Category Archives: Service & Maintenance

The Weather is Warming Up – Schedule Your Spring HVAC Maintenance Today!

flower toolboxIt’s that time of year again! We’ve had our first string of sunny, mild days in months, which means that Spring has officially hit the Willamette Valley. So break out those shorts and sundresses, get that summer garden started, and call your mechanical contractor!

Wait – mechanical contractor? But who cares about that when there is so much yard work to do, so many walks to take, and so much sunlight to soak up?

That’s the funny thing about Spring. The weather is great, but not so extreme that we give much thought to our heat pumps and air conditioners – after all, many of us won’t even need to kick them into full gear until Memorial Day Weekend. But ask yourself this: when was the last time you had your heat pump, air conditioner, or furnace serviced?

Don’t remember? If it’s been awhile since your system had a tune-up, this is the perfect time of year to consider having Home Comfort come out for a routine maintenance service. We’ll clean and adjust the moving parts of your system, check that everything’s operating properly, and replace your air filter to ensure that your heating and cooling equipment is operating optimally before it has to start working hard during the summer months.

When the weather is mild, we may not give much thought to our HVAC systems. But the milder months of the year – March through May, and September through October – are probably the best windows of opportunity a homeowner has to devote some time to care for their systems. If any part of your system isn’t operating properly or optimally, a licensed mechanical contractor can spot and fix the issue before it becomes a bigger, costlier problem. If you have an HVAC maintenance appointment now, while the weather is mild, you may be able to prevent your system from breaking down at the moment when you need it the most.

Need a Spring HVAC maintenance? Call Home Comfort today so you won’t worry tomorrow!

Interested in learning more about HVAC, electrical, plumbing, or insulation? Like our Facebook page for more helpful information and tips from Home Comfort.

Winter is Here! Are You Ready for a Cold Snap?

icicleIs it really time for the holidays already? It sure feels like it here in the Willamette Valley, where we saw one of our heaviest snowfalls on record over the weekend. In places where the weather is normally mild, a sudden snowstorm can, at the best of times, be pretty inconvenient – and at the worst of times it can be downright dangerous. Since your comfort and safety are our highest priorities here at Home Comfort, we’d like to share a few tips for staying cozy and safe during a sudden cold snap.

  1. Protect your pipes: We’ve talked before of the preventative benefits of insulating your water supply lines, but whether you’ve had them insulated or not, you can help protect them against damage during freezing weather. When the temperature dips below freezing, remember to turn on the faucets in your home ever so slightly, so that only a small, tepid drip is coming from the spout. This keeps water moving through the pipes and protects them against freezing. Simply having to thaw your pipes can be time consuming and pricey, and having to replace a burst pipe can be even spendier than that!
  2. Drive wisely: Carry chains for your tires, and use four-wheel-drive if your vehicle has it. If you don’t have chains or four-wheel drive, ask yourself, “Is this an emergency?” If it isn’t, it may be safer to stay home until the roads are clear. Never drive in adverse weather conditions if you are uncomfortable doing so! Last Friday, when the Eugene/Springfield area saw a record-breaking snowfall, more than two hundred car accidents were reported in a twenty-four hour period. Don’t forget that there are lots of ways to get around without driving while the roads are icy and dangerous. Carpool with a friend or neighbor who owns a snow-ready vehicle. Take advantage of public transportation. If you need groceries or toiletries, consider bundling up and walking to the corner market instead of driving to your favorite supermarket across town. There are plenty of alternative transportation choices available; while it may be inconvenient for a few days, protecting yourself and your vehicle from unnecessary damage will make life easier long after the snow has melted.
  3. Prepare for power-outages:  A heavy snowfall can quickly and easily damage a power line. When the power goes out during a winter storm, it is important to be prepared to be without electricity for an indefinite period of time. Stock your pantry with non-perishable foods and bottled water. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights, candles, and extra batteries handy in an easily accessible location. Keeping a battery-powered radio and extra blankets on hand is a good idea, too!
  4. Care for your HVAC system: It’s never good when your heating system breaks down, but it’s especially bad when it breaks down during the coldest part of the year. At Home Comfort, we can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a mechanical contractor perform routine maintenance for your HVAC system. A technician can spot a damaged or worn component during maintenance and perform a minor repair before it becomes a major problem. Remember, your system works its hardest during periods of extreme weather. If you keep your system operating at peak performance, a major breakdown is less likely to occur just when you need it the most.

Here’s to a warm and cozy winter! Happy holidays from all of us at Home Comfort.

Interested in learning more about HVAC, electrical, plumbing, or insulation? Like our Facebook page for more helpful information and tips from Home Comfort.

Winter Is On Its Way – Are Your Pipes Ready?

Pipe-Insulation1

Is your home ready for that first winter cold snap? It can be hard to dwell on winter weather in such a mild climate, but taking steps to winterize your home’s plumbing can be a smart idea no matter where you live.  Even on the Oregon Coast, winter temperatures have been known to dip into the twenties, and we see at least one or two snowfalls a year here in the Willamette Valley. Winterizing your plumbing may not be the first item on your home maintenance checklist, but a burst pipe can cause quite the headache for an unprepared homeowner! Luckily, insulating your water pipes can provide a measure of protection.

Anytime you hear the word “insulation,” it’s natural to wonder just how much labor is involved. However, unlike some large home insulation projects, a trusted plumbing contractor can quickly and easily identify and insulate your accessible water pipes for a reasonable price. Insulating water pipes simply involves wrapping the pipes with an approved insulation material, such as fiberglass or polyethylene tubing, and securing the material in place.

And of course, there is an added benefit to insulating your hot water lines in addition to preventing a burst pipe. Insulated pipes can transport hot water more efficiently and prevent heat loss, which can save money on your water and electric bills. Between the peace of mind that comes with home maintenance, and the prospect of lower utility bills, insulating your water lines is definitely one home maintenance project that should rise to the top of your to-do list this year.

Are you ready to winterize your home’s plumbing? Make an appointment with one of our plumbers today!

Is Your Home Ready to Handle All Those Holiday Decorations? Exterior Outlets can Help!

christmas-lights

The holidays are at our heels, and many of us will be putting up home light displays after Thanksgiving as a way to usher in the winter festivities. Think about your dream holiday lighting display – a home wrapped in light and color, a display worthy of drawing a collection of “oohs” and “aahs” from both visiting relatives and passersby. But before you take down your collection of baubles from winters past, ask yourself this: is your home ready to take on the most complex and elaborate of holiday light displays? Or will you need to pull down that box of extension cords too, wondering where to trim back due to a lack of power supply? If your visions of an awe-inspiring light display have been curbed by electrical limitations in the past, consider an easy and relatively economical fix: exterior outlets.

Adding an exterior outlet to your home is a simple electrical upgrade that can be performed in less than a day by a licensed electrician. Having an exterior outlet installed is similar to the process of having an interior outlet installed – the biggest difference between the two outlets (besides the location) is that exterior outlets are also installed with waterproof covers and other weather-proofing features, as they will be subjected to more extreme environmental wear-and-tear than the outlets inside your home. Having an extra exterior outlet or two can cut down on the number of extension cords you need to use, drawing more attention to your carefully constructed light display and reducing the number of possible tripping hazards in your front yard.

Of course, exterior outlets can be useful after the holiday season, too! Exterior outlets can help you complete home improvement projects faster by providing a handy place to plug in your power tools. And if you like to use your back yard and patio area for summer get-togethers, an exterior outlet will allow you to hang additional lighting to help your party last long into the night. Whatever outdoor electrical needs you face, an exterior outlet can provide a safe and convenient source of power for your lights, tools and appliances.

Think it’s time to kick your holiday light display up a notch? The electricians at Home Comfort can help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Fall Freebies at Home Comfort!

gift_certificate_largeFall is a busy time for homeowners. Sure, the summer yard work season is winding down, and you may be putting away the sprinklers, mulch, and pool toys, but it’s more than likely that your work gloves, rakes, and tool boxes are sticking around for a little while longer. Fall is home maintenance season, that milder time of year when homeowners take time for the little-but-necessary home improvement projects and start prepping their houses for winter. Along with the do-it-yourself projects, you may be calling in the experts to start winterizing your home – chimney sweeps, electricians, plumbers, and yes, maybe even an HVAC technician.

The cost of all those little projects can add up quickly, but they’re also necessary to maintain a safe and comfortable home.  Here at Home Comfort, we want to celebrate our customers and the hard work that goes into keeping their homes cozy. Now through November 15th, if you like our page on Facebook your name will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate! The gift certificate can be used toward the cost of any maintenance, service appointment, or air filter purchase.*  We’ll announce the winner on November 15th – leaving plenty of time to schedule that fall HVAC maintenance before winter really starts to set in.

Remember, you can only win if you like our page before November 15th! Check out our profile here and get connected today. Happy Fall!

* For complete gift card drawing rules, please visit our policies page. You’ll find all the details at the bottom of the page.

Motion-Activated Lighting: A Simple Home Upgrade for Greater Peace of Mind

outdoor-lightingThe transition from summer to fall has a way of sneaking up on us. Barely a month ago, we were enjoying temperatures in the 80s here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley – today, raincoats and scarves are hanging on the backs of office doors. But the temperature isn’t the only thing that has changed; sunrise is happening later in the morning, and night is coming faster as October wears on.

For some people with early morning commutes, that time of year is fast approaching when it will be just as dark when they get home from work as it was when they left at the crack of dawn! For many, it is simply an annoyance to fumble for their keys in the dark, but for others, those periods of darkness before and after a commute can be a bit creepy. Luckily, a trusted electrician can make this time of year a bit less wearisome by installing a basic home security and safety device: outdoor motion lights.

Having motion-activated lights installed over your porch or driveway is a smart idea at any time of year, but they can be especially helpful during the wintertime and around the holidays. Besides having a reliable source of light in the early morning or late evenings, a motion-activated light is a helpful tool to have in your anti-burglary arsenal. Reports have shown that thieves and intruders are less likely to approach and break into a well-lit home, since they don’t want to risk being seen and described to police after a break-in.

Motion-activated lights can also help you save energy! Motion lights are helpful for those of us who want to save energy, but have trouble remembering small details, like turning the porch light off after everyone is home for the night. Since motion lights only turn on when the house is approached, and automatically turn off after a short period of time, homeowners can remove a frequently-overlooked item from their bedtime checklists.

Whether your life could use more convenience, conservation, or security, motion-activated lights are a practical and simple home solution. Fall is the perfect time to install a security light and reap the benefits of a well-lit home, inside and out.

Do you think it’s time to add a motion-activated light to your home? Home Comfort’s electricians can help with your outdoor lighting needs. Schedule an appointment today!

Works cited:

http://thesouthern.com/news/local/article_91e4c878-f0ee-11df-8382-001cc4c03286.html

Surge Protectors: Basic Protection Against Costly Repairs

surge protectorIf you’ve surfed past the Weather Channel lately, you may have noticed forecasts for thunderstorms in several parts of the country. When you hear that a thunderstorm is coming your way, you probably feel relieved knowing that you’ve done your best to protect your television, stereo system, and other major electronics by plugging them into a surge protector first. It makes sense, after all – in the event that your home does experience a rare power surge, replacing a flat screen television, desktop computer, top-of-the-line stereo system (or all of the above) can cost thousands of dollars! However, there may be one crucial appliance in your home that has missed out on this basic form of protection. How about your heat pump, furnace, or central air conditioner?

As we’ve mentioned in the past, a well-designed HVAC system can cost as much as a new car. At the very least, it is an investment of at least a few thousand dollars. And in the event of extreme weather, a blown-out heat pump can be far more inconvenient than a burned-up television.

Obviously, you can’t just plug your HVAC system into a power strip like the rest of your electronics. But fortunately, there are plenty of HVAC surge protectors on the market, and they may be able to provide basic protection against the kind of damage that can occur in electronics during a power surge. An HVAC surge protector works in a similar fashion to the power strips protecting your television and computer. In the event of a power surge, the surge protector can detect dangerous levels of electricity and divert that electricity to a ground wire before it can reach and damage your equipment’s electrical components. No surge protector can protect against the most powerful of surges, but in the event of a normal power surge, the protector can save a great deal of worry. And even if you don’t live in an area that’s prone to thunderstorms, installing a surge protector can be a good precaution. The most common power surges can be caused by a number of issues, including utility work, problems with a generator, or a sudden electrical glitch in an appliance that consumes a lot of power, such as a refrigerator or your HVAC system itself.

HVAC surge protectors aren’t built like your average power strip, and the best way to ensure proper installation and operation is to have it installed by a licensed mechanical contractor. Your technician can select the right surge protector model for your HVAC equipment and can safely and professionally install it, all for a reasonable price. The next time the weatherman forecasts a lightning storm in your area, you can rest easy knowing that all of your major appliances have some protection against damage.

Do you need a surge protector installed in your home? Give the experts at Home Comfort a call to schedule an appointment today!

Is Your Heating and Cooling System Ready for Winter?

Fall-Leaves-beautiful-AutumnFall is fast-approaching in the Pacific Northwest! The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors, cafés are rolling out their lines of pumpkin-flavored drinks and pastries, and, little by little, the weather is definitely getting chillier. Here at Home Comfort, we can always tell that summer is ending when our schedule begins to fill up with HVAC maintenance appointments. At this time of year, the extreme heat of summer is ebbing away, and the cold winter days have yet to set in. The beginning of fall is a great time of year to consider scheduling a routine maintenance visit for your HVAC equipment.

Routine maintenance is a service mechanical contractors perform to clean, lubricate, and adjust the many moving components of your HVAC system, as well as replace air filters and test basic equipment operations. Routine maintenance visits are performed in order to optimize the system’s performance before it has to operate in periods of extreme weather. During a maintenance visit, your HVAC technician can also point out any components that are due for replacement and notify you of issues that need to be addressed. Fixing minor issues between summer and winter can reduce the likelihood of a major breakdown occurring when you need your equipment the most – like a frigid winter day!

Whether the onset of fall or spring prompts you to call your mechanical contractor, or you’re already set up with a prepaid maintenance plan, scheduling routine HVAC maintenance can provide peace of mind and help you keep on top of caring for your heating and cooling system. If you think your equipment is due for a maintenance visit, give Home Comfort a call. Our technicians can help you make sure your family is ready for those long winter nights.

Easy Use, Easy Maintenance: Electronic Air Cleaners at Work

Here at Home Comfort, we take indoor air quality seriously. These days most people in the United States spend up to 90% of their time indoors, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental health risks we face today. With energy-efficient homes insulated and sealed tighter than ever against fresh outside air, the quality of the air inside a person’s home is often filled with far more pollutants than the air outside, even if you’re using a high-quality air filter and changing it regularly. For those who are concerned about allergens and indoor air pollutants, and would like to take an extra measure to ensure the cleanliness of the air in their homes, installing a whole-home electronic air cleaner may help.

Electronic air cleaners take the job of a normal air filter for a ducted heating and cooling system and take it to the next level. Rather than simply trapping particles in a tightly-knitted, mesh-like media, electronic air cleaners trap particles by giving them an electrostatic charge them as they pass through the filter, causing them to stick to a collection surface rather than passing through the your duct system and into your home. To see an electronic air cleaner in action, check out the video below. It will show you a demonstration of American Standard’s Accuclean™ Whole-Home Air Filtration system at work.

Besides their efficiency, electronic air cleaners have a simple cleaning process. And, since the filters are washable, you can save money in the long run rather than purchasing disposable filters every few months. If you click on the video below, you’ll see a demonstration for cleaning the Accuclean™ system:

Basically, if you can vacuum your carpets, drapes, and furniture, you can clean this air cleaner regularly with no trouble!

If you have a ducted heating and cooling system and like the idea of an efficient, easy-to-maintain air filtration system, give our estimators at Home Comfort a call. We can match the right electronic air cleaner model with your home or business.

Works Cited:

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airclean.html

Routine Maintenance: Long-Term Care for a Hard-Working HVAC System

 

On an average day in Oregon, you never know what the weather will bring!

On an average day in Oregon, you never know what the weather will bring!

It is mid-June, and the first day of summer is literally hours away, but here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the sunny weather we usually expect at this time of year has been interrupted by periods of gloomy skies and chilly rain. In fact, in the time it took to write this paragraph the weather changed from warm, clear blue skies to driving rain and back again — all in a span of five minutes!

The unpredictable weather that comes with the changing of the seasons can put us in front of our thermostats a lot, sometimes prompting us to manually adjust our temperature settings multiple times in the span of just a few days. At moments like this, think about how hard your system works to keep you comfortable! Whether you expect your system to be working hard in heating or cooling mode, it is good to be sure that everything is working properly in order to reduce the chance of unpleasant surprises on a particularly hot or chilly day.

In the same way that a car needs regular oil changes and tune ups to continue operating properly, your HVAC system is comprised of moving mechanical and electrical parts that can wear or break down over time and continued use, and can benefit from routine maintenance services. Many major repairs are related to the excessive wear or failure of a minor component, and can be avoided when detected during a routine maintenance service.

If you want to turn your HVAC maintenance into a long-term investment, you may want to consider purchasing a prepaid maintenance plan from a licensed mechanical contractor like Home Comfort. Our maintenance plans offer regular maintenance for a variety of HVAC systems over a span of one, three, or five years. The prices of a single maintenance visit under these plans are usually less expensive than a one-time maintenance visit, since you are essentially purchasing your maintenance services in bulk. Not only can a maintenance plan save you money over time; it can be especially helpful to homeowners with a busy schedule! When you purchase a maintenance plan from us, our office calls to remind you when an upcoming maintenance is approaching, so that you never forget to have your appointment scheduled.

If you’re not sure what kind of plan you should purchase, or how frequently your HVAC system should have maintenance performed, our staff is always available to explain the details of our maintenance plans and answer your questions. Contact Us and we’ll work hard to find the right maintenance plan for you!