Is Fall a Good Time to Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance?

September 12th, 2014

If your air conditioner made it through the summer with little or no trouble, you may not think about calling a technician. But you are doing your system a disservice if you do not allow a technician to fully inspect your AC well before the next cooling season. Fall is an excellent time to schedule air conditioning maintenance, especially if a technician did not look at your system during the cooling season. Here are some of the advantages you may notice come spring if you schedule AC maintenance today.

  • Higher Efficiency: When a technician visits your home for maintenance, your air conditioning unit will be cleaned, adjusted, and thoroughly inspected. This is advantageous for many reasons, including efficiency. Your energy bills can go up if a part is out of place, needs repairs, or if it’s dirty. Clean components are more effective at carrying out the heat exchange process that is necessary to cool the air in your home, which means your unit will run as it’s supposed to, keeping bills low.
  • Longer Lifespan: Air conditioners that receive regular maintenance also tend to last longer. Most air conditioners have an expected lifespan of about 10-15 years, but without any maintenance, your unit may not make it that long. This is because small problems will worsen over time, causing some components to fail early on. After a maintenance inspection, you will be alerted to any small problems that may be at risk of damaging your system permanently.
  • No Surprises: Finally, if you schedule maintenance today, it’s unlikely that you’ll be greeted by a failing unit in the next cooling season. For example, you may be unaware of low refrigerant in your unit unless you get a visit from a maintenance technician. A refrigerant leak may get worse, and, by spring, you may have very little left. When you switch on your AC, the lack of refrigerant could cause compressor failure, but scheduling maintenance now means there probably won’t be any unpleasant surprises such as this in the spring.

Do you need air conditioning maintenance in Eugene? Trust the dependable technicians at Comfort Flow Heating for all of your AC repairs or for regular maintenance. Give us a call!

Why Schedule Professional Duct Sealing?

September 5th, 2014

Ductwork can break down just like any other part of your air conditioning system in Eugene, and the results can cost you money every month in your utility bills. One of the best ways to reduce the problems caused by faulty ductwork is to schedule professional duct sealing. Since 1961, Comfort Flow Heating has helped multiple customers throughout the Eugene area with ductwork installation, repair and replacement, and we can help you with your ductwork.

What Is Duct Sealing?

Duct sealing entails repairing the holes and cracks that can develop in ductwork over time, as well as sealing connections together with metal binding. To properly seal ducts, your technician will use a substance called mastic coupled with either fiberglass or foil tape. Mastic is an adhesive that is also a very strong bonding agent. When sealing holes or cracks in your ductwork, the technician will spread mastic over the faulty area, then lay tape over the mastic. The mastic needs a period of time to cure, during which it hardens into a permanent seal. This procedure is done for all holes and cracks in your ductwork.

When sealing connections, the technician will brush mastic onto the ends of the two pieces of ductwork that are coming together, then wrap a piece of metal binding around them, connecting the two ends together. The binding is secured with sheet metal screws, and the mastic will harden, creating an air-tight seal between the two pieces.

What Are the Benefits of Duct Sealing?

There are several important benefits to duct sealing:

  • Significant reduction of air loss – one of the biggest problems with faulty ductwork is the rate at which air is lost. It is estimated that up to 30% of your total air loss can be attributed to faulty ductwork. By sealing the holes and cracks, you can restore your air flow.
  • Better energy efficiency – when your system loses air, your air conditioner has to work harder to recoup the loss; this puts stress on your AC. Anytime your air conditioner is stressed, it uses more energy to operate.
  • Better indoor air quality – different kinds of particles and fumes can enter your air flow directly through the holes and cracks in your ductwork; this can reduce your indoor air quality.

Duct sealing can provide you and your air conditioning system with a lot of benefits, but only if it’s done correctly. This is why it’s important to always hire trained professionals for any kind of work on your air conditioning. If you are interested in scheduling duct sealing in Eugene, call Comfort Flow Heating today.

 

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Comfort Flow Heating wishes your family a happy end of summer.

Upgrades to Consider During Air Conditioning Installation

August 22nd, 2014

When you install a new air conditioner for your home, you will likely receive a system with improved energy efficiency over your older system. However, you don’t have to let the benefits end there. As part of installation, you can choose some additional upgrades for your HVAC system to improve performance and increase energy efficiency.

Comfort Flow Heating has performed air conditioning installations in Springfield, OR for more than 50 years. We know many ways to upgrade your AC system that help you get the most from your cooling.

We’ve listed some of your options below; to find out more, contact one of our cooling specialists today.

New Thermostat

If you’ve had your current air conditioner for more than 10 years, you probably have an outdated thermostat controlling it. If you still use a manual thermostat, now is the time to switch to a more precise digital model. If you already have a digital model, you can upgrade to one with programmable features that will allow you control the temperature even when you are away from home. A new thermostat will make your life easier, your comfort better, and your utility bills lower.

Zone Control System

With a central air conditioning system that uses ductwork, you must cool down every room whenever the AC turns on. But installing a zone control system into the ventilation changes that. Dampers placed into the ductwork and connected to separate thermostats allow you to shut off cooling to different areas (“zones”) of the house, saving you money and allowing individuals to adjust the temperature in their area to their needs.

Heat Pump

This is an upgrade for your whole system, and for your comfort during the whole year. Instead of putting in another standard air conditioner, you can choose to install a heat pump. A heat pump works the same way as an air conditioner—except that it can reverse the direction that it moves heat and bring heat into your home. So it works as both an air conditioner and a heater, packed into one unit. It works more efficiently than most heaters as well.

Comfort Flow Heating can install all of this and more for your air conditioning installation in Springfield, OR. We also strongly recommend that you sign our Energy Savings Agreement, which will delivery you annual maintenance for both your air conditioning and heating system to make sure they work in prime condition for many years. We offer 1-, 2-, and 3-year agreements, so you can select the plan that best suits your budget. In addition, the Energy Savings Agreement provides a 15% discount on repairs, 24-hour emergency service, and priority customer scheduling.

Why Would I Consider a Geothermal System?

August 15th, 2014

A geothermal heat pump takes up a large amount of space compared to a standard (or “air-source”) heat pump or the combination of an air conditioner and a heater, such as a furnace or boiler. Geothermal systems also require a longer period for installation and have higher upfront costs. So why should you consider going with a geothermal heat pump rather than one of the numerous alternatives?

There are many good reasons that a geothermal system should be on your shopping list for a new comfort system. The benefits that these appliances provide help them pay back their initial costs many times over, both in savings and in dependable comfort. To find out more about the possibilities for geothermal installation in Eugene, OR, call the professionals at Comfort Flow Heating. We’ve helped customers find the best way to heat and cool their homes since 1961.

The Advantages of Going Geothermal

  • Dependable performance: Standard heat pumps have a major drawback that sometimes prevents homeowners from installing them: they suffer from efficiency loss during extreme weather conditions. The colder it is outside, the harder it is for a heat pump to extract heat from the outdoors and bring it indoors. The hotter it is outside, the less efficiently a heat pump can release heat to the outdoors. But geothermal heat pumps use the steady temperature 10 feet below the frost line to extract and deposit heat. At this depth, the earth remains around 55 degrees no matter the temperature above ground—you won’t have to worry about your heat pump struggling during any time of the year.
  • Energy savings: Using the steady temperature of the earth also means that a geothermal heat pump will need to use less power on average than an air source heat pump. The U.S. Department of Energy has discovered through testing that ground source heat pumps can work 3 to 6 times more energy-efficiently than other types of heating and cooling systems, and they will pay for their installation costs in 5–10 years.
  • Longevity: You will have many years after the payback period to enjoy the savings of a geothermal heat pump, because few comfort systems have such long lives. The indoor heat pump elements of a geothermal system will last 20+ years (with proper maintenance), while the underground loops, the most expensive part to install, can last for 50+ years. Chances are that you won’t ever need to install another comfort system once you have a geothermal heat pump working for your home.

Geothermal heat pumps won’t work ideally for every property: they require the right amount of space, soil conditions, and temperatures. Call up our specialists in geothermal heating and air conditioning installation in Eugene, OR today to arrange for an appointment to survey your property. Comfort Flow Heating will find out if geothermal is your best choice, and then handle the installation quickly and effectively so you can benefit from decades of efficient and reliable heating and cooling.

What Are the Benefits of Duct Cleaning?

August 8th, 2014

“Out of sight, out of mind” could be applied to many homes’ ductwork. Not seen, and hopefully not heard, your ductwork is the hidden highway in your home that delivers cool air throughout. But, as with other parts of your air conditioning system, dust, dirt and debris can collect in your vents, decreasing indoor air quality and increasing the stress on your system. Do you know the last time you had your ducts cleaned? If not, it may be time to schedule a duct cleaning with Comfort Flow.

Why Call for a Duct Cleaning?

All kinds of things can take up space in your ductwork: dirt and dust, small debris, pests (both animal and insect), mold, mildew, fungi – there can be a whole world in there. And as long as it stays there, it will continue to blow directly into your home.

What Happens During a Duct Cleaning?

It typically takes less than a day to clean your ductwork. When the technician arrives at your home, s/he will thoroughly inspect your entire system. Specialized access tools are used to open the ductwork, and a large, truck-mounted vacuum is attached to the openings. This first pass with the vacuum is to remove the build-up of dust and dirt. At this point, the technician may use visual aid tools, such as a periscope, to re-inspect the inside for any clinging particles. If found, pneumatic devices and/or scraping tools will be used to remove these particles, which will be vacuumed by a hand-held, professional HEPA vacuum. Once the ductwork is cleaned, your technician will inspect and clean all the household registers. Collection devices are used for the removal of all the particles of your system. Any problems found with your ductwork, such as broken seals, excessive mold growth or the presence of leaks, will be reported to you (repair work is not typically done during a duct cleaning) for further action.

Benefits of Duct Cleaning

First, duct cleaning helps make your air conditioning system more efficient by removing build-up that can contribute to air flow restrictions. Second, it helps improve the quality of your indoor air, and third, it helps improve the comfort level in your home.

Ducts should be cleaned every 3-5 years, so if it’s been a while since yours have been cleaned, call Comfort Flow Heating and schedule your duct cleaning in Salem today.

How Do Air Conditioning Repairs Improve Energy Efficiency?

August 1st, 2014

During the summer, you’re used to seeing your energy bills go up and up. But you may have unusually high bills if you allow air conditioning repair needs to go unaddressed for too long. Air conditioning works by removing heat from a home and releasing it outdoors. This process repeats over and over again until your home reaches the desired temperature. If a problem interferes with heat exchange, however, your air conditioner will have to run for a longer period of time and work a lot harder to reach this temperature. When your air conditioner cycles for too long, you use a lot of energy even though your home may never be able to reach the set temperature with some problems.

Types of AC Repairs that Can Improve Efficiency

There are many problems that can cause your air conditioner to consume a lot of energy. Here are some of the repairs that can improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.

  • Frozen Evaporator Coil: The evaporator coil freezes when there is reduced airflow in the indoor portion of an AC. This coil helps to remove heat from the air, so any hindrance reduces its ability to transfer heat. Repairing a frozen coil restores efficiency, allowing the heat exchange process to take place uninterrupted.
  • Thermostat Issues: Replacing a faulty thermostat is another way to improve efficiency. Sometimes, wiring issues can cause the air conditioner to short cycle, or your home may never reach the set temperature. A new digital thermostat can not only solve these problems, but may also have more features than your older model.
  • Fan Motor Problems: As refrigerant cycles through the indoor evaporator unit of your AC, a blower fan moves indoor air over the evaporator coil and distributes cool air throughout your home, while an outdoor fan helps refrigerant to condense and dissipates heat outdoors. A broken fan motor may cause a fan to turn too slowly, and repairing or replacing the part can keep air moving through your unit and into your home.

Don’t let repair needs go unexamined for any longer. For air conditioning repair service in Springfield, OR, call Comfort Flow Heating today!

How to Make Your Air Conditioner More Energy Efficient

July 25th, 2014

Increased energy use in the summer means bills skyrocket, and many homeowners look for ways to cut costs. Your air conditioner uses a lot of energy to run, and may be responsible for a good portion of your high energy bills. So as the summer goes on, you may feel as if you have to use your air conditioner less frequently in order to save some money.

However, there are a lot of ways you can make sure your air conditioning system is energy efficient without shutting off your system entirely. Keep your home comfortable and your bills low with these money-saving tips.

  • Clean or Replace Filters: You should clean or replace the air filter in your system about once a month. This number may vary depending on use, so you should check the manufacturer’s instructions for a specific time period. Dirty filters block airflow so that your system has to work a lot harder to provide cool air to your home, reducing efficiency.
  • Professional Maintenance: One service that most homeowners can benefit from is air conditioning maintenance. When you call for maintenance, a technician cleans dirty components, inspects your system, and checks for leaks or damages that may affect the performance and efficiency of your AC.
  • Programmable Thermostat: Many homeowners can save money by taking advantage of the features of a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature ahead of time to change throughout the day. Lowering the temperature at peak hours and while you’re away can save you a lot of money every month. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, an AC technician can provide an upgrade.
  • Install a New System: Sometimes, your air conditioner is unable to cool your home efficiently because it is simply too old and worn down. If this happens, replacement is usually the best option. However, this offers you the opportunity to choose a new high-efficiency system. Look for an AC with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and the ENERGY STAR label.

To get energy-efficient air conditioning in Salem, call the technicians at Comfort Flow Heating today!

How to Properly Prepare for Air Conditioning Installation

July 18th, 2014

A whole-home air conditioner can be a great asset for your property, but it’s not like purchasing a simple window fan. An air conditioning system is a large appliance that will have an effect on everyone in your home for a number of years, so it’s important to take a number of steps before installing an air conditioning system in your home.

Choose a Type of Air Conditioning System

When it comes to air conditioning systems, there are a number of options available for purchase. Each type offers its own set of benefits, which you can discuss with your air conditioning installation expert:

  • Traditional split system – a very popular choice for residential properties, a split system air conditioner has two units, indoor and outdoor, that deliver the cool air via ductwork. The outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser, condenser fan and coils; the inside unit houses the blower and evaporator coils. Even though there are two units, the system works as a single, closed system.
  • Ductless mini-split system – ductless systems have an outdoor unit very similar to a traditional split-system AC, but use separate individual blowers to distribute the air throughout your home rather than ductwork. Blowers can be installed into your choice of rooms, and each outdoor unit can support up to 4 blowers.
  • Geothermal system – geothermal systems use an in-ground loop to take advantage of the steady temperature of the earth below the frost line to both heat and cool your home. A geothermal system extracts the heat from the Earth during the winter and, using the heat pump, delivers it to your home. In summer, the heat pump removes the heat from your home and deposits it into the Earth. There is no use of fossil fuel with a geothermal system and the only component that needs electricity is the heat pump, which requires very little energy to run.

Choosing a Size

Size is very important when it comes to your air conditioning installation. An AC that is either too big or too small will result in discomfort and potential problems with the system itself. The best way to accurately calculate what size of air conditioner is best for your home is to determine the cooling load needed. This is done by considering a number of factors that answer the important question, “how much cooling does my home really need?” This calculation can be complex, so it is strongly recommended you work with a trained professional.

Energy Efficiency

Today’s air conditioners are very energy efficient. This efficiency is measured by a number known as a SEER number – seasonal energy efficiency rating. This rating starts at a minimum of 13 and can go as high as 23.  A high efficiency level is great for the environment and your monthly bills, but typically, the higher the SEER number, the more expensive the system. A trained professional can help you determine what the best SEER number is for your home and wallet, both short- and long-term.

A lot of factors need to be considered and weighed when purchasing a new air conditioning system. For over 50 years, Comfort Flow Heating has helped many customers with their air conditioning installations in the Springfield, OR area. If you are ready for a new air conditioner, call the experts who can help you with every aspect of your installation: Comfort Flow Heating.

3 Signs You Need Air Conditioning Repair Now

July 8th, 2014

When your air conditioning system stops running, you know it’s time for air conditioning repair. But what if your AC seems to be working properly with only some minor concerns? When should you call a technician if your system has not yet broken down?

If you want your air conditioning system to last the entire summer, and for years to come, you should always schedule air conditioning repair at the first sign of a problem. If you’re still unsure, here are three signs that you need repairs right away.

1.  Loud Noises

If you’re not sure whether the strange noise coming from your AC unit is problematic, it probably is. Any sound that seems strange or unwelcome should be addressed by a technician since it could lead to serious repairs in the future. A hissing noise, for example could indicate leaky ducts, which disrupt the air flow in your system and can cause the indoor evaporator coil to freeze. Buzzing may indicate an electrical issue that puts your home and AC unit at serious risk. A banging noise may mean that there is a loose component, which means parts of your system may fail before they should.

2. Loss of Cooling Power

Another indication that you need repairs now is if your AC has lost some cooling power. If your AC never quite seems to reach the number on the thermostat, it may mean you do not have enough refrigerant in your system, among other issues. If this is the case, your AC cannot remove heat from your home properly to replace it with cool air, and this may soon mean your indoor air handlers will only blow warm air.

3. High Energy Bills

Higher than average energy bills often indicate that your air conditioning system needs repair. If your AC unit is inefficient, the cause is most likely a faulty component within your system. If one of the components of your AC is not working correctly, the rest of your system often has to compensate to keep you cool. This means higher energy bills, but can also overwork your AC to the point of failure.

Comfort Flow Heating offers professional air conditioning services in Salem. Don’t wait to call; let us fix your AC at the first sign of a problem!