Healthful Reasons to Get Your Ducts Cleaned

Healthful Reasons to Get Your Ducts Cleaned Duct cleaning typically refers to cleaning multiple components in your HVAC system, including your supply and return ducts, as well as your registers and grilles. Over time, debris from household air can build up if your HVAC system components have not been properly installed. If there’s moisture present in your home, there may also be mold in your ducts.

Should You Have Your Ducts Cleaned?

While there’s some disagreement among experts as to whether there’s a direct benefit from having your ducts cleaned, they do agree that duct cleaning can provide some air quality benefits. So, how do you know when to get your ducts professionally cleaned? Consider the following:

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, duct cleaning is called for when:

  • There’s mold in your ducts.
  • There’s a vermin infestation in your home, or if you can see insects in your ducts.
  • You see dust when air’s blowing out from your ducts.

Benefits of Duct Cleaning

  • It can reduce the amount of dust that gathers on your return air ducts.
  • It reduces the amount of microorganisms in your air.
  • Air circulation is boosted if return air ducts, air handlers and furnace fans are cleaned.

If you’re concerned about dust and other pollutants in your ductwork and want to have them professionally cleaned, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been helping Portland area homeowners maintain good indoor air quality 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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Smart Ways to Keep Sewer Gas From Entering Your Portland Home

Smart Ways to Keep Sewer Gas From Entering Your Portland Home Sewer gas can produce unpleasant odors in your home and create an unhealthy living environment for you and your family. If you’ve noticed foul odors in your basement, around the toilet or near drains, then sewer gas may be backing up into your home. Make sure you check these problem areas to locate and eliminate all sources of sewer gas.

Check Traps

Every drain should have a trap below it, which usually looks like a P-shaped bend in the pipe. This piece is designed to trap enough water to prevent gas from flowing back through the drain. Odors around a particular drain may indicate a missing or dirty trap. Clean traps at least once a year, or contact a plumber to do regular maintenance on your pipes. Floor drains should have a clean out plug inside them.

Clean Vents

Each drain has a vent that allows sewer gas to safely escape, while drawing fresh air into the pipes to prevent a vacuum. Sucking or gurgling noises in your drains may indicate a clogged or missing vent. Locate the vent and clear any debris that’s in or around it. Some older houses or DIY jobs may not have appropriate vents.

Examine Floors and Pipes

Look around toilets, bathtubs and sinks for cracked seals or damp areas. Excess moisture can rot walls and sub-floors around them, producing odors and potentially damaging underlying plumbing. Pipes can also rust and leak, especially in older homes with steel, copper or cast iron pipes. Make sure you check all exposed pipes for signs of corrosion or cracks.

Have the Plumbing Serviced

Address all slow drains or backed up toilets immediately. Have a plumber assess and maintain your plumbing at least once a year, and keep up on DIY maintenance. If you’re unsure of the quality of the plumbing in your house, then have the entire system inspected – including the main sewer line – to ensure it’s properly designed and functioning properly.

For more expert advice on dealing with sewer gas in your home in Portland or the surrounding area, 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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Tips on How to Install Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

Tips on How to Install Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting Regardless of the lighting source in your kitchen, it always seems like your counters are never bright enough. Fortunately, there are several options available for task lighting that can brighten up your workspace even if you’re not renovating your kitchen.

With new products and some helpful tips, you can install under cabinet kitchen lighting to shed some light on your counters. If you run the wiring through your kitchen’s base cabinets, the installation will be much easier than fishing electrical wire through your walls. Whenever you attempt an electrical project, make sure to follow all safety procedures to avoid dangerous problems

  • Locate an electrical source. Since under cabinet lighting doesn’t draw a lot of power, you can tap into an existing light switch as your power source. Make sure you know which breaker your switch is located on, so you can kill the power.
  • Map the wiring path. Before doing any drilling, carefully map out the wiring path through your base cabinets. The cabinet closest to your power source is the best location for your new junction box.
  • Install flex. Follow the route you planned and drill holes in your cabinet to accommodate a 1/2″ steel flex. Once you have the flex in place, fish your wiring through it. The flex will protect the wiring from any disturbances when you’re using the base cabinets.
  • Mount the lights and complete the wiring. Once you’ve mounted your lights, you’ll have to wire them, and then connect your wiring to the power source. You should consider adding a dimmer switch for ambient lighting and as a power-saving feature.

Provided you have electrical knowledge and follow safety practices, you can install under cabinet kitchen lighting by yourself. Roth Heating & Cooling has been serving the Portland and surrounding areas for more than 35 years and has an experienced electrical staff that can install your lighting. Contact us for an estimate 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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Keep Your Garbage Disposal in Top Shape with Easy Maintenance Tips

Keep Your Garbage Disposal in Top Shape with Easy Maintenance Tips Your garbage disposal is a handy appliance, grinding up kitchen waste so it’s no longer in your home. However, many homeowners aren’t sure what can be disposed of, and many more make mistakes that can damage their disposals and shorten their length of usefulness.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve the performance of your garbage disposal, while keeping it clean and spotless.

What Not to Toss

What sort of things shouldn’t go down your garbage disposal? Obviously, anything that’s not biodegradable — plastic, paper or metal — should be avoided. Tough vegetable skins and very fibrous foods, such as potato peels, corn husks, onion skins, lettuce and celery stalks, should also be avoided.

Additionally, avoid letting bones, grease and oil go down your disposal. Eggshells should likewise be avoided, as should rice and pasta, which can stick to the blades. Always avoid overloading your disposal with too much food at once.

Keeping It Clean

  • Ice cubes can help keep disposal blades sharp. Ice cubes made of vinegar and water are recommended for freshening blades, as well as for sharpening them.
  • Put chopped lemon peels into your disposal to eliminate odors.
  • Flush your garbage disposal with cold water while it’s running. Once a month, you can also pour half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar, into the disposal. After the foaming ceases, flush your disposal with hot water.
  • You can also run water and dishwashing liquid through your disposal to keep it clean.

Clearing a Jam

If you encounter a jam, unplug the appliance before you clear it. Shine a flashlight down the disposal, and use a pair of pliers or tongs to clear the appliance. Then, use a wooden spoon to turn the blades. You may also insert a hex wrench into the hole beneath the disposal, and try to turn the shaft and flywheel to see if the clog is cleared. If it moves, then turn the disposal back on.

For more information about how to keep your garbage disposal in good shape, contact Roth Heating & Cooling in Portland.

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 Hire the Best Contractor For All of Your HVAC Needs

How to Hire the Best Contractor For All of Your HVAC Needs If you want your heating equipment to run smoothly this winter, hiring an HVAC contractor you can trust is an essential task. This job isn’t too hard to complete, as long as you do your due diligence. We suggest you consider the following tips when selecting the best contractor for your HVAC needs:

  • Ask around — There’s a good chance that the best HVAC contractor around is already being utilized by friends, family, or co-workers. This is why your first step should be to ask people you know if they can recommend someone.
  • Get a list of references — Once your hunt begins, be sure to obtain a list of references from each prospective contractor. Choose the first letter of the last of the contacts to ensure that you get a fair sampling, then call each person on the list.
  • Expect a home evaluation — Before a contractor agrees to conduct any work, they’ll want to evaluate your home’s needs and find any potential problem areas.
  • Check for proper licensing, insurance and bonding — A reputable contractor won’t have any problem providing you with documentation that shows they meet all licensing, insurance and bonding minimums based on local or state regulations.
  • Inquire about brands – HVAC companies typically carry a limited number of brands. Sometimes, they have their favorites and stick with a very small amount. Find out which brands they use and research them if needed.
  • Suggestion of Energy-Efficient Equipment – A contractor should not try to dissuade you from upgrading to more efficient equipment. In fact, they should be singing the praises of Energy Star-qualified equipment, including those in their most efficient category.
  • Get everything in writing — Prior to working with a contractor, make sure every detail of the job is put into writing. This should cover the equipment that will be installed, time completion estimates, how to handle problems, cost estimates and any other pertinent details.

If you would like more information on what to look for when hiring an HVAC contractor, please contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of 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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Stay Warm This Winter with a High Efficiency Gas Fireplace

Stay Warm This Winter with a High Efficiency Gas FireplaceA high efficiency gas fireplace can keep you comfortable through Portland’s chilly, damp winters. There are a few tricks you should implement to keep your fireplace working safely and efficiently throughout the entire season.

A gas fireplace contains non-burnable ceramic or refractory cement “logs” set over gas vents. The system is designed to produce yellow-orange flames that rise from beneath the logs to look like a real fire. Conveniently, the fireplace’s glass doors help block cold drafts when no fire is burning. Because gas fireplaces provide both convected heat (warm air) and radiant heat, they feel like wood fires.

Operating Your Gas Fireplace

Your fireplace’s pilot light operates in two modes – intermittent and standing. A toggle switch on the exterior of your fireplace lets you select the pilot light mode. During the winter, choose standing mode. This will warm up the chimney vent and prevent condensation buildup. Use intermittent mode for warmer periods when you won’t be using the fireplace.

The typical high efficiency gas fireplace is ignited using a remote, although some use a button or switch on the fireplace itself. You can use the fireplace’s thermostat to adjust the heat output, choosing anything from flickering flames to a crackling blaze. Never leave the fire unattended. When you no longer need the fire, use the remote to turn it off.

During a power outage, you can still use the fireplace to some extent. The pilot light will stay on and the system will produce heat. However, the electronic ignition that controls the blower and flame height won’t work. Luckily, some systems can retain enough battery power to run normally.

Caring for Your Gas Fireplace

After use, once your fireplace is cool, wipe down the glass doors with glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to prevent soot buildup. Soot on logs can be removed with a soft brush, but keep in mind that heavy soot buildup may mean your system is due for maintenance. Regardless of performance, your fireplace should be professionally cleaned and inspected once a year.

For professional guidance on using and maintaining your high efficiency gas fireplace, contact Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

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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Got a Leaky Water Pipe? Patch It with This Simple Guide

Got a Leaky Water Pipe? Patch It with This Simple Guide In Portland’s damp climate, the last thing you need is a leaky water pipe to increase the humidity in your home. Because a small leak can quickly turn into a big problem, it’s important to repair any leaks you find as soon as possible.

Try a Quick Fix

For a temporary fix that will let you use the pipe until a professional plumber arrives, wrap a piece of heavy rubber around the pipe and hold it in place with a C-clamp. You can use small blocks of wood to give the clamp something to grip.

Smaller leaks can be repaired more permanently with either plumber’s epoxy or pipe repair tape. To repair a leaky water pipe with epoxy, pull off a piece of epoxy the same size as the hole or crack and knead the epoxy to soften it. Then, press the epoxy over the leak and smooth down the edges. Allow it to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most brands require at least 30 minutes to cure.

To apply pipe repair tape, start by using a metal file to roughen the area around the leak. For a larger crack, press a disc of plumber’s epoxy over it and let it cure. Then, immerse the pipe repair tape in water to soften the epoxy on the tape before applying the tape over the hole and wrapping the roll around the pipe, pressing the tape down as you go.

Install a Pipe Repair Kit

To use a repair kit, cut the neoprene or rubber material supplied into a 1-inch square for pinhole leaks or, for larger leaks, to the size of the hole or crack. Then, lay the patch over the hole, installing hose clamps to hold the patch in place. If your repair kit comes with a pipe repair clamp rather than hose clamps, center the clamp’s rubber gasket side over the leak, and tighten the clamp’s screws to hold down the patch.

For professional assistance repairing a leaky water pipe, contact Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

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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Keep Your Hot Tub From Freezing This Winter with These Simple Tips

Keep Your Hot Tub From Freezing This Winter with These Simple Tips A relaxing dip in your hot tub is the perfect way to unwind after a stressful day. Thanks to Portland’s moderate winters, you can enjoy a spa experience year-round by taking just a few cold weather precautions. Here are some simple tips for keeping your hot tub from freezing during our occasional cold snaps:

Monitor the water level. When your spa is full, the water stays warm longer, so less energy is used to maintain the ideal temperature. When it’s cold outside, check your water level regularly, especially if you don’t use your tub on a daily basis.

Maintain the water temperature. If you have a timer/no freeze or timer/thermostat setting on the control panel, use it to automatically monitor the water temperature. You should activate the heater when it drops below the recommended default. If your hot tub doesn’t have this feature, set the timer so the heater comes on and circulates water through your system for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. This can help you avoid freeze damage to the pipes, pump and filter.

Invest in a cover. A good quality insulated cover is a worthwhile investment if you intend to use your hot tub throughout the winter months. It can keep water warmer, prevent heat loss and reduce energy consumption. Always use a vinyl protectant on the cover to shield it from the bad weather.

Shut off the air jets. If you don’t turn off your hot tub jets after each use, the heater has to compensate for an ongoing injection of icy air into the water. This consumes energy unnecessarily, while putting extra strain on the equipment.

Plan for electrical outages. Power outages that occur when it’s below freezing outside can ruin your costly hot tub components within a few hours. Installing a battery or solar backup on the pump can keep water circulating without electricity, helping you avoid a disastrous freeze.

For more advice on how to keep your hot tub from freezing this winter, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve helped Portland area residents increase their home comfort 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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Important Reasons to Filter Your Drinking Water

Important Reasons to Filter Your Drinking WaterAccess to clean, safe water isn’t a luxury – it’s an absolute essential. Whether it comes from your own well or you rely on a municipal supply, your water can contain a number of undesirable contaminants your family shouldn’t consume. Here’s why it’s important to filter drinking water in your home.

You’ll Trap Hazardous Heavy Metals and Pesticides

Tap water can contain toxic heavy metals, such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Lead poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairment, and the effects are worse in children. The residue from various pesticides are known health hazards, and these chemicals are found in the groundwater in many states.

You’ll Eliminate Added Fluoride

Many municipalities add fluoride to their water supply in an effort to improve children’s dental health. However, recent studies have revealed a lengthy list of negative side effects related to long-term fluoride consumption. These include gum disease, bladder cancer, thyroid dysfunction, liver and kidney disease, endocrine imbalance, genetic defects, nervous system disorders and bone disease.

You’ll Filter Out Chlorine & Chloramine

Both chlorine and chloramine are commonly added by municipalities to rid water supplies of disease-causing microorganisms. In the human body, both of these additives increase the risk of rectal and bladder cancers, while chloramine can also cause kidney, liver and central nervous damage, anemia and reproductive problems.

You’ll Remove Dangerous Pathogens

Filtering your home water supply can safeguard your family’s health by lowering the risk of ingesting bacteria and parasites, such as E. coli, cryptosporidium and giardia. These nasty pathogens can cause symptoms including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fevers, along with more serious complications.

Filtering is Environmentally Friendly

Each year, approximately 17 million barrels of oil are used to make 50 billion drinking water bottles. Roughly 75 percent of these bottles are dumped in landfills. Filtering your tap water also puts less strain on the environment. Considering that about 25 percent of bottled water is simply repackaged tap water, the benefits of filtering are clear.

To learn more important reasons to filter the drinking water in your Portland area home, 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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Need to Troubleshoot a Circuit? Follow These General Tips

Need to Troubleshoot a Circuit? Follow These General TipsDespite Portland’s mild climate, suddenly being left without a source of heat is not a fun prospect. Yet, if your heating or cooling system’s electrical circuit malfunctions, that’s exactly what will happen.

If you’ve been repeatedly experiencing tripped circuit breakers or other electrical circuit problems, knowing how to troubleshoot a circuit can help you get your system running again or point your technician towards potential causes.

Has it happened before? – Any component that’s caused past electrical circuit problems should be the first thing you check. Is there a particular wire that keeps working loose? Have you been experiencing problems with the fan motor or the A/C compressor? Has the start capacitor malfunctioned before?

What’s changed recently? – If your system was working fine until you had repairs or upgrades, the recent changes are likely to be the cause of your circuit problems. If you’re comfortable opening your indoor unit, check for any obviously loose components or wires. Otherwise, call your technician back.

What’s still working? – Is your furnace or A/C not running at all or is the indoor unit’s fan motor at least humming? Is the fan motor working normally, but the outdoor unit is lifeless? Finding the stage at which the system stopped functioning can point you to the source of your problem. If you reset the breaker only to have it immediately trip again when the system turns on, call an electrician.

Test section by section – If you know how to use an ammeter, test the components that may be malfunctioning. Clamping the ammeter around the breaker’s hot wire can help you identify a weak breaker that should be replaced. Similarly, testing the hot wire can pinpoint problems there.

For safety reasons, if you’re not experienced with working on live wires, leave this troubleshooting technique up to a professional. Whether you need to troubleshoot a circuit, install a new appliance or upgrade your electrical panel, contact Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area for help.

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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