Archive for November, 2013


Many times, we’ll head out to a Montgomery or Frederick County home for a cooling check and we’ll notice that a heat pump isn’t cooling the home because it is low on refrigerant. Adding a pound of refrigerant to keep the home comfortable for the rest of the season is typical, but when you have a heat pump, that system is working in the winter also. Adding a little refrigerant to get through the summer is common in our industry, but be careful with your heat pump.

During the winter, your heat pump works to heat the home. You can end up damaging the system or end up with a large electric bill two to three times your normal bill because your heat pump stopped working and you didn’t know it and you were heating your home with the electric heat.Typically electric heat is only used for supplemental warmth when it becomes unusually cold. It’s not supposed to heat your whole home all the time, and you don’t want it to because of the high cost.

The moral of this story is that adding coolant to a failing heat pump is a Band-Aid that might end up costing you more in the long run. It also underscores the importance of getting your system checked twice a year, once to inspect the cooling aspects and once to inspect the heating parts of your HVAC system. If your heating and cooling technician warns you that the heat pump will need to be replaced, don’t forget about it. If you aren’t ready to replace it right away, put replacing your heat pump on your calendar for before the first frost. Otherwise, you’ll throw hundreds of extra dollars in the trash for inefficient heat that doesn’t keep you and your family comfortable. No one wants that.

Need more advice on whether your heat pump is salvageable or it’s time to buy a whole new system? Gaithersburg Air is here and ready to help. Whether you’re having a problem right now or need routine maintenance, we help Montgomery County homeowners like you save money with great service and good advice. Contact us today.

Category : Heating | Blog

Most of the time when you hear about humidifiers, it’s because they make the people in your home more comfortable. That’s absolutely true; a humidifier can help soothe dry skin and chapped lips and reduce those pesky static shocks. But there’s another critical reason your home needs a humidifier: to protect your home against dry Montgomery and Fredrick County winters.

During the summer months the humidity level in an air conditioned home is around 50%.  In the winter that humidity level can drop to 15% unless you have a humidifier.  The moisture is getting pulled out of everything!  That’s why your skin gets dry. But that’s not the only place that loses moisture. Wood in particular is very susceptible to drying and cracking during the winter months. In fact, one of our customers called us to install a humidifier after they ran into an issue.  They just moved into a beautiful, expensive home and did a number of renovations. The owner heard a sound he thought was a gunshot; a loud crack! that scared the daylights out of him. On further inspection, he found that the massive oak doors he’d just had installed had become too dry and split right down the middle, wasting his investment. We have also have had to install a humidifier for a friend after they bought a pricey new all-wood coffee table. They didn’t have a humidifier, and in a matter of weeks, it developed a massive crack down the middle. These homes were so dry that the air pulled moisture in these wood furnishings destroying the investment.  So, if you have nice wooden furniture, antiques or even trim work or bead boarding in your home, buying a humidifier is a sound investment.

Homes of the last 10-15 years are built tighter than the homes that were built in the 50’s and 60’s.  If you live in an older home that hasn’t been updated with new doors, windows or insulation, a humidifier may not be able to keep up with all the cold dry air that is infiltrating through the gaps in the home.  What’s a homeowner to do?

  • If you live in an older home with original windows, consider having them replaced. Over time drafts develop, glass grows thin and brittle and the windows just can’t do their job. Swap them out for new double-insulated panes that will reduce the drafts.
  • Basements are notorious for letting in drafts, especially if you have bay windows. Do you ever notice cobwebs gathering in the basement? You don’t have a spider problem, you have a draft problem that pulls dust into cobwebs. Use a spray sealer like Great Stuff to create a stronger barrier and keep those drafts at bay.
  • Get that humidifier. Once you’ve done all you can to insulate your home, we can help you figure out which humidification system is right for you. We can help you with everything from a whole-house humidifier to an effective steam humidifier.

Keeping your home at a pleasant humidity helps your family and your home. Don’t risk either—contact GAC Cooling & Heating today, and we’ll help you with all your HVAC needs in Montgomery and Frederick County.

Category : Humidifier | Blog

When something goes awry with your furnace, you’ll often notice an accompanying smell. In this blog post, our goal is help you associate those furnace smells with the necessary repairs. And, of course, if you decide you need furnace repair in the Gaithersburg or Frederick, MD areas—we know a guy you can call (hint: it’s us. We’re the guy.).

Why Does My Furnace Smell Musty?

If your home is filled with a musty, dry, or dusty smell when you turn your furnace on, you most likely have dust in your combustion chamber. Changing your filter can help! If the smell persists after this, call a professional for further inspection.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Gas?

Be careful with this one! If you own and operate a gas furnace, you should be well aware that carbon monoxide is a by-product of its combustion. When your gas furnace is not operating as efficiently as it should, excess and dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can be produced.

So when you smell gas, it’s usually best to call your gas company in case of a gas leak to avoid fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Natural gas is actually odorless. A compound is added to it by utility companies to give off a smell so you can more easily detect a gas leak. If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, this could be a sign that you have a natural gas leak. Shut off your gas supply line (if you know how to) and call your gas company.

If you have a propane furnace and you smell rotten eggs, it’s possible that you’re low on fuel.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Burning?

Does your furnace smell like an overheated iron? It’s possible that one of your furnace’s electrical components has failed—especially if you don’t have your system regularly maintained. Call an HVAC company for an inspection.

Need Furnace Repair in Maryland? Call GAC.

At GAC Cooling & Heating, we’ve been providing the Gaithersburg and Frederick, Maryland areas with professional furnace repair since 1970—so we’ve seen it all! If your furnace is giving off an odor, give us a call and we’ll get to the bottom of it!

There are a lot of HVAC companies to choose from in Maryland. Our goal is to set new stands in quality heating and cooling services—we want you as a customer for life!

When you call GAC for furnace repair, you can expect:

  • On-time service
  • 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
  • Up-front pricing
  • Factory trained and nationally certified technicians
  • Fully stocked trucks
  • Respect for your home

Contact us today to experience the GAC difference!

Category : Heating | Blog

Geothermal heating is becoming increasingly popular these days. If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’ve heard of geothermal heating and are wondering if it really can save you money on your heating and cooling bills in Maryland.

The short answer is yes. But let’s rewind just a little.

What Exactly Is Geothermal Heating?

A geothermal heating system is electrically powered unit that transfers the heat stored in the ground to your home. With a geothermal heat pump, the system works in the reverse in the summer—using refrigeration to remove heat from your home. This system differs from air source heat pumps, which draw heat from the air rather than the ground.

This article from National Geographic explains it well:

“Outdoor temperatures fluctuate with the changing seasons but underground temperatures don’t change as dramatically, thanks to the insulating properties of the earth. Four to six feet below ground, temperatures remain relatively constant year-round. A geothermal system, which typically consists of an indoor handling unit and a buried system of pipes, called an earth loop, and/or a pump to reinjection well, capitalizes on these constant temperatures to provide “free” energy.”

Why Do Geothermal Heat Pumps Cost More than Air Source Heat Pumps?

The cost of a geothermal heat pump can be three to five times more than a typical air source heat pump system. This makes sense when you consider the installation process. To install a geothermal heat pump, you must drill into the ground to place the pumps’ loops—which carry the water and anti-freeze solution necessary to transfer the heat in the ground into your home.

Is Geothermal Heating Worth the Extra Cost?

A geothermal heat pump can be 30 to 50 percent more efficient than a typical heat pump—dramatically decreasing your monthly electric bills. According to the Department of Energy, you may recoup your initial investment in as little as two years through lower utility bills.

In addition, because geothermal heat pumps are an environmentally friendly heating and cooling option for your home, the government offers incentives and tax breaks in Maryland for residents who choose to install them. It is estimated that federal and local incentives can cover between 30 to 60 percent of your geothermal unit.

Interested in Geothermal Heating in Maryland?

Contact GAC today! We install WaterFurnace geothermal heat pumps throughout the Frederick and Gaithersburg, Maryland areas.

Category : Heating | Blog