Category Archives: Heating & Cooling

Green Heating for a Sustainable Winter

Green Heating for a Sustainable WinterWhen you think of sustainable heating, alternatives like active solar and geothermal systems might come to mind. Even if it’s not feasible to make major retrofits like these, you can still take steps toward green heating so you have a more sustainable home this winter.

Here are some suggestions on how to heat greener to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your utility bills:

Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

If sustainability is your goal, you’ll want to tighten up your home’s envelope to reduce energy waste. This is essential, regardless of the method you use to heat your home. Having an energy audit performed is a good place to start, because it can pinpoint exactly where heat loss is occurring, and your inspection report will list recommended solutions, like:

  • Air sealing the attic and adding more insulation between the floor joists
  • Weatherizing the exterior to limit air leakage
  • Upgrading to double- or triple-pane gas-filled windows

Optimize Your Existing HVAC System’s Efficiency

If your current heating equipment is relatively new, or a replacement isn’t in the budget, you might think it’s impossible to go greener but that’s not the case. Since sustainability is all about reducing reliance on fossil fuels, making sure your heating system uses the least amount possible is a step in the right direction. To do so, have the equipment professionally tuned-up before heating season starts, make sure all your heating vents stay open and unobstructed, and check the air filter monthly and replace it as soon as you see any build up of dirt and debris.

Make the Most of Today’s Technology

If you’re considering replacing your existing equipment, you have an opportunity to take advantage of efficiency-boosting technological advancements like a smart thermostat that learns your habits and automatically fine-tunes your energy consumption, or zoning for greater control if you have a large or multi-story home. A variable-speed air handler, and an ultra-efficient heat pump paired with a two-stage gas furnace are other green heating options worth considering.

For expert advice about green heating solutions for your Portland-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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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). 

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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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).

Are Home Space Heaters Dangerous?

Are Home Space Heaters Dangerous?Home space heaters can be a boost to your all-round comfort in winter. They can also help you save money, by providing spot warming so you can keep the furnace thermostat lower. But any auxiliary heater has its hazards. Learn how to use them — but with care.

The Hazards of Space Heaters

Space heaters are the cause of as many as 18,000 residential fires annually in the U.S. Most of the time those fires occur because a home’s residents are using them improperly.

Whether a space heater is powered by electricity or combustion, improper use can lead to injury or death. Electric heaters are often the source of fires because of frayed cords, or from overheating due to plugging into an extension cord. Setting a heater too close to combustible materials may also result in fires.

Improperly vented combustion-powered heating may be the source of toxic fumes; without venting, a heater powered by natural gas, propane or kerosene should never be used indoors.

Safety First

If you plan to use an auxiliary heater to either warm a room or provide spot heating, be sure you adhere to some basic precautions:

  1. Never buy a heater without a safety grill, all its knobs and controls, feet and sensors to shut off the appliance in case it tips over. Dispose of old heaters without these features. Dispose of old heaters with frayed cords.
  2. Never operate an electric-powered heater in a wet room, such as a bathroom.
  3. Set heaters on level surfaces. Do not set them on combustible surfaces.
  4. Never place anything on top of a space heater.
  5. Don’t use auxiliary heaters in a child’s room.
  6. Position room heaters away from foot traffic.
  7. Run the power cord over the carpet, not under it.
  8. Turn space heaters off when you go to bed. Unplug them when you leave the house.
  9. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly.
  10. Purchase “UL Listed” heaters. The Underwriters Laboratory mark guarantees they have been tested for safety.

For more on proper use of space heaters, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We provide quality service to our Portland customers.

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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Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby Home

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby HomeNow that winter is approaching, it’s time to take smart steps to protect your family from hazards like carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, and prevent unnecessary damage to your home. Taking the following winter home safety precautions can keep you warm and secure throughout the heating season.

Schedule Heating System Service

To ensure that your heating system operates reliably and safely this winter, have it inspected, cleaned, and tuned up by an experienced HVAC technician. During routine maintenance, your technician performs vital safety-related tasks, like checking the condition of the heat exchanger, testing system safety controls, checking the electrical wiring and tightening the connections, and inspecting and cleaning the burner.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that’s a byproduct of incomplete combustion in fuel-burning equipment like your gas furnace. You can’t see, taste or smell the gas, so your only warning of its presence is the alarm on a functional CO detector. To make sure your detectors are working properly, put fresh batteries in each one and test them once a month. If any of your CO detectors fails to beep when tested, replace it immediately.

Clean Up Around the Furnace

If you have items stored near the furnace that are flammable or may block airflow, move them. Combustibles like paint thinner, charcoal lighter fluid, and any products in aerosol cans should be stored in a ventilated location that’s nowhere near the furnace.

Have the Furnace Flue Cleaned

Have a chimney sweep clean out the flue to remove built-up soot and debris that might cause a blockage, so harmful combustion fumes can vent properly.

Protect Your Vulnerable Water Pipes

Frozen, burst water lines can cause considerable mess and costly damage. To keep pipes from freezing, drain the water line to your outdoor faucet and shield it with an insulated cover. If you have water pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, garage or crawl space, wrap them in foam insulation sleeves or self-regulating heat tape.

To learn more winter home safety tips for your Portland-area home, or to schedule heating system maintenance, 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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Best Practices of HVAC Ductwork Design

Best Practices of HVAC Ductwork DesignThe condition of the ducting that delivers your heated and cooled air has a direct impact on how well your HVAC system performs, as well as your energy consumption and comfort. Whether you’re planning to purchase new equipment, or you need to upgrade the existing duct system, make sure your HVAC contractor follows these ductwork design best practices.

Correct Placement

Whenever possible, ducting should be placed inside the home’s conditioned envelope in walls, ceilings or floors to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures that erode energy efficiency. If it’s necessary to install ducts outside the envelope in an unfinished basement, attic or garage, they should be wrapped in R-8 insulation to minimize energy losses.

Proper Sizing and Layout

To come up with an efficient ductwork design, an HVAC professional first determines the heating/cooling load by performing room-by-room calculations using Manual J from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Then, the equipment is selected using Manual S, and the ducts sized and the layout designed using Manual D.

Good Materials

In the past, it was a common practice to use wall cavities and ceiling joist channels as makeshift ducts. Routing conditioned air through these areas is not only inefficient, it gives pollutants and contaminants an easy way to enter the home’s air supply. Today, ducts must be made of sheet metal, fiberglass or an approved flexible material.

Balanced Airflow

Neutral air pressure needs to be maintained within the home for the HVAC system to run properly and efficiently. To achieve this balanced airflow, the correct number of supply and return registers must be properly placed to deliver and return the same volume of air in each room.

Sealing, Testing, and Insulating

Duct leaks and a lack of insulation can cause air quality issues and waste up to a third of the HVAC equipment’s output. To avoid this, duct sections should be attached with screws, and joints and seams sealed with fiberglass mesh and mastic. The contractor should then test for duct tightness and wrap the runs in R-8 insulation.

If poor ductwork design is a concern in your Portland home, contact Roth Heating & Cooling for expert help.

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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