What Causes Cracks in a Heat Exchanger?

October 10th, 2014

A cracked heat exchanger is one of the most serious issues that your furnace can develop. In furnaces, the heat exchanger is designed to direct combustion byproducts to the exhaust flue on one side and warm air into the house on the other. A cracked heat exchanger can cause combustion byproducts like carbon monoxide to mix with the air being circulated into the house. Practically all of the combustion byproducts from a furnace are toxic, and can cause death in high amounts. In the interest of helping prevent this issue, we’ve assembled a list of causes for cracked heat exchangers.

Overheating

If an air filter becomes too dirty, it can block most of the airflow through the heat exchanger. This causes heat to become trapped in the heat exchanger, where it will put the part under enormous strain. This is one of the most common causes of cracked heat exchangers. It’s also one of the reasons that changing your air filter every month is recommended.

Oversized Furnace

An oversized furnace presents a number of problems for you entire heating system. For the heat exchanger in particular, the constant short-cycling common to oversized furnaces will cause the metal pipes to rapidly expand and contract. Over time, this increased stress can open cracks. An oversized furnace can also cause the heat exchanger to overheat.

Age

Even if you take good care of your heating system, the heat exchanger can simply crack from years of use. The natural cycle of expansion and contraction will cause the metal in your heat exchanger to wear out after enough time. It is far better to have this happen after a couple decades of use, however, than to have to potentially replace your entire furnace after 5 years due to preventable issues.

Regardless of how the problem occurs, the important thing is that you replace a cracked heat exchanger as soon as possible. It might be a pain, but the alternative is much worse. If you think you may have a cracked heat exchanger, call Comfort Flow Heating. We conduct heating repairs throughout the Eugene region.

Why Do Furnaces Need an Exhaust Flue?

October 3rd, 2014

Your furnace generates a great deal of heat when it runs; it also generates fumes and carbon monoxide, which need to be transferred out of your house safely in order to avoid some serious problems. The way these items are transferred outside your home is via the exhaust flue. However, should problems develop with the exhaust flue, such as cracks from corrosion, the fumes and exhaust can circulate back into your home. During a home heating maintenance appointment in Eugene, your flue and its components are thoroughly checked for cracks and other problems. If anything is found, you can schedule an appointment for repair with your Comfort Flow Heating technician.

How Does an Exhaust Flue Work?

The furnace exhaust flue, also called a furnace exhaust stack, is a metal tube that vents the noxious combustion gases from the heat exchanger to the outside. Inside the stack resides a damper that regulates the pressure between the air from the furnace and the outside air. This damper helps create the draft that pulls the exhaust gases up the stack for venting. The damper also prevents the exhaust from coming back into the furnace and your home. The piping for the furnace exhaust can be routed through your home to an outlet point, or routed into your chimney, if you have one.

Common Problems with Exhaust Flues

There are several common problems that can develop with exhaust flues:

  • Cracking – as mentioned above, cracks can develop in the flue pipe from corrosion. Corrosion can develop from water vapor or debris caught in the piping.
  • Leaks between joints – leaks can develop between the joints of the flue pipe, which can weaken the pipe.
  • Backdrafting – backdrafting is a serious situation in which the exhaust fumes are sucked back into your system and your home due to negative indoor air pressure. This scenario can be caused by insufficient air supply to your furnace or problems with the exhaust fan.

The best way to make sure your flue is in good shape for the winter is to schedule heating maintenance in Eugene. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, call Comfort Flow Heating today.

How Does Fall Maintenance Improve Air Conditioning Performance?

September 26th, 2014

As we creep closer to winter, it is easy to turn off our air conditioner and start thinking about heating. But just shutting your AC off without first scheduling maintenance may lead to problems when you turn your AC back on in the spring. Your air conditioner worked hard all summer; as a result, it is dirty and worn, and may even have a developing problem of which you are unaware. Scheduling maintenance for your air conditioning can help with these kinds of problems and more, and help put your AC in great shape before winter comes. Fall is here and the trained technicians at Comfort Flow Heating are ready to help, so call us today!

Benefits of Fall Maintenance

There are multiple benefits to scheduling fall maintenance for your air conditioner:

  • Maintain energy efficiency – when your air conditioner becomes dirty and worn out from summer usage, it won’t operate at its normal level of efficiency. The tune-up your air conditioner receives during a maintenance appointment allows it to operate optimally, which helps your system maintain its expected efficiency level.
  • Prevent repairs – one of the biggest benefits of maintenance is that it allows you to get ahead of repairs. During a maintenance appointment, your air conditioner is thoroughly inspected by the technician, allowing him/her to detect any existing problems. If there are problems, they can be taken care of before the next cooling season.
  • Extend life of equipment – when your air conditioner is kept in good working order, it doesn’t operate under stressful conditions. This can help extend the life of your equipment.

How Does Fall Maintenance Improve Performance?

Now that you’ve seen some benefits of fall maintenance, let’s look at how the performance of your system is improved. As mentioned above, the technician thoroughly inspects your entire system, but that isn’t all. He/she cleans components, checks for refrigerant leaks, lubricates and adjusts parts as necessary, and makes small repairs where needed. All of this work puts your components into good working order, and allows each component to operate as it should; this helps improve your system’s overall performance.

Fall is the perfect time of year to schedule maintenance for your air conditioning in Eugene. Call Comfort Flow Heating today!

Common Problems with the Condensate Tray and Drain

September 19th, 2014

Your air conditioner keeps you cool by relying on a refrigeration cycle to remove the heat from the air in your home. And while this helps lower the temperature, this same process also helps keep you more comfortable by lowering humidity levels. When there is too much moisture in the air, the evaporator coil helps to control moisture levels, while the condensate tray and drain help moisture evacuate from your home.

How It Works

The evaporator coil helps refrigerant to absorb heat from the inside air so that it can release outdoors. Additionally, as warm air blows over the very cool evaporator coil, the process of condensation leads to water droplets forming on the outside of the coil. Water then drips into the condensate pan, a shallow, angled tray underneath the evaporator coil with a hole at the bottom that allows the condensation to drain outdoors.

What Goes Wrong

  • Condensate Pan Is Misaligned: The condensate tray has to be at the correct angle so that water can flow easily into the drain. Sometimes, the technician does not properly position the tray, or it may get knocked out of place over time. If this is the case, water may leak into your home.
  • Clogged Condensate Drain: A clogged condensate drain may also cause water to leak from the tray. Over time, debris may fill up the drain pipe, causing water to back up into the pan. This is problematic for a couple of reasons. For one, the water may flow into your home. However, it may also attract mold and mildew which could cause health problems for some of your family members.
  • Damaged Tray: Finally, the tray may tear or become cracked over time, causing water to leak out of the pan. Usually, the least expensive option is to have a technician replace the tray entirely.

When you notice leaks from your AC system, you need a professional who can assess the problem and make quick repairs to avoid any potential damage to your home. For repairs, maintenance, or tips about air conditioning in Eugene, give the technicians at Comfort Flow Heating a call.

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.