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4 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Heater Before You Need It This Winter

With the passing of Labor Day and the school-age children going back to classes, this is the first sign that summer is over. Days will get shorter and, more importantly, temperatures will drop, especially at night.

Now is the time when homeowners will use their HVAC systems to keep warm, using the heater and furnace for comfort. But your HVAC system hasn’t been in use for a few months, so there are a few important things you should do to ensure you’re ready for another cold winter.

1 – Change The Filter

This is especially important if your HVAC system is integrated with your air conditioner. Even if your furnace hasn’t been running all summer, your AC has been pushing air through the furnace to flow through your air ducts. This means that the filter currently inside has been hard at work, screening out particles and contaminants from outside.

It’s always a good policy to maintain a seasonal routine when it comes to replacing air filters. At a minimum, you should put in a new air filter every three months, or with the change of season. Taking longer than this result in blockage to the filter that forces your HVAC system to stay on longer, and leads to a rise in your monthly bills. If you want to be sure of your filter efficiency, you can also change filters every month, but three months is adequate for most homes.

2 – Get The Ducts Inspected & Cleaned

There’s often a misconception that when things don’t have moving parts, that means that they take care of themselves, and don’t require much maintenance. In the case of your air ducts, however, that’s not necessarily the case.

In the same way the shingles of your roof are exposed to the elements; your air ducts have air constantly moved through them during the year. This can mean that blockages may occur in some locations that can have an impact on your heating for the winter. In some cases, wear and tear or even issues in the basement—if ducts are exposed—could mean damage that results in leakage. If you want to make sure your ducts are still airtight and efficiently transferring air throughout your home, call the professionals and have them checked and cleaned.

3 – Check Your Vents

The vents or “heat registers” are they are also called, are an important part of your comfort at home. Now that you’re making the switch back to heating, it’s a good time to take a walking inspection of your home and look at all the vents in the different rooms. Are they still clear? Has anything accumulated inside or on them?

 

One common problem that happens without people noticing is the blockage of these vents because of furniture. Moving a recliner or sofa, for example, may inadvertently block a vent, preventing the air from getting through. In bedrooms, it’s not unusual for people to sacrifice proper ventilation to get a shelf or desk just where they want it, but this will have an impact on bills now that free flow of air has been interfered with.

4 – Get Your Furnace Checked

Finally, it’s always a good maintenance and preventative measure to have the experts come in and look over your HVAC system. A gas furnace, for example, needs to be occasionally checked to make sure that gas delivery is still in order, and that no parts are out of place that could lead to the formation of carbon monoxide during the heating process, which can be dangerous to all residents of a home.

When you have experts come in, they have the tools and the experience to ensure that a thorough inspection takes place. They can make minor adjusts to the HVAC system to ensure small problems are eliminated. With proper testing, once everything is done, they make sure you’re good to go for the winter, rather than turning the heat the day it gets really cold and finding out that your furnace isn’t up to the task after all.

If you want to make sure that your heater is ready for another winter of comfort, contact us today. We have the people, tools, talent, and experience to make sure that your transition to the winter months is a smooth and warm one with no problems. Let us inspect and maintain your heater to get you ready for the next season.

Noises that Your Heater Makes & What They Mean

Its definitely winter now as you can probably tell by the snow covering our area and the heaters in our house have been humming along for a couple months now with a couple to go. As with all things we are around often, when something doesn’t sound the same, it can be alarming. Just like our spouse with a hoarse voice or our car with a new noise, our heating systems can begin to make noises that we’re not accustomed to hearing and may raise concerns. We’ll cover some of the most popular noises that your heating system will make in it’s lifetime.

Sidenote: If your heating system is making noises that aren’t typical to it, call a professional. The issues we describe can lead to damage to the unit, your home, and possibly your family. Poor maintenance can result in failure of the unit or possibly fires. We recommend pre-season maintenance to prevent these issues.

The dreaded scraping noise that your heater makes

Is your heater making a scraping noise? That metal on metal noise that keeps you up at night is almost always the blower inside of your heater. Here are the reasons for this metal on metal noise in your home:

  • Loose Blower Wheel Nut
  • Broken Blower Wheel
  • Blower Wheel Mount is Hitting Casing

At any rate, it’s best for a professional to diagnose and repair this issue. Properly mounted Blower Wheels not only reduce sounds coming from the unit, but improve efficiency of the unit.

Squeaaaaaaaaling in the middle of the night from your heater

This one typically makes you pick up the phone right away. It sounds like a rubbery noise that makes your eye twitch when you hear it. This issue is usually the belt that runs the blower fan. It fails due to a lack of maintenance and causes the awful squealing that you’re hearing right now. The simple fix of replacing the belt will take care of this issue in a hurry and you’ll be back to harmony in no time.

Is your furnace popping?

If you’re hearing a popping or banging noise, consider giving us a call. This is the worst noise that your unit can make and is often a cause of your burners being too dirty to light, causing a buildup of gas before it can fully light that results in a pop or bang. It’s not a fun noise to hear and should be dealt with immediately.

If you have a boiler, it typically means the same thing as it does on a furnace, except, instead of a dirty burner it is scaling on the burner.

Prevent Heater Noises

Heater noises are preventable! Simple pre-season maintenance will help you keep peace of mind as you go into the winter season and endure it until Spring comes back around. We recommend hiring a professional to come in and do the typical winter prep pre-season work required to keep a heating unit running strong so that you’re not without heat or worse, dealing with house fires.

It’s not too late to get maintenance on your unit, take a look at our HVAC Maintenance Plan & Contact Us Today.

Get Ready, Winter is NEAR!

As the days are getting shorter and shorter, we’re beginning to see temperatures dropping. This means Winter is on its way! There is no better time than right now to ensure your heating equipment is up to par for this year’s fridged North Virginia temperatures.

Here is what you can do to ensure you’re ready for the cold:

  1. Replace your filter. It’s best to get started with a fresh filter as you go into the cold months.
  2. Turn on your heat, it should fire up in just a few moments and begin putting that sweet, warm air into your home. It may smell a little funny at first as it gets warmed up.
  3. Listen to the unit. Is it louder than normal? Acting funny? Call an expert, prevent major issues by acting sooner than later.
  4. After about 15-20 minutes, use a standard thermometer to test the air temperature. If it and the thermostat don’t match, it may be time to replace the thermostat.
  5. Call the pro. Every Spring & Fall is a great time to be on a maintenance plan to ensure your units are taken care of for the season ahead. Learn more about Brigg’s Maintenance Plan here.

Other things to consider in preparation for Winter

Air can find it’s way in or out of virtually anywhere. Inefficient homes can cost you money and comfort. These few items can quickly help your home run more efficiently and be more comfortable for your family year round.

  1. When it’s cold outside, turn on the heat in your home. The air temperature difference will help you detect leaks.
  2. Walk around your home, place your hand near doorways, windows, vents, pet doors, and attic spaces.
  3. If you feel a cold air pocket or breeze coming through, you have a leak.
  4. Mark the leaks with tape or post-it notes to come back and repair.
  5. Do the appropriate repair for each of the air leaks.

Air leaks in the home are a leading factor to heat loss during the winter and cause the heating units to work harder to keep the space at temperature.

When you’re ready to switch on the heat this year, call Brigg’s to come out and service your heating unit. We look forward to helping you stay comfortable this year!

Stay Warm!

Is your Heating System Ready? Fall 2018 is here!

As the temperature starts to come down and the leaves start to change, one thing we all have to be ready for is firing up the heating system for the first time this season.

With that time quickly approaching, Briggs wants to make sure that you’re ready for it by checking your Heating system before you need it.

How to Test Your Heating System Before it gets cold

Testing your heating unit to make sure that it is working properly is a simple, but important task. Follow these steps to make sure that your heating system is working:

  • Turn on your thermostat and put it to heat.
  • Raise the temperature to at least 10 degrees above the current room temperature.
  • Listen for your heating unit to fire up, it should only take a moment.
  • Use a standard thermometer to test the temperature of the room after 15 minutes. Place this thermometer by your thermostat and check that the temperatures are reading the same. If they are not, you may need to replace your thermostat.

If the equipment does not start up, you can press the reset button on the burner’s relay, but make sure to only press it once. If the system still does not start up, you may need to call an HVAC professional to check your heating system.

Heating System Maintenance Checklist

Once you have tested your system to make sure that it runs, you should also complete some basic maintenance tasks to avoid any breakdowns and ensure that your system will run efficiently. Here’s a short checklist to help you make sure you are ready for winter:

  • Check your windows and doors for leaks and cracks. Though they may be harder to notice in the summer, these areas let more cold air in, causing your heating system to work harder than it needs to in order to keep your home warm.
  • Clean or replace air filters. Dirty and clogged air filters can also decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system. These should be checked and replaced regularly to keep your system running smoothly.
  • Turn off the power to your furnace, and clean the heater’s fan blades if you are able to access them. Also, check to see if the fan’s motor and blower shafts need lubrication. Keeping your system cleaned and oiled helps prolong the life of the unit.

Checking your heating system before it’s cold outside is about more than just comfort. A properly maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently and help you keep your energy costs down when you are running your heater often. Checking the system before you use it regularly also helps you to eliminate any potential hazards from a broken or malfunctioning heating system.

If you need help getting your heating system ready for the cold weather, call us today. An experienced HVAC technician can test your HVAC system and make sure you are ready for the coldest time of the year.