Category Archives: Energy Savings

5 Common Energy Myths You Need to Know

5 Common Energy Myths You Need to KnowIf you’re looking for ways to lower your household operating costs, curbing your energy consumption is a good place to start. Before you implement any tips for reducing consumption, it’s good to recognize energy myths like these:

Myth 1: Run the Ceiling Fans to Make Your Home Cooler

Fans simply move air, they don’t cool it. The feeling of air moving across the skin makes a body feel cooler, but you can’t feel the effect unless you’re in the same room. So, running fans in unoccupied rooms wastes energy instead of saving it.

Myth 2: Dial Back the Thermostat Setting to Cool the House Faster

Your cooling system runs at a steady pace to reach the thermostat’s temperature setting, no matter how low it’s set. If you set it too low, you’ll only end up wasting energy and your home will feel uncomfortably chilly.

Myth 3: Shut the Registers in Seldom-Used Rooms to Save Conditioned Air

Your HVAC system relies on balanced airflow to operate efficiently, and shutting some registers can upset the balance and cause a pressure increase within the system. The equipment then has to work harder to compensate, so it consumes more energy instead of less.

Myth 4: Leave the Thermostat Temperature Setting Constant to Save Energy

There’s a misconception that raising the thermostat setting at night or when no one is home is inefficient because it takes a lot of energy to bring the temperature back down again. Regular temperature setbacks of eight hours or more during such periods are a proven way to save energy, and it’s easy to accomplish with a programmable thermostat.

Myth 5: Use Sleep Mode to Reduce Your Computers’ Energy Consumption

If your computers are set to go into sleep mode whenever they’re not in use, you’re wasting energy. Sleep mode is fine for short periods, but you should put your computers on power strips and shut them down completely during longer periods while you’re at work and overnight while you’re sleeping.

For help debunking energy myths and advice on ways to reduce consumption in your Portland-area home, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling 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).

Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the Temp

Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the TempThere’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to refresh us and restore our energy levels so we can work and perform better the next day. If you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, it could be because of a number of factors, but one of the main reasons for sleeplessness is going to bed in a room that’s too warm.

Sleep experts maintain that 65 degrees is the optimum temperature for sleeping. It’s also a good temperature to set your thermostat for saving money on utilities. So here’s why and how you can accomplish both goals at once: sleep better and save energy by just lowering the thermostat.

Sleeping Better in a Colder Room

Our bodies are ruled by a biological process called circadian rhythms. This is how we respond to the 24-hour cycle of dark and light that determines our sleepiness or wakefulness. Sometimes, things interfere with these rhythms and ruin our sleep — caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, watching TV or looking at electronic devices near bedtime, keeping lights on when we go to bed, and also, it seems, keeping the thermostat too high in winter.

Circadian rhythms naturally lower our body temperatures when darkness falls and it’s time for sleep. When the furnace is on too high, we may start sweating or feeling uncomfortable and wake up as our bodies try to adjust our temperature downwards. By turning the thermostat down to 65 — or, as experts say, adjusting the temperature a little higher or lower to meet your body’s individual needs — you can eliminate that interrupting episode and perhaps sleep the whole night through.

Programming Savings

Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to save energy when you do this:

  • Set the temperature lower in winter when you’re sleeping or away; set it higher in summer for the same periods.

A programmable thermostat eliminates the need to always remember to adjust the thermostat prior to bedtime.

To learn more about how to save energy with a programmable thermostat, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Portland. We’ve been emphasizing excellent customer service 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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Learning About the Energy Star Guidelines

Learning About the Energy Star GuidelinesHeating and cooling your home to maintain comfort consumes a lot of energy. In fact, it accounts for roughly half of your household’s total energy usage. When the time comes to replace your existing HVAC equipment, it’s wise to look for ways to save energy and lower your utility bills. Learning more about the Energy Star program and the efficient products that meet its guidelines is a good place to start.

Energy Star Program Basics

The Environmental Protection Agency introduced the program in 1992 with the goal of helping consumers find products that meet higher energy efficiency standards. These products also cost less to operate and have less of an impact on the environment.

Program Guideline Overview

Products with the Energy Star logo have met the program’s strict guidelines, which include:

  • Passing stringent tests performed in a program-approved laboratory, with the results verified by a third party.
  • Belonging to a product category that generates energy savings across the country.
  • Performing efficiently at a level consumers expect, and having features that are in demand.
  • Providing enough savings through increased efficiency so consumers can recoup the higher up-front cost over a reasonable time period.
  • Being clearly labeled so they’re easily identified as Energy Star-qualified products.

The HVAC-related products that carry the logo include furnaces, air-source and geothermal heat pumps, room and central air conditioners, dehumidifiers, ductless mini-splits and ventilation fans.

Benefits of Purchasing Energy Star-Qualified Equipment

Investing in Energy Star-qualified HVAC equipment offers numerous benefits:

  • Energy cost savings: Certified products use up to 20 percent less energy than the least efficient comparable unit.
  • Fewer repair and maintenance problems: Qualified products are better constructed from higher-quality materials in order to meet the program’s performance guidelines.
  • Longer service life: When it’s properly maintained, durable, well-built equipment is more likely to exceed its expected lifespan.
  • Tax credits and other incentives: Qualifying for Federal tax credits and product rebates can help you save money on Energy Star-certified equipment.

To learn more about the benefits of investing in HVAC equipment with the Energy Star logo 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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Here’s What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label Means

Here's What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label MeansWhen you’re shopping for HVAC systems, home appliances, and other consumer products, look for the EnergyGuide label. It’s the yellow label attached to most energy-consuming HVAC systems and appliances. The labels are loaded with valuable information about the energy consumption and efficiency of each product for you to compare.

Look for the Yellow Tag

One of the reasons EnergyGuide labels are so valuable is that they give you a clue as to how much a particular HVAC unit or appliance will cost through its service life. Instead of basing your important repair-or-replace decision based solely on the price tag cost, it’s wiser to compare the total costs for owning a product.

Additionally, higher-efficiency HVAC units and appliances generally provide better service, such as greater comfort, quieter operation, and fewer breakdowns. When you reap the rewards of energy savings month after month, you also help the environment!

Interpreting EnergyGuide Labels

The type of information contained on EnergyGuide labels is basically the same regardless of the product. Moreover, the information is current within one year since manufacturers are required to submit a report annually for all applicable products in production.

  • The type of product, features, capacity, and size, such as “Water Heater — Natural Gas, Capacity (first hour rating); 57 Gallons,” is located in the top left corner of the label.
  • Manufacturer, model, and make are in the top right corner.
  • If you’re shopping for a central air or heat pump system, the efficiency rating is expressed as SEER (cooling) and HSPF (heating) in the middle box. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings indicate higher energy efficiency.
  • A bar graphic is displayed beneath the rated product as it compares to the efficiency of similar products. This easily lets you see how efficient different models are for comparison.
  • The bottom third of the label contains information on the estimated annual energy usage of the product, and the estimated annual operating cost of the product.

Let the EnergyGuide label and our experts at Roth Heating & Cooling help you make the best decisions for your Portland-area home’s HVAC installation. Contact us today to learn more!

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

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Public Domain/Wikipedia”

Here’s How You Can Use Solar Shades to Reduce Your A/C Costs

Here's How You Can Use Solar Shades to Reduce Your A/C CostsSure, it’s cloudy most of the time in Portland but even we can have our hot, sunny spells in summertime. Whenever the sun shines, it causes solar gain in the home. In the winter, that’s not a bad thing, but in summer, it can drive the need to turn down the air conditioner and use more power.

In our environmentally minded city. we like to do all we can to reduce power use, so turning to a low-tech, passive means such as solar shades may appeal to you.

What Are Solar Shades?

These shades block sunlight and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. They’re made of special material that stands up to UV rays over the long term while preventing solar gain. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes, designs, and shapes.

Why Install Solar Shades?

Following are some of the benefits of installing UV-blocking shades.

  • These shades can cut down on heat gain from solar radiation as a factor in driving up your summertime energy use, so that you not only use less power, but also lower your utility costs.
  • While regular window shades and curtains certainly do help block sunlight and keep interior temperatures down in summer, UV-blocking shades have an edge by protecting you and your furnishings from UV rays. UV light over time can cause skin cancer, and can make carpets, drapes, furniture, flooring, and home furnishings fade or discolor.
  • These shades allow you to block sunlight but still see outdoors. And, even though you’ve got a view of the outdoors, solar shades inhibit the ability of passersby to see inside your home.
  • UV-blocking shades cut down on glare, so that on too-sunny days, you don’t need to squint in your own living room.
  • While some homeowners are exploring installing solar screens on the exterior of their windows, UV-blocking shades are more convenient, allowing you to leave shades down or roll them up, depending on the weather. These shades are available with manual or motorized operation.

Want to learn more about solar shades? Contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve served Portland 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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Keeping Your Windows Maintained

Keeping Your Windows MaintainedIn the never-ending quest to lower energy bills, sometimes homeowners overlook an important area: their windows. A significant amount of energy can be lost through your windows.

Where does this energy loss come from? Typically, there are two sources:

  1. Air leaks let conditioned air out and unconditioned air in. This forces your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a constant temperature. Air leaks can occur when windows aren’t properly installed. They can also just happen as a result of your house shifting and caulk shrinking over time.
  2. Heat transfer brings the sun’s heat inside in the summer. In the winter, it lets your furnace’s heat escape outside. Since glass has no insulating properties, heat moves through it very easily.

How can you reduce this energy loss? There are several options available.

  • Seal air leaks. This may sound complicated, but it usually just involves caulk and weatherstripping. Apply caulk around your window frames. Since caulk does crack and settle over time, be sure to check your caulk periodically and reapply as needed. Weatherstripping can be used around the window sash to form a seal when it’s closed.
  • Use window treatments. Blinds, curtains, and other types of window treatments make up for the insulation that glass lacks.
  • Shade the outside of the window. Strategically planted trees or shrubs can keep the sun off your window and reduce heat transfer. If plants aren’t an option, awnings provide the same benefit.
  • Use storm windows. Much like caulk and weatherstripping, storm windows help stop air transfer. You can choose from a broad range of different materials, types, and costs for storm windows. Just be sure to install them following the manufacturer’s directions, making sure they’re square with your current windows and form a seal.
  • Upgrade to new, more energy-efficient windows. Not only can new windows give you energy savings, but they can increase your property value, as well. If you decide to investigate this option, use the Energy Star ratings to help you find energy-efficient window choices.

Want to know more about maintaining the windows in your Portland-area home? Contact Roth Heating & Cooling 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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Is Your Skylight an Energy Waster?

Is Your Skylight an Energy Waster?A skylight is a practical way to get a little extra sunshine in Portland’s rainy climate. By making sure your skylights are properly weatherized, you can enjoy the light without drafts and energy loss.

How Your Skylight Can Cost You

Windows account for around 10–15 percent of your home’s heat loss in winter and 30 percent of your heat gain in summer. Skylights are even more problematic because they’re hit with more direct sunlight in summer than windows in the wall receive. In winter, they lose around 40 percent more heat than windows because warm air rises, heading straight for the skylights.

To make matters worse, it’s easy to overlook deteriorating caulk and weatherstripping when it’s up on the ceiling. That increases the chance your skylights will develop air leaks that waste your conditioned air, cause drafts, and let in air contaminants.

Improve a Skylight’s Efficiency

In late autumn and late spring, thoroughly clean your skylights. Cleaning before winter ensures you’ll get the maximum amount of sunlight. Get up on a ladder and inspect the caulk and weatherstripping around your skylights. If you notice the weatherization material is deteriorating, remove it completely and apply new caulk or weatherstripping.

Have your skylights professionally inspected once a year. Some issues, such as damaged flashing, might be obvious, but others take an experienced eye to spot.

Install blinds. These let you control how much light you get on hot days and act as insulation in winter. In fact, blinds increase a skylight’s energy efficiency by nearly 40 percent. Blackout blinds used on a fixed skylight can boost energy efficiency by up to 45 percent.

Applying a low-emissivity film is another option for controlling excess heat coming in. On the down side, these films also reduce heat gain in winter when you might actually want it, cut the amount of light you get, and they aren’t adjustable like blinds.

If you’d like some help improving your home’s weatherization, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling 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).

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Don’t Fall for These 6 Saving Energy Myths

Don’t Fall for These 6 Saving Energy MythsMost people want to cut energy costs and live comfortably. This desire has led to some wise actions as well as some unwise actions. Here are common energy-saving myths.

Myth: Ceiling Fans Cool the Home

Ceiling fans do not cool the home. What they can do is make you feel cooler. An indoor breeze removes heat from your skin surface and creates a wind chill effect. Keep ceiling fans on only when someone is in the room to benefit.

Myth: Using a Fireplace Reduces Your Home’s Heating Load

When you have a fire in your fireplace, a lot of the heat escapes through the damper, which must remain open while you have a fire burning. This doesn’t mean you cannot use your fireplace. What it does mean is that it won’t increase the overall warmth within your home. To reduce your furnace’s heating load, seal drafts and add insulation.

Myth: You Should Close Registers to Rooms You Don’t Use

This myth is based on the false presumption that your HVAC unit won’t have to work as hard. However, the opposite is often true and closing registers can cause problems, such as increased pressure within your HVAC system. Instead of closing vents, consider adding a zoning system.

Myth: Unplugging Electronics is Not Necessary

Electronics use less energy when they are off. However, they continue to use some energy as long as they are plugged in. To conserve energy, unplug your devices when they aren’t in use.

Myth: Turning the Thermostat to the Lowest Setting Cools the Fastest

Your HVAC system will cool the home just as fast at higher air conditioning settings. If you lower the temperature setting, it will only run longer and waste energy. Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home comfortable and more energy efficient.

Myth: Turning Lights Off and On Wastes Energy

Leaving lights on uses more energy than shutting them off. To save energy, get into the habit of turning off the lights to rooms each time you exit.

For more information about energy-saving myths and your Portland home, please 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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Want to Do an Energy Evaluation on Your Home? Use this Checklist

Want to Do an Energy Evaluation on Your Home? Use this ChecklistEven though American homes are becoming increasingly energy efficient these days, there’s still lots of room for improvement in most households. Most homeowners are more than willing to invest in improving energy efficiency, both for altruistic and financial reasons. The main obstacle isn’t a lack of will but rather knowledge about what needs to be done. That’s where a home energy audit comes into play. A professional energy evaluation will reveal where energy is being lost in the home, and then tell you how to stop it.

What’s Involved in a Home Energy Evaluation?

  • The energy auditor(s) will inspect your home, checking out likely spots for energy waste, such as windows, doors, and the attic. He or she will inspect your heating and cooling system, including the ductwork. He or she will likely ask to look at previous years’ utility bills to better understand energy usage in your home and detect any patterns over time.
  • Diagnostic tests are undertaken to confirm where energy is being lost. The most common is the blower-door test. A powerful fan and housing is installed in a main exterior door frame, after all windows, doors, and vents have been closed. As the fan blows outward, it depressurizes the house. A gauge measures how quickly air rushes back into the home via air leaks. This measures your home’s airtightness.
  • During the blower-door test, the auditor, using thermographic scanning equipment, will detect where air is leaking, plus locate where insulation is insufficient.
  • A test similar to the blower door also may be done inside your ductwork, to determine how much air is leaking during the heating and cooling process.

After the evaluation, you’ll receive a detailed report listing areas of improvement. While some of the recommendations will be tasks that you can do yourself, other recommendations, such as replacing windows, repairing ducts or upgrading HVAC equipment, will require professional help.

To discuss scheduling a professional home energy evaluation for your Portland area home, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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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Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler Weather

Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler WeatherThe major components of winter comfort include a home’s heating system, the water heater and the windows. Increasing the energy efficiency of each of these will cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

  • Have your heating system serviced. Having an HVAC professional maintain your furnace or heat pump will cut energy consumption. The cleaning and adjustments technicians make improve efficiency and safety. Running a system that’s dirty or out of adjustment not only increases energy bills, but it also creates premature and unnecessary wear.
  • Turn down the thermostat. The ideal indoor temperature ranges from 68 to 78 degrees. In the winter, consider lowering the daytime temperature to 68 and reduce it even more at night. Use warmer bedding and clothing to make up the difference. A programmable thermostat will take all the effort out of adjusting the temperature daily.
  • Tend to the water heater. Depending on your family size, heating water could be the second-highest energy expenditure during the winter. The water heater is often the most neglected appliances in homes, but it’s easy to improve its energy efficiency by turning down its temperature to 120 degrees. Not only will it consume less energy, it will also last longer.
    Draining a few quarts from the bottom of the tank two or three times a year also improves its performance and increases its durability. Wrapping it with an insulating blanket, found at home improvement centers, cuts its energy usage.
  • Deal with the windows. Unless you have Energy Star or thermal-rated windows, you can lose a lot of heat through the glass and frames. Glass has almost no ability to resist heat transfer, and metal frames conduct heat outdoors readily. Closing the window coverings at night and opening them when it’s sunny will help cut those thermal losses. Poorly sealed windows let in cold drafts that caulk or weatherstripping can stop.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC and plumbing 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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