What is the Sacrificial Anode Rod?

March 4th, 2015

The parts of your water heater work together to heat up cool water from the pipes and return it to your plumbing system so that you have continued access to warm water for showering, cleaning, laundry, and more. But one part of your water heater does not really participate in this process at all. The sacrificial anode rod does not help to heat up water, nor does it serve any electro-mechanical purpose. But the anode rod still serves as the hero of the storage tank water heater, essentially sacrificing itself for the good of the tank.

Be sure to service your water heater in Creswell regularly with the help of the friendly technicians at Comfort Flow Heating. We can replace the sacrificial anode rod if necessary and make other vital adjustments in order to keep your system in the best shape possible.

The Anode Rod and Rust Prevention

When you turn on the hot water in your home and notice a reddish-brown color or flakes of rust, you may assume the worst. Rust indicates that your unit has begun to corrode. And once corrosion begins, there’s not much of a chance of saving the tank. A leaking tank could really mess up your home and potentially result in costly renovations, so replacement is often necessary at the first sign of corrosion.

Luckily, rusty water may not always be indicative of a rusted tank. It may just be that the anode rod has rusted through, a part that is simple for a trained technician to replace. In fact, the anode rod is meant to rust—the sole purpose for its presence in the tank.

The anode rod is typically made from aluminum or magnesium. Because these metals are more corrosive than iron, any corrosion should divert to the anode rod before it begins to affect your tank. However, it is possible that the anode rod can corrode so far that rust begins to develop on the tank itself. Prevent this from occurring by scheduling regular water heater maintenance.

When you notice rust from your water heater, let the experts at Comfort Flow Heating check it out. We can replace your water heater or perform any other necessary services for your water heater in Creswell. Give us a call today.

How Duct Cleaning Improves Your Indoor Air Quality

February 25th, 2015

When was the last time that you spared a thought for the ducts in your home? Probably not for a while, and no one can blame you for that. After all, what is there to really consider about ducts? They are an avenue for air to travel through, and that’s about it. Now, when was the last time you worried about the quality of the air in your home? Probably quite a bit more recently. People worry about dust and dander a lot more often, because they have a lot more apparent (and harmful) effects on the occupants of the home. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that there is a strong link between the home’s ducts and the pollutants that lower the home’s air quality. Let’s take a look at how duct cleaning can vastly improve your air quality.

The Ideal Environment

As you already know, the air in the average home is full of all sorts of airborne contaminants. These range from dust and dander to viruses and bacteria. While a lot of these contaminants have limited harmful effects, they can have a major impact on the health of allergy sufferers and those with weakened immune systems. While most people counteract these contaminants by dusting and keeping the house clean, there is one place that is often neglected: the ducts.

Ducts are not only spared cleaning efforts and other human activity, but they are also dark. This makes them the ideal environment for biological pollutants to spread, many of which can be killed by too much exposure to UV light. When a heating or air conditioning system is turned on, all these new pollutants are then blown out of the ducts and into the home, where they can begin infecting people.

Duct Cleaning as a Solution

Duct cleaning counteracts this vicious cycle by periodically removing the buildup of contaminants in your ducts. This both prevents the ducts from distributing contaminants around your house, and removes a lot of the extant ones from your air. Essentially, your ducts become a trap, collecting the majority of the airborne pollutants for removal by your HVAC technician.

If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in a while, call Comfort Flow heating. We provide duct cleaning services throughout the Florence area.

How Duct Repair Can Save You Money on Your Heating Bill

February 16th, 2015

There are several types of heating systems available to homeowners today, including ductless heat pumps and radiant heating systems. Radiant heating systems use a boiler to heat water and move it to the various rooms of the house. A ductless heat pump operates much like an air conditioning system, with a refrigerant line, compressor, coils, and blower fans that help to move heat from one area to another, except that it can also move in reverse, carrying heat from the outdoor air to the inside of the house. The indoor unit mounts onto the wall, eliminating the need for ducts.

Despite all of these options, the most common types of heating systems use the ducts to deliver warm air into the home. In some cases, homeowners have ducted heat pumps for efficient heating and air conditioning. But far more often, homes are equipped with furnaces, which run either via electricity, heating oil, or a natural gas line. This is the most common heating system in the United States, mostly because it tends to be reliable, safe, and long-lasting—as long as you schedule regular maintenance.

If your well-maintained heating system runs into trouble, it may be because of the duct system. Unfortunately, ducts are prone to leaks. And when the ducts have leaks, your home won’t get enough warm air, which means it will take longer to raise the temperature. Your heater could struggle as a result, and some parts may begin to break down as they become overworked.

When a heating system begins to fail, many technicians tend to repair the broken parts and overlook the duct system as a possible source of the issue. But the ducts should be routinely inspected in order to make sure you don’t run into any heating issues because of them. Leaks in the ducts also force you to spend a lot more money on your heating bills as your heating system takes a lot longer to condition your home.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the typical home heating and cooling system wastes about thirty percent of the energy it uses in the duct system. If you at all suspect that you need duct repair service for your home, or if it’s just been a while since anyone has checked out your system, call the friendly professionals at Comfort Flow Heating in Salem today.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

 

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

 

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

 

Here’s wishing you and your loved one a Happy Valentine’s Day!

What You Need to Know About the Limit Switch

February 5th, 2015

You may or may not be aware of this, but your heating system is actually covered in all manner of switches, valves, and other devices designed as safety measures. There are hundreds of different ways that a heating system could begin malfunctioning, and some of the major ones could end up severely damaging the system or proving dangerous to the home’s occupants. That is why so many safety measures are in place, and why you should know about them. Let’s take a look at one of the most important safety measures: the limit switch.

What is the Limit Switch?

The limit switch is a small part that measures the temperature inside your heating system. Specifically, it measures the temperature of the plenum, the largest chamber of any forced air heater. It is designed to shut down the system in the event that the temperature inside the plenum gets too high. Obviously, an overheating system presents a fire risk, not to mention the damage it can cause to parts that are not designed to withstand that level of heat. As such, the limit switch is one of the most important safety measures in your heating system.

However, there are some interactions between the limit switch and the heater of which you should be aware. Foremost among these is short-cycling.

Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is what happens when the heating system won’t stop rapidly turning itself on and off throughout the day. When a heater begins to overheat, it activates the limit switch, which shuts the system down to protect it. However, the limit switch doesn’t actually address whatever problem is causing the system to overheat. When the system has cooled off a bit, the thermostat reactivates it, as it hasn’t reached the desired temperature in the home yet. So, the system restarts and overheats again because the issue hasn’t been solved. This leads to an endless cycle of the system overheating and the limit switch shutting it off.

This behavior is extremely harmful to the heating system, putting it under exponentially more strain than it is designed to handle, and increasing the chances of a breakdown. If you notice this behavior, call a professional immediately.

If you’d like to know more, call Comfort Flow Heating to schedule an appointment with us today. We provide professional heating repair services in the Eugene, OR area.

Common Geothermal Repairs

January 30th, 2015

Geothermal systems are incredibly durable; after all, they have an average lifespan of 25-50 years. As these systems grow in popularity, their uniqueness can make homeowners wonder: what kind of repairs are common with this system? The concern is natural, as the buried ground loop can create images of challenging repair issues. Rest assured that geothermal systems tend to have fewer instances of repairs compared to other more traditional heating systems, and when you do have a need for geothermal repair, you can call the experts at Comfort Flow Heating to meet all your geothermal system repair needs.

Heat Pump Issues

Geothermal systems use heat pumps to facilitate the transfer of heat. During the winter, the heat is moved to your indoors and during the summer the heat is moved to ground or water where the loop resides. Common heat pump issues are anti-freeze leaks, problems with the compressor or condenser and age.

Scale

Many geothermal systems use water to help facilitate the transfer of heat. Water contains minerals, and these minerals can create build-up on the inside of the ground loop called scale. Scale is made of mineral deposits that tend to be high in calcium. If there’s enough scale build-up, the flow of the anti-freeze in the ground loop can be restricted. A simple acid flush performed by a professional can clear scale away and restore the flow inside the ground loop.

Issue with the Manifold

The pipes of a ground loop system need a single connection point that carries the fluid into the heat pump that resides in your home; this component is called the manifold. The manifold typically has several valves that correlate to the pipes connecting to it, and sometimes problems can develop with a valve, including scale build-up.

Geothermal systems should always be repaired by those who have experience with the systems because they are not like traditional heating systems, even with the use of heat pumps. The specialists at Comfort Flow Heating have the expertise and training you need for your geothermal system in Eugene, OR, so call us today.

How Does Duct Cleaning Help Heating?

January 23rd, 2015

Duct cleaning is one of the more important kinds of maintenance you can conduct on your heating system. Sadly, it is also one of the most ignored among homeowners. This is often because homeowners are simply unaware of how important duct cleaning is, not only for the health of your heating system but for your own health as well. Let’s examine the ways that duct cleaning helps your heating system, and provides a few benefits that you don’t want to miss.

The Necessity of Duct Cleaning

Ducts are naturally unobtrusive, designed to do their jobs quietly and stay out of sight as much as possible. This is a good thing in many ways. You don’t want giant sheet metal eyesores lining your walls, after all. However, this also means that they often get completely ignored regarding maintenance. Though it may seem like your ducts don’t need any sort of special attention to keep operating, they actually need duct cleaning in order to have a long and productive life.

As ducts are left undisturbed by the activities of the home’s occupants, they have a tendency to accumulate dust and other microscopic airborne pollutants over time. When the heat is turned on, all of that debris is circulated throughout the house and lowers your air quality. Duct cleaning removes debris and pollutants before they can circulate, improving your health and the health of the ductwork.

Duct cleaning isn’t limited to the ducts, either. Often, an HVAC technician will extend their cleaning efforts to the heater itself, ensuring that no dust is present in the system and that the air filter is clean and functioning. This helps the heater to operate more efficiently, as too much dust in the system can cause problems.

Finally, duct cleaning can save you money. The US Department of Energy has estimated that forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to leaks in the ductwork. While duct cleaning does not normally involve sealing leaks, it can identify them so that they can be fixed.

Schedule an appointment with us if you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in a while by calling Comfort Flow Heating. We provide duct cleaning services throughout Cottage Grove.

Steps to Take for Heating Installation

January 14th, 2015

Heating installation involves a lot more than selecting a heating unit and having it installed – that is, if you want the installation done correctly. Rushing the process not only robs you of the opportunity to install a potentially better system for your home, you may wind up with a unit that is the wrong size. So what steps should you take? Here are some suggestions from our Comfort Flow Heating installation experts for Salem residents:

Review Your Choices

Not too long ago, there were basically two choices for heating: a furnace or a boiler. These days homeowners have an array of choices. The heat options we carry at Comfort Flow Heating are:

  • Furnaces (gas or electric)
  • Heat pumps
  • Ductless systems
  • Radiant systems (electric)
  • Geothermal systems

Review Energy Efficiency

Every heating system comes with an energy efficiency rating. For combustion systems, this rating is known as AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency); heat pumps use a SEER rating for air conditioning and HSPF for heating. Electric radiant heating efficiency will be based on the kilowatt hours. Understanding the energy efficiency a particular type of system can offer you is an important part of your long-term comfort with a heating system, so it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Calculate Heat Load

Every home needs a certain amount of heating to be comfortable; too much can make the air hot and dry and too little can leave you feeling chilly. Heat load involves more than just knowing the square footage of your home; other factors to consider are your home’s orientation, floor plan, number of occupants, etc. Allowing a trained specialist to calculate your heat load helps ensure that you’ll purchase and install a heating system that is correctly-sized for your home.

New heating installation in Salem is a great opportunity to increase your energy efficiency and comfort; don’t let it slip by because you are rushing to install a new system. If you are in need of a new heating system, call the experts at Comfort Flow Heating in Salem today!

Ways a Malfunctioning Thermostat Affects Your Heating

January 5th, 2015

The thermostat of your heating system is probably the only piece of equipment you come into contact with. While it may seem small, this portion of your heating system is vital to heating operation as it communicates with the heating unit when the temperature has dropped too low. Your heating system relies on this small piece to know when to start up and shut off, so a malfunctioning thermostat is quite a big deal to your unit. There are a few ways a broken thermostat may affect your heater.

No Heating at All or Reduced Heating

Now, a lack of heating or a heating system that won’t turn on at all can be symptomatic of a number of problems. But most often, a technician will start by checking the thermostat. Initially, this is to make sure that you haven’t simply neglected to change the programming, switch over into heating mode, or set the thermostat for the day. However, examining the thermostat can help the technician to learn quite a bit.

If the thermostat displays a temperature that is different from the temperature in the air, it is most likely the culprit of the heating trouble. Of course, this is also true if the thermostat displays nothing at all. While it’s a bit trickier to diagnose this issue with a manual thermostat, the technician can perform further tests to make sure it’s calibrated properly. If the thermostat is, however, displaying the proper temperature but it’s not the temperature you need, then the problem is more likely elsewhere in the system.

Short Cycling

A malfunctioning thermostat may cause your heating system to short cycle. Short cycling is the term professionals use to describe what happens when your heating or air conditioning system shuts off too soon, before the heating cycle is complete, and runs frequently. This may be due to a thermostat that is struggling to sense the heat in the room, detecting frequent temperature changes and sending faulty signals to the main unit. Short cycling can take a huge toll on the parts of your heater, causing components to become overworked. Usually, a broken thermostat will simply be replaced.

Call Comfort Flow Heating to schedule your heating service in Eugene and learn more about thermostats and your heating.

When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at Comfort Flow Heating hopes you have a wonderful 2015!