Experience the Benefits and Comfort of Outdoor Security Lighting

Experience the Benefits and Comfort of Outdoor Security Lighting Outdoor security lighting can make your yard and property as secure after dark as it is during the day. Once the sun goes down, your landscape and outdoor ambience becomes a darkened recess that can seem unwelcoming to family and friends, while attracting uninvited intruders.

Low-voltage, high-efficiency outdoor lighting provides a wide range of illumination and color alternatives without excessive power drains. A security lighting system has a very low impact on landscapes and is unobtrusive and inconspicuous during the day.

Some reasons homeowners are lighting up their premises with outdoor security lighting, include:

Accident Prevention

Any darkened yard presents numerous slip and fall hazards. Illuminated walks can safely light the way to commonly-used areas of your property, while zone lighting chases shadows away from dark corners. Well-lighted driveways are also important to prevent personal injury, as well as property damage.

Home Security

Darkness is an intruder’s ally. A home with well-lit premises communicates a message to potential prowlers and thieves that the residence is occupied and trespassers will be observed. Adding motion detectors to certain zones can flood those areas with high-lumen security illumination as needed, while consuming no electricity when it’s not.

Wildlife Deterrents

You might be surprised by the variety of creatures who visit your yard at night. Some can be a nuisance to your home and garden, as well as a threat to your own pets. Possums, raccoon, rodents and coyotes are common in many residential areas, but tend to avoid well-lit areas. Motion detector sensors can be adjusted to trigger lights only when critters of a certain size trespass.

Aesthetic Enhancement

Outdoor security lighting can incorporate a palette of colors that express your individual creativity. Lights also effectively accent and emphasize certain landscape features, such as trees, shrubbery, fountains and pools. Lighting design can be an artistic statement, while increasing the curb appeal of your home.

For more information about the energy-efficient benefits of outdoor security lighting in Portland, 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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What Are the Main Benefits of Solar Energy?

What Are the Main Benefits of Solar Energy?After decades in development, the benefits of solar energy have become abundantly clear to many homeowners searching for a way to cut their carbon footprint and lower energy costs. Solar panels are more affordable, durable and efficient than ever, and they can power a lot of your home’s electricity needs.

It’s dependable. Although this region sees its share of cloudy weather, many solar panels today work even with a cloud cover. Their output won’t be as ample as on a clear day, but depending on the panel type and quality, you can still generate power.

It stores well. You can connect deep-cycle batteries to the solar array and store the energy to use later, at night or during power outages. If you don’t use storage batteries for solar energy, you can sell some back to the power company, reducing electric bills.

It’s widely available and accepted. Almost all jurisdictions and homeowner associations allow solar panels on rooftops, unlike generating power from the wind, which can obstruct views, pose a hazard for wildlife and generate noise.

Easy installation and maintenance. If you have basic skills, you can probably install your own solar panels. Panel maintenance is minimal, and an occasional rinse with the hose can remove dust. You may need to use a wet sponge mop to remove bird droppings.

Low emissions. Building and placing solar panels on your home requires energy and some raw materials, but once placed on your roof, any environmental impact stops there. This type of power generation is perfectly clean, unlike power generated from natural gas or coal. These two fuels are used to produce the majority of power in the U.S.

The experts at Roth Heating & Cooling can show you more benefits of using solar energy for the home. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC services for Portland area homeowners 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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How to Detect a Slab Leak and What to Do About It

How to Detect a Slab Leak and What to Do About ItIf you’ve built a home on a concrete slab, there may be a hazard lurking underneath. Whether it be improper installation, shifting ground or another physical damage, your home could be harboring trouble. If you notice mold under your carpet or water collecting from an unknown source, your home might have a slab leak.

Sometimes, as might happen in the Portland area, the ground might be moving imperceptibly. With plumbing running underground, all it would take is a slight shift in the ground for a fitting or joint to free up or break, resulting in a leak. Caught early, you can greatly minimize damage to your home.

But how do you detect a slab leak? Some common signs include:

  • Hearing water running even though you’re sure the water is turned off.
  • Feeling a warm spot in the middle of the floor.
  • Though not conclusive, if you see a crack in the floor.
  • If your water bills seem unusually high. A leak can be costly before you even find the source.

What should you do if you think you detect a slab leak? First, don’t go digging up your concrete floor. You’ll likely be doubling your problems and tripling your costs. Reputable plumbing companies have sophisticated detection equipment and can find the problem quickly and rapidly devise a workable plan of recovery.

If you let this problem go on without repair or mitigation, you run the risk of having mold issues that can cause serious respiratory problems. In the severest of cases, a leak can cause structural support problems to your home.

If you notice any of these issues, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, and get the pros in there quickly to make a determination of your problem and put your mind at ease.

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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How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing This Winter and What to Do If It Happens

How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing This Winter and What to Do If It HappensAs Portland’s temperatures begin to drop, you may be concerned about your pipes freezing. This season, you can take some steps to prevent this from happening.

A frozen pipe can be a real nightmare. When water freezes, it expands and puts added pressure on your pipes. Even the strongest of materials can’t stand up to this kind of pressure. As a result, you’ll be left with a big plumbing problem and no water.

Some of your pipes are more exposed to the elements and are more likely to freeze this winter. These include:

  • Pool supply lines
  • Sprinkler lines
  • Water supply pipes in unheated areas
  • Pipes against uninsulated exterior walls

Before winter hits, you can prepare your home and prevent pipes from freezing. Any water remaining in your swimming pool supply line and water sprinkler supply line should be drained. In addition to removing your hoses from outdoor spigots, you should drain and store them.

You should also open outdoor hose bibs to give frozen water room to expand, keeping the indoor ones closed. Walk through your home and ensure that all hot and cold water supply pipes are protected from the cold. If they’re not, insulate them. For insulation materials, use newspapers, pipe sleeves, heat tape and other materials designed specifically for keeping pipes protected.

If you notice that a pipe has frozen, you should thaw it immediately. To do so, leave a faucet open and find the source of the problem. When you locate the pipe, use a heating pad, hair dryer or space heater to thaw the pipe. You can also wrap a towel drenched in hot water around the pipe. Eventually, the pipe will warm up and water will start flowing.

You may not be able to find the frozen pipe, or it may be inaccessible. If this is the case, you need to call a qualified technician immediately. Contact us for more information about heating and cooling your Portland home. Roth Heating & Cooling combines experience with great services that meet your 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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How to Choose Between a Conventional Furnace and a Condensing Furnace

How to Choose Between a Conventional Furnace and a Condensing FurnaceThere are two prominent types of furnaces in your everyday household – the conventional furnace and the high efficient condensing furnace. Both types are efficient at keeping your house warm. However, the latter is much more efficient with an efficiency score of over 90 percent AFUE. AFUE refers to the standard measurement of furnace efficiency.

Those of us that have experience with conventional furnaces know that you can easily burn your fingers on the hot exhaust vent. In contrast, a condensing furnace stays warm instead of piping hot. This is due to its highly efficient system, which extracts more heat from the combustion process.

But how exactly does a condensing furnace work, and what makes it so different from the conventional furnace?These two systems have a lot in common. Both filter cold air returned from the house, while a circulating fan is used to move the air and heat it with a gas burner, which is controlled by an electronic ignition.

The main difference between the two is in the heat exchanger technology that “harvests” the heat from the combustion process and the process used to deplete the resulting gases. These processes are the most important factors in the varying efficiency of the two furnaces. It’s not that the condensing furnace has a more efficient combustion process, but rather it has a more effective heat extraction process.

Conventional furnaces make poor use of the combustion gases, with a good bit of the gases exiting the chimney flue prior to cooling. The conventional furnace’s more efficient counterpart keeps extracting heat from the gases even after they’ve chilled and condensed. It accomplishes this by using two heat exchangers. The second exchanger system was designed to handle corrosive condensed exhaust gases produced from water and carbon dioxide. These gases are “harvested” for their heat until condensed water drips from the furnace’s heat exchangers.

For more professional advice about furnace systems and other problems related to home comfort, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. We’ve been serving the Aurora 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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Here’s Why Caulking Your Windows is Important

Here's Why Caulking Your Windows is ImportantWhen improving your home’s energy efficiency and increasing comfort levels, checking and sealing air leaks is very important. Caulking your windows is one effort you can take to keep warm air in and cold air out this winter.

If you aren’t sure whether caulking your windows is necessary, perform a basic check. You can check for leaks inside by holding a lit candle around the window’s seams. If the flame bends, there’s an air leak. You can also perform a visual check outside to see whether time or harsh summer weather has caused cracks and gaps in the caulk, causing costly air leaks.

Apply a caulk softener two hours prior to pulling old caulk off with the use of a putty knife. Remove as much as possible so the new caulk will adhere well. Then, apply the caulk. Polyurethane generally works well, but there are many kinds to choose from. Follow these steps for a good seal:

  • Cut the tip of the caulking tube at a 45 degree angle. This will help it fit snugly into the window seam.
  • Insert the tube into the caulking gun.
  • Apply the caulk in a slow, fluid motion, while holding the gun at a 45 degree angle. Smooth out the surface with a wet finger to give the finished product a smooth look.
  • Allow the caulk to set for 12 to 15 hours.

Roth Heating & Cooling has been keeping residents in the Portland area comfortable since 1976. Contact us to learn more about keeping your home energy efficient and free of air leaks.

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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5 Quick Tasks to Keep Your Refrigerator Operating in Top Shape

5 Quick Tasks to Keep Your Refrigerator Operating in Top ShapeThere’s no appliance in your kitchen that gets more use than the refrigerator. To keep your family healthy, you want your unit running at its peak performance to keep your food and beverages cold and safe from bacteria. You also want it to run efficiently and to have a long life. There are several simple tasks homeowners can tackle to keep the refrigerator operating in top shape.

  • Make sure none of the door seals are loose.  Loose seals will cause cool air to escape, which makes the fridge work harder to keep things cool. This can have a big impact on the refrigerator’s efficiency. Also keep the seals clean and free of residue. To do so, clean the seals twice a year with baking soda and water.
  • Keep the refrigerator condenser coils clean from dust and other dirt. When the coils are dirty or covered with dust, the fridge can’t run efficiently. At least twice a year, pull the unit away from the wall and vacuum the coils with the brush attachment.
  • Make sure you have the temperature set properly.  The correct temperature should be between 37 and 40 degrees. The freezer should be at zero degrees. If the refrigerator temperature isn’t correct, your food could spoil.
  • Keep the refrigerator as full as possible. In order to run properly, the unit has to have a “thermal mass” to keep the cool temperatures stable. If you tend not to store a lot of food, add a few jugs of water.
  • Keep the doors closed during a power outage. An unopened refrigerator will keep food safe for several hours. Remember, the fuller the unit is, the longer your food will stay cold and safe.

If you have questions or need additional information about the care and maintenance of your refrigerator, look to the professionals at Roth Heating and Cooling. We’re happy to serve the home comfort needs of Portland area homeowners.

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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What the Funny Smell Coming From the Furnace Could Mean

What the Funny Smell Coming From the Furnace Could MeanYou just turned your furnace on for the first time this year. You notice a strange smell coming from furnace. Is this normal? Is this a sign of a serious problem? Learn the main causes and what to do when you have a smell coming from furnace.

Identify the Smell

Many different smells can come from your furnace – especially when you turn it on for the first time each year. The smell could be a minor or major problem. It is important to find the source of the smell to avoid costly repairs in the future. Here are the most common smells and their causes.

  • Dusty Smells  – Minor – A dusty smell is normal when turning on the furnace for the first time each year. Dust collects on the air filter when not in use and should burn off in a short time.
  • Musty Smells – Minor – Mold on the filter causes musty smells. You can fix this problem by changing or washing and drying the filter.
  • Oil Smell – Minor/Major – A clogged filter can cause this smell and is a minor problem. Change the filter and the smell should go away. If the smell continues, call an HVAC professional to check for a possible oil leak. An oil leak can result in a major problem.
  • Smoke Smell – Major – A blocked chimney causes smoke to come out through the ductwork. Have the chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.
  • Electrical Smell – Major – Burning plastic or metal smells mean a possible burned- out motor, frayed electrical wiring or malfunctioning electrical components. Have your furnace inspected.
  • Sulfur – Major – Caused by a gas leak in the main line or furnace possibly leading to an explosion.

Major or Minor – Get the Help You Need

The minor problems listed above are easy fixes. The major problems can lead to serious problems that need to be checked out for the safety of your family and to avoid costly repairs later on. Contact Roth Heating and Cooling and let us check out the smell coming from furnace for you 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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Thinking of Upgrading Your Furnace? Here are Factors to Consider

Thinking of Upgrading Your Furnace? Here are Factors to ConsiderEven though a furnace is in working order, there are circumstances in which a working furnace should be replaced. After all, it’s better to be proactive than to make a decision on buying a new furnace while in a cold, panicked situation. If you feel that upgrading your furnace could be in your future, here are four factors to consider that will help you make your decision:

  1. Consider your furnace’s age. If you purchased your home with the current furnace already installed you may not know its age, but finding out when it was manufactured is as easy as copying down the serial number and calling the manufacturer. The average gas furnace has a life expectancy of 15 years – even if your furnace is a few years short of that mark, if it is causing you concern, you may want to start looking around in the hopes of upgrading your HVAC system.
  2. Consider the cost of upkeep. Once a furnace has reached the end of its life, parts will begin to fail – and the failure of one part is a portend of future failures. A good rule of thumb is that if the cost of upkeep, between parts and service charges, comes to 40 percent or more of the cost of upgrading your furnace, upgrading your unit is the smarter financial choice.
  3. Consider your furnace’s efficiency. Furnaces 15 years of age or older have an efficiency of 76 percent or less, while today’s high-efficiency furnaces have an annualized fuel utilization efficiency of 90 percent or more. While purchasing a new, high-efficiency model carries a higher price tag upfront, the higher efficiency can pay off in energy savings over time, depending on the climate and length of heating season.
  4. Consider your furnace’s safety. Gas furnaces combine open flame with high temperatures, and come with the potential of creating dangerous carbon monoxide. The older your unit, the greater the potential for it to pose a danger to your family.

For help with questions about your gas furnace, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. Since 1976 we’ve been keeping Portland customers safe and comfortable in their homes.

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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Electrical Safety Tips to Teach Children of Any Age

Electrical Safety Tips to Teach Children of Any AgeWe all want to keep our children safe. With this in mind, it’s important to teach them the potential dangers of electricity at a young age. Here are 10 electrical safety tips to teach children of any age:

  1. Don’t plug too many things into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage your home’s electrical system or even cause a fire.
  2. Make sure all electric cords are tucked away and not laying out where people can trip on them or pets can find and chew on them.
  3. Never climb the fence around an electrical substation. No matter what gets over the fence, whether it’s a ball, toy or pet, ask an adult to call the electric company to get it out for you.
  4. Remove plugs from outlets carefully – don’t yank them out. This can cause damage to the appliance, to the plug and to the outlet.
  5. When you’re flying a kite, never fly it around substations or power lines. The kite and the string will conduct electricity and send it through you and into the ground.
  6. If you need to use something that uses electricity to run, ask a grown-up for help.
  7. Before you climb a tree, look up and make sure there are no power lines around the tree. The tree’s branches can conduct electricity and send it through you.
  8. Remind grown-ups to put safety caps on all unused electrical outlets. This will keep you safe, and also help to save energy by stopping drafts.
  9. If your mom or dad is using outdoor equipment, like a ladder or chainsaw, remind them to watch out for electrical wires.
  10. Keep all electrical appliances and other things far away from water. Water and electricity are very dangerous together.

Contact Roth Heating and Cooling for help with questions about electrical safety, and to learn more electrical safety tips to use in your Portland home.

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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