Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Boiler’

Do Boilers Really Boil Water?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

It may seem like an obvious thing, but you would probably be surprised at the answer to this question. Most boilers do not, in fact, boil water. Ironically, if your boiler is boiling water then you have a very big problem. There are some boilers, called “steam boilers,” that are specially designed to boil water and use the steam to provide heat. We’re going to focus on the much more common hydronic boiler, though. Let’s take a look at how a hydronic boiler works, and why you really don’t ever want it to actually boil water.

Boiler Construction

A hydronic boiler is constructed in a similar way to a gas furnace, with a couple of exceptions. There is a burner assembly, a heat exchanger, and often a pilot light. The difference is that in a boiler, the heat exchanger is a tube over the burner flames, through which water flows. As the water flows over the flames, it is heated to the proper temperature before moving on to heat the house. Because of the way the heat exchanger is constructed, and the method hydronic boilers use to heat homes, the water is not supposed to stay over the flame long enough to boil.


Though hydronic boiler systems are not designed to actually boil water, there is a condition where it happens. That condition is called “kettling” and is called such because of the deep rumbling noise that emanates from boilers that have it. Kettling is caused by hard water moving through the boiler over many years. Hard water is called that when it has high mineral content.

Over years of flowing through the boiler, the hard water deposits small amounts of minerals on the walls of the heat exchanger. Eventually, these deposits can become large enough to restrict or completely block the flow of water through the heat exchanger. When that happens, the trapped water begins to boil inside the heat exchanger. The evaporation of water into steam puts an enormous amount of pressure on the heat exchanger, causing it to rumble like an enormous kettle. This can be quite dangerous, both to the boiler and any nearby people. It is highly recommended that you call a professional if you notice your boiler kettling.

If you’d like to know more, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We professionally install boilers throughout Bethesda.

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How Do Boilers Heat Homes?

Wednesday, 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.

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Why a Boiler Might Be the Right Heating System for You

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Many homes in Germantown, MD use a boiler as their heating system. Boilers are a great choice for many houses in our area. However, individual circumstances vary, and what works for one home may not be right for yours. To help you figure out which heating system is your best option, here’s a few reasons why a boiler might be the right  choice.

For starters, boilers help maintain air quality better than the gas furnaces and other forced air systems. Because boilers use radiant heat, they don’t require a circulating the air through ducts to do their job. That means they don’t create any drafts of cold spots, nor do they blow dust or allergens through the air. They heat the room evenly and don’t leave any hidden corners out. They’re also much quieter than gas furnaces, generating  very little sound at all. Contrast that with the noisy fan necessary for gas furnaces to function.

Furthermore, boilers making adjusting temperature by zone easy, since you can have valves in the pipes to regulate the temperature in different areas of the house. Gas furnaces can also include zone control systems, but the dampers in the air ducts are less effective. Finally, because boilers don’t have as many moving parts, they are less prone to breakdowns and repair needs than gas furnaces.

It’s easy to see why a boiler might be the right heating system for your Germantown, MD home. Again, however, specifics vary and your particular home may be suited to any number of possible heating systems. For expert advice, or to schedule installation, call on Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing

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How to Find the Right Boiler

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Here in Gaithersburg, boilers are a popular heating system used in many homes. Installing a new boiler system can be a smart move; they are quiet, efficient, and long lasting. When installing a new boiler, it’s important to find a system that suits your needs, which means talking to trained experts who can inspect your home and make some recommendations. Here’s a few other basic steps on how to find the right boiler.

  • Size of your home. The bigger your household, the larger you need your boiler to be. A boiler that’s too small won’t be able to heat your home properly. Conversely, one that’s too large will short cycle, which leads to inefficient heating and extra wear and tear on components. A trained technician can do a heat load calculation for your home to determine the heating capacity you need.
  • Efficiency rating. Boilers measure their efficiency in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings, which are measured as percentages. The higher the percentage, the more efficiently it generate heat and the better the system will heat your home. Ideally, you should look for models with the EnergyStar sticker, denoting particularly efficient boilers.
  • Warranties. Your new boiler needs to work reliably for you for many years. A warranty shows that the manufacturer has faith in its product, and that you can count on your boiler to perform when you need it two. Most boilers have a warranty of 18 months to two years, with labor warranties ranging as high as three years.

For more advice on how to find the right boiler, or to schedule an installation service, contact the experts at Tucker’s Air Conditioning & Heating for help. We serve all of Gaithersburg, boiler installation is a specialty of ours, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction with every step of the procedure. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Why Consider a Boiler?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

On your list of possible heating systems for installation in your home, is a boiler near the top? If it isn’t, that might be because you consider boilers to be “old fashioned.” They’ve been around for well over a century—and the concept of using hot water to heat a home goes back to ancient times—so perhaps you think the right route for heating in Rockville, MD this winter is to install new, high-tech invention rather than an outdated boiler.

But wait a minute! There are reasons that boilers have stayed around so long. And the modern boiler bears little resemblance to much earlier machines. As HVAC technology advanced, the boiler advanced with it. If you pass over boilers as an option, you will miss out on one of the best methods of heating your home. We’ll explain the benefits of boilers and why you should give them serious consideration.

For excellent boiler installation, hire Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating. We offer a 5-year parts and labor guarantee.

The benefits of boilers

  • Efficiency: Boilers are among the least expensive home heating units to run. They have high AFUE ratings (annual fuel utilization efficiency), and natural-gas boilers are one of the most fuel-efficient home heaters you can buy today.
  • Longevity: Because they contain few moving parts that will wear down, boilers have an almost unmatched lifespan of service. You can expect fewer repairs on a boiler than you would with a furnace.
  • Clean heating: Since boilers provide heat through radiators and baseboard heaters, they don’t need to rely on air pumped through ducts like furnaces and heat pumps do. This means cleaner air to go along with your warmth.
  • Quiet operation: Few heating systems run with as little noise pollution as a boiler does.
  • Flexible fuel options: Boilers can run off a variety of fuels, with natural gas, electricity, and oil the most common. It’s easy to find a boiler to match your home’s current fuel supply.

All these advantages sound fantastic, and they are. But… a boiler won’t match every home. Even if a boiler sounds like the best choice for you, there are so many models and brands available with different options that you’ll need an expert to help you make the correct choice. That expert should also handle the installation when the time comes.

Look to Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating for advice on heating your Rockville, MD home. We will send NATE-certified technicians to your house to start the process of getting you the right boiler to keep you cozy this winter.

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Heating Guide: Types of Heating Systems Available

Monday, February 25th, 2013

If you’re considering installing a heating system in your new North Potomac, MD home, or thinking of upgrading to a new type of heating, it’s important to know what your options are. Whatever system you choose, you’ll need to consult with a heating professional in order to make sure that your new heater matches the size of your home, and that it meets your energy-efficiency requirements. Let Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating help you make the right decision. Our team of experienced heating technicians can make sure that your home will stay comfortable all year long.

Depending on the size, location, and needs of your home, several options are available to homeowners in the North Potomac, MD area, from geothermal to ductless mini splits. Here are just a few:

  • Boiler- The boiler heats water and distributes either hot water throughout your home by means of baseboard copper piping or radiators. It can be fueled by gas or electricity. It can also heat the water in your home, making it one of the most versatile conventional heating systems. As an alternative to a forced-air system, the boiler does not use extensive ductwork to circulate air throughout your home, and remains an economical and energy efficient heater.
  • Furnace- This is probably the most common type of heating system. The furnace burns fuel to create hot air, which is then distributed through a system of ducts into the various spaces of your home. New furnaces boast outstanding energy efficiency ratings, much higher than their forebears. Gas furnaces run especially clean.
  • Geothermal. As its name suggests, geothermal systems harness the latent temperature of the earth to heat your home. The temperature of the ground below the frost line stays at a median of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the geothermal heating system extracts the heat of the median temperature by means of a heat transfer fluid, and a heat pump then uses that heat to warm air which is circulated throughout your home. It is a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution.

Remember that consulting with a heating professional should be the first step. Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating will ensure that your heater is professionally installed and serviced. Call us today at 301-670-003 for heating services in North Potomac, MD and the surrounding areas!

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