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

Why You Should Install a Heat Pump this Summer

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Traditional air conditioning has much to recommend it, which is why it’s still the number-1 home cooling solution in the country. However, it is not the only solution on the market. There are still a number of other home cooling systems, each with its own set of unique advantages to offer. Heat pumps are one of those system types. Read on to find out more about heat pumps, and how one can benefit you this summer.

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Why Tune Up a Heat Pump in the Fall: Heating Guide

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Heat pumps work as an effective alternative to air conditioning, and make a good fit in towns like Gaithersburg. Their versatility is one of their big selling points: cooling the air in  your home in the summertime and heating the air in the winter time. Like any other mechanical device, a heat pump requires routine tune-up and maintenance in order to function at peak capacity. A reliable tune-up helps ensure good air flow and better temperature control, as well as identifying potential problems and addressing them before they get out of hand. The fall months usually make an ideal time to turn up a heat pump. Why? A few of the most common reasons can be found below.

  • Convenience. Heat pumps perform double duty by cooling your house in the summer and warming it in the winter. A tune-up conducted during any of those months may leave you without the heat pump just when you need it the most. The fall months feature mild weather and moderate temperatures: the ideal time to conduct any repairs without sacrificing your comfort levels.
  • Timing. A tune-up in the fall gives you the maximum amount of time to take care of any repairs that may be needed. In the summer, you never know when another heat wave may be just around the corner, while the winter may bring a sudden cold spell necessitating a reliable source of heating. Tune-ups made during that time are always fighting the clock in an effort to finish before the heat pump has to go to work. The fall provides a respite to let you schedule any repairs with greater flexibility and lets the service technician do the job right.
  • Regularity. Regular maintenance is key not only to keeping you heat pump running, but increasing its longevity and allowing it to provide reliable service for some time to come. Setting such maintenance calls for the same time every year establishes a regularity that makes it easier to remember year in and year out.

If you have a heat pump that needs a tune-up this fall, talk to Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating to set up an appointment. We handle heating repair in Gaithersburg and throughout the surrounding area, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Why You Need Spring Heat Pump Maintenance

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Because it works all year long to control the temperature of your home, your heat pump requires maintenance. As with any other appliance or machine, the routine maintenance of your heat pump can help to prevent major problems, extend the lifespan of the unit, and improve the efficiency of the heating and cooling system as a whole. Spring is the perfect time to inspect, tune-up and clean your heat pump before the summer heat arrives.

Enrolling in a preventive maintenance plan for your heat pump often entitles you to precision tune-ups, service and equipment discounts, priority service, and quality guarantees. Your heat pump removes heat from your home during the cooling season, and removes cold from your home during the heating season. There are a number of components and mechanism that make this possible. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you need spring heat pump maintenance in Bethesda, MD:

  • Equipment check. The electrical and mechanical components of your heat pump need to be checked for wear and tear and potential damage. Catching relatively minor problems and repairing them today may help to save you from major repairs later. Your compressor and blower components should be in good working order, as well as the coils.
  • Cleaning. Dust and debris pose a serious danger to the integrity of your heat pump over time. Although they may seem harmless, they can cause your system to overheat, clog up mechanical movement, dry out bearings, and generally increase wear and tear. Thorough cleaning during heat pump maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your system runs effectively and efficiently.
  • Repair. As your local heat pump technician cleans and checks the components of your system, he is also able to inspect and troubleshoot any problems. Delaying repairs does not cause those problems to go away—in most cases, they only worsen. Spring is a great time to get those repairs out of the way so you can enjoy cool crisp air from your heat pump all summer long.

For spring heat pump maintenance in Bethesda, MD, call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating today! 

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Heating Tip: Early Warning Signs of Heating System Problems

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Heating systems function best and last longest when they are well maintained. Homeowners sometimes wait until a break-down in the heating system of their home before addressing a problem.  These types of repairs are usually costly, and can weaken the overall functionality of a heating system.  By keeping an eye out for early warning signs that your heating system may be in need of maintenance or repair, you will save money and extend the life of the heater.

Here are early warning signs to look out for:

Heat Pumps

Proper air flow is essential for any heating system to work well, including heat pumps. If you believe there is an inconsistency in air flow from your heat pump, or you feel air leaks coming from ducts, it is a good idea to call a professional to inspect it. An HVAC contractor can check to see that the air is moving properly throughout the system. It is a good idea to have your coils cleaned on your heat pump, because if they are dirty or clogged it can prevent good air flow.

Boilers

There are a few early warning signs that your boiler may be in need of maintenance.  If you notice a decrease in heat being produced, something may have happened inside the boiler to reduce the hot water levels. You can check the pressure gauge, or call a technician to do so, to see if that is culprit. If there is a problem with the radiator within the boiler, you may hear a hissing sound or there may be a lack of heat if this is the case. Problems with the radiator will require an HVAC technician to fix it.

If you notice that your gas boiler’s pilot light has gone out that may indicate a gas flow problem within the system. Call an HVAC technician, who should be able to easily fix the issue. And if you notice any water leakage coming from your boiler, that can lead to problems with temperature control.

If you notice any signs of trouble with your heating system, especially early on, it is important to address them as soon as possible to help maintain your heater’s performance.  Call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating at 301-670-0034 with any questions or to help address any concerns with the heating system in your Gaithersburg area home.

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Heating Maintenance Tasks for Furnaces, Boilers, Heat Pumps, and Geothermal Systems

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Regular maintenance of your heating and air conditioning system is critical to extending the life of your equipment and keeping it running well. We’ve laid out some of the basic maintenance practices for furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and geothermal systems.

Furnace Maintenance

Here are some essential tasks that need to be regularly performed on your furnace by a professional:

  • Check and replace the air filter
  • Check and clean the burner, ignition source
  • Check the flames for irregular movement or color
  • Check the flue for cracks, leaks or holes
  • Check the motor and fan blades for debris and obvious wear or repair needs

Boiler Maintenance

Boilers also need regular, professional maintenance. Here are some things your contractor will do:

  • Bleed radiators to release air bubbles
  • Check and clean burner
  • Check water and air levels in expansion chamber
  • Check for water leaks around the base of the boiler
  • Check pump, lubricate parts as necessary

Heat Pump Maintenance

Heat pumps typically have a condensing unit outside that needs regular, professional maintenance. Heat pump maintenance includes:

  • Changing air filters
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Lubricate and clean all moving parts like fan motor, belts and blades
  • Check coils for leaks
  • Check drainage line and condensate pan for clogs or leaks
  • Visually inspect your duct system

Geothermal Maintenance

Though geothermal systems don’t need a lot of maintenance, there are some tasks that need to be performed by a professional regularly to keep them working efficiently.

  • They will change the air filter for your geothermal system
  • Check the refrigerant pressure gauges regularly to make sure that there isn’t a leak in your loop
  • Check and lubricate moving parts like fan motors, belts and blades
  • Visually inspect your ducts
  • Check condensation drain lines and the condensate pan for clogs and leaks

Regular professional maintenance is absolutely critical to your comfort. If you have questions about heating and air conditioning maintenance for your home in Gaithersburg, then call the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating today at 301-670-0034.

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Common Heat Pump Problems

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Heat pumps are great pieces of machinery to have in your Aspen Hill home, but they are not perfect. They come with their own problems and issues. Usually these can be fixed pretty easily, but it’s good to know what you are looking for.

Below are some common problems encountered by heat pump owners, along with some brief troubleshooting and repair advice. However, for any serious repair job, it is recommended that you call in a professional to fix the problem. This is to ensure the best performance of your heat pump, as well as for your own safety.

  1. No Heat – Obviously, this is a problem. A heat pump should do two things—heat and cool. If it’s not heating at all, something is wrong. Sometimes, this is just a matter of the power supply being interrupted. Press the “Reset” button on the power supply. If that does not fix it, it could be that the power supply has failed or the motor is overloaded.
  2. Incorrect Temperature – For example, you set the thermostat at 72 degrees, but even after several hours, the temperature won’t get over 70 degrees. This can be a problem with the sensor in the thermostat or with the heat pump itself. However, it could also just be the result of very cold temperatures outside. Heat pumps have trouble keeping up when the weather is consistently below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or so, so it may just need help in the form of a supplemental heat supply.
  3. It’s Noisy – Heat pumps are generally designed to run very quietly, so if you notice a lot of noise, there is probably something going on. Common culprits for this type of issue include loose connections, like screws, nuts and bolts. Check for any loose fittings on the heat pump. Also, make sure the contractor who does your annual heat pump inspection tightens these fittings as part of his maintenance routine.
  4. Frozen – This can be indicative of a few underlying problems, but the most common is dirt in the air filter. When filters get clogged, the heat pump can get frosted, ultimately leading to freezing. Check the air filter and make sure to change all air filters regularly.

Heat pumps can experience other issues, but these are some of the more common ones. Generally, though, heat pumps are pretty headache-free machines. Be sure to call a professional repair person if you experience any issues with your heat pump.

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What Size Heat Pump Is Right for My Home?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

One of the most important questions to answer when purchasing and installing any new heating or cooling system, no matter what type, is what size is best for your North Bethesda home. You need something that has enough capacity to heat or cool your whole home comfortably; otherwise your house will consistently be at an undesirable temperature.

Some people might think that the quickest solution to this problem is to just buy a system that they are sure has a capacity larger than the size of their home. You may even be tempted to get the biggest model out there, under the logic that the biggest is the best and it will be sure to be able to cover your whole house.

While this line of thinking might make sense to you, it’s actually not a good idea. The problem with this “solution” is that you can wind up with a heat pump that is considerably too large for your needs, which means your home will consistently be either too cool or too hot, and your energy bills will be unnecessarily high.

The best way to choose a new heat pump is to have a professional do a load calculation in your home. This can be a highly technical process, so it is best to leave it to the pros. However, here are some quick tips and other things to consider on the subject:

  • There are a lot of variable to consider in doing a calculation like this. A contractor doing a load calculation will consider the type of construction, what kind of insulation you have installed, what kind of windows you have, whether there is an attic, how many people live there and many more factors.
  • It never hurts to shop around. Get a few estimates from different area contractors, rather than just going with the first opinion.
  • Also, since heat pumps are used for both heating and cooling, different contractors may opt to do the calculation in different ways. Some will estimate capacity based on heating, while others will base it on cooling. Ask to see which is the case for each estimate you receive.
  • If you are getting a new heat pump as a replacement for an existing one, or even a different heating/cooling system, check the capacity of the unit you are replacing. That can be a good place to start. You will at least be in the right ballpark.

All of this means doing some extra leg work up front, but getting the proper sized heat pump is well worth the effort.

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Guide from an HVAC Contractor: How to Maintain High Efficiency Heat Pump Filters

Monday, December 5th, 2011

The filter on your heat pump is an integral part of your Urbana home’s comfort system. Without that filter, the device will quickly be subjected to an influx of debris and contaminants that can get into the machinery and the air being filtered into your home. As a result, you need to make sure you properly maintain the filters to reduce stress on your heat pump.

Change Your Filters

High efficiency filters are designed to remove as much of the airborne contaminants in the air as possible. This is fantastic for keeping your indoor air clean. But if you don’t properly maintain the filter, air quality can worsen and your heat pump is put under unnecessary stress. Specifically, the extremely tight knit filter, designed to stop nearly anything from getting through, gets clogged.

Now your heat pump is forced to work much harder to draw the air it needs from outside and heat or cool your home. On top of that, the filter is filled with contaminants that can start to leak back into the air supply, actually making your indoor air quality worse than it would be otherwise. That’s why it is so important to clean your filters on a regular basis (for permanent filters) and replace them if they are one time use.

Recommended Filters

You have options as to which types of filters you use for your heat pump. Filters come in multiple options, from super high MERV rated filters that trap up to 99% of all contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.

Electrostatic filters are especially efficient because they extract contaminants of all types – from dust and mold to smoke and gas fumes. A good filtration system should effectively remove anything from the air without needing replacement too often.

Permanent filters tend to offer the best protection against airborne contaminants and generally need to be cleaned once a month. HEPA filters are often permanent and while each filter is different, these are often extremely effective at minimizing contaminants in the air without putting stress on your heat pump.

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Heat Pump Maintenance: A Guide From Ashton

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Heating and cooling your Ashton home is a priority. You need your home and family to be comfortable all year round, so you either got or are considering a heat pump. These machines are great because under the right circumstances, they are essentially all-inclusive and incredibly efficient solutions for all your home heating and cooling needs.

Notice the “under the right circumstances” part. A number of things have to be considered when choosing a heat pump, such as the climate and the size of your home. But these are not the only circumstances that influence how well your heat pump works for you. Proper maintenance is a vital component of heat pump ownership, ensuring that you get the best performance out of your heat pump for the longest time possible.

A major part of properly maintaining any machine is to keep it clean. A heat pump is no exception. Dirt and dust can affect the efficiency of your heat pump, as well as speed up corrosion problems. Keep the compressor and coils clean. Check them monthly or so and remove any accumulated dirt. Also, consistently check and change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple cleaning is an easy and effective first step to heat pump maintenance, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to do on your own. For more intensive maintenance, it is best to call in a professional for an annual inspection.

During a routine maintenance check of your heat pump, a technician will inspect the whole heat pump system for problems. He will clean the compressor and coils, tighten any connections that may have loosened up and change the filters as needed. In addition, a skilled technician will be able to detect any early signs of trouble and make necessary repairs to prevent break downs. These small repairs can prevent big problems later on, thereby preventing some serious discomfort and a possible big expense.

If you are considering a heat pump as a heating and cooling solution for your home, great. If you have already decided on one and had it installed, congratulations on making a smart decision. Now, make another smart decision to protect that investment by keeping your new heat pump properly maintained.

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How Does a Heat Pump Work? A Question From Barnesville

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

If you’re in the market for a new home heating and cooling system in Barnesville, a heat pump is definitely an option worth considering. However, while the popularity of these systems is growing rapidly, many people still don’t understand what they’re all about. Before you go out and get yourself a new home comfort system, you should make sure you really know what you’re looking at

As their name suggests, heat pumps move heat from one location to another. However, their name can be misleading as well. Heat pumps are able to both heat your home in the winter and keep it cool in the summer by taking heat from the air in one place and sending it to another.

For example, your heat pump will remove the heat from your indoor air in the summer and pump it outside to keep your home cool. In the winter, the process is reversed, and the heat pump gathers heat from the outdoor air and pumps it inside to keep you house warm.

Of course, it’s not hard to see how the air inside your home in the summer has heat in it. But the outdoor air in the winter is cold. So how does a heat pump heat your house with cold air? Well, the truth is that there is almost always some heat in the air, no matter how cold it seems to you and me.

In fact, the temperature would have to drop well into the negative range before there was absolutely no heat to be found in the air. And heat pumps are specially designed to find that heat and collect it.

Basically all heat pumps work on this principle. However, they can’t keep your house comfortable all on their own. Heat pumps are usually installed as part of a complete home heating and cooling system. This means they’ll be paired with an air handler that can circulate the temperature controlled air throughout the house.

There are also some heat pumps that supplement the amount of heat they’re able to pull out of the air by heating it as it passes through. These types of heat pumps are often more effective in cooler areas, but because they require more energy to actually generate heat, they’re not typically as energy efficient as models that rely on their ability to get heat only out of the air.

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