Archive for January, 2010


When it comes to air filters, the biggest obstacle has simply been remembering to change or clean them regularly.  We cannot stress the importance of replacing your air filters enough.  In addition to removing harmful pollutants from the air in your home, your air filter protects your comfort system resulting in higher operating efficiency (lower utility bills), more comfortable temperatures and longer lasting equipment life.

Dirty filters, on the other hand, restrict airflow resulting in increased static pressure (this is the air pressure inside your duct system).  High static pressure will actually decrease the amount of conditioned air delivered to the rooms throughout your home.  This impacts both performance and comfort.  The system must run longer and harder to satisfy the desired temperature setting at your thermostat.

In addition to the comfort issues you’ll notice, lack of airflow can result in other problems.  During the heating season, your furnace may overheat damaging the heat exchanger. During the cooling season, your coil may freeze into a block of ice.  This can lead to complete motor failure or compressor damage, not to mention water damage once the ice on the coil begins to melt.  All of these issues may result in expensive repairs, decreased system lifespan and total equipment replacement.

Not only will dirty filters cause these problems, but we have found that some of the lower quality filters restrict airflow – even when they are clean!  Filters are designed to capture airborne contaminants, but must not excessively block air from passing through.  If you are using a low quality filter which impedes airflow, your system will struggle to deliver the designed amount of conditioned air to the rooms in your home.  Besides being uncomfortable, you’re losing efficiency and paying more to operate your comfort system than you should.

There are many different types of filters available.  The right filter for your home should be based on your particular concerns such as respiratory ailments, allergies, dust problems, etc. that members of your family may experience.  Options include standard one inch disposable or permanent filters, media air cleaners and electronic air cleaners.  Within each type of filter, there are options in terms of the level of filtration.  The amount and size of the particles a filter can capture is designated with a MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Report Value).  The higher the rating, the more contaminants that are removed from the air.  Each filter is designed to last for different periods of time – from a month to a year.

When it comes to air filters, the most important thing to remember is to replace or clean them regularly.  Notice how long your filter is supposed to last and be sure to check it within that timeframe.  If members of your family have respiratory problems or allergies, choose a filter designed to remove the necessary pollutants.  If you’d like to know more about your options with regards to air filters, please visit our website at Gaithersburgair.com or call us at 877-210-6812.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

Have you ever been shocked to find a pool of water from a leak somewhere in your home?  Unfortunately, I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.  This can be a potentially expensive mishap when it occurs in a finished area…or even worse when it occurs on one of the upper-levels of our home.  Wet carpet, saturated wood flooring and furniture, damaged drywall – All can be costly to repair and sometimes are beyond repair.

We have come across a solution – the Flood Guard Water Detection Alarm.   The Flood Guard is simply placed on the floor of an area with the potential for water leaks.  The slightest accumulation of water (1/32 of an inch) will set off an alarm that can be heard throughout your home.  The alarm alerts you at the onset of a leak allowing you to remedy the situation prior to costly damage occurring.

The Flood Guard allows you to minimize the risks associated with major appliances using water supplies.  It can be used for indoor evaporator coils (with air conditioners/heat pumps), humidifiers, dehumidifiers, water heaters, washers, sinks, sump pumps, etc. located throughout your home.  Anywhere a potential leak could result in major damage if it were undetected.

If you are interested in more information on the Flood Guard Water Detection Alarm, just give us a call at 877-210-6812.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

Many of our customers understand the value and peace of mind that comes with our Peak Performance Maintenance Agreements .   Our Maintenance Agreements include two separate maintenance inspections of your comfort system in conjunction with discounts on repairs and guaranteed priority service.  But are you really aware of their purpose?

The benefit of discounts on repairs is obvious.  Guaranteed priority service means that in a situation where your system goes down we typically get to your home that day and we will definitely have a comfort consultant at your home within 24 hours.  During the intense heat of summer when your air conditioner fails and most service companies have a two week waiting list, the benefit of priority service is obvious as well.

The most important part of the Maintenace Agreement is the regular maintenance to your heating and cooling system.  Regular maintenance serves several purposes, the first being to maintain peak efficiency of your system.  If your system is new, you want it to continue to perform exactly how the manufacturer intended.  It was designed and installed to condition your home’s air comfortably while minimizing energy consumption.  As the years go by, your system will become less efficient if not maintained properly and you may notice some discomfort.  This may be evident in higher utility bills, short run cycles, increase in noise levels during operation, poor airflow, etc.  These can be avoided by properly maintaining your comfort system.

Regular maintenance will also help to avert possible equipment failure.  Certain inefficiencies may result in excessive wear on parts of your system leading to premature failure.  With regular maintenance, your system is kept in peak operating condition to reduce the chance of an in season breakdown and avoid such unnecessary, costly repairs thus extend its life over that of a neglected system.

Regular maintenance allows you to take a proactive approach, rather than reactive.  How many utility bills would be paid before you notice a gradual increase caused by an inefficient comfort system?  Poorly maintained systems tend to fail during times of maximum usage such as the “dog days of summer” or sub-freezing temperatures.  With regular inspections, you will always be aware of the condition of your system and any repairs/replacements can be performed when it is convenient for you.

New heating and cooling systems are defenately an investment.  If you just purchased a new system, it only makes sense to properly maintain it and if you have an old system and would like to get more life and comfort out of the system, a maintenace agreement may be just what you need.

Whether you choose an annual maintenance program or have your comfort system checked periodically, regular maintenance has proven beneficial.  There are many factors that determine the frequency with which you should have preventive maintenance performed such as system age, system design, filter quality, heating/cooling load, etc.  Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t think about their comfort system until something goes wrong.  We suggest that you be proactive – Keep your system running efficiently and correct the potential problems before they become major headaches.

If you have more questions about our maintenance agreement you can visit our website at gaithersburgair.com or call us at 877-210-6812.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

As you’re well aware of, utility costs have been increasing dramatically and your HVAC system accounts for the majority of your home’s energy usage. Installing a hybrid heating system is one of the best ways to combat rising utility costs and save on your heating bills. A hybrid heat system is a combination of both a gas furnace and a heat pump—allowing you to combine the strengths of both gas and electric heat sources. This provides the most energy-efficient method of heating your home comfortably.

How Does Hybrid Heat Work?

A hybrid heat system allows you more control over your energy consumption (energy bills) by determining which energy source is used under which conditions. When the temperature outside changes, a hybrid heat system will automatically switch between the heat pump and the furnace—using the most cost-effective fuel source for the present conditions. These parameters may be changed as utility costs change to allow you flexibility in maximizing your system’s efficiency. Additionally, you’ll be protected from unpredictable fuel cost increases.

During the heating season, a balance point is determined based on gas and electricity rates as well as climate. The balance point determines which energy source is more efficient based on outdoor conditions. Your system control (thermostat) will constantly monitor the changing conditions and automatically select the heat pump or furnace when there is a need to heat your home.

Once the system control is programmed, your system will operate in the most efficient manner automatically. Simply set your desired temperature and begin saving on your energy bills! And when utility costs change, you can adjust the balance point to ensure that your system is operating at optimal efficiency. Because a heat pump also provides cooling just like an air conditioner, a hybrid heat system can also be used year-round.

With hybrid heating, you get all the benefits of a heat pump system with the strength and reliability of a traditional furnace. At the same time, you avoid the on and off cycling of a traditional heating system in favor of a constant, moderate-temperature heat cycling.

Who Can Benefit from Hybrid Heating?

Hybrid heat systems are designed to provide homeowners options when it comes to choosing energy consumption. This system may not be the best option for every home. It requires gas as a fuel source which would be a substantial investment if gas is not already available in your home. It may not make sense to scrap your existing system and replace it with the hybrid heat. However, this system is an excellent option for homeowners concerned with fuel consumption and thinking of replacing their existing comfort system.

If you’d like more information on a hybrid heat system, contact GAC Cooling & Heating for a free estimate today. Our technicians can evaluate your home and determine the best heating system for your needs.

Category : Heating | Uncategorized | Blog