Keep Options Open with a Dual Fuel Heat Pump

Keep Options Open with a Dual Fuel Heat PumpWhile temperatures in Portland don’t go below freezing as often as they do in other parts of the country, the occasional cold winter night can push heating systems in the area to the limit. Electrical heat pumps can handle the job most of the time, but they have serious shortcomings when the temperatures really drop. Fortunately, a dual fuel heat pump offers all the advantages of electrical systems while adding the flexibility of gas. Here are 3 great reasons why owning a dual fuel heat pump, along with preventing heat loss, may be the perfect solution for your Portland area home:

  1. Quiet and environmentally friendly. In a duel fuel system, the air condenser is located outside, meaning most noise produced by your pump will be inaudible to people inside. Since electricity will be used most of the time, a minimal amount of noise pollution will be created to keep you and your family comfortable.
  2. Versatility and convenience. Having a purely electrical pump for most of the year isn’t a problem, but when it gets really cold, you’ll want the flexibility of a pump that can use gas. When temperatures get below freezing, your dual fuel heat pump will automatically switch fuel sources, allowing you to maximize effectiveness and efficiency at any time.
  3. Energy savings. The initial investment for a dual fuel heat pump might seem a little high, but the long-term savings on your energy bills can be significant. This heat pump is designed to run at optimal efficiency throughout the year, meaning you’ll save money no matter what the weather brings. You can also save money on HVAC maintenance by having only one pump instead of two.

If you ever have a problem with your system you can follow our heat pump trouble tips or call us for expert HVAC service. For more professional advice about heat pumps or other issues related to the heating or cooling of your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been proudly serving the Portland community since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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There’s No Time Like the Present to Begin Winterizing Your Home

There's No Time Like the Present to Begin Winterizing Your HomeSome people don’t give much thought to the inspections and changes they should make to their homes for the cold seasons. But checking for leaks and maintaining your heating, you can not only make your home safer and more comfortable, but you could save some dollars, too. With winter just around the corner, now is a great time to begin winterizing your home. Here are a few things you can do to accomplish just that:

Check for Leaks

When checking for leaks, you’re looking for anywhere that air can get in or out. The worst offenders are doors and windows, so look for cracks or gaps in or around both for places where air can get in or out. A simple silicone sealant placed in these cracks can effectively seal them. Make sure to also check your foundation for any cracks.

Also, if you have storm windows, now is a good time to ready them.

Have Your Furnace and Water Heater Serviced

Many people have yearly maintenance plans with their heating and cooling companies, and now is the time to put in an appointment to have yours serviced. The furnace and all of it’s joints, fixtures and vents will be checked as well as air filters and ductwork.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Where there is heat, there is sometimes fire, so make sure your family is protected by adding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, especially if you use a fireplace or wood burning stove.

Winterize Your Equipment

Make sure your leaf and snow blowers are in working condition and also let the gas drain out of lawn mowers and weed eaters. The gas sitting in them just over the winter could go bad.

Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, we’re more than happy to help you with any issues you might have with winterizing your home. Our friendly experts are knowledgeable and we’ve been serving Vancouver to Salem, Hillsboro to Bend, Oregon since 1976. We’ve got you covered!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Carbon Monoxide Exposure is Serious — Find Where it Hides Immediately

Carbon Monoxide Exposure is Serious -- Find Where it Hides ImmediatelyCarbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that invades thousands of homes every year, and many homeowners don’t even know they have this common indoor air pollutant. This gas is completely colorless and odorless, and is a natural by-product of combustion. It’s always a good idea to have CO detectors in your home to protect against carbon monoxide exposure, and then tackle these common CO hiding places.

Gas Appliances and Heating

Your gas range, dryer, furnace and water heater are all top culprits for carbon monoxide emissions. While these are designed to burn clean with little or no off-gassing, poorly maintained gas appliances may have a “dirty flame” that constantly gives off toxins. It’s critical to get these serviced regularly and replaced whenever necessary to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.

Fireplaces are beautiful and offer an excellent source of heat, but they don’t burn clean. Instead, the chimney and other ventilation apparatus are designed to move toxins out of your house to produce only clean, warm air. This only works as long as your chimney is well-maintained and clean, flues work properly, and filters and screens are in good working condition.

Vehicles and Lawn Equipment

The garage is a top source of carbon monoxide exposure, especially if you have an attached garage that has a door leading into your home. Never warm up your car in the garage with the door closed; exhaust fumes quickly build to a dangerous level. Gas-powered equipment such as lawn mowers and string trimmers also emit carbon monoxide, so never work on them indoors without adequate ventilation.

Diesel Generators

Generators are wonderful for protecting against power outages, but they are not intended to be anywhere inside a home. Have a professional install your generator, and then get regular air quality tests to ensure that diesel fumes aren’t seeping into the house.

If you have additional concerns about carbon monoxide in your home, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling for expert advice that could save your life. We have been serving the Portland, Oregon area since 1976 for all heating and cooling needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Fall’s Here in Canby: Time for a Furnace Inspection

Fall's Here in Canby: Time for a Furnace InspectionThe chilly temperatures are rapidly approaching Canby. Before fall gets into full swing and winter bites down, be sure that your furnace is in tip-top operational shape by having it thoroughly inspected. Here are some of the steps that a professional takes when performing a furnace inspection.

Combustion Chamber
Air and fuel combine in the ignition process to create heat for your home. During this process natural byproducts such as soot and water vapor can begin to build up over time. During a furnace inspection your HVAC specialist will clean all of the build-up from the chamber and inspect it to insure that there is no corrosion or undo build-up in the chamber.

Exhaust Flute
The excess heat and harmful gasses that are released during the combustion process are vented through the exhaust flute. Starting where the piping exits the furnace and inspecting all the way to where it exists your home is vital. Any holes or cracks in the piping could lead to carbon monoxide leaks or other harmful circumstances. Also remember to inspect carbon monoxide detectors.

Oil and Air Filters
During your furnace inspection the air and oil filters should also be replaced. Clean oil allows for smoother operation of the system and insures that dirty oil deposits and debris do not clog up the burners and lead to system shutdowns or failures. The air quality in your home is more vital in the fall and winter months when more time is spent indoors. A clean air filter helps increase your homes indoor air quality.

Adjustments for Efficiency
The burners should be adjusted to insure that your system will run at optimal efficiency. This helps save money during operation as well as by abating costly system malfunctions. All burners should then emit about the same amount of flame and do so in an even pattern.

Contact Roth Heating and Cooling today to get your furnace inspection completed in time for the coming wintery months. You can only be glad you did! We are also here to help if you think it might be time to replace your furnace.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Allergies Getting Worse? It Could Be Dust Mites

Allergies Getting Worse? It Could Be Dust MitesIf you are suffering from allergy symptoms such as sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose and itchy or watery eyes, locating the source of your allergies and making efforts to reduce this source could bring you a great deal of relief. Dust mites are among the most common household allergens and can trigger severe allergic reactions in sensitive people.

Dust mites are actually members of the arachnid family which also includes spiders and ticks. These tiny eight legged creatures thrive in warm, moist environments and eat skin particles that accumulate in mattresses, pillows, couches, etc. Although they do not bite, specific proteins present in the bodies and fecal matter of these mites can trigger allergenic responses in many people. A number of simple steps to reduce the population of these uninvited house guests include:

  • Keeping your household humidity levels below 55 percent. Since mites cannot live in a dry environment, reducing humidity is one of the most effective ways of minimizing exposure to dust mites. Running a dehumidifier and using ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms to vent humid air directly outdoors can help keep humidity in check.
  • Replacing wall to wall carpeting with smooth flooring in as much of your home as possible, especially bedrooms. This will allow for nearly complete removal of the dust particles which accumulate on the flooring within all homes, as smooth floors can be vacuumed with a HEPA type cleaner, leaving behind a much cleaner surface compared to carpeting which tends to hold dust particles deep within its fibers even after cleaning.
  • Using “mite proof” mattress and pillow covers and being sure to change your sheets and pillow cases frequently.
  • Replacing your HVAC filter regularly with a filter having a MERV value of at least 11.
  • Consider using UV light air filtration to reduce dust mite population.

If you would like more information on reducing dust mites in your Portland area home, the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling would love to help you; we have been serving the area since 1976!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Prepare for Cold Weather With Fall Water Heater Maintenance

Prepare for Cold Weather With Fall Water Heater MaintenanceWater heaters are one of those things that you set and forget. They just sit off to the side and do their own thing, and when you turn on the water tap or the shower, you are rewarded with hot water. In most cases, and depending on what type of water you have, you can expect your hot water heater to last between 8 to 12 years.

But by doing a little water heater maintenance every fall, you’ll assure yourself trouble free operation for the entire service life of your water heater. Here are a few tips on what to do.

  • Set your thermostat to 120 degrees. Yes, you have set it before, but it never hurts to check it and make sure it hasn’t been bumped, or that someone hasn’t turned up the temperature inadvertently. One hundred-twenty degrees is optimal for hot water comfort and overall energy savings.
  • Test the pressure relief valve. This valve is located on the top or near the top on the side. Put a bucket under the discharge tube and flip the valve handle up and down a few times to make sure it sets back in place. This action will purge any sediment from the seals.
  • Drain 1/4 of the tank. Ideally, this should be done a couple of times per year to remove any built-up sediment inside the water tank. But if you only have time to only do it once, make it part of your fall maintenance schedule.
  • Insulate the tank. If you haven’t done it yet, get a tank jacket that will keep the water inside hotter longer and also to conserve energy. If you have one in place, make sure it is still wrapped tightly and that it effectively covers the entire tank.

Doing these easy water heater maintenance tasks every fall on your hot water heater, will keep it giving you the hot water you need every time you turn the hot water faucet on.

For more ideas about water heater maintenance, please contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We have been serving the Portland, Oregon, area since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Your Furnace Filter Should Boost Your IAQ

Your Furnace Filter Should Boost Your IAQImproving your home comfort and energy efficiency doesn’t always require a grand gesture or big investment. Simply maintaining and replacing your furnace filter can both prevent indoor air quality problems and save money. Although you can check the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) for efficiency rates, choosing a filter can be daunting. Here are the common varieties for your consideration.

Basic Filters

Panel filters, or disposable fiberglass ones, are installed in most heating and cooling systems. They are composed of an inch of thick-spun fiberglass, are generally disposable, and block larger particles, with lower MERV ratings and costs.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are the most popular and are made 4 to 5 inches of polyester, cotton, or green materials. They are pleated or folded filters with greater surface area and efficiency.

  • The disposable pleated filter provides greater filtering at a relatively inexpensive price but should be changed frequently to ensure adequate airflow.
  • The high-efficiency version adds a rigid metal grid to increase efficiency and MERV, albeit at a higher cost and requiring a special housing. They may be ideal for sensitive household members.

Electrostatic Filters

These are made of self-charging cotton or paper fibers that pull in dust and other particles, trapping them. They must be changed or cleaned regularly to ensure  efficiency.

  • The disposable version has a relatively higher MERV, is fairly inexpensive, and works well for homes with pets or children, but  can be more expensive for non-standard sizes and due to repeated replacements.
  • Permanent electrostatic filters are a bit more expensive but are more effective than basic, pleated ones and can be machine washed and reused for 6 to 8 years.

HEPA Filters

Check with an HVAC professional before choosing high efficiency particulate air filters, as they require a separate system to block sub-micron particles. They rely on a core filter folded over very fine separators through which air flows.

Remember that filter efficiency decreases as particles build up, so change or clean them regularly.  For more expert advice on your Portland area home’s furnace filter and general comfort needs, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Why It’s Time to Switch to a Programmable Thermostat if You Haven’t Already

Why It's Time to Switch to a Programmable Thermostat if You Haven't AlreadyYou may have noticed that the trend in electronics and other industries is a digital one. Even eye glass lenses are now made digitally. So it’s no surprise that thermostats have gone digital as well. If you haven’t made the switch to a programmable thermostat, you may not be aware of the benefits a digital thermostat can have.

Why You Should Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

Making the switch to a programmable thermostat can actually save you money. Digital thermostats are more accurate than their analog counterparts, and that makes it easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

An accurate thermostat also means your air conditioner will only run long enough to reach the temperature you set, which will save you quite a bit of money on your energy bill.

Another great reason to switch to a programmable thermostat is that they are not made with mercury. Analog thermostats contain mercury like a regular thermometer.

Analog thermostats are also notorious for having displays that are hard to read. They are usually a dial with a needle that points to a temperature. Digital thermostats have a digital display that tells you exactly what the temperature of your home is, making it easy to make adjustments if you want to do so.

Digital thermostats can be programmed to a lower temperature when you are home and a higher temperature when you are at work, which can also save you quite a bit of money. In the fall, you can easily set the thermostat to start heating your home to a more comfortable temperature before you get home.

Many of the newer thermostats can also be controlled via an app on your smartphone which gives you even more control over your energy consumption. If you’ll be staying late at the office, you can override your digital thermostat presets and to maintain the current temperature until you get home.

For more information about making the switch to a programmable thermostat, contact the experts at Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Portland area for over 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Sealing Air Leaks: Do It Now, Before the First Cold Front

Sealing Air Leaks: Do It Now, Before the First Cold FrontNo matter what HVAC system you install and how well you maintain it, you cannot achieve an efficient home if you have significant air leaks. Air leaks are responsible for heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer. Spend time finding and sealing air leaks in your home to keep comfort high and bills low.

How to Find Leaks

At first you may have a hard time finding leaks, but over time it will become easier. If you would like professional help, have an HVAC technician come in and perform a blower door test. The blower door test will reveal virtually all significant leaks so you can seal them.

To inspect for leaks by yourself, take a walk around your home looking for major holes or cracks. These are typically present where the foundation meets the rest of the wall, as well around any piping or electrical entrance into the home.

You can follow a similar procedure inside the home, but should then try feeling for leaks or watching for airflow as you move a tissue or incense stick around the exterior wall. Give extra attention to windows and doors, the most common sources of leaks. Also be aware that fireplaces and outlets commonly exhibit leaks as well.

Sealing Air Leaks

Most typical leaks can be filled with either weatherstripping or caulking. You can find both at most hardware stores for a fairly cheap price. Caulking is used on leaks that are in stationary locations, like a wall or ceiling. Weatherstripping on the other hand is perfect for leaks around door joints, where movement is still required.

If you do find a leak around a fireplace, furnace or other heat generating equipment, you may have to use a special sealant. Sheet metal, sheetrock and cement caulk are all fire resistant materials that are often used. If you are presented with a situation that you are unsure of, contact an HVAC professional for guidance.

For help sealing air leaks in your Portland, Oregon home, contact Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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The Kids Are Back in School, So It’s Primetime to Recoup Summertime Energy Expenses

The Kids Are Back in School, So It's Primetime to Recoup Summertime Energy ExpensesFrom video games and television to air conditioning and pool filtering, having the kids home during the summer is a big energy expense. If the high energy bills during these months has you concerned, you’ll be glad to know that fall is a great time to recoup summertime energy expenses. With the kids away at school, sports or other activities throughout most of the day, you’ll have the chance to cut back at home.

To help you maximize your energy savings, we’ve come up with a few tips that are easy to understand and follow. You can:

  • Adjust your thermostat – You want your kids to be cool and comfortable while at home, but when they’re away there’s little reason to keep your programmable thermostat at the perfect temperature for comfort. By raising the temperature a few degrees, your air conditioner won’t need to work has hard or use as much energy.
  • Unplug those electronics – Even when a device is off, it draws power from the grid when plugged into a socket. Idle, plugged-in devices can account for as much as 10 percent of energy usage in the average home.
  • Darken your rooms – Sunlight entering through your home’s windows can create a greenhouse effect. You can reduce your need for air conditioning by simply closing blinds, shades and drapes when you don’t need a room to be lit.
  • Use the library for homework – The house is filled with lots of entertaining distractions, so going to the library or other quiet place for homework is great for getting things done. You’re also using someone else’s lights and air conditioning, so it’s great for saving money as well.
  • Schedule your maintenance – The kids going back to school is a great time to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance. With no one around using the air conditioning or heat, your HVAC contractor can ensure everything is working properly.

If you’re looking for more information on how to recoup summertime energy expenses or other issues related to home comfort, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided excellent service to Portland and the surrounding areas since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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