Tag Archive for: Heater Maintenance

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.

HEPA Filter vs Traditional Filters: 5 Things to Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. What are the Advantages of HEPA Filters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Can I Fit HEPA Filters Myself?

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

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

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

Air Filters and HVAC Maintenance in Northern Virginia

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

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

How Bad Is a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

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

How Does a Heat Exchanger Get Damaged?

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

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

What Happens When a Heat Exchanger Breaks?

Fire Hazards Take Hold

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

Deadly Gas Leaks into the Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do — Repair or Replacement?

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

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

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

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Risk in Northern Virginia

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

4 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Heater Before You Need It This Winter

With the passing of Labor Day and the school-age children going back to classes, this is the first sign that summer is over. Days will get shorter and, more importantly, temperatures will drop, especially at night. Now is the time when homeowners will use their HVAC systems to keep warm, using the heater and furnace for comfort. But your HVAC system hasn’t been in use for a few months, so there are a few important things you should do to ensure you’re taking care of your heater and are ready for another cold winter.

1 – Change The Filter

This is especially important if your HVAC system is integrated with your air conditioner. Even if your furnace hasn’t been running all summer, your AC has been pushing air through the furnace to flow through your air ducts. This means that the filter currently inside has been hard at work, screening out particles and contaminants from outside.

It’s always a good policy to maintain a seasonal routine when it comes to replacing air filters. At a minimum, you should put in a new air filter every three months, or with the change of season. Taking longer than this results in blockage to the filter that forces your HVAC system to stay on longer, and leads to a rise in your monthly bills. If you want to be sure of your filter efficiency, you can also change filters every month, but three months is adequate for most homes.

2 – Get The Ducts Inspected & Cleaned

There’s often a misconception that when things don’t have moving parts, that means that they take care of themselves, and don’t require much maintenance. In the case of your air ducts, however, that’s not necessarily the case.

In the same way, the shingles of your roof are exposed to the elements; your air ducts have air constantly moved through them during the year. This can mean that blockages may occur in some locations that can have an impact on your heating for the winter. In some cases, wear and tear or even issues in the basement—if ducts are exposed—could mean damage that results in leakage. If you want to make sure your ducts are still airtight and efficiently transferring air throughout your home, call the professionals and have them checked and cleaned.

3 – Check Your Vents

The vents or “heat registers” are they are also called, are an important part of your comfort at home. Now that you’re making the switch back to heating, it’s a good time to take a walking inspection of your home and look at all the vents in the different rooms. Are they still clear? Has anything accumulated inside or on them?


One common problem that happens without people noticing is the blockage of these vents because of furniture. Moving a recliner or sofa, for example, may inadvertently block a vent, preventing the air from getting through. In bedrooms, it’s not unusual for people to sacrifice proper ventilation to get a shelf or desk just where they want it, but this will have an impact on bills now that free flow of air has been interfered with.

4 – Get Your Furnace Checked

Finally, it’s always a good maintenance and preventative measure to have the experts come in and look over your HVAC system. A gas furnace, for example, needs to be occasionally checked to make sure that gas delivery is still in order, and that no parts are out of place that could lead to the formation of carbon monoxide during the heating process, which can be dangerous to all residents of a home.

When you have experts come in, they have the tools and the experience to ensure that a thorough inspection takes place. They can make minor adjusts to the HVAC system to ensure small problems are eliminated. With proper testing, once everything is done, they make sure you’re good to go for the winter, rather than turning the heat the day it gets really cold and finding out that your furnace isn’t up to the task after all.

Taking Care of Your Heater with Briggs HVAC

If you want to make sure that your heater is ready for another winter of comfort, contact us today. We have the people, tools, talent, and experience to make sure that your transition to the winter months is a smooth and warm one with no problems. Let us inspect and maintain your heater to get you ready for the next season.

Noises that Your Heater Makes & What They Mean

It is definitely winter now, as you can probably tell by the snow covering our area and the heaters in our house have been humming along for a couple of months now with a couple to go. As with all things we are around often when something doesn’t sound the same, it can be alarming. Just like our spouse with a hoarse voice or our car with a new noise, our heating systems can begin to make noises that we’re not accustomed to hearing and may raise concerns. We’ll cover some of the most popular noises that your heating system will make in its lifetime.

Sidenote: If your heating system is making noises that aren’t typical to it, call a professional. The issues we describe can lead to damage to the unit, your home, and possibly your family. Poor maintenance can result in failure of the unit or possibly fires. We recommend pre-season maintenance to prevent these issues.

The dreaded scraping noise that your heater makes

Is your heater making a scraping noise? That metal on metal noise that keeps you up at night is almost always the blower inside of your heater. Here are the reasons for this metal on metal noise in your home:

  • Loose Blower Wheel Nut
  • Broken Blower Wheel
  • Blower Wheel Mount is Hitting Casing

At any rate, it’s best for a professional to diagnose and repair this issue. Properly mounted Blower Wheels not only reduce sounds coming from the unit but improve the efficiency of the unit.

Squeaaaaaaaaling in the middle of the night from your heater

This one typically makes you pick up the phone right away. It sounds like a rubbery noise that makes your eye twitch when you hear it. This issue is usually the belt that runs the blower fan. It fails due to a lack of maintenance and causes the awful squealing that you’re hearing right now. The simple fix of replacing the belt will take care of this issue in a hurry and you’ll be back to harmony in no time.

Is your furnace popping?

If you’re hearing a popping or banging noise, consider giving us a call. This is the worst noise that your unit can make and is often a cause of your burners being too dirty to light, causing a buildup of gas before it can fully light that results in a pop or bang. It’s not a fun noise to hear and should be dealt with immediately.

If you have a boiler, it typically means the same thing as it does on a furnace, except, instead of a dirty burner it is scaling on the burner.

Prevent Heater Noises

Heater noises are preventable! Simple pre-season maintenance will help you keep peace of mind as you go into the winter season and endure it until Spring comes back around. We recommend hiring a professional to come in and do the typical winter prep pre-season work required to keep a heating unit running strong so that you’re not without heat or worse, dealing with house fires.

It’s not too late to get maintenance on your unit, take a look at our HVAC Maintenance Plan & Contact Us Today.

Get Ready, Winter is NEAR!

As the days are getting shorter and shorter, we’re beginning to see temperatures dropping. This means Winter is on its way! There is no better time than right now to ensure your heating equipment is up to par for this year’s fridged North Virginia temperatures.

Here is what you can do to ensure you’re ready for the cold:

  1. Replace your filter. It’s best to get started with a fresh filter as you go into the cold months.
  2. Turn on your heat, it should fire up in just a few moments and begin putting that sweet, warm air into your home. It may smell a little funny at first as it gets warmed up.
  3. Listen to the unit. Is it louder than normal? Acting funny? Call an expert, prevent major issues by acting sooner than later.
  4. After about 15-20 minutes, use a standard thermometer to test the air temperature. If it and the thermostat don’t match, it may be time to replace the thermostat.
  5. Call the pro. Every Spring & Fall is a great time to be on a maintenance plan to ensure your units are taken care of for the season ahead. Learn more about Brigg’s Maintenance Plan here.

Other things to consider in preparation for Winter

Air can find it’s way in or out of virtually anywhere. Inefficient homes can cost you money and comfort. These few items can quickly help your home run more efficiently and be more comfortable for your family year round.

  1. When it’s cold outside, turn on the heat in your home. The air temperature difference will help you detect leaks.
  2. Walk around your home, place your hand near doorways, windows, vents, pet doors, and attic spaces.
  3. If you feel a cold air pocket or breeze coming through, you have a leak.
  4. Mark the leaks with tape or post-it notes to come back and repair.
  5. Do the appropriate repair for each of the air leaks.

Air leaks in the home are a leading factor to heat loss during the winter and cause the heating units to work harder to keep the space at temperature.

When you’re ready to switch on the heat this year, call Brigg’s to come out and service your heating unit. We look forward to helping you stay comfortable this year!

Stay Warm!

Is your Heating System Ready? Fall 2018 is here!

As the temperature starts to come down and the leaves start to change, one thing we all have to be ready for is firing up the heating system for the first time this season.

With that time quickly approaching, Briggs wants to make sure that you’re ready for it by checking your Heating system before you need it.

How to Test Your Heating System Before it gets cold

Testing your heating unit to make sure that it is working properly is a simple, but important task. Follow these steps to make sure that your heating system is working:

  • Turn on your thermostat and put it to heat.
  • Raise the temperature to at least 10 degrees above the current room temperature.
  • Listen for your heating unit to fire up, it should only take a moment.
  • Use a standard thermometer to test the temperature of the room after 15 minutes. Place this thermometer by your thermostat and check that the temperatures are reading the same. If they are not, you may need to replace your thermostat.

If the equipment does not start up, you can press the reset button on the burner’s relay, but make sure to only press it once. If the system still does not start up, you may need to call an HVAC professional to check your heating system.

Heating System Maintenance Checklist

Once you have tested your system to make sure that it runs, you should also complete some basic maintenance tasks to avoid any breakdowns and ensure that your system will run efficiently. Here’s a short checklist to help you make sure you are ready for winter:

  • Check your windows and doors for leaks and cracks. Though they may be harder to notice in the summer, these areas let more cold air in, causing your heating system to work harder than it needs to in order to keep your home warm.
  • Clean or replace air filters. Dirty and clogged air filters can also decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system. These should be checked and replaced regularly to keep your system running smoothly.
  • Turn off the power to your furnace, and clean the heater’s fan blades if you are able to access them. Also, check to see if the fan’s motor and blower shafts need lubrication. Keeping your system cleaned and oiled helps prolong the life of the unit.

Checking your heating system before it’s cold outside is about more than just comfort. A properly maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently and help you keep your energy costs down when you are running your heater often. Checking the system before you use it regularly also helps you to eliminate any potential hazards from a broken or malfunctioning heating system.

If you need help getting your heating system ready for the cold weather, call us today. An experienced HVAC technician can test your HVAC system and make sure you are ready for the coldest time of the year.