how residential geothermal systems operate, then you may have an image in your head of the installation process: large trenches dug into the ground around your home to lay down a series of refrigerant loops that will harness the stable energy of the earth. It seems like an immense amount of work, and it is. This is why you have to hire trained professionals experienced with handling geothermal installation so the job will get done speedily and with no mistakes.

With Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing handling your geothermal installation in North Potomac, MD, you can expect the quality job that will ensure your new geothermal heat pump will work for many years. It’s a small investment in time that will pay off for decades.

But…how much time?

We understand why many people envision that geothermal installation can takes weeks of work to complete. But the process goes fast when professionals handle it.

The planning for geothermal is the part that takes the longest. You need to first have geothermal specialists survey your property and determine if the available space and the soil conditions make installation practical. After that, the installers must decide what type of system will work best (vertical loops, horizontal loops, open loop system, closed loop system) and the layout. This usually takes a week.

Once the actual installation starts, the physical process will usually only last for two days. The time can vary up or down depending on the hardness of the soil and the depth at which the loops must be placed. If you need a vertical loop configuration, which requires deep drilling, the installation may take a day longer than the shallower digging for horizontals loops, which requires larger and more extensive equipment. However, softer soil will make vertical drilling easier. At the most, in extreme conditions, installation could take up to 5 days. But for the most part, you should expect the process to last only 2 days. After that, you’ll have loops that can endure for more than 50 years!

And is it worth it?

Yes! If geothermal specialists identify that your house will benefit from installing a loop system for a heat pump, you will enjoy advantages such as performance that works 3–6 time more efficiently than other heating and cooling systems, and reliable heating through the coldest outdoor temperatures. You will also help the environment with the lowering of emissions.

To get started with geothermal installation in North Potomac, MD, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Schedule an appointment with our geothermal professionals to learn if your property is ideal for a geothermal heating and cooling system.