Ways to Save Money with a Smart Home

Ways to Save Money with a Smart HomeNowadays, homeowners are able to enjoy greater comfort and convenience thanks to advancements like smart home technology. Equipping your home with the following upgrades can provide you with significant smart home savings on your energy bills, too:

Intelligent HVAC Controls

Compared to programmable thermostats that make adjustments based on the schedule you input, a smart thermostat fine tunes your HVAC system output by learning your routine and gathering occupancy intelligence. It can tell which rooms are occupied and by how many people, and when no one is at home.

Perceptive Kitchen Appliances

Imagine the potential for smart home savings on energy if you have remote communication with your kitchen appliances. Your fridge could send you an alert if the door gets left open, and the range can warn you if the oven is left on. Plus, all your kitchen appliances can work together to improve efficiency by switching to power-saving mode when they’re not being used.

Energy-Wise Window Treatments

Solar radiation coming through your windows can increase your home’s cooling load considerably, but you may not always remember to close your curtains and blinds. Today, you can have smart film installed that lets the light in but limits heat gain by blocking UVA and UVB radiation, and control it via a smartphone app.

Intuitive Light Bulbs

If you’re concerned about energy waste from lights left on around the house, you can have WiFi-enabled bulbs installed and turn them off remotely from your favorite device. Plus, you can customize your lighting preferences to turn certain lights on before you normally wake up, turn all the lights off when no one is home, or even adjust the brightness at different times of day.

Clever Laundry Equipment

When you own a smart washer, you won’t waste energy rewashing loads of laundry because the appliance senses when you’ve forgotten and tumbles the load so it stays fresh. If the dryer’s energy usage increases due to restricted airflow from a plugged-up lint filter, the machine can alert you instantly.

To learn more energy-smart money-saving tips for your Portland home, 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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Summer is Over: Change Your Air Filter

Summer is Over: Change Your Air FilterThe end of summer means it’s time to change air filters before the heating season starts. If you haven’t used your furnace since spring, why do you need to put in a new filter? Here are some important reasons for changing your air filter after summer:

Dust and Debris Buildup

Dust and debris can build up on your furnace filter, especially if it shares the same ductwork as your air conditioner. Putting in a new HVAC filter removes this buildup and prevents it from being blown around your home, which would lower your indoor air quality. A brand new filter helps keep the air in your home clean and healthier to breathe.

Improved Efficiency

A dirty air filter means that your HVAC system has to work harder to cool or heat your home. This can end up causing damage that shortens the life span of your system. Changing air filters helps keep your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible. This has the added benefit of reducing your monthly energy bills, since your HVAC system uses less power overall.

When to Change Air Filters

How often do you need to change your air filter? This depends on certain factors, such as whether or not you have pets in your home. If you have pets, you should check and change your filter every one or two months. If you don’t have pets, you should be able to wait and change it every three months.

Reminders to Change Your Air Filter

It’s easy to forget to change your air filter, especially during summer. You can set a reminder for yourself on your phone or tablet, so you’ll remember. Another way to remember is to buy an extra filter and place it close to your HVAC system as a visual reminder. Consider putting a note on it with the date that it needs to be changed. This should help you remember to check your air filter and change it as needed.

For information on maintenance services and plans for your HVAC system in your Portland home, please contact Roth Heating and 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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4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVAC

4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVACNow that the seasons are changing, it’s almost time to make the switch from cooling to heating your home. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can have your home and HVAC system primed for maximum comfort and efficiency throughout the fall and coming winter. Here are four ways to make the transition go smoothly:

1. Check Airflow at the Registers

Closed or obstructed registers can upset pressure balance within the HVAC system and cause a loss of efficiency or even an unexpected equipment shutdown due to overheating. To prevent these issues, make sure that your registers are open and not blocked by furniture, area rugs, long curtains or similar items.

2. Switch Ceiling Fan Direction

During the summer, you likely had your ceiling fan blades set to spin counter-clockwise and push cool air down. Now, you need put the fan speed on low and switch the blade direction button on the housing. This gets the blades turning clockwise, so cooler air at floor level gets drawn up, and warm air is sent back down along the walls.

3. Replace the Air Filter

Transitioning seasons is also the perfect time to check the air filter and replace it if it shows any visible dirt accumulation. Having a fresh filter in place ensures that air can flow freely through the HVAC system, which helps avert the problems caused by restricted airflow.

4. Schedule Heating System Service

A thorough furnace checkup by a certified technician can verify that key components including the blower motor, gas burner, heat exchanger and ventilation flue are working safely and reliably, so your home stays comfortable and there’s less risk of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Allow Ample Time When Transitioning Back and Forth

If you need to switch between cooling and heating to match the fall weather, allow a five-minute break in between mode changes on the thermostat. This lets the system’s refrigerant pressure equalize and averts a sudden shutdown or compressor lockup that trips the breaker.

For help making sure that transitioning seasons goes smoothly in your Portland 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).

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Tips for Preparing Your Home’s HVAC for Winter

Tips for Preparing Your Home's HVAC for WinterWhen the air turns cold and you switch on your heating equipment for the first time in nearly a year, the last thing you want is for it to not be operating properly. To keep you from being unprepared, here are a few quick winter prep tips that’ll allow your household to continue running smoothly:

Call a Technician

Annual maintenance of your heating equipment will keep it operating at peak performance for many years. A professional HVAC technician will ascertain any potential problems that might arise and make suggestions that will improve its energy efficiency. This means a more robust system that saves you money.

Test the Thermostat

If your thermostat isn’t working properly, your entire household – and its energy bill – will suffer. Before the winter season kicks into full gear, we suggest that you switch on your heating equipment to test it out. If it takes longer than expected to warm up your home, then it may be time to invest in a new thermostat, preferably a wi-fi or other advanced model.

Fix Ductwork Leaks

When air leaks occur due to holes and tears in your ductwork, the heating equipment is forced to work harder to deliver the same amount of comfort throughout your home. You can choose to either fix these problems yourself or contact a professional technician for assistance. Either way, tend to this immediately.

Check the Vents

You’d be surprised how many heating and cooling issues come down to blocked or clogged vents. It isn’t uncommon for vents to become clogged by dirt and debris, which is an easy solution to fix in a matter of minutes by removing the vents, wiping them down, and cleaning out the debris. It’s also possible that vents in certain locations may be blocked by boxes and similar items that can be removed.

For more expert advice on the winter prep needs for your HVAC system, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, please contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of Portland and the surrounding area since 1976.

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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Ways Rain Could Affect an HVAC System

Ways Rain Could Affect an HVAC SystemThe ways rain affects an HVAC system are mostly indirect. After all, the only outdoor portion of your heating/cooling system is the outside condenser coil and compressor unit of the air conditioner, typically situated just behind or to the side of the house. That component is designed and engineered resist normal rainfall. The remainder of the air conditioner and all of the furnace are indoors. Nevertheless, there are still some ways rain affects an HVAC system. It’s a good idea to be aware of them if water-related issues occur.

Flooded Condenser Unit

While the outside half of the central air conditioner is rain-resistant, it’s not designed to be submerged in water. Localized flooding due to unusually heavy rains can swamp residential areas with standing water. Generally speaking, if flood water exceeds a depth of 15 inches, it may damage internal electrical components including circuit boards and connectors inside the external condenser/compressor unit of the central A/C. Moving flood waters may also undermine the concrete pad on which the outdoor unit is mounted.

Wet Ductwork

Heavy rain can also inundate HVAC ductwork if it floods the crawl space under the house where system ductwork is often routed. Ductwork is typically not waterproof. Water entering the ducts may remain contained inside duct segments long after the flood itself has receded. This water will deteriorate ductwork as well as form an environment for toxic mold growth inside the ducts.

Roof leaks during rainfall can occur unnoticed in the attic for some time. Chronic leakage into the attic can seep into HVAC ductwork installed there. This ongoing moisture will rust and corrode ducts as well as trigger mold growth. Rain leakage into the attic also saturates attic insulation, severely reducing its insulating properties. Insulation compromised by moisture allows increased heat transfer into and out of the attic and causes your furnace and air conditioner to run longer cycles to compensate.

For more info about how rain affects an HVAC system, contact 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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Plumbing Upgrades You Need This Season

Plumbing Upgrades You Need This SeasonNow that summer is waning and you’re spending more time indoors again, it’s a good opportunity to make some beneficial plumbing upgrades around your home. Here are five upgrade suggestions that can lower your water and energy bills, increase your comfort and help the environment too:

Invest in a New Water Heater

If your water heater is 10 or more years old, it can be up to 20 percent less efficient than the new appliances on the market. Today’s gas-fired storage tank water heaters are better insulated to reduce standby heat losses, and they offer features like electrical igniters and flu damper controls to curb your gas consumption.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Did you know that faucets and showers account for about one-quarter of the total household water usage in an average home? Installing low-flow fixtures can cut that consumption by 30 to 50 percent and bring you significant savings on your water and energy bills.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Toilet

Replacing the water-guzzling older toilets in your home with high-efficiency models is a great way to reduce your water bills and help the environment too. The latest models include dual-flush toilets that use jet-powered siphonic flushing action to empty the bowl completely while using as little as .9 gallons of water.

Have Pressure-Compensating Valves Installed

Do you notice a distinctly unpleasant pressure and temperature change when you have the shower running and someone flushes or turns on a faucet elsewhere in your home? If you have a pressure-compensating valve installed, you can set it and never experience more than a three-degree temperature change again.

Install a Water Filtration System

If the taste or quality of your home’s water supply is less than ideal, consider adding a point-of-use or whole-house filtration system. A licensed plumber can test your water and help you choose the right system, such as activated-charcoal to remove odors and improve taste, reverse-osmosis to filter out sediment, UV light to kill bacteria and viruses, or a multi-stage system with combined capabilities.

To learn more about plumbing upgrades for your Portland 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).

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Start Your Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it's time to start dealing with your HVAC system's fall maintenance needsIt seems that just as you get accustomed to one season, another one is already here to take its place. Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it’s time to start dealing with your HVAC system’s fall maintenance needs. Here’s what we would suggest you tackle right away:

Hiring an Heating & Cooling Technician

Your heating and cooling equipment should be checked each year for any possible issues that could hurt the system’s efficiency or lifespan. A technician will be able to pinpoint these issues and help maintain the equipment, which will keep your energy costs down and help the system last longer.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Your air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, if neglected debris in the air will eventually clog filters and cause your furnace to stop working properly. This is a do-it-yourself project, that could have lasting effects on your utility bills.

Remove Debris from Outdoor Unit

If your HVAC system includes an outdoor unit, it’s time to walk outside and check on it. There’s a very good chance that it’s covered with anything from leaves to bird nests. Remove what you can by hand and then grab a hose to clean the rest of it off. This is a quick and easy job that will keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.

Switch to a Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat

This piece of advice is good for any time of the year. While your home probably isn’t equipped with one of those antiquated manual models, there’s a good chance that you don’t have one of the newest “smart” thermostats. These devices allow you to make changes on-the-fly so that you can adjust them as needed. Plus, they send reports on usage to help you target your energy bills.

For more fall maintenance assistance or any other home comfort questions, be sure to reach out to the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling, serving the heating and cooling needs of Lake Oswego and the surrounding area since 1976.

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

5 Tips for Electrical Savings This Fall

5 Tips for Electrical Savings This FallIf you want to save money by lowering your household operating expenses, reducing your electricity consumption is an ideal place to start. Here are five ways to generate electrical savings throughout your home this fall:

Have Your Dryer Ductwork Cleaned

If you haven’t had your dryer’s vent duct cleaned recently, this frequently-used appliance is likely burning through too much electricity — even if you keep the lint catcher clean. Having the duct professionally cleaned this fall can give you peace of mind that your dryer is operating at optimal efficiency, and it can reduce the risk of fire too.

Take Advantage of Time-of-Use Savings

Signing up for a time-of-use program with your electric company can reduce the rate you pay for every kilowatt hour of electricity used during specific “off peak” time periods. Such programs typically have different hours depending on the season, so make sure you stick with the appropriate schedule to maximize your savings this fall and winter.

Boost Your Water Heating Efficiency

An electric water heater is the second biggest electricity consumer in the average home. If you have an older electric model, you can trim its consumption by lowering its thermostat setting from 140 to 120 degrees, and adding an insulated jacket to curb standby heat losses.

Reduce Standby Electricity Waste

Your home likely has scads of devices that draw electricity all the time, even when they’re not in use. You can eliminate this kind of energy waste by unplugging items like your computers, TVs, coffee maker, cell phone charger and satellite box after every use, or by grouping like items together on power strips and shutting them off in between uses.

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs last for about 50,000 hours while using just 300 kWh of energy. The savings can add up quickly because just one LED bulb uses 2,700 fewer kWh less than an incandescent, and 700 kWh less than a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb.

To learn more effective tips on how to enjoy fall and winter electrical savings in your Sherwood-area home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical.

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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Why You Should Replace Your Thermostat When You Get a New HVAC System

Why You Should Replace Your Thermostat When You Get a New HVAC SystemIf you need a new air conditioner this summer, think beyond replacing your system. You might also want to consider getting a new thermostat while you’re at it. When you replace thermostat, you’ll have a better chance to make sure your new air conditioning system is running as efficiently as possible.

The Connection Between Thermostats and Air Conditioners

Your thermostat plays an important role in helping your air conditioner run when it should. Any problems with your thermostat can lead to your air conditioning running more often than it should or not running enough. Having your new air conditioner run more often than it needs to leads to more wear and tear on it, which can shorten its life span. You can also expect to have higher energy bills when this happens, since your system is using more energy. If your air conditioning doesn’t run enough because your thermostat says it’s cooler in your home than it really is, you might set it higher. This can also lead to your air conditioning running more often than normal, resulting in higher energy bills and an increased risk of having it break down.

Manual vs. Digital Thermostat

When you decide to replace thermostat with your air conditioner, keep in mind that you should make the switch to a digital thermostat. These thermostats have the settings needed to help newer air conditioners run efficiently. A manual thermostat might compromise your new air conditioner’s ability to cool your home while using less energy, since the settings aren’t as precise.

Greater Convenience

Another reason to replace thermostat with your air conditioning is that it’s easier to have both done at once rather than having them replaced at separate times. While you’re having your air conditioning replaced, technicians can take care of installing a brand new thermostat and making sure that it works correctly. This can give you peace of mind that your air conditioner will run smoothly all summer long.

If you need a new HVAC system and thermostat, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We offer dependable HVAC services in the 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).

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your Home

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your HomeDo you dust and vacuum your home frequently but cleaning up the dust never remedies the problem? The reason why your home gets dusty again too quickly may be due to specific issues with your HVAC system, such as:

  • Leaky ductwork: When the ductwork that distributes your conditioned air isn’t airtight, all sorts of particles can get pulled into the HVAC system from unfinished spaces like the attic and wall cavities. This means that particles like bits of drywall, pest droppings, insect body parts, insulation fibers and similar debris gets sent out through the ductwork into your home every time the blower fan cycles on.
  • Inadequate filtration: If you use a thin fiberglass filter in your HVAC system, you might notice that it rarely looks dirty or needs replacement. This is a sure sign that the filter isn’t capturing the smaller particles that contribute to household dust like pollen, animal dander, skin cells, microscopic mites, bits of soil, paper/textile fibers and human and animal hair. Instead, these particles are bypassing the filter, getting into the air handler unit and being continually redistributed through your home.

Effective HVAC-Related Dust Remedies

Giving the HVAC system some attention by taking the following steps can often help remedy a problem with excessive dust.

  • Have an HVAC pro inspect the ductwork to determine if there are significant leaks due to deficiencies and damage, like disconnected or crushed sections and holes or gaps, and have any such issues repaired.
  • Get the ductwork professionally sealed so debris from unconditioned areas can’t get drawn in.
  • Upgrade to a pleated filter with the highest recommended MERV rating mentioned in your equipment owner’s manual.
  • Change your air filter It should be checked once a month and replaced when there is any visible sign of dust accumulation.
  • Make sure that you install the air filter in the right direction and that it’s all the way into its slot, so air can’t be easily pulled in around it.

To learn more effective dust remedies to keep your Portland-area home cleaner and improve your air quality, 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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