Author Archives: Jason Hansen

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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How to Upgrade Your Kitchen Ventilation

How to Upgrade Your Kitchen VentilationHow’s the ventilation in your kitchen? Consider yourself lucky if your kitchen range is ventilated to the outdoors. That’s the best way to get rid of irritating smoke and water vapor, which can add humidity in your home, making you feel uncomfortable and even causing issues with mold and mildew. If you don’t have adequate kitchen ventilation, maybe it’s time to look into it.

Types of Kitchen Ventilation

The most favored type of kitchen ventilation is of the updraft design. These use a blower to inhale cooking vapors, then push them through a duct which, we hope, exhausts the vapors through the roof rather than the attic. These are likely to be in the form of hoods or canopies, purchased separately from the stove.

The downdraft type draws cooking vapors across the surface of the range, and down through a duct that exhausts to the outdoors. These are likely to be integrated into the cooking appliance’s surface. The main drawback in using them is that they do not rise more than 10 inches above the surface of the range, and so cannot capture steam from a tall pot. They are usually chosen when they are to be incorporated into an island where the homeowner doesn’t want a view blocked, or in a kitchen with a high ceiling, where ductwork would be too high to work effectively in the updraft model.

Whichever type you choose, be sure that it can move the volume of air you will need to move in relation to the heat output of your range. Your ventilation specialist can help you calculate this.

Installing Kitchen Ventilators

If you have an older house, you may already have ducts in place that can accommodate the installation of new, upgraded kitchen ventilation. If the ductwork isn’t in the right position to accommodate a new range hood or canopy, you will have to move it. Unless you’re an accomplished DIYer, you may need a ventilation and ductwork specialist to advise you on installation.

For more on kitchen ventilation, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve Portland and the surrounding 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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How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your Home

How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your HomeIn our region, high humidity in the home can be a problem. In summer when the air is warm, it will hold more moisture and make us feel warmer than we need to. That means turning the air conditioner down just to feel comfortable. Any time of the year, high humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew and fungus, which can destroy paper, drywall, paint and other materials — plus, it’s unhealthful to breathe these pollutants.

The best way to control humidity is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Under most circumstances, your A/C performs that function adequately, but if you have an excessively moist home, it can be overwhelmed.

Learn how to reduce humid conditions with the following tips and maybe you’ll see results that will help you until you can plan for a dehumidifier.

Tips for Reducing Too-Humid Conditions

  1. Sequester plants. Having lots of plants in the home is a lovely way to decorate and to improve air quality, but plants also raise moisture levels. Round them up and move them to one room.
  2. Keep your air filter clean. A dirty air filter won’t do as good a job allowing proper air flow into your HVAC system. Slower air flow can mean the system won’t dehumidify the air as effectively. Change the air filter frequently.
  3. Take shorter showers. If you live with several people, long and frequent showering can up moisture in the air significantly. Ask people to take shorter showers. Crack the window and run a fan so the humidity can escape.
  4. Install kitchen or bathroom ventilation. Ventilation exhaust fans are not expensive to purchase or install, and they do a a great job of removing moisture from bathrooms and around the kitchen range.
  5. Fix leaks asap. As soon as you realize a faucet, a pipe, the attic or ceiling is leaking water, fix the leak so you prevent flooding and lower moisture levels. Also be vigilant about the HVAC’s condensate drain; a plugged drain can also boost air moisture.

To learn more about lowering humidity, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Portland.

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

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The Importance of Having an HVAC Inspection by a Pro

The Importance of Having an HVAC Inspection by a ProBuying a home is a complicated process from the legal process to the mechanical aspects of the home. While you can turn over some of the details to the experts involved in the process, it’s a good idea to have an independent Heating and Cooling inspection from a contractor you trust.

Most lenders require a licensed home inspector go through the structure to evaluate the building’s integrity, along with its mechanical systems. The inspector will look over the Heating and Cooling system for obvious problems, but may accidentally overlook important indicators that affect its condition.

The most common claim homeowners make after moving into a home they’ve recently purchased covers the HVAC system. Of all the appliances in a home, the heating and cooling system is the most complicated and expensive to fix or replace.

By insisting that you have a licensed HVAC technician go through the home as part of your due diligence process, you can avoid these expensive and often uncomfortable breakdowns.

In addition to scheduling an HVAC inspection from a professional contractor, ask the seller to provide:

  • The brand and model number of the system, along with its age. You can do some online research to find out what kind of equipment it is and its energy efficiency ratings. Higher ratings are always better for air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps.
  • Maintenance records. Under ideal conditions, the homeowner should have had the HVAC system maintained once or twice a year. Ask to see the receipts or paperwork the contractor provided.
  • Energy bills. While there’s no way to break out the electric and gas charges attributable solely to the HVAC system, it’s helpful to look at the seasonal swings in their energy costs. Most of the time, the HVAC system is responsible for 40 to 50 percent of the energy use during the winter and summer.

As the most important and expensive appliance in a home, requesting an HVAC inspection and understanding its result will help you make a decision or negotiate a price for the home. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling,Plumbing & Electrical providing trusted Heating and Cooling services for Lake Oswego 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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Here’s Back-to-School Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Here's Back-to-School Maintenance Tips for Your HomeIt’s that time of year again — back-to-school! Which means every homeowner out there needs to conduct a little maintenance on his or her home if they hope to keep costs under control. Here are a few quick tips that we suggest:

Replace Your Air Filter

Typically, an air filter needs to be replaced every 1-3 months. If you’ve been neglecting it a little over the summer because you’ve been too busy soaking up the sun, now’s the time to get it switched out for a new one. This will ensure that your heating and air conditioning equipment continues to work at an optimal level.

Seal the Ducts

Cooler temperatures are just around the corner, soon you’ll need to switch from air conditioning to heating. Before that happens, it’s essential that your ducts be checked for leaks and tears. This will keep the air circulating throughout your home without wasting energy.

Pick Up Around the Outdoor Unit

Over the summer, leaves and dirt can collect around your system’s outdoor unit. This can create a clogging situation, which can be a detriment to your heating and cooling efforts. This is an easy fix. All you have to do is remove any debris around the unit. Using a water hose is even more effective.

Perform Annual Maintenance

Once a year, it’s important that you enlist the help of a professional to make sure that your heating system is running properly. An annual maintenance (Precision Tune-up) will not only keep your equipment efficient, but can also prolong its operational life.

Clean the Condensate Drain

Your HVAC unit’s condensate drain can quickly become clogged with mold, algae, and other foreign substances. This can be cleaned by a water and bleach mixture two or three times a year to prevent any bigger issues from developing.

For more expert advice on back-to-school maintenance tips or any other home comfort questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical. We’ve been serving the Sherwood 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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How Ceiling Fans Affect Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

How Ceiling Fans Affect Your Home's Energy EfficiencyIn Portland’s mild climate, your ceiling fan can do a lot to help you stay comfortable efficiently. To get the most out of your fan, keep these tips in mind:

A Little Help for Your Air Conditioner

On days that aren’t too hot, stick to using your ceiling fans for as long as you can before turning on your air conditioner. Once you do turn on the A/C, don’t turn off the ceiling fan. A ceiling fan can make you feel around 4 to 5 degrees cooler, allowing you to raise your air conditioner’s thermostat temperature by the same amount with no loss of comfort.

Every degree you raise your A/C temperature can cut your cooling bills by around 3 to 10 percent. Make sure the fan blades are set to spin counterclockwise as seen from below. Spinning in this direction, they blow a cooling breeze downward over your skin. If the blades aren’t set correctly, look for a small switch on the motor housing that lets you change their direction.

Comfort in Winter, Too

When the cool fall weather moves in, set your fan blades to spin clockwise and run the fan on the lowest speed. When spinning this way, the blades create an updraft that pulls cool air from the lower part of the room toward the ceiling. This air pushes the warm air near the ceiling out towards the walls and down to where you are. The warm air in your room will circulate around you rather than pooling near the ceiling.

Maximizing Your Fan’s Efficiency

Fans make you feel more comfortable, but they don’t change the air temperature so they don’t help when you’re not in the room. To save energy, turn off the fan when you leave the room.

To move air efficiently, your fan must be the right size for the room. For a room of less than 144 sq. ft., a 42-inch fan is enough. For a room of up to 225 sq. ft., choose a 50-inch fan.

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

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

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Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV Lights

Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV LightsThe lights are placed within the ductwork or air handler of HVAC systems where nearly all the air in your home passes over it. UV light is hazardous to eyesight and they’re out of sight inside the HVAC equipment.

How UV Systems Compare

Compared to other kinds of air purification equipment, UV lighting offers:

  • High energy efficiency. The new generation of UV lights use LED technology and require annual replacement. Air purifiers rely on filters that need replacement as often as semiannually that can cost much more than the UV light bulbs.
  • Low maintenance. Since they’re out of sight, UV lights require little maintenance, especially if you keep the air filter for your HVAC system clean.
  • Protection against VOCs. These gases are among the most common airborne pollutants in the typical home. They come from products made from hydrocarbons and have varying degrees of toxicity. The lights are the only way to reduce the VOC load in the air without relying on year-round fresh air ventilation, which isn’t realistic during the summer or winter.
  • Odor-free. UV rays eliminate much of the need for disinfecting air sprays that have overpowering scents that may even include VOCs. Air sprays only offer spot protection from the spread of infectious germs, while UV lighting systems protect the whole home.
  • A cleaner HVAC system. The lights will eliminate mold growth inside the air handler and the ductwork. When mold grows inside the air handler on the evaporator coil, cooling efficiency drops and air quality declines.

Cleaner, healthier air is easy to achieve by using UV lights in your HVAC system. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, proudly serving homeowners in 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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