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Maintenance Agreements

15
May

One of the easiest and most beneficial maintenance steps to keep your A/C running smoothly all summer long is to change the filter regularly. But just how often is “regularly?” And how do you remember the next time you should change the filter?

When to Change Your Air Conditioner’s Filter

The most recognized rule of thumb is to check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, letting no more than 90 days pass between changes. This is good advice, but your needs may vary based on a few factors including:

  • The type of filter you use: 1- to 3-inch filters fit within the rule of thumb to change the filter every 30 to 90 days, but high-efficiency filters may have different requirements. Check with the manufacturer for more details if this applies to you.
  • Your sensitivity to airborne pollutants: If you have allergies, you could benefit from changing the filter every month without fail.
  • The presence of pets in your home: If you have one or more pets, the A/C filter is likely to fill up faster than one found in a home without animals. That means you need to change the filter closer to the 30-day mark to prevent airflow from becoming restricted.
  • Level of pollution inside and around the home: If you live near a construction zone or you have a generally dusty or polluted home for another reason, cleaning the filter monthly could help keep the indoor air cleaner.
  • Occupancy of the home: The more people who live in your home, the more airborne pollutants you can expect to have. This means monthly filter replacement is recommended. On the other hand, if you have a vacation home where you only spend half the year, you can easily get away with changing the filter every 6 to 12 months.

Remembering to Change the Filter

You probably don’t think about the A/C filter every day. Use these tips to help you remember when to change the filter:

  • Write the replacement date on the edge of the filter.
  • Make a note on the calendar to check the filter one month after you replace it.
  • Set a reminder on your phone.
  • Sign up for email alerts from your HVAC contractor.

For more tips about changing your A/C filter, please contact the professionals at GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning & Heating), meeting all your HVAC needs since 1970. If you need a new replacement air filter, we offer them as single filters or by the case (depending on the filter) at our office at:

227 E. Deer Park Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Category : Air Conditioning | Air Quality | Maintenance Agreements | Blog
5
Sep

Where did summer go? Already it’s time to pull out your sweaters and break out the apple cider. As we ease into fall in Montgomery County, don’t forget to give your HVAC system a little TLC. Routine maintenance can catch little problems before they turn into system failures and keep you energy efficient all winter long. Here’s what you need to make sure you do before you need to crank up the furnace:

  • Change your air filters. This is often our number one tip for any kind of basic HVAC maintenance, and for good reason. Changing your filter as recommended—usually once a month, but some filters have longer cycles—keeps your air cleaner, helps air flow more freely around the house and makes your furnace’s job easier. Take this one small step and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
  • Clean your vents. Pet hair, mold, dirt and other nasty things can build up on your vents and registers, spewing pollutants into the air and again, making your system work harder to push air through your home. Clean vents and registers with a damp paper towel.
  • Check for drafts. Tiny drafts throughout your home can steal your warm air and leave you paying more for your energy. To test for drafts, walk slowly through your home with a candle, especially near the doors and windows. If the candle flickers, there’s a draft. Fill it with a small amount of caulk.
  • Hose off and cover your outdoor air conditioner unit. Wash away debris and dirt from your exterior unit and consider investing in a vinyl or canvas air conditioner cover. These can protect your unit from freezing, thawing and unexpected hazards like falling limbs or icicles. It’s not necessary, but it sure is handy.
  • Add pipe covers. Pipe covers are small pieces of foam that insulate your exterior pipes to keep them from freezing. You can find them in the hardware store or simply wrap a length of foam around the pipes and secure with duct tape.
  • Schedule your HVAC maintenance check. There’s only so much you can do on your own before it’s time to call in a professional. A heating maintenance check involves a thorough inspection of the heat pump and or furnace heating system. It’s a great way to catch small issues—replacing worn parts or tightening connections—before they turn into more expensive and uncomfortable outages. A maintenance agreement is a great way to save money on your twice a year tune-ups—and make sure you never forget to get it scheduled!

Taking these small steps now can save you time and money down the road. At GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning & Heating), we’d love to help you get your system ready for winter. We help homeowners in Montgomery and Frederick Counties, including Rockville, Germantown, Potomac, Olney and Clarksburg. Schedule your appointment today.

Category : Air Conditioning | Heating | Maintenance Agreements | Blog
4
Apr

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
2
Apr

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
4
Jan

Now that the air conditioners off and the heat is switched on. There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready for heating season.  First, let’s be sure to test your heating system before you actually need it.

There’s no reason to wait to the last minute to find out your heat isn’t coming on – Switch your thermostat over to heat and let it run for a few minutes.  Stand next to your indoor heating system and listen to it start up and make sure there aren’t any strange noises.

If you have manual dampers to redirect airflow based on the season, now would be a good time to adjust those.  Remember – we want to send more of the heated air to the bottom floors of your home during the winter and restrict the airflow to the top floors.  This way the downstairs will be comfortable and the heat will naturally rise to the upstairs.  If the damper settings aren’t already labeled, label the winter and summer settings with a marker so you know where to set them next season.

As the colder weather arrives, don’t over adjust your thermostat.  Many people set the temperature too low during the day when no one is at home thinking they are saving energy.  When they return home in the evening, the system must run much longer to reach the desired temperature and much of the energy savings are lost…not to mention being uncomfortable for several hours.  A few degrees variance will do the trick.  And let’s clear up a common misconception while we’re on the topic:  Moving the set temperature on the thermostat way high (or low) does not result in more heat (or cooling).  The system will only run longer and over-shoot the desired temperature.

In the winter, open the shades and blinds during the day to allow sunlight to help heat your home.  Regularly change or clean your air filters.  Dirty filters reduce airflow causing the system to work harder and use more energy.  If you’re one that forgets to pick up replacement filters or need an odd size, let us know.  We provide replacement air filters by the case so you always have a replacement available and can provide custom sizes.

Seal up those leaky doors, windows and exterior penetrations – All those places where cold, outside air can be drawn into your home.  Warm air naturally rises and that air must be replaced – known as The Stack Effect.   Reduce the amount of air infiltration into your home and you’ll be more comfortable and save on energy usage this winter.

And those of you that have humidifiers, service the humidifier at the beginning of the heating season.  Replace the water panel and open any dampers on the bypass lines.  Usually the humidifier needs a good cleaning every season.  Check to see that the water supply is on and verify that there are no leaks.  Be sure to check the drain, too.  Pour water down the drain and make sure that it isn’t clogged.

For those of you that are members of our Peak Performance Maintenance Program, we will take care of all of the maintenance issues for you.  But it’s still a good idea to test the system before you actually need it.

Category : Energy & Money Saving Tips | Heating | Humidifier | Maintenance Agreements | Uncategorized | Blog