Wintertime in Montgomery County, MD, and Howard County, MD, can be a magical time of year, but it can also create problems for homes and businesses without heat. Whether via furnace, boiler, or geothermal heat pump, JC & JC HVAC Mechanical Contractors offers fast, reliable, and affordable installations, maintenance, and repairs, so you aren’t left out in the cold.
Based in Silver Spring, MD, we are proud to offer the best local commercial and residential heating services throughout Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas, including:
Neglecting to establish a routine maintenance schedule for your heating system could result in a broken-down unit. Keeping regular tune-ups can prolong the life of your system and boost its efficiency, ensuring you have heat when you need it most. Don’t put off that much-needed heating service any longer.
Let’s be honest: we like to be warm in winter. We don’t know of anyone who sits around in the 25-degree house in January and is perfectly happy to do so. But having heat is about more than just being comfortable when the weather gets cold. Here’s what can happen when the heat goes out in Maryland (which kind of sounds like a Billy Joel song, now that we think about it):
When it comes to heating buildings in the Silver Spring area, the business and home heating options are much more varied than they are in air conditioning. Let’s take a look at the most common types of heating used in homes and businesses — both in Maryland and across the country.
Furnaces burn fuel, either natural gas or oil, and heat is transferred to a heat exchanger. A fan blows air across the heat exchanger, and the warmed air is distributed throughout the house to vents via the ductwork. Furnaces are sometimes called forced-air heating units.
Furnaces are the most common means of heating homes in the United States. The type of fuel used, whether it’s gas or oil, is often determined by the cost of the fuel in a particular area of the country. Furnaces are an excellent option for houses because the warm air keeps its warmth on the short journey throughout the house.
Boilers are essentially special-purpose water heaters. Like furnaces, boilers use natural gas or oil to heat the water. But instead of distributing water to sinks and showers and having that water go down the drain, boilers distribute that heat to registers around a building, then return the cool water to the boiler where it’s reheated again. Boilers can also distribute water through plastic pipes under the floor — a system called radiant floor heating.
Boilers are found in homes and large buildings.
Some people prefer boilers because air isn’t blowing throughout the house as it does with furnaces. Furnaces will often gather dust and pollen in the vents and then distribute that particulate matter throughout the house. With boilers, home and building owners don’t have to worry about that. Boilers also don’t dry out the air as furnaces do, and they’re much quieter because they don’t have the on-off cycles of a typical furnace.
Geothermal heating systems are a type of heat pump. Geothermal pipes are buried underground in the yard outside the home and employ the constant temperature of the soil in order to regulate the temperature inside the house. The landscape and soil composition will determine whether you use vertical boreholes or a horizontal “loop” to take advantage of the ground’s temperature.
Because a geothermal system uses the ground’s constant temperature, it’s a source of heating and cooling, so there’s no need for a separate furnace and air conditioning unit.
Geothermal installation occurs in homes of homeowners who can dig up their yards and install the systems. They are also found in large buildings (such as forward-thinking schools) with the amount of property necessary to install large underground systems.
While geothermal is expensive to install and requires the surrounding yard to be torn up, the benefits are considerable. Because there is no fuel involved, energy savings will end up paying for the system in a surprisingly short amount of time. With fuel savings of between $400 and $1500 a year, it typically pays for itself in about 3-7 years. Since it lasts for 25 years or more, it could pay for itself many times over. (There might also be tax savings. Some tax savings expired in 2016, but these may be renewed depending on who is in political office at any given time.)
Geothermal is also the most environmentally friendly method of heating and cooling a home. All it takes is a little electricity to power the pump. There’s no environmental cost associated with producing natural gas (fracking) or oil production (drilling and refining). There are also no emissions.
The three most common types of heating in America are furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps (including geothermal). But there are other forms of heating that people use for various reasons. Let’s take a quick look at these home heating options, even if we don’t service all of them.
If your primary heating unit is at the end of its life, then it’s almost certain you’ll end up replacing it with the same type of heating unit. Ductwork used in furnaces won’t work with pipes used with boilers, and vice versa. If your interest is in something simpler, like replacing an oil furnace with a gas furnace, we’d be happy to discuss that with you.
But if you’re building a new home or are renovating an old one, there’s always the chance that you can use that opportunity to get the HVAC system you’ve always wanted. If that’s the case, you can reach out to our HVAC team, and we can answer all of the questions you have. We want to help you get the most efficient and comfortable heating system for your Silver Spring-area home.
Our team of experts can handle heating services for just about any make, manufacturer, and type of heating equipment. But we can also install new heating and cooling equipment with the latest and most cost-efficient HVAC systems available. There are three primary reasons people come to us with their heating and AC installation needs:
Everything with moving parts breaks down eventually. That’s because the moving parts are wearing against each other, losing microscopic bits of metal every time the heating unit is in use. Even electrical components are subjected to physical wear, and items such as starters will need to be replaced. Rubber gasket age and unnoticeable house settling can put additional pressure on your heating unit.
Unfortunately, the HVAC units tend to need repairs on the coldest night (and hottest days) of the year. That’s because the extreme temperatures cause them to cycle on and off more often, pushing them to their limits. Here are the most common problems that cause systems to need heating services.
Because it’s initially included in the cost of the house, people often forget just how expensive the heating and cooling systems are. But when you break it down as individual items, the furnace or other heating device is one of the most expensive items that a person will buy in a lifetime, second only to vehicles.
Most people understand that a complex mechanical system like a car requires preventive maintenance throughout the year. And because the car is something they tend to use every day, it’s on their mind (especially when they look up in the corner of the windshield and see the oil change sticker!). But people have very little interaction with a heating unit in the home beyond touching a few buttons on the thermostat or replacing a furnace filter every few months (and to be honest, most of them forget to change the furnace filter until about six months have passed). Unfortunately, professional maintenance is completely forgotten until something breaks down.
Heating maintenance isn’t something you should put off, and here’s why:
Like we said before, the heating unit is probably the most expensive single component in a building. With materials and installation costs averaging $4,000 or more, it’s not really something that you want to be replacing every 10 years. But if you neglect your system, you might have to replace the entire system sooner rather than later.
We keep comparing heating systems to cars for a reason: people know that cars need maintenance even if they don’t know exactly what’s going on. Let’s take oil changes, for example. While not everyone knows why vehicles need oil changes, they are aware that something terrible can happen to the engine if they don’t.
The same goes for furnaces. Moving parts wear out over time, and lubricants lose their ability to keep parts from wearing against each other. The breaking of a small part can cause unnecessary wear on the larger parts, which leads to more extensive and more expensive repairs.
When you have preventive maintenance performed on your heating and cooling units, the HVAC technician may be able to see if anything is about to wear out and break. If they replace it now, you’re much less likely to be left in the lurch some morning when you wake up to cold floors. Speaking of which…
No one wants to wake up to cold floors underneath, but eschewing HVAC maintenance and needing heater repairs means bigger problems than just cold piggies. First of all, you have to worry about your pipes. You’re also going to have to take time off work while you contact an emergency heating specialist and wait for them to arrive (though you won’t have to wait long with us).
While every heating unit requires repair eventually, you’re going to need fewer repairs if you have it taken care of with regular heating services. It certainly beats the pandemonium of calling for emergency HVAC repair.
When you have someone complete maintenance on your heating and cooling equipment, it’s going to perform better than it did before. Cleaning the unit and replacing filters means that the air or water will move through it more efficiently, which means you’ll be spending less on fuel and staying warmer on the coldest night. Burning less fuel also means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and have a more positive environmental impact.
In most cases, having a broken heating unit isn’t going to be dangerous. But there are some instances, such as a broken heat exchanger, that could release toxic gases and endanger anyone in the building.
Inviting an HVAC specialist into your home for furnace maintenance allows them to give your system a thorough checkup. If they notice something is wrong or is about to go wrong, they can make the repair before those in your home are subjected to any danger.
Because heating units tend to work well for long stretches, many homeowners and businesses simply take them for granted. But trust us, you shouldn’t! Being aware of what your heating system needs is an important part of making it last longer and run more efficiently. But how do you know what it needs? That’s where JC & JC HVAC Mechanical Contractors come in. No matter whether you need boiler installation, furnace repair, or geothermal preventive maintenance, we’re the Maryland contractors to call for local heating services.
Everyone needs heating and cooling services eventually. Whether it’s basic furnace maintenance or having an entire boiler replaced, we’re here to provide Maryland with the best HVAC services available in the middle of a freezing winter or a boiling summer. When you need affordable heating or AC service in Rockville, Potomac, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Laurel, Germantown, or Beltsville, we will be there to help. Contact us today!