What’s Affecting Your Energy Bills?

What's Affecting Your Energy Bills?Some, but not all, of the hardworking appliances inside your home raise energy bills as they start to wear out. If you are concerned with keeping your home’s energy costs low and you depend on the conveniences they offer, keep an eye on these vulnerable appliances:

Water heater

Next to your HVAC system, the water heater uses the most energy, and if it isn’t energy efficient to start with, its consumption could be high. As water heaters age, mineral solids in the water solidify at the bottom of the tank and the appliance starts to lose its efficiency.

It’s also the one appliance that can do a lot more damage if it isn’t replaced as it starts to fail. A leaking or burst water heater will flood the area around it, and water damage isn’t cheap or easy to repair. If yours is over 12 years old, it’s time to think about replacing it.

Refrigerator

The refrigerator is another appliance that runs 24/7 and it will lose efficiency over time. Since it pulls air from the surrounding area, its components are often covered with dust. The gaskets around the refrigerator and freezer doors can start to leak, a sure sign the refrigerator is driving up energy bills. While you can replace the gaskets, they are expensive, and often cost more than the appliance is worth.

Microwave

Over time, microwave ovens do wear out. The magnetron inside them will lose power over time. Most microwaves also use a mica plate that diffuses the microwave energy that will deteriorate over time, especially if it’s dirty.

HVAC systems

Like anything mechanical, HVAC equipment will wear out and as they do, energy costs rise. The lifetime of most systems ranges between 12 and 20 years. Although this appliance is the most expensive in most homes, replacing it increases comfort and lowers energy consumption.

It’s important to stay on top of the maintenance these appliances require to keep energy bills low and prolong their lifetimes. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland area homeowners.

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

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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your HVAC System

3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your HVAC SystemWhile Portland might not have the most challenging climate, you can still run up high heating and cooling bills if you don’t plan ahead. With a few simple steps, though, you can help your HVAC system perform more effectively and efficiently.

Invest in an Energy Audit

Your furnace and air conditioner will have a hard time keeping you comfortable if all the warmth or cooling they provide is quickly lost through your walls and ceilings. Areas with insufficient insulation and air leaks around the windows, doors, utility line penetrations, and other areas waste energy, forcing your system to work harder and use more energy to maintain the temperatures you want.

During an energy audit, your technician will bring in equipment to zero in on points of energy loss so you’ll know where to invest in improvements. For example, using an infrared camera, your technician may discover you’re losing energy through the roof. You’ll then know to air seal the attic and add more insulation.

Keep up on Maintenance

During just one season, your furnace or air condition sustain minor wear and tear issues that have a major effect on their efficiency. Loose wires and corroded contacts increase electrical resistance, dust on the indoor evaporator coil makes it harder for the coil to cool passing air, and incorrect motor voltage and amp draw can cause excessive energy use.

As part of an annual maintenance inspection, your technician will find and correct problems like these to keep your HVAC system at maximum efficiency and prevent sudden breakdowns.

Upgrade Your System

If your furnace or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it’s nearing the end of its life expectancy. With each passing year, HVAC equipment drops in efficiency and newly manufactured models are more efficient that older models were even when they were new. Upgrading to new, Energy Star-qualified models could cut your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent, assuming the system is correctly sized and installed.

To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland area homeowners.

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

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5 Common Energy Myths You Need to Know

5 Common Energy Myths You Need to KnowIf you’re looking for ways to lower your household operating costs, curbing your energy consumption is a good place to start. Before you implement any tips for reducing consumption, it’s good to recognize energy myths like these:

Myth 1: Run the Ceiling Fans to Make Your Home Cooler

Fans simply move air, they don’t cool it. The feeling of air moving across the skin makes a body feel cooler, but you can’t feel the effect unless you’re in the same room. So, running fans in unoccupied rooms wastes energy instead of saving it.

Myth 2: Dial Back the Thermostat Setting to Cool the House Faster

Your cooling system runs at a steady pace to reach the thermostat’s temperature setting, no matter how low it’s set. If you set it too low, you’ll only end up wasting energy and your home will feel uncomfortably chilly.

Myth 3: Shut the Registers in Seldom-Used Rooms to Save Conditioned Air

Your HVAC system relies on balanced airflow to operate efficiently, and shutting some registers can upset the balance and cause a pressure increase within the system. The equipment then has to work harder to compensate, so it consumes more energy instead of less.

Myth 4: Leave the Thermostat Temperature Setting Constant to Save Energy

There’s a misconception that raising the thermostat setting at night or when no one is home is inefficient because it takes a lot of energy to bring the temperature back down again. Regular temperature setbacks of eight hours or more during such periods are a proven way to save energy, and it’s easy to accomplish with a programmable thermostat.

Myth 5: Use Sleep Mode to Reduce Your Computers’ Energy Consumption

If your computers are set to go into sleep mode whenever they’re not in use, you’re wasting energy. Sleep mode is fine for short periods, but you should put your computers on power strips and shut them down completely during longer periods while you’re at work and overnight while you’re sleeping.

For help debunking energy myths and advice on ways to reduce consumption in your Portland-area home, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling today.

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

Benefits of Working for a Multi-Trade Business for Skilled Trade Professionals

Benefits of Working for a Multi-Trade Business for Skilled Trade ProfessionalsA career in the HVAC industry gives you an opportunity to work in a multi-trade business where electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and heating and cooling technicians work together in commercial and residential settings. Professionals in this field need a background in wiring, plumbing, or knowledge of HVAC systems. Below are some reasons why you should work in a multi-trade business:

  • Licensing is attainable. Oregon accepts apprenticeship experience as well as classroom hours to obtain a license within the trades. Within a few years, you’ll be on your way toward a prosperous career with opportunities without the school loans or high tuition costs associated with a college degree.
  • Work is steady. Many of the trades experience cyclical work, but regardless of your trade, there’s always a demand for HVAC services. When construction is booming, so does the HVAC industry.

    Because HVAC systems need professional servicing and repairs, there are fewer slowdowns working in a multi-trade business due to seasonal demands or those related to the ups and downs of construction.

  • Wages are good many multi trade companies offer 401k programs, and health insurance, along with other benefits and above average salary.
  • Job security. The BLS estimates that the HVAC industry will continue to grow through the foreseeable future because of new construction and system replacements. All buildings and homes have HVAC systems and their lifetimes range from 10 to 20 years.

    The HVAC field is one a leader in advancing and implementing technologies that cut energy consumption. Homeowners and building managers often replace these systems early to take advantage of energy efficiency and comfort improvements.

  • Room for advancement. As you learn this multi-trade business, you might want to explore the specialties within it or explore advanced training in your particular field.

Roth Heating & Cooling provides trusted HVAC services for the greater Portland area and is a multi-trade business. If you’d like to learn more about joining our team, please contact us today.

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

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Plumbing for Pet Owners: Do’s and Don’t’s

Plumbing for Pet Owners: Do's and Don't'sWhen you pet-proof your house, the plumbing is easy to overlook because most of it is hidden away where you’d think it would be safe. Pets and plumbing don’t always get along, though, so responsible pet owners plan ahead.

Do

Use drain strainers – These catch pet hair that ends up in the sink or shower before it enters the drain. Pet hair may be shorter than human hair, but it can still cause clogs. Even if you don’t bathe your dog or cat in a particular sink or shower, use a strainer there to catch hair that still finds its way in. Drain strainers also catch other clog-causing debris, so they’re a good idea all around.

Protect your pipes – As many surprised pet owners have discovered, some dogs, particularly as puppies, find plumbing pipes tempting to chew on. If you have exposed pipes under your sinks, keep the sink cabinets locked or protected with child safety latches. If that’s not possible and you’ve caught your dog gnawing on the pipes, apply a bitter-tasting chewing deterrent. Installing a cage around your pipes is another option if nothing else helps. Give your dog plenty of appropriate chew toys to keep his mouth busy.

Don’t

Flush kitty litter – This is a trap many pet owners fall into. Even the litters that claim to be flushable shouldn’t go down the toilet, and this is doubly true with clumping litters. Litter settles in the toilet’s P-trap where it swells up, traps debris, and will eventually cause a clog. It’s also not good for septic tanks. Even worse, cat feces can harbor the parasite toxoplasma gondii, which can survive wastewater treatment and end up in the water supply. Place used litter in a plastic bag and put it in the trash.

Let pets drink from the toilet – It’s usually not the germs in toilet water than can make your dog or cat sick, but the cleaning chemicals. For smaller pets, falling in is another risk. Keep your toilet lids closed and provide plenty of fresh water in bowls.

To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland area homeowners.

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

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How Wi-Fi Detectors Can Catch Water Leaks and Freezes

How Wi-Fi Detectors Can Catch Water Leaks and FreezesWi-Fi detectors offer high-tech protection against a low-tech threat: water leaks and frozen pipes. A large portion of your household plumbing is typically routed through inconspicuous areas that don’t get much attention. If a leak occurs in a water supply line, major water damage can occur before the incident is noticed.

A cracked 1/2-inch supply line can release up to 50 gallons per minute, a flood which quickly migrates far and wide inside the house. Extreme damage to structure and valuable possessions continues until someone sees the problem and shuts off the main water shutoff valve. If you happen to be out of the house for the day — or worse, out of town for several days — when a pipe leaks or freezes and ruptures, the results could be catastrophic.

Water damage from plumbing leaks and frozen pipes is the second most common cause of homeowner’s insurance claims. Connected to your existing home router or wireless network, here’s how Wi-Fi detectors protect your house and possessions from severe water damage:

Leak Detection

Installed in areas where unseen water leaks are most likely to occur — basement, crawl space, laundry room, etc — a Wi-Fi detector senses the presence of leaked water. The wireless alert can trigger an audible alarm. The device can also send you a text or email wherever you may be to warn you of the hazard occurring at home. Some of the more sophisticated systems can even shut off the main household water valve if a leak is detected.

Freeze Protection

Ice forming inside a water supply line causes extreme pressure that can rupture the pipe. Exposed water lines in unheated zones of the house such as the crawl space are particularly vulnerable. A Wi-Fi freeze protection system features battery-powered wraparound sensors that can be installed on exposed supply lines in critical areas. When the pipe temperature drops below freezing, an alert is transmitted wirelessly and can sound an alarm as well as send you a text or email to inform you of the danger.

For more about protection against water damage provided by Wi-Fi detectors, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. Serving the West Linn area for over 40 years.

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

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How Summer Air Humidifier Use Is Beneficial

How Summer Air Humidifier Use Is BeneficialMost homeowners know that using an air humidifier is beneficial during the winter, when the humidity level falls outside and running a heating system dries the indoor air out even more. What you may not know is that humidifying the air in your home may be necessary in the summer too, when your heat pump or air conditioner is operating.

The Relationship Between Humidity and Your Cooling System

The HVAC equipment used to cool your home removes heat indoors and sends it outdoors. In the process, it extracts airborne moisture too. If the equipment is efficient at dehumidifying the air, and it’s running daily for extended periods, your indoor humidity level can drop too low. If this occurs, having a humidifier added to the HVAC system can allow you to select a desired level right at the thermostat. Whenever the humidity level falls below what you’ve selected, moisture gets added automatically into the cooled air coming from the registers.

Humidifying your home in the summer can also let you:

  • Avoid discomfort and illness. The bacteria and viruses that cause the common cold, flu and respiratory infections thrive when the air is dry, so you’ll reduce your exposure when your home is properly humidified. You’ll also experience fewer health and comfort issues, like sinus problems, sore throats, headaches, brittle hair and itchy skin.
  • Protect the structure and its contents. When your cooling system is drawing too much moisture from your home’s air, the paint, wallpaper, drywall, wood floors and trim can begin to shrink, warp and crack. A lack of sufficient humidity in the air can also damage your wood furniture and valuable possessions like artwork, musical instruments and books.
  • Avert static electricity damage. Another issue that develops in dry conditions is static electricity. By maintaining the humidity level, you’ll avoid unexpected and irritating shocks, but you’ll also preserve any items with a semiconductor from being irreparably damaged — such as your computers, cell phones, televisions and gaming consoles.

To learn more benefits of using an air humidifier in your Portland-area home during the summer, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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

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The Main Plumbing Problems in the Summer

The Main Plumbing Problems in the SummerIn the summertime when the weather is lovely, your home’s plumbing system gets a workout — both indoors and out. Staying vigilant for summer plumbing problems can help you avoid unnecessarily high water bills or costly water damage to your home.

Here are the main problems to watch out for:

Toilet Clogs

When your children are off school for the summer, the toilets in your home will get used a lot more. Since it’s impossible to continuously monitor exactly what’s going down the drain, there’s a greater chance that your toilets will get clogged by excessive amounts of toilet paper or foreign objects being flushed. You can try clearing a clog with a plunger, but if it’s stubborn, you may need help from a plumbing pro who has the skills and specialized tools to get your toilet clog free.

Outdoor Hose Bib Damage

If the hose bib wasn’t drained and insulated last fall, it may have frozen and cracked at some point during the winter months. To prevent water waste and the risk of a leak around your exterior wall and foundation, check for leaks before you attach and begin using the hose this summer.

Sprinkler System Leaks

An automatic sprinkler system makes it easier to keep your landscaping green and healthy during the summer, but leaks in the system can damage your foundation or basement, and increase your water bill dramatically. You can prevent both these issues by checking for damaged or clogged sprinkler heads and testing for leaks before you start using the sprinkler system this summer.

If you need expert help from a licensed plumber to solve summer plumbing problems in your West Linn-area home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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

Tips to Reduce Pool Energy Use This Summer

Tips to Reduce Pool Energy Use This SummerPool energy use is a substantial part of the expense of owning a pool. While other costs include routine maintenance such as chemicals, repair and cleaning, the energy component — mainly circulating water, filtration and lighting the pool — is vital. Compared to a house next door without a pool, for example, a pool owner can expect to spend about $500 per year in added energy expenses. However, this is not a fixed figure, steps can be taken to cut pool energy use and the cost of paying for it. Consider these ways to save:

  • Replace the pool pump. If your pool incorporates an older, single-speed circulation pump, you’re paying more for electricity than necessary. New energy efficient variable-speed pumps do a better job of pool water circulation and filtration while using far less electricity. A variable-speed pump can reduce electrical consumption as much as 75 percent compared to the obsolete single-speed pump.
  • Upgrade to LED bulbs. Lighting a pool can be expensive, especially if you’re still using incandescent light bulbs that were the standard equipment of yesteryear. Today, LED pool lamps use only 10 percent of the electricity consumed by old-school incandescents, yet they last more than 20 times longer. LED pool lights also provided enhanced aesthetic options as many can be programmed to generate a wide range of colors.
  • Utilize a pump timer. Studies show that most pool owners run the circulation pump far more hours per day than is actually required to maintain proper circulation and filtration. This results in unnecessary electrical expense. A pool or plumbing professional can calculate the exact amount of hours required for optimum filtration using a formula that incorporates the total volume of the pool in gallons, the capacity of the pump and the type of filter. With that figure, you can set a timer to run the pump only the number of hours per day actually required to maintain water quality.

For more advice to reduce pool energy use this summer, in Portland ask the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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

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3 Reasons to Thank Your HVAC Technician This Summer

3 Reasons to Thank Your HVAC Technician This SummerThe best kind of HVAC technician is the one who does his or her job competently and professionally, setting your system up to run effectively and efficiently. These technicians, alas, get taken for granted, since the HVAC techs you’re likely to notice and remember are the ones who do a poor job. In June, take a moment to give credit where credit’s due — thank your favorite heating and cooling service person June 22 on HVAC Tech day.

Here are some reasons to show appreciation on HVAC Tech Day:

First, quality HVAC techs make sure your heating and cooling systems are performing as intended, providing reliable comfort in your home every day of the year. When the technician shows up for the recommended annual tune-up of your HVAC equipment, they’ll clean, adjust, test and inspect the entire system, and look out for any small problems that can develop into large problems.

Second, during regularly scheduled professional maintenance visits, the technician will look for ways to optimize system efficiency. The idea here is to adjust the equipment — whether a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner — so it consumes as little energy as possible while effectively heating or cooling your home.

Thirdly, you should thank your heating and cooling technician on HVAC Tech Day for keeping you and your family safe. Furnaces, A/Cs and heat pumps, if not properly installed, maintained or serviced, can pose safety hazards, whether through a gas or carbon monoxide leak in a combustion furnace, a leaky refrigerant line in an A/C or heat pump, or a problem with the electrical system.

A trusted, quality HVAC technician not only will ensure your heating and cooling equipment are running effectively, efficiently and safely, they’ll make suggestions on how to improve HVAC energy efficiency and performance, whether through home weatherization, installing programmable thermostat, or recommending an energy-efficient upgrade. Good HVAC techs also can suggest complementary systems for air cleaning, humidity control and ventilation.

Show your appreciation for reliable, competent, professional service on HVAC Tech Day. Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, serving the Greater Portland area.

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

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