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

Was This the Final Summer for Your AC? Some of the Signs

Monday, September 6th, 2021

Saying goodbye to an old air conditioning system shouldn’t be difficult. No one forms sentimental attachments to HVAC appliances. An air conditioner is designed to do a vital job for a home—keeping it comfortable during the heat—and when it can no longer do that job effectively or without raising utility prices extremely high, then replacing is a straightforward solution. 

And yet, people still find it difficult to make the final choice to replace an air conditioner that’s on the decline. We understand: the job costs money and takes planning, and maybe the current AC isn’t that bad. It’s easy to procrastinate on this type of home service. 

We’re here to help you make the right choice for your AC at the end of the summer. You don’t want to delay getting a new air conditioner during the fall (a convenient time for the service) if your current cooling system has sent out signals this was its last summer of effective and efficient use. Below are some of those signals:

The AC is 15 or more years old

The raw age of your air conditioning system is a strong indicator of how much longer you can expect it to continue to work. Few central ACs can last much longer than 15 years—it’s the point when the strain on the system’s components catches up with it and repairs and maintenance make much less of a difference. We strongly recommend replacing an air conditioner this old. 

Rising summer electric bills

In the last one or two years of an air conditioning system’s service life, it will start to see a drop in its energy efficiency. This means you’ll see a rise in your electrical costs each summer that’s unconnected to electricity prices and how much you use the AC. This decline will only get worse and you’ll throw money away each time the air conditioner comes on. 

Dropping cooling capacity

The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is how much cooling it can create. When an AC is accurately sized for a house, it will have the right cooling capacity to lower indoor temperatures to a comfortable level without wasting energy. When this cooling capacity starts to drop and you notice your house no longer gets as cool as it used to (unless you keep lowering the thermostat), it’s time for a new AC. 

Excessive and expensive repairs

Needing to repair an AC each year is too often. And twice a year is a big warning that a replacement is the better choice. Also watch out for high costs of repairs: any single repair quote that’s more than half the cost of a new AC is not worth it. 

If you need help making the choice, you have a great resource available: us! We offer air conditioning service in North Potomac, MD and provide honest opinions on repairs and replacements. 

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn. Schedule AC service if you think you need a new cooling system.

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New Furnace Installation? A Few Things to Know

Monday, November 18th, 2019

You’ve decided the time has come to replace your ancient, unreliable furnace. Good planning! The deepest cold hasn’t yet arrived, but it’ll soon be on its way. That gives you enough time to replace your old furnace with a new one that should give you many warm winters.

However, getting a new furnace isn’t as easy as shopping for furniture or purchasing appliances online. You can’t simply look at a furnace model and say, “Yeah, I’ll get this.” Furnaces have special requirements, and there are a few important points to know about installation.

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Air Conditioning Repair Needs to Take Care of in the Spring

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The spring weather is so pleasant that, chances are, your air conditioning system is not something you think much about. Because you’re not running your air conditioning system frequently, it may seem as though you can put off AC repair for a while longer. However, as soon as you notice a problem, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Without prompt repair, the trouble may worsen and you’ll find yourself frantically calling for service in the middle of the hottest day of the year!

Some Common Repair Needs

  • Leaky Refrigerant: When refrigerant leaks out of your air conditioning system, you may notice that you feel a little bit warmer, as your AC cannot effectively or efficiently cool down your home. Leaky refrigerant results in longer run times, which means your energy bills can skyrocket. What’s worse is that the coil may freeze as a result.
  • Frozen Coil: When the indoor evaporator coil of your air conditioning system freezes, your air conditioning system is in jeopardy. The unit will run for longer periods, and parts may wear down in an attempt to compensate for the deficiency. And as the ice begins to melt, it may permanently damage the indoor air handler.
  • Electrical Trouble: Does your air conditioning system seem to trip the circuit breaker too often? Do you notice that the unit struggles to start up? Electrical problems deserve immediate attention from a professional who can repair the damage safely and let you know if your unit is on its last legs. But sometimes, the fix is relatively inexpensive.

Consider Professional Maintenance

If you don’t find that your system is in need of repairs before the cooling season picks up, consider air conditioning maintenance to make sure your unit remains in top shape. Regular maintenance involves a comprehensive cleaning and adjusting which can improve the efficiency of your system, ward off repair needs, and make your unit last a little bit longer, potentially.

Call the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today. We offer quality air conditioning repair in North Potomac, MD.

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How Long Will I Have to Wait for Furnace Installation?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

When you find out you need a new furnace, it may be frustrating. But as it turns out, a new furnace can actually save you a whole lot of money each month. Most older furnaces consume a lot of energy because the parts wear down so much. It ends up taking a lot of extra time to heat your home, so you spend a lot more than when your furnace was brand new. But also, today’s furnaces are built to run more efficiently than older ones. A new ENERGY STAR furnace may save you a lot of money over the years.

While a new furnace should turn out to be cost-efficient, this is only true if you have a professional install your unit in the first place. But how long will this take? This will vary depending on the home and the amount of work to be done. Call the people at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for heating installation in North Potomac if you want to make sure the work is done properly.

If a heating technician promises the fastest heating installation, be cautious. Quick heating installation is not the primary goal. The most important thing is that your new furnace is safe, functional, and efficient. If your heating system is undersized, it cannot effectively keep your home warm and cozy. But it will continue to struggle to raise the temperature, causing parts to work too hard and, in some cases, fail early. If your heating system is too large, then it will use up way too much energy.

Sizing and planning take up some portion of the installation process, but most of it is devoted to removal and installation. Professionals will take time with every step of the process in order to make sure that everything works correctly and that it is safe. If your heating installer does not take the time to carefully inspect your unit, it’s time to call in a professional who will.

Make sure everything is done properly the first time by calling Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. If you need professional heating installation in North Potomac, our skilled technicians are the ones for the job. Come to us for all of your heating needs.

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The Two Types of Sump Pumps

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

If you’ve ever had to deal with flooding in your home, you know just how much damage it can lead to. Replacing worn carpet and flooring is costly enough, not to mention the fact that you may ruin priceless irreplaceable belongings if the flooding gets too out of control. Furthermore, water damage leads to mold, which can be very troublesome for those with allergies and asthma.

The best way to take control against flooding is to schedule sump pump installation for your basement. A sump pump pumps water out of the lowest point in your home so that it cannot spread throughout the house. The experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help you pick out a new sump pump and offer professional installation. Call our skilled plumbers for installation or service of sump pumps in north Potomac and the surrounding areas.

Pedestal Pumps

There are two types of sump pump—pedestal and submersible—each of which has its own advantageous qualities. The components of a pedestal sump pump are perched above the sump—the pit—that allows water to collect and drain. A motor controls an impeller which pushes water into a pipe that drains to the outdoors. Pedestal pumps are often less expensive than submersible models but may not be available in a large horsepower.

Submersible Pump

Submersible pumps have all of the same components as pedestal pumps. What’s different is that all of the components are located in a single waterproof encasement within the sump. This makes these units less noisy and possibly more effective and efficient than pedestal pumps. However, they may be more likely to run into trouble, as it can become useless as soon as a minor crack allows water to leak through.

Call on the expertise of the plumbers at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for service and more information about sump pumps in North Potomac. We can help you decide on the right type of sump pump for your home, and make sure it is the correct size and speed to pump water out of your basement quickly and accurately. Call our office today!

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How Much Water Does a Leaky Faucet Waste?

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Most people would agree that leaky faucets are annoying. Despite the widespread agreement on that point, however, far too many people simply ignore leaky faucets rather than having them fixed. The general attitude is that while a leaky faucet is mildly inconvenient, it doesn’t have any significant or lasting impact, and is therefore easy to dismiss. This is, in fact, not true. Leaky faucets actually have a tremendous impact, not only on the environment but on you personally. Let’s take a look at how much water a leaky faucet actually wastes.

One Drop at a Time

The reason that so many people disregard leaky faucets is because they look at them from an in-the-moment perspective. If you look at a faucet that leaks one drop of water every few seconds, you probably wouldn’t think much of it. However, the impact that faucets have is measured over a much longer period of time. Let’s assume that you have a single leaky faucet in your home that drips once every minute. That’s an extremely conservative estimate compared to most leaky faucets, which tend to drip much faster. Even so, that one faucet will waste approximately 34 gallons of water a year. Now, let’s say that the faucet drips once every 2 seconds, or thirty times a minute. That adds up to around 1,041 gallons a year. A leaky faucet can easily waste more water than it takes to fill a swimming pool each year.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the average household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water per year due to various leaks. That has a very real impact on the environment, but it also wastes a lot of money. All those thousands of gallons of water are still going to show up on your water bill, even though you didn’t notice them being used. If you want to save some money on your home’s utilities, get your leaky faucets fixed before they cost you.

If you have a leaky faucet, schedule an appointment by calling Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We provide professional kitchen plumbing services throughout the North Potomac.

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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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How Does a Reversing Valve Work in a Heat Pump?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Many times, customers will ask why a heat pump can provide both heating and cooling while an air conditioner can’t. There’s a simple answer to this: a component called a reversing valve; heat pumps have them and air conditioners don’t. It may seem a little crazy that this one component can make such a big difference, but understanding what the reversing valve does can help make it clear. First, let’s take a quick look at how a heat pump works.

How a Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps do not generate either heating or cooling; instead, they transfer heat from one location to another, with the help of refrigerant. During the winter months, heat pumps absorb the heat in the surrounding air, concentrate it, and distribute it to your home’s living spaces. In the summer months, heat pumps absorb the heat in your home and transfer it outside. However, it is the reversing valve that allows the heat pump to change from cooling to heating and back.

The Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is a medium-sized, cylindrical metal component with 3 smaller tube-like valves on one side and a single tube-like valve on the other; there is also a small electrical component called a solenoid on top of it. Inside the reversing valve is a sliding mechanism that moves back and forth, according to the mode the valve is in (heating or cooling). As the homeowner, all you have to do to change modes is press a button on your dual-mode thermostat. When the thermostat cues the heat pump to change modes, the solenoid gives the sliding mechanism a little push and the refrigerant inside the valve does the rest. This action, in which the directional flow of the refrigerant is changed, is what physically changes the mode of a heat pump and for your system.

“Stuck” Reversing Valve

One of the more common problems with the reversing valve is that it can get stuck in a mode or even between modes. When the valve is stuck, your heat pump can’t work properly and repair is required. If the reversing valve is stuck due to a faulty solenoid, the solenoid can be replaced; however, if there is a refrigerant leak or other issue, the reversing valve will need to be replaced.

Bi-annual maintenance helps keep your heat pump in North Potomac in great shape. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last heat pump maintenance appointment, or you are experiencing problems with your heat pump, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today.

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Tools Used for Professional Drain Cleaning

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

There’s no way around it—every plumbing system will develop a drain clog at some point or another. Most likely, you’ve experienced a drain clog at least once in your life: in the middle of a shower, while brushing your teeth, or while preparing food during an important family get-together. As a pool of water collects around the drain, you do whatever you can to try to clear the clog quickly. But if a plunger does not loosen the blockage, experts recommend scheduling professional drain cleaning before you decide to take any further action on your own.

In this guide, we’ll look at what types of “solutions” to avoid, and contrast these with the types of tools professionals use for drain cleaning. To clear a tough clog or to prevent clogs from occurring later on in the life of your plumbing system, schedule professional drain cleaning service in North Potomac with Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing.

Drain Cleaning “Solutions” to Avoid

Chances are that you’ve seen and perhaps even purchased a type of liquid drain cleaner from the grocery store or a local hardware store. However, these solutions often contain toxic levels of chemicals that may injure your skin and damage your eyes. Furthermore, most of these only work to dissolve a few common sources of blockage. While the liquid you purchase may be able to dissolve hair, for example, it may not be able to tackle soap scum or food particles. Besides, these chemicals can damage your plumbing and leave you with further repair costs. With professional drain cleaning, your pipes will not suffer any injury and clogs are eliminated for good.

Video Pipe Inspection

A quality plumber comes equipped with technology to help locate the exact source of a clog in order to determine the best plan of action to eliminate it. A long cable attached to a fiber optic video camera is fed through the pipes so that your plumber can see exactly which part of the plumbing is affected. The professional views a live feed so that they can select the type of tool best suited for the job, and from which drain pipe to tackle the problem.

Drain Snakes

One of the most common tools that professionals use is the drain auger, or drain snake. This is a long wire with a coiled end that can latch onto blockages and pull them up through the drain. Your plumber may also try additional attachments at the end of the wire, such as a sharp tool to break up tougher clogs like tree roots, so they can make their way into the sewer line.

Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today and schedule an appointment for quality drain cleaning in North Potomac.

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How Do Boilers Heat Homes?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Boilers are an increasingly popular option for central home heating in the U.S. Though boilers have long been an option for home heating, they have been eclipsed by furnaces for quite a while. This has led to a widespread ignorance among homeowners regarding how boilers actually heat homes. Read on for an explanation of what a central boiler can do to heat your home.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating involves the installation of water pipes in every room of the house you want heated. These pipes can be installed in the walls, or between the floor and subfloor. Occasionally, the pipes will be connected to external systems like baseboard heaters and radiators. These pipes are then connected to a boiler. The boiler heats and distributes water through the house using these pipes. Heat then radiates through the pipes, or the external systems, and into the room.

This kind of heating provides a couple of unique advantages when compared to forced air heating systems. When a forced air system blows air into a room, the heat causes the air to rise to the ceiling. As the air cools, it will sink to the floor of the room. This causes uneven and uncomfortable heating, where one part of a room may be warm while another may be quite cold. Radiant heating solves this problem by transmitting its heat through solid objects instead of through the air. Because radiant heating is often installed in the floor, the heat it gives off stays near the floor of the room where it is most effective.

Radiant heating is also much more efficient than most forced air systems. Standard forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to duct leaks. Radiant systems avoid this problem completely, delivering more heat to the intended areas. Water is also a much better conductor of thermal energy than air is, providing a medium that can store and deliver heat more efficiently.

If you are thinking of installing a boiler in your home, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We professionally install boilers in the North Potomac area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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