Home Heating & Cooling 101: Understanding How Air Flows in Your Home

As we all know, homes tend to have both heating and cooling systems to ensure that the temperature is comfortable at all times, even when this is not the case outside. Ensuring that you have a high-quality HVAC system is important, but you also need to understand the way that air flows in your home. Most people don’t really know much about their heating and cooling system or the way that airflow works, but that’s what we are going to be discussing today.

Down below, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the things that you should know about how air flows in your home, and why it’s important for you to know this. Keep reading if you are interested in finding out more.

Understanding Air Flow In Your Home

Understanding air flow in your home allows you to have a more solid understanding of the way that your heating and cooling system works. In some cases, this may help you to get the most out of your system for your home.

The Path Of Least Resistance

In your home, you will have the main duct which runs throughout the entire house. From here, smaller ducts will branch off and if these are left open, a large amount of the air will come out of these closest to the furnace or the air conditioner. The ducts at the other end of the line, however, will end up with very little airflow, causing you to have uneven airflow throughout your house. The reason for this is that the air will travel the path of least resistance, as per the laws of physics.

Air Flow Issues

Dirty Air Filters

One of the common issues is that the air filter is dirty or clogged up. The job of this filter is to remove dust and debris in the unit, but if this gets clogged up or too dirty, then it’s going to reduce the system’s airflow altogether. The solution to this is to change the filter, and airflow should improve from there.

Problems With The Ductwork

Another common issue is something has gone wrong with the ductwork. If you can look at the ductwork, you might find that there is an open, torn, or even sagging in some places. This will allow air to escape in the wrong places, reducing the airflow in your home.

Blocked Or Closed Vents

It happens more than you would think that the output vents are blocked or simply closed. Make sure that you are checking your vents, ensuring that there is nothing obstructing them. It might be that you have furniture in front of them which is reducing airflow, and if this is the case they need to move ASAP.

Will Dampers Be Able To Help?

If you have never heard of dampers, they could be your saving grace. Dampers can help you to control the amount of air that flows through each of the branches in your home, assisting you in distributing the air more effectively than it is right now.

There are a range of different types of dampers, with some being able to perform better than others. Of course, you want to get the best, so it’s important to do your research and understand the difference between automatic volume dampers, and metal butterfly dampers for example.

Some experts may not advise using dampers if you don’t fully understand how to, simply because you can end up completely blocking the airflow if you are not careful. If you’re ever in doubt, make sure that you speak to a professional to get the help that you need.

Speak To An Expert If You Need Heating & Cooling Assistance in Northern, VA

The majority of homes in the US have hot air heating systems or ducted cooling systems, with a large majority of the people living in these homes being unhappy with the way that this works. The most common problem that people have with this kind of system is that one area ends up getting too much, while another area ends up without enough.

Here at Briggs Heating And Air Conditioning, we will do everything that we can to ensure that your home gets the best possible result from your HVAC system. If you are experiencing issues with your heating or cooling, we are your one-stop solution to fix any problem you may be having. Whether you have identified the issue, or you need us to, we will be there for you when you need us.

Contact us to get started.

What To Expect With A Seasonal AC Maintenance Inspection

Regular AC maintenance will save you money and increase the longevity of your HVAC units. You must regularly maintain your air conditioner coils, filters, and fins for your unit to function more effectively. On the other hand, overlooking routine maintenance inspection can decrease performance and increase utility expenses, which is not what you want. Here is what to expect from a seasonal AC unit maintenance inspection.

Preparing For The Winter

Home air conditioners deliver comfort and convenience throughout the year. Inspecting them for maintenance is essential, especially in winter. This is because you risk exposing your household to diseases since bacteria and viruses may thrive in poorly maintained air conditioning units. Covering your central AC’s outdoor unit will keep it safe in harsh winter conditions and debris.

How To Maintain Your AC in Winter:

Install a smart thermostat

A thermostat regulates the temperature in your home; it can come in handy in winter, as there are times when you forget to adjust the settings. Install smart thermostats to automate this task.
Inspect the exterior section of the unit

AC unit parts outside the home may have complicated systems like drain lines, compressors, condensers, and so on. Inspect to ensure these components are not frozen in the cold. Additionally, plants and branches may come into contact with your HVAC systems’s exterior parts. It’s important to eliminate them to boost the conditioner’s performance. It helps to clean the outer space before the colder seasons arrive.

Change filters regularly

Air conditioner filters stop pollutants like dust and particles from damaging the system. They may accumulate dirt with time, making it important to replace them frequently to improve their performance. Excessive ice will pressure the air conditioning system, making it work more than necessary. Not changing filters will invite ice buildup, contributing to higher energy bills. The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) for an air conditioner filter may vary from 1 to 12. The higher the MERV rating, the better the performance of a filter. However, note that your unit’s lifespan may get shorter in the long run.

Prioritize regular professional maintenance

AC maintenance experts have the tools and skills to inspect, troubleshoot, and fix any issues confronting your units. Prioritizing regular professional maintenance is not only crucial to saving energy but also to reducing risks of equipment breakdowns. Have experienced technicians service your systems at the recommended intervals to enjoy optimal performance. Without this, you may be unable to enhance the efficiency of your AC, which can affect your family’s level of comfort.

Crucial Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips For Central Air And Window Units

Like other mechanical systems, ACs require good care to operate smoothly. So learn these practical tips to keep up with your central air and window unit maintenance:

Fix leaks

Ducts may lose up to 30% of their airflow due to leaks. Window units are particularly notorious for being tough to seal well. You can inspect for leaks using the smoke trick.

Light a stick of incense and hold it near duct connections for central AC, or place it where the window unit and frame meet. If you detect smoke blowing around, you probably have a leak. You can seal them with foil tape or stuff foam for window units.

Insulate to keep cool air

Wrap ducts in hot attics to cool the air within them. You may use foil tape to seal rigid insulation and wraps to insulate tight spaces.
Upgrade for efficiency

According to federal requirements, air conditioning units should be more efficient than last 10 years. If you have a central AC, check for the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Federal standards mandate a SEER of 13 for central units and an EER of 8 for window units. Upgrading for efficiency will reduce your energy bills.

Perform annual AC maintenance

Schedule annual maintenance before the cooling season begins. You can ask your AC installer for a yearly cleaning schedule that exceeds replacing filters.
Technicians may follow this checklist for annual AC maintenance.

  • Inspect controls and safeties
  • Clean and inspect coils
  • Adjust and replace fan belts
  • Lubricate motors and bearings
  • Inspect refrigerant pressure
  • Verify operating temperature

Contact Experienced HVAC Professionals in North Virginia

If you live in North Virginia, consult Briggs HVAC professionals to resolve issues with your air conditioning systems. We can offer you expert maintenance services to help your units run efficiently. You should note that hiring well-trained technicians is a surefire tip to find and fix performance problems within air conditioning systems. Contact us to get started.

HEPA Filter vs Traditional Filters: 5 Things to Know

While energy-efficient equipment is constantly touted as vitally important in reducing energy consumption, it’s not always clear-cut. For example, high-efficiency air filters can actually increase energy consumption in certain circumstances. In contrast, a standard air filter may be better suited for your HVAC system. So, if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a HEPA filter vs. traditional filters, here are five things to know.

1. What’s the Difference Between HEPA filters and Traditional Air Filters?

The two filters are constructed from entirely different fabrics. The standard traditionally used air filter uses lightweight porous material like cotton, paper, and polyester to capture airborne matter. These materials are formed into a pleated shape, and the greater the number of pleats, the more efficient the filter is.

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are built using glass fiber or other high-density synthetic compounds. HEPA filters can capture the finest particles down to the size of 0.3 microns — the equivalent of one-millionth of a meter. Now that’s tiny!

2. Which HVAC filter is More Expensive – HEPA or Standard?

You will pay more for a HEPA filter than a standard HVAC filter. This is due to two factors. One is that the filtering material within the frame is constructed to be denser than a standard air filter so that more particles can be caught. And secondly, the materials used to build the mesh cost more.

3. What are the Advantages of HEPA Filters?

You can expect higher air quality in your home when you use a HEPA filter. Constructed to capture airborne matter down to 0.3 microns, this type of filter catches more than 99% of airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses.

For family members or guests who suffer from allergens such as pollen particles and mold spores, the HEPA filter can make a marked difference to their health. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency highlights a number of severe health problems resulting from poor air quality in the home. Asthma, heart attacks, and premature death have been identified as some of the health risks that can be caused by low-quality air.

4. Are there any Advantages of Using Traditional HVAC Air Filters?

While traditional air filters effectively keep home air quality high, they aren’t capable of capturing the smallest airborne particles that a HEPA filter can. Since fewer particles are captured by a traditional filter, it doesn’t become as readily clogged as the HEPA type does. This means the standard filter doesn’t need changing as often as a HEPA filter may.

Another benefit of standard filters is that since they don’t congest as readily, they put less strain on the system. A clogged HEPA filter can put quite a load on HVAC equipment, raising energy consumption.

For your home heating and cooling equipment to run efficiently, both filter types should be regularly checked and replaced. One of the tasks performed by your local contractors during annual HVAC maintenance includes inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the air filters.

5. Can I Fit HEPA Filters Myself?

Whether you can fit a HEPA filter yourself depends on whether you can purchase one with the exact dimensions as your HVAC’s traditional filter. HEPA filters are commonly fitted into air conditioning units but are not as common for furnaces. If the dimensions of the HEPA filter are the same as the traditional HVAC filter, you should be able to install this yourself into the same filter slot.

Make sure you’re buying the right-sized filter for your HVAC system. If you want to double-check, you can always take an old traditional filter with you to the store and then compare it against the new HEPA part.

It’s best to discuss your concerns with a local HVAC company before you accidentally damage any equipment. If your system is not able to use HEPA filters, it may be possible to install an air purifier as part of your HVAC equipment.

Air Filters and HVAC Maintenance in Northern Virginia

Servicing Northern Virginia and nearby counties, Briggs HVAC is your local company for prompt expert maintenance of your HVAC equipment. If you have any queries on the best air filter to use in your system, we will happily research your requirements and advise you accordingly.

You don’t have to change the air filters yourself. Briggs HVAC will change these over for you at our next service call. If you think your filters will need to be replaced in between your HVAC maintenance services, just ask our friendly, professional technicians to show you how to do this at our next call.

5 Air Conditioning Myths Debunked

In these days of super-fast communication media, it takes very little time and effort for misinformation to spread. Misinformation can then be taken as fact by large numbers of people. Unfortunately, half-baked ideas and misconceptions about air-conditioning are common—getting in the way of making good decisions about home HVAC systems. Take a look at these five air-conditioning myths, debunked so that you can separate fact from fiction about your home AC.

1. Air-conditioning Causes Respiratory Problems

This is a myth not backed up by health research. When AC equipment is used correctly, it helps prevent and minimize health issues. By filtering out harmful airborne particles—bacteria, viruses, fungi, pollen, dander, and other allergens, cleaner air circulates indoors. As a result, asthma and hay fever sufferers can breathe easier, particularly if high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are used.

However, if you don’t service your air conditioner regularly, the air filters will eventually become dirty and clogged, lowering the air quality in the home. So, this is a case of a myth deriving from homeowners’ neglect of their equipment.

2. The Bigger the AC Unit, the Better

While it seems to make sense that a large, powerful AC unit is best for cooling down rooms, that’s not necessarily the case. Equipment needs to be sized for the space it’s expected to service.

An undersized AC unit will have to work harder to meet set temperature levels, making it less energy efficient, and costing you more in energy bills. Similarly, an oversized unit will need to turn itself on and off to maintain set temperatures, also using more energy than the right-sized equipment would. The result in both cases is higher equipment wear and tear, along with higher energy costs. Additionally, the lifespan of the equipment will be shorter, requiring earlier replacement.

3. Keeping Vents Closed Keeps Air Cool

Many air-conditioning myths seem to start from a logical position but don’t hold up due to a lack of technical knowledge. For example, it’s a popular misconception that if you close off vents and doors in lightly used rooms, chill air will circulate in a smaller area keeping the home cooler.

Unfortunately, home HVAC systems don’t work optimally with vents closed. Air pressure builds up in the air ducts, putting strain on the equipment, lowering energy efficiency, and raising energy costs. Vents should be open so that air is evenly distributed through your home, which is how your AC equipment was designed to be used.

4. AC Equipment Isn’t Efficient for Heating

An expensive fallacy held by many homeowners is that reverse-cycle air conditioning isn’t as efficient as dedicated heating appliances. Gas or electric wall attached or portable plug-in heaters are used rather than AC. However, the heating method used by reverse cycle AC units actually results in lower heating costs per hour than typical plug-in heaters.

Reverse cycle air conditioners draw in heat from outdoor air to indoors. Then, the drawn-in air is heated to set thermostat temperatures through a refrigerant process. This energy-efficient method of heating works even in freezing weather.

The energy cost savings from a reverse cycle air conditioner can be more than 50% less per hour compared to radiant and panel heaters. Of course, this depends on specific appliance models and their energy input levels. Check the Energy Star ratings for your AC and heating appliances. You may be shocked at the difference in running costs and how much this can add up to over winter.

5. ACs Are Bad for the Environment

This is one of the most disingenuous air-conditioning myths. It’s propagated upon the notion that any use of power is bad for the environment and that AC is particularly to blame. However, heating and cooling are essential requirements of modern life for most people. Moreover, as with Myth Number 4, reverse-cycle air conditioning can be much more efficient than standard heating appliances. As such, the lower energy use of AC appliances benefits the environment.

Using reverse-cycle AC results in roughly one-third fewer emissions being released into the atmosphere. Some of the most efficient appliances produce only one-fifth the level of emissions by standard heaters. Technical improvements in refrigerants are also reducing greenhouse gas levels. Human ingenuity can be expected to achieve even better results in future years.

Keep Your Air Conditioning Equipment at Peak Efficiency

At Briggs HVAC, we love helping debunk AC myths. Talk to us about a system maintenance plan to keep your AC in top condition and reduce energy emissions and costs. We service Northern Virginia and nearby counties.

6 Signs Your AC Needs to Be Serviced

On a sweltering hot day, it’s blissful to come in from the heat outside and relax in the cool temperature of your air-conditioned home. But, before summer begins, you’ll want to ensure that your AC unit is operating properly. The last thing you want is the air conditioning cutting out during a heat wave and finding local AC services too busy to attend. So, examine these six signs your AC needs to be serviced and head off problems.

1. Not Blowing Any Air

There may be a blockage if you have central AC and cannot feel air coming through the vents. You should check that all the vents are open and that airflow isn’t blocked by furniture or other objects.

If your air conditioning is running, but there’s no air blowing, mechanical failure may be the cause. For example, the blower belt mechanism may have broken, or there could be a fault in the motor. All mechanical repairs should be done by qualified AC technicians.

2. Blowing Hot Instead of Cold

Another strong sign your AC needs servicing is if the equipment blows hot air instead of cold. The hot air can happen for several reasons; a compressor may be damaged, the refrigerant level may be too low, or condenser coils may be dirty and blocked. Condenser coils can be cleaned easily enough, and refrigerant levels topped up without too much effort, but the compressor is different.

The compressor forces the refrigerant through the AC system, moves air, and keeps all the components running. If the compressor stops working, the entire system will come to a halt. Regular preventive maintenance is the best way to stop problems from occurring. Unfortunately, if the compressor has developed a fault, this is likely to be a costly repair or replacement.

3. Leaks are Another Sign Your AC Needs Servicing

Refrigerant is toxic, and leaks are dangerous. Over time, natural wear and tear processes can corrode AC coils, and other components will wear out. Holes, cracks, and loose joints let refrigerant leak out of the system. Leaks will reduce the refrigerant level, and the AC system cannot keep the air temperature at the right level. As a result, a complete system breakdown can occur.

Another source of an AC leak is clogged drain lines. When this happens, moisture cannot drain to the outside, backs up, and will cause a leak inside the home. Rusty or damaged drain pans and broken condensate pumps can also cause leaks inside the house.

4. Nasty Odors from Your AC Are a Good Reason to Call for AC Services

Unpleasant smells produced by your air conditioning system are always a cause for concern. An acrid, burning odor can indicate a serious overheating fault that could lead to a fire and permanent damage. Turn off the system and call for expert assistance straight away as this is a dangerous situation.

The whiff of musty and stale air may point to high dust levels in the system or mold and bacteria growing within the ducts. These nasty particles can detach and blow through the air conditioning system, lowering air quality and causing health issues. A thorough professional inspection and cleaning should be organized as soon as you know of the problem.

5. Wrong Temperature Levels

If indoor temperature levels are too high, low, or uneven throughout the home, there could be several causes. The thermostat may have malfunctioned, air filters may be dirty and clogged, the compressor may be damaged, or a refrigerant leak may have happened.

Changing air filters is easy enough for most homeowners, but fixing refrigerant leaks or the thermostat are tasks for qualified technicians.

6. Loud Noises

Another sign your AC needs servicing is clearly audible noise. Hissing and bubbling sounds can indicate a leak of refrigerant. Banging or clanking noises can happen if a part has come loose. Broken blower belts and faulty blower motors can cause high distinct squealing sounds. A rattling noise often accompanies compressor problems.

A well-maintained and properly operating air conditioner should only make a gentle hum. Any suddenly occurring, distinctive noises can indicate a severe problem is occurring. Switching off the system and booking an immediate service call is best.

Local Air Conditioning Experts in Northern Virginia

AC systems are complex equipment with intricate components and numerous moving parts. The potential for problems is therefore relatively high, particularly if regular maintenance doesn’t happen. Get in touch with Briggs HVAC for professional AC services, including all types of repairs and maintenance. HVAC maintenance plans will keep your equipment in peak condition and improve lifespan.

Understanding Your Air Conditioning Unit’s Seasonal Schedule

Regular AC seasonal maintenance keeps your appliance operating at top efficiency with indoor temperature and air quality controlled at comfortable levels. Depending on your air conditioner type and the climate zone you live in, your AC may be heavily used all year round or only during the summertime. Understanding your air conditioning unit’s seasonal schedule can help you lower energy bills and extend appliance life.

Why You Need a Seasonal Schedule for Your AC

Keeping your home temperature at optimum levels is entirely dependent on your HVAC equipment. If your air conditioning fails during hot weather, your indoor climate can become unbearable. The right time to schedule maintenance of your equipment is before peak season, when you may need it constantly.

Setting up an excellent seasonal schedule for your air conditioning unit will be centered around you and your family’s activities and needs in and out of the home. For example, during winter, you may want your reverse cycle air conditioning to start warming rooms 30 minutes before you’re due home from work. Likewise, you may want to begin cooling the house during summer at a very different start time. And if you happen to be working from home, you may need a completely different schedule to operate.

By controlling the duration that your cooling appliances run each day, you can minimize your energy costs. Equally, keeping your air conditioning unit running smoothly by scheduling AC seasonal maintenance can also save you money in the long run.

Using Smart Controls, Timers, and Programmable Thermostats for Different Seasons

Scheduling is easy with contemporary smart controls and programmable thermostats. However, it’s best if you first decide precisely when and for how long you want your AC unit to run each season. Energy usage is an area where you can almost certainly save money. The US Department of Energy states that you can save at least 10% off your energy bills by simply setting your thermostat back by seven to ten degrees for a few hours a day.

So, how might a programmable air conditioning schedule be set up? An example daily schedule could be as follows:

  • Turn off air conditioning 30 minutes before leaving home for work
  • Turn on the air conditioning unit 30 minutes before you’re due back home
  • Turn up the thermostat by 10 degrees 30 minutes before bedtime, and
  • Turn down the thermostat temperature setting by ten degrees when you’re expected to wake up.

Programmable thermostats and other smart controls allow you to set multiple daily settings and daily and weekly schedules. So, for instance, you can have a plan for Monday to Friday with a different set of timings for the weekend. You’ll just need to change the schedules seasonally.

Do Different Types of Air Conditioning Units Need Different Maintenance Schedules?

Taking control of your energy use involves you understanding how your specific type of air conditioning equipment operates and its maintenance requirements. Professional servicing is recommended at least annually for split systems, central air conditioning, portable units, and wall-mounted units.

On the other hand, a reverse cycle unit may be heavily used for most of the year and need two separate services. Preparing for warm weather means giving the appliance a thorough clean, removing debris, and ensuring no blockages to air vents. Winter maintenance is similar but emphasizes lubrication so that parts continue to operate during freezing weather.

There’s one thing that all types of air conditioners share in terms of AC seasonal maintenance, and that is to have air filters regularly changed. When in use, it’s recommended that the filters be changed every 90 days.

What Should be Done During AC Seasonal Maintenance?

When you hire a professional air conditioning company in Northern Virginia to service your equipment, you should expect the following:

  •  Fins inspected and cleaned
  •  Indoor and outdoor coils inspected and cleaned
  •  Drain lines flushed
  •  Drain pans and piping checked
  • Thermostat and controls checked and adjusted where required
  •  Bearings and motors lubricated
  •  Filters are checked and changed if necessary, and
  •  Loose electrical connections tightened.

You should also expect that service by technicians is carried out courteously and professionally.

Increase Your Air Conditioning Units Lifespan

Neglecting AC seasonal maintenance will result in your air conditioning equipment deteriorating, becoming inefficient, and eventually failing. At Briggs HVAC in Northern Virginia, we have built a solid reputation for quick and thorough air conditioning service and repairs. Get in touch to see how our scheduled maintenance plans can extend the life of your heating and cooling equipment.

How to Keep Your AC Working in Summer Heat

How to Keep Your AC Working in Summer Heat

Are you a Woodbridge resident that’s looking for ways to ensure your family’s comfort during each season? Are you especially worried about the summer heat and whether or not your air conditioning system can be counted on?

If so, then you need to learn all that you can about how to keep your AC working in the summer heat. Doing so can help you extend the life of your air conditioning system and ensure a cool climate all summer long!

See below for an in-depth guide on how to keep your air conditioner unit working, even when the intense summer heat is upon you.

1. Change Your Air Filter Often

Most homeowners just assume that the condition of their air conditioning system is out of their control. They believe that AC repair services are the only ones that have a part to play in how long the system lasts. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s one simple thing you can do to ensure the functionality of your AC unit for the long haul: change your air filter often. Air filters help block out any dirt or dust from getting inside your AC system and cycled through your house once more.

But as the filter catches those dust and dirt particles, the filter itself gets too thick to suck air through. This forces your air conditioning system to work harder to cycle air through the system at the same rate.

Since it’s already working harder to keep the climate at your desired temperature during the hot months of winter, a dirty air filter can cause your hvac unit to break down.

Make sure that you’re generous with how frequently you change your air filter during the summer months. Set up a mental reminder for every time to replace your filter directly after you pay your mortgage or rent each month.

2. Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance

Of course, not all of the burden has to fall on you for extending the life of your AC system. You should plan to have a professional oversee the condition and maintenance of your entire HVAC system regularly.

Take the time to schedule and hire a professional HVAC maintenance service to provide all of the necessary tasks that your air conditioning system requires. This will guarantee that you don’t experience any major setbacks all summer long.

At Briggs Heating and Cooling, we offer routine inspections that include:

  • Lubricate all bearings and motors
  • Inspect for any potential obstructions within the overall system
  • Assess the current condition of the system
  • Clean outdoor coils, piping, and evaporator drain to prevent clogs and leaks
  • Analyze the electrical components of the system, such as connections and voltage draw

The list goes on and on. We take pride in identifying any potential issues before they disrupt you and your family’s comfort. Once we find them, we take measures to fix them and/or prevent them as quickly as possible.

For best results, we recommend scheduling a maintenance visit every spring and fall, to make sure the HVAC system is running efficiently when you need it most.

3. Keep Your Thermostat at a Reasonable Temperature

Virginia summers can be brutal. We completely understand why you might be tempted to lower the temperature in your house to a very cool temp. However, setting it too low can compromise the efficiency of your system.

We recommend that you keep in somewhere between the 68º to 72º Fahrenheit window. You can do this by setting your programmable thermostat to the temperature you want, and by putting the fan speed on auto. This will ensure that your entire family is comfortable, while also giving your HVAC system time to breathe.

The lower the temperature that you set it at, the more energy that your HVAC system has to burn through to achieve it. Setting it in the predetermined temperature range might also help you save on your energy bill from month to month.

If you set the temperature to low, then there’s a change the AC system never gets it down to your desired temp. That means your system will be running non-stop, which can quickly lead to it overheating.

4. Control the Natural Lighting

Who doesn’t enjoy natural lighting in their home? It provides a beautiful light source that’s easy to look at and makes your home feel more spacious. It can also provide you with several health benefits!

However, it can quickly take a toll on your HVAC system during the middle of summer, if you’re not careful. The UV rays seeping into your home will quickly raise the temperature in the house, forcing your AC system to combat it.

The trick is to regulate natural light throughout the day. Be selective about the blinds that you open. If you feel one room getting too warm, close the blinds to provide your system some relief.

5. Up Your Insulation

Contrary to popular belief, insulation isn’t just for trapping in heat. It serves both sides to the same coin: keeping cool air in and blocking hot air from seeping inside your home.

If you have sufficient insulation in your walls, but still notice that the temperature is sliding in your home, then it means the cool air is escaping elsewhere. The most common area is the ceiling if your attic isn’t properly insulated.

Investing in more insulation can also help lower your energy bill each month, as it will retain the same temperature for longer, requiring your system to turn on less often.

Keep Your AC Working This Summer With These Tips

Now that you have seen all of the different ways that you can keep your AC working during the harsh summer months, be sure to use these tips to your advantage.

Be sure to read this article for more information on the 7 ways to avoid hot and cold spots within your home.

For more inquiries, please be sure to visit our A/C maintenance page and we will be happy to assist you further.

7 Questions to Ask an HVAC Service Provider Before Hiring One

Not all HVAC companies are created equal. It’s wise to make inquiries before getting your expensive home heating or cooling equipment repaired or serviced. Here are seven questions to ask an HVAC service provider before hiring one.

1. How Many Years of Experience Does Your HVAC Company Have?

Before you hire, a core question to ask is how long the HVAC company has been operating. If they’ve been in business for several years, it’s a good indicator they know what they’re doing. Poorly performing HVAC service provider companies don’t usually last long, incurring bad reviews, adverse press reports, and facing litigation by angry consumers. These impacts tend to eventually force bad players out of the industry.

What About Experience with My System?

Another question to add on here is ‘What experience do you have with my specific heating and cooling equipment?’ It may not be a deal-breaker if they don’t have experience with your equipment, as skilled technicians should be capable of working with almost any system. But it does provide some comfort where they have relevant know-how.

2. What Certifications and Qualifications Do Your Company and Employees Have?

You don’t want unqualified HVAC technicians working on your system, as the risk of your expensive equipment being damaged is too high. So, check to see that the company and their staff hold the appropriate licenses. In Virginia, HVAC contractors must get a state license issued by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

3. As an HVAC Service Provider, What Service Guarantee Do You Give?

Customer-focused organizations give service guarantees, not just on equipment they sell and install but also on their labor. Ask the company what they will do if you’re not happy with the standard of service you receive.

Hey, What About Insurance?

Another question for HVAC service companies is, ‘Are you fully insured for any accidents, faulty parts, or mistakes that may happen?’ Even the best of technicians can make mistakes now and then, and you should be assured that you won’t be out of pocket if anything goes wrong. Ask them what guarantee will be written into the contract or order if you go ahead with their services.

4. Another Question for HVAC Service Companies — Do You Give Free Estimates?

Before you decide whether to hire an HVAC service provider, getting a free estimate is an essential part of your evaluation. Get at least two quotes from different companies and check the differences between the quotes. The lowest quote isn’t necessarily the one to go with, as you also need to consider the experience and skillsets of the service technicians. But the quote must be market competitive.

5. Do you have a maintenance program?

It can be tempting to leave service calls out of the equation until something goes wrong with your HVAC. Unfortunately, that will probably cost you more than if you’d had preventative maintenance in place. Getting your heating and cooling equipment serviced regularly is the best way to detect minor problems before they become large ones. This service prevents unnecessary significant repair costs and helps extend the life of your system. Check with the HVAC service provider, whether they have maintenance plans and what the prices are.

6. Can You Help Me with Finance Options If Needed?

Depending on why you need HVAC service, you may want to know about access to finance options upfront. For example, if there’s a strong chance that repairs or a new system could be beyond your budget at the moment, access to credit may be the right choice. Having peace of mind about being able to afford whatever is needed is important. Some companies provide a pre-qualified financial service. This service should quickly show you the amount you can borrow along with monthly repayments. Armed with this information, you can decide whether this option is best or whether you will need to seek out other financial options.

7. Do You Provide Emergency Services?

A valuable question for HVAC service companies is whether they provide a good level of emergency service. There’s nothing worse than knowing that if your newly repaired or installed system breaks down, you may be waiting for some time before help arrives. You need to know that the technicians who have done the work and know the intimate repair details will be available when you urgently need them. And this is particularly so where breakdown may happen in severe weather events.

Got More HVAC Service Provider Questions?

So, how is your intended HVAC service provider stacking up against all these questions? If they’ve answered to your satisfaction, you should be well placed to make that hiring decision.

At Briggs HVAC, we pride ourselves on our experience, competitive pricing, and after-care service in North Virginia. We’ll happily answer any questions you need answered and give you a free quote for HVAC maintenance and repairs.

Why Seasonal HVAC Calls Are Important to the Life of Your Unit

Like many things in life, getting around to regular household upkeep can be tiresome. Spring cleaning, clearing roof gutters, garden tidy-ups, and seasonal HVAC maintenance are such typical chores. They easily slip from the mind and move into “I’ll do that a bit later” territory. However, as with all home upkeep, regular maintenance is key to protecting your important assets. That’s why it’s essential to plan and schedule maintenance at the correct intervals.

How Seasonal HVAC Calls Can Extend the Life of Your HVAC

Your HVAC is a significant value home asset and worth protecting. Failure to keep your HVAC in tip-top condition by not doing regular maintenance at least annually causes premature breakdown. Parts that might have only needed tightening, oiling, or a light cleaning will corrode or fail as time passes.

You want your HVAC to last as long as practical so that you’re not shelling out for expensive repairs or a new system before time. For example, well-cared-for air conditioners can last between 12 to 15 years, while furnaces can have about 20 years. A little TLC by professional HVAC technicians carrying out preventive maintenance can help extend equipment lifespans.

The Best Time of the Year to Schedule Seasonal HVAC Calls

The heating and cooling components of your HVAC are most heavily used at different times of the year. As such, it’s best to do preventive maintenance at differing times for these major parts.

Air Conditioning

Early spring is considered the best time of the year to schedule maintenance and repairs for air conditioning units. This service call will have your equipment running at peak efficiency when needed in summer. It’s a good idea not to leave the service call till hot weather begins. You may find difficulties booking a service as the heat will have prompted many others to do the same.


The end of summer or the beginning of autumn is the recommended time to have your furnace serviced. Preventive maintenance at this time leaves plenty of wriggle room for any necessary repairs or replacement equipment before winter chill arrives.

Preventive Maintenance Plans

Many HVAC maintenance and repair companies offer annual preventive maintenance plans. These plans save you the hassle of scheduling service calls as the maintenance company takes this on. In addition, they will draw up plans showing you what equipment inspections and tune-up tasks will be done for each service call.

Other Benefits of Seasonal HVAC Maintenance

While aiming to extend the life of your HVAC system, there are several other benefits your household will receive from a well-tuned, optimized system. These include:

  1.   Achieving lower energy consumption and consequently receiving lower energy bills
  2.   Keeping mold and other fungi and bacteria from taking hold in ducts and other components, therefore maintaining healthy air quality in your home
  3.   Preventing HVAC failure at critical times (i.e., a well-maintained system should keep powering on through most weather events, even the worst that winter throws around)
  4.       Meeting warranty conditions for equipment maintenance. Manufacturers or retailers then have no excuses to refrain from repairing or replacing equipment as necessary.

What Can You Expect at a Seasonal HVAC Call?

Qualified HVAC technicians should have checklists for HVAC items to be inspected, re-calibrated, cleaned, replaced, topped up, and tested. You can expect that most parts of the cooling or heating system will be looked at, with particular attention paid to parts showing wear and tear.

Air Conditioning

Essential maintenance for air conditioning units should include:

  • changing the air filters
  • ensuring vents are clear
  • inspecting the thermostat controls and temperature accuracy
  • oiling any moving parts
  • checking drainage for condensation
  • cleaning and adjusting blowers, and
  • testing the overall unit.

If the air conditioner has both indoor and outdoor components, the technician will check and test both of these.


Much the same maintenance aspects will be carried out for the furnace, though checking the flue for obstructions and overall condition is an additional task. If necessary, the technician will clear off dirt and debris and vacuum inside the unit.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps do both cooling and heating. The HVAC technician’s maintenance of heat pumps will include duct cleaning, a furnace check, and inspection and cleaning of the outdoor unit.

North Virginia HVAC Maintenance and Repairs

Besides the most straightforward Inspection and maintenance tasks (such as changing air filters), homeowners should rely on HVAC technicians. HVAC systems are too complex and dangerous for the unskilled to attempt repairs.

If you need expert advice about seasonal HVAC maintenance or any other issues related to home comfort, talk to us at Briggs. We provide cooling and heating services across northern Virginia, including attending to after-hours emergencies.

7 Common HVAC Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid for Homeowners

Did you know that the typical household consumes a lot, about 877 kWh every month? That’s a lot of energy for a single household!

One of the significant contributors to your energy bill is your residential HVAC system. While it is impossible to dismiss your HVAC system’s power usage, you can maintain it instead. 

It all boils down to regular HVAC maintenance. Preservation is crucial, but several homeowners wind up making HVAC maintenance mistakes. Air conditioning is very much beneficial in the extreme heat of summer. 

Maintaining your AC system is not only about switching on and off. Doing the correct process of working your AC will make you save money on repairs and electricity bills. So, here are seven common HVAC maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Not Monitoring Your Filters

Once in a while, life keeps hold of us, and we neglect even the easiest of jobs. For instance, replacing or cleaning the AC filter every month. Depending on your filter, you have to either clean it or replace it weekly or monthly. 

All outdoor HVAC units carry air from outside your house into the unit and bring it into your home. It maintains and cleans the air all the time.

However, it could mean that any debris, allergens, and dust in the air outdoors can come inside your home. This is why advanced systems have a sequence of filters set to capture those impurities.

The longer your unit works, the more contaminants and dust those filters will trap. For most residents, filters should get checked and renewed once every quarter. 

Ignoring filthy filters doesn’t only harm your home’s air quality, but it also causes your HVAC to run harder. Filter replacement is necessary to keep your residential HVAC system work with ease. 

2. Disregarding Weird Noises

All air conditioners produce noises when it starts up. After having the system for a few weeks, you can identify the familiar sound and which are unusual. You should not dismiss any weird sounds. 

In truth, they’re a sure warning that your unit requires restoration without delay. By ignoring indications of harm, there’s a risk that your HVAC will unfold more severe issues.

The high risk is that it could stop working completely. When you hear weird sounds, it is necessary to arrange a repair date at the earliest time.

3. Adjusting the Thermal Real Low

Once you go inside, your first move might be to lower your thermal switch. We all like to walk into a cool house, and when dog days hit, we need relief right away. Regardless, one of the HVAC maintenance mistakes householders make is adjusting the thermal so low. 

We recommend setting your thermostat on 70 to 78 degrees for the ideal performance. In truth, your AC works hard when you drop the temperature, no matter if you drop it by one degree or even twenty degrees. It’s best to set your thermostat to a certain temperature, and not when you want your home to be colder and not lower than you want to.

4. Having an Obsolete System

Despite repairing HVAC units, in due course, you will have to replace them. In truth, the standard AC system has a 15 years lifespan with proper maintenance. When your system ages, it will begin to have difficulty providing the best quality and work less effectively. 

Using that old HVAC unit in your home is not a good idea. When your system is almost 15 years old or gets older than that, you shouldn’t wait.

Buy a new HVAC unit as soon as you’re able. The earlier you do, the earlier your energy bill will lessen, and the cozier your house will be.

5. Not Having Regular Tune-Ups

Whenever your air conditioner starts up, the elements experience deterioration. Regular tune-ups will help maintain your system running and lessen more costly upkeep through the years. Even if you think your unit is working without trouble, it does not mean it’s in its best condition. 

Ac systems typically require tune-ups at least twice a year to run better. Not getting routine AC system tune-ups is a quick way to reduce the life cycle of your unit and raise your chance of sudden malfunctions.

6. Neglecting to Clean Your Air Ducts

Your air ducts can gather a lot of debris and dust throughout the year. Whenever your AC unit turns on, the air gets pushed into those ducts and through your house. Any debris and dirt trapped in the ducts will get sent around your home anytime the AC system turns on.

While it doesn’t affect your AC’s efficiency, we recommend having your air ducts clean once monthly. It will give you high indoor air quality. The purer your air, the less you and your family will have allergies and other conditions.

7. Selecting Repair Technicians Due to Cost 

Each AC unit will demand repairs in the long run. Still, it’s essential to look around and get an appraisal from various HVAC contractors and not choose based on the cost alone. If it comes to the excellence of fixes, you can get the value for your money. 

Picking a contractor that gives the lowest charge often receives poor quality work. Instead, select a contractor with skill on your type of HVAC and stand near their task each time. You may pay a bit more, but you’ll get good service, and you don’t have to pay for a similar repair two times.

Prevent Making HVAC Maintenance Mistakes

Doing usual maintenance is the best way to lengthen the life of your HVAC unit. Acustom yourself to these common HVAC maintenance mistakes and avoid making them; if you’re troubled about your unit or realized that you’d made some of these mistakes, set up an appointment when you are able.

Need help with your HVAC system? Our crew is here to assist you at Briggs heating and cooling to keep your house comfy all year round. So contact us today if you need to set up a preventive maintenance tune-up for any air conditioning or heating emergency.