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.

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.

How Bad Is a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

An HVAC with a gas furnace generates heat for the home by burning gas and using a heat exchanger unit. Air blowing through the HVAC ductwork heats up as it passes over the mechanism, warming the dwelling. Any damage to the heat exchanger is hazardous, as this is where toxic exhaust gasses collect before being vented outdoors. So, how bad is a cracked heat exchanger, what are the dangers, and how will you know if it happens to you? Find the answer here.

How Does a Heat Exchanger Get Damaged?

Subject to intense temperature swings and heavy use during wintry weather, the stress on heat exchangers can result in what is known as thermal fatigue. This damage results in cracks forming in the equipment and gas leaks developing.

Additional strain on the heat exchanger increases by the furnace not being the right size for the home area needing heat. Other stressors include obstructed airflow from dirty filters and blocked vents. Neglecting annual maintenance raises the likelihood of damage happening unnoticed. Over time, even the best-looked-after HVAC wears out, needing repair or replacement.

What Happens When a Heat Exchanger Breaks?

Fire Hazards Take Hold

Damage to the exchanger unit can result in dangerous fires. Gas leaking from the exchanger unit results in the wrong mix of gas and air needed to keep a steady, safe combustion process working. As a result, the exhaust gasses can build up to an explosive level, and a furnace fire can take hold.

Deadly Gas Leaks into the Home

In properly operating home heating systems, harmful exhaust gasses vent out of the home via a flue. However, blockages and damage to equipment can interfere with the venting process, forcing a build-up of gas in the system and release into the home’s air.

The critically serious problem resulting from a cracked heat exchanger is the release of carbon monoxide — the deadly odorless gas. As it seeps through cracks in the equipment, the poisonous gas mixes with the air blowing through the ducts into the home.

Every year in the US, more than 50,000 people are rushed to emergency departments suffering from accidental carbon monoxide exposure. And more than 400 people die annually from inhaling the deadly gas.

How Do You Know You’ve Got a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

It may not be immediately evident that there’s HVAC damage, particularly where tiny fissures and breaks are just beginning in the exchanger. However, a quick inspection of the furnace and heat exchange unit may show visible signs that something is amiss:

  • The furnace flame should be a consistent blue color. A yellow hue shows the gas and air mix is out of kilter.
  • See whether there is soot collecting around and in the heat exchanger unit. The soot shows there is a problem with the gas-burning process.

As carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, you’re unlikely to identify that such a leak is happening by visually inspecting the exchanger unit. However, there are several carbon monoxide symptoms to look out for. If family members are suddenly getting headaches, feeling giddy, nauseous, or throwing up, these are indicators your heating system might be the culprit. Other signs include coughing, chest pains, and mental confusion.

Turn off the HVAC, quickly get medical treatment, and then your next step should be to contact your local HVAC company for emergency assistance.

What to Do — Repair or Replacement?

If inspection and assessment of your HVAC by qualified technicians have shown that a cracked heat exchanger is indeed your problem, it’s time to think about replacing or upgrading your system.

Furnaces, heat exchangers, and other components of your heating equipment are typically manufactured to last between 10 to 20 years. So, if your system has reached that age it’s probably time to upgrade. On the other hand, if there’s plenty of life left in the furnace, you can opt to replace the heat exchanger but expect this to cost several thousand dollars.

Additionally, if you haven’t already got a carbon monoxide monitor in place, the value of such a device should now be apparent. It’s a minor expense for protection for the family.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Risk in Northern Virginia

Servicing Northern Virginia and nearby counties, Briggs HVAC is your go-to company for keeping your home heating and cooling systems in peak condition. With an HVAC Maintenance Plan, you will avoid the dangers of unexpected wear and tear to your heat exchanger. And if you face such a problem, get in touch with us, and our emergency assistance technicians will be with you as quickly as possible.

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Furnace Filters

There are many brands and types of furnace filters on the market, with differences in price and stated benefits. Find how the right furnace filter saves you energy and extends HVAC life. Our ultimate guide to understanding furnace filters tells all.

What’s the Purpose of a Furnace Filter?

The main purpose of your furnace air filter is to remove airborne particles such as dust and dirt so that furnace equipment keeps as clean as practical. Without the right filter, grime can buildup on furnace parts, causing deterioration and a need for eventual repair work. Problems like these can significantly reduce the lifespan of your expensive HVAC assets.

Through trapping not just dust but micro-organisms such as pollen, mold, bacteria, and other irritants, furnace filters also improve the air quality in the home. All this makes keeping on top of furnace maintenance well worthwhile.

Guide to Furnace Filter Replacement

Regularly inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the air filter is essential to keeping your furnace in tip-top condition. As a guide, furnace filters should be replaced every three months. However,  this varies depending on how heavily the furnace is in use and the type of filter in place.

Signs that your HVAC is not running at peak efficiency are — the home taking longer to reach desired heat levels or poorer air quality. Checking the furnace filter should be your first step.

Inspecting the Filter

Generally, the filter is found inside the blower compartment by the intake vents/return duct. If you’re unsure, a quick check of the manufacturer’s user guide should set you straight. If the filter surface has turned gray with buildup, it’s time for a change.

Understanding Furnace Filter Types

There are several different types of furnace filters on the market, including:

    • Charcoal
      These are good for allergy sufferers as they capture more pollutants than standard filters.
    • Fiberglass
      These are the most commonly used filters for home furnaces. They are disposable and cheaper than most other filters.
    • HEPA
      These are high-efficiency filters that can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles. They are available in paper, fiberglass, or mesh material models.
    • Pleated Allergy
      These are made from paper fiber that is pleated to increase available surface area. The increased surface area assists in capturing higher levels of airborne particles.
    • Washable
      These are textile-based and can be hand-washed, enabling reuse over and over for up to a year. It’s generally recommended that these filters be washed every month. They are more expensive than other filters due to their longer life.

Filter Sizes and Thickness

Another aspect of fully understanding furnace filters includes identifying the exact filter size and thickness required in your HVAC system.

Filter size:

While many brands of filters are interchangeable, the furnace filter must still be a precise size. Slightly under or over the recommended size, and a snug fit won’t be achieved. In this case, there will be air flowing around instead of entirely through the filter. Consequently, contaminants will get through, with grime building up and all the attendant problems that dirty filters can create.

The filter size should be specified on the furnace filter cabinet or check the manufacturer’s specifications.

Filter thickness:

Filters range in thickness from one inch to five inches. The thicker the filter, the more efficient and long-lasting it will be. However, never be tempted to buy thinner filters and fit multiple filters into the cabinet. The airflow will become too restricted, impacting negatively on HVAC operation.

Filter Efficiency Ratings

All air filters have an assigned Efficiency Rating level. The EPA provides a quick guide on furnace filters efficiency ratings. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) system rates filters from Level 1 through to 16. The higher the level, the better the filter works at removing airborne contaminants.

Households with members suffering from severe allergies may find that opting for filters with a high MERV will provide optimum air quality and help relieve their symptoms.

Benefits of Having the Right Furnace Filters

Armed with a better understanding of furnace filters, you can now see the benefits of having clean, efficient, snug-fitting air filters in place. Removing airborne contaminants:

  • Heads off repairs
  • Protects the life of your HVAC equipment
  • Minimizes the energy required to power your HVAC, thus reducing energy costs, and
  • Improves overall air quality for the household.

At Briggs Heating and Cooling, we can help you achieve these benefits with an affordable maintenance plan. If you’re in Northern Virginia, we’ll schedule twice-yearly service calls that include inspecting, cleaning, and repairing your HVAC, including the furnace filters.

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.


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.


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 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. 


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. 


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.