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

Is Geothermal a Good Home Cooling Option in Chevy Chase MD?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

For homeowners in the Chevy Chase, MD area looking for an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuel heating and cooling, geothermal technology is a very attractive option. Geothermal systems harness thermal energy stored in the ground to heat and cool your home. The geothermal experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating provide geothermal installation, repair and maintenance in Chevy Chase, MD and the Montgomery County area. Here are a few considerations that you may want to think about as you start moving forward with geothermal systems.

How Do Geothermal Systems Work?

What is geothermal? Your local geothermal professional will install a long series of pipes underground on your property. The system circulates water or a water-refrigerant mixture through these pipes in order to absorb or disperse heat from the ground. In heating mode, heat from the ground is absorbed and moved into your home. If you are cooling, the moderate temperature of the earth allows the geothermal heat pump to take the heat from your indoor air and disperse it underground. One of the advantages of the geothermal heat pump is that works throughout the year, in summer and winter.

Is it Right For Me?

Deciding whether geothermal is the right cooling option for your home in Chevy Chase, MD depends upon several factors:

  • Topography. Because geothermal systems require piping underground, the topography of your home can impact the installation and operation of the system. The first step is to make sure that you have enough room for the underground pipe loops. Call the Chevy Chase, MD geothermal installation experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating to schedule a consultation.
  • Soil composition. This relates to the topographical location of your home, and it can also impact the installation and operation. Knowing what the underground composition of your property will allow you to make an informed decision when it comes to geothermal cooling.
  • Current system. Switching over to geothermal will involve some changes in the way your system operates, so knowing the details of how those changes will take place is important.

Geothermal is a remarkable technology. It is both eco-friendly and cost-effective, and for that reason, it is growing in popularity throughout America. To learn more about geothermal installation and how it can improve the way you cool your home, call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating today at 301-670-0034.

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How Geothermal Cooling Works

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Our air conditioning systems have become increasingly energy-efficient as the years have progressed, and yet we are still left searching for the most energy-efficient air cooling options of those available to us.  Geothermal cooling has been an air cooling option which has been becoming increasingly popular, and which provides one of the highest amounts of energy-efficiency around.  As a geothermal company in Gaithersburg, Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating can help you understand exactly how geothermal cooling works.

The Geothermal Cooling Process

The geothermal cooling process is a quite straightforward process that uses a network of pipes or “ground loops” which are installed underground.  The liquid in the piping system absorbs the colder ambient temperatures from the ground and then the cold is transferred to cool the indoor air that is circulated in your home.

At the same time, the higher temperature air which is already inside the building is absorbed and the heat is dispersed via the return pipes back to the ground.  This movement through the ground loop system happens pretty much continually when the geothermal heat pump is functioning.

Geothermal systems can be used year-round because they provide colder air for warm summer months and hotter air for cold winter months.  This happens by reversing the process and instead pulling ambient heat from the ground to push into the building and pulling the cold air out of the building to be placed back in the ground.  Thus geothermal heat pumps can be a great replacement for a more traditional air conditioning system and heating system.

These ground source heat pumps can be up to twenty-five times more energy-efficient than even air source heat pumps, making it one of the best air conditioning and heating options available.

The benefits of geothermal heat pump use are phenomenal.  Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source, it is highly sustainable, and allows consumers to dramatically decrease their consumption of purchased energy month over month so utility bills drop considerably.  Geothermal systems are known for their longevity, lasting two to three times as long as standard air conditioning systems since their loop systems are placed underground where they are not hindered by constantly fluctuating weather patterns.

Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating is a professional heating and air conditioning company that understands the ins and outs of geothermal cooling.  Our well-trained geothermal technicians can ensure that your geothermal system is functioning properly all year round through geothermal maintenance and geothermal system repairs.  Contact Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating at 301-670-0034 and become a greener you with a more energy-efficient geothermal cooling and heating system.

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Why Air Conditioning Maintenance is Important

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Home maintenance tasks probably aren’t high on your list of priorities. The reason we do them anyway is that they actually save time, work and money down the road.

Air conditioner maintenance is no different. One of the best ways to keep your AC running and your house nice and cool is to have routine maintenance performed on your air conditioning system on a regular basis. This includes keeping the coils clean. How does this help you avoid headaches down the road? Let’s look into that question.

First, you have to understand that those coils are integral to the operation of your air conditioner.  They play vital roles in the cooling process, which is the whole purpose of an AC in the first place. So, it behooves you to keep them working optimally.

A dirty coil is one that can’t work efficiently. When a coil is covered by dirt, dust and debris, it can’t readily absorb heat from the ambient air and transmit it away. This means your home isn’t as cool because your air conditioner can’t work as well as it would otherwise be able to.

When the coils are dirty and cooling efficiency is degraded, the AC has to work harder to cool your home. That means more wear and tear to do the same job. This can lead to more frequent repairs and a need to replace the system sooner. Plus, with all the extra work being done by the AC system, you can expect higher utility bills. So, a clean coil is also good for your wallet.

Between the increased comfort, better performance and both long-term and short-term savings, you can see that keeping AC coils clean is an investment that pays dividends over time. Even just the lowered risk of malfunction and the inevitable repair visits that follow make it a chore worth doing. To schedule the annual maintenance visit for your air conditioning system in Gaithersburg, give Tuckers a call at 301-670-0034!

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AC Question: What is the Difference Between Duct and Ductless Air Conditioning Systems

Monday, June 18th, 2012

If you are going to buy a new air conditioning system in Gaithersburg, you have a few different options. Today, both ductless and duct air conditioning systems are available, and they each of their own benefits that might make them the right solution for your home depending on your specific needs.

Ductless systems have recently grown in popularity for a number of reasons. They are more energy efficient than central air conditioning systems, and they have none of the energy loss that usually occurs when you use ducts to transport conditioned air. Their installation is also usually much easier than a forced air system because you don’t need to install ductwork, which can be a lengthy process.

Ductless systems use a conduit to connect the indoor air handlers to the outdoor unit. Connecting the indoor components only requires a small hole to be made in your wall. Ductless systems are easy to zone with multiple indoor units, and they can be used to bring air conditioning to parts of the home it would be difficult for ducts to reach.  All of the indoor units can be connected to the same outdoor compressor, and they can be controlled individually by different thermostats. Zoning your air conditioning can help you save energy and make your home more comfortable.

A central air conditioning system also has indoor and outdoor components. Ductwork distributes cool, air conditioned air throughout your home and it’s a great option for many home that already have ducts in place. The ducts are hidden, so unlike ductless systems, you usually can’t see the indoor components.  Central air conditioners come in many different sizes and energy efficiencies, so they usually present the most options for homeowners to choose from. Central air conditioning systems can also be zoned with dampers to divert the air through the ducts to where is it needed most.

Both central air conditioning and ductless systems can keep your home cool and comfortable this summer. Which one is right for you depends on your current system, your budget, and your personal preference. Call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating today at 301-670-0034 if you would like to learn more about which type of system would be right for your home.

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Air Conditioning Repair Tip: What To Do if Your AC Breaks Down

Monday, June 4th, 2012

When the heat really starts to rise this summer in Gaithersburg, there is nothing like sitting on your couch with the cold air conditioned air blowing over you. No matter how hot it gets outside, the right AC system will ensure your home stays cool and comfortable. However, few things could be worse than if your AC stops working and the cool air stops flowing.

Your air conditioning system breaking down is something you definitely want to avoid, but even the best maintained system occasionally needs repairs. If your air conditioning system does stop working, here are a few simple things that you should check:

  • Check the Power: Before you assume that there is something wrong with your system, make sure that your unit has power. A power surge or a tripped breaker can interrupt the electricity to your AC and prevent it from functioning. This is an easy fix unless your unit is repeatedly tripping the breaker, in which case you will need a professional to examine its electrical system.
  • Check the Air Filters: If you air conditioner has power but it not cooling your home effectively, it is probably a problem with the unit. Check your air filters – clogged filters can reduce efficiency and possibly cause icing, which prevent it from cooling your home. Issues with your ductwork can also cause uneven cooling, but you will need a professional to examine your system to determine the cause of the problem.
  • Call the Pros: If you have determined that your unit has power and clean filters but is still not working, then it is time to call in your HVAC contractor. Air conditioning systems are quite complicated, and a trained technician will be able to perform diagnostics to figure out the source of the issue and repair it quickly.  The best way to cut down on the number of emergency repairs your system needs is to schedule a maintenance visit for your AC every year.

A good air conditioning system can make a big difference in how comfortable your home is this summer. If you need air conditioning repair in Gaithersburg or the surrounding area, never hesitate to call Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating at 301-670-0034!

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Heating Maintenance Tip: Downflow Gas Furnaces

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Proper care of a downflow gas furnace starts with proper installation and continues through routine cleaning and maintenance. But before you can even have a downflow gas furnace installed in your Barnesville home, you need to make sure it’s the right fit for your home.

Downflow gas furnaces are so named because of the direction that air flows through them. The cooler air is taken in at the top and directed downward, heating up as it travels, and then is expelled through the bottom of the furnace into ducts that feed the rest of the house. Because of this configuration, downflow  gas furnaces are typically installed in attics as opposed to basements.

If you have a basement and you’d rather install your furnace there, then an upflow furnace is probably the better choice for you. However, as many newer homes don’t have basements at all, downflow gas furnaces are growing in popularity and usefulness.

As with any other furnace, it’s important to have a downflow gas furnace professionally installed. This will ensure that the venting system is properly in place and that your house will be heated as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Of course, there are some other things you can do to help your furnace heat your home and keep your energy bills down. For instance, make sure you have proper insulation everywhere, particularly in the attic and crawlspaces where much of the normal heat loss in a home occurs.

You can also make your home more airtight in the winter by sealing up any unused windows and doors with plastic and making sure all storm windows are in place. Basically anyplace that a draft could develop, you could be losing heat and that costs you money. So to ensure that all of the money you’re spending to heat your house is actually going to that purpose, check periodically to make sure your home is still sealed up tight.

Also, just like any other type of furnace, a downflow gas furnace will require regular maintenance to make sure it continues to run efficiently and to replace any parts that may have worn out over time. Having a Barnesville professional technician come out once a year to carry out this type of service will wind up saving you a bunch of money and can help catch problems before they are able to get out of hand.

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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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Who Invented Air Conditioning?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

For hundreds of years, people have been trying to figure out how to stay cool in the heat of the summer. But it wasn’t until 1902 that the first modern air conditioner was put into service in Brooklyn, NY. Since then, many adjustments and improvements have been made to make air conditioning available and convenient for people to use in their homes and cars. But through it all, the basic principles used in that first air conditioner have remained constant.

The Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company

The heat and humidity in New York in the summer isn’t something to be taken lightly, but it posed particular problems for the owner of the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company. The conditions inside his facility were such that the paper used was warping and the dimensions fluctuating, causing the printing to constantly come out misaligned.

To try and solve this problem, he hired the Buffalo Forge Company, which itself had just hired Willis Haviland Carrier, a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Cornell University. Carrier approached this problem by trying to find a way to cool air by passing it over cold coils in the same way air was heated in those days by passing it over hot coils.

As it turned out, this process worked to reduce both the temperature and the humidity in the area and Carrier’s first air conditioner began running at Sackett-Wilhelms in July of 1902.

The Next Steps

As the potential for this new technology became more and more apparent, demand for Carrier’s device grew in all sectors of the economy. Employers were delighted by the way air conditioners increased the productivity of their workers during the hottest months of the year, and in order to keep up with demand, Carrier eventually founded the Carrier Air Conditioning Company which still exists today.

The coolants used in the earliest air conditioners were generally either highly flammable or toxic, and often both. In order to make air conditioning safer and easier to use, a safer coolant needed to be introduced, which was what drove Thomas Midgley, Jr. to develop Freon in 1928. Freon was initially made up of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but as the disastrous environmental impacts of those chemicals became apparent, usage shifted first to hydrogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and then to the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are predominantly used today.

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The Advantages of an Air Conditioning System

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Just about everyone knows that air conditioning systems keep your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. While this may be enough of a benefit for you, there are also some other benefits to having a central air conditioning system installed in your house as well.

For instance, if you have someone in your household who is more susceptible to extreme temperatures than most people, an air conditioning system can actually help improve their overall health. Babies certainly fall into this category, as they have more difficulty than older children or adults do controlling their body temperature.

Also, many elderly people or people suffering from certain medical conditions, particularly heart conditions, are especially sensitive to the heat. If they are unable to stay cool, it can be very dangerous and damaging to their health, and an air conditioning system helps to guarantee that they will be able to stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year.

Aside from direct health concerns, air conditioning systems can also help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and allergies. They do this by controlling the level of humidity inside your home. If the air in your house is too moist or too dry, it can exacerbate cold and allergy symptoms, as well as dry out skin and make the indoor environment generally uncomfortable.

Proper humidity control is also important because it helps to ensure that any air filtration or purification system you have in place is able to operate at peak efficiency. Many of these units have a hard time extracting particulate contaminants from the indoor air that circulates through them if that air is too humid or too dry. With a state of the art air conditioning system in place, however, you will not have to worry about whether or not the humidity level in your home is out of balance.

It is also worth noting that a central air conditioning system can be preferable to a window mounted unit because it provides for a more even distribution of cool air throughout the house. Also, when you have a central air conditioning system, the condenser which is the source of most of the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make will be located outside and out of earshot. With window mounted units, on the other hand, there is really no way to block out or diminish the noise.

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Why Install a Bathroom Ventilation Fan?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Your bathroom is one of the dampest rooms in your house. Without proper ventilation, you put it at risk of developing mold and mildew which can then spread and enter your home’s air supply. But, what kind of ventilation fan is best and how will it help you remove those unwanted allergens?

Choosing a Ventilation Fan

Step one is to find a ventilation fan that will remove excess humidity and moisture from your bathroom. When you take a shower, wash your face or run a bath, not only do you fill the room with a lot of water, you heat it up. With nowhere to go, that heat lingers and everything from tiles to wood fixtures will absorb the moisture. Over time, it leads to mold and mildew growth – some of it damaging to your bathroom, and much of it damaging to your health.

A ventilation fan must be efficient in removing the excess humidity in your bathroom and pushing it outside. But, that ventilation fan shouldn’t make your bathroom too cold or waste a great deal of the heating or cooling energy you pay so much for.

The best solution then is to get a fan that either connects to a central exhaust system to remove the humidity and air from your bathroom or use an energy recovery ventilator to keep the warm or cool air where it belongs. These systems will remove only the stale air filled with humidity and allergens.

Integrating with the Rest of Your Home

You can have a simple bathroom fan placed in your home that just blows air out of the room. This is effective and will reduce the risk of things like mold and mildew, but it’s costly to operate due to energy loss and it doesn’t integrate with the rest of your home well.

That’s why a good fan should be part of a larger exhaust and ventilation system. The type you need depends largely on the overall humidity of your home and your annual heating and cooling costs, but generally, a simple system that exchanges heat before air leaves your home will do the trick.

Most modern homes have bathroom ventilation already installed. If yours does not, take a closer look at the options currently available. You’ll find different sizes, types and brands designed to fit your particular needs. Whatever you choose, simple ventilation can do wonders for a previously damp and mildew filled bathroom.

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