Category Archives: HVAC Equipment

3 Ways to Love Your HVAC System

3 Ways to Love Your HVAC SystemThis Valentine’s Day show your home’s heating and cooling system some love and it will properly love you back. Here are three ways you can give Love your HVAC system:

Inspect forced-air system filters regularly and change them when they look dirty or clogged. An air filter that’s clogged with dust and debris will slow airflow through your forced-air system, and potentially lead to dirty system components, among other problems. Both consequences will force machinery to work harder than necessary, wasting energy and stressing parts.

Consider turning down the temperature a few degrees in the winter (and up in the summer). It doesn’t take long for most people to become acclimated to a “new normal.” This will produce the positive results of adding months or years to your HVAC system’s service life, reducing breakdowns over time, and saving on monthly operating costs.

Seal air leaks in your home’s outer envelope. When a significant amount of air is allowed to transfer between inside and outside, your HVAC system must work all the harder to make your home comfortable and draft-free. This stresses heating and cooling equipment, wastes energy, and erodes comfort in the home. Upgrading insulation (especially in the attic) has the same positive effect as plugging air leaks, except in this case, insulation reduces the transfer of heat energy (as opposed to air) between inside and outside.

Other ways to love your HVAC system include: Installing a programmable thermostat (which allows you to set energy-saving schedules for temperature changes, such as while you’re away working or asleep at night); scheduling annual professional maintenance for your cooling and heating systems (which helps ensure comfort, energy efficiency and safety); sealing or repairing leaky or defective ductwork in your home; installing ceiling fans to supplement home cooling in the summer and help redistribute warm air in the winter; and keeping vents and registers clear of furniture, rugs and other objects that block airflow.

For advice on other ways to love your HVAC system this winter and spring, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, providing quality services to the Portland metropolitan 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). 

Syncing You Home’s HVAC Systems Improves Efficiency

Syncing You Home's HVAC Systems Improves EfficiencyIf you’re concerned about the high cost of heating and cooling your home, you’re probably looking for effective ways to lower your yearly household energy consumption. Getting all of your home’s various systems into sync goes a long way toward improving efficiency and saving energy. Taking the following measures makes syncing HVAC systems easier and can bring you the greatest boost in overall efficiency:

Maintain HVAC Equipment

Keeping your HVAC equipment clean and tuned up, and catching/fixing developing issues early all play a part in maximizing its efficiency, so be sure to schedule twice-yearly preventive maintenance visits.

Stop Air Leaks

While you need controlled air exchange for good indoor air quality, sealing uncontrolled air leaks in your home’s exterior envelope is vital to limit energy losses. To curb such losses, seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors, along the foundation and around penetrations for pipes, vents and wiring using caulk, weatherstripping and expandable spray foam.

Attend to the Ductwork

Uninsulated, leaky ducts can cost you 20 percent or more in lost HVAC equipment output. To limit this loss of efficiency, correct any duct defects like damaged or disconnected sections, then seal the joints/seams with metal-backed tape and install an R-6 insulation wrap on all accessible ducting.

Air Seal and Insulate the Attic

Air leakage and insufficient attic insulation can let conditioned air escape and allow heat transfer between the attic and your living space. You can curtail this energy drain by sealing leaks around HVAC, electrical and plumbing lines, the chimney and access hatch, and the attic perimeter. Then, increase the amount of insulation between your attic floor joists so you have a total of R-38 to R-60.

Replace Drafty Windows

Updating your older windows can eliminate drafts and limit heat gains and losses through the glass. In our climate zone, the most efficient windows are Energy Star-certified and have a U-factor of 0.25 or less, a solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC) between 0.35—0.60, and an air leakage (AL) rating below 30.

For more advice on syncing HVAC systems in your Portland 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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Why You Shouldn’t Try DIY HVAC Repairs

Why You Shouldn't Try DIY HVAC RepairsWhen your furnace starts acting up on a chilly Portland winter evening, it can be tempting to try to solve the problem yourself rather than wait for a technician to arrive. DIY HVAC repairs might sound practical, but they can end up costing more money and time than calling a pro would have.

Your Health and Safety

The most important reason to let a professional handle your heating and cooling repairs is to protect yourself and your family. While you might not be too concerned about the minor cuts and burns you can get during your DIY HVAC repairs, keep in mind this isn’t the worse that can happen.

Making a mistake around the system’s electrical components can give you a shock that leaves you hospitalized or even dead. An incorrectly performed electrical repair job might look okay at first, but spark a fire in the middle of the night. Damage to a gas furnace can create a potentially deadly carbon monoxide leak.

Practicality and Cost-Effectiveness

Licensed HVAC professionals bring not only years of training and experience, but also an array of tools specifically designed for HVAC repair. All this lets them troubleshoot your system and get the necessary repair work done fast. Better yet, you can be sure the repair work will last. Try to DIY it and you’re likely to spend more of your own time and money for an iffy repair job.

Some components, such as your air conditioner evaporator coils, are quite delicate and it’s easy to cause damage if you’re unaware of how to handle them. A mistake could turn a quick repair into an expensive component replacement job.

Changing your air filters, cleaning your outdoor condenser unit, and even patching a damaged air duct are all simple jobs you can do yourself, but for anything more complex, put your family’s safety first and call a pro.

If you’d rather avoid disastrous DIY HVAC repairs, get in touch with 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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Your New Year Should Include These HVAC Resolutions

Your New Year Should Include These HVAC ResolutionsThe holiday season isn’t complete without New Year’s resolutions. This year, include some HVAC resolutions that will improve your heating and cooling systems. With the right resolutions, faithfully followed, you’ll improve indoor comfort, boost HVAC system performance, and save money.

Have regular preventive maintenance performed

Resolve to call your HVAC professional for regular preventive maintenance on your heating and cooling systems. A maintenance visit allows an HVAC expert the chance to inspect your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner from end to end. Minor repairs and adjustments that improve performance can be made during a maintenance inspection.

Check and change air filters monthly

Air filters remove particulates such as dust, hair, pollen, and fibers from your indoor air. In doing so, these particulates accumulate in the filter and clog it up. You should check your air filter at least once a month and change it when it gets dirty. Fresh filters are more effective at capturing and holding airborne particulates. They also contribute to the airflow your HVAC equipment needs to work properly.

Seal wasteful air leaks

Air leaks in your home’s structure and in the HVAC system ductwork can waste hundreds of dollars worth of conditioned air. If ductwork leaks are bad enough, heated or cooled air won’t even be able to reach your indoor living spaces. Seal air leaks in your home’s structure with caulking or other appropriate material. Make sure all ductwork sections fit together tightly and that each section is properly sealed with mastic, a specialized duct sealant, or with metal tape.

Switch to a programmable thermostat

Improve your control over your HVAC system by switching to a programmable thermostat. You’ll be able to save money by reducing HVAC operation when heating or cooling isn’t needed, such as when you’re away at work or school.

For more than forty years, Roth Heating and Cooling has been the top choice of HVAC customers in Portland, Canby, Hillsboro, and nearby Oregon cities. Contact us today for more information on the best HVAC resolutions for your home and for the heating and cooling services you need throughout the year.

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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Maintain Your HVAC Safety When Decorating for Halloween

Maintain Your HVAC Safety When Decorating for HalloweenWhen the fall temperatures arrive in Oregon, they’re accompanied by the ghosts and goblins of Halloween. Halloween is the first of the year-end holidays that bring out an interest in decorating homes inside and out. While Halloween decorating can be fun, getting into the spirit of the season shouldn’t compromise HVAC safety.

Here are some tips for keeping your HVAC system and your home safe when decorating for Halloween:

Keep Vents Clear Indoors

The vents on the outdoor unit of your heating and cooling system need to be open so that air can move in or out as needed. If these vents are blocked by Halloween decorations, the system cannot get the airflow it needs, which reduces performance. Indoor decorations blocking vents and registers can prevent warm or cool air from leaving the ductwork.

Allow Air Flow Outside

Both your cooling system and your heating system need an unobstructed source of airflow. Vents provide part of it, but the outdoor unit also needs to have plenty of space around it to ensure that enough air is available. If you put too many decorations on or near the unit, they could impede airflow and cause issues with the HVAC system’s function. In the worst cases, blocked airflow can damage the unit.

Avoid Decorations Inside Your Unit

Spider webs–real ones–can cause problems with the internal components of the outdoor unit. In particular, they can interfere with electrical connections and cause circuit breakers to trip or, in the worse cases, cause components and circuit boards to burn out. Pieces from Halloween decorations that come loose and make their way inside the outdoor unit can have similar effects. Pieces of cotton from artificial webs, bits of cloth or paper from ghost decorations, or even whole decorations could cause problems with your HVAC system if they get inside the unit.

Roth Heating and Cooling has been serving the HVAC needs of customers in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, and the surrounding Oregon communities for more than forty years. Contact us today for more information on HVAC safety when decorating your home for Halloween and other holidays.

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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When Home Additions Require Upgrading Your HVAC

When Home Additions Require Upgrading Your HVACThe construction of an addition on your home is not something to be taken lightly. There’s going to be a number of decisions you’ll need to make, ranging from the design specs all the way down to the color of the walls. You’ll also need to figure out whether upgrading your HVAC will be necessary for your heating and cooling needs. You actually have a few options, which we’ll discuss right now:

Upgrading Your HVAC

Even though the purchase of a brand new HVAC system will cost you a good deal of money up front, it may be your best option. If your current system has been in use for more than a decade or simply can’t handle the additional heating and cooling loads brought on by your home’s addition, a new one is an option you may have to take. If in doubt, contact a technician for advice.

Extending Your Current System

If your current system can accommodate the additional load and isn’t more than 10 years old, then you want to opt for an extension of that system to take care of the addition’s heating and cooling needs. With this choice, you’ll simply extend your existing ductwork. Just make sure that you have the ductwork evaluated to ensure that it is properly insulated and sealed. We would also recommend that you consider a zoning system so that the new space has its own thermostat.

Installing an Independent System

One last option to consider is the installation of either a traditional forced-air or ductless mini-split for your home’s new addition independent of your primary HVAC system. This choice is typically made when the addition isn’t close enough to the current duct system’s main trunk. If you’re not well-versed on which type of independent system would be best for your home, we advise that you contact a technician for assistance.

For more expert advice on upgrading your HVAC or any other home comfort-related issue, please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVAC

4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVACNow that the seasons are changing, it’s almost time to make the switch from cooling to heating your home. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can have your home and HVAC system primed for maximum comfort and efficiency throughout the fall and coming winter. Here are four ways to make the transition go smoothly:

1. Check Airflow at the Registers

Closed or obstructed registers can upset pressure balance within the HVAC system and cause a loss of efficiency or even an unexpected equipment shutdown due to overheating. To prevent these issues, make sure that your registers are open and not blocked by furniture, area rugs, long curtains or similar items.

2. Switch Ceiling Fan Direction

During the summer, you likely had your ceiling fan blades set to spin counter-clockwise and push cool air down. Now, you need put the fan speed on low and switch the blade direction button on the housing. This gets the blades turning clockwise, so cooler air at floor level gets drawn up, and warm air is sent back down along the walls.

3. Replace the Air Filter

Transitioning seasons is also the perfect time to check the air filter and replace it if it shows any visible dirt accumulation. Having a fresh filter in place ensures that air can flow freely through the HVAC system, which helps avert the problems caused by restricted airflow.

4. Schedule Heating System Service

A thorough furnace checkup by a certified technician can verify that key components including the blower motor, gas burner, heat exchanger and ventilation flue are working safely and reliably, so your home stays comfortable and there’s less risk of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Allow Ample Time When Transitioning Back and Forth

If you need to switch between cooling and heating to match the fall weather, allow a five-minute break in between mode changes on the thermostat. This lets the system’s refrigerant pressure equalize and averts a sudden shutdown or compressor lockup that trips the breaker.

For help making sure that transitioning seasons goes smoothly 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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Ways Rain Could Affect an HVAC System

Ways Rain Could Affect an HVAC SystemThe ways rain affects an HVAC system are mostly indirect. After all, the only outdoor portion of your heating/cooling system is the outside condenser coil and compressor unit of the air conditioner, typically situated just behind or to the side of the house. That component is designed and engineered resist normal rainfall. The remainder of the air conditioner and all of the furnace are indoors. Nevertheless, there are still some ways rain affects an HVAC system. It’s a good idea to be aware of them if water-related issues occur.

Flooded Condenser Unit

While the outside half of the central air conditioner is rain-resistant, it’s not designed to be submerged in water. Localized flooding due to unusually heavy rains can swamp residential areas with standing water. Generally speaking, if flood water exceeds a depth of 15 inches, it may damage internal electrical components including circuit boards and connectors inside the external condenser/compressor unit of the central A/C. Moving flood waters may also undermine the concrete pad on which the outdoor unit is mounted.

Wet Ductwork

Heavy rain can also inundate HVAC ductwork if it floods the crawl space under the house where system ductwork is often routed. Ductwork is typically not waterproof. Water entering the ducts may remain contained inside duct segments long after the flood itself has receded. This water will deteriorate ductwork as well as form an environment for toxic mold growth inside the ducts.

Roof leaks during rainfall can occur unnoticed in the attic for some time. Chronic leakage into the attic can seep into HVAC ductwork installed there. This ongoing moisture will rust and corrode ducts as well as trigger mold growth. Rain leakage into the attic also saturates attic insulation, severely reducing its insulating properties. Insulation compromised by moisture allows increased heat transfer into and out of the attic and causes your furnace and air conditioner to run longer cycles to compensate.

For more info about how rain affects an HVAC system, contact the professionals 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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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your HVAC System

3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your HVAC SystemWhile Portland might not have the most challenging climate, you can still run up high heating and cooling bills if you don’t plan ahead. With a few simple steps, though, you can help your HVAC system perform more effectively and efficiently.

Invest in an Energy Audit

Your furnace and air conditioner will have a hard time keeping you comfortable if all the warmth or cooling they provide is quickly lost through your walls and ceilings. Areas with insufficient insulation and air leaks around the windows, doors, utility line penetrations, and other areas waste energy, forcing your system to work harder and use more energy to maintain the temperatures you want.

During an energy audit, your technician will bring in equipment to zero in on points of energy loss so you’ll know where to invest in improvements. For example, using an infrared camera, your technician may discover you’re losing energy through the roof. You’ll then know to air seal the attic and add more insulation.

Keep up on Maintenance

During just one season, your furnace or air condition sustain minor wear and tear issues that have a major effect on their efficiency. Loose wires and corroded contacts increase electrical resistance, dust on the indoor evaporator coil makes it harder for the coil to cool passing air, and incorrect motor voltage and amp draw can cause excessive energy use.

As part of an annual maintenance inspection, your technician will find and correct problems like these to keep your HVAC system at maximum efficiency and prevent sudden breakdowns.

Upgrade Your System

If your furnace or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it’s nearing the end of its life expectancy. With each passing year, HVAC equipment drops in efficiency and newly manufactured models are more efficient that older models were even when they were new. Upgrading to new, Energy Star-qualified models could cut your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent, assuming the system is correctly sized and installed.

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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Yard Work and How it Can Affect Your HVAC System

Yard Work and How it Can Affect Your HVAC SystemIf the condensing unit for your central cooling system sits on the ground, doing yard work near it could reduce its efficiency. The condenser contains the fins and condensing coil that dissipate the heat that the refrigerant pulls out of your home. Any dirt and damage to these coils slows its ability to cool the refrigerant, which drives up cooling costs.

  • Lawn mowing. Cutting the grass around the outdoor condenser without a bag to catch the clippings can deposit small bits of grass on the fins and coils. Unless they’re removed, they’ll slow the cooling process.
  • String trimming weeds. The best way to avoid flying leaves and clippings around the condenser is to hand-pull the weeds or spray the weeds with herbicides while they’re still small.
  • Leaf blowing. If the leaf blower is strong enough, it could send sticks and twigs flying into the condenser’s coils. It’s a good idea to point the blower away from the condenser, or rake the immediate area instead of blowing it. Some central air conditioners drain the condensation they create outdoors using a drainpipe. It’s not uncommon when doing yard work for landscaping debris to blow into the end of the pipe that can block the water flowing from it.
  • Irrigation. Watering the yard doesn’t directly harm the condenser, but any over spray can if it hits the condenser. Besides the mineral deposits that can form on the fins and coil, continued exposure to water or moisture might cause rust on the condenser.

Solutions

  • One of the best ways to prevent clippings from sticking to the condenser is to xeriscape around the condensing unit. This type of landscape uses drought-tolerant plants that don’t shed many leaves and use a rock or crushed gravel ground cover.
  • Throwing a tarp over the condenser when you’re working around it will prevent some of the debris from lodging inside the fins and coils or bending them.

These tips will help you prevent damage to your condenser when doing yard work. To learn more about increasing cooling efficiency, 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).