How to Find the Ideal Sleeping Temperature

How to Find the Ideal Sleeping TemperatureIt’s the middle of the night. You have work tomorrow. But somehow, you can’t seem to get to sleep. Perhaps you’re lying awake worrying about your latest energy bill. It was much higher than you expected after running the heat to stay warm through the Portland winter. Fortunately, both your current problems can be solved with the same easy fix: turn your thermostat down when you go to bed. Your ideal sleeping temperature is likely lower than you realize.

Saving Energy

Turning your thermostat down a few degrees at night is a great way to save energy. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can even set it to go down automatically, every night around the time you usually go to bed.

You may be thinking, “But night is when it gets coldest! That’s when I need heat the most!” But at night, you also have blankets. If you get cold, you can always add another one to get comfortable. But if the air in your home is too warm, there’s not much you can do.

Sleeping Better

Not only is lowering your thermostat a good way to save energy, it can also help you get to sleep, if you’re otherwise having trouble. The body’s temperature drops slightly as you drift off, so lowering the temperature of the room can help this occur faster and let you fall asleep sooner.

On the other hand, there’s nothing that can ruin sleep faster than cold feet. But wearing socks to bed, or placing a hot water bottle by your feet, can offset this and help you sleep soundly.

So what is the ideal sleeping temperature? Some experts say it’s between 67-72 degrees. Others put 67 degrees as the upper limit, and say you can go as low as 60. Everyone’s body is different. So experiment with different temperatures, to see which one works best for you. You’ll be saving energy and getting a good night’s sleep in no time.

For more help finding your ideal sleeping temperature, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling today. Portland trusts us for all their HVAC needs.

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

Why Air Pollutants Get Inside

Why Air Pollutants Get InsideEven the cleanest homes can suffer from degraded air quality. The reason? Air pollutants enter our homes in manifold ways that most of us aren’t even aware of. Couple that with the fact that most homes of modern construction are airtight, and you have a recipe for poor indoor air quality.

Many people develop allergies to these pollutants, or else sensitivities that cause them to suffer from respiratory irritations. The pollutants may also aggravate conditions such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.

With cold weather months already here, we find ourselves indoors more often than not, read on and learn how to prevent air pollutants both at the source and once they are in your home. This will help keep your home a more comfortable healthy space to spend time in.

Common Home Air Pollutants

Here are some pollutants typically found in a residence, the means of entry and how to control them:

  1. DustDust blows in through windows, doors and crevices. To control, take off shoes at the door. Seal window and door frames with caulk and weatherstripping. Dust with microstatic cloths; vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  2. Pollen–Pollen blows in through open windows, doors; it may also enter on clothing and pets. Brush off clothing or remove it on entering the home. Follow the same cleaning procedures as above. Sequester indoor plants when they are producing pollen.
  3. Pet dander–Dander is composed of flaky skin particles produced by pets as they shed. Brush them outdoors; bathe them at least once a week.
  4. Dust mites–These microscopic insects live in rugs, carpet, mattresses, pillows and upholstery. Keep relative humidity low in the home. Vacuum upholstered furniture with a HEPA filter. Wash linens frequently in hot water.
  5. Volatile organic compounds–VOCs are produced by the off-gassing of certain chemicals, ranging from household cleaning products, to paint, pressed wood products, dry cleaning solvent and textiles. Leave new articles outdoors a few days to air out. Keep chemicals tightly capped and out of the living space. Buy natural products whenever possible.

Also, use a good quality air filter in your HVAC system, which will do a better job of trapping pollutants than a cheap fiberglass filter.

For more information about controlling air pollutants in your home, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Lake Oswego.

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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Benefits of a Smart Heating System

Benefits of a Smart Heating SystemThe increasingly high cost of heating a home makes it vital to look for ways to improve HVAC system efficiency. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, there are smart heating systems available that can fine-tune your energy usage, reduce your HVAC operating costs and give you a more comfortable home environment.

Smart Heating System Basics

Smart systems combine the latest and best in intelligent controls with the most technologically-advanced equipment offerings. The result is a heating system that’s ultra reliable, efficient, intuitive and responsive. Some of the key components used in today’s smart systems that can give you unparalleled control and convenience include:

  • Learning thermostats
  • Variable-speed air handlers
  • Variable-capacity furnaces
  • Intelligent zoning

Smart Heating Capabilities and Benefits

A learning thermostat like the NEST PRO or the IComfort from Lennox is the central component in a smart heating system, and it gives you the ability to access, program and make heating adjustments from anywhere via an easy-to-use app. These adaptive, intelligent thermostats have capabilities that go well beyond basic remote accessibility, however, and can also:

  • Make maintenance hassle-free. A smart thermostat continuously monitors your system’s operation and reminds you about replacing the air filter, scheduling preventive maintenance and can alert you and your HVAC company if problems arise that need attention.
  • Provide optimal functionality. Your intelligent thermostat can communicate directly with other system components like the variable-speed air handler and multi-stage furnace to provide effortless oversight of your comfort and energy consumption.
  • Boost air quality automatically. Intuitive thermostats can monitor outdoor pollen counts and indoor humidity levels and take steps like starting up the appropriate system component to filter the air or maintain a healthy humidity level.
  • Streamline heating in multi-level/larger homes. If you have an intelligent zoning system installed, your thermostat can also monitor and adjust heating in specific areas based on occupancy and use.
  • Make saving energy intuitive. An intelligent heating system can use the GPS in your smartphone to detect when you’re home and away and make adjustments to the warm air output accordingly.

To learn more about smart heating options for your Sherwood OR 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). 

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Tips to Heat Cold Rooms in Your Home

Tips to Heat Cold Rooms in Your HomeAs the colder months of the year take hold, it gets more difficult to keep your home warm. There are often rooms that stay cold no matter how long you run your primary heating equipment. Today, we’re going to show you some ways that you can heat cold rooms by improving your system’s efficiency and airflow, along with a few alternative heating solutions.

Contact a Technician

Before the winter season begins each year, it’s important to schedule an annual check-up by a certified technician. This will ensure the best efficiency possible.

Replace the Air Filter

As dirt and debris make their way through your home’s heating system, the air filter that keeps it from being recirculated back into your home quickly gets clogged up. Check the filter each month and once it gets dirty, put it in a new one.

Check the Registers

If air isn’t allowed to flow freely through your registers, it’ll be more difficult to heat cold rooms around your home. Check the registers to make sure they’re open and unblocked.

Use Duct-Booster Fans

If your home is heated via forced-air, attaching duct-booster fans to the registers will allow you to increase the airflow. This will heat your home faster and more efficiently.

Install Solar Panels

The use of solar energy is a great way to lower energy usage and cut your monthly bills. The initial cost may scare you a bit, but the application of renewable energy that will last for at least a couple of decades is well worth the cost.

Install Radiant Floor Heating

Rather than rely on heated air from above, turn your attention to heated floors below. This type of heating is easy to install and can be used on various types of flooring, such as tile, laminate, and carpet.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to heat cold rooms, or if you have any other home comfort concern, be sure to 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). 

3 Common Heat Exchanger Problems

Close up tube or coil of heat exchangerWhen it comes to the safe operation of your furnace, there’s one component that plays a vital role: the heat exchanger. This coil of metal tubing is what keeps combustion fumes contained so they go out the exhaust vent pipe. If problems develop with this critically-important device, those noxious fumes that contain carbon monoxide and other harmful gases can escape and enter the warm air that’s being distributed through the ductwork in your home.

Here are three problems that commonly occur with heat exchangers and how to address them:

1. Rust and Corrosion

Heat exchangers can corrode and rust out due to excess condensation inside the furnace. Mostly, this is a problem with high-efficiency condensing furnaces. When the system is working properly, the condensate is expelled through a built-in drainage system. If the drain line gets partially blocked, the furnace still operates, but condensation can’t flow out freely and will gradually rust out the heat exchangers, allowing fumes to escape through holes in the metal. Condensation can also cause similar problems in a lower-efficiency furnace if the exhaust flue pipe is too small.

2. Age-Related Deterioration

Furnace heat exchangers are designed durably to withstand repeated cycles of heating up and cooling down over a long service life. With advancing age, the expansion and contraction that occurs will cause metal fatigue and small cracks will form in the material. When this happens, the furnace will need replacement.

3. Premature Metal Failure

Under certain conditions metal fatigue can happen prematurely, which means a costly early replacement of the furnace. The underlying cause may be insufficient system airflow or burner irregularities, but both result in overheating of the metal.

Preventing Problems With The Heat Exchanger

For safety and peace of mind, it’s wise to stay ahead of developing heat exchanger-related problems by having a trained HVAC technician inspect your furnace annually. An experienced technician will clean the components, check for adequate airflow, make any necessary burner adjustments and inspect the heat exchanger for wear and damage.

To have your furnace heat exchanger inspected, contact the Portland home comfort pros 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). 

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace Maintenance

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace MaintenanceThe benefits of furnace maintenance far outweigh its cost on many levels. Although it does cost money, the amount is small compared to the benefits a well-tuned system gives you.

Having your furnace serviced by a pro annually will:

Lower heating bills.

The efficiency you gain from a tuned-up furnace is well worth the small cost of having it professionally serviced each year. Dust and sooty deposits on the furnace’s parts lowers their efficiency.

The technician will look for abnormal amounts of soot inside the furnace and trace the possible causes. A dirty heat exchanger slows the heat transfer to the incoming air, which makes your furnace run longer.

Run safely.

All gas furnaces have safety features that prevent them from malfunctioning. The service technician will check their condition and ensure that they’re fully functional. They also use meters to measure the electrical flow, and verify that the gas lines are tight.

They’ll check carbon monoxide (CO) levels along with inspecting the condition of the chimney or flue. Any cracks or blockages can back up CO and other exhaust gases indoors.

Have fewer repair costs.

As the technician cleans and adjust your system, he or she will spot small problems that could escalate if left unattended. A motor that runs without enough lubrication will fail faster, and dust buildups burn out electrical components.

Last longer.

Without adequate maintenance, the wear and tear on all the parts increases and it takes years off the lifetime of your heating system. It’s particularly hard on the heat exchanger. As dust covers it, it will stay hot longer, which weakens the metal from which it is made.

Over time, cracks form that can leak CO into your home’s air. An HVAC or gas company technician has to disable a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. You won’t be able to use it until it’s repaired or the system completely replaced.

Investing in furnace maintenance has tangible benefits for your comfort and safety. For more information, 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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Daylight Saving Time Checklist: Your HVAC System

Daylight Saving Time Checklist: Your HVAC SystemDaylight saving time (DST) ends November 5, 2017, which means it will be time to change the clocks and your programmable thermostat one hour back. It’s easier to remember how to set it by thinking about springing forward in the spring and falling back in the autumn.

The purpose of the time change was to save energy by reducing the amount of indoor lighting required in the summer. It has proved marginally successful for this purpose. Much greater energy savings have come from more efficient HVAC systems, lighting, stricter building codes and appliances. Efforts to overturn DST have met with resistance because people enjoy longer daylight hours while the weather is comfortable outdoors.

Changing the Thermostat

Some types of programmable thermostats are fairly intuitive, but if yours isn’t, you may need to consult the owner’s manual to reset it. Most manufacturers provide these manuals online if you’ve misplaced yours.

It’s also a good idea to change the batteries for the thermostat when you adjust the time for daylight saving time. Without working batteries, the thermostat won’t be able to turn the HVAC system on. Most programmable thermostat covers are easy to take off by twisting or prying the covers off, or removing a few screws.

Changing the Temperatures

Unlike summer, chances are you’ll want the home warmer during the day and cooler at night. As you prepare to change from DST to standard time, set the thermostat for optimal energy savings.

Turning the temperature down at night helps you sleep better and save energy. While you’re home during the day, a setting of 68 degrees F is comfortable for most. You may also want to increase the daytime temperatures during the weekends when your family is at home.

Adjusting the thermostat for the end of daylight saving time will give you better temperature control for winter. If you need help with this project or haven’t had your system serviced for winter, please 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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Do You Smell That? Common Heating System Odors

Do You Smell That? Common Heating System OdorsA home heating system in good condition will not only operate quietly and efficiently, it will also operate without producing any odors. If you detect unusual odors coming from your heating system, don’t panic. Here is a brief description of common heating system odors in approximate order from most to least serious:

Rotten egg odor

Natural gas used in heating systems is odorless, so gas companies add a chemical to cause the rotten egg smell. If the odor is faint, it may go away quickly. If the odor is strong, however, it may mean a gas leak. Open windows to provide ventilation, shut off your heating system if possible, and leave your house immediately. Call your gas company or fire department for help.

Smoke or burning smells

The odor of burning wires, plastic insulation, or other material inside the system could indicate overheating. The smell (and worse, the sight) of smoke could indicate severe overheating or even a fire. Shut the system off until the source of the odor is located by your HVAC professional.

Electrical “ozone” smell

This odor can indicate overheating as well as problems with motors, wiring, or electrical components. It can indicate the pending failure of a blower motor. Again, the system should be shut down and the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Burning dust smell

This odor is common when heating systems are first started after being idle over the summer. Dust that accumulates on system components could get hot when the system operates and cause this smell. It will usually stop within a few cycles of the heating system.

Dead animal or carrion smell

It is possible for small animals such as mice to get into the heating system or ductwork and die, producing a carrion odor. The smell should go away once the dead animal is found and removed.

Since 1976, Roth Heating and Cooling has served the HVAC needs of customers in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on heating system odors, what they mean, and what you can do about them.

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

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality Concerns

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality ConcernsFall in Oregon means spectacular leaf colors and cooler temperatures. However, fall also means there could be a decrease in indoor air quality in your home. The following information outlines some of these fall air quality concerns and what can be done about them.

Common Fall Air Quality Concerns

  • Airborne contaminants: Airborne contaminants in your home can increase with fall weather. If you’re opening your windows to enjoy some cool autumn air, you could also be letting in particulates and other airborne contaminants from the outdoors. Dust, dirt, and other common particulates are just as likely to be present in the fall as any other time of the year.
  • High humidity: Humidity in the fall can be just as high as at other times of the year. Inside your home, increased humidity can make it easier for mold to grow. High humidity levels can also cause your indoor spaces to feel uncomfortable.
  • Lack of ventilation: At the opposite end of fall comfort, you may find it necessary to close your windows to keep out an unexpected chill. If temperatures drop far enough, you’ll need to close the windows and keep them closed. This reduces air circulation and ventilation inside your home, which can contribute to decreased air quality.

What to Do

  • Increase ventilation: Many fall air quality concerns can be reduced with better ventilation. Open windows when possible. Use window air conditioners on fan-only settings. Put in a whole-house ventilation system that keeps a steady airflow moving throughout your home.
  • Change HVAC air filters: Air filters in your HVAC system help remove airborne contaminants. Make sure you have a clean filter in your heating and cooling systems.
  • Install dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers remove moisture from your indoor air. Whole-house models can dehumidify an entire home, while smaller portable models can reduce humidity in a single room.

Roth Heating and Cooling provides high-quality HVAC sales, service, and installation in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, Lake Oswego and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on fall air quality concerns and how to make sure your indoor air is fresh and clean throughout autumn.

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

Maintain Your HVAC Safety When Decorating for Halloween

Maintain Your HVAC Safety When Decorating for HalloweenWhen the fall temperatures arrive in Oregon, they’re accompanied by the ghosts and goblins of Halloween. Halloween is the first of the year-end holidays that bring out an interest in decorating homes inside and out. While Halloween decorating can be fun, getting into the spirit of the season shouldn’t compromise HVAC safety.

Here are some tips for keeping your HVAC system and your home safe when decorating for Halloween:

Keep Vents Clear Indoors

The vents on the outdoor unit of your heating and cooling system need to be open so that air can move in or out as needed. If these vents are blocked by Halloween decorations, the system cannot get the airflow it needs, which reduces performance. Indoor decorations blocking vents and registers can prevent warm or cool air from leaving the ductwork.

Allow Air Flow Outside

Both your cooling system and your heating system need an unobstructed source of airflow. Vents provide part of it, but the outdoor unit also needs to have plenty of space around it to ensure that enough air is available. If you put too many decorations on or near the unit, they could impede airflow and cause issues with the HVAC system’s function. In the worst cases, blocked airflow can damage the unit.

Avoid Decorations Inside Your Unit

Spider webs–real ones–can cause problems with the internal components of the outdoor unit. In particular, they can interfere with electrical connections and cause circuit breakers to trip or, in the worse cases, cause components and circuit boards to burn out. Pieces from Halloween decorations that come loose and make their way inside the outdoor unit can have similar effects. Pieces of cotton from artificial webs, bits of cloth or paper from ghost decorations, or even whole decorations could cause problems with your HVAC system if they get inside the unit.

Roth Heating and Cooling has been serving the HVAC needs of customers in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, and the surrounding Oregon communities for more than forty years. Contact us today for more information on HVAC safety when decorating your home for Halloween and other holidays.

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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