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

Heating Options to Consider this Fall

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Heating season is here, and for some of us that means it’s time to install a new heating system. If you’re in the market for a new heater, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we have all the expertise to make the right choice. Ideally, you should consult with us before making a final decision on what heating system to install. Before you do, though, have a look at this list of some of the more popular heating systems available.

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It’s Time for Fall Heating Maintenance

Monday, September 14th, 2015

It’s almost time to turn off your air conditioner for the year, as we move out of the summer season and into fall. While fall is typically a milder season, that doesn’t mean that you can stop thinking about your climate control. Fall is the ideal time to get your heating system ready for the demands of winter. Let’s take a look at why you should schedule fall maintenance right now.

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Do Gas Furnaces Pose Any Serious Safety Risks?

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Gas furnaces, well, any gas-burning system really, work with some pretty dangerous materials every time they start up. Byproducts of the combustion of natural gas include some extremely toxic gases, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. The reason this isn’t a big deal most of the time is that gas furnaces are designed to safely dispose of these materials before they can harm anyone. However, there are a few cases where a malfunctioning gas furnace can pose serious safety risk. Let’s take a look at these issues, and how you can identify them. That way, you’ll know when to call a professional as soon as possible.

Blocked Exhaust Flue

The exhaust flue is a part that extends from the heat exchanger up through the exterior wall or roof of the house and out into the open air. It serves only one purpose: to remove those combustion byproducts which are dangerous to the home’s occupants. Once the combustion gases reach the open air outside, they quickly disperse and become harmless. If the exhaust flue becomes blocked in any way, however, things can get unsafe pretty quickly.

Normally, blockages in the exhaust flue are caused by debris of some kind being blown into the flue. On occasion, a bird may even build its nest in the vent. If the flue becomes blocked, it forces all of those gases back down into the furnace and out into the home.

Cracked Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger connects the burner assembly to the exhaust flue. It is responsible for both warming the air being circulated through the home and directing the combustion gases into the exhaust flue. As the warm air containing the combustion gases rises up from the burners, the heat radiates through the walls of the heat exchanger and into the home’s air supply. The gases remain trapped in the heat exchanger, and travel to the exhaust flue.

The problem that often occurs here is when the heat exchanger cracks, often from the stress of the heat it is exposed to over years of use. When this happens, there is a small chance that the combustion gases will escape into the air being circulated through the home.

It is important to remember that these problems only rarely occur, and only without regular maintenance to make sure the system is working properly. If you haven’t had your furnace checked in a while, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing to schedule an appointment. We provide professional heating services in the North Potomac area.

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Why Poor Boiler Installation Leads to Problems

Friday, April 4th, 2014

A new boiler represents a significant investment in your home, and if properly installed, it can be a great boon to your household. That’s a big if, however, especially if you choose an installation service that isn’t up to snuff. Here in Bethesda, boilers are a staple of many homes, but bad installation services are distressingly common despite the common use of such systems. Here’s a brief list of why poor boiler installation leads to problems.

  • Gas leaks: Perhaps the most overtly dangerous is an increased risk of gas leaks. Gas is often used to heat the water in boilers, and it requires proper connections in order to enter the boiler safety. A poor installation may create a leak or a fissure in the lines. A gas leak is obviously a dangerous situation that should be avoided at all costs.
  • Water leaks: Water leaks aren’t as devastating as gas leaks can be, but they can still create significant problems in the performance of your boiler. Small leaks will eat into your boiler’s performance, creating inefficiency and leading to larger monthly bills. They can also grow larger as time goes on, resulting in insufficient pressure to help the boiler function the way it needs to. Not to mention the potential water damage to your home.
  • Poor circulation: Boilers depend on being able to circulate heated water through the pipes in the system in order to function. If poor installation affects the layout of the pipes or the functioning of the pump, that circulation simply won’t happen the way it should. The boiler will have to work harder to warm your home and in the worst cases may fail to function at all.

You can see why poor boiler installation leads to problems you don’t need. The good news is that here in Bethesda, boiler installation can be performed safely and efficiently by the experts at Tucker’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We’re fully accredited by NATE, the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List, and we fully screen all of our employees so that they meet the very highest standards of professionalism. Call us today and let us show you what a difference a real professional can make!

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Safety Features in Gas Furnaces

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The modern gas furnace has improved in safety by immense leaps over the models of fifty years ago. Although natural gas-powered furnaces still have a reputation as potential safety hazards, this is largely a myth: with proper annual maintenance and attention to repair needs, a gas furnace is no more dangerous than any other heating system you can have installed in your home.

A number of features help keep your home’s furnace safe. We’ll look at a few of these safety devices. To keep them in good shape with repairs and maintenance, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We can assist you with all your requirements for heating in Rockville, MD.

Some gas furnace safety features:

  • Furnace fan limit switch: This device prevents the furnace from overheating. It’s located just below the plenum and measures the heat on the metal. When the temperature of the plenum rises too high, the limit switch shuts off the burner. To further regulate the furnace, the switch turns off the blower once the temperature drops down to a set level. Finally, when the furnace drops to the lowest setting on the switch, the switch turns the blower back on. The manipulation of the blower is important to how the furnace regulates the temperature after turning off the gas.
  • Thermocouple: This is a simple component made of two strips of different metals coupled at one end. Because of the thermoelectric principle called the Seebeck effect, electric voltage runs through the two pieces of metal when in the presence of heat. The higher the heat, the higher the voltage. The thermocouple is placed where it can measure that the pilot light is burning. Should the pilot light go out, the thermocouple’s loss of voltage will shut off the gas valve, preventing unburned gas from flooding into the combustion chamber and creating an explosion hazard.
  • Mercury sensor: These devices are replacing thermocouples as the way of detecting if the pilot light is on. When the pilot light produces enough heat, the rise in mercury in the sensor keeps the gas valve open. It closes when the mercury drops far enough. Mercury sensors have longer service lives than thermocouples, one of the reasons they have gained popularity.

Keeping your furnace well-maintained with professional inspections once a year (usually before winter starts) is the best way to keep your system safe. Your technician will make sure all your safety devices are operating, and will check to see that no other dangers, like cracked heat exchangers, are developing.

Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing to sign up for maintenance for your heating in Rockville, MD. We have the trained staff to handle any problems you may have.

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Heating Tip: Components of a Gas Furnace

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Gas furnaces remain the go-to option for many household heating systems, providing cheap reliable heat to keep your home cozy and comfortable. Because it’s such a vital part of the home, and because it periodically requires repair just like any other mechanical system, it pays to know how it all works. Here’s a quick explanation of the components gas furnaces that will help you better understand how they work and when you need to call for repairs.

The heating process starts with an ignition system, which used to be the pilot light in older models, but now usually electronic ignition. The ignition is connected to a thermocouple which regulates the flow of gas into the furnace. When the thermocouple detects that the ignition is activated, it releases the gas. (This is an important safety feature that keeps your home from being flooded with unlit gas.)

The lit gas then moves to the burners, located beneath a heat exchanger which is essentially a long metal tube with openings on either end. The gas burns very hot, and it passes through the heat exchanger, which is warmed by the heat and subsequently passes that heat onto the surrounding air. The toxic byproduct passes safely through the heat exchanger and into a venting pipe, where it safely exists your home.  The heated air around the exchanger is now ready for distribution into your home. A fan or blower then movies it into a series of ducts, which safely distribute it.

Other heating tips on the components of a gas furnace can be provided by the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. If you need heating service in Germantown, MD, call us today to schedule a consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

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Which Heating System Needs the Fewest Repairs?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Heating systems need to do their job day in and day out, and as the seasons roll on, they’re going to face their share of repairs. When considering a new system, you need to think about the potential frequency of repairs as well as the installation cost and the monthly bills. Which heating system needs the fewest repairs? That’s a tricky question, and the answers depend on your unique circumstances.

In the most general terms, heaters that have more moving parts tend to require more repairs, since those parts create friction and friction increases wear and tear on the unit. That usually means gas furnaces and heat pumps tend to undergo repairs the most often. Boilers usually undergo fewer repairs, but because they usually use very complicated piping systems and those systems can spring leaks, repairs for boilers are not uncommon as well.

Geothermal systems use fewer moving parts and thus don’t need as many repairs on the whole as other systems. Geothermal heating runs a loop of tubes – carrying a mixture of water and antifreeze – through the ground. The tubes facilitate a heat exchange between the liquid and the ambient temperature of the ground, which remains constant no matter what the weather is like outside. Because many of the components are buried underground, repairs are rare, though maintenance is still important.

Again, this is a generalization and specifics vary depending on each individual case. With proper maintenance from a qualified service technician, you can help avoid breakdowns on many types of heating units, and keep repair calls to a minimum. For heating repair in Rockville, MD, the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help. We can help you decide which heater works best for you. Pick up the phone and give us a call today –

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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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Possible Upgrades for Better Heating Performance

Monday, November 18th, 2013

When it comes to heating, Bethesda MD residents want to keep their homes comfortable and energy efficient. We get our share of cold winters in Maryland, and heating can use a lot of energy. You can help yourself out with a little up-front investment in your existing heating system to help it run more efficiently. Here are some possible upgrades for better heating in Bethesda MD.

  • Ductwork upgrades. If you use a forced-air system – a gas furnace that blows hot air through a series of ducts to warm the home – you may want to upgrade your ducts. You can do this in a number of ways: for example by having them wrapped in insulation to better retain the warmth of the air flowing through them. A qualified technician can help you with the specifics.
  • Zone control systems. Zone controls divide your house into different sections, allowing you to heat or cool each one individually. Not only does this allow you to tailor the temperatures in different parts of the house, but you can turn down the heat in rooms you aren’t using, saving you a great deal of money in the process.
  • Programmable thermostats. If you have an older thermostat, consider adding a new digital one with programmable controls. They let you automatically turn the heat down when you go off to work each morning, then turn it back up again ten minutes before you get home. It saves you considerable money in heating without skimping on basic comfort levels.

If you’re exploring possible upgrade for better heating in Bethesda, MD, it pays to consult the advice of professionals. Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating handles all kinds of issues regarding heating, and we offer free second opinions as well as estimates on replacement costs. Let us talk to you about your upgrade options and make the choices that work best for your home and budget. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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