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.

Furnaces

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.

Furnaces

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.

 

An Overview of the Most Common HVAC Repairs

It pays to invest in a quality heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for your residence. 

HVAC systems control the climate of your home to make the interior more comfortable, improve air quality by regulating airflow, and much more. But no matter how much money you spend to get a quality unit, you’ll need to perform routine maintenance and get any needed HVAC repairs to make the most of your investment.

What follows is a look at common HVAC repairs that many homeowners face.

Dirty Filters Can Lead to HVAC Repairs

It’s important to get into the habit of changing your air filters on a routine basis. This means at least once every three months — and that’s the minimum. If the filters are left in place for too long, that will lead to issues.

Dirty filters will prevent air from flowing through. In addition to limiting airflow, a dirty filter might also cause your HVAC system to freeze. So you can prevent some serious issues by getting your filter changed regularly.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are also common HVAC problems that homeowners experience. When this problem rears its ugly head, your system won’t work properly. The temperature will go up and down like a roller coaster.

One thing to keep in mind is that the leaks can occur in different sections of the HVAC system. The location will factor into the cost of an HVAC system repair. A skilled technician will be able to do the diagnosis and repair.

Fuses or Breakers

It’s not uncommon for fuses or breakers to fail in HVAC systems. The fuses and breakers are critical since they are supposed to keep the air conditioner compressor or motor from getting excessively hot.

If you have problems with the fuses or breakers — whichever ones your unit comes with — the end result can be a failed motor. Getting routine maintenance can potentially prevent this problem from occurring.

Thermostat

Another common problem that will require HVAC service is a faulty thermostat. You can do a little troubleshooting on your own first to see if the problem can be easily corrected.

This means checking, first of all, to ensure that the thermostat is still on. It’s possible that someone might have accidentally switched it off. Besides that, you will want to check to see if the thermostat was programmed properly.

 

If these quick fixes don’t resolve your HVAC issues, you’ll want to contact an HVAC technician to have a look and to fix the problems.

Ignition System

Other issues that will warrant HVAC system repair include ignition problems. If you have issues with your ignition system, you will want to have an HVAC technician check out your system’s pilots, sensors, and burners.

The HVAC technician may only need to install new parts to your ignition system to get your unit working at its optimal capacity.

Frozen Components

When it gets cold outside, HVAC issues you could experience include frozen internal components. For instance, the water in the lines and coils could freeze. This frozen water will expand and may cause damage.

 

It’s important that you don’t drag your feet if you believe that any part of your HVAC unit has frozen parts. The faster you book a service call with an HVAC system technician, the better for your peace of mind and wallet.

Mechanical Issues

While a quality HVAC system will last for years, you’ll eventually need to replace it. But you’ll get even more use out of it if you maintain it and replace any parts that either are failing or have already failed.

Mechanical components will only last so long before you need to replace them. If you’re booking service calls for ongoing maintenance, you’ll be able to stay on top of things so that you don’t experience total system failure.

Blower Won’t Shut Off

Another issue that will warrant an HVAC system repair is if your HVAC blower runs and runs and runs without shutting off. 

Before panicking, you should check to ensure that no one in your household selected the thermostat’s fan position. Doing so will result in the fan running non-stop. But if this is not the case, your best bet is to call a technician. 

Water Leaks

Water leaks are another possible problem that can occur with HVAC units. It’s important to know that such units do come with drain pipes designed to facilitate necessary water drainage.

But what should you do if water is leaking from someplace other than the drain pipes? You will want to figure out exactly where the leak is coming from. An HVAC technician will be able to diagnose and fix the problem.

Strange Sounds

If you hear odd sounds coming from your HVAC system, you’ll undoubtedly and understandably be concerned. If there are strange sounds, chances are that there is some internal problem that needs to be looked into.

Something might need to be replaced or something might need to be tightened up. Whatever the reasons for the problem, you’ll want to get a professional to conduct a full assessment.

Do You Need HVAC Repairs?

If you want to keep your HVAC system in good working order, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly maintained. You’ll also want to get any needed HVAC repairs done sooner rather than later.

By so doing, you can save money and save yourself from needless frustration. Who, after all, wants their HVAC system to fail them because of a lack of proper maintenance and repairs?

When you need to have your HVAC system maintained or repaired, get in touch with us at Briggs HVAC. Our technicians will keep your system running so that you and your family get the service you want from your HVAC unit.

 

Your HVAC System Could Be Making You Sick

When you or members of your household start experiencing respiratory symptoms, it’s easy to blame the weather, seasonal allergies, or even other people’s germs. However, it’s always a good idea to inspect your HVAC unit. We routinely take this system for granted so long as it’s heating and cooling our homes optimally, but HVAC systems can impact our health in various ways. Here, we’ll explore how aspects of HVAC systems can detract from our health as well as what to do about it. 

HVAC Leaks

HVAC system leaks can be extremely detrimental to health. If you have a gas or oil furnace for heating your home, you should install a reliable carbon monoxide detector. A carbon monoxide leak can be deadly. As your furnace burns fuel, carbon monoxide is a naturally occurring byproduct of the heating process. When your heating unit is operating properly, that carbon monoxide is contained within the heat exchanger and then vented safely outdoors through the flue and vent. Sometimes, though, the heat exchanger can develop a crack that allows this dangerous gas to leak out. A problem with the venting system can also lead to this dangerous type of leaking as well. 

Unfortunately, many people don’t suspect that carbon monoxide is leaking because it’s odorless. The most symptoms that people may experience are flu-like symptoms such as nausea and headache. However, if you’re asleep, you may not feel any symptoms. This is why it’s so important to have a carbon monoxide detector. People can easily dismiss flu symptoms in winter, thinking they are coming down with the virus. Another helpful way to prevent this problem is to have your furnace inspected each year before the cold season. 

Also, if you suspect that your furnace is not functioning properly and is at risk for a carbon monoxide leak, open the windows of your home and call for emergency HVAC service. While the flu symptoms might quickly disappear, you may still wish to contact your healthcare provider, especially if you feel faint or severely unwell.

Headaches

Headaches are a common health complaint that can have many causes, including seasonal allergies, stress, insomnia, and illnesses like the cold or flu. If you come down with a headache and can’t quite attribute it to these issues, it could be caused by your air conditioning system. In fact, headaches and disease are associated with a problem known as ‘sick building syndrome.’ Central air conditioning systems, especially when set to a low temperature, can disrupt the building or home’s moisture levels. Typically, you can combat this problem by turning your thermostat up. It’s also a good idea to take breaks from your indoor setting and step outside periodically for fresh air.

Respiratory Complaints

Dirty vents and HVAC systems can trigger breathing difficulties. Once bacteria, allergens, and fungi multiply in your vents, they can be difficult to remove without professional HVAC maintenance. Dirty vents can substantially reduce the air quality of your home’s interior. If anyone in your household suffers from conditions like allergies or asthma, they may experience more frequent attacks. 

With periodic HVAC inspections and maintenance solutions like filter changing and air duct cleaning, you can eliminate this problem, ensuring that everyone in your home breathes easier. If you’re experiencing these health symptoms now, you can also get an indoor air quality inspection that can determine precisely where the triggers are coming from.

Itchy, Watery Eyes

Itchy, watery eyes are a common symptom of allergies. However, if you experience them at a time of year when you typically don’t, it could be a sign that your HVAC system ducts are dirty or have developed a leak that is allowing the offending particulates into your breathable air. On the other hand, your system could be removing too much moisture from the air. This may also trigger itchy, watery eyes. Invite your HVAC contractor over to perform an inspection. You may need some aspect of your unit adjusted to achieve better moisture balance. You might also need to introduce a good-quality humidifier to your home. 

Skin Irritation

Skin irritations, especially dry, itchy skin, can be caused by your HVAC system if it pulls out too much moisture. Rather than lathering up with lotions, it’s a good idea to use a humidifier. In fact, this issue can show up in the winter when your heating system is in full force or in summer when your air conditioning system is working overtime to beat the heat. In fact, the more time we spend indoors in our temperature-controlled climates, the more commonplace these skin irritations can be. If you have a chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, it can also become exacerbated when your interior air is too dry. 

A humidifier can be a great help in these situations. If you’re especially plagued by itchy, dry skin, consider using a portable humidifier in your bedroom as you sleep each night to help clear up this condition. Your HVAC provider should have whole-home humidifier solutions they can recommend. 

Stress

Is your HVAC unit stressing you out? Chronic stress is no joke, and if your unit is beginning to experience frequent breakdowns, especially during the middle of winter or summer when you need them to function optimally the most, you may feel troubled about the ongoing expense as well as the even greater expense that comes with a unit replacement. Alleviate your stress by consulting with a trusted HVAC professional. That way, you can get a clear idea about the condition of your unit and get help making a decision about whether to continue to repair an older unit or replace it. You may even be able to rely on financing options if you need to install a new unit. 

 

Don’t let your HVAC unit sabotage your health or peace of mind. Contact Briggs HVAC to have your system thoroughly inspected. Irritants like mold and allergens will only continue to plague your health if they aren’t addressed. And, a carbon monoxide leak is a life-threatening problem emergency that should be dealt with by your HVAC contractor immediately. Contact us to learn about our comprehensive HVAC maintenance, repair, and replacement services. 

 

8 Warning Signs You Need Air Conditioning Repair Services

As the weather gets warmer, there are endless opportunities for enjoying the beautiful weather. But after a long day out in the sun, you need to cool off ASAP. Your home should be in a comfortable climate at all times to stave off dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other problems. Keeping your home properly air-conditioned can also help improve the air quality of your living space and even keep mold and mildew at bay.

If your AC system hasn’t been functioning at its best recently, it may be time to call for professional air conditioning repair. The sooner you have Briggs HVAC perform repairs on your AC unit, the sooner you can return to a safe and comfortable living environment. Here are 8 major warning signs that you need air conditioning repair in Northern Virginia.

1. Insufficient Airflow

Airflow says a lot about the quality of your HVAC system. The air coming out of your AC unit should be powerful enough to cool your entire home. If it isn’t, you will likely feel a difference in the climate of your home.

There are multiple causes of insufficient airflow. Some of the most common culprits include a blocked air filter, a broken motor, leaks in the ductwork and a malfunctioning AC blower. Be sure to call a professional immediately to have the problem diagnosed correctly.

2. High Humidity

When you come back inside from the hot, sticky weather, you want to feel cool and refreshed. If you find that your home is just as humid as your backyard, this usually means something is wrong with your AC system. Your air conditioning unit should automatically regulate the humidity levels in your home when it’s working properly.

High humidity can trigger mold growth, allergic reactions, and other issues. It’s crucial to call for air conditioning repair as soon as possible to keep your home environment safe and comfortable for everyone.

3. Warm Air

If warm air is blowing out of your AC unit, this is a sure sign that your system is in need of repair. This could mean that your compressor isn’t cooling the air correctly or that your air conditioner is running out of refrigerant. No matter what the issue is, be sure to have a skilled Briggs HVAC technician look at your unit to get to the root of the problem.

4. High Utility Bills

If air conditioning problems persist for long enough, you might have to pay the price. High utility bills are a common consequence of faulty HVAC infrastructure. While it’s normal to experience higher costs in the summer months, it’s important to note any spikes in your utility bills that seemingly have no reason behind them. This could be a warning sign that it’s time to call for air conditioning repair right away.

5. Age of Your Air Conditioner

The age of your air conditioning system can also impact its effectiveness. You can expect a well-maintained unit to last 12-17 years on average. Once your air conditioner surpasses its seventeenth birthday, it’s likely that you’ll start experiencing problems.

Minor problems can usually be fixed with professional air conditioning repair. However, if you find that your HVAC system is constantly running into issues, you may be better off replacing the entire unit. This can help you significantly cut down on costs in the long run.

6. Excess Moisture

Not all air conditioning problems are visible. However, excess moisture around your unit is one of the most evident signs that something is wrong. This may point to a condensate leak, which is typically the result of a blocked or broken drain line. A more serious type of leak is a refrigerant leak, which can be hazardous to humans. It’s crucial to call for help immediately to prevent your HVAC unit from harming you or your loved ones.

7. Unusual Noises

It’s normal for air conditioners to make a little bit of noise as they turn on and shut off. However, loud, strange noises are often a cause for concern. If you hear buzzing and rattling, this usually means that a part of your AC system has come loose. Whistling and grinding, on the other hand, are telltale signs that there’s inadequate airflow or a problem with the compressor.

Don’t try to ignore these noises if they appear. Many unusual sounds are an indication of a bigger problem, and the best way to handle the issue is to seek out professional attention.

8. Unpleasant Odors

Unpleasant odors are another common sign that it’s time to schedule air conditioning repair. There are many different smells that can come from your air conditioners, such as chemical smells, burning or electrical odors, and musty smells. Burning or electrical smells often point to a problem with the electrical wiring or the insulation around your AC unit. Alternatively, musty odors are usually an indication of mold hiding in your system. This can become dangerous if the unit starts to spread mold spores throughout your home.

It’s important to address this issue as soon as it appears. A highly trained professional at Briggs HVAC can identify the specific problem at hand and issue the right kind of treatment for your needs.

Keep Your AC in Top Condition With Air Conditioning Repair

There’s no telling when something will go wrong with your air conditioning system. If you notice that anything has gone awry, be sure to trust your instincts and call for help as soon as you can. A skilled professional can handle these issues and others in a quick and efficient manner. The next time you’re in need of air conditioning repair in Northern Virginia, don’t hesitate to give Briggs HVAC a call to get your system up and running again.

Your Complete Pre-Winter HVAC Checklist

Before winter sets in and your days get colder, make sure your HVAC unit functions properly. After all, you wouldn’t want to be trapped with a failed furnace when winters get chillier and temperature plummets.

A detailed HVAC checklist will keep you safe and warm. It involves a few things that you can check yourself and others for which you’ll need a skilled professional. If you aren’t sure what to add to this list, here are the top things to do:

Check and Clean the Filters

Your HVAC needs thorough dusting before you resume its use in winters. It involves cleaning the filters before reactivating the unit. During the fall, the filters and ducts collect a lot of dust and grime when they are not in use.

You may clean the filters with a damp cloth and replace them every 3-6 months to prevent contaminated air from entering your home. When cleaning the filters, look deeply for any leakages too. If you find any, call your HVAC contractor immediately to fix the issue.

Start the Thermostat and Check the Heater

Even before you start carving the pumpkins for upcoming holidays, remember to switch your thermostat from cooling to heating. It will set the temperature a bit higher than the current room temperature. When you turn the thermostat on, listen closely for the sound of heat kicking in.

If it doesn’t make any noise and connections look secure, check the power source to see if the unit is turned on. And call a professional if it still doesn’t work because there may be an issue with the blower, heat pump, or furnace fan that’s better handled by a certified technician.

Check the Furnace

Add furnace checkups and tune-up to your HVAC checklist to keep your unit working efficiently. Clear the clutter around the furnace and make sure it has a few feet of open space on all sides.

When checking the furnace, use a flashlight to see if any critters or rodents have made their home inside it. If so, clean up the area or call a professional to do the chore.

Check the Humidifier

When you run the furnace, it may dry out the air. Hence, keeping the furnace humid is essential in the winters. That’s what a humidifier does. If you have a humidifier in your unit, clean its water panel and check that it has no mold growth or debris inside it.

Also, replace the carbon monoxide detector batteries to protect your unit from any unexpected furnace mishaps. Change the batteries every year and test the unit for its proper functioning after the battery change.

Winterize the AC Unit

In your HVAC checklist, make it a point to winterize your AC unit against winter elements. It will save you hundreds of dollars spent on AC repairs when summer gets back.

If your HVAC doesn’t have a heat pump, cover the condenser, so falling icicles won’t damage it. Cover the fan with a board instead of wrapping it in a plastic tarp that keeps the moisture inside.

Don’t Forget Draught Proofing

Though it may seem inconsequential, draught-proofing your home is essential for the proper functioning of your HVAC system. Any cracks or spaces in the walls, windows, and doorways can let the air escape and impede heat circulation inside the home. As a result, your unit might end up overworking itself.

Check and Clean the Heat Exchanger

Your HVAC checklist isn’t complete unless you add regular brushing and vacuuming the heat exchanger. However, this task should be entrusted to a skilled professional who can look for any cracks or leakages.

Check and Clean the Ducts

If the heating ducts gather dust or get damaged, your system will be overworked, increasing the utility bills and harming the air quality. Hence, inspect the ducts before winter starts and look for dents, mold, mildew, punctures, or broken wires. Though you can examine it yourself, call a professional for repairing or replacing the ducts properly.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

You can customize the temperature settings in your house with a programmable thermostat. It will allow setting the temperature back by 7-10 degrees F when you are asleep or not at home.

Experts also suggest keeping your house warm at 68 degrees during the day or whenever you’re at home. So, if you don’t have a programmable or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat yet, it’s time to call your HVAC contractor to install one.

Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Mostly, the ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change your blades’ direction to rotate clockwise. This way, the fans will push warm air down in the room and circulate the heat from the furnace throughout your house.

Check the Chimneys

The chimney’s flue is another item to inspect in your HVAC checklist. Make sure that it is properly closed to prevent drafty air. Sometimes, the chimney may harbor carbon buildup that needs to be cleaned well. Call a certified professional for chimney tune-ups and cleaning before you build the blaze in your fireplace.

Check the Igniter Switch

If the igniter in your HVAC system isn’t working, push the reset button. However, if it still doesn’t switch on, check the breaker or call a technician to examine the igniter switch and circuit breaker in your house.

Schedule a Professional Tune-Up

You can’t overlook the importance of a professional tune-up and inspection in your HVAC checklist. You may fix and check the smaller issues, but system faults, boiler issues, replacements, and draught-proofing are some specialized tasks best managed by certified professionals. Schedule a pre-winter inspection with your HVAC contractor to ensure that your unit is ready for the season.

Winters bring a lot of change to your outside temperature, your home, and your lifestyle. Cleaning your spaces to improve air quality is essential alongside this HVAC checklist to stay warm and protected inside your home.

With a professional examination, you can find and fix minor issues before they compound into a serious problem down the road.

Air Balancing: 7 Ways to Avoid Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home

Did you know that the average American spends 87% of their lives indoors? This means that indoor comfort is of the utmost importance when you’re in your home.

This is typically achieved through your air conditioning and heating system. However, things can go wrong, which can really decrease your comfort.

To help you out, here are 7 ways to do air balancing in your home. That way, you can avoid hot and cold spots.

1. Check Your Air Filters

All HVAC systems have air filters. These are there to eliminate impurities in the air so you breathe in good quality oxygen.

However, over time, they can become clogged. This process can be accelerated if there’s been something detrimental in the environment, such as a forest fire nearby.

It’s important to either clean and/or replace your air filters regularly. This is one of the most important things to do when it comes to HVAC air balancing. Not only will this provide you with better quality air more frequently, but it’ll also help prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system.

And most importantly, it’ll get rid of hot and cold spots, plus keep your utility bills down. In fact, it can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15%!

2. Check Your Registers

The registers are what block or allow air to flow from your HVAC vents. One key piece of advice is to never completely close all vents, as this can cause other issues to occur.

In general, if you’re experiencing hot weather, you should completely open the registers on the 2nd floor. For the 1st floor, you should close them partway. Because hot air rises, during hot weather, you want to push as much cold air into the top floor to make up for that extra hotness. 

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing cold weather, you should close the registers partway on the 2nd floor. And on the 1st floor, you should open the registers all the way.

3. Get Good Clearance on Your Vents

It can be hard arranging your furniture and items within your house. But you just might have to rearrange once again.

Go through all your rooms and check that nothing is covering any registers. For example, you might have some furniture that’s blocking the vents. As a result, this can cause your HVAC system to work a lot harder than it needs to.

In general, you should allow for at least 18 inches of space for your vents. If this isn’t possible, you should consider purchasing a magnetic air deflector. These items have the power to redirect airflow so you get the best air circulation possible.

4. Check All Seals

One of the main things that can create cold spots in your home is leaky seals. This can definitely be the culprit if you live in an older home and haven’t performed maintenance in a while.

Go around to all your windows and doors and see if you can detect any drafts. Bring a lit candle with you to better visualize any leaks, as the flame will flicker or even go out if there are any.

Once you’ve found the leaks, seal everything up properly. This should fix the cold spots in your house.

5. Install Window Coverings

This HVAC tip is for addressing hot spots in your home.

During the summer, your windows can be a huge source of heat, since they can create a greenhouse effect. If you don’t have any drapes, shades, or blinds, this means you’re constantly receiving sunlight through these pieces of glass. In turn, your home will quickly heat up, especially the direct areas the sunlight’s hitting.

A simple way to fix this is to install window coverings. Not only will these block the heat better, but they’ll also add to the aesthetics of any room. Plus, you can shut them to get some privacy if you have lots of foot traffic outside.

6. Move Electronics Placed Nearby Thermostats

As you may already know, electronics generate lots of heat whenever they’re in operation. If they’re anywhere near your thermostats, this can give them false readings. As a result, your air conditioning might be on for longer than necessary.

Not only should you move your electronics if they’re near thermostats, but you should also adjust your vents. This will allow the hot air from your electronic equipment to be removed from the room more efficiently.

7. Try a 2-Degree Offset

This is one of the HVAC tips that will only work if you have a separate thermostat for the upstairs and downstairs.

As the name suggests, you’ll have a difference of 2 degrees between the floors. The difference will depend on whether you’re experiencing hot or cold weather, because again, hot air rises.

If you’re having hot weather, set the thermostat on the upper floor 2 degrees lower than the bottom flower. And in cold weather, you’ll want to set the thermostat on the bottom floor 2 degrees lower.

Both methods account for the hot air rising, which will help to make temperatures more even throughout your home. This works similarly to how opening and closing the registers works as well.

Try These Air Balancing Tips

If you’re getting hot and cold spots in your house, then you should give our above air balancing tips a try. However, these may not always work.

In that case, you should give Briggs HVAC a call. We can come out to your property to service your HVAC system. They can do professional air balance testing, which involves adjusting both the intake and output accordingly. As a result, that’ll have it up and running smoothly to keep you comfortable in your home.

Would you like assistance with your HVAC system? Then schedule an appointment with us now. We also have emergency services available.

Our Top 5 Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips

The average lifespan of a typical HVAC system ranges between 12 – 15 years. But experts agree that you can easily extend the life expectancy of your unit by properly caring for it. 

One of the main ways to extend the life of your heating and cooling system is to perform regular maintenance tasks. A good rule of thumb is to check your system before you switch between heating and cooling — so at least once in the spring and once in the fall. 

Keep reading to discover the top HVAC maintenance tips to keep in mind as fall occurs. 

1. Replace Your HVAC Filter

Replacing your HVAC filter is one of the easiest maintenance tasks you can do, but it’s also one of the most commonly forgotten tasks. 

It’s recommended that you should replace your air filter at least once every three months. If you have pets in the home or someone suffers from respiratory issues, you probably should be changing the filter at least once a month. 

If you’ve never changed your air filter, the process is pretty simple. 

To start, turn your HVAC unit off and remove the current filter. If you’re unsure about what size filter you need, look at your current filter before purchasing a new one for the correct dimensions. Most filters will have instructions on them to show the correct way to place the filter into your unit. 

Once the new filter is in your unit, check to see if there are any gaps around the filter. If it doesn’t appear to be a perfect fit, you either have the wrong size of the filter or the filter you purchased is damaged. 

Then, replace any seals or levers that secure the filter in place and then turn your HVAC system back on. Make sure the filter stays in place when it begins to run. 

Make sure you mark on your calendar the date of your next filter replacement.

2. Clean Up Around the Outside Unit

The next maintenance task you’ll want to perform is cleaning up around the outside unit. 

Start by clearing away any debris that’s built up around the exterior of the unit. This includes any leaves, vines, weeds, or tree branches. Anything surrounding the outside of the unit will impede the airflow, meaning your HVAC unit will have to work harder to regulate your home’s temperature.  

You can also take your cleaning a step further by turning the vacuum off and using a hose to spray any debris or dirt that’s built up on the unit. You can purchase a coil cleaner to spray on the unit after your initial rinse. Let the cleaner sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with the hose again. 

Be extremely careful around the condenser fins of your exterior unit. If you do accidentally bend or damage these fins, contact your HVAC professional immediately. 

3. Prevent Clogs in the Condensate Drain Line

When preparing your unit for fall, you’ll also want to prevent clogs from forming in the condensate drain line. If this line does become clogged, this can lead to mold growth or water damage in your home. 

First, make sure your HVAC unit is completely turned off again. Then, locate the access point to the drain line, which is near your indoor air handler. Use the suction hose of a wet vac in an attempt to collect any build-up that may be in the line. 

You can also break up any mold or debris in the line by pouring a cup of white vinegar or a combination of hot water and dish soap. Let this sit in the line for about a half an hour before flushing the line with clean water. 

4. Clean Your Ducts and Registers

The next task on our list of fall HVAC tips is to clean both your ducts and registers. 

Throughout the year, it’s natural for dust and debris to build up in your ducts and registers. If you want to achieve proper airflow and keep your unit working as efficiently as possible, it’s best to clean out this build-up. Having clean ducts also ensures that your home is circulating clean air, which can help eliminate respiratory issues

Let the fan run for a few minutes to help loosen up any dirt before turning the system completely off. Use a brush or vacuum attachment to clear out any dust inside your registers. It’s ideal to use a vacuum with a long hose attachment to clear out as much dust as possible.

Then, wipe down your register cover with a gentle cleaning solution. 

5. Schedule a Maintenance Appointment 

To keep your HVAC system in the best possible shape, you’ll want to have professional preventative maintenance.

With Briggs’ HVAC Maintenance Agreement Plan, you’ll extend the life of your equipment while ensuring it works to its full potential. In addition, you’ll save money in the long run when it comes to repairs and catch small issues before your HVAC system stops operating. 

During your annual tune-up, our team will do everything from checking your system’s evaporator coil to evaluating safety controls. We can even clean or change your air filter for you as well as adjust your thermostat calibration. When you schedule a maintenance appointment, you can rest assured that your HVAC system is ready to keep you warm throughout the winter. 

Contact Briggs for More HVAC Maintenance Tips 

These are just the main HVAC maintenance tips to keep in mind this fall. Make sure you perform these simple tasks before you make the switch from air conditioning to heating. You don’t want to find out that you have a serious HVAC issue on your hands when the temperatures start to drop.

If you hear any abnormal sounds from your system or notice that your system isn’t properly warming your home, the team at Briggs HVAC is here to help. Our experienced HVAC service technicians have spent the last decade serving Woodbridge and the surrounding area. Whether you need emergency service in the middle of the night or an annual maintenance check-up, we have the expertise to get the job done right. 

Call Briggs at (703) 730-8444 or click here to schedule your next HVAC appointment.