Why You Should Schedule Regular Drain Cleaning

December 10th, 2014

The drains in your home don’t seem to emit any foul odors, nor do you have to deal with the wastewater that moves down the pipes and into the sewer. So why should you bother with regular drain cleaning? Drains tend to accrue a lot of buildup over the years, but you may assume they’re built tough enough to handle it. However, an unexpected drain clog can leave you without any use of your sinks and fixtures, and possibly with some troublesome sewage backup in your home.

Many people don’t call a professional for drain services until nothing will move down the drains or when they notice backup in the home. But drain clogs can be detrimental to your home if sewage begins to accumulate and enter through the drains, causing a health hazard and some potential damage to your property.

Besides, drain cleaning is simply not a job that should be left to someone without any experience or without the right equipment. Home drain cleaning liquids that are available for purchase at hardware stores and grocery stores are toxic to humans and can cause eye or skin irritation and injury. They are also fairly ineffective at removing or preventing many types of blockage and may actually damage the pipes.  Professionals have the tools and equipment to take care of nearly any type of obstruction, including fats, oils, and grease that may solidify in the pipes and trap any debris that travels past.

Drain clogs rarely occur at a convenient time for you to schedule services, and you’ll be without vital water-using appliances while you wait for your repair technician to show up. That’s why it’s best to schedule drain cleaning annually, to remove any existing blockage and clear out the lining of the pipes so that drain clogs do not reoccur in the future.

When you schedule drain cleaning with Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, you’ll get the added benefit of video pipe inspection with your service. A plumber will use a thin fiber optic cable with a video camera at one end so that they can view a live feed and feel confident that the drains are clean, and can even inform you of any leaks in your plumbing. Give us a call today to learn more about the benefits of professional drain cleaning in Bethesda.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Store Bought Drain Cleaners on Your Drains

December 3rd, 2014

Drain clogs are a nuisance, and the sooner you can remedy the situation, the better for you and your plumbing. But don’t let the need to remove the clog guide you toward an action that may cause more harm than good. What are we referring to? Using store-bought drain cleaners. Yes, drain cleaners can work in certain situations, but the damage the cleaner can cause can be more extensive than its ability to clear your drain. When you call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for plumbing repair, you can rest assured that your plumbing issue will be resolved quickly, efficiently and correctly. Experiencing a plumbing problem? Call us today!

Just Say No to Store-Bought Drain Cleaners

So how can store-bought drain cleaners be a problem? Let’s take a look:

  • Clogs need to be near the drain opening – a store-bought drain cleaner is a liquid that dissipates as it makes its way down your drain; as such, its ability to have any effect on your clog will diminish the further is has to travel. Unfortunately, few clogs are located at the drain’s opening.
  • Effective on “soft” clogs – drain cleaner is mostly effective for clogs that are “soft”, which are items like food and paper. Tough hair clogs and mineral build-up will not be as affected by drain cleaner, and as such, won’t do very much.
  • Highly corrosive – just because drain cleaner is sold over-the-counter in stores doesn’t mean it doesn’t have harsh chemicals – it does. The combination of chemicals is highly corrosive, meaning they can eat away at your piping, particularly if it’s plastic.
  • Toxicity – the chemicals in drain cleaner can burn your skin, irritate your eyes and nose, and damage surrounding flooring and carpet should a spill occur.

Call for an Expert

The lure of a store-bought drain cleaner is simplicity, but the truth is, using these harsh chemicals can make things very complicated. If you have a clogged drain, don’t risk your existing plumbing work by using a drain cleaner; instead, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing and schedule an appointment for professional drain cleaning services with one of our plumbing experts.

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Common Problems with Electronic Ignition

November 19th, 2014

Strides are always being made to make heating systems more reliable. One step that has been taken with combustion furnaces is electronic ignition. With electronic ignition, you no longer have to worry about constantly fueling a standing pilot light because there isn’t one; instead, there is either a hot surface igniter or an intermittent pilot. Electronic ignition is usually standard on today’s furnaces, and you may be able to retrofit your existing furnace with electronic ignition. Let’s take a look at each type below.

Intermittent Pilot

An intermittent pilot works by having a small gas line that is just for your system’s pilot light. When the thermostat cues the furnace to start, the gas is allowed to flow from this small pilot gas line. A small electronic device creates a spark that shoots across the gas jet, lighting the pilot. A flame sensor monitors the pilot flame to see if it is lit and running properly, and when it senses that the pilot light is operable, the flame sensor allows the main gas valve to open and the burner to be lit. Some of the common problems that can develop with an intermittent pilot are:

  • Failure with the electronic spark
  • Loose connection with the thermostat
  • Incorrect positioning of the pilot gas pipe
  • Dirty nozzle

Hot Surface Ignition

A hot surface ignition probe works similarly to a light bulb. When the thermostat sends the cue to begin ignition, two strips of differing metal heat inside a silicone casing. Once the metal strips heat to the correct temperature, the gas ignited and the burner lights. One of the main problems that occurs with a hot surface ignition probe is that it gets dirty; even a fingerprint on the casing can impede ignition. Another common problem is cracking. The probe is exposed to very high and low temperatures, and eventually develops cracks, which effect its ability to ignite the gas.

Delayed Ignition: A Common and Potentially Dangerous Problem for Both

One common problem that can develop with either igniter is delayed ignition. Electronic igniters are designed to light immediately; any delay in ignition results in an excess of gas accumulation. This is usually characterized by a boom or banging sound right before ignition occurs. This can be a potentially dangerous situation and should be repaired immediately.

Electronic ignition can save energy, but if it isn’t working correctly, a dirty or impaired igniter can leave you without heat. If you are in need of heating repair in Rockville, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today and schedule an appointment with one of our NATE-certified experts.

Tools Used for Professional Drain Cleaning

November 12th, 2014

There’s no way around it—every plumbing system will develop a drain clog at some point or another. Most likely, you’ve experienced a drain clog at least once in your life: in the middle of a shower, while brushing your teeth, or while preparing food during an important family get-together. As a pool of water collects around the drain, you do whatever you can to try to clear the clog quickly. But if a plunger does not loosen the blockage, experts recommend scheduling professional drain cleaning before you decide to take any further action on your own.

In this guide, we’ll look at what types of “solutions” to avoid, and contrast these with the types of tools professionals use for drain cleaning. To clear a tough clog or to prevent clogs from occurring later on in the life of your plumbing system, schedule professional drain cleaning service in North Potomac with Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing.

Drain Cleaning “Solutions” to Avoid

Chances are that you’ve seen and perhaps even purchased a type of liquid drain cleaner from the grocery store or a local hardware store. However, these solutions often contain toxic levels of chemicals that may injure your skin and damage your eyes. Furthermore, most of these only work to dissolve a few common sources of blockage. While the liquid you purchase may be able to dissolve hair, for example, it may not be able to tackle soap scum or food particles. Besides, these chemicals can damage your plumbing and leave you with further repair costs. With professional drain cleaning, your pipes will not suffer any injury and clogs are eliminated for good.

Video Pipe Inspection

A quality plumber comes equipped with technology to help locate the exact source of a clog in order to determine the best plan of action to eliminate it. A long cable attached to a fiber optic video camera is fed through the pipes so that your plumber can see exactly which part of the plumbing is affected. The professional views a live feed so that they can select the type of tool best suited for the job, and from which drain pipe to tackle the problem.

Drain Snakes

One of the most common tools that professionals use is the drain auger, or drain snake. This is a long wire with a coiled end that can latch onto blockages and pull them up through the drain. Your plumber may also try additional attachments at the end of the wire, such as a sharp tool to break up tougher clogs like tree roots, so they can make their way into the sewer line.

Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today and schedule an appointment for quality drain cleaning in North Potomac.

Reasons Your Furnace Needs a Pre-Season Maintenance Visit

November 5th, 2014

The cooler temperatures have arrived – is your furnace ready to heat your home for the season? One of the best ways to prepare for the winter is to schedule furnace maintenance in Bethesda. Maintenance for your heating system isn’t a quick once-over with a flashlight; it’s a full system tune-up that helps both you and your system throughout the winter months. If it’s been more than a year since your last maintenance appointment, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today!

Here are some of the reasons it’s important to schedule maintenance for your furnace:

  • Helps prevent future repair needs – during maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected. This allows the technician to detect any existing or developing issues. If small problems are discovered, such as frayed or corroded wiring, the technician will repair these items during the appointment. Should a bigger problem be found, you’ll be informed of the issue and advised to schedule a repair appointment to remedy the problem.
  • Better energy efficiency – your system was made to operate at a specific level of energy efficiency. When the system and its components wear down, and its parts are dirty and dusty, your furnace can’t achieve the level of efficiency it should. The cleaning, adjusting and lubricating that occur during a maintenance appointment allow your system to work optimally, so it can achieve its normal level of efficiency.
  • Better comfort – a worn and dirty furnace will have a hard time achieving the temperature that you set on your thermostat. The tune-up your system receives during a maintenance appointment allows the system to function optimally so it can achieve the comfort level you need.
  • Extends system lifespan – a furnace that operates year after year without maintenance is far more prone to breakdown and premature aging. Keeping the system in good working order with annual maintenance helps to extend the life of your equipment.

Don’t let a lack of maintenance cause you or your furnace in Bethesda problems this winter. Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing and schedule a maintenance appointment with one of our trained experts today.

The Benefits of Sump Pump Installation

October 29th, 2014

Low water tables or burst pipes can cause water to flood into your home and damage your most valuable items or the structure of your home. If your home is prone to flooding, you may consider calling a professional for sump pump installation. A sump pump is one of the best plumbing installations you can purchase to protect your home. While some of the benefits are fairly clear, we’ll go over them in detail in this guide.

When you need plumbing installation in Rockville, MD, rely on the experienced professional plumbers at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing.

How Sump Pumps Work

Before we get into the benefits, let’s take a look at how these systems work. A sump pump is installed at the lowest point in the basement of your home. A technician digs a pit into the ground and the pump is either submerged inside of the basin or sits atop the hole on a pedestal, depending on the type of unit—submersible or pedestal. A motor sucks in water through a pipe that drains outside.

The Benefits of Professional Sump Pump Installation

The advantages of sump pump installation are fairly clear—no more flooding inside of your home! Let’s take a closer look at how this benefits you.

  • Protect Your Belongings: When flooding becomes too serious, it can damage some irreplaceable items, but a sump pump gives you peace of mind and protection against this possibility.
  • Secure the Structure of Your Home: Water damage can seriously affect the structure of your home, leading to major renovations and construction that could force you out of your home for a period of time.
  • Prevent Illness: After a flood, you may have pools of water left behind that can lead to illness or that may aggravate respiratory problems in some family members.
  • Increase the Property Value: Even if you’ve never had a flood before, a sump pump can increase your property value, alerting potential buyers that their protected against future damage.

Sump pump installation is a job best left to experienced professionals, who know where to install the unit and how to properly set up the drainage. When you’re in need of any plumbing services in Rockville, MD, call the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing.

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.