Our Top 5 Most Frequently Asked HVAC Questions

Comfort Heating & Cooling has been in the HVAC business for a long time – over 14 years now! During our time in business, we’ve received many common questions from homeowners. Here are last year’s most frequently asked questions: 

When should HVAC ductwork be replaced?

This is an interesting one. A lot of HVAC pros will tell you that ductwork should be replaced after 10-15 years, but we don’t think that’s exactly true. Ductwork can absolutely create problems. The normal expansion and contraction that occurs in a heating and cooling system can pull apart the seams of ductwork, which creates leaks. Maybe ductwork was poorly joined and sealed. Condensation from air conditioning could create rust on uninsulated metal ductwork. Or maybe sections of the ductwork have buckled due to inadequate support during installation. So, while there are plenty of things that can go wrong with ductwork, don’t automatically assume that your 15-year-old ductwork needs to be completely replaced.  

If you’re experiencing issues in your home like high energy bills, reduced comfort, noisy operation, or bad odors, you should call in a pro to assess your ducts. A lot of duct problems can be avoided or remedied by sealing, insulating, and then plugging any leaks that have developed. Of course, you may need to replace your duct work if you’re replacing your old system entirely. A new, efficient unit will often require updated ductwork in order to work at its best.  

What home heating and cooling system should I buy?

That depends! There are many different variables to consider.  

  • The first consideration is the type of HVAC system you currently have and deciding if you want to stick with that system or try something new. Do you have a central air conditioner and a furnace that rely on ductwork? Do you have a ducted heat pump and forced air furnace combination? 
  • The second consideration consists of any issues or concerns you have with your home’s heating and cooling. Do you have high energy bills? Are there certain rooms or areas that are too hot or too cold? Do you have an ADU or outbuilding that needs to be heated or cooled?  

In general, we tend to recommend ductless heat pumps, also called ductless mini splits, for homes that do not have ductwork. Why? Installing ductwork is an expensive and time-intensive process, and in most cases, it’s hard to justify the expense when ductless heat pumps are so efficient and affordable. We love ductless heat pumps for home additions, basement apartments, and ADUs, as well as for homes that rely on expensive electric heating.  

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Where are HVAC filters located?

Have you ever gone to replace your HVAC filter … but couldn’t figure out where it is? Don’t worry – customers have this problem all the time when they have new or unfamiliar equipment. All HVAC systems should have an air filter, but they’re not always located in the same spots. Generally, the filter will be in the blower compartment or in the return air duct. Depending on your type of HVAC unit, you may find an air filter: 

  • Behind the return grills if there’s a return in each room; 
  • Behind the return air grill on a wall; 
  • Fitted into a slot below the unit (if you have a vertical air handler with the return air duct below the air handler); 
  • Fitted into a slot above the unit (if you have a vertical air handler with the return duct on top of the air handler); or 
  • Fitted into a slot on the intake side of the unit (if you have a horizontal unit with the return duct on the side of the air handler). 

Can HVAC systems filter COVID-19?

HVAC filters can effectively remove pollen, dust, dirt, mold, certain particles, and bacteria. They can help reduce airborne contaminants like viruses, but a typical HVAC system can’t adequately protect inhabitants from COVID-19. To remove viruses from the air, a filter or cleaner needs to catch tiny particles in the range of 0.1-1 um.  

To enhance the safety of your home or business, consider an advanced air purification system like the REME Halo®, which can remove 99% of viruses from the air and even surfaces. 

Are HVAC systems energy efficient?

Today’s HVAC systems can be incredibly efficient. A furnace’s efficiency is measured by Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which rates how efficiently a furnace uses fuel. The higher the rating, the less fuel the furnace needs to heat a home, and the more efficient the unit is. Heat pump efficiency is measured by Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The higher the HSPF rating, the less electricity required for the unit to operate.  

Units that are more energy efficient are usually more expensive, but their costs are typically offset over time by lower utility bills. An experienced HVAC technician will help you balance your comfort needs with your initial purchase budget with your ongoing utility budget.  


Need help finding a new home heating and cooling system?

Comfort Heating & Cooling has been working with homeowners in the greater Portland area for 14 years. Our heating and cooling products by Ruud and Daikin are reliable, efficient, and backed by comprehensive manufacturer’s warranties. Plus, we offer 0% down payment financing. Ready to get started? Contact us today 

Certified Furnace Technicians

Portland’s Home Heating Experts Since 2007

Whether you’re remodeling, building a new home or simply replacing your existing heating system, you can depend on Comfort Heating and Cooling for reliable, efficient heating solutions that will last for years to come. Your new furnace will help you comfortably ride out the harshest winter while you increase the resale value of your home. We understand that no other single system in your home plays a larger role in your comfort or how much your utility bill will be. That’s why we specialize in high efficiency heating solutions that can warm your interior space in the most cost-effective way.


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