14 HVAC Industry Terms That Homeowners Should Know

As a homeowner, and a customer of the HVAC industry, you don’t need to know everything about how to ensure your heating, cooling, and other appliances stay in good, working condition. The professionals can handle a lot of that for you. However, being more familiar with some of the terminology and phrases we use can help you more quickly notice and identify issues with your systems.

This can help you know when you need a professional to come take a look at these systems, and maybe even learn how to fix a few of the more simple problems, yourself. Here are a few of the terms that you should know, and what they mean.

Key HVAC Terms You Should Know And Their Meaning


Starting with the most basic of them all, this refers to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It often refers to all of the heating and cooling systems of the property, including the heater, AC, and any ductwork.


Sometimes, you will see an ‘R’ added to the more common term. This stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration. Professionals who add the R often specialize in repairing, servicing, and maintaining refrigerating appliances.


The key ingredient of many an HVAC appliance is a liquid that cycles through the system. Refrigerant is heated, cooler, and pressurized to both remove and add heat to the air. Refrigerant comes in a few varieties and typically lasts up to 15 years, provided there are no leaks or issues with it.

Air filter

Another important component in HVAC systems, this device removes contaminants, allergens, and other matters from the air. These typically have to be replaced after some time, with how long depending on the type.


The device that pumps the refrigerant through most modern HVAC systems, is usually found inside the box unit inside the home. It raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant, turning it into a gas form.

Condenser coil

Tubes that are filled with refrigerant. These tubes remove the heat from the hot, gaseous refrigerant, which typically turns it back into a liquid again.

Evaporator coil

This part of your HVAC system absorbs heat into the refrigerant and is usually attached to the furnace or inside your air handler.


These are a network of sensors that monitor and communicate the temperature of certain areas. The functions of the heating and cooling system turn on and off based on the readings of the thermostat, allowing users to see and maintain the temperature of their choice in a given space.


These are pipes that are designed to channel airflow, whether it’s supply air or exhaust air, throughout a home. They can be made from a variety of different materials, such as aluminum, galvanized steel, fiberglass, and more.

Airflow volume

When talking about air circulated inside a particular space, we use this measurement. It’s usually measured in cubic feet per minute, and you want to make sure you get a good airflow volume for the space you’re in when choosing things like ventilation and AC.


The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is the rating we use for the efficiency of air conditioners. This is worked out by comparing the cooling output to the total electricity input of a single season. The higher the rating, the more efficient the AC device.


Like the SEER, the AFUE (Annual Fuel Efficiency Ratio) measures the energy efficiency of a heating system in a year. It works as a percentage, showing how much of the energy you use is converted to heat. As such, a 90% AFUE means 90% of your energy is converted into heat, and 10% is lost through exhaust. A rating of 80% or below is typically an indicator that a heater should be replaced.


Air filters have Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which is the standardized method to measure air filters. They go from 1 to 16, with 16 being the most efficient and 1 being the least. Depending on your needs, you may require air filters with a specific MERV level.


North American Technician Excellence, is a form of certification for technicians that is used as a measure of excellence and expertise. Professionals with this certification have had to pass certification tests.

Contact an HVAC Professional in Northern Virginia

If you ever encounter an issue with your HVAC systems that you don’t understand, then the help of an HVAC professional could be just what you need. Get in touch with Briggs HVAC and we’ll be glad to lend you our expertise, too.

The Top 9 Questions to Ask an HVAC Specialist During a Consultation

Hiring an HVAC specialist is essential if you wish to fix your broken heater or make your air conditioning unit more efficient. An HVAC specialist will guarantee to help you fix or manage any issue you’re having so that your home can be more comfortable throughout the year.

Before you hire an HVAC specialist and invest your time and money into them, it is essential to ask them a few questions so that you can understand their experience, prices, and more.

Using this guide you can understand what questions you should ask your HVAC specialist during a consultation to ensure they are the right person to hire.

Let’s Explore the Questions You Should Ask Your HVAC Specialist:

What Are Your Prices?

Before you decide to hire the HVAC specialist that you have got in touch with it is important to ask their prices. Most HVAC specialists should cost around the same money whether they are charging an hourly or fixed rate. It is important to call around a few HVAC specialists to understand the average price and ensure that you are not being ripped off.

If you do not ask about their prices then you will not understand how much you need to pay. For instance, if you have an emergency and need to call your HVAC company for help, be sure to ask about their fees so you are not taken advantage of. 

Do You Offer Fixed Rates or Hourly Charges?

Speaking of fees, it is also a great time to ask whether they charge a fixed rate or an hourly rate. You will likely gain more for your money if they charge a fixed rate as they will ensure to complete the project no matter how long it takes them for the set price that they have given you.

You need to know your budget before you speak to them to ensure you know exactly what you can afford.

Are You Experienced With This Specific Type of HVAC System?

Various people will call an HVAC specialist for various reasons. Someone who has lots of experience fixing heaters might not necessarily be the best person to hire to fix your air conditioning unit.

Therefore, it is important to ask how experienced they are with the specific type of HVAC system that you need assistance with.

How Long Might This Take?

Although you might not be in a rush it’s important to understand how long the project might take to be completed. For instance, you will not want to deal with the HVAC specialist in your home for three weeks straight if you have other things to get on with at home.

It isn’t rude to ask them how long they will take to help with your problem; it will simply ensure that you know what the project will entail.

Will I Benefit From a Replacement or Repair?

The best person to ask whether you need to replace or repair your HVAC unit is the HVAC specialist themselves. You might think that your air conditioning unit needs replacing due to it being temperamental for a few weeks. However, the specialist might tell you that you simply need to replace a part of the unit so it will work efficiently again.

The HVAC specialist will ensure to give you an accurate assessment of your HVAC system and guarantee that whatever repair or replacement is done will benefit you.

What Experience Do You Have?

When hiring an HVAC contractor to repair your system, always ask about their experience and certifications. 

Knowing what experience the HVAC contractor has will ensure that you are hiring someone who will complete your project with high-quality results.

Can You Provide Me With a Portfolio To Show Me Your Skills?

When you ask them about their experience this could also be a great opportunity to ask them to provide you with a portfolio.

Assessing their portfolio will help you understand if they are the right person to complete your specific project. Plus, it will prove how skilful they are.

Do You Have a Contract We Can Sign Before We Begin?

It can benefit you and your financial investment if you sign a contract with an HVAC specialist for the project.

Signing a contract will ensure that the financial fee is agreed upon and the deadline is sorted so that you and this specialist know exactly what to expect and what the project will entail. If anything goes wrong then at least you have the contract to back you up so you can get yourself out of any financial disputes that the contractor tries to make.

Contact an HVAC Professional in Northern Virginia

Do not let poor indoor air quality prevent you from leading a high-quality and healthy lifestyle. At Briggs HVAC, we provide superior HVAC solutions to help homes deal with the problem of poor indoor air quality. We assist homeowners in regaining control over the quality of their indoor air.

Older Home? 5 Reasons to Check Your Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to our health, we mostly prioritize good nutrition, quality healthcare, and exercise. However, one thing that is often overlooked but it’s equally important is indoor air quality. Indoor air quality has a profound impact on our health, and this is especially true for young children and aging populations. If you’re living in an old home, it’s important to take the necessary precautions and ensure you’re breathing clean air.

Indoor air quality refers to the general condition of air within enclosed spaces, including homes, offices, and commercial or industrial set-ups. Indoor air quality encompasses various factors such as the presence of allergens, pollutants, humidity levels, and ventilation levels.

Let’s Explore Several Reasons to Check Your Indoor Air Quality:

1. Moisture and Mold

Poorly done roofing or plumbing may cause leaks, leading to moisture seep and affecting your indoor air quality. Older homes are particularly vulnerable to mold growth due to poor ventilation and deteriorating materials. The combination of deteriorating materials and poor ventilation all contribute to mold growth, leading to allergic reactions and severe respiratory illnesses. Regularly checking older homes for moisture-related infestations ensure a safe and healthy indoor living environment.

2. Lead and Asbestos

Many homes are constructed using materials made of asbestos, such as plumbing, ceiling tiles, and insulation materials. Asbestos, when disturbed, releases tiny fiber materials when inhaled may lead to serious and devastating respiratory illnesses. Prolonged asbestos exposure may pose significant conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Moreover, older homes are painted using lead-based paint. Inhaling lead particles from deteriorating paint can lead to lead poisoning, especially in young children and older adults such as seniors or persons with respiratory conditions.

3. Radon Gas

Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into older homes through pores found in the foundation. Older homes with basements or crawl spaces have a higher likelihood of the presence of radon gas. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to radon gas can cause lung cancer. And because radon gas is odorless and colorless, it’s imperative that you regularly examine your indoor air quality to determine contamination levels. Homeowners must take appropriate measures such as radon gas mitigation measures to ensure a healthy living environment for themselves, young children, and older adults.

4. Aging HVAC

HVAC systems are efficient when new but lose efficiency when they age. Conducting regular check-ups on your HVAC system can help you identify issues early on. In older homes, these systems tend to be less efficient, posing a health risk because of poor indoor air quality. Inadequate ventilation may lead to circulation of allergens, pollutants, and contaminants. Regular inspection ensures clean air filters, preventing allergens and contaminants from circulating in your home.

5. Indoor Pollutants

Indoor pollutants represent a wide range of contaminants: allergens, dirt, dust, pollen, pet hair, and dander. Indoor pollutants can settle in carpets, upholstery, and furniture, posing a health risk to the occupants. Indoor contaminants may increase the risk for respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, lung cancer, and other respiratory issues. Checking indoor air quality promotes a healthy lifestyle because dust, pollen, foreign particles, and contaminants are eliminated.

Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Improving indoor air quality requires specific steps to address the underlying challenges in older homes. Homeowners can significantly improve indoor air quality and create a healthy environment by following the following steps:

  • Proper ventilation and air circulation. It’s advisable to open your windows and other openings during the day to allow for sufficient entry of fresh air. Open your windows whenever possible to allow fresh air to circulate and drive out stale air.
  • Regular cleaning. Regular cleaning and maintenance eliminate dust and foreign participles lying around on your furniture or upholstery. It’s advisable to dust surfaces using a damp cloth to prevent particles from becoming airborne. Replace air filters in older air conditioners for maximum efficiency.
  • Upgrading HVAC systems. HVAC systems with higher SEER ratings are more efficient and less costly to operate and maintain. Older homes must regularly update HVAC systems to take advantage of new cooling and heating technologies.
  • Addressing moisture issues. Address moisture issues in older homes by sealing any pores or leaks on walls or foundations. Sealing air leaks prevents moisture accumulation, ensuring clean and fresh indoor air quality. Moisture-related issues such as high humidity levels and leaks, lead to deteriorating indoor air quality. Identifying and mitigating indoor moisture helps prevent mildew and mold buildup.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Briggs HVAC in Northern Virginia

Whether you’re living in an old home or your HVAC system is aging, do not let low-quality indoor air get in the way of a quality and healthy lifestyle. At Briggs HVAC, we offer superior HVAC solutions, helping homeowners address the challenge of low quality indoor air. We help homeowners reclaim their freedom for quality indoor air.

Contact Briggs HVAC for quality and reliable HVAC solutions.

12 Scenarios That Warrant an Emergency Call to Your HVAC Company

Your HVAC system plays a vital role in maintaining a cool and comfortable living space. Your system regulates cold and warm air, creating an optimal indoor temperature that’s comfortable enough for everyone. However, although your HVAC regulates your indoor air, certain scenarios may arise requiring immediate assistance from your HVAC company. In this post, we will discuss twelve incidents that may arise that warrant an emergency call to your HVAC service provider, ranging from heating and cooling problems to electrical issues and gas leaks.

12 Incidents That May Warrant an Emergency Call to Your HVAC Company:

1. Gas leaks

If you suspect any gas leaks, call your HVAC company immediately. Evacuate the premises as you wait for professional assistance. Gas leaks are dangerous and can pose a significant life-changing threat to you and your loved ones.

2. Burning smell

If you detect a burning smell or smoke coming from your HVAC system, it’s important to call your HVAC service provider immediately. Smoke or burning smell could indicate a possible electrical problem or fire hazard that warrants immediate assistance.

3. No heating or cooling

If your HVAC system fails to cool your house during those summer months or fails to heat during winter, it’s a clear indication of an emergency. Extreme weather and climatic conditions can be dangerous and life-threatening, especially for sensitive individuals such as infants, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic conditions.

4. Water leaks

Significant water leaks from your HVAC system could indicate a malfunctioning condensate drain or a burst pipe. Do not hesitate to contact your HVAC company in case of water leaks. Excess water leaks can lead to mold growth, property damage, and other costly implications if not addressed promptly.

5. System failure

If your HVAC system shuts down and refuses to turn on, it’s an emergency that warrants you to call your HVAC company. Failure to function could be due to an electrical problem, a thermostat malfunctioning problem, or a failed compressor.

6. Loud noises

Do not ignore unusually loud voices from your HVAC system. Noises such as banging, screeching, or grinding could indicate mechanical failure and loose components. These sounds could indicate other issues that may cause further damage if left unattended.

7. Strong odors

Faulty HVAC systems emit strong orders and pungent smells. If the smell coming off your HVAC system resembles rotten eggs, there could be potential gas leaks. Burning rubber indicates an electrical problem and musty odors suggest that your system needs repair. Failure to address unusual odors leads to health and safety concerns.

8. Carbon monoxide alarm activation

If your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm goes off, immediately evaluate the room and ask for professional assistance and help. Carbon monoxide is a silent, odorless, deadly gas emitted by a faulty HVAC system or any other fuel-burning appliance. The alarm activation helps you to detect failures in the HVAC’s normal functioning, allowing you to take remediation steps to prevent health and safety concerns.

9. Erratic behavior

If your HVAC system constantly cycles on and off, shows erratic behavior, and runs excessively, it’s time to call your HVAC service provider. Erratic or unusual behavior indicates an underlying problem or system malfunctioning. Contact your HVAC company to rectify these issues.

10. Electrical issues

Treat any electrical problems related to your HVAC system as emergencies. Exposed wires, socket breaker tipping issues, and sparks must all be treated with the emergency that they deserve. If you notice electrical sparks or electrical arcing in your HVAC system, it’s time to call your HVAC company. Electrical sparks can cause shocks and potential fires.

11. Ice casing

If your HVAC system components become engraved with ice, it could indicate a potentially significant problem that warrants immediate attention. If the refrigerant pipes and evaporator coils become encased in frost or ice, it’s an indication of potential system problems such as airflow, malfunctioning components, and refrigerant levels.

12. Intermittent gas supply

If you have a gas-powered HVAC system and notice a problem with the ignition, you should call your HVAC company immediately. Intermittent gas supply problems indicate problems with the gas supply line, pilot light, and similar components. And given the potential safety risks associated with gas, it’s crucial that you call your HVAC service provider to diagnose the issue for you.

Briggs HVAC – Bringing Safety in HVAC Installations, Repairs and Maintenance.

At Briggs HVAC, we have one principle in safety and security. When encountering any emergency with your HVAC system, it’s important that you prioritize your safety and that of others. And if you’re unsure whether an emergency warrants a call, it’s best to err on caution and contact your HVAC company immediately.

Your HVAC company can provide technical assistance to malfunctioning systems, mitigating threats and ensuring continuous system operation.

Contact Briggs HVAC for superior heating, ventilation, and air conditioning solutions.

Top 7 Ways You Can Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Summer is the hottest season of the year. Even though the sun goes down at night, the high-angle summer temperatures remain relatively constant, with no signs of change. Heat is dangerous — and sometimes deadly. Published research shows that overheating can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition.

It’s important to keep your house cool this summer to prevent overheating, heat exhaustion, heat cramp, and heat rash. Therefore, you should mitigate the effects of excessive heat in your home by looking at ways to keep your home cool this summer.

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

1. Air Sealing

Air sealing represents a superior solution for keeping your house cool and your HVAC systems efficient. When you air seal, you prevent the loss of conditioned cool air and heat entry. This, in return, increases the coolness of your interior space and promotes the efficiency of the cooling systems. The HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard to retain the conditioned cool air and prevent hot or warm air.

2. Insulation

Insulation works through a similar mechanism as air sealing. Usually, insulating your windows and doors prevents the entry of warm air and keeps the cool air inside. Insulation works as a barrier, preventing the escape of conditioned cool air and hindering hot air from outside.

3. Check for Air Leaks

It’s advisable to check for air leaks and seal them. Common areas to look out for include door frames, windows, sockets, baseboards, pipes, and electrical outlets. You can use caulking or weather stripping to seal small cracks or tiny openings between doors and windows. You can use foal sealant to cover cracks and holes in ceilings, floors, walls, and windows. Use door sweeps to prevent outside air from accessing your indoor space.

4. Ventilation

Ventilation, commonly known as airflow, allows the exchange of stale indoor air with fresh outside air, thus creating a healthier and more welcoming indoor space. Proper ventilation helps eliminate poor, polluted air containing moisture, cook fumes, and volatile organic compounds (VOC), which can all contribute to discomfort. You can achieve proper ventilation through cross-ventilation. This process involves opening windows on opposite sides to allow air to flow in one window and flow outside to the other.

5. Effective Use of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning can reduce your energy expenditure because air conditioners improve indoor air quality, reducing energy and electricity expenses. Reducing energy usage from air conditioning minimizes carbon emissions, thus improving your environmental carbon footprint. Regular cleaning of A/C units and regular maintenance improves your indoor air quality. Clean air filters have fewer allergens, less dust, smoke, and other contaminants likely to be distributed by the air conditioning system.

Here are a few energy-saving practices when using air conditioning:

  • Use natural cooling methods: Before turning on your air conditioner, open your windows during hot hours to allow cool, fresh air. In addition, use fans when necessary and take advantage of natural temperature changes.
  • Maintain proper insulation: Effective air sealing prevents heat loss and heat gain, improving the performance and functioning of your air conditioning system.
  • Zone cooling: If possible, utilize zone cooling by using portable air conditioners or adjusting your vents and pipes. Use zone coolers in specific areas of your home instead of cooling the entire space.

6. Outdoor Shading and Landscaping

Outdoor shading prevents direct sunlight from reaching your windows, doors, and walls, ensuring optimal indoor temperature. Shading acts as a passive cooling method because it diffuses direct sunlight, eliminates the need to use mechanical cooling techniques, and saves energy.

Here are tips for strategically shading your outdoor space:

  • Tree placement: Strategically identify the sun’s path during the day and plant trees on the eastern and western sides of your walls and windows to prevent direct sunlight from hitting your home.
  • Shade structures: Install pergolas and awnings on your outdoor space and south-facing windows to prevent the high-angle summer sun from hitting your windows and walls.
  • Deciduous trees: If you live in an area with distinct climatic patterns, you can opt for deciduous trees which shed their leaves during winter to allow direct sunlight radiation to reach your home.

7. Energy-Efficient Lighting

Lighting is essential for every home, but inefficient lighting can lead to higher energy bills. Traditional incandescent bulbs and other inefficient lighting alternatives contribute to carbon emissions with devastating environmental footprints.

Some tips for energy-efficient lighting:

  • Replace traditional lighting: Replace all incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs for more efficient lighting.
  • Identify lighting requirements: Assess the lighting requirements for each room and evaluate the appropriate bulb wattages and color temperatures to minimize energy consumption.
  • Dimmer switches and timers: Install timers to automatically switch off the lights when they’re not in use. Use dimmer switches to adjust the light according to your needs.

Briggs HVAC – Your Expert in Indoor Cooling Solutions

Briggs HVAC in Northern Virginia is your expert in residential and commercial indoor cooling. The company sells, installs, repairs, and maintains air conditioners, helping homes and offices meet indoor cooling needs. Briggs HVAC specializes in different HVAC brands, including Trane, Daikin, Carrier, Aprilaire, and Goodman.

Contact Briggs HVAC for superior indoor cooling solutions to keep your home cool this summer.

How to Save Money on Your Energy Bills with HVAC Upgrades

From the pancakes in your pan to the gas in your car, everything seems to be getting expensive these days. The rising cost of energy has been driven by climate change and increased demand for carbon fuels. Luckily, with clean energy, things seem to be getting into place. Upgrading your HVAC system can help you save money on your energy bills.

Here’s how you can save money on your energy bills with HVAC upgrades:

1. Insulating Your Indoor Space

Statistics show that homes and commercial establishments consume 40% of the energy consumed in the United States. And, of the $2000 households spend on energy annually, a whopping $200 to $400 could be going to outdated heating and cooling systems.

Sealing air leaks in your floors, fireplaces, ceilings, and floors is a great way to ensure you save significantly on lost energy. Most importantly, upgrading your HVAC system ensures that your cooling and heating systems function optimally, thus saving you significantly on energy bills.

2. Investing in a New System

Old or outdated HVAC systems can cost you significantly in energy costs. Understanding how technology has changed can help you step up and leverage the best-in-class heating and cooling systems.

For instance, the SEER rating continues to change, with changes targeting higher energy efficiency and lower heating costs. Therefore, investing in a new HVAC system can help you take advantage of new technologies in HVAC systems and ultimately help you save money on your energy bills.

3. Retrofit an Old HVAC System

Retrofitting an old HVAC system implies adding modifications to your system. HVAC systems tend to age with time, posing significant cost concerns to home and office owners.

However, adding modifications such as replacing an old PSC fan with an ECM drive, replacing burners, and upgrading to a programmable thermostat are all ways of making the HVAC more efficient. In addition, you can add dehumidification and improve the filtration of the entire system. All these represent critical retrofits to improve the energy efficiency of your systems and save money on energy bills.

4. Higher Efficiency and Performance

Newer air conditioners have higher SEER ratings than your typical 20-year-old system. That’s simply because newer air conditioners have higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER). This rating explains the amount of energy necessary for removing extra indoor air temperatures. The higher the rating, the less energy you need to get rid of excess temperature indoors. HVAC upgrades typically guarantee higher SEER ratings, ensuring you spend significantly less on electricity and energy bills.

5. Purchase Incentives

The most obvious disadvantage of a system with a higher SEER rating is that it will be typically more expensive to purchase at the onset. However, air conditioners with excellent SEER ratings will offer better purchase incentives. Indeed, some utility companies will offer you rebates for upgrading to energy-efficiency systems, including HVAC systems. This also applies to some states which offer tax breaks for energy-efficient air conditioners. So, ensure to check out with your respective state and utility company to see whether you qualify for these exciting offers.

6. Energy and Cost Savings

You’ll notice significant energy and cost savings immediately after upgrading your HVAC unit. Variations in SEER ratings contribute to energy and electricity savings. And even if your HVAC system has a decent SEER rating, there’s always room for improvement.

You can upgrade it to a higher SEER rating to bring energy consumption to an optimum. For instance, upgrading your SEER rating from 16 to around 19 can bring your energy savings to somewhere between 25% to 40%. HVAC upgrades contribute significantly to your energy and cost savings, whether you’re a residential property or a commercial establishment.

Additional Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bills

It’s important to recognize that huge energy bills come because it takes a lot of electricity to get rid of excess temperature in your indoor spaces. On the same note, higher electricity and energy bills are directly attributable to the amount of electricity you need to heat your home. This underlying understanding of nuances in energy use can help you save money on your energy bills.

Here are additional tips to save money on your energy bills:

  • Cover your windows and other open spaces: This helps prevent unnecessary loss of heat and entry of cool air, keeping your indoor temperatures constant.
  • Throw shade around the house: Planting indoor flowers or trees can help block direct sunlight and thus keep your house cooler.
  • Change your thermostat: It’s advisable to get creative about your thermostat and upgrade it to a programmable one. A programmable thermostat helps you adjust your indoor temperature at certain hours of the day.
  • Deploy ceiling fans: If possible, install ceiling fans on your house’s upper level and open the windows on the lower level. If you’re living in a one-story apartment, open windows far from the fan and close windows near the fan. This helps to regulate the indoor temperature and keep the energy utility bills to a minimum.

HVAC Briggs — Your Ultimate Destination for Indoor Heating and Cooling Savings in Northern Virginia

You can contact us for excellent indoor heating and cooling solutions. As a family-owned HVAC company in Northern Virginia, we provide excellent heating and air conditioning solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial establishments. We also provide AC repair, AC sales and installations, and AC maintenance solutions.

The Importance of Proper HVAC Ventilation in Indoor Air Quality

Truth be told, indoor air quality is a critical element of our daily lives. Indoor air quality impacts our health, comfort, productivity, and well-being. One of the main factors that affect indoor air quality is the presence of a proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Let’s explore the importance of proper HVAC in indoor air quality. But first, let’s take a quick look at what HVAC is.

What is HVAC

HVAC refers to a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems HVAC system. An HVAC system regulates the temperature, humidity, and air quality of a building, whether it’s a commercial set-up, an industrial set-up, or even a residential space. The purpose of an HVAC system is to provide a fresh, comfortable, and healthy indoor environment.

Now, let’s explore the importance of proper HVAC ventilation in indoor air quality:

1. Temperature Regulation

One of the main benefits of an HVAC system is to regulate the temperature of a living space, be it a residential house, a commercial office, or even an industrial shop floor. Proper temperature regulation is critical to the occupant’s health and overall productivity.

A poorly functioning HVAC system leads to poorly regulated indoor temperatures or fluctuating temperatures. These inconsistencies in temperature regulation can lead to health issues and discomfort.

2. Humidity Control

Building-related causes lead to high humidity levels in indoor spaces. Rising dampness, porous walls, and building leaks are all leading causes of structural moisture due to rising humidity levels.

High humidity levels can lead to mold growth and affect air quality, leading to cardiovascular health conditions such as heart disease, coronary syndrome, arrhythmia, and asthma. Low humidity levels can lead to dry skin, respiratory problems, and other health issues.

HVAC systems can regulate high humidity levels in a building. Well-functioning HVAC systems can adjust indoor humidity, ensuring optimal humidity levels important for the occupants’ health and well-being.

3. Air Filtration

Using a proper air filtration system leads to many benefits. These benefits include reduced risks of airborne diseases, eased asthma symptoms, and relieved allergies, among many other health benefits.

A proper HVAC system can replace an air filtration system by filtering out pollutants and allergens from your indoor air. A well-functioning HVAC system is an excellent air filtration system, thus removing particles such as pollen, dust, and gasses that can cause respiratory problems.

However, a poorly functioning HVAC system can circulate pollen, unwanted gases, and mold leading to respiratory health problems — asthma, tract infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

4. Ventilation

Proper ventilation is fundamentally significant for good indoor air quality. An excellent HVAC system can remove stale air and provide fresh air inside an enclosed building, whether an office, an industrial shop floor, or a home. On the contrary, a poorly functioning HVAC system affects your ventilation by circulating and accumulating stale air containing contaminants like gasses (formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, asbestos), pollen, mold, and dust mites.

Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

To understand why you need a properly functioning HVAC system, consider the overlapping health effects of poor indoor air quality.

Poor indoor air quality can have several health effects:

  • Respiratory problems: Poor air quality can lead to dangerous respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, and bronchitis.
  • Headaches and fatigue: Poor air quality can lead to headaches and fatigue, affecting productivity and well-being.
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation: Poor air quality leads to the accumulation of contaminants that affect your eyes, nose, and throat, causing discomfort.
  • Cognitive impairment: Quality indoor air affects your mental and psychological well-being. However, poor air quality affects your cognitive functioning — concentration and memory.

You need a Properly Functioning HVAC System

A proper HVAC system is essential for maintaining good air quality. It regulates temperature, humidity, and air quality important for indoor air quality. As mentioned, poor indoor air quality can have serious health repercussions, including respiratory disease, fatigue, headaches, and cognitive impairments. Experts advise maintaining a well-functioning HVAC system to ensure good air circulation, contaminant removal, and a healthy indoor environment.

Briggs HVAC — A Trailblazer in Indoor Air Quality

We provide our customers with a properly functioning HVAC system for residential, commercial, and industrial air quality needs. Briggs HVAC offers excellent solutions in AC sales, maintenance, and repair.

In addition, you get to enjoy quality heating services and HVAC solutions tailored to your indoor needs. So, whether it is a small office space, residential development, or a busy shop floor, you can always contact us for indoor air quality solutions.

Should You Consider a Heat Pump Alternative to Traditional HVAC Units?

Over recent years, most regions of the world have experienced extreme changes in seasonal climatic conditions. Summers have been extremely hot and during the winter it becomes extremely chilly. Well, all this can be attributed to climate change and global warming. Having the right HVAC system in your home can save you the agony of these extreme climatic conditions.

Just like the traditional HVAC units, a heat pump is also a type of HVAC system. So, if you are looking to replace the HVAC system at your home it is important to be aware of the difference between traditional HVAC units and modern heat pump systems. Both systems have their pros and cons. It is only after analyzing both systems that you can decide the best option for cooling your home. Let’s dive into what a heat pump is and if you should consider a heat pump alternative to traditional HVAC units.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a type of centralized HVAC system that uses electricity to cool and heat your home. When it comes to cooling, a heat pump works similarly to a normal air conditioning system. It cools the home by pumping the heat from inside the house to the outdoors. When it is cold, a heat pump will heat your home by collecting heat from the outdoors surrounding and distributing it inside your home.

A heat pump system has an outdoor unit and an indoor air handler. It uses refrigerant gasses for heating and cooling. When air is pulled into the coils connecting the outdoor unit and the indoor air handler, the refrigerant cools or heats the air depending on whether the pump is in cooling or heating mode.

What is a Traditional HVAC Unit?

Traditional HVAC systems comprise several independent components that ensure the temperatures in your home are at desired levels. An HVAC unit has a furnace for heating, air conditioning for cooling, and a ventilation system to distribute the heat and cool air. This involves a lot of ductwork to ensure that cool air and warmth are distributed throughout the home.

The air conditioning system cools the air inside by pumping the heat outside in a similar operation as a heat pump. The furnace on the other hand uses either electricity or gas to generate heat which is then circulated through the house.

Heat Pump vs Traditional HVAC

1. Heating and Cooling

A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and cooling unit you only have to switch between the heating or cooling mode. On the other hand, a traditional HVAC unit must have a furnace and an AC to heat and cool.

2. Cost

Buying and installation cost

  • The cost of buying and installing a heat pump ranges between $4000 to $10000 depending on the type and the size of your home.
  • The average cost of buying and installing a traditional HVAC unit is between $3500 – $5000

  Operational cost

  • Heat pumps are generally cheaper to operate and maintain compared to traditional HVAC systems. The traditional HVAC rack up higher operational costs than a heat pump due to heat generation. Furnaces use either electricity or gas to generate heat while heat pumps absorb heat from the surrounding area and circulate it. Research shows that the operational costs of traditional HVAC can be twice or thrice higher than a heat pump.

3. Energy Efficiency

The standard unit for energy efficiency in cooling systems is SEER (seasonal efficiency energy ratio). It is the ratio of heat energy removed from the home to the energy consumed by the cooling system. Heat pumps are more efficient than traditional HVAC units while in cooling mode.

This is because heat pumps use less electricity to cool spaces. In optimal climates, the efficiency of heat pumps is also high when in heat mode because it does not generate heat but instead absorbs it from the air.

However, in extremely cold climates, where temperatures dip below 30 degrees, heat pumps are unable to heat. This is because there is little to no heat to be absorbed into the heat pump coils.

As a result, you will need a supplemental heating element which might use more electricity compared to a furnace. Hence in such regions, a traditional HVAC unit is more efficient compared to a heat pump.

4. Durability and Longevity

Market studies show that traditional HVAC units last longer than heat pumps. The reason behind the longevity difference is the fact that a heat pump will work throughout the year while HVAC systems use the AC in hot weather and a furnace during cold times. The average lifespan of a heat pump is >15 years while an HVAC unit will last for 15-20 years. This can vary depending on the climatic conditions and maintenance.

Should You Consider a Heat Pump Alternative to Traditional HVAC Units?

From the comparative analysis above, the benefits of a heat pump are undeniable. An all-in-one cooling and heating system, with high energy efficiency, and lower operational and maintenance costs. Some heat pumps don’t need any ductwork as they can work ductless. Those that use ducts take up much less indoor space compared to traditional units.

So, if you are considering changing or upgrading your HVAC system, a heat pump is a good choice if you live in areas with optimal temperatures, where it doesn’t get extremely cold.

Briggs HVAC — Your One-Stop Destination for Residential and Commercial Cooling

Briggs HVAC offers diverse solutions in air conditioning, heating, and HVAC maintenance. Whether you’re looking for air conditioning solutions, heating services, or HVAC maintenance, we can help you bridge any gaps in residential and commercial cooling and heating.

Contact us for residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling.

What’s the Difference Between High Efficiency and Low Efficiency Units?

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Americans used 98 Quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) in 2015. The top energy uses were electricity generation, transportation, commercial, residential, and industrial.

Energy demand will increase to 4,000 billion kWh in 2023 up from 3,930 billion kilowatts in 2021. The Energy Information Administration estimates that more than a third of electricity in the United States will come from hydropower, wind, and solar.

In response to the growing demand for power in the United States, the Department of Energy has emphasized more efficient appliances. Air conditioning systems are one of the leading electricity users in most American homes. That’s why it’s important to buy high-efficiency air conditioners because they consume far less electricity than standard or low-efficiency HVAC.

Energy Efficiency Ratings

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measure of an HVAC’s overall efficiency. This ratio measures the cooling efficiency of standard air conditioners and measures how efficient or inefficient a conditioner is in cooling or heating.

Beginning in 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy set a minimum SEER rating for all HVAC. During this time, all HVAC had to meet a minimum SEER rating of 10. And in 1997, a new minimum was set at 14 SEER.

Over the years, a new SEER rating has been adopted for more efficient air conditioning systems:

  • 1992 – 10 SEER
  • 2006 – 13 SEER
  • 2015 – 14 SEER
  • 2023 – 15 SEER

According to the Department of Energy, new, more efficient air conditioners will reduce utility bills by 40%. And by upgrading from mid-range to high-efficient AC equipment, homeowners in southern states will get a huge return on their investment.

So, what precisely is the difference between high-efficiency and low-efficiency units? The next section of this post looks at the factors that distinguish high-efficient units from low-efficient AC units.

High-Efficiency Units

High-efficient HVAC units are new systems than their predecessors because they’ve leveraged new technology. High-efficient units operate with exceptional variable compressors because they reduce and adjust the levels of coolness and warmth without necessarily turning on and off.

The secret to an environment’s comfort lies behind three fundamental factors:

  • The outdoor condensing unit
  • Indoor variable speed blower
  • The intelligence of the controller

New air conditioners are efficient because their compressors can variably control the airflow and refrigerant flow. This seamless control and variability in airflow mean that homeowners get the capacity they want when they need it. Nothing more and nothing less.

In addition, high-efficient air conditioners control your room’s temperature with minimal energy consumption. The conditioners keep the temperature consistent over a long period.

Cycling on and off an air conditioner only causes wear and tear and doesn’t necessarily keep your house consistently cool the way you want it. In addition, regular cycling on and off causes large bursts of expensive energy.

Therefore, it’s good to keep investing in newer air conditioners.

The Benefits of Newer ACs are as follows:

  • Cost-efficiency: Newer units are more efficient in turning hot air into cold, keeping your energy bills significantly lower.
  • Variability: Newer ACs feature variable air speed adjusters that give the system more control and better efficiency.
  • Better filtration: High-efficiency ACs have thicker, larger-surface media filters which means the air circulating in your room is a lot cleaner and less dirt makes it into your AC system.
  • Sound reduction: There are up to 58 decibels in some air conditioners due to upgraded blades and compressor sound blankets.
  • Continuous blower system: A fundamental bonus of a high-efficient AC is the continuous nature of air circulation in the AC. Lesser efficient models have irritating on/off cycles, but high-efficient ACs provide continuous air circulation regulating humidity and reducing random air bursts.

Low-Efficiency Units

Low-efficient units are cheaper to buy but more expensive to maintain. These systems are not efficient in turning hot air into cold and do not have optimal humidity and temperature controls. Low-efficient units are single-stage models of ACs with irritating on/off cycles and are considerably louder than their high-efficient counterparts.

Which Units Should You Buy and Install

Although high-efficient air conditioners cost more in the short term, they end up costing less in the long term. High-efficient units last longer cost less to maintain and utilize less electricity.

Investing in a quality air conditioner is an important part of keeping your family safe and sound. In addition, a high-efficient unit can help you maintain your home and reduce energy utility bills.

Therefore, before embarking on your journey of purchasing an HVAC unit, it’s important to weigh the investment, the duration of time you’ll remain in the building, and the cost you’ll save on your energy utility bills.

Briggs Heating and Cooling Company — Your Ultimately Comfort Advisor

A professional HVAC provider can help you weigh your options. So, if you’re looking for the most efficient commercial and residential cooling, Briggs Heating and Cooling Company is your ultimate comfort advisor.

Whole-House Humidifiers: 5 Benefits for Homeowners

HVAC cooling and heating components tend to extract too much water vapor from the air, making indoor comfort levels unpleasant. To counter this dry air discomfort, whole-house humidifying equipment is often added to existing home HVAC equipment. Connected to the air ducts, the humidifier adds a set moisture level to the air flowing throughout the home ducting system. Here’s how whole-house humidifiers achieve five benefits for homeowners.

1. Improved Respiratory Health

When suffering from a cold or other respiratory problem, a time-honored remedy is to place your face over a steaming hot bowl of water, drape a towel over your head, and inhale the moisture-laden air. This helps to reduce inflammation, open congested airways, and loosen phlegm. While not quite as dramatic, the same effect is provided by whole-house humidifiers.

In the dry cold of winter, low humidity levels can dry out sinuses and cause bloody noses, result in chapped and split lips, and cause sore throats. If you suffer from asthma or sinusitis, catch a cold or flu, or get a sore throat, your condition will be improved with higher humidity. According to the Mayo Clinic, setting a humidifier to achieve between 30% and 50% humidity in the home is a healthy level.

2. Better Sleeping with Whole-House Humidifiers

Have you ever tossed and turned all night, unable to sleep when hot and uncomfortable? Of course, you have. It’s rare a person hasn’t experienced this at one time or another. When the humidity is too high, you become sweaty and uncomfortable. If the humidity is too low, dry nasal, mouth, and throat linings can cause you to snore. Either way, it’s challenging to get a relaxed night’s sleep. A comfortable humidity level will help you to breathe easier and relax.

3. Lower Energy Costs

Dry air feels colder than moist air, so a higher humidity level may help you and your family feel warmer. You may find that using a humidifier lets you set the thermostat to a lower temperature while, at the same time, everyone inside feels just as comfortable. Lower thermostat levels can mean lower energy costs.

The type of whole-house humidifier you purchase can impact potential energy savings. Equipment choices include central, impeller, evaporative, ultrasonic, and steam models. Contact your local Northern Virginia HVAC company for expert advice on the best type of whole-house humidifiers for your circumstances.

4. Whole-House Humidifiers Can Improve Age-Related Health Conditions

Dry mouth and dry eyes are health issues faced by many aging people. They are uncomfortable conditions made worse by low humid indoor air. While some relief can be achieved by eye drops, oral medications, and specific mouthwashes, a healthy humidity level also helps alleviate discomfort.

Another problem that many elderly people have is lower immunity, particularly in regard to respiratory diseases. Humidifiers help reduce airborne bacteria and virus concentrations.

5. Less Damage to Interior Objects

When indoor air is too dry, it can harm interior materials, particularly wood. For example, timber flooring, picture frames, and furniture can crack and warp. Wood-based musical instruments like violins, cellos, and guitars can also be spoiled.

Low humidity can also cause paint to crack and peel, as can wallpaper. Other everyday home items that can be negatively impacted include books, wine, photos, and paper-based postage stamp collections.

Reduce Static

Another benefit of humidifiers is the reduction of static in your home. While this is generally just an unpleasant nuisance, there are many instances where static electricity has caused damage to sensitive electronic equipment. So it’s a good thing to avoid where possible.

Indoor plants

If you love growing indoor plants, then a humidifier will be a boon for your green friends. Most indoor plants are from tropical and subtropical regions and dislike low humidity. The plants will grow more readily in higher than lower humidity levels. You’ll also need to water the plants less often.

Keeping HVAC and Whole-House Humidifiers at Peak Efficiency

Being comfortable in your home, no matter the time of year is important. Unpleasant indoor temperatures, unhealthy humidity levels, and overall low air quality can aggravate health conditions, restrict your ability to sleep well, impede concentration, and negatively affect your mood and sense of well-being.

Servicing Northern Virginia and nearby counties, Briggs HVAC are experts in maintaining your home heating and cooling systems in peak condition. Your humidifier must be regularly maintained so mold and bacteria don’t develop in and around the equipment.

Get in touch with us for any installation, maintenance, and repairs needed for your home heating and cooling systems.