3 Furnace Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore

Here at Comfort Air, we know that you want to take great care of your HVAC system. It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, making it an important part of your household. So it can be alarming when your furnace starts to make an unfamiliar noise. We understand that you may not want to run to the repairman every time you think something is off, because that can end up costing you a lot of money in a short period of time.

We get that, but you should also know that there are some sounds that you should never ignore. These three kinds of sounds could indicate a huge problem. You want our furnace repair experts to get to them early before more expensive damage is done. If you wait too long, you may even need a complete replacement! So listen for these kinds of sounds and contact us at (360) 891-2665 if you do.

Scraping

One major red flag can be a scraping sound. If you hear metal on metal sounds, it could be an indicator that the blower wheel has run into some issues. You want to turn off your system right away to make sure that it won’t cause more damage.

The scraping noise could be indicative of a broken blower wheel or a loose blower wheel. For the latter, a technician might just be able to tighten the wheel up again. This easy fix can save you a lot of money on repairs later on. The motor mount that holds the blower assembly in place could also be broken, which also means that you need a prompt repair.

Banging

A banging noise can also be indicative of major issues with your furnace. A variety of problems could be causing this banging noise. You’ll usually hear a loud bang or pop upon starting up the furnace, which means that you’re likely in need of some professional assistance. You might have a clogged air filter or a major issue with your ductwork. Improperly installed or low-quality ductwork can both cause banging noises. Your ductwork could even be the wrong size.

Dirty furnace burners could also be the culprit. The dirt on the burners stops them from igniting the gas right away, causing a buildup. A buildup of gas fumes can end up causing damage to the heat exchanger once it finally ignites. Repairing the heat exchanger can get expensive, so this is a noise you definitely can’t ignore. This is one reason that routine maintenance for your furnace can be so important. A technician can spot this kind of issue as they inspect your burners and help you avoid more costly work later.

Squealing

A sharp squealing or whining noise can also be a sign that you need our furnace repair experts. It can be caused by a failing blower mower or shaft bearings that need lubrication. It could also be caused by a blower belt that’s come loose or past its prime. We can help you put a stop to that squealing sound by replacing some parts or making sure that others are properly placed.

Spring Duct Cleaning with Comfort Air

Think the air you’re breathing inside your home is fresh? Think again.

With your house being closed up all winter long, dirt, allergens and other contaminants have been building up and are being cycled throughout your house, courtesy of your furnace and ductwork. Do you have any idea what’s in your ducts? Dirt, Dust mites, Pollen, Pet fur and potentially fungus and mold could be in your ducts. This is why you should consider duct cleaning from Comfort Air Vancouver WA.

 

Duct Cleaning Procedure

Duct cleaning is really a simple procedure. All you really need to do is call the HVAC professionals at Comfort Air Vancouver WA to schedule your duct cleaning.

 

Benefits of Duct Cleaning

In addition to cleaner indoor air, duct cleaning can also help improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Your HVAC systems have air filters to prevent contaminants from getting inside the heating or cooling unit. When ducts are dirty, these filters clog up quickly. Clogged filters keep air from getting to the furnace or air conditioner, and that makes the unit work harder.

 

If you’ve never had your ducts cleaned, you might notice a difference on your energy bill after duct cleaning. If you get your ducts cleaned regularly, you may not see significant savings on your energy bill, but you can be assured that you are helping to improve your indoor air quality.

 

Schedule Duct Cleaning Today!

Comfort Air is ready to help you with your spring cleaning. Call us for a duct cleaning quote for your home or business or to schedule your duct cleaning service.

 

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Filter?

Here at Comfort Air, we know that part of keeping an HVAC system running smoothly is maintenance. We can help you out with much of that, but there are actually some things that you can do on your own to ensure that your heating and air conditioning are working properly all season long. One of those tasks that you can handle is changing out or cleaning your air filter. As time passes, this component has a harder time doing its job as well as it should. It’s important to get a new one or clean your current one, which can help keep your HVAC system in top shape.

What Does My Air Filter Do?

What your air filter does should seem obvious. It filters out impurities and makes sure that they’re not being pumped through your house. When your heat or air conditioning turns on, it begins to blast warm or cold air through your vents. You don’t want potentially harmful particles to be a part of the air circulating in your home.

In recent years, studies have shown that pollutants inside your home can be just as damaging as pollution outside. That’s why indoor air quality is so important. By taking care of this simple task, you can ensure that the air inside of your home isn’t getting your family sick or triggering allergies.

Having a clean air filter also brings some other benefits. A clean air filter makes it so that your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job. That means that neglecting it can result in you paying more on your utility bills. Cleaning or replacing your air filter is an easy way to save money and improve your air quality.

When to Clean It

When you should change out or clean your air filter can vary. Some people try to change it once per season. It’s especially wise to make sure that your air filter is in top shape before the winter and summer months, where your HVAC system is working the hardest. Others change or clean their filter even more frequently, like once per month. That may not be necessary for all homes, but it really can’t hurt.

You can also evaluate your air filtration needs and see if you’ve noticed a difference in your indoor air quality. If you already changed your filter for the season but you notice that the air inside your home isn’t as fresh, it might be in need of a cleaning. You could notice that your allergies are acting up or that people are getting sick more often.

Other factors can also affect how often you need to change or clean your filter. The more people in your house, the more dust and dirt they could kick up. If you have pets, you may have to worry about dander and fur. In these cases, you’ll want to clean your filter more often.

Really though, the best possible rule of thumb is to change or clean your filter when it gets dirty. Keep an eye on it, and keep your HVAC system in top shape all season long!

3 Ways To Reduce Your Heating Costs

Here at Comfort Air, we know that many of you are concerned about your heating bills. Sometimes it can seem like they’re so expensive and that there’s nothing that you can do to fix that. Fortunately you local HVAC experts in Vancouver, WA have some helpful tips for you. With our expertise and a little bit of work, we can help you lower your heating costs while keeping your home nice and toasty during the winter months.

Keep Warm Air Inside Your House

So you’ve set your thermostat to the desired temperature and waited for your house to warm up, but you haven’t noticed your house getting any more comfortable just yet. So you turn up the heat a little more, and then you’re shocked by your heating bill. There might not be an issue with your HVAC system. It could be a problem with heat escaping your home.

Heat can easily escape out of the attic or your walls. That’s why it pays to make sure that your home is properly insulated. When we say “pays,” we actually mean it. A properly insulated home means lower heating costs. You can also take some other steps to ensure that your heat isn’t escaping during the winter months. Keep windows closed and try not to use ventilation fans in the kitchen or bathrooms. These can help heat escape. Also keep an eye on your fireplace. Closing the fireplace damper when it’s not in use can save you some money.

Have an Expert Look at Your HVAC System

Sometimes, your colder house and higher heating bills are a result of an issue with your HVAC system. In that case, it pays to have one of our experts take a look. We can see if there’s a simple filter problem or if there’s a bigger issue. Problems like a blocked air duct or an obstructed radiator can each hurt the efficiency of your system. We can make sure that you’re getting the most out of your system and that you’re not overpaying for your heat all season long due to a mechanical issue. Your favorite heating and cooling experts are on the case.

Lower Your Thermostat or Upgrade It

Here’s an obvious one. You may think you’re comfortable only at a certain temperature or above during the winter, but lowering your thermostat a bit can help you save big money over the course of the season. Just a few degrees can make a big difference on your heating bill.

You can also invest in a programmable thermostat. It may surprise you to learn how rapidly this technology has evolved in recent years. We offer a variety of home automation products that can help you reduce your energy consumption and your heating bill. You’ll be able to turn on your heat right before you enter the house, making sure it’s comfortable without wasting electricity. A small investment right now could make a big difference in your heating bills later. So if you’re looking for any kind of heating and cooling services in the Vancouver, WA area, make Comfort Air your first stop.

HVAC Installation for Summer in Vancouver, WA

HVAC installation is something that should always be left to professionals. Even so, there are many things homeowners need to do to prepare their homes for installation, and prepare to make smart purchase decisions for their families.

There are many types and models of heating and cooling systems on the market – learning the ins and outs of each will help you determine which system is the best solution for your heating and cooling needs. With information on HVAC installation and system types, you’ll make a purchase decision that makes financial sense for your family while offering the comfort you need for years to come.

While the winter months might be dark and cold in the Pacific Northwest, the summers are long and hot. A cooling system that runs at peak performance will not only keep you more comfortable but can save you money on utility bills, as well.

The following quick tips can help ensure that your air conditioner offers you cooling relief when you need it the most.

Maximize System Efficiency

It’s a basic principle of Air Conditioning 101: Systems that use less energy perform better too. An efficiently operating system maintains your ideal temperature. It also helps keep indoor humidity levels balanced. Start by keeping your air conditioner clean. Dirt, dust and debris can have a big impact on the system’s performance:

Change the Air Filter.

Your air conditioner’s air filter is the equipment’s first line of defense against damaging dirt and dust. Check it frequently during the warm-weather season. Be sure to change it at the first sign of dirt.

Check the Vents.

Vacuum and dust air conditioning vents often. Make sure they’re not blocked by furnishings, floor coverings or window treatments.

Landscape Wisely.

Prune back vegetation around the outdoor unit. Doing this ensures maximum air flow and keeps the condenser clean of loose leaves and debris.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

One of the best ways to optimize your system’s performance is to request an appointment for preventive maintenance. Our professional HVAC maintenance service includes a seasonal checkup of all the components of your air conditioning system. This includes the ductwork and blowers to the refrigerant levels and electrical connections. With our fully stocked service trucks, we can usually resolve any potential problems on the spot as well.

Now is the best time to take steps to improve your air conditioner’s performance, before the full heat of summer arrives. For more information about timely air conditioning solutions, check out ComfortAir at https://comfortairnow.com/ or call 503-655-0221

 

Prepare Your AC for Spring

We know that it’s cold right now, but that’s why it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your AC unit! You never want to be stuck with a broken AC when you really need it, so it’s best to fix it early. Check out your HVAC Vancouver WA experts at Comfort Air.

  1. Give Your Air Conditioner a Trial Run

Sometimes heating and cooling systems simply stop working while not in use. This usually happens to older systems with end-of-life issues, but it can also happen to younger systems with unresolved issues from last summer. If the system isn’t working like it should, or if it isn’t working at all, you can schedule HVAC repair and get the problem taken care of before you need actually need your air conditioner.

  1. Schedule AC Maintenance

If your heat pump or air conditioner still works, schedule HVAC maintenance to ensure that it works efficiently. Your technician will inspect and clean the entire unit to prime it for optimal summer performance. If any existing issues or potential problems are detected, you can get air conditioner repair on the spot.

  1. Consider Air Conditioning Replacement

Heat pumps and air conditioners generally last from 15 to 25 years. Because AC replacement is expensive, it is common for homeowners to keep their existing units instead of replacing them. The downside is inefficiency. A new system will always be more efficient than an old one.

If your cooling costs were steadily increasing last summer, chances are good that they will increase even more this year. If your present system is losing efficiency, an air conditioner replacement can maximize indoor comfort while offsetting installation costs with lower energy bills.

To learn more about getting the most from your HVAC in Vancouver WA visit Comfort Air  or call 360-891-2665.

 

When Should You Replace Your Furnace

 

Replacing your furnace is a great opportunity to increase your energy efficiency and comfort levels. Many times our technicians will ask how long it will take to install a new furnace. As long as your existing ductwork is intact and works correctly, it normally takes less than a day to replace an outdated furnace. However, there are decisions to be made before installation that can and should take some time.

Factors to Consider Before Installation

Combustion furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, so it’s important to make sure that you install a furnace that fits your needs and your home perfectly:

Size

Your home has specific heating needs, and these needs won’t be met if you install a system that is either too big or too small for your home. So how do properly size your furnace? By working with a trained professional on a heat load calculation. This calculation is comprised of things like:

  • Your home’s orientation
  • Levels of insulation
  • Floor plan
  • Number of occupants
  • Number and type of windows and doors
  • Square footage
  • Once the heat load calculation is done, you’ll know exactly what size furnace you’ll need to comfortable heat your home.

Type of Furnace

There are 2 main types of furnaces: electric and combustion. Combustion furnaces commonly use natural gas, but they can also use propane and oil. Electric furnaces can be good choices for homes that do not have immediate access to fossil fuels, or that don’t want to use a combustion system.

Energy Efficiency

Furnaces have become very energy efficient. The best way to check a furnace’s efficiency is to review its AFUE rating. The AFUE rating stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency, and it measures a furnace’s efficiency in converting fuel to energy. The higher AFUE rating, the greater energy efficiency of the furnace.

The installation of your furnace should be the last step of a process conducted with a trained expert. Taking these steps helps ensure that you’ll install a new furnace that will heat your home as you need it to for years to come. Visit ComfortAir today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts!

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.

Dehumidifier

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.

 

SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR FURNACE?

 

  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.