What the Labels on Your HVAC Units Can Tell You

Many types of household appliances and equipment, including your HVAC system, have information stickers. So, why should you understand what the labels on your HVAC units can tell you? Well, for one thing, the data displayed can help you with warranty and service information, and additionally can help you save money on energy costs. Here’s a simple explanation about the technical information on HVAC system labels.

What Are the Types of Data on HVAC Unit Labels?

The government mandates that cooling and heating equipment meet construction, safety, and energy efficiency standards. These standards require manufacturers to place stickers with specific data in a spot on the equipment where the homeowner can view the information. Typically, this information includes:

  • Manufacturer specifications such as model number, date of manufacture, and energy efficiency are usually detailed on a data sticker.
  •  Another label showing the install date and contractor details may be added at installation.
  •  After installation, separate service maintenance labels may be placed on the equipment by HVAC technicians.

Depending on the age of your HVAC system, all labels may not be present, and formats not standard. Recently passed legislation from the Federal Trade Commission now addresses this issue so that consumers get a range of factual information displayed on their equipment.

Energy Efficiency Labels

The Energy Labeling Rule now requires major home appliance makers to place a black and yellow EnergyGuide sticker on equipment. The label is fixed to central and portable air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps.

The model number, company responsible for making the equipment, significant features of the equipment, estimated annual operating costs, and estimated power use is detailed on the EnergyGuide data sticker.

How Homeowners Can Save on HVAC Running Costs

So, this is the good news about having EnergyGuide labels on heating and cooling equipment. The appliance data sticker gives an estimated annual power use and operating cost, so comparison shopping has never been easier. You can easily assess the purchase price of similar equipment with similar power outputs straight from the HVAC unit labels.

However, the final choice may not necessarily be decided on the lowest purchase cost of heating or cooling systems. You still have to consider the size of your home, solar passivity, the number of rooms to be heated, and any other impacts that may require a high-power output appliance. So, for example, an old timber home subject to draughts will probably need a higher heat output than a more modern, better sealed home. And there’s no getting away from the fact that the more energy an HVAC system uses, the higher the running costs are.

With the EnergyGuide sticker, you can at least do a better ‘apples to apples’ comparison on similar models with the power output you need. Remembering that the details are estimates, not actuals, you can make your own best guess on cost and power use based on your home’s unique requirements for HVAC use.

Maintenance Information on HVAC System Labels

Besides the EnergyGuide label, you can expect your HVAC service technicians to place service labels on the equipment. These stickers record the service date and recommended due date for the next service. Depending upon your local climate, HVAC preventative maintenance should be done once or twice a year.

If you live in a warm climate, only requiring air conditioning, then an annual service will be sufficient. However, if you live in a climate zone where summers are hot and winters bitterly cold, your HVAC system will get a good workout throughout these seasons. Maintenance is best done twice a year, once for the cooling equipment and once for the heating equipment. Place a service call with your HVAC contractor so that work can be done before the season begins.

The record of service that HVAC unit labels provide may be beneficial if you’re thinking of selling or renting your home at some stage. The data sticker assures potential buyers or renters that the house has been well maintained.

Get Expert Assistance from North Virginia HVAC Contractors

Briggs HVAC in North Virginia is an expert in HVAC installation and maintenance. If your heating and cooling appliances and equipment are missing labeling information, we can help find the details for you with a thorough maintenance inspection and research. Our highly experienced technicians have worked on many different HVAC systems. We will help you put in place service maintenance records and an annual plan that will give you peace of mind

If money is tight, we may be able to offer you monthly payment options, so contact us today for all your home heating and cooling needs. 

Adding on to Your Home? 6 HVAC Considerations That Should Be Part of Your Project

Planning a home addition requires myriad issues and tasks to be thought through and documented. A crucial part of home remodeling is addressing heating and cooling requirements for the new space. Talking over HVAC requirements with a home heating and cooling expert should be one of your primary tasks. So, if you’re adding on to your home, here are six HVAC considerations that should be part of your project.

1. Are There HVAC Regulations You Need to Know About?

In this era of rapid technological changes to energy production methods (think solar and battery storage), new HVAC regulations inevitably come into play. Likewise, the relentless pursuit of energy efficiency also drives new heating and cooling equipment standards. As part of your upfront home addition planning, you should check with government agencies on any recent rule changes. Good starting points are the Energy Information Administration and the Department of Energy.

2. Will the Extra Footage from Your Home Addition Need More HVAC?

One of the vital HVAC matters to consider is the level of heating and cooling needed in the new space. It would help if you asked several key questions:

  1.       What will be the most cost-efficient way to cool and heat the area?
  2.       Can you extend the existing HVAC system to the room with additional ductwork?
  3.       Will the new space be energy passive?
  4.       If new HVAC equipment is needed, does it have to be connected to existing systems, or can it stand   alone?

Expert HVAC companies can be worth their weight in gold at this early stage of your planning. They will generally give you free advice on all relevant new and updated laws and equipment standards, as this knowledge is essential to their business.

3. Should You Reconfigure Ductwork?

So, should you consider reconfiguring existing ductwork to deliver seasonal cooling and heating to the home addition? With walls opened up and ductwork exposed, this can be an opportune time to expand your existing HVAC. It will be much cheaper to add some new ductwork and a vent at this point in the project than after completion.

You should go back to the project plan to calculate and compare the cost of expansion over a new HVAC system or a stand-alone appliance.

4. Is This a Good Opportunity to Upgrade Your HVAC?

You don’t want to overinvest in a new HVAC if it’s unnecessary. But with all the work occurring on the home addition, there may be cost savings to upgrading machinery now, rather than postponing.

One of the HVAC matters to consider is whether upcoming regulatory changes will cost you in retrofitting and balance that cost against the price of a new system. In addition, examine whether the improved efficiencies of new equipment can help offset the higher purchase price. 

5. Critical HVAC Matters to Consider — What type of HVAC is best suited for the new space?

Working out the most efficient way to address the energy required for the new home space will take some time. You’ll need to work through the different types of HVAC appliances on the market, including price and energy outputs. And, of course, you’ll need to tailor the solution to your specific climate and weather characteristics.

Air conditioners can be purchased as evaporative coolers, window units, wall-mounted, or even portable appliances. Heating can be supplied via furnace systems, permanently wall-mounted or portable space heaters, and mini-split systems.

Geothermal and hybrid systems, while not as common on the market, can also be investigated and costed.

6. How will you Maintain your HVAC during and after renovation?

Building and renovating is a messy business. Dust will be shaken loose and move throughout the home. Debris from opening up walls, building new ones, plastering, and painting, will all contribute to poor air quality until the home addition work is complete.

As much as practical, you don’t want this filthy air getting into the HVAC where it will collect and put a strain on the equipment. Minimizing the use of your HVAC during the peak of building work will assist. Checking, cleaning, and replacing air filters can be done more regularly than before the home addition work began. Use exhaust fans to blow dust and debris out of the house where you can.

Get Expert Assistance from Briggs HVAC in North Virginia

At Briggs HVAC, we are highly experienced with fitting many different types of HVAC systems. If you’re planning a new installation, need advice on general heating and cooling matters, or need to schedule a maintenance visit, please get in touch. Your HVAC can probably do with a good inspection and clean after all that building work.

5 Benefits of Digital Thermostats

Digital thermostats are a relatively new feature of HVAC systems. Older analog thermostats have been a reliable piece of equipment for decades, maintaining set temperature levels in the home. So, are there compelling reasons homeowners should consider switching to digital from analog? This article lays out five benefits of digital thermostats to help you decide the facts and whether to upgrade your equipment.

1. Lower Energy Costs

Both analog and digital thermostats are wall-mounted and wired into HVAC systems. However, analog devices must be manually set, usually via a mechanical slider set to the desired temperature. On the other hand, smart digital thermostats can be connected via Wi-Fi and operated through a mobile phone app or via computer to reset the temperature. This remote programming functionality gives digital thermostats the edge in reducing energy costs.

According to the Department of Energy, households can save up to 10% a year on HVAC power consumption by simply changing thermostat temperature settings for up to eight hours each day. With a digital thermostat, this is easy to do.

The flexibility of digital thermostats in managing HVAC cycles aids in lowering household energy costs. Multiple temperature cycles can be set for the day, week, or other periods. For example, lower energy settings can be set for when people go to work during the day or at night when the family is sleeping. If you’re out of the home and forgot to set a cycle or will be home late, it’s a breeze to reset the HVAC thermostat cycle via a mobile app.

2. Better Home Comfort Levels

With digital thermostats, it’s easy to achieve reliable and customizable temperatures across the home. Any room with air ducts can have a digital thermostat installed. Installing multiple thermostats wired to the HVAC lets you achieve different climate zones in the house. So, for example, if you have someone suffering from a cold or flu, you can set their bedroom to be kept constantly warm while ill.

Another benefit of having multiple digital thermostats is that unused rooms can be shut off from the HVAC. For example, if you have empty guest rooms, you can use the thermostat to close off air from the ducts. This action will save on energy costs.

3. Convenience

Convenience is a significant advantage with digital over analog temperature devices. Analog always requires manual adjustment, meaning unless you’re physically present, no fine-tuning is possible. Too bad if you’ve gone out for the day and forgotten to lower the settings.

Of course, with smart digital thermostats, all you need is your mobile phone and the downloaded app, and you can adjust the required settings instantly. You get convenience and cost savings at the press of a screen button.

4. Improve HVAC performance with a Digital Thermostat

HVAC performance can be enhanced with a digital thermostat in two ways:

  1. Reduced heating and cooling cycle times, and
  2. Subsequent reduced wear and tear on the equipment.

A correctly functioning thermostat causes the heating and cooling equipment to be turned on and off when room warmth starts to vary from a set temperature. All thermostats have this temperature variance. So, if for example, you set the thermostat temperature to 80 degrees, the variance range could be between 77 or 83 degrees when the HVAC operates.

However, the variance is less with digital than analog thermostats and can be fine-tuned by interaction with smart apps and computer programs. As a result, the heating and cooling cycles have a shorter operation time. In turn, this reduces workload and extends the lifespan of your HVAC equipment.

5. Keep Costs Down with More Smart Controls

Advanced digital thermostats are now becoming integrated with smart speaker and HVAC systems, enabling even more cost savings.

Using mobile apps and computer software, you can track your energy usage and quickly make decisions on power use.

The underlying smarts in digital technology enable systems to learn preferences in homeowner temperature needs and adjust accordingly.

And some mobile apps are linked to dynamic weather data, allowing the digital thermostat to regulate internal temperature based on local weather conditions.

Going Digital?

If you’re unsure whether you want to go digital, get in touch with Briggs HVAC. Even though you may have an older HVAC system with an analog thermostat, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t switch to a digital thermostat. If your system is less than ten years old, there is a good chance that it will be compatible with a digital device. This is an excellent time to discuss equipment compatibility with your local HVAC professionals in North Virginia. 

What Is the Purpose of a Cold Air Return Vent?

Home heating, ventilation, and cooling systems (HVAC) are complex mechanisms. Amongst other functions, these systems use venting to carry cold and warm air through ducts to the furnace or air conditioner unit, heating or cooling our homes as needed. If you don’t know what the purpose of a cold air return vent is, here’s a brief overview. It will help you maintain your HVAC in peak condition.

What are Cold Air Return Vents?

HVAC vents are the entry and exit points for air circulated around the home. They’re easy enough to locate around your home as they will be fronted by a grille or a grate, often matched to the home décor. As an example, timber slotted grilles look smart and neat when embedded into similarly colored timber floors. In contrast, decorative metal grilles can have an elegant impact in tiled bathrooms.

These vent facings are slotted so that airflow into and out of the HVAC ducts isn’t interrupted. The grille also usually allows the air direction to be manually adjusted with little effort. Cold air return vents are typically located on the floor, though they may also be found on the lower part of walls.

What’s the Primary Purpose of a Return Vent?

There’s more than one purpose of a cold air return vent, but the main function is sending cold air to the furnace to be heated. From the furnace, warm air is blown through the ducts, exiting through the hot air returns or vents within the home.

Based on the principle that hot air rises and chill air falls, cold air returns are placed at low levels in the home interior, such as the floor and lower walls. Less energy is then required to extract the cold air and return it to the furnace. Conversely, hot air vents are located in the ceiling or near the top of the walls.

What Other Functions Do Cold Air Returns Perform?

Aside from returning cold air to the furnace, cold air returns do other essential jobs.

Balancing Air Flow

Keeping the cold air vents open helps balance the airflow through the HVAC and throughout the home. Closing these returns will have the unfortunate effect of increasing the air pressure inside the air ducts. In turn, the extra pressure is forced into the ductwork and eventually will cause leaks and other damage to your expensive HVAC asset.

Qualified professional heating and cooling companies should deal with these types of problems. Regular annual maintenance will identify problems, but don’t wait if you notice a problem. Waiting will cost you money in unnecessary energy costs and further damage to your HVAC equipment.

Filtering Air

Another purpose of a return vent is to assist with sanitizing the air. Cold air vents typically have air filters behind them, trapping dust, dirt, fungal spores, and other unwanted particles. Filtering at these junctures prevents the airborne nasties from going through to the furnace or air conditioner unit and circulating throughout the home.

Maintaining Energy Efficiency

Having the correct number of cold and hot air vents throughout the home helps lower your energy costs. Rooms without a vent may receive little, if any, benefits of the circulating air, reducing overall energy efficiency.

Return Air Vent Maintenance

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends annual yearly inspections of your HVAC. However, if you lack time or expertise, setting up a maintenance program is a sound way to go.

Some easy tasks you can do to maintain the return air vents are:

  • Give them a regular clean. Lightly running the vacuum hose or dust buster over the vent will remove a good amount of dust.
  • Change the air filters at recommended intervals. Check your system requirements for how often this should occur.
  •  Keep the vents clear of furnishings and other objects. Blocking the vents will make the HVAC work harder than necessary and may cause damage to the overall system.

Need Some Help with Your Air Returns?

It’s ideal to have cold air returns in bedrooms, lounges, and other living areas (bathrooms and kitchens excluded). Such a setup enables the peak efficiency of your home comfort system. Unfortunately, older homes may not have this luxury and lack adequate vents.

At Briggs HVAC, we provide homeowners with thorough inspection services, maintenance programs, and expert repairs. Servicing Northern Virginia, we can answer all your questions on cold air returns and advise whether your home would benefit from additional venting. For example, rooms with musty or stale air may indicate that a new return will significantly improve clean air circulation.

Image: Flickr

5 Energy Efficiency Trends to Look for in 2022

The quest for home energy efficiency continues in 2022. With most people looking to reduce home power costs, the power industry and technology advances provide new opportunities in this area. From solar options, smart devices and systems, and technically advanced materials, here are five energy efficiency trends to look for in 2022.

1. Solar Panels and Batteries

While the take-up of solar panels has been a strong trend that will continue in 2022, batteries are now becoming a standard part of the solar package mix. Batteries supercharge the homeowner’s investment in solar panels by storing the excess generated power. Without a battery, surplus solar power is lost back into the grid. Plus, you’re still reliant on the grid at night or in poor sunlight weather. Batteries change all that and give you energy self-reliance.

Some solar batteries have innovative system capabilities allowing them to connect with smart speakers like Alexa and Google Nest, along with other smart devices in your home.

2. Energy Smart Home Devices

Building on the advances in solar technology, there is a proliferation of energy-related smart devices already on the market. New and enhanced technology is frequently released and becoming commonplace.

Smart Power Adapters and Strips

Inexpensive and easily used, smart power adapters transform standard appliances, lighting, and other electronic equipment into instant smart home devices. Mobile phone apps connecting with the smart adapters let you control power usage from your smartphone. Many of these adapters will also connect with Alexa, Google, and Siri smart speakers, responding to voice commands.

You can obtain energy information from the speakers, including real-time use and length of time on. When paired with motion sensors, the devices can turn on or off all power in a room when people enter or exit. Voice commands or a phone tap quickly turn the adapter on or off.

Smart Light Bulbs

Smart light bulbs use LED technology. In the long run, they beat other light bulbs in the energy efficiency stakes as they use less energy and have a longer life. Some models have motion-triggered and geofencing functionality, allowing automated control of when lights go on or off. Other features include remote control, scheduled timing, and color-changing with Bluetooth or Wi-fi connectivity. In some instances, integration with security cameras and thermostats can occur. As with smart adapters, these can be operated from smartphones and smart speaker systems.

3. Enhancing Home Energy Efficiency with Smart HVAC Systems

Most homeowners spend a substantial amount of their energy costs on heating and cooling, and advances in HVAC technology are one of the vitally important energy efficiency trends occurring. Innovative HVAC systems incorporate automated controls and can monitor and adjust indoor temperatures with fine precision. Smart thermostats are controlled using smartphones, with vents turned off in unoccupied rooms.

If your heating and cooling equipment is nearing end-of-life, it’s worth discussing your smart home options with experienced HVAC installers.

4. Smart Speaker Systems — One of the Runaway Energy Efficiency Trends for 2022

With much of the smart home equipment emerging, the presence of smart speaker technology is everywhere. Driven by pandemic conditions in 2021, the market for Amazon, Apple, and Google smart speakers surged. While there are other smart speakers, these three brands are firmly ahead in popularity and connectivity to smart devices and home energy management.

Just a few of the energy efficiency benefits being achieved by smart speakers include:

  •  An energy company partnering with Alexa, allowing customers to adjust their home energy use according to half-hourly price changes from time-of-use tariffs
  • Google’s Nest Temperature Sensor working with smart thermostats to reduce energy use while keeping indoor temperatures at a preferred comfort level, and
  •  Apple’s Siri also talks to the Ecobee SmartThermostat, which has smartphone controls, clever scheduling, and sensors to detect room occupation.

5. Low-E Windows

And just for a change from electronic-based technology is the passive yet extremely valuable, low-emissivity window. The technology behind these windows is based on a specially designed high-performance glass with a transparent thin metal-oxide coating. The metal layer reflects infrared heat back indoors. The improved insulation substantially lowers home heating and cooling costs.

Keep Home Energy Efficiency High with Regular HVAC Maintenance

With all the effort you go to in keeping home energy efficiency at its peak and costs down, don’t forget to schedule a maintenance service for your HVAC at regular intervals. Your HVAC’s performance has a substantial impact on your energy drawdown needs. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your heating and cooling equipment operating at its best. Here at Briggs HVAC in North Virginia, we are experts in installation, maintenance, and services for all your home comfort systems. 

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.

5 Signs You Have an Airflow Problem (and How to Fix It)

When your air conditioner stops working during a hot July weekend, you can tell almost immediately. But there are 11 other months in the year, when the outdoor temperatures aren’t so severe. Losing a few degrees here or there might not be as noticeable. And what if your units appear to be running properly, but you start to notice other signs of a potential problem? It could be that you’re having an airflow problem.

Not catching an airflow concern immediately can lead to a host of potential HVAC issues. By the time you reach this awareness point, you’re ready to call in a professional, even on a Sunday, just to get relief. The truth is airflow problems are pretty common and can be avoidable in some instances. Recognizing these five signs early on can help ensure you catch the airflow problem before it turns into a costly service call later.

1. Airflow Problems Can Result from Normal Wear & Tear

Recommendation: Schedule that seasonal maintenance visit for a proper unit cleaning.

There’s no avoiding some HVAC problems, including the occasional airflow failures that result from normal wear and tear. So, just knowing how old your unit is or recognizing how many years your ductwork has gone uncleaned can be reason enough to call in a professional for an inspection. All units, new or old, benefit from routine seasonal maintenance, which is your first line of defense against poor airflow and other mechanical failures.

2. Hot and Cold Spots Throughout Your Home

Recommendation: Change your filters.

Airflow problems can most commonly be the result of a clogged filter. This breakdown in how well the air moves through your unit can result in hot and cold spots around your house. If you experience fluctuating temperatures in various rooms of your home, it could be the filter is prohibiting your unit’s proper operation. It’s easy to forget about changing those filters on time, but it’s an oversight that can lead to these significant airflow and temperature fluctuations. If it’s been a while since you’ve changed your filter, take care of that now. If a fresh filter doesn’t resolve your airflow concerns, you can then explore other culprits.

3. Ductwork Blockages

Recommendation: Schedule a thorough cleaning of your home’s entire ductwork system.

You would be surprised at just how much dust, debris, and contagions get caught up permanently within your ductwork. Older homes might present with layers of old debris along the ductwork walls that essentially takes up space and can hinder how well air flows through to various areas of your home. And there is always the other possibility of a rodent or critter taking up residence in your ductwork somewhere, blocking airflow with a nest. You often hear about how clean ductwork is essential for indoor air quality, which is absolutely true. But blockages or airflow hindrances in your ductwork can lead to an airflow problem, as well.

4. Blocked Vents & Registers

Recommendation: Check every register and vent in your home to remove any blockages.

If you’re experiencing temperature fluctuations, room to room, you can always check your home’s vents and registers. When your house was built, the ductwork was designed based on the layout to promptly deliver air into each of the rooms in a strategic way. Blocking a register with a piece of furniture or clogging a vent with a child’s toy inadvertently can lead to disruptions in your airflow altogether. Even cold air return vents need to be free from coverage.

5. Pressure Imbalances within the Home

Recommendation: This usually warrants a call to a professional for an inspection.

If you notice that your interior or exterior doors slam closed on their own, you might assume it’s because there’s wind presence. But when you realize there is no direct wind source, it could be a sign of pressure imbalances resulting from poor airflow. Check to see if you’re experiencing little to no air from your vents, and then call a professional. You might only need to have your coils cleaned, or the squirrel cage within your unit cleaned. But not addressing the pressure issues when they arise can lead to more significant potential unit damage later.

Airflow problems can be common. To stay on top of potential problems, you can be mindful of these five signs of airflow issues. And if you can’t get to the bottom of it, let the professionals at Briggs HVAC help. Call and schedule your maintenance today, too. Preventing the airflow issues before they arise can help prolong the life of your unit and keep your home comfortable year-round.

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.