Comfort Flow Heating Blog:
Archive for December, 2014

Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from Comfort Flow Heating!

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How Do I Choose Between Tank and Tankless Water Heaters?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Choosing between a tank and tankless water depends a lot on your needs, the needs of your family and the needs of your home. It also depends on understanding how each type of unit works. Before choosing a new water heater for installation, let’s take a look at how both a tank and tankless water heater operates.


There are two types of tankless water heaters, but no matter what the type, they each function the same way. The key to tankless water heaters is a heat exchanger. This component is what allows the tankless unit to heat your water on demand. The heat exchanger of a hot water heater resides at the core of the unit, and when you open a hot water tap, cold water flows into the heat exchanger. Using electricity or gas, the heat exchanger quickly heats and transfers this heat to the cold water, which is then delivered to your tap. All heat exchangers have a pre-set maximum temperature to ensure that you aren’t scalded. Some of the benefits of a tankless water heater are:

  • High energy efficiency
  • Continuous hot water
  • Saves space due to its small size


Tank water heaters have been around for years. Using a storage tank, these water heaters can use natural gas, propane, oil or electricity to heat the water. The heated water is held in the storage tank until it is used, and then the tank is refilled and the new water is heated to the set temperature. Some of the benefits of a tank water heater are:

  • Low initial costs
  • Low venting costs
  • Large variety of sizes available

So which type is best for you? One of the best ways to determine this is to work with a trained professional who can assess your needs and the needs of your family. Water usage is part of the picture, so it’s important to have an accurate calculation of your peak hour water usage, which a trained expert can help you with. If you are ready for a new water heater installation in Eugene, call Comfort Flow Heating today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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Does a Geothermal System Need Winter Maintenance?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Geothermal systems can be a bit of a mystery for homeowners who don’t have a lot of HVAC knowledge or experience. This is even true of people who actually have geothermal systems installed in their homes. Not to worry, though, we’re here to answer all of your questions. This week, we’re tackling the subject of winter maintenance with regard to geothermal systems.

Geothermal Maintenance

Geothermal systems do need maintenance at least once or twice a year, just like any other heater. With specific regard to winter maintenance, however, that depends on circumstances. Most other heating systems have their recommended maintenance during the fall season. This is because the best time to conduct maintenance on any system is right before you plan on using it a lot. Maintenance on your heating system right before winter ensures that it will be able to handle the increased strain of frequent use.

In that sense, winter maintenance on your geothermal system is a good idea. You really don’t want your geothermal heater breaking down in the middle of winter. Demand for HVAC repairs tends to rise during the cold season, for obvious reasons. This could lead to a delay of a few days for HVAC service, which means you would be stuck without heat during the coldest months of the year.

As for specific repair needs, geothermal systems are more low-maintenance than most systems. The water in the underground loop can occasionally freeze, but only if the loop isn’t buried far enough down. The actual depth that the loop needs to be buried at depends largely on the region your home is in. In some colder areas of the country, loops can freeze and stop working as deep as 15ft below the surface.

Other than that occasional concern, geothermal systems are much the same as any other heat pump. As long as the reversing valve, refrigerant line, and coils are working, you should have nothing to worry about.

If you would like to schedule maintenance for your geothermal system in Eugene, call Comfort Flow Heating.

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Why Won’t My Furnace Start?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

It’s a pretty horrible feeling to try to turn on your furnace on a cold day and have it refuse to start. Furnaces tend to be pretty reliable as heating systems, but that doesn’t make them immune to problems. There are a few different factors that may be contributing to your furnace’s inability to start. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

The thermostat serves the same purpose in the heating system as your brain does in your body. It is responsible for controlling the furnace, deciding when it comes on and when it doesn’t. A problem with your thermostat, therefore, can stymie even a healthy furnace. Check your thermostat and make sure that everything is set properly. If the thermostat is set to “heat” or “fan” and the temperature seems to be reading correctly, then the problem is likely with your furnace. There is a chance that there is still a problem with your thermostat’s control board, but you’ll need a professional to confirm that.

Pilot Light is out

After the thermostat, the most common cause of a furnace not starting is the pilot light. The pilot light is a flame that burns under most furnaces 24/7, and is responsible for starting the furnace by igniting the burners. Pilot lights have a reputation for blowing out every now and then, rendering the furnace without an ignition source. The easiest way to check if your pilot light is out is by looking under your furnace, or in the small window included on some models to shield the chamber. If you can see the pilot light burning, then it probably isn’t the issue. If the pilot light is out, you’ll need to re-light it or have a professional do it for you.

A separate issue involves the pilot light refusing to stay lit, which is usually caused by a faulty thermocouple. The thermocouple is a sensor that controls the gas valve for the pilot light. A malfunctioning thermocouple can cut off the gas flow and smother the pilot light prematurely.

If you’re having issues with your furnace, call Comfort Flow Heating. We provide heating services throughout Eugene.

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