Category Archives: Electrical

5 Tips for Generator Maintenance

5 Tips for Generator MaintenanceOwning a generator provides peace of mind that your home’s lights stay on, the refrigerator keeps running and essentials like the sump pump are fully operational when a power outage occurs. To ensure that your generator works reliably and efficiently, it’s vital to keep it well maintained. Here’s what routine generator maintenance should include:

Checking and Replacing the Oil and Filter

Oil is necessary to lubricant key components of your backup generator motor, but it breaks down over time, so the oil and its filter need to be replaced periodically. Generators typically need an initial oil change after the first 8–30 hours of run time, and then regular oil changes after every 100–200 hours of use, or at least once a year. The scheduling varies by manufacturer, so be sure to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

Changing the Spark Plugs

Like any other combustion motor, your generator has spark plugs that must be changed out every so often. You should follow your manufacturer’s guidelines, but as a general rule, spark plugs need replacement after 100 hours of run time.

Replacing the Air Filter

If the filter is dirty, your generator motor won’t have adequate airflow to stay running, so you need to replace it according to your owner’s manual schedule. Typically, replacing the air filter is recommended after every 25 hours of run time, or once a year.

Performing a Periodic Visual Checkup

Once every couple of months, give your generator a general visual inspection. Tidy up any debris around the unit, look for oil and fluid leaks, check that there’s coolant visible in the overflow tank, and the battery is clean and free from corrosion.

Scheduling Yearly Professional Maintenance

You can have a pro tackle all of the above tasks, as well as perform a detailed annual inspection and more in-depth maintenance, such as flushing the coolant, checking the control panel, wiring and all connections and clamps, and inspecting and/or testing the battery and its cables and charger, alternator and transfer switch.

To schedule generator maintenance at 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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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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Are You Ready for an Electrical Upgrade?

Are You Ready for an Electrical Upgrade?Depending on the age of your home, you could be due for an electrical upgrade. In recent years the number of appliances and devices that people use has steadily increased, and the existing wiring may not be adequate for either safety or convenience.

Signs you may need an upgrade include:

  • Frequent circuit breaker tripping. If one or more circuit breakers trips when the electrical loads are higher, you may be overloading that particular circuit. A circuit breaker that trips when you use a hair dryer or other device that pulls a lot of power might be inadequate. Breaker failure is less common, but it does happen. Your electrician can assess the condition of the breaker.
  • Insufficient outlets. The excessive use of power strips or extension cords indicates you may not have enough electrical outlets in any particular room. Current electrical codes require one outlet for every 12 feet of wall space. Most cords are six feet long, and this outlet requirement eliminates many safety hazards.
  • Adding a major appliance. If you’re adding an appliance that has uses a lot of electricity, like a dryer, extra dishwasher, stovetop, or refrigerator, chances are you’ll need an electrical upgrade. Converting from a gas to an electric dryer or stove will require a dedicated and specialized outlet.
  • Aluminum wiring. Homes built between the 1960s and mid 1970s may have aluminum wiring. A copper shortage drove builders to use aluminum in place of copper to cut construction costs. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that homes with some or all aluminum wiring were 55 times more likely to experience an electrical fire.

    If you can access the place where wires enter your home, look for printing on the insulation that says aluminum, CL-clad, or Romex. If you see either, consider upgrading your wiring. Electricians can have developed safe ways to eliminate the safety hazard without replacing all the wiring with copper.

An electrical upgrade keeps your home up-to-date as you add appliances and devices to your home. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Electrical, providing trusted HVAC and electrical 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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How to Protect Your Salem Home from Power Surges

How to Protect Your Salem Home from Power Surges During intense bouts of stormy weather, you may notice the lights in your home flicker. Many people view this phenomenon as a normal aspect of storms. However, flickering lights are often the result of surges in your home’s power supply, which can be detrimental to your appliances.

Power Surges Defined

In most homes, electricity is delivered with an alternating current. Although referred to as 120V, the actual current can range from 0 to 169 during normal conditions. Fortunately, common electronics and appliances are designed to handle natural changes in energy supply. During power surges, voltage can significantly exceed 169, which can be damaging to appliances and electronics.

Power Surge Prevention

While there’s no way to stop power surges from occurring, there are two ways homeowners can protect themselves against damage from power surges:

  • Point-of-Use Devices: Commonly referred to as surge protectors, point-of-use devices prevent power surges from reaching electronics. Instead of allowing the surge to affect devices, the power from the surge is directed by point-of-use devices into the ground.
  • Service Entrance Surge Protector Devices: These devices are typically installed near your circuit breaker, electric panel or electric meter and are necessary to protect the portions of your electric system that are not plugged in to an outlet.

To receive additional information on how you can protect your home from power surges, contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling today. Our expert team has faithfully served Portland and the surrounding areas since 1976.

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

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Should You Update the Electrical Wiring in Your Home?

Should You Update the Electrical Wiring in Your Home?Because it’s hidden throughout your home’s structure, it’s easy to forget about checking your electrical wiring. But if you’re making any changes to your home, or if you’ve been experiencing electrical problems, it may be time to consider an update. This can enhance your safety, increase convenience and possibly bring more value to your home.

Safety Considerations

  • A circuit breaker that trips for no apparent reason should be investigated by a licensed electrician, since this can often signal a problem with the wiring in your home. Neglecting problems associated with your wiring may result in loss of life and property.
  • If your home was built in the 1960s or 70s, there’s a risk that you could have aluminum wiring. This type of wiring can oxidize over time, and when it does, the wire can generate heat and start a fire.
  • Using multiple power strips in your home because you don’t have enough outlets for all of your appliances and devices can pose a fire hazard, especially if the power strips don’t have surge protection.

Changing Appliances

Switching from a gas to an electric appliance usually requires upgrading the electrical wiring, especially when the appliance is a stove, dryer, water heater, or HVAC equipment. These appliances require their own circuit breaker and high voltage outlets, along with heavier gauge wiring. Adding ceiling fans to an unblocked or wired ceiling also requires an electrical upgrade.

Adding Convenience

Relying on extension cords to provide power can be a safety hazard. The National Electric Code requires there be an outlet every 12 feet in your home to eliminate the need for extension cords. The standard length of a cord (with a few exceptions) is 6 feet. An electrician can add more outlets in each room wherever they’re needed to bring your home up to standards.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can assess your home’s electrical wiring and safety. We’ve been providing exceptional HVAC and electrical services for Portland area homeowners since 1976.

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

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Need to Troubleshoot a Circuit? Follow These General Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Electrical Safety Tips to Teach Children of Any Age

Electrical Safety Tips to Teach Children of Any AgeWe all want to keep our children safe. With this in mind, it’s important to teach them the potential dangers of electricity at a young age. Here are 10 electrical safety tips to teach children of any age:

  1. Don’t plug too many things into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage your home’s electrical system or even cause a fire.
  2. Make sure all electric cords are tucked away and not laying out where people can trip on them or pets can find and chew on them.
  3. Never climb the fence around an electrical substation. No matter what gets over the fence, whether it’s a ball, toy or pet, ask an adult to call the electric company to get it out for you.
  4. Remove plugs from outlets carefully – don’t yank them out. This can cause damage to the appliance, to the plug and to the outlet.
  5. When you’re flying a kite, never fly it around substations or power lines. The kite and the string will conduct electricity and send it through you and into the ground.
  6. If you need to use something that uses electricity to run, ask a grown-up for help.
  7. Before you climb a tree, look up and make sure there are no power lines around the tree. The tree’s branches can conduct electricity and send it through you.
  8. Remind grown-ups to put safety caps on all unused electrical outlets. This will keep you safe, and also help to save energy by stopping drafts.
  9. If your mom or dad is using outdoor equipment, like a ladder or chainsaw, remind them to watch out for electrical wires.
  10. Keep all electrical appliances and other things far away from water. Water and electricity are very dangerous together.

Contact Roth Heating and Cooling for help with questions about electrical safety, and to learn more electrical safety tips to use in your Portland home.

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

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