Comfort Flow Heating Blog:
Archive for October, 2013

What You Need to Know about Heating Maintenance

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

No appliance in your home will run forever, but often people treat them as if they were supposed to—without any repairs or maintenance. Although no appliance can obtain immortality, it can get the next best thing: service that meets or exceeds its manufacturer’s expected lifespan. To achieve this, the appliance requires regular preventive maintenance.

This applies to the heater in your home as much as to your dishwasher or laundry machine. To get through a Eugene, OR winter, you’ll need a heater you can trust to keep providing you warmth through the coldest days. If you schedule regular check-ups and tune-ups from a reliable HVAC company, you’ll have much more trust in your heater.

Comfort Flow Heating has been in business for more than half a century serving Eugene, OR with heating maintenance, repairs, and installation. Look to us to take care of your heating system so it will keep you warm all through the winter—and be ready for next winter as well.

Here are a few important points to know about heating maintenance:

It isn’t arduous or time-consuming: If you hire experienced technicians, a maintenance visit won’t be a major hassle for your schedule. Professionals have a checklist of tasks and inspections, and as long as your heater doesn’t require any major repairs, a maintenance visit will be over before you know it. And if your heater does need repairs, your technician can schedule the work and have it done in a timely manner.

It will save you money: Proper maintenance will not only prevent you from rushing to get a significant (and probably expensive) emergency repair, but you’ll also save money in another way: improved energy-efficient performance. A tune-up on your heater will get all its parts working smoothly so it will drain less energy while delivering the heat level you expect. You won’t have to suffer the burden of inflated power bills.

It will provide you better quality heating: Losing your heater during the winter is the worst-case scenario. But a reduction of heating power is a major inconvenience and a more common occurrence. A heater without proper maintenance will wear down faster, and as that happens it will weaken and you’ll start to notice cold rooms and a general drop in temperature in your home. A yearly tune-up will prevent your heater from declining into uselessness.

Comfort Flow Heating offers an Energy Savings Agreement of one, two, or three years. You’ll receive two visits annually (your air conditioner needs maintenance as well!) that will provide you with a precision tune-up for your home comfort system. Get all the benefits of heating maintenance in Eugene, OR from the experienced people at Comfort Flow Heating.

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What Does AFUE Mean?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

If you own a home in Eugene, heating installation is going to occupy your full attention sooner or later. We need reliable heaters to handle our cold, wet weather, and while proper maintenance can keep yours going for a long time, every heater breaks down sooner or later. When considering a new heater, there’s a lot of things to keep in mind, including a strange little number called an AFUE rating. What does AFUE mean? And more importantly, why should you pay attention to it when buying a new furnace?

The term stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency,” and as you may have guessed, it measures the efficiency of the furnace. It’s measured in a percentage, representing the amount of the furnace’s energy that actually goes into generating heat, rather than being lost to waste and inefficiency.  So for example, a furnace with an 80% AFUE generates heat with 80% of its energy, with the other20% lost to waste.

Obviously, the higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace itself is. And as you may have guessed, newer units tend to have higher AFUE ratings than older units, which have lost efficiency thanks to outdated technology and the wear and tear of regular use. In fact, as of May 2013, the U.S. Government stipulates that all new oil furnaces must have a minimum AFUE rating of 75% and gas furnaces must have a minimum AFUE rating of 80%. If you have an older furnace, it’s almost certain to have a lower rating than this.

Gauging the AFUE rating of your furnace is just one of the steps you need to take, along with sizing your home properly and deciding if you want to use a traditional central system or an alternate model such as a heat pump. If you’re asking “what does AFUE mean?” contact the experts at Comfort Flow Heating for advice. We can make recommendations for you based on your individual needs, then set up a time for installation that matches your schedule. Heating installation service in Eugene is no laughing matter. Let our trained staff of heating installation professionals help make the process easy for you.

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How Does a Furnace Work?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

If you have an older heating system in your home, chances are good that it’s a furnace. Furnaces are among the oldest of all residential heating systems. In their earliest days, they were fueled with coal and wood. Newer models use electricity, gas, or propane, and can run at high efficiency levels. Some have AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings of 98%, which means they turn 98% of the fuel they consume into heat.

But how exactly do these grand warhorses of the HVAC world work? Or at least the modern one sitting in your house right now, doing the heating for the fall? Here’s a short rundown on the operation of the contemporary furnace.

If you need more help with a furnace, whether  it’s maintenance or repairs, or if you want a new one installed, look to the Eugene, OR heating specialists at Comfort Flow Heating.

Whatever fuel a furnace uses, it operates on the principle of forced air heating. The furnace transfers heat to air, which blower fans then send through the ductwork of a house and out vents. Furnaces often share the duct system with an air conditioner so homeowners don’t need to take up additional space for their cooling system.

In a natural gas furnace, a pilot light ignites a series of burners inside a combustion chamber. The heat these burners create then enters the heat exchanger, where the heat transfers to the air and raises it to the temperature set by the thermostat. At this point, the blowers take the air and send it through the ducts. Propane furnaces operate on a similar principle.

For an electric furnace, instead of a pilot light, an electrical ignition begins the heating process. In place of gas-powered burners, the ignition activates heating elements that contain conductive coils. As current passes through the coils, they begin heating the air for the blowers to handle. The more heat the thermostat calls for, the more heating elements turn on.

This sounds deceptively simple, but furnaces contain many components to ensure that the heat exchange and distribution runs smoothly and without safety concerns. Trying to diagnose or fix a malfunctioning thermostat on your own is not recommended unless you have extensive HVAC training and the appropriate tools. You should rely on experts to handle whatever ails your furnace, no matter its power source. (Gas furnaces can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, and electric furnaces may cause high voltage shocks.)

Keep your Eugene, OR heating system—whether furnace, heat pump, radiant floor heating, or geothermal—running effectively for you through fall and winter: get the advice and help of Comfort Flow Heating. We’ve been in business for 50 years, and we already know your furnace down to its smallest part.

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Signs That You Need to Replace Your Heater

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Replacing any large appliance in your home, such as a refrigerator or oven, is a major step. When it comes to your heating system, however, it’s both a major step and a complex one. A new heater requires professional installation that takes into consideration numerous factors about your house. It isn’t something to take lightly, but it’s often the wisest solution for getting the best and most cost-efficient home heating.

Although heating replacement is a large task, it doesn’t have to be stressful for you if you hire the right company to perform the installation. The Salem, OR heating professionals at Comfort Flow Heating can handle any size installation and get it done right the first time so you’ll have fewer worries about repairs and breakdowns in the future.

Look for the following signals that your current heating system might be nearing the end of its lifespan:

Consistently high energy bills: If you’ve inspected your power bill and noticed a rise in costs that goes beyond normal seasonal changes or inflation, then you may have a heater that’s too aged and worn to work efficiently. Any machine will wear down over time, no matter how well it’s cared for, and your heater will eventually reach a stage where it must drain excess energy to keep up with your comfort needs. A professional can perform tests to see if your heater has lost efficiency and if it requires replacement.

Mounting repair expenses: Heaters will suffer malfunctions and require repairs at some point—but if those repairs start to come frequently, then the most economical move may be to replace it entirely with a sturdy new model. Look over the repair bills for the past three years and compare them to the cost of a new installation.

Extreme noise levels: A sudden, unexpected noise from your heater may warn you it needs professional repairs. But if your heater begins to make almost constant noise much higher than what you expect, the issue may be that its components have gotten too worn down from age. Think about getting a replacement before a full shutdown leaves you in the cold.

Seeking the advice of HVAC professionals about whether or not to install a new heater is the first step to take. If you do decide to get a new heater, the professionals can help you find the right type, model, and size to suit your home, and then install it quickly and properly.

Comfort Flow Heating installs the top brands of furnaces, heat pumps, and ductless mini splits to fit all needs. Put your Salem, OR heating concerns in our experienced hands.

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Common Heating Problems in Springfield

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Winters in the Southern Willamette Valley are lovely, and thankfully they don’t usually get too harsh for residents to enjoy them. But a large part of keeping our winters pleasant is the heaters that supply our homes with warmth until spring. If you experience problems heating your house, you may need to contact experts in HVAC repair and installation to check it out and find a solution.

Here are a few of the frequent problems our customers have with winter heating. The Springfield, OR heating repair technicians at Comfort Flow Heating have handled these issues and many more during the half-century we’ve served the Southern Willamette Valley, so trust in our work when you need your heater operating properly again.

Pilot light trouble: The pilot light is responsible for getting a gas-powered boiler or furnace to run. Sometimes it will go out for simple reasons, like a sudden blast of air, and you can relight it. But if it consistently goes out or stays out, then you may have a problem with air flow, a dirty gas control area, or the gas supply line. This is not something to try to remedy on your own because of the toxic and flammable gas involved; get experts on the problem.

Faulty thermostat: Although a small device, the thermostat is the gateway to controlling your heater. If it fails, you won’t be able to turn the heater on or off. A thermostat that isn’t functioning correctly will also cause serious trouble: if it misreads your home’s temperature, it will  provide incorrect heat levels and switch on and off at the wrong times. A thermostat in the wrong location, exposed to drafts or direct sunlight, can also lead to poor indoor heating.

Inferior insulation: This isn’t a problem with your heater—but it will become a problem for your heater. A house with inefficient insulation and leaks around the doors and windows will rapidly lose indoor heat. To compensate for this, the heater will work harder to reach the temperature you want, and this will lead to higher gas bills and earlier repairs. Take steps to properly winterize your home before the cold gets too strong and your heater becomes overworked.

Although some heating issues require only simple fixes—adjusting the thermostat, hooking the system back up to its power supply—most will need a Springfield heating repair technician with training to perform repairs properly and safely. Contact Comfort Flow Heating for any problems with your heater that require heating repair service in Springfield, OR.

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