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!

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

July 3rd, 2014

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Comfort Flow Heating hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

Benefits of a Ductless AC System

June 27th, 2014

Ductless systems have gained in popularity in homes during the last 20 years, making the leap from businesses, where they were especially popular in restaurants. Ductless systems have a number of significant advantages that they offer to homes. If you are considering new AC installation, you should take some time to look into the possibility of going ductless this time… it just might be the perfect system for your household.

However, despite the advantages listed below, ductless mini split systems are not suitable for every household. They work best if you live either in an older home without pre-existing ducts or if you are planning new construction. It’s best if you contact ductless installation specialists when you are considering one of these systems for your new air conditioning in Salem, OR. Our staff at Comfort Flow Heating has extensive experience with all types of comfort systems, and they will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have about ductless ACs.

The Ductless Advantages

  • Cooling and heating: The first important thing you need to know about ductless air conditioners is that they are properly called “ductless mini split heat pumps.” As heat pumps, they work as both air conditioners and heaters. Essentially, they operate as air conditioners that can switch the direction they move heat, so that instead of bringing heat out of your home, they can also bring it into your home. You get a “best of both worlds” scenario, and you won’t sacrifice on the quality of your air conditioning.
  • Improved indoor air quality: One of the drawbacks of an extensive ventilation system is that it eventually picks up dust, dirt, and other contamination that will lower the quality of your indoor air. Since ductless systems use a series of indoor blower units mounted on the walls to send air directly into rooms without the need for ducts, they do not blow around dust circulated through vents. Ductless systems are especially beneficial for homes where people with allergies or asthma live.
  • Zone control: Using separate blowers in different rooms brings with it a significant benefit: you can shut down cooling (and heating) to rooms that don’t need it. This is called “zone control” and will contribute to a more comfortable and energy-efficient home. You can expect to save on your energy bills when you no longer need to cool down rooms that no one is using. People in your household can also adjust temperatures to fit their needs wherever they are in the house.

To find out if a ductless mini split heat pump is the top choice for your heating and air conditioning in Salem, OR, call up our experts at Comfort Flow Heating. We have more than 50 years of experience keeping families comfortable—no matter the weather.

What Are My Air Conditioning Options Here In Springfield, OR?

June 19th, 2014

Many industries are experiencing a push for better technology to help with the environment while also helping consumers; the cooling industry is no different. At Comfort Flow Heating, we’ve been able to see these advances implemented in our customers’ homes, and we look forward to continuing to bring the best cooling products to our customer base. Are you considering an air conditioning installation for your Springfield property? If so, we’ll tell you about several air conditioner options currently available on the market.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems Available

It’s a good to have choices, but sometimes it can be it a bit overwhelming when trying to decide what air conditioner will work best for your home. A lot goes into choosing the right air conditioner, so it’s important to work with a professional.

Traditional Split-System

One of the most common types of air conditioners found in residential properties, a traditional split-system AC has two units – one indoor, one outdoor – that delivers cool air via ductwork. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and condenser while the inside unit contains the evaporator and blower.

Ductless Split-System

Long used in commercial spaces, ductless air conditioning is becoming a very popular choice with homeowners. As per the name, a ductless system does not need ductwork to deliver cool air, opening the possibility of whole-home air conditioning to property owners that do not have ducted systems.

A ductless air conditioner has an outdoor unit very similar to a traditional split system, but uses individual indoor blowers to deliver the cold air. The outdoor unit connects to the indoor blowers through a conduit placed in an exterior wall in which the refrigerant and drainage lines are housed. Each blower has its own programmable thermostat, giving the ability for zone control, and the blowers can be mounted flush to a wall, hung from a ceiling or left free-standing.

Geothermal System

A geothermal system uses the ground’s natural, stable temperature to provide heating and cooling. The upper ten feet of the earth’s surface stays at a steady temperature between 50° to 61°F (10° to 16°C). Using a geothermal device, the system draws heat energy into the outdoor heat sink and transfers the cool temperatures into a warmer area. Geothermal systems need ductwork to deliver the cooled air.

Use a Professional When Choosing Your Air Conditioner

A whole-home air conditioner is a big purchase that is meant for the long-term, which is why it is important to work with a professional to ensure your air conditioning system fits with your property. Have questions about your air conditioner options? Call Comfort Flow Heating today and schedule professional air conditioning installation in Springfield, OR.

Thermostat Problems and Air Conditioning Repairs

June 16th, 2014

Thermostats are small devices compared to rest of a home’s comfort system. But don’t let that diminutive size deceive you: thermostats are powerful control centers that can make or break an air conditioner. In this post, we’re concerned with the ways a malfunctioning thermostat could “break” your AC—or at least make it start to work incorrectly and require that you call for air conditioning repair service in Eugene, OR.

Because thermostat issues can look like electrical or mechanical failures inside an air conditioner’s cabinet, you must have skilled repair technicians handle the job of fixing them. The professionals will know where to search to determine the source of your home’s cooling woes. You can reach Comfort Flow Heating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for emergency service that will cut to the heart of the problem and fix it.

Some Common Thermostat Issues That Require Repair Work

  • Miscalibration: When a thermostat begins to misread a home’s temperature by a few degrees or more—a miscalibration in the temperature sensor—it will result in behavior from the air conditioner that will create an uncomfortable home environment. This is usually a simple repair for technicians, although they may advise that you replace an old manual model thermostat with an updated and more precise digital programmable unit.
  • Connection loss: A thermostat (except for recent wireless models) communicates to an air conditioner through a series of wires that control when the fans and the compressor turn on and off. Loss of connection in any of these wires due to breaks or loose connections will cause the air conditioner to fail to turn on or refuse to turn off. These types of problems often look like serious malfunctions within the AC itself, but experts will narrow down the problem if it originates with the thermostat and provide the necessary targeted repairs.
  • Poor unit placement: If amateurs originally installed the AC in your home, the thermostat may be located in a poor position to record accurate temperatures. If it the thermostat is too far from the center of the house, it will pick up outlier readings that won’t reflect the actual temperature of the rest of the house. If placed in direct sunlight or near outside drafts, the thermostat will detect “ghost readings” higher or lower than the true temperature. These problems will all lead to poor AC performance. Technicians will have to move the thermostat to a better spot.

Call Comfort Flow Heating for AC Repairs

Sometimes determining what is causing a malfunction in an air conditioning system is the hardest part of a repair. But if you leave your air conditioning repair in Eugene, OR to the experienced team at Comfort Flow Heating, you can expect a fast and accurate solution to whatever ails your comfort system.