In the average home, the water heater will run for about three hours each day. Total run time can range from one to two hours for new tankless water heaters to five or more hours for older tank style water heaters. If you find your water heater constantly running, Grove Heating & Cooling explains some reasons why this happens and what needs to be done to stop your water heater from wasting energy.

Reasons Behind a Water Heater That’s Constantly Running

When you have a water heater constantly running, it could be due to one (or more) of the following causes.

1. It’s Leaking

Water heater leaks are frequently behind water heaters that run constantly. When a water heater leaks, the leak essentially drains the hot water tank, and the system loses hot water. If you find signs of a leak, call your plumber right away to schedule water heater repairs. Depending on the source of the leak, repairs may be possible or replacing the water heater entirely may be recommended.

2. It’s Not Well Insulated

Another common reason for a water heater that runs too frequently is that it is losing heat due to a lack of insulation. When the water heater isn’t properly insulated, a great deal of heat can be lost from the stored hot water inside. This forces the system to run more in order to maintain the desired temperature of your hot water. 

Solving insulation issues can be done in a number of ways. You can purchase and install an insulation blanket that fits around the unit, which will help it better retain heat. Or, it may be time to upgrade if your hot water heater is an older model. Buying a new water heater can get you a system that has better insulation for increased energy savings.

3. There’s Sediment in the Tank

Sediment buildup may be the reason you have a water heater constantly running. Over time, minerals in your water can settle at the bottom of the tank and form a sludge. This sludge can then block the heating element, preventing the water from heating up to the appropriate temperature. The water heater will run more often because it must work harder to keep water warm despite this blockage.

If you regularly drain the tank for maintenance, this issue can be solved by simply flushing your unit. However, you don’t want to do this task if you have never done so before and your water heater is older. At this point, that sediment may be blocking cracks in the lining, and flushing the tank can create irreversible leaks.

4. The Water Heater Is Old

If your water heater is older, it’s likely that its functionality has diminished over time. The age of a water heater is one of the most common reasons for it to constantly run. At this point, repairs are unlikely to correct the issue and it is best to replace the system.

Water Heater Repairs in Maryland

When you notice a water heater constantly running, don’t ignore this plumbing problem. Call Grove Heating & Cooling to schedule service with our licensed plumbing team.

It’s that time of year again – the weather here in Maryland is starting to get a little warmer. Homeowners are starting to wonder when they should turn on their air conditioners. Turning on your cooling system too early can lead to unnecessary energy consumption and spending, but you don’t want your home to feel uncomfortable! The pros of Grove Heating & Cooling share the best time to turn on AC equipment and other alternatives that will keep you cool and help you save money.

How to Determine the Best Time to Turn On AC Units?

There’s no single answer to the best time to turn on an AC system. It depends on the climate, your home’s insulation, and even your daily routine. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to find the right time for your household.

For most homeowners, the ideal time to turn on their air conditioner unit is when the temperature reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit indoors. If you have particularly good insulation, you may be able to wait until outdoor temperatures are much higher before you need to switch on the cooling system. Keep in mind that turning on your AC will use energy and drive up your utility bills. So only turn it on when it’s really necessary. 

Using Windows and Fans

There are a few instances when you might want to consider opening a window instead of using your air conditioner. If it’s a mild day and the breeze feels nice, crack a window open and let the fresh air circulate. You can also open windows if your home is particularly stuffy or you have pets inside. In general, opening windows is a great way to save on energy costs and keep your home cool without relying on mechanical cooling systems. If you do need to use the AC, just make sure windows are closed before turning on the system.

So, when is it better to use a fan instead of the air conditioner? The answer depends on the temperature and the humidity. If it’s hot and humid outside, using a fan will only make you feel more uncomfortable. In this case, you should turn on the air conditioner to cool down the room. If it’s cool or dry outside, using a fan can help you save money on your energy bill while keeping your living areas comfortable. Fans should only be used in rooms that are occupied, as their cooling effect is only beneficial when people are present to enjoy it – otherwise, running the fan just wastes energy.

Pros and Cons of Using Air Conditioners

There are pros and cons to using air conditioners, and the same goes for opening windows. The main advantage to using the air conditioner is that it can quickly and efficiently cool down a room. It’s also helpful in dehumidifying the air, which can be useful when it is humid. 

AC units can be expensive to operate. Opening windows allows fresh air to circulate in a room, and it’s a free and natural way to cool down your home. However, opening windows does not have as much of an impact on cooling down a space as using an AC unit. Additionally, opening windows can let in pests or noise from outside. A fan is a good compromise between using the AC and opening windows. It’s affordable to operate and doesn’t impact the environment like an air conditioner does. Plus, it can help cool down a room quickly.

Tune Up Your Air Conditioner Beforehand

Get your air conditioner or heat pump tuned up before the days start to become hot. Typically, you’ll want to schedule this professional service in the spring to make sure your unit is cared for before it’s time to use it again. An air conditioning unit maintenance tune up will help ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently, and will also help prevent any costly repairs down the line. 

Stay Comfortable with Your Air Conditioner

When it comes to determining the best time to turn on AC units, there’s no one definitive answer. It depends on outdoor temperature, the time of year, and your own personal preferences. However, following these general tips should help you make the most of your AC unit – and help you save money on your energy bills in the process. 

Get ready for air conditioning season! Schedule your annual tune up with Grove Heating & Cooling before turning on your HVAC system this year. Contact us today to schedule a service call.

The thermostat is a critical component of any heating and cooling system, as it communicates the HVAC equipment’s operating instructions to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. While there’s a seemingly infinite number of device models on the market, there are only a few types of thermostats. The HVAC professionals of Grove Heating & Cooling explain the different types of thermostats and how they function so homeowners can easily understand the available options for controlling heating and cooling equipment in your Maryland home.

The Different Types of Thermostats

Differentiating the types of thermostats is done by looking at the way they operate. From there, thermostats are further categorized by the various functions and features they provide. 

There are two different types of thermostats: line-voltage thermostats and low-voltage thermostats. Each of these thermostat types works with certain types of heating systems and they differ based on the voltage they use to operate.

The line-voltage thermostat gets its name from the fact that it runs on the same electrical circuit as the heating unit and uses the same circuit voltage, either 120 volts or 240 volts. This type of thermostat essentially acts as a switch that supplies the heater with power, as electrical current flows through the unit.

Thermostat Categories

Amongst the different kinds of thermostats, more specific equipment categories exist. These thermostat categories offer different features and functions, providing users with options for varied control over temperature settings and convenience features. Categories of the different types of thermostats are:

Thermostat Installation in Maryland

With so many thermostat makes and models available, it can be difficult to determine the best choice for your home and heating or cooling system. When it’s time to upgrade your thermostat, work with Grove Heating & Cooling to explore your options. Contact us today to receive an estimate for thermostat installation in Maryland.

Dry air is a common winter problem that comes with colder temperatures. You know that high humidity levels can cause problems inside your Maryland home, but did you know that dry air is problematic, too? Grove Heating & Cooling shares some signs of dry air to be on the lookout for this season.

Signs That You May Need a Humidifier

Unsure if your home’s air is too dry or not? Here are some dry air clues you can watch for:

1. Increased Static Electricity

Is touching your loved ones a shocking experience throughout the winter months? If the number of static shocks you suffer seems excessive, the excess static electricity is a sign your air is too dry. As we mentioned, cold air holds less moisture than warm air. With low humidity and moisture levels in the air, electrons aren’t able to travel as freely as they can when the air is warm and moist. Instead, electrons collect in one spot, which produces that big jolt you feel when you make contact with people and things in the home. If you’re bothered by static shocks in the winter, these jolts indicate that you might need to install a humidifier.

2. Body Feels Dry

Chapped lips, dry skin, frequent nosebleeds, dry throat – these are all the results of dry air exposure to your body. Prolonged contact with dry air will dry out the body’s moisture, from skin and mucus membranes, which cause some bodily symptoms that can feel quite uncomfortable. Consider installing a whole house humidifier if these dry air issues are common amongst members of your household.

3. More Illnesses

Some viruses are more easily spread when the air is dry. When air is humid, the virus particles are unable to stay in suspension for very long. In dry air, these pathogens can circulate much more freely. The more time they spend in the air, the more likely they are to travel from person to person and infect others. If viruses seem to spread like wildfire through your household when cold weather is present, increased illness can indicate that you need a humidifier.

4. Wood Damage

How’s the woodwork around your house looking these days? Is it contracting, cracking, even warping? Are floorboards creaking and doors sticking? Dry air zaps the moisture held within wood materials, causing them to shrink and break. If wooden furniture, floors, doors, and cabinets are having problems this season, consider installing a humidifier.

How Humidifiers Solve Dry Air Problems

When your home’s air is too dry, you need some extra help replenishing the moisture that’s naturally present during warmer times of the year. A whole home humidifier is a great tool that can increase relative indoor humidity levels across your home and alleviate the bothersome dry air symptoms you feel. Depending on the model, whole home humidifiers use a water panel to add moisture as air circulates through the heating system or create steam that is sent directly into your ducts to add moisture to heated air. 

By raising the relative humidity levels of your indoor air, your body and your home are exposed to more moisture. Moisture in the air helps the body retain its own moisture – as well as helps it feel warmer! You can put away the lip balm and lotion and let your skin soak in the airborne moisture to alleviate symptoms. Plus, illnesses are less likely to spread so you’ll feel healthier, too. As the woodwork in your home is surrounded by properly humidified air, it can hold its shape and function properly, without squeaks, creaks, or cracks.

Humidifier Installation in Maryland

Now that you know the signs of dry air at home, it’s easy to figure out how to know if you need a humidifier. If you or your loved ones suffer any of the symptoms above, call Grove Heating & Cooling today and request a quote for whole home humidifier installation.

Furnaces are forced air heating systems, meaning they rely on a blower motor and fan to circulate heated air from the unit into the home through the duct system. Just like any other system component, it is possible for the blower motor to go bad and require a replacement blower motor. Grove Heating & Cooling shares bad furnace motor blower symptoms to watch for so you’ll know when to schedule repair service and have your blower replaced.

Signs Your Furnace’s Blower Is Going Bad

The furnace’s blower assembly is made up of a motor and fan that runs to circulate heated air from the furnace system, through the ductwork, and into your home’s various living areas. If your blower motor starts to wear out, you may notice some symptoms such as:

Little Airflow from Vents

As mentioned, the blower’s job is to circulate air through the system. If the blower motor is going bad, it will struggle to operate the fan. The result will be weak airflow coming from the vents inside your living spaces. This airflow issue can be one of the main symptoms that indicate the component needs to be replaced. 

Additionally, you may have a bad capacitor and require a replacement to power the motor, or the motor may simply be clogged and require a good cleaning from your HVAC technician. Duct leaks and disconnections may also be to blame for poor airflow and should also be checked out by a professional.

No Airflow from Vents

If the blower fails to operate, you won’t receive any heated air through the vents in your home. If the blower isn’t turning on at all, this is a symptom that can indicate a full replacement motor is necessary. Other problems that can cause this symptom are a faulty relay, bad thermostat, or problem with the unit’s fan control. Each of these issues should be diagnosed and repaired by an HVAC technician.

Loud Noises When the Heat Is On

Your furnace should produce very little operating noise under normal conditions – a click or two upon startup and a steady hum as the furnace runs is typical. If you suddenly hear loud and strange sounds like squealing or grinding, these are symptoms of a bad furnace motor blower that can signal signs of motor bearing problems or a damaged belt in older belt-driven models. 

Repairs may be possible or it may be time to replace the blower motor entirely. Rattling or knocking noises can indicate a part is damaged or broken in the blower that requires repair. All of these symptoms can be assessed and corrected by a professional.

Burning Odor from Vents

If you notice a burning smell coming out of your air vents while the furnace runs, these smells are symptoms that tell you the furnace blower motor is overheating. Overheating of the blower motor can happen due to an accumulation of dirt and dust, which you may be able to clean yourself, if you feel comfortable doing so – or your technician can complete this task. There may be a part in the assembly that has failed and must be replaced, or the motor may just be wearing out and is due for replacement. 

High Energy Bills

Energy bills that are suddenly higher than normal are a general sign that points to furnace issues, rather than bad blower motor symptoms specifically. A bad blower motor can cause the HVAC system to use more energy and drive up your heating bills, and is one possibility that should be investigated if you notice a spike in your winter utility expenses. 

Solve Blower Motor Issues with Grove Heating & Cooling

When you notice bad furnace motor blower issues over the winter, give Grove Heating & Cooling a call right away. Our skilled heating and air conditioning technicians can diagnose and correct your heating system issues, whether a part needs to be repaired or your entire blower motor needs to be replaced. Contact us to schedule HVAC unit services anytime.

Many homeowners across Maryland use heat pump systems for efficient cooling over the summer months. When winter comes, these versatile HVAC systems can also be used for home heating! Grove Heating & Cooling answers how does a heat pump work in winter so you can better understand the capabilities of this HVAC equipment option.

How Do Heat Pumps Work in Summer?

Let’s run through how a heat pump works in the summer, then it will be simple to understand how a heat pump works in winter! Warm air from the home circulates back to the indoor unit which contains a coil  – as refrigerant cycles through the coil, it absorbs heat from the air to lower air temperature. 

Cooled air then circulates back into the home via the blower while the refrigerant travels to the outdoor unit. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and increases its temperature before it moves to the outdoor coil. Within the condenser coil in the outdoor unit, the refrigerant releases heat into the air outdoors. This process repeats as needed to keep the home at a comfortable, cool temperature.

How Do Heat Pumps Work in Winter?

Before we explain how a heat pump works in the winter, let’s first discuss the basics of heat pump operation. A heat pump is an appliance that transfers heat from one source to another. Unlike fuel-burning furnaces and boilers, a heat pump doesn’t generate heat. Because it is merely transferring heat between two sources, this HVAC unit has the ability to both heat and cool a space.

Heat pump systems are split systems. For air-source heat pump systems that transfer heat between indoor air and outdoor air, the heat pump unit sits outdoors, which can be paired with an air handler or even a furnace indoors. The two units are connected by refrigerant lines that run through an exterior wall of the home. Geothermal systems exchange heat between the indoor air and the ground, using a ground loop buried in the ground and a heat pump that is typically installed indoors.

To act as heating systems during the winter months, a heat pump will work in reverse to provide a home with heat. A component called the reversing valve redirects the flow of refrigerant so that heat is absorbed from the outdoor air by the outdoor coil. Heated refrigerant cycles through the indoor coil, releasing heat energy into the air circulating through the unit to raise the air temperature. This process repeats as needed to provide enough warmth for comfortable indoor conditions.

Can Heat Pumps Work When It’s Cold Outside?

If you’re just learning about how a heat pump works in winter, the process may seem hard to believe – is there really enough heat in the air to keep a whole house warm when it feels chilly outside? Believe it or not, yes! Though it may not feel warm to you, there is plenty of heat energy in the outdoor air for sufficient indoor warmth, depending on the outdoor temperature.

Conventional heat pumps offer very efficient heat up to a certain point, as far as outdoor temperatures go. Once outdoor temperatures fall around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat pump will lose some energy efficiency. When temperatures hit about 25 degrees and below, a heat pump is no longer going to be the most efficient source of heat for a home. It may struggle to keep your home at your preferred temperature and it is best to use a backup heating system at this point, if you have one installed. There are newer cold weather heat pump units that are better equipped for operating in cold temperatures, which can be installed to avoid this winter problem.

Heat Pumps for Maryland Homes

A heat pump in the winter doesn’t differ much from summertime cooling operation – the HVAC system simply runs in reverse! Learn more about these versatile heating and air conditioning systems and receive an estimate for the installation of a new heat pump in your home – contact Grove Heating & Cooling today!

A home’s tap water can exhibit various odors and colors due to a number of different issues with the water supply or the plumbing system. Rust-colored water coming from your hot water heater can occur for several reasons, which need to be addressed to avoid health issues and plumbing problems. Grove Heating & Cooling explains the causes of rusty water coming from a water heater and what can be done to return your water color to normal.

1. Bacterial Growth

If you have rust-colored water, the hue may be caused by bacteria growth somewhere in your plumbing system. While the problem may not originate from your water heater, it may appear that it does because you notice hot water takes on this color – however, both hot and cold water can be rusty when bacteria are present. Types of iron-reducing bacteria are known to create rust-colored water, which is very unappealing to homeowners and anyone who uses a tap in the house. This type of bacterial growth is most common in water supply pipes as well as the water heater tank.

If a plumber determines your water heater rust-colored water is caused by bacteria growing in your plumbing system, the way to get rid of it is by shocking the system. This can be done by adding chlorine to the system. Many homeowners with well water add chlorine bleach to the water well to chlorinate the water supply system. After a wait of 6 to 12 hours, the system should be flushed – open all taps throughout the house and allow water to run until the notable chlorine smell dissipates from your water.

2. Water Heater Tank Corrosion

Whenever rust-colored water is noticed in a tank water heater system, corrosion is an immediate suspect. Over time, the metal of the tank can break down due to water conditions if the inner glass lining cracks and allows the outer metal to be exposed to water or if the sacrificial anode rod designed to prevent corrosion isn’t replaced at proper intervals. Even combustion gases can cause the metal to corrode in an older tank water heater.

If rusty or discolored water is isolated to only your hot water, you’ll know that it stems from an issue with your water heater. Unfortunately, when corrosion is present, the only real solution is to replace the unit with a new water heater. Ignoring a corroded hot water tank could lead to a major leak and water damage in your home.

3. Old Pipes

Water lines in some Maryland homes are made of cast iron, which can corrode. These rusty pipes may be present in your home if it was built before about the mid-1980s. In the best case scenario, cast iron water supply pipes will last 50 years, but that isn’t always the case.

A professional plumber will be able to determine the material your water pipes are made of as well as if you have water heater rust-colored hot water or if the hue is due to pipe corrosion rather than water heater tank corrosion. If your home has older cast iron pipes that are starting to break down and display rust in your water, the solution to fix this issue is to replace your home’s piping. This is an extensive job best trusted to a licensed Maryland plumber.

Water Heater Repairs and Plumbing Service in Maryland

If you have rust-colored water because of your water heater or rusty hot water that stems from another plumbing source, don’t wait to address this issue. Call Grove Heating & Cooling today and schedule water heater repair or plumbing service with our trusted plumbing team.

It’s no secret that Maryland winters can get extremely cold at times! For this reason, it’s important that every home has a reliable heating system that can be trusted to provide the necessary warmth for a safe and comfortable environment. While system breakdowns do sometimes occur unexpectedly, there are steps you can take to help limit the likelihood of an HVAC emergency this season. Grove Heating & Cooling explains how to care for your heating system and best prepare it for winter.

What to Do to Prevent Winter HVAC Problems

To avoid emergency HVAC repairs during the winter months, maintaining your heating equipment is critical. Hopefully you know that maintenance tune ups are necessary for furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps each year, and the ideal time to have this service performed is in the fall before it gets cold outside.

HVAC maintenance for heating systems is designed to improve the performance and energy efficiency of any furnace, heat pump, or boiler. The steps involved are very helpful in preventing an HVAC emergency, as the work performed by a qualified HVAC technician greatly reduces the likelihood of a system breakdown over the heating season.

What to Do in an HVAC Emergency

If you do experience an HVAC emergency at any point this winter, it’s important to know what to do. Not every situation that appears to be an HVAC emergency actually is, and if you know what troubleshooting steps to take, you’ll be able to restore heating right away rather than wait for professional repairs. If you ignore heating problems, temperatures could drop indoors, creating an unsafe environment.

Contact Grove for HVAC Maintenance and Repairs

If you are unable to get the heat back on through troubleshooting your system, you may have a true HVAC system emergency on your hands. In this situation, call Grove Heating & Cooling to request HVAC emergency service. Our heating and cooling system technicians will respond as quickly as possible and work to restore heating in your home through emergency HVAC repairs or temporary heating solutions that will keep you safe until a new heating unit can be installed.

There are several different types of heating systems that can be installed in homes – furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, even ductless heating systems. Among the various options, what are the best choices for homeowners in Maryland? Grove Heating & Cooling shares reliable heating system options for your home in Crofton and the surrounding areas.

Maryland Heating Considerations

Determining the best types of heating systems is really a subjective choice that depends on the criteria you need a heating system to meet. For all types of heating and air conditioning equipment, the climate of the installation location should always be a primary concern. Certain heating choices perform better when used in some climates versus others.

Maryland winters are known to be snowy and cold, and occasionally can feel quite brutal. During January, the coldest month of the year in our state, areas in the central and eastern parts of the state see average high temperatures around 35 degrees and lows between 16 to 30 degrees – overnight, it’s not out of the ordinary for temperatures to fall below 0 degrees in some spots! With such frigid winter conditions, Maryland homeowners need heating systems that are designed to perform reliably in temperatures below freezing.

Types of Heating Systems That Use Natural Gas

Natural gas heating systems are the top choice among Maryland homeowners, with more households using natural gas heat than systems that run off other fuel sources. Natural gas forced air systems heat air to a higher temperature than electric options, which is why they are typically preferred in cold climates. 

Natural gas utility prices are also lower than electricity, making natural gas heating a more affordable option. Actual heating costs depend on several factors including usage and the energy efficiency of different types of heating systems.

Natural Gas Furnaces

Natural gas furnaces are types of heating systems that are forced air central systems. This means they produce heated air through combustion of natural gas from a central unit in the home. The system’s blower forces the heated air through ductwork into rooms throughout the dwelling. 

Natural Gas Boilers

Natural gas boilers include two types of heating systems: steam boilers and hot water boilers. Both units use combustion of natural gas to heat water that moves through a piping system to connected radiators in rooms throughout the home. This radiant heating system transfers heat from the radiators into the air.

Electric Heat Pump Systems

Many Maryland homeowners have chosen to use electric types of heating systems – most commonly, a heat pump. Heat pumps don’t burn fuel like natural gas to create heat. Instead, they use electric energy to transfer heat between sources to increase air temperature before warmed air is circulated through the ducts to rooms. 

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air. Newer heat pump models offer efficient heating throughout much of the Maryland winter, though their efficiency can decline when outdoor temperatures are extremely low. Backup electrical resistance heat strips can be installed for use during these periods or a gas furnace is a common choice for backup heat.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

To heat, geothermal heat pump systems extract heat from below ground. A ground loop component made of fluid-filled piping buried on the property absorbs heat, which is circulated to the heat pump in the home. The heat pump transfers heat from the loop to the air for warmth, then air circulates throughout the house.

Find the Right Heating System for Your Home

Grove Heating & Cooling helps Maryland homeowners explore the best types of heating systems for use during the winter months in New England. For more information or to schedule an estimate, contact us today.

Modern geothermal HVAC systems have been around for decades, though their popularity in Maryland and throughout the U.S. has increased significantly in recent years. As sustainability awareness grows and utility rates increase, homeowners seek high energy efficiency options to lower heating and cooling costs while reducing the environmental impact of their residences.

Compared to other home heating and cooling systems, geothermal can be quite expensive – leading homeowners to ask, “Is geothermal heating and cooling worth it?”

How Geothermal HVAC Systems Work

Geothermal HVAC systems provide space heating and cooling to a home by moving heat between the ground or water and the home’s air. The system uses three key components: the ground loop, geothermal heat pump, and distribution system.

Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling Worth It in Terms of Efficiency?

Geothermal HVAC systems can be 400 to 500 percent energy efficient. Is geothermal heating and cooling worth it based on that? Most people would say yes, considering the most efficient furnaces and boilers are only up to 97% efficient.

How are these HVAC systems able to offer such highly efficient performance compared to traditional heating and air conditioning systems?

More Geothermal HVAC Perks

Superior energy efficiency isn’t the only bonus you get when you install a geothermal cooling and heating system. Here are more of the great perks they offer:

Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling Worth It? We Think So!

Is geothermal heating and cooling worth it to install in Maryland homes? We think the energy savings and other benefits speak for themselves! Contact us today to request a geothermal HVAC system installation estimate and learn more about these highly efficient solutions.