Author Archives: Jason Hansen

Security Lights at Home and Work

Security Lights at Home and Work With all the pricing, design and installation options available, it’s possible to easily protect your property from intruders and increase its usability after dark with security lights. From solar powered lighting to screw-in motion detecting adapters, it’s easier than ever to illuminate all corners of the outdoors.

  • A well-lighted yard reduces the chances of break-ins. Lighting not only shows you who and what’s outside, it also reveals activity around your home to the neighbors. Both two- and four-legged intruders do not like to be seen.
  • Insurance companies like security lighting. You may get a break on your insurance rates if you install overhead lighting in parking lots and around the perimeter of your building, especially if you combine them with a video monitoring system.

    Not only do the lights send burglars away, they can also keep your valuable wiring and HVAC equipment intact. One of the more recent targets for theft in commercial and residential areas is copper wiring and from HVAC systems. It takes thieves just a few minutes to remove the coils inside HVAC equipment to sell as scrap metal.

    Not only does this take your heating and cooling system out of commission, it’s likely to prompt an expensive system replacement. Because of HVAC industry regulations, the indoor components of HVACR systems have to match the outdoor parts. If your equipment is older, it’s not likely that compatible outdoor components are still available.

  • Besides increasing safety, security lights also enhance the livability of the outdoors. You can use them to highlight elements of your landscape, like a water fountain, light-tolerant garden, or patio.
  • Motion detectors send invasive animals out of your yard. Nocturnal animals don’t like to be startled by a flood of light when they prowl around your yard scrounging for food in your garbage cans or garden.

Without security lights, your yard or lot may be vulnerable to intrusion. With it, you’ll have more peace of mind and it can add enjoyment to the special features of your home and yard. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing 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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Common Causes of a Noisy Air Conditioner

Common Causes of a Noisy Air ConditionerA noisy air conditioner is both irritating and worrisome. If your A/C is making loud banging, hissing or high-pitched squealing sounds, contact your HVAC pro as these noises can indicate a potentially serious problem that needs immediate attention. You can try fixing the following less serious sounds on your own.

Rattling or Murmuring Coming From the Fan

To solve these common sounds, open the air handler cabinet, vacuum out any loose debris from around the fan and clean the blades. If the fan blades seem loose, tighten the hub using an Allen wrench or screwdriver. Finally, examine the blades and if any appear bent, apply gentle pressure to straighten it.

Humming or Grinding From the Blower Motor

These sounds originating at the blower are often a sign that the motor needs lubrication. If your unit has oil ports, you can lubricate it by adding a couple of drops of SAE 10 oil to each one. You can also prevent a recurrence by making a habit of oiling the motor at the start of each cooling season.

Rattling Noises In the Air Handler or Condenser Cabinet

The mechanical components housed in the indoor air handler and outdoor condenser units vibrate slightly when they’re running. Over time, this can loosen cabinet panel or mounting screws that weren’t fully tightened and result in a rattling noise. To correct this, simply follow the sound to its source, and tighten up the loose screw(s) with a screwdriver.

Low-Key Buzzing from the Outdoor Condenser Coil

The outdoor unit can start to get noisy when debris accumulates on the coil, so hose it down carefully with your garden hose. If it’s still noisy, check to see if the aluminum fins look bent. If they do, straightening them may help lessen the noise, but don’t use a sharp implement. Instead, buy an inexpensive tool called a fin comb, then insert the comb’s teeth in between the fins and gently slide it to straighten the bent ones.

For an expert diagnosis of what’s causing a noisy air conditioner 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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Backup Generator: 10 Situations You’ll Need to Know About

Power outages in Portland are not unknown, despite our rather benign weather. The fact is, the power can and does go off here, for a variety of reasons. That’s when it’s good to know your Backup Generator: 10 Situations You'll Need to Know About power needs are covered with a backup generator. Generators are no longer rare in residential areas, as the weather gets wackier and homeowners are more and more reluctant to experience the inconvenience of not being able to cook, going without lights or worrying about food spoiling in the refrigerator.

Here are 10 reasons the power might go off in your Portland home.

  1. Lightning strike. Power thunderstorms are rare here, but can happen. When lightning hits transformers, it can knock out the power.
  2. Flooding. Flood waters from torrential rain and melting snow can damage electrical equipment at ground level or below, knocking out power till flooding resides and repair crews can fix it.
  3. Wind. High winds can blow down power lines, resulting in temporary loss of electricity.
  4. Falling trees. Trees may hit power lines after being toppled by high winds or improper cutting.
  5. Home construction. If you’re building a house or performing major renovations, the electricity may be off for extended periods.
  6. Animals. Believe it or not, but sometimes animals can cause blackouts, from birds shorting out power lines to underground burrowing animals chewing through buried cables.
  7. Power company outage. We don’t always know the reason, but sometimes the power just goes out while the utility company works on the lines. Outages can be short or long term, and might be caused by a short circuit or overloading of electricity mains.
  8. Power surge in the home. Sometimes the homeowner’s electrical system shorts out, particularly if it’s old or repairs have not been done correctly.
  9. Gas line problems. Gas lines may leak and have to be shut off till repairs are made.
  10. Earthquake. Portland is in an earthquake zone. This can be a major cause of long-term power outages.

For more on how a backup generator can benefit you and your family when the power’s down, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve 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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Storm Preparation for Spring: What You Need to Know

Storm Preparation for Spring: What You Need to KnowAlthough Portland is blessed with relatively mild weather, residents shouldn’t necessarily be complacent. In springtime, we can still get some winter blasts, as well as some strong rain that could lead to flooding.

Just to be on the safe side, why not review the following tips for storm prep this season? You’ll be ahead of the game, and ready for anything Mother Nature deals out.

Flooding

While Portland rarely sees thunderstorms and tornadoes, we can get heavy rains that could cause flooding. If you’re new to the area, or even if you’ve resided here longer and aren’t real sure about potential flooding in your neighborhood, it bears checking it out by researching government websites to discover flood-prone areas. In times of heavy rain, some residents should also be on the lookout for mudslides.

If a thunderstorm is approaching, avoid going out of doors as long as you can hear thunder. If you hear thunder, you’re within striking distance of lightning. Also, unplug your major electric appliances, including the air conditioner, to avoid damage in a power surge.

If you suspect your home is subject to flooding, have a plan for evacuation in times of heavy rainfall . Keep the car gassed, and some survival supplies on hand. Make sure you have flood insurance — your regular insurance will not cover flooding from natural causes — well in advance of any storm.

Also, if you live in a flood-prone area, make sure that your air conditioner compressor is located in an elevated area, as much as possible, to avoid damage from high waters.

Power outages

It’s always possible the power could go off from high winds, ice on power lines or lightning strikes, so be prepared. Have at least a three-day supply of food, water, pet food and essential medicines on hand. Keep blankets and warm clothing handy, as well as a good supply of batteries and a battery-powered lantern, flashlight and weather radio. A backup generator will allow you to have the minimum electrical conveniences needed to stay comfortable and safe.

To learn more about storm prep, contact us at Roth Heading and Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical. We’ve served 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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Common Plumbing Problems: How To

Common Plumbing Problems: How ToDid you know a dripping faucet wastes enough water in one year to fill the average water heater tank 50 times? That’s nearly one tank a week! If common plumbing problems have you puzzled or fearful you’ll make matters worse, read these tips on how to solve basic problems with your home’s plumbing and fixtures. You’ll help conserve a precious resource and save money.

Running Toilets

If you’re tired of jiggling the toilet handle, it’s time to fix it. The problem of running toilets is usually with the chain or the flapper and seat. If it’s the chain, bring in the slack so it doesn’t get caught in the flapper. When it’s a flapper and seat problem, try cleaning these parts. If that doesn’t work, pick up a new assembly at your home store.

Water Pressure

Low water pressure is often due to blockages in aging pipes, fixtures and appliances. If low water pressure is isolated to one outlet or fixture, such as a shower head, you’re in luck. Simply clean or replace the fixture.

High water pressure throughout your home usually requires adjusting the water pressure regulator. This device is typically located at the connection of the main water line to your home’s plumbing. This is actually a job for your plumbing professional.

Slow Or Clogged Drains

If there ever was a common plumbing problem, it’s slow or clogged drains. Like water pressure problems, the problem may not be as severe if it’s isolated to one drain. If slow draining is occurring throughout your home, you have a problem in the main drain line or the vent line.

For isolated problems, such as a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink, turn off the water. Next, place a bucket under the trap. Remove the trap. Be ready in case a lot of dirty water flushes out, but that’s what you want. Clean the trap out and re-install it.

If you need help with common plumbing problems, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. Proudly serving the Portland metro 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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Consider These Things Before Adding a Home Addition

Consider These Things Before Adding a Home AdditionA home addition can give you the extra living space your family needs, increase your comfort and add to the enjoyment of your home. Whether you’re thinking of adding a new kitchen or family room, another bathroom or more bedrooms, there are a number of key factors to consider before you break ground.

Value, Budget and Financing

Building an addition is a costly undertaking, so make sure that the space you’re adding will truly serve your needs and that it’s a wise investment for where your home is located. Then, ensure that the proposed project fits within your budget, and plan how you’ll obtain financing if necessary.

Layout and Design

Work with an architect or designer to come up with a layout that makes the most of the added space and incorporates all your desired features and amenities. While the interior details are critically important, it’s also essential that the finished addition matches the style and aesthetic of your home’s exterior.

Heating and Cooling

Talk to an experienced HVAC contractor to determine the best way to heat and cool the living space you plan to add. A knowledgeable HVAC pro can assess your existing system and advise you if your current equipment has enough capacity, if the ductwork can be extended, or whether you’ll need to upgrade the components or install ductless units to serve the addition.

Electrical and Plumbing

You should consult licensed professionals about how the addition can be integrated into your home’s plumbing and electrical systems. You need to know whether there’s enough capacity to add extra breakers in your electrical panel, or how extending the plumbing system to serve new fixtures will impact water heating and water pressure throughout your home.

Choosing Contractors

Who you hire directly affects the success of your addition project, whether everything goes smoothly and if you experience future problems. Make sure that each contractor you choose is well-established with a good reputation, fully licensed and properly insured.

If you’re planning a new home addition and need expert plumbing, electrical and HVAC services, contact the Portland-area comfort pros 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).

Easy to Solve Common Water Pressure Problems

Easy to Solve Common Water Pressure ProblemsDealing with poor water pressure is an inconvenience, but many homeowners simply live with the annoyance because they don’t realize there are some relatively simple fixes that might restore an ample flow. Here’s how to solve some common water pressure problems that occur in Portland homes.

Individual Plumbing Fixtures With Low Pressure

If water pressure has decreased at just one faucet or showerhead, you may be able to correct the underlying cause yourself if it’s clogged with sediment or scale deposits. To attempt a faucet fix, unscrew the aerator and rinse the screen thoroughly to clear out any tiny sediment particles. If the problem is a scale buildup, mix a 50/50 water/vinegar solution and soak the aerator for 20 minutes or longer until the minerals dissolve. With a showerhead, remove the nozzle end and follow the same steps. If the problem persists, it’s time to replace the aerator or showerhead.

Poor Hot Water Pressure

If you notice a lack of pressure on the hot water supply at all of your plumbing fixtures, the likely issue is a significant sediment buildup in your water heater tank. If you haven’t had the tank flushed in a while, a serious accumulation can clog up the water lines and block the tank’s drain and pressure relief valves. To avoid any potential safety hazards, it’s wise to get the appliance inspected, drained and flushed by a professional plumber.

Low Pressure Throughout Your Home

If your entire plumbing system suffers from insufficient cold water pressure, make certain that the home’s main water valve is open all the way. If the valve is fully open, it’s best to have a licensed plumber assess your system. A pro may discover that pressure is low in your neighborhood, and suggest installing a pressure booster. There may be a leak that requires repair in your home’s main supply line. A malfunctioning reducing valve on the system is another possibility, or aging galvanized plumbing pipes that are corroded and due for replacement.

For expert help solving water pressure problems in your Metro Portland 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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DIY vs. Handyman vs. Qualified Electrician

DIY vs. Handyman vs. Qualified ElectricianWe’re always looking for ways to save money on home repairs, but when it involves your electrical system, you should never cut corners. So if you’re weighing the wisdom of doing it yourself vs. hiring a handyman vs. hiring a qualified electrician, it’s usually best to go for the latter.

Hiring a Professional Electrician

While you or an amateur handyman with a good understanding of electricity may certainly do minor tasks, including reconnecting loose wires on a thermostat or perhaps even installing an electrical switch, doorbell or ceiling fan, it’s best to leave installation of electrical systems to the pros.

Electrical work is regulated by electrical codes. A building permit is usually required from the local municipality. Trained, certified professionals who adhere to current codes should be hired to work with plans approved by a city building code officer. An electrical inspector generally must sign off on major electrical jobs.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with a certified electrician, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical of Portland 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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Why it Pays to Invest in Preventive Maintenance

Why it Pays to Invest in Preventive MaintenanceOf all the appliances in your home, your HVAC system is probably the most complicated and expensive. It also requires periodic preventive maintenance to run efficiently and dependably.

The benefits of professional attention far outweigh its cost, like:

  • Lower energy bills. Cooling and heating your home use about half your energy budget, and having your equipment professionally serviced helps lower energy use. When a system is cleaned, adjusted and lubricated, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable. The goal of the HVAC tuneup is to bring the system back as closely as the technician can to its original factory settings.
  • Longer system lifetime. Everything mechanical wears with use, but keeping the parts clean goes a long way toward increasing their useful life. Over time, electrical parts corrode and when they do, the flow of electricity slows and heat builds. Dust on the components inside heating and cooling systems slows the heat exchange process. Your system has to run longer, which wears the parts prematurely.
  • Greater dependability. When a HVAC pro goes through your system during a preventive maintenance visit, he or she may find a part that’s not functioning as well as it should. Replacing a small part before it fails keeps your system running dependably especially during weather extremes.
  • Fewer repair costs. A failing part can have a damaging ripple effect throughout the system, and instead of needing to replace just one part, you may need to replace several others.
  • Maintain a valid warranty. Some manufacturers require periodic maintenance performed by an HVAC pro to keep the warranty active. Considering the cost of parts and labor, losing this protection could cost a good deal.

The best way to achieve the highest performance your system can provide is through routine preventive maintenance. 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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Tankless Water Heaters in Your House: Pros and Cons

Tankless Water Heaters in Your House: Pros and ConsIf your older storage tank water heater is getting close to retirement age, you may be wondering if it’s worth going tankless. To help you decide, it’s good to learn the pros and cons of this type of water heater. The first pro of switching to a tankless water heater is the range of options it gives you. You can choose between gas-fired and electric models, and select a size ranging from a small unit to serve a single bathroom, or a large, whole-house model that’s capable of supplying three showers simultaneously.

Additional Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Making the switch to tankless water heating offers a number of other benefits:

  • Energy savings. Because there’s no tank of water that needs to be kept hot and ready for use, you can expect to see a drop in your household energy consumption and utility bills.
  • Long-term reliability. Storage tank water heaters typically wear out after 10 –13 years. As they age, the risk of a catastrophic tank failure and significant water damage increases. In contrast, tankless units have an expected service life of roughly 20 years, and there’s no tank that can suddenly fail.
  • Greater convenience. In the busy mornings and any other times when hot water is in greater demand, it’s easy to run out when you have a storage tank water heater. When you have on-demand units installed that match your peak household usage, you’ll assured of a continuous supply whenever hot water is needed.
  • Placement choices. Tankless units take up little room and are often wall mounted. The only restrictions on where you can place one are access to your gas line and the need for outdoor venting.

Potential Cons of Going Tankless

Tankless water heaters can cost two to three times as much as storage tank units, and the installation can cost more if your gas service needs upgrading. However, the reliability, convenience and energy savings you’ll gain can make the extra expense worthwhile.

For personalized advice about whether a tankless water heater is the ideal choice for your Portland-area 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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