Comfort Flow Heating Blog:
Archive for October, 2014

Why Consider Ductless Heating?

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Ductless heating may be considered an odd choice by some when it comes to heating a large space like a house. After all, ductless heating is limited to one room per unit. Why prefer such limited scope over the broad coverage that a central air system offers? Well, it turns out that ductless heating can actually provide a number of benefits common to central systems, while avoiding some of their biggest disadvantages. Let’s examine why you should consider ductless heating for your home.


It is estimated that forced air systems lose approximately 20-30% of their heat to leaks in the ductwork. Air is already not that great of a thermal conductor, and ducts are especially prone to developing small holes and tears over time. That translates to a lot of extra cost on your heating bills for absolutely no benefit.

Ductless systems, as suggested by their name, eschew duct work entirely, favoring a direct circulation of air between the heating unit and the room it is heating. By doing this, a ductless system completely avoids that 20-30% loss in heating efficiency. This results in noticeable savings on your heating bill.


Because you need a ductless unit for each room that you plan on heating, it is easy to assume that ductless systems cost more than purchasing just one central heating unit. However, this line of reasoning disregards the fact that ductless systems provide the freedom to only heat one or two rooms at a time. A central system is forced to either heat the entire house or none of it, barring special modifications like zoning. This means the majority of that system’s energy could be spent on heating rooms that are not even occupied.

Ductless systems allow you to dictate precisely which rooms will be heated, and even set different temperatures for each. This means that each occupant of the house will get to choose the temperature which is most comfortable for them, with no energy wasted on heating empty rooms.

If you think you may want to have a ductless heating system installed in your home, call Comfort Flow Heating. Our HVAC technicians cover the whole Eugene area.

Continue Reading

Signs It’s Time to Replace your Heat Pump

Friday, October 24th, 2014

If you own an older heat pump, you may do anything you can to keep it around for a few more years. Admittedly, heat pumps are somewhat costly, as is any large appliance in your home. However, heat pumps can last a few years longer than other forced-air heating and cooling systems, many lasting over 15 years.

If you’re nearing this number, there are a few things you can do to keep your unit around for a little bit longer. Changing the air filter every month keeps unwanted particles from entering your unit, and it ensures the proper airflow. Improper airflow may cause the indoor coil to freeze and forces your unit to work harder, wearing down parts too soon. You can also schedule regular maintenance to ensure all of the parts of your heat pump are working as they should.

However, at some point you will simply need to replace your older unit. A new heat pump can be a great addition to your home, offering better efficiency and keeping your family more comfortable. Look out for any of the following signs that you may need to replace your heat pump.

  • Reduced Heating or Cooling over the Years: Heat pumps are great for any homeowner looking to save some money with an efficient system that also offers high performance heating and cooling. While you can expect your system to lose some power over the years, reduced heating and cooling combined with old age usually simply indicates replacement is the best way to prevent problems from occurring.
  • Frequent Repair Needs: If you seem to call a technician too often for repair services, you may benefit from a new heat pump. You can replace each component of your unit individually, but in the end, this will be far more costly than replacing the entire unit at once. And if several parts of your system have failed, the other components are likely not far behind.
  • Inefficiency: A final indication of a failing system is high energy bills. Maintenance can help keep your system running somewhat more efficiently, but eventually a new system will be the only way to keep costs low. Luckily, you can find a system with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for efficient cooling as well as a high HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).

For more information about our heating services in Eugene, call Comfort Flow Heating today!

Continue Reading

Some Reasons Why Your Burner Won’t Stay Lit

Friday, October 17th, 2014

If your gas-burning heating unit isn’t working, the first thing you probably do is check the pilot light, right? What happens when the pilot light is lit, but the heat still won’t turn on? Chances are, it’s a problem with your burner. Below are some reasons why your burner won’t stay lit.

Malfunctioning Flame Sensor

The flame sensor is responsible for regulating the gas flow to the burner. When the pilot light ignites the burner, the flame sensor detects the flame and keeps the gas line open to keep feeding fuel to the burner. A malfunctioning sensor will not detect the flame, and so will not open the gas line to keep the burner going.

Gas Line Blockage

If your burner lights for a short time but then goes out, you may have a blockage in the gas valve. The gas line is what provides fuel to the burner to keep it lit. A complete blockage often prevents the burner from lighting at all. A partial blockage, however, may allow the burner to light but will not provide enough fuel to keep it lit.

Pressure Switch

A pressure switch is a safety feature installed on more modern systems. If it detects that your system venting pressure is off, it will shut down your heating system to prevent it from venting poisonous gas into your home. This isn’t really a problem with your burners, but from your point of view it can look very much like the burner is having trouble staying lit. Venting problems are often caused by other serious issues, like cracked heat exchangers or a blocked exhaust flue.

No matter what is causing your burners to malfunction, you’ll need a professional to diagnose and fix the problem. If your heating system is experiencing problems, call Comfort Flow Heating. We conduct heating repairs all over the Eugene area.

Continue Reading

What Causes Cracks in a Heat Exchanger?

Friday, 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.


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.


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.

Continue Reading

Why Do Furnaces Need an Exhaust Flue?

Friday, 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.

Continue Reading