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

Thank You! Reviews for Tuckers – A Gaithersburg HVAC Company

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Reviews | Gaithersburg | Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating

Tuckers Air Conditioning ad Heating provides professional Air Conditioning, Heating, and Indoor Air Quality service in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Montgomery County and the surrounding area.

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What Does an Air Handler Do? An AC Question

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Your HVAC system is a complex system filled with vital components tasked with keeping you comfortable. One of the most important of those component is the air handler – the device responsible for circulating the heated or cooled air produced by your system through the vents in your home and into each of your rooms.

The air handler is a metal box, usually consisting of a blower and the heating or cooling elements. It might also include dampers and sound attenuators along with an air filtration and humidity control system. The simplest air handlers are designed only to transfer the heated or cooled air to the various parts of your home, while the most advanced devices are designed to perfectly condition and clean that air as it is circulated.

 Types of Air Handler

There are a few different types of air handler as well, depending on the size of the HVAC system and the nature of the heating and/or cooling used. Most homes, for example, use terminal units which consist of just an air filter, blower and coil. This very simple system is all you really need to heat and transmit air through your ductwork.

However, for larger systems, there are also makeup air units which use outdoor air instead of recirculated indoor air. There are also packaged and rooftop units which are designed to be placed outside. These devices are most commonly used for commercial applications when space is limited.

How the Air Handler Works

An air handler’s most basic component is a blower fan. This device is run by an AC electric motor and can be either single speed or variable speed depending on the size and scope of your air handler. The dampers on the fan will control the flow rate of the air going through the blower fan. Most residential blowers are part of the air conditioning or furnace system, while commercial systems often have multiple blowers to maintain steady airflow for a larger space.

Because an air handler passes all of the air that will go through your vents, it is the best place to install high quality MERV or HEPA filters to remove pathogens and contaminants. It is also a good place to install humidity control devices to either raise or lower humidity depending on the time of the year.

Your air handler is an incredibly important component in your home heating and cooling system. Without it, all that heated and cooled air you pay for each year wouldn’t reach you. So, make sure to keep your system in tip top condition. If you need any air conditioning service in Gaithersburg, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call at 301-670-0034!

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Your Local Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Everyone at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating wishes you a very happy Valentine’s Day! We hope you have a day filled with lots of candy, flowers, and Valentines! Today is all about showing your appreciation for those you love, including your friends, your family, or your significant other. Take a moment today to think about everyone who makes a difference in your life and how you can let them know how special they are to you.

While traditional gifts like candy and flowers are wonderful idea, why not think a little out of the box this year? Upgrading your HVAC system can make your whole house more comfortable, which is something that your entire family will appreciate! A new air filtration system can help you breathe easier, and a new heating and cooling system can significantly lower your energy bills. While not the most romantic of gifts, it certainly will let your family know that you care.

For more information about how a few HVAC upgrades can make your house more comfortable, give Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating a call. In addition to making your home cozier, you can also make your friends and family happy by making this delicious recipe for Fudge Truffle Cheesecake:

“When the chocolate addict in you begs for a sweet fix, bake this fluffy chocolate cheesecake over a chocolate cookie crust. Decorate it with even more cocoa delights, such as chocolate-dipped fruit or chocolate whipped cream.”

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed

milk

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together crushed vanilla wafers, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and butter or margarine by hand. Press ingredients into a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, making sure that they are very smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Mix in melted chocolate, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 55 minutes. The cake will seem underbaked in the center, but will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Heating Repair Tip: Reasons Your Furnace Isn’t Producing Enough Heat

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The last occasion on which you want to worry about your furnace not producing any heat is the dead of winter, when the outside is chilly you just want to seek refuge in your own Takoma Park home…only to discover that it’s not much warmer than the outdoors.

This may seem like a total emergency, and the combination of chill and frustration may cause panic to set in. Don’t start fretting too much just yet, though. There are some potentially simple causes and solutions for this problem, such as:

  • The thermostat may be set too low or on the wrong setting. Yes, it seems obvious, but sometimes the solution is staring you right in the face. Check that your thermostat is set high enough to call for heat and that it is on HEAT mode.
  • A circuit breaker may be tripped or a fuse may be blown. It could be the one dedicated to the thermostat, glow coil igniter or furnace itself. Check the breaker or fuse box in your home and either flip the breaker or replace the fuse. If it continues to trip or blow, get it looked at professionally—there may be a bigger problem going on.
  • The thermostat may not be working, so it is either improperly detecting the temperature or improperly reporting it to the furnace, so the heat does not kick on. Either way, it probably needs to be replaced.
  • The furnace is not igniting properly. This could mean the pilot light is out on furnaces without electric ignition, the gas valve is closed and can’t ignite or some other ignition malfunction. Check the pilot and gas valves to make sure they are on and working.

If you have checked all these things and the thermostat still is not working, or if you don’t feel comfortable looking into these causes on your own, you are best served by calling a professional repairman to diagnose and fix the furnace.

Often, these big failures are just the symptom of a smaller problem, so in all likelihood you won’t have to replace the furnace or do any major repairs, especially if it has been well-maintained throughout its life.

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Heating Contractor Secret: How a Ceiling Fan Can Help Heat Your Home

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Most people who have ceiling fans in Hillandale never turn them on in the winter. They assume that the fan is designed solely to cool the house – after all, blowing air feels pretty nice doesn’t it? But, a ceiling fan can actually help to move heat around your home and lower your heating bill if used properly. Here are some tips to do just that.

Rotating Warm Air

Warm air naturally rises. So, when you turn on your furnace and the blower fan pushes warm air through your ductwork into the various rooms of your home, the warm air immediately rises to the ceiling. So, for the room to feel as comfortable as you want it, you must wait for enough heat to circulate into the room to displace the cold air that was already there.

However, instead of waiting for warm air to fill the room, you can circulate the warm air as it arrives with a ceiling fan. By turning on your ceiling fan and changing the direction so it blows down (which most people already have it set to), the warm air will be pushed toward the floor, mixing it smoothly into the room and keeping you more comfortable without having the furnace on constantly.

This does two things. First, it keeps the room comfortable regardless of when the furnace cycles on or off. Second, it keeps the thermostat reading stable so the furnace doesn’t cycle on and off so quickly. If the warm air regularly rises up and the lower levels begin to cool, your furnace will frequently turn on and off as it tries to maintain the same temperature.

A Low Cost Addition to Your Home

Ceiling fans are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. They move air throughout the room, keep warmth low where you need it and can help reduce your energy bill in multiple ways. If you’re not sure whether a ceiling fan is right for you, talk to a technician about just how much money one of these simple devices can save you. I bet you’ll be convinced.

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Heating Installation Tip: Comparing High-Efficiency and Mid-Efficiency Furnaces

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Whenever you are in the market for a new furnace for your Ijamsville home, there are many models to choose from.  Many of the furnaces manufactured within the last few years are high-efficiency furnaces with a high AFUE rating (AFUE measures the amount of fuel the furnace converts into heat). When people refer to a mid-efficiency furnace, they are usually talking about older furnaces.

Single-stage furnaces were considered to be an efficient heating system when they were manufactured, but compared to newer furnaces, they use up a lot more energy than they need to. Single-speed furnaces are designed to run at full capacity until the temperature inside the home reaches the thermostat setting. After they shut off, the home not only loses heat, but the furnace will also take longer and burn more fuel when it cycles on again.

Newer, two-speed and multispeed models run consistently at lower speeds, and the ones with variable-speed blowers are even more efficient because they can operate at various levels. These models will also automatically adjust to the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature, which saves energy by keeping the home at a consistent temperature so that there’s little heat loss.

When shopping for a new furnace, keep in mind that the AFUE ratings for multispeed and variable-speed furnaces only determine the efficiency of the actual furnace. If you are upgrading your old, mid-efficiency furnace to a high-efficiency furnace, you should make sure that your Ijamsville home is properly insulated and sealed.  You could also consider upgrading any older doors and windows to more efficient double-paned ones, or you can also install storm doors and windows.

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How to Make Your Takoma Park Heating System More Effective

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Everyone wants an effective heating system in Takoma Park – one that will provide steady, reliable heat without you having to spend hundreds of dollars each month on gas, oil or electricity. And while the best way to improve the efficiency of your heating system in most cases is to upgrade it, there are some simple things you can do around the house to boost its effectiveness. Here are some of the best:

  • Rearrange Furniture – Just having the heat on doesn’t necessarily ensure the heat entering your room is being distributed evenly. Move your furniture in such a way that there is a clear, unimpeded path from the registers and radiators to the rest of the room. Done properly, this will make it much easier to and faster to heat every room of your house.
  • Maximize Air Flow – Air flow can be maximized in a number of ways. Make sure you close any windows near a register or radiator and that you remove any large objects that might block air flow. You should also install things that can help move air like fans and always call someone in for changes to the arrangement of your vents or radiators.
  • Clean Registers or Radiators – The cleaner your radiators or dust registers are, the more efficiently they release their heat. Not only have that, but clean radiators and registers resulted in better indoor air quality. Weekly cleaning of each room’s heating source is highly recommended.
  • Install Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans switched to blow down are incredibly effective for distributing air throughout the room. This will keep push warm air down and keeps cold air up – in effect, reducing the need for constant running of your furnace or boiler.

Effective heating is important to keep your home comfortable, reduce the cost of heating and prolong the lifespan of your furnace or boiler. You should also make sure your heating system is properly maintained throughout the year. Skipping maintenance visits (which are highly recommended annually) will put unnecessary stress on your system and shorten its lifespan substantially, not to mention the decrease in efficiency when heating your home.

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Essential Components of a Home Comfort System

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Indoor comfort is defined by several factors: temperature, humidity, and air quality. If any one of the three is out of the “normal” range it can affect the quality of life in your Spencerville home.

The ultimate goal of any heating & cooling contractor is to ensure that customers are comfortable – meaning that all three factors are addressed when servicing, replacing, or installing new equipment in a home. This equipment includes furnaces and air conditioners but also extends to humidifiers, electronic filters, ultraviolet (UV) lighting, infrared heating, etc.

Obviously, the essential component for most U.S. households is a furnace. Air conditioners may not be essential for all parts of the U.S., namely the northern states, but are still considered an integral part of any home comfort system.

Let’s look at the furnace first. There are several choices but most can be found in two different classifications: single-stage or variable speed two-stage. Your choice depends on the indoor square footage, your own comfort needs, and possibly the cost of energy units (gas or electric for example). Forced air is a common method of moving heated air to all parts of the home via an air handling unit and through a duct system. But gaining in popularity is radiant heat (electric), which does not utilize a duct system.

Air conditioners also come in a variety of sizes, including window/room air conditioners or central air conditioning, which is likely a “split” system including an outdoor unit and indoor coil. The size of the air conditioner is determined by square footage, which is part of a load calculation performed by qualified heating & cooling contractors while planning the equipment replacement or new installation. An oversized air conditioner may produce high humidity levels and an undersized unit may not provide enough cooling to all areas of the home. High humidity levels contribute to higher indoor temperatures in the summer, and can also lead to respiratory problems.

If someone in your home has allergies or is sensitive to certain pollutants in the air, it may be important to include extra filtration in your heating & cooling system, such as electronic filtration and UV lighting mounted in the buildings duct system, to kill germs and contaminants.

And speaking of an essential component, duct systems are keys to maximizing efficiency and comfort. Properly sized, insulated, and sealed, the duct system is a key to comfortable, healthy indoor air – and energy efficiency. It is also important to keep your duct system clean, too.

As always, it is best to consult with a Spencerville licensed heating and cooling contractor who can offer the best solutions for your home comfort system.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! We would like to thank you all for being loyal customers and helping our business prosper. Have a great holiday; we hope your Thanksgiving is full of friends, family, and delicious food! And to make you day a little sweeter, here is a recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread from allrecipes.com:

Pumpkin Gingerbread

“A delicious quick bread that will fill your kitchen with spicy holiday scents.”

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

For more details, click here.

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Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Indoor air pollutants are a major issue for lots of Damascus homeowners and while you may know the most common culprits such as pet dander, pollen, dust and smoke, there are a few other indoor air pollution sources you may not be aware of. Here are some that almost any home will have and simple tasks you can perform to reduce their risk.

  • Cooking Surfaces – Gas stoves in particular are a major source of Nitrogen Dioxide. To reduce the amount of this gas in your indoor air, make sure you have proper ventilation above or near your stove. A simple exhaust hood or wall fan will do the job.
  • Insects – Roaches in particular are a major issue.  Their droppings, saliva and dead body parts can significantly increase the risk of health problems like asthma. Many other insects produce allergens as well, though roaches are worse because of their size and the nature of most infestations. Avoid using roach killers however. Prevention is better than extermination both for your indoor air quality and for the general health of those in your household.
  • Dust Mites – Dust mites are different from insects because they are so small (and are technically arachnids). They like things like your drapes, upholstery and carpet. They also like high humidity levels so if you can keep the humidity in your home low, they will be much less of a nuisance.
  • Asbestos – You’ve probably heard that asbestos is a carcinogen and should be covered or removed from your home. But do you know just how many places in your home it can be found? Asbestos is present in old insulation, spackle, pipe wraps and even some older upholstery. If your home is more than 30 years old, make sure it is inspected and checked for asbestos. If found, asbestos is usually isolated so it cannot fray and get into the air you breathe.
  • New Electronics – New products can have a variety of chemicals in them like phthalates that have a negative impact on the respiratory health of those exposed to them. These chemicals are emitted after a product is opened for the first time. With time their concentration will diminish, reducing the risk, but at first, make sure to properly ventilate the space and keep children away from new electronics or computers.

Chemicals, pollutants and other indoor air quality issues are numerous. To avoid a problem, make sure you investigate carefully to determine if your home needs additional repairs. And if you are worried about your indoor air quality, talk to your contractor about having an air cleaner installed in your home.

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