Hagerstown AC Guide: Air Duct Components and Controls

Various types of systems distribute cool air through a series of passages called ducts to create the comfort and feeling of luxury we often take for granted today. While the purpose of your Hagerstown air conditioning is to provide invisible comfort, the components under the floor, behind the walls, alongside of the house or up on the roof are very real.

How Your AC Works

Because heat rises to cooler air, most air conditioning systems use a process of making a chemical, known as refrigerants, that rapidly transform from gas to liquid and back again to absorb and redistribute unwanted heat. Pressure is then added by a compressor or released into coils to accelerate the refrigerants transformation.

Your heat is produced by a controlled flame then transferred to eagerly awaiting cool air. In both cases, at an exchange point, the air is “conditioned” and blowers circulate the air to and from the rooms in your home through the ductwork.

Ducts

Forced air heat in many older homes has ductwork hanging between the joists.  These are commonly made of metal, take up a lot of space and are prone to rattle. It was discovered that the ductwork, though clunky, could be used to distribute cool air as well as heat.

Advances in technology have expanded the insulation capacities and reduced the size of ductwork so more space can be treated with higher value and less structural impact.  This is due in large part to the highly efficient heating and cooling systems available today.

Enhancing Control

Although the movement of air is fairly simple, controls improve the efficiency of the air conditioning in your home– and reduce your energy or electricity bill. These controls monitor a lot, including the changes in the amount and temperature of your homes air, filters and adjusts humidity and direct the flow of air. From the manual turn of a lever, to fully automated control of your home’s entire AC and heat from your smartphone, technology has transformed how we experience comfort in our homes.

Not to mention thermostats, dampers, zone controls and relay switches that further accommodate all of the many way we take care of our most basic creature comfort– air conditioning.

Have A Question?

For more information about how to best maintain and service your Hagerstown air conditioning system, give your local professionals, Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, a call today!

Common Problem Areas for Frederick HVAC Systems

No one wants to have to call a Frederick AC contractor in to inspect their HVAC system. Problems in heating or air conditioning tend to be costly and time consuming to fix. But, the longer you wait, the bigger the problem is likely to get. So, it’s important to act quickly when you suspect a problem with any of the following common sources in an HVAC system:

  • Power Lines – Your HVAC system uses a lot of electricity so if it stops working, turns off suddenly or frequently shuts down, it may be a power issue. If the system stops working at any point, check your breaker box for a blown fuse or tripped breaker. You should also check the electrical line to your HVAC system. If you see any damage from animals, weather or otherwise, call a professional immediately.
  • Gas Lines – if you have gas furnaces and appliances, gas supply problems can be a major issue for your HVAC system. There are a number of safety measures in place in a gas line system. The gas valve connecting the gas line to your furnace has as safety shutoff switch. Your home has a carbon monoxide detector. A pressure drop in the system will also cause a shutoff. So, the most common problem you would face with a gas line is that is stops providing gas, usually because there is a problem in a component. If this happens, call the gas company immediately to check your system, and of course if you smell a leak, leave the house and call the emergency line for your gas company.
  • Drains – Air conditioners have drain pipes that release the condensed water that builds up inside as they run. However, over time, that drain can clog up if it’s not properly maintained. If you have a central air conditioning unit, check the drain pan once every week or so to make sure it is draining properly. Frequently, this drain pipe will be located higher in your home so that it can drain properly away from the property. Call a Frederick AC professional if it continues to clog or fails to drain at all.
  • Venting – Vent problems can result in more than just stuffy air. Clogged or dirty vents are fire hazards and they can decrease indoor air quality, making it both uncomfortable and unhealthy inside. Vents and ductwork should be cleaned annually to avoid the buildup of debris and sediment. Additionally, you should do a visual inspection once a month to check for debris and vacuum the space where possible.

Most of the problems commonly associated with your HVAC system need to be checked and repaired by a professional. However, by remaining vigilant and checking them regularly, you can avoid a much bigger problem and subsequent repairs. Call Larry & Sons today if you need any HVAC service in Maryland, Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

Your Hagerstown AC: Why it Is Important to Stay Cool

Ask a hundred people what the primary role of air conditioning in Hagerstown is and I’ll bet you they say “comfort”. We seek out AC to stay cool and beat the summer heat, but did you know your air conditioning is a lot more than just a convenience – it is a safety feature in the midst of heavy heat waves.

Heat Is More than Just Uncomfortable

We tend to think of heat as this massive, uncomfortable inconvenience. In reality, it is quite dangerous. According to the Center for Disease Control, heat waves killed 8,015 people between 1979-2003, more than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, earthquakes and floods combined in that time period.

Why is heat illness so dangerous? It comes on quickly and it’s easy to ignore the warning signs, especially when you are already uncomfortable. While hydration is important, the real risk occurs after you’ve become dehydrated – when your body can no longer keep itself cool. This is known as heat stroke and can lead to a number of life threatening conditions, especially for the elderly, infants and those with chronic conditions.

That’s where air conditioning comes in. On the CDC’s extreme heat preparedness webpage, air conditioning is listed as the number one preventative factor against heat related illness. Simply put – if you have an air conditioner, there is a much smaller chance you will get sick from the heat. Dehydration happens less frequently when you’re in an air conditioned environment, meaning that your body can regulate temperature internally and you feel comfortable – not a bad deal for a simple installation.

Staying Cool Is a Medical Necessity

So, air conditioning is about a lot more than just staying comfortable – it’s a health issue. Especially if you have small children or elderly adults in the house or if anyone in your family has a medical condition like obesity, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, an air conditioning system is an absolute must during heat waves.

If you have any questions about your home’s system, call the Hagerstown AC professionals at Larry & Sons!

I Have a Room that Won’t Stay Warm or Cool in My Keedysville Home

When you have a Keedysville home heating or cooling system installed, you expect it to keep all areas of your home at the same temperature unless you tell it otherwise. But sometimes you’ll find that one of the rooms in your home just won’t stay warm no matter how high you turn up the heat. This can be a very frustrating situation, particularly if that room is one you use a lot.

Insulation and Ductwork Checkups

There are actually several possible reasons that a problem like this can develop. The first thing you should check is if there is adequate, proper insulation in the walls and the floor of the room. Even if you know that insulation is in place, it’s worth it to have a professional come take a look to see if the insulation there is still adequate. Even the best insulation doesn’t last forever, and once it breaks down, you could be losing a lot of heat to the outdoors in the winter.

If insulation isn’t the problem, it’s time to have someone examine your ductwork to see if it’s properly pressurized throughout or if there could be a break in the system somewhere leading to that room. If your home comfort system pumps heated and cooled air towards that room and that air is allowed to leak out along the way, you’ll never be able to maintain the comfort level you want.

Digging Deeper for Causes

Even if there is no break on the way to that particular room, a leak or blockage somewhere else can throw off the balance of the entire system, reducing how much temperature controlled air can reach that part of your home. These are all things that a professional duct tester can find and fix for you relatively easily and inexpensively.

Of course, it’s always possible that uneven heating and cooling is a symptom of a larger problem in your home heating and cooling system. But if that’s the case, you’re better off finding out sooner rather than later because the problem will only get worse when not addressed. No matter what the ultimate underlying cause for your uneven heating and cooling is, you’ll need a professional to come out and investigate before you can have it fixed for good.