Comfort Flow Heating Blog:
Archive for March, 2014

How Chillers Work

Monday, March 31st, 2014

For your commercial HVAC installation, chillers are often a good option for large spaces when you need to remain on a budget, and they are also effective for cooling down industrial machinery. Many people are not aware of how chillers operate and what makes them different from standard air conditioners. We’ll look into chiller function in this post.

Comfort Flow Heating has many years of experience installing chillers in Eugene, OR, as well as installing many other kinds of commercial HVAC systems. We also offer 24 hour emergency service, so you never have to worry about failures when you’re working odd hours of the night.

How chillers work

A chiller is a refrigeration unit that produces cooling by removing heat from liquid using either vapor compression or refrigeration absorption. Most chillers use water rather than chemical refrigerant as the circulating liquid (although they will still use refrigerant in the refrigerant absorption cycle to cool down the liquid), which is one of the ways that a chiller differ from an AC or a heat pump.

In the standard chiller that works as an air conditioner, heat is removed from the circulating water through the condensing coils. The chilled water in the unit is used to cool the air when it passes through evaporator coils, and the water returns to the chiller where it is cooled again. The amount of cooling BTUs from a chiller can be substantial, between 180,000 to 18,000,000 BTUs per hour, which makes them ideal for industrial use.

Chillers can produce a large amount of heat exhaust, which must either be released to the outdoor air, or, in more efficient units, recovered as energy to use in the heating process of the cycle.

Professional commercial chiller installation

As with any major appliance for a business, you want to make sure professionals in commercial HVAC install chillers for company. There are many different options for the type and size of chiller installed, and you’ll need special expertise to pick the right unit. Comfort Flow Heating has formed trusted partnerships with many businesses in the Eugene area because of our skill with installation and maintenance for their valuable equipment. Make us one of your trusted partners with installations of chillers in Eugene, OR.

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What Steps Are Involved in Heating Maintenance?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Annual maintenance for your heating system from a trained professional is essential for prolonging your system’s life and receiving the most efficient and trouble-free performance you can from it. You should schedule maintenance for your heater during the fall, although you can start at any time if for some reason you had to put it off. The important part is that you have it done every year for your heating system.

We offer an Energy Savings Agreement at Comfort Flow Heating that will provide you with a precision tune-up for your Springfield, OR heating system and for your air conditioner. Call us today to sign up to start saving energy and keep your heater in excellent shape.

Here are the basic steps in heating maintenance you can expect whenever a trained technician shows up at your home for the annual visit:

  • Thermostat check: It’s important first to make sure that the thermostat is correctly calibrated and has no connection issues, or else it will be difficult to determine the condition of the rest of the heater.
  • Check components connected to the gas line (natural gas heaters): The technician checks the gas line, the burner, the ignition, and the heat exchanger to make sure there are no safety or performance concerns.
  • Tighten connections: The technician sees that all electrical connections on the heating system are secure, and tightens any loose ones that might become safety hazards. The technician then checks the voltage on the motors.
  • Lubricating moving parts: To ensure the heater works with the least amount of stress and power drain, the technicians lubricate all the moving parts, such as motors and compressors.
  • Check refrigerant level (heat pumps): The technician checks that the refrigerant is at its proper level, and recharges it if necessary.
  • Control board check: The technician looks over the control board to see that it is operating the heater correctly. This involves testing each part of the system to see that it comes on, operates, and turns off properly. After this is done, the technician will know if the heater is running better because of the tune-up.

The Energy Savings Agreement at Comfort Flow Heating doesn’t just provide you with regular maintenance. You’ll also receive priority scheduling, a 15% discount on repairs, and no overtime charges.

Don’t wait to start maintenance for your heater: if it’s been more than a year, call us right away and set up your first inspection and tune-up visit.

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What Is Involved in Replacing a Geothermal System

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Although geothermal systems have an upfront cost steeper than most other home comfort systems, they have such high energy efficiency and longevity that they will provide many years of operation after their payback period to save homeowners money. The EPA estimates that the underground system of coils can last more than 50 years. Contrary to rumor, it takes almost a generation for the loops in the earth to wear out.

However, not all components of a geothermal heat pump has this same half-century of endurance. At some point, any system will require replacements—in part, or in whole. We’ll look at what this entails in this post so you can know what to expect from a geothermal system on your property.

For more information, or to schedule service for cooling and heating in Salem, OR, contact Comfort Flow Heating and talk to our geothermal specialists.

When geothermal heat pumps need replacements

Thankfully, when one section of a geothermal heat pump malfunctions to the point where repairs will no longer do any good, you don’t need to dig up the whole system and remove the refrigerant lines to put in a replacement. Usually, the indoor heat pump will need replacement 30 years before the coils in the ground do. This replacement is not much different from replacing a standard air-source heat pump and costs approximately the same. Professional installers will make sure that the new heat pump unit connects to the underground components and also to the ductwork.

What about when those geothermal loops in the earth finally need replacement? This is something you may encounter when you inherit a geothermal system with your home. New loops will need to be put in, but the job is far easier than the original one and costs less as well. Digging the trenches for the loops is the most costly part of the job, so with those trenches already in place it takes less time and money to put in new loops. For a job that usually only needs to be done twice a century, it is remarkably fast and easy to do.

Thinking of going geothermal?

If you don’t already have a geothermal system installed on your property, we hope that the above information will make you see that choosing to go with a geothermal heat pump is indeed a long-term investment that will not need major replacements for at least fifty years. You can expect to pay for a standard heat pump replacement in about 20 years, but by that time you should be saving so much on your heating bill that the replacement pump will practically buy itself.

Contact Comfort Flow Heating today and find out more about how you can bring geothermal cooling and heating to a Salem, OR home.

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How Dirt Build-Up Can Result in Heating Repairs

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Dirt is the enemy of many things in your home: carpets, windows, countertops, appliances, and general tidiness. One place where dirt can inflict a tremendous amount of potentially expensive damage is to your heater, whether you have a furnace, heat pump, or hydronic system. When dirt infiltrates your heater and starts to build up into a layer of grime, it can lead to the need for repairs.

Dirt-build up problems can’t be solved with rags and cleaner. You need to have professionals address the ways dirt accumulation can affect your heating system. We’ll look at a few of the ways dirt build-up can make skilled repairs necessary. Call Comfort Flow Heating when you need quality heating repair service in Salem, OR.

The ravages of dirt and your heater

For forced-air systems (furnaces, heat pumps), an air filter in the return ducts traps dust and debris from entering the system’s cabinet. You should change the filter once a month during periods when the heater works regularly; otherwise, the clogged filter will begin to allow dirt into the cabinet. (In some extreme cases, air filters have become so clogged they have collapsed and fallen into the cabinet, causing tremendous damage.)

One of the most quickly destructive effects from a dirt intrusion is a build-up on mechanical parts that causes additional stress: the motors that run the compressor and blowers will start to wear down and eventually burn out. Dirt can also ruin motor bearings. Any extra strain put on the internal components will cause other components to overwork and also wear down sooner. You will need technicians to remove the failing parts and replace them.

For gas-powered furnaces and hydronic water heaters, a dirt build-up along the burner will prevent the flow of oxygen and prevent the burner from igniting. If the system uses a standing pilot light, excess dirt will also extinguish it. The burner will need a technician to clean it.

For heat pumps, dirt build-up can cause another problem: icing along the coils. If dirt collects along the evaporator coil (the outdoor coil during heating mode, the indoor coil during cooling mode) it will prevent the coil from absorbing sufficient heat. The refrigerant in the coil will then begin to cause the water moisture to freeze, and this will in turn further restrict heat absorption. Professionals will need to detach the coils and clean them.

Maintenance: Your best defense against dirt

Repairs will fix problems that dirt can cause, but signing up for a regular maintenance program will help prevent repair needs in the future. A visit from a skilled HVAC technician once a year will keep your heating system cleaned and tuned-up.

Contact Comfort Flow Heating to talk about out preventive maintenance program with our staff. You can also reach us any time of the day or night for emergency heating repair in Salem, OR.

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