Archive for December, 2013


First of all, it’s important to note that it’s normal for external heat pumps to develop some frost in the winter. Most heat pumps have a defrosting mechanism that will periodically melt this icy coating to ensure proper operation. But problems can arise if thicker frost forms, or if the ice stays for too long. To understand why, it’s helpful to know how heat pumps work.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps need access to outside air to work. They function much like refrigerators, but in reverse, absorbing heat from the cold outside and transferring it into your warm home. This system relies on the flow of air through the pump, as well spinning fans, to get the job done.

During this process, the heat pump creates condensation, and in cold weather that condensation can easily accumulate and freeze. Over time, this can impede the functionality of the pump, and eventually cause damage.

How You Can Tell if Your Heat Pump Is Frozen?

The easiest way to know if your heat pump is frozen is to do a visual inspection. Remember that not all frost is bad—it’s only if it stays around for a while that you might have a problem. Be sure to check back after a few hours to see if the freezing is still there, or has even gotten worse.

Why Is Your Heat Pump Frozen?

There are a few reasons that your heat pump might have frozen over:

  • Weather: Freezing rain or sleet can overwhelm your pump’s normal defrosting process.
  • Debris: Leaves or other debris can block the air flow around your pump, allowing condensation to form.
  • Maintenance: Your pump’s defroster could be dysfunctional, or another element could be promoting ice build-up.

How to Unfreeze the Heat Pump

It’s possible to unfreeze a heat pump on your own, however, it can be tricky. For safety’s sake, you’ll need to ensure it’s turned off before attempting to remove the ice. Doing so with a tool can cause damage, so using warm water is best.

However, heat pumps are delicate devices, and often this fix is only a temporary one. It’s often best to contact a professional who can make a permanent fix.

Hire a Professional

Need heat pump repair in the Frederick, MD area? Contact GAC now and we’ll help you unfreeze your heat pump. Our professional technicians provide great customer service when you need it, at a price you can afford.

Category : Heating | Blog

Have you ever gone to the doctor and felt there was something not quite right about their recommendation? In that case, you go get a second opinion. Sometimes they confirm that the first doctor was right, but sometimes they find another explanation or a simpler solution to your problem. We see the same thing in HVAC all the time.

For instance, recently a Frederick County homeowner came to us for a second opinion. The first HVAC company they called said they would need to replace the heat exchange on their furnace. This is a costly repair that can cost several thousand dollars. Understandably, they wanted to make sure that was the issue, so they called us.

Our technician came and took a look at the furnace, but wasn’t convinced the heat exchange was to blame for their problems. He decided to take a look at their outside vent, just to make sure nothing was blocking it and keeping it from working. Sure enough, the vent was almost entirely blocked by mud dauber wasp nests. We were able to clear that out and resolve their problem for just over $100 rather than thousands. Not to mention replacing the heat exchange wouldn’t have made any difference if the vent was still blocked.

If you ever feel that you’d like a second opinion on your HVAC system, you should never hesitate to ask. In this case, the client asked a different company for a fresh set of eyes, but we even offer second opinions on our technicians. If you ever feel that there’s something more going on or our technician might have missed something, we’ll send another technician to your house at no charge to make sure everything’s in order. In the end, we’re interested in building a long-term relationship with you, and we want to make sure we’ve really solved your problem. Sometimes a second look is all you need.

Whether this is your first opinion or your second, we’d love to talk to you about your HVAC system. Contact GAC today and we’ll help you diagnose your problems, replace your system or get you on a maintenance plan that keeps your system humming all year round. Click here to schedule your appointment today.

Category : Energy & Money Saving Tips | Heating | Blog

When it comes to heating your home, you have many different options. You want your home to be heated evenly throughout and for your system to be able to keep up with your home’s heating demands—all while still being economical. A forced air furnace can be a great tool to help you keep your home comfortable throughout the cooler months.

Forced Air Furnaces Defined

A forced air furnace or forced air heating system uses air to help push heat into your home. A system of ducts are used to carry heated air throughout your home. The air is pulled in from the rooms in your home where it then travels through cold-air return ducts. This air then goes through the furnace or heat exchange where it is heated and then pushed back into you home through vents, delivering warm air consistently throughout your home.

You can use your home’s thermostat to control the temperature of the heated air and easily control when you want your home warmed and how warm you want it.

The Benefits of Forced Air Furnaces

There are many benefits to having a forced air furnace installed in your home. Here are just a few:

  • The distribution system can be used to do more than just heat your home. It can also be used to cool and ventilate your home—helping to streamline your home’s heating and cooling systems.
  • The technology involved in forced air furnaces is simple, meaning you save money compared to installing other heating systems.
  • A good forced air furnace will save you money when it comes to energy online slots costs, and it will also put less impact on the environment. Using a programmable thermostat in conjunction with your forced air heating system can save you even more money.
  • There are many different models to choose from. This makes it easy to find one to fit your specific needs.
  • Finding parts and a professional to fix your forced air system if it breaks is easier due to the popularity of these heating systems. It will also be easier to find a professional to give your furnace the regular maintenance it needs to keep it running smoothly.

Install a Forced Air Furnace in Maryland

If you are looking to heat your home more efficiently, you may want to consider having a forced air furnace installed. If you already have duct work in place in your home, then a simple installation can turn your home into a warm and cozy haven. If you are starting from scratch, ductwork can be installed that can then work as an all-in-one system for heating, cooling, and ventilating your home.

Here at GAC Cooling & Heating, we have a commitment to excellence. Our first priority is to keep our customers happy. We offer a free furnace replacement estimate so you can get an idea of how much it will cost to keep your home comfortable throughout the whole year. Contact us today to learn more about furnace installation in the Frederick, MD area.

Category : Heating | Blog

Did your mom or dad ever scold you to shut the door because “we’re not paying to heat the outdoors”? Even if you’ve got all your doors and windows shut and locked, chances are you still are paying to heat the outdoors. About 1/3 of all the air you pay to heat or cool will wind up escaping through your duct system into your walls, your attic, your basement, your crawlspace and other uninhabited areas. In return, your HVAC system is also drawing fresh air in through those same gaps and chinks in your ducts. Think about it: do you want to be breathing air from your attic or crawlspace? It’s dirty, which is unpleasant for you and makes your HVAC system work harder. Bottom line: leaky ducts mean more expensive heating and cooling bills and less comfort overall.

The solution, in most cases, is surprisingly simple. You don’t need to replace your ducts or go to any drastic extremes. We work with Montgomery County homeowners to protect their ducts using a product called Aeroseal. This duct sealer is an aerosol spray which is injected into your ducts. As tiny holes in your duct draw air toward it, the Aeroseal particles smack right into them, sealing them up tight. Now, air moves through your ducts the way it’s supposed to, and into the areas of your home where you most need comfort. The whole process takes just a few hours and can reduce leaks by up to 98%.

Sometimes, we find that people are skeptical about how much air is really escaping through their ducts. But once they’ve had Aeroseal, they’re believers. It’s not unusual to hear that after an Aeroseal treatment, homeowners are surprised to find the toilet paper fluttering in their bathroom. For the first time, their HVAC system is working to its full capacity to keep them comfortable, rather than to heat the uninhabited nooks and crannies of their home.

The duct sealing treatment comes with a 10 year warranty, and often customers see energy savings within 2-3 years that totally pay for the cost of the sealing. All in all, it’s a great solution for your wallet and for your overall comfort.

Interested in trying Aeroseal in your home? Contact GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning and Heating) today. We’ll inspect your ductwork, determine if you’re a good candidate and help you understand what kinds of results you might see. Schedule your appointment now.

Category : Air Quality | Duct Sealing | Blog

Have you found yourself sniffling, sneezing or wheezing lately? It might not be a cold. During the winter months, the air quality in your house can become a problem. While some air from the outside is still entering and exiting through windows, seams around doors and so on, most of your air is recycled through your forced air heating system. That means the same air full of allergens, bacteria and dust just keeps re-circulating around and around. But you don”t have to live with the discomfort of all that dirty air. Here are four tips for breathing easier this winter.

  1. Change your furnace air filter. This just can”t be stressed enough. As your furnace circulates air through your home, it all passes through the air filter again and again. You might think that will help indoor air quality, and it will—provided it”s clean. Follow manufacturer”s instructions, but a good rule of thumb is to at least check your air filter once a month. If it”s visibly dirty, you need to change it. If you’re still feeling wheezy, you might consider an air purifier or air cleaner with a HEPA filter for the best protection and air filtration.
  2. Get a whole home humidifiers. Many people try to combat winter dryness with small, individual humidifier units, but that”s a Band-Aid solution. Your best bet to avoid sore throats, dry nasal passages and irritating static shocks is by getting a whole home humidifier. These work through your HVAC ducts to deliver soothing moisture throughout your home. You”ll breathe easier, feel better and not have to worry about fiddling with those small individual units.
  3. Consider an air purifier. These are especially useful for people who suffer from allergies. Most people expect that allergies will be better in the winter, since most plants are dormant, but in reality, many people suffer in the winter because of dirty indoor air re-circulating. When a simple HVAC HEPA filter isn”t doing the job, considering upgrading to an air purifier, which will remove pet dander, pollen, dust and other irritants from the air. Just like a whole home humidifier, these can work through your HVAC system to give you comfort anywhere in your home.
  4. Get a house plant. Okay, this one isn”t exactly proven to work, but there is research that indicates that owning a houseplant can help your family feel better. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, which is what we breathe out. They, in turn, create oxygen. It”s an awesome system that benefits you and the plant, plus helps give your home a tiny burst of new air. So don”t underestimate that ficus—it might just be improving your indoor air quality.

If you”re interested in any of these solutions, contact Gaithersburg Air. We work with homeowners in Frederick and Montgomery Counties live healthier, more comfortable lives. We”d love to help you, too.

Category : Air Quality | Blog