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

How Long Will the Plumbing Pipes in My Home Last?

Monday, September 21st, 2020
pipe-decay

If you’re asking this question, you are already ahead of the game compared to many homeowners, who often assume the pipes in their plumbing system will last for as long as their house lasts. Since most plumbing is out of sight, it is often out of mind—and the pipes are made from metal, so nothing will happen to them.

It only takes a bit of consideration to realize this isn’t true. Metal decays and corrodes, and the daily strain on freshwater and wastewater pipes will wear them down. There are also chemicals in the water that can cause damage, as well as hard water minerals. You can expect many years of service from plumbing pipes, but eventually, they must be replaced.

So, how long will the pipes in your plumbing in Kensington, MD last?

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Heating Guide: How to Monitor Heat Flow from Furnace Registers

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Of the many kinds of heating systems, forced air furnaces are among the simplest in Rockville and monitoring the flow of heat is as simple as checking the registers and feeling the flow.

The Basics of Hot Air

At the furnace, usually in the basement or a central location, air is heated to a temperature set by the thermostat.  Once large and dominant, over the years, technological improvements have enabled furnaces to be much smaller and fit into closets.

With a fan, the warm air is circulated through a system of ducts and distributed at registers or grates usually in the floor.  A second grate takes the cooler air back to the furnace to be heated.

Going With the Flow

While a forced air system tends to fluctuate between cycles, temperatures should be consistent throughout the home from room to room.  As heat is distributed, rooms get quickly warmer, then cool several degrees as heat dissipates until the thermostat setting starts the cycle over.

If there is poor circulation, the efficiency of the system is greatly reduced.  The furnace runs more often, adding strain and cost to the heating of your Rockville home.  Some rooms remain comfortable while the rise and fall of temperatures in others may be more radical or remain too cool.

Monitoring the Flow

By turning the thermostat higher, the furnace will engage and begin to force air to the registers.

Most registers have adjustable slats that can be rotated to allow more or less flow.  Checking to make sure all are fully open is the first step.  There is usually a lever or gear in obvious view.

Make sure all registers are free to allow air movement and not blocked by furniture or carpets.

After testing with your hand to see if there is adequate air flow, using an infrared or dial thermometer will more accurately identify if there are differences from register to register which could indicate a blockage of some sort in the vent or a problem with the system at the furnace.

Solutions

Furnaces should be maintained on a yearly basis by contracting with a company like Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating who can regularly change the filters, inspect the internal elements and ensure proper and efficient functioning of this most important part of your Rockville home.

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Kensington HVAC Question: What Is Air Purification?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

The air around us is getting more and more polluted these days in Kensington, and people are trying to do more and more to combat it. Cars come with ratings like “ultra-low emission vehicle” and windmills generate power from moving air rather than burning coal. No doubt, these efforts help, but if you want to take an active role in improving the quality of air in your own home, consider an air purification system.

Simply put, air purification is the process of removing contaminants and pollutants from the air. There are a number of devices on the market that can purify the air in your Kensington home. While anyone can enjoy the benefits of cleaner air, they are of particular utility for people which suffer from asthma or allergies, or who live in areas with higher concentrations of outdoor air pollution.

There are three main kinds of air purifiers, categorized by the kind of technology they use:

  1. HEPA filtration
  2. Negative ion generation
  3. Electrostatic precipitation

HEPA filtration purifiers simply filter the air that passes through them using a sieve-like filter or series of filters. Depending on the efficiency of the device and the filter, some of these purifiers can trap not only solid and like particles, but also gases and odors. One advantage of this type of purifier is that the HEPA filters can last for years before they need to be changed.

Negative ion generation and electrostatic precipitation models are more complicated and technical because of the technology they use. Consult with a professional to choose which kind of technology is best for your needs, depending on the air quality problem you are experiencing. Some air purifiers can trap bacteria, viruses, fungi or chemicals, so there is bound to be one that will suit your needs.

After deciding on which type of technology you need, you will also have to choose whether you want a portable air purifier unit or a central system that covers the whole house. Obviously the former works well if you are only concerned about the air in a room or two, while the latter is better if you have chronic asthma or a more widespread air quality problem.

If you have any questions about how to improve the air quality in your house, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call today!

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HVAC Guide: How to Install a Programmable Thermostat

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Programmable thermostats are one of the best ways to save on heating costs, especially if you have a hard time remembering to turn down the heat in your Montgomery Village home. Installing a programmable thermostat will allow you to set the times you want the heat turned up or down. Not only will this make heating your home more consistent and save energy, but it will also allow you to tailor your heating needs to your schedule.

For instance, you can set the thermostat to turn on before you get up in the morning so that the house is already warm when you get out of bed, and conversely, set it to turn down after you go to bed or leave the house for work. Depending on the brand and setting options, programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Although all styles are slightly different, here are some basic instructions that show you how easy it is to install a programmable thermostat.  Remember, this is only a general guide; always check the instructions inside the packaging of your new thermostat before you install it, or check with an electrician. Remember that Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating has highly trained professional technicians that can help you install a new thermostat for your heating and air conditioning system.

1. Remove the Old Thermostat

Before you remove the old thermostat, check to see where it’s mounted. If it’s mounted to an electrical box, the voltage used to power the old thermostat may not be compatible with the new one. Ask a certified electrician or heating technician if you aren’t sure.

CUT THE POWER TO THE HEATING SYSTEM TO AVOID ELECTRIC SHOCK. You should always turn off the main power supply to your heating system before installing any new thermostat. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask your Montgomery Village HVAC contractor. Once you unscrew the mounting plate for the old thermostat, just unhook the wires. Don’t throw an old mercury controlled thermostat. You should ask your local waste management facility how to properly dispose of mercury products.

2. Locate all Wires

Wrap the loose wires around a pencil to keep the wires from falling back into the wall. Identify and label each corresponding wire with a letter (do not use color coding since this is not always accurate). Strip the plastic off the ends of the wires about ¼ inch if you need to.

3. Install and Insulate Wallplate

If the area around the new wallplate is larger than the plate, insulate the hole with non-flammable insulation. Take the wallplate off the programmable thermostat and hold it against the wall to mark the screw holes with a pencil. Pull the wires through the large opening at the bottom and screw the plate to the wall.

4. Wiring

Make sure you are comfortable with wiring before you attempt to do any electrical installations. Check the manual for your programmable thermostat for instructions on wiring that specific model. In general, you’ll want to make sure you match the wire labels with the corresponding terminals on the thermostat. Sometimes there will be extra wires that aren’t needed. Always test it before completing the installation. Don’t forget the battery!

5. Install the Faceplate

Once you have it wired correctly, all you need to do is align the brackets on the faceplate with the corresponding slots on the wallplate and fasten the faceplate to the rest of the mounting. Lastly, tighten the screw at the bottom of the thermostat to hold it in place.

If you have any questions regarding programmable thermostats or this seems much too complicated for you to do on your own, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call.

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Heat Pump Tips: What Happens When You Neglect Maintenance

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Just like any HVAC system, the heat pump in your Kensington home needs routine maintenance and yearly check-ups to operate as efficiently and safely as possible. You also don’t want your heat pump to wear down to the point of a major malfunction or breakdown, which can be costly to repair or may require a complete system replacement.

Here are some things that could go wrong and cost you a lot more in the end if you don’t keep up with the regular maintenance of your heat pump.

Damage to the Compressor

The compressor in a split-system heat pump works whether you are heating or cooling your home. In the winter, the compressor reverses the flow of the refrigerant to defrost the outdoor coils, and in the summer it supplies the refrigerant to cool the home, as well as cooling the outdoor coils. Proper airflow is vital to keeping the compressor running smoothly. Filters that are not changed regularly, dirty coils, and dirty fans can all restrict airflow, which will damage the compressor. Debris around the outside components should also be cleared to allow proper airflow.

Decreased Efficiency

When dirty or broken components restrict the airflow, this damages the compressor and decreases the heat pump’s efficiency levels.  Not only is it important to clean your heat pump regularly, but you should also have it checked by a certified heating technician once a year. This will also prevent safety hazards and other hidden issues with the heat pump.

Improper Refrigerant Levels

Most heat pumps are charged with refrigerant at the factory; however, if models that are charged when they are installed are not given the right amount of refrigerant this can also affect performance levels. Refrigerant leaks and other common problems can be prevented by scheduling an annual maintenance visit with one of our qualified Kensington HVAC technicians.

Don’t wait until the heat pump in your home stops working, call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating to schedule your yearly check-up.

 

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Heating Repair Question: Why is my Air Handler Squealing?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Unusual noises coming from your Kensington home’s HVAC system never a good thing; they make you worry that something is wrong.

It’s true that an unusual noise does often mean that something needs to be fixed; however, a noise emanating from your HVAC system does not necessarily mean a major repair. You should always have a technician check out if you suspect a problem with your system, but not all problems are going to be expensive to fix.

One common noise that homeowners notice and complain about is a squealing noise originating in the air handler. Usually, this noise is coming from the fan belt that connects the blower fan and the motor. Over time, the belt can stretch out and become worn or misaligned, which makes it slip and generate that aggravating squealing noise.

So, while the squealing can be annoying and unpleasant, a slipping belt is by no means major. A belt is an inexpensive part and a technician can install it in just a matter of minutes.

As long as the noise is a squealing and not a grinding, this simple fix wil often take care of the problem. If you hear a grinding noise, however, immediately shut the unit down and call a technician. This may mean that your motor bearings are worn out and need to be replaced ASAP before further damage is inflicted on the motor itself.

 

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Heating Contractor Pointers: Basic Heating Safety

Monday, January 9th, 2012

While you should schedule a yearly maintenance visit with a qualified HVAC technician to check for any safety concerns, you can also reduce potential safety hazards in the heating system of your Comus home. Whether you have a furnace, heat pump, or boiler, you can substantially decrease the chances of dangerous situations with a few minor routine tasks.

If you have any questions about how to better maintain your heating system, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call to speak with one of our expert HVAC technicians. Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Ventilation in Forced-air Systems:

  • Regularly vacuum and clean out your heating vents and fan blower.
  • Check the condition of your chimney and vent pipe to make sure that none of the parts are damaged or show signs of deterioration.
  • Test the thermostat occasionally to make sure your heating system is working at optimal levels. There could be a safety concern if your heater is not properly heating your home.

Heat Exchangers:

  • Heat exchangers should be inspected often to prevent carbon monoxide leaks. Check for any obvious issues, such as rust or other damages.
  • The heat exchanger for furnaces should be inspected by a professional once a year in case there are hidden problems with the equipment, or if any of the components need to be replaced.
  • Check the pilot light in gas furnaces for any flickers or changes in color. Have someone turn up the thermostat while you watch the light, but turn off the system for five minutes first. If there are any changes, there could be a problem with the heat exchanger. Call a Comus professional if you suspect issues with your heat exchanger.

Heating Equipment Inspections and Adjustments:

  • Boilers should be drained regularly to reduce sediment buildup, in addition to testing the water level safety controls. It’s best to have a professional perform these tasks if you aren’t sure how to do them on your own.
  • Adjust the temperature settings if you suspect that the heater isn’t working properly, and if it doesn’t work call a professional heating technician, or if you aren’t sure how to locate or adjust the controls.
  • Check the overall equipment for cracks, rust, or any other obvious signs of damage or deterioration that could create safety hazards.

In addition to performing these tasks, call a Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating licensed heating contractor to inspect your heating system at least once a year.

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Testimonial – Customer from Kensington

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Do you need a new furnace? Call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating today, we will work hard to get you the right heating system for your home and provide the best service possible. We think we do a pretty good job; here is what a customer from Kensington wrote to us about his furnace installation:

When we were told by our current HVAC technician that we needed a new furnace, we decided to get estimates from several companies before we embarked on this costly project. Not only was Tucker’s estimate several thousand dollars lower than the two other companies we contacted, they were also very timely in getting their estimate to us and were very open to the many questions that we had about the process. In addition, knowing that the cold fall weather was becoming uncomfortable for a house without a working heater, Tucker’s fit us in right away on a Friday and then had a crew come back on Saturday to finish the job. The workmen were professional and very fast. They cleaned up the space beautifully after completing the work and were very helpful in explaining our new system to us.

We now have Tucker’s as our service contractor as well and have been very pleased with their regular service calls. We have recommended Tucker’s to several of our friends who have all had similar experiences with them. We are happy to have found such a reliable and reasonable HVAC company!

– Customer in Kensington

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home in Kensington

Friday, September 16th, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around your Kensington house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system. Maybe it is even a good idea to switch to geothermal heating.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 10 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  5. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  6. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  7. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  8. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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What Types of Air Conditioning Systems Are There? A Question From Brinklow

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Picking out the right air conditioning system for your Brinklow home can actually involve a lot of steps. There are many factors to consider and you will need to understand how each type of air conditioning system functions to know what will be best in your house. Of course, before you can compare them, you need to know what the different types of air conditioning systems actually are.

Packaged air conditioning systems are probably the type that the majority of people are most familiar with. They consist of an outdoor compressor unit that is connected to an indoor air handler or furnace through ductwork within the house. The air is cooled by the compressor and then blown into the house where it is circulated through the ductwork by the air handler.

Packaged air conditioning systems are appropriate for most residential buildings and they come in a variety of sizes so that it is easy to match one to the size and dimensions of your home. However, these types of air conditioning systems do require ductwork, so if you do not already have it installed in your house, putting it in can add considerably to the overall installation costs.

If you do not want to have ducts put in or if you are only trying to cool a small space within your home, you may want to opt for a ductless split system. These types of air conditioning systems are becoming more and more popular because of their excellent energy efficiency and flexibility when it comes to installation options.

Ductless splits also require an outdoor compressor unit, but this is connected to one or more indoor units through refrigerant lines rather than actual air ducts. These refrigerant lines are much easier and less costly to put in place than ducts are, so mini-split systems can be installed for much less than a packaged air conditioning system in a home that does not already have ducts.

These ductless split systems can include only one or many indoor units. Each of these units is controlled independently of the others, making it possible to maintain different temperatures in different parts of your home.

For larger buildings and commercial spaces, central air conditioning systems are generally the preferred option. They are set up essentially the same way as packaged air conditioning systems but on a much larger scale. However, just like packaged air conditioning systems, central air conditioners rely on ducts to get the cooled air to the various areas of the building.

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