Archive for April, 2012


We’ve discussed many aspects of comfort systems in the past and their impact on efficiency and comfort.  Each directly relates to maintaining the proper airflow through the equipment, the duct system and, ultimately, delivered to the conditioned areas of your home.  The key to your comfort and your system’s energy efficiency is proper airflow.

There are two separate areas of concern when it comes to airflow – the configuration of your system and the actual operation.  In the recent past, many contractors looked at the equipment as a box – you pull out the old box and install the new one.  In the recent past, there has been so much research aimed at improving efficiencies which has put us light years ahead of where the industry was even just 10 years ago.

In configuring a system, understanding the effects of sizing, location of supplies, air leakage and resistance in transitions is integral.  You should have exactly the same amount of air being pushed through the supply side as you have on the return side.  In many homes, we find this isn’t the case and, more often than not, there are significant variances in the airflow.  When the duct system is accessible, we can modify the ducts.  When its not accessible, we must make alterations to the system, and sometimes the equipment, to compensate for the differences.  Recognizing the inadequacies in the duct system can mean the difference in spending thousands on a new system that results in higher energy costs and makes your home more uncomfortable – not at all the idea of a smart purchase.

The duct modifications are only the first part.  Once the new system is installed, you must ensure that it is actually operating appropriately in each application.  Every ‘box’ isn’t the same and won’t perform the same in every home.  Only after it’s installed and operating can you determine what further adjustments are necessary to maximize your energy efficiency and comfort.

The newer systems provide a thermostat which allows us to change operational settings based on several factors that are constantly monitored by the system.  Dehumidification in the summer, humidification in the winter, even temperatures throughout the home and improved energy efficiency can only be reached if the system is adjusted based on how the new equipment operates with the existing duct system in your home.  Fan speeds in each mode can be set differently dependent on the temperature, humidity level and cycles to improve the efficiency and the system’s ability to accommodate your preferences

Heating and cooling your home properly is definitely not rocket science, but it is a science.  When you upgrade your comfort system, you should see improvements in energy efficiency and comfort.   To do so, you have to be able to recognize the challenges in the existing system and understand the necessary adjustments to allow the new system to compensate for those.  The good news is that many of the comfort problems in your home can be addressed now.

Even with an existing system, there are things you can do to ensure the best possible performance from your system.  I can’t stress the importance of good, clean air filters.  They should be changed regularly and they should be good quality filters.  Not only do air filters clean the air in your home, but they protect the system components.  If dust and debris reaches the equipment, it is building up on the blower and the evaporator coil.  This restricts airflow, increases energy costs and will ultimately decrease the life of your system.

Make sure the supply and return registers aren’t blocked.  There should be several inches of clearance if you have furniture in front of wall registers and keep any floor registers clear as well.  The resistance will affect the entire system and compromise the delivery of air to the entire home.  Visually inspect any duct work that is accessible.  You wouldn’t believe how many instances we find where connections have simply come apart, especially in attic and crawl spaces.

Category : Air Conditioning | Energy & Money Saving Tips | Blog

There are many benefits to heat pump installation in the Gaithersburg, MD area . Heat pumps are an extremely efficient way to heat and cool your home while also helping you save on your energy bills. In addition to energy savings, heat pumps serve as both a heating AND cooling system—so you don’t have to worry about maintenance, repairs, and tune-ups on two separate HVAC systems every year.

Heat pump installation used to be mostly recommended to those that live in moderate climate areas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat pumps do not generally perform well during extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures. But as heating technology improves, more and more manufacturers offer heat pumps that are suitable to those living in colder climates. For example, Bryant’s newest heat pump—The Extreme Heat Pump—is an ideal heating option for home owners in cold climates.

Bryant’s Extreme Heat Pump

Bryant’s Extreme Heat Pump maintains its effectiveness at much lower outdoor temperatures than standard units are capable of. In addition, the Bryant Extreme Heat Pump can deliver twice the capacity in freezing temperatures—adding to the energy savings by reducing auxiliary (electric) heat operation. This exclusive technology equates to as much as 69 percent higher efficiency than standard heat pumps.
In addition to operating better in colder climates, Bryant’s Extreme Heat Pump has many other benefits. First, the Bryant Extreme Heat Pump features a condenser with variable speed technology. Variable speed motors allow the system to adjust the cooling or heating delivered to your home based on demand conditions—providing more comfortable temperatures and substantially more efficient operation. The motor ramps up or down to deliver only what your home needs instead of always operating at the same maximum speed regardless of whether it is 60 degrees outside or 6 degrees outside.

Bryant’s Extreme Heat Pump also incorporates this same feature in their compressor. This allows the outdoor unit to operate between 40 to 100 percent capacity to precisely match the demand needs of your home. It’s similar to the using a dimmer switch for your HVAC system. In the Gaithersburg, MD area, this provides significant energy savings because our homes only require the maximum capacity 20 percent of the year. The other 80 percent of the year, the system operates at a reduced level and uses only the energy necessary to maintain a comfortable home.

The result is a higher efficiency heat pump and a much more comfortable home with better humidity control. A Bryant Extreme Heat Pump combined with a variable speed air handler inside offers the most comfort control and efficiency in the market.

If you think your home could benefit from Bryant Extreme Heat Pump installation, contact GAC Cooling & Heating today . Our technicians can evaluate your home and determine the best heating system for your needs.

Category : Air Conditioning | Energy & Money Saving Tips | Heating | Blog

The phase out of Freon (R-22) refrigerant has been in place for several years due to its harmful effect on the environment. This refrigerant was used in almost every air conditioner until manufacturers began to use the environmentally-friendly Puron (R-410) refrigerant.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been monitoring the use of Freon and just notified manufacturers that there will be a further reduction to the amount they will be allowed to produce this year. As a result, prices of the refrigerant have skyrocketed as much as 200 percent overnight with indications that it will continue to rise through the summer.

Before you panic, most systems should not need additional refrigerant – new or old. The refrigerant system is a closed loop and should not lose refrigerant under normal operating conditions. If your air conditioner is in good condition and has been maintained, additional refrigerant is usually not necessary.

Preventing Freon Leaks

Air conditioners do sometimes develop a Freon leak. An air conditioner losing refrigerant is unable to maintain comfort levels and uses more energy during operation. Years ago, many in the industry would add Freon to units with leaks each season to try to get through the cooling season. The EPA stepped in and has now made it mandatory that the air conditioning leak be repaired or equipment replaced if a system is leaking refrigerant to prevent the harmful release of these gases into the atmosphere.

The good news is that those of you with newer systems using Puron refrigerant won’t be impacted at all. Those with Freon systems that are in good working condition without refrigerant leaks should not have to worry either. If your Freon air conditioner should develop a refrigerant leak, it should be addressed immediately; the refrigerant that must be replaced will be very expensive. If you notice a problem such as excessive run time or an inability to cool your home, have your AC inspected right away.

Schedule AC Repair in Bethesda, MD

If you need AC repair in Bethesda, MD, contact GAC Cooling & Heating today. Although we repair and service all brands of air conditioning systems, we also offer top quality air conditioning replacement for systems by Bryant. By using Bryant air conditioning systems we can ensure and guarantee your comfort year round.

If you’re interested in receiving an in home estimate for AC repair in Bethesda, call us today or request AC repair online, and we will be happy to confirm an appointment with you.

Category : Air Conditioning | Maintenance Agreements | Blog

Tips for lowering Energy Cost

Summer is going to be heating up soon, which means you’ll be firing up your AC. If you’re worried about the high cost of your energy bills once you start relying on your AC for your home comfort, know that there are a few things you can do to save money on summer cooling costs.

Lower Your Cooling Costs

If you’re interesting in lowering your cooling costs, we recommend the following:

  • Keep your blinds/curtains closed during the day on windows that get direct sunlight.
  • Set your thermostat to run your fan continuously.  This helps to even out temperatures variances.
  • Make sure your outdoor unit can “breathe.”  Clear leaves, bushes, etc. from around the unit.
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, allow the temperature to rise a few degrees when no one is home during the day.
  • Replace/clean your air filters regularly.  Dirty filters wreak havoc on your system. During the summer, a dirty filter can cause your air conditioning coil to freeze. Contact GAC Cooling & Heating today for replacement air filters.

Install an Energy Efficient AC

Did you know that installing a new air conditioner can improve your home comfort and save you money? The truth is that many of today’s highly efficient air conditioners can be up to 30 percent more efficient than systems that were installed just 10 years ago. By upgrading your aging system to a new high-efficiency AC, you can quickly lower your energy bills.

If you need air conditioning installation in Frederick, MD, contact GAC Cooling & Heating today.

Schedule AC Maintenance in Frederick, MD

At GAC Cooling & Heating, we offer AC maintenance in Frederick, MD to further protect your AC from inconvenient breakdowns, high repair costs, shortened equipment life, and other AC repairs—helping you lower your energy costs this summer. With the current high cost of energy, it’s extremely important to keep your AC in good condition. When you neglect your AC, you pay for it in terms of wasted energy and higher repair costs. Call us today for more information on our AC maintenance plans.

Category : Maintenance Agreements | Blog