Winter HVAC Checklist

Cold weather is here and it’s only going to get colder. Gone are the days of opening up the windows to fill your home with fresh air — in many parts of the country, you’re about to stay huddled up indoors for the next several weeks. And since you’ll be breathing more indoor air than in the months past, it’s the most important time of year to focus on your home’s indoor air quality.

There are a lot of ways you can improve the quality of the air you breathe at home. Some are as simple as routine cleaning and maintenance, while others involve installing new systems that purify the air on a microscopic level. The combination of approaches that’s best for you may depend on how well sealed your home is, whether you have pets, and whether anyone in your home has respiratory problems.

Here are a few things you might consider at the outset of the winter heating season:

Clean your HVAC registers and vents. This is an affordable way to improve your quality of life in your home. All of the air handled by your HVAC system blows through them, so these vents will inevitably get dusty. A flexible duster or the wand attachment on your vacuum should make this an easy job, and it can cut down on the amount of dust blowing through your home.

Clean your ceiling fan blades. This is one that many people forget about. The tops of your fan can collect large amounts of dust that then circulate whenever you turn them on. Be careful reaching up there when you go to wipe down the blades!

Schedule professional duct cleaning. The worst accumulation of dust and allergens in your home may be in the places you can’t see. Professional duct cleaning lets technicians reach deep into your ductwork with special vacuums and spray gentle disinfectants that can help keep your ducts cleaner for months to come.

Check and replace your filters. This is a year-round job, but it’s as important as ever during the winter. When people and pets spend more time indoors, their skin cells and hair collect inside, causing filters to fill up faster.

Add an air filtration system. If you’re ready to make an investment in your indoor air quality, professional installation of an air filtration system is a smart first step. These systems complement your existing HVAC system by filtering out microscopic particles that may currently be flowing through your HVAC filters. And by keeping your indoor air clean, they can also make your HVAC system more efficient and longer lasting.

Disinfect with UV light. You can go a step further by installing UV disinfection systems in strategic locations throughout your ductwork. While these systems don’t capture airborne particles, they can remove toxic gases, odors, germs, bacteria and viruses using low-voltage UV light.

If you want to learn more about professional maintenance like duct cleaning or advanced systems for purifying your indoor air, remember Comfort Air. We’re your local expert when it comes to all things HVAC.

How to Protect You Home From Allergens

This is the worst time of year for allergy sufferers. Many of us just accept the sneezing, itching, and sniffling as a part of life during the spring. We may stock up on allergy pills or try to stay indoors on days with high pollen counts, but some of those allergens are actually circulating in your home as well.

Indoor air quality should be of concern to you if anyone in the household suffers from allergies, asthma, or even an immune system disorder. The quality of the air inside of your home might be even worse than the air outside, but choosing between these common installations can make a difference.

A quality air conditioner

First, to control the flow of particulate throughout the household, you also need to control the flow of air. A quality air conditioning system can do this for you, provided it’s installed properly and is the right size for your home, with a filter that is changed every few months.

When an air conditioner is the wrong size for your home, it’s not pulling in the amount of air it is designed for. And that means you’re not getting the level of filtration your home needs. Make sure your system is properly installed by calling in trained professionals only, and ask about installing a filter with a high MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) so that you start getting cleaner air right away.


Most air conditioners are dehumidifiers, to an extent, but they cannot do the job as smoothly as a dehumidifier. This installation is available as a portable unit, but we recommend keeping one within your air conditioning system. A whole-house dehumidifier works along with your cooling equipment to remove moisture from the air.

How can this help to relieve your allergy symptoms? Less moisture in the air means fewer mold spores. Your air conditioning system is likely to develop mold and mildew over time, moving pollutants straight into your living space, so it’s a good investment to make in such a humid climate.

UV light air cleaning

A UV light air cleaning system is fairly simple: it’s a bulb of ultraviolet light that cleans the air naturally. Ultraviolet light is able to kill off and sterilize germs like bacteria and viruses. When germs are unable to reproduce, they are safe to breathe in. As air moves through your HVAC system and past the UV light, it is sterilized, like the air in hospitals and research laboratories.

Air filtration systems and air purifiers

An air filtration system is separate from your air filter. You’ll still need to change your filter regularly and replace the filtration media from time to time. But it has a larger surface area to catch more of the particulate that you’d like out of your airflow.

Alternatively, an electronic air cleaner could offer the purification you need. This system is innovative in that it poses no risk of blocking air from moving into your home. Rather, it uses ionization to give particles a charge. Then, they can cling to a surface with the opposite charge. Ask your technician which system is right for your home!

Should You Replace Your Furnace?

Thinking of replacing or repairing your furnace? Here are 4 signs that your heating system has reached the end of its useful life. It’s best to start investigating now in the fall instead of the middle of winter when you are rushed into a decision. Since nearly 30% of our annual energy bill goes towards heating, it’s a good idea to spend the time now to decide on a new furnace or not.




  1. Old Age (furnace is over 16 years old)

The average life expectancy of your home’s oil or natural gas furnace is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is near this age or older, it’s time to start shopping! You’ll want to start right away since waiting till the last minute often produces rushed and unwise decisions.


The lifespan of a furnace can vary based on how often a technician services it, so if you want your furnace to live a long and happy life, schedule annual maintenance with a technician at Cassel Home Comfort. Another good reason to schedule annual furnace maintenance is that your factory warranty most likely requires regular service visits. Schedule your Champaign area furnace tune-up here.


  1. High Energy Bills

If you’re noticing a rise in energy costs, address the issue promptly. As your furnace ages, it will lose its efficiency, especially if it hasn’t been properly maintained. Consequently, your furnace may run longer, only to provide the same amount of heat and hike up your bill. One quick thing you can do to increase your unit’s efficiency is to change your air filters (check every month and change/clean the filter every 1-3 months depending upon usage and other factors). You can hold up your filter to the light for a quick test – if you cannot see light passing through, it’s time to change your filter.


  1. Uneven Temperatures

If you feel that some rooms are too hot while others are too cold, or you’re constantly adjusting the thermostat to try and make the house more comfortable, you may want to consider shopping around for a new furnace. Similarly, if you have noticed that your heating bill keeps going up year after year, it may be more economical to replace your system than to keep using an inefficient HVAC system.


  1. Yellow Burner Flame

A properly functioning gas furnace has a flame that is blue with a small yellow tip at the flame’s inner cone. If your flame is almost entirely yellow, this signifies that you have a very serious and potentially dangerous problem as it could be producing carbon monoxide.


If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home, including the basement and attic, and within 10 feet of every sleeping area, get them installed right away.

Also, remember to schedule annual furnace maintenance in the fall to prevent any carbon monoxide problems from your heating system during midwinter.


Furnace Replacement Benefits:


Convenience – less repairs means less waiting around for your service technician to arrive, diagnose the issue, go back for parts, return, and then have a similar issues weeks later.

Lower energy bills – heating and cooling accounts for over half of our annual energy bill, with about 30% of your annual bill going towards heating.

Peace of mind – with professional heating installations from a qualified HVAC contractor, any safety or reliability issues will be addressed to keep it running as close to its factory settings as possible. Annual furnace maintenance will also ensure your manufacturer’s warranties remain in effect!


For more home energy efficiency tips, see the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s four-step guide to making your home more comfortable, energy efficient and healthy.


The Benefits of HVAC Preventative Maintenance

HVAC Maintenance is not just for when something goes wrong. While most people would agree that preventive maintenance is a good thing, it is also something that is easy to ignore until you have a more substantial issue. But preventative HVAC maintenance can save you bundles on the long run, with the added benefit of peace of mind over your HVAC system. This is particularly important if you are a landlord or hotelier. A broken or noisy HVAC system just won’t look good.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the potential benefits of preventive maintenance and quantify the importance of partnering yourself with reliable, smart HVAC contractors near you.

Increased Energy Efficiency

The use of high-performance HVAC equipment can result in considerable energy, emissions and cost savings of between 10%-40%—according to Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences. So, why not give your equipment the ability to run at peak performance, while benefitting from lowered monthly utility bills and increased annual savings with energy efficient operations?

Extended Equipment Lifespan

Equipment that is clogged with dirt, dust and grime has to work much harder and longer to create the same amount of heating or cooling, which leads to early burnout and failure. Don’t spend more on preventable replacements and frequent component change-outs. Spend smarter on preventive maintenance to extend the shelf life of your existing heating, cooling and ventilation equipment.

Improved Air Quality

 Indoor air quality can be affected by dirty coils and blower parts within your air conditioning unit. This raises many health-related concerns, such as pollen, fungi and bacteria buildup, that you could be breathing in on an everyday basis. This sort of buildup can trigger asthma attacks; eye, nose, and throat irritation; and flu-like illnesses. Regular cleaning of these components significantly reduces contamination of your airstream and makes for a healthier household and happier living environment.

Decreased Costly Repairs

Scheduling regular maintenance can greatly reduce the potential for a costly service down the road by as much as 95%. Although it is impossible to avoid all HVAC repair situations, preventive care can save a lot of money on unanticipated heating and cooling emergencies.


Remember, prevention is always better than the cure. The benefits of preventive maintenance are certainly telling, with all leading to big savings in time and money. By scheduling a pre-season maintenance visit, it allows enough time for any repairs to be completed prior to a serious weather change like summer, which is right around the corner.


If You Want to get Ahead of Your HVAC Maintenance, Call The Vancouver, WA Air Conditioning Repair Experts!

Is Your Air Conditioner Making A Weird Noise?

When your air conditioner starts to make a weird noise, there could be a number of reasons to call for air conditioner repair. Whether you hear buzzing, screeching, or a loud banging noise, all of these sounds can indicate a problem with your air conditioning. If you hear a noise that you can’t identify, it’s time to call Comfort Air in Vancouver, WA to check out your air conditioning unit!

A Loud Buzzing

A loud buzzing noise can indicate that the system is malfunctioning. If your unit starts to leak refrigerant, this can cause the system to start to freeze up. Leaking refrigerant will eventually cause ice to build up in your unit. The air conditioning repair experts at Comfort Air prefer Trane brand products for their high quality, but even the best air conditioning units aren’t perfect: leaks can happen.

A High-Pitched Hiss

A high pitched hiss or squeal noise coming from your air conditioning unit usually indicates a problem with your compressor. You’re more likely to hear the noise when your system starts up, and it can go away in a few seconds. This is not a safe situation and you need to shut off your unit and call for air conditioner repair as soon as possible. Your system may also turn off and on frequently because of the problem.

A Banging Noise

A banging noise when your unit turns on can indicate that a foreign object got into the unit. For example, if a stray stick is hitting the fan when the unit turns on, a banging noise will occur. Try turning your unit to fan only. If the noise stops, there’s either something hitting the fan or the fan has become loose and is wobbling. While this is not dangerous in itself, ignoring the problem will lead to the need for larger repairs.

A Gurgling Noise

A gurgling noise when your air conditioning is running can be a number of problems. The drain for condensation may be causing the gurgle, or you may be leaking refrigerant. While this is not a problem that is going to cause immediate danger, pay attention to see if the problem becomes worse. You’ll want to call for a repair, but it’s not an emergency.

A Screeching Noise

A screeching noise when your unit turns on and continues to run can be a problem with the bearings on your fan motor. The noise can be very loud, but it isn’t necessarily a danger. If you hear a loud screeching sound like two pieces of metal rubbing together, you can still leave your unit on while waiting for a repair. If the heat is unbearable, call for a repair and leave your system running. If the weather isn’t too hot, turn your system off to give it a break.

If You Hear a Strange Noise, Call The Vancouver, WA Air Conditioning Repair Experts!

Whenever your air conditioning makes a noise you don’t recognize, it’s time to call Comfort Air in Vancouver, WA to see what is going on with your unit.

Fire Safety & Air Duct Cleaning: A Guide

Keeping your home free from dirt, dust, allergens, and other contaminants is not only good for you health, but it can also help keep your home safer. When your air circulation system is full of dirt and other substances, it could pose a fire risk in some circumstances. Professional duct cleaning in Vancouver WA will ensure your home is safe and comfortable.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning is the process of removing dirt, dust, and grime from heating and cooling system components including the air ducts, registers, diffusers, heating and cooling coils, air handling unit, and other parts that come into contact with circulating air. These parts can become contaminated with allergens and other household particles, and if there is moisture present, mold can also become a problem.

Duct Cleaning and Fire Safety

Accumulated dust and debris in any area is a risk for fire and poses a danger of spreading fire to other parts of a home via the ventilation system. In most homes, a significant buildup of dust is unlikely as the simple circulation of air through the ventilation system prevents much settling. However, if your central heating and cooling system is not used frequently, or you rely on other systems such as a wood-burning stove or fireplace for heat, then settlement can occur. Pest infestation can also lead to heavy accumulations in your ducts, especially from rodents, birds, and other small animals.

When to Clean Your Ducts

If anyone in your home is experiencing upper respiratory problems from allergies or illness, regular duct cleaning is essential. If you’ve just moved into a new home, getting a thorough cleaning is also a good idea, especially if the previous owners had pets. You should also schedule duct cleaning in Vancouver, WA, in these situations:

  • Mold is Discovered. Although not a risk for fire, if mold is detected anywhere in your heating and cooling system, a full cleaning is necessary.
  • Pest Infestation. Whether the infestation is in the air system or not, a full duct cleaning should follow after eliminating the infestation. Rodents and birds can also carry debris throughout your ventilation system and these accumulations will put your home at risk for fire.
  • Major Remodeling. Demolition and construction can cause a significant decrease in indoor air quality and the continual circulation of dirt, dust, and debris can lead to accumulations in your ducts. Always schedule a duct cleaning following any major home improvement project.

Scheduling Your Duct Cleaning in Vancouver, WA

Comfort Air is your duct cleaning specialist serving the Portland and Vancouver Metro market since 1983. Unlike many of our competitors, we charge by the job rather than by the hour. That means – NO SURPRISES! To learn more about duct cleaning and fire safety or to schedule an appointment, call us today!

Summer Duct Cleaning

Schedule a Summer Duct Cleaning Service

During the summer, the flurry of outdoor activities can track dust, dirt and debris into your home at record rates. These particles can easily be sucked into the intake vents of your HVAC system and cause your air ducts to get dustier than usual. This is why having your ducts cleaned can be a great idea during the summer. If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, then you might especially notice a difference in the cleaner air that will be flowing through your vents once you have them cleaned.

It is recommended that you have your air ducts cleaned every 3-5 years especially if you’ve had any remodeling done or if you have a pet friendly home. This will help ensure that you are not exposing your family to potentially toxic buildup of mold or other debris that can get stuck in your vents. Our trained technicians have the tools and experience necessary to get the job done quickly and efficiently. At Comfort Air, we use the HyperVac Technologies Revolution Hybrid Duct Vacuum for duct cleaning, which is specifically designed for this purpose and utilizes a HEPA filtration system with double the suction power of most other portable duct cleaners.

At Comfort Air, we have a proven track record of quality reliable HVAC service that our loyal customers will attest to. Don’t get scammed by fly-by-night too good to be true duct cleaning services who will take your money and do a poor job–or even perhaps use faulty tools and methods than could damage your HVAC system in the long run. Go with the one you trust, and the one who has a reputation built on years of quality service. Give us a call at Comfort Air and make your appointment if you need duct cleaning services this season. We are happy to help.

AC repair

Why DIY AC Repair May Not Be the Best Idea

When your air conditioner is on the fritz, you might be tempted to do some DIY AC repair. But, it’s a risky proposition if you don’t have the experience of a certified HVAC technician because there are several things you need to consider in order to stay safe and not damage your system in the process. An AC repair person goes through a training and certification process that arms them with the knowledge of how to diagnose and repair issues quickly and effectively. This includes being up to date on the latest technologies, tools, and techniques to keep HVAC systems running properly.


Many of the specialized tools that HVAC technicians use are not found in your at-home tool box. If you use the wrong tool you could end up causing damage to the unit that incurs a costly repair or even necessitates a replacement of your unit.


The ability to correctly diagnose an AC repair issue comes with experience. From AC leaks to drainage or electrical problems, a certified technician will be able to look for clues that alert them to the specific problem–without having to take the whole unit apart. Relying on their expertise will save you time and money in the long run.

Safety Issues

Because AC units run on high wattage, tinkering with them poses the danger of electric shock. The unit’s power circuit must always be shut off before any repairs are made because the last thing you want when you’re trying to save on repair costs is to end with a hospital bill.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the repair process. If you need reliable and honest AC repair, give us a call and make an appointment today.

Common Reasons to Call an AC Repair Technician

When you are getting ready for the hot weather ahead, part of your preparation will be to call for your home air conditioning system to be serviced. At the start of each cooling season, your system will work more efficiently when it is maintained by a professional HVAC technician. Even when you take good care of your system, there are still a number of common reasons you may need to call for ac repair in Vancouver, WA. Whether your system isn’t getting cool enough, or you notice strange sounds coming from your unit, calling for a repair before your system breaks down completely can save you money in overall repairs.

When Your System is Making Odd Noises

If you turn on your air conditioning system and you hear loud noises, this can be due to a number of reasons. Your duct work will expand and contract as cool air replaces the warm air inside. If the noise is bothersome, you can try opening up a vent or two in your duct work. If you hear a squealing noise coming from your outdoor unit, you may need to have a belt replaced. If you hear noises that you can’t identify, it’s time to call an AC repair technician to come and figure out what the problem is.

If Your System Isn’t Getting Cool Enough

When you turn your system on and the air isn’t getting much cooler, you probably need help with your air conditioning. This could be due to a number of problems. Your thermostat could be set too high, or a sensor could be malfunctioning and throwing off the temperature sensing of your system. You may be out of coolant, or your outdoor unit is blocked from yard debris and unable to provide the cooling of your home that you need. While you can try to run your system for a bit while getting less than cool air, this is only going to cost you more money in cooling costs.

When  Your System Won’t Turn On at All

A system that won’t turn on at all can be a problem with the electrical supply to the system, or with the unit itself. The thermostat could be broken, causing your system to fail to turn on. When the weather is hot and your air conditioner won’t turn on, this can be very frustrating. While you can try checking the circuit breaker to the air conditioning system, if this hasn’t been tripped, it will be hard for you to figure out what the problem is. If you have an air conditioning system that won’t turn on, you’ll need to call a technician to come and solve the problem. 

When you own a home air conditioning system, it’s important to have your system serviced every year. Good maintenance will help you avoid more expensive emergency repairs in the future. 

replace air conditioner

Ready to Replace Your Air Conditioner? Let Our Comfort Specialists Help

Are you ready to replace your air conditioner? We can help! With summer is on the way you will want to be prepared with a way to cool down once those sweltering days arrive. Depending on the brand, an HVAC system will last about fifteen years but there are several other telltale signs that indicate a replacement could be needed.

Frequent Repairs

If you are needing repairs every year, then it could be a sign that your unit is breaking down due to age. While it may be tempting to just keep doing the repairs, they could add up over time making an investment in a new unit the smarter choice. Experts recommended multiplying the age of the unit by the repair cost and if that’s more than $5,000, it’s time to consider a new one.

Humidity Issues

A humid home can contribute to all sorts of physical discomfort including worsening allergies and contributing to dangerous mold growth in your home. With recent advances in A/C technology, you can ensure that an Energy Star unit will help alleviate this issue. The size of the unit in comparison to your home plays a big role in keeping humidity levels down, so that’s a key factor to consider when choosing your new air conditioner.

Noisy System

If it sounds like Frankenstein is banging around near your HVAC system, it is a sign that the system components including the compressor and fan motor could be feeling their age. Newer systems are dramatically quieter than older ones, and their higher efficiency ratings can also save you money.

Uneven Cooling and Heating

It’s no fun walking into a warm room even though the air conditioner is on full blast. A number of issues could be contributing to this issue including air leaks in your duct work, incorrect unit settings, not enough insulation in your attic and older units that don’t put out enough cool air anymore. If your system is over 10-12 years old, then it could be losing its efficiency. Try installing a new air conditioner with a zoning system so that you can be sure each room in your home will be at the temperature you set it to be.

We offer a wide variety of air conditioning units that are highly rated for their efficiency. We also offer Trane zoning systems that keep each room in your home at the temperature you want it. Get in touch with any questions you have. We are happy to help you choose the perfect HVAC system for your home.