Category Archives: HVAC Equipment

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).

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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).

HVAC Comfort Solutions to Be Thankful For

HVAC Comfort Solutions to Be Thankful ForIf you’re planning to replace your aging HVAC equipment soon, you should take the time and learn about the latest efficiency and home comfort solutions. When you’re aware of different options like the following, you can choose equipment with features that provide the greatest return on your investment.

Variable-Speed Air Handlers

These air handlers have electronically commutated blower fan motors that can adjust their speed to match the changing comfort needs in a home. They also operate on the lowest speed possible, and cycle for longer periods. As a result, a variable-speed blower uses less energy and provides better temperature and humidity control, and enhanced air filtration.

Zoning Systems

Zoning the HVAC system can boost efficiency and comfort, especially in a two-story or larger home. An experienced HVAC pro installs powered dampers in the ducts and a programmable thermostat to set up separate heating and cooling zones. One central panel is installed where you can control comfort and energy use in all the zones.

Fan-Only Switch

With this feature on the HVAC system, you can use just the blower for air circulation at those times of year when cooling and heating aren’t needed.

Whole-House Dehumidifiers

These units can keep excess moisture under control, so your home doesn’t feel as hot and sticky and you’re more comfortable. When humidity is dealt with, your A/C or heat pump doesn’t have work as hard, so it uses less energy. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy better air quality and fewer issues with allergens and mold.

Automatic Fan Delay

A blower fan with automatic delay stays running temporarily at the end of each HVAC equipment cycle. This ensures that all of your conditioned air gets pushed out of the ducts, instead of being wasted.

Variable-Speed Compressors

These compressors are built using inverter technology so they’re able to adjust their speed incrementally to utilize the system capacity needed at any given time. This reduces energy consumption and equipment wear, but you’ll experience no loss of comfort.

To learn more about these and other home comfort solutions, contact the Portland HVAC experts 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 Save Energy by Using All Parts of the HVAC System

How to Save Energy by Using All Parts of the HVAC SystemSaving energy in your home is good for the environment, and it’s also good for your comfort, HVAC efficiency, and energy budget when done correctly. That means saving energy by using all the parts of your HVAC system. Even better, you can use these free or low-cost tips to maximize energy savings!

Your HVAC System and Energy Savings

  • Thermostat: Fiddling with the thermostat to find the right temperature just gets frustrating after a while. That’s also not a very good plan for saving energy. You’re better off upgrading to a programmable thermostat so that you can program comfort temperatures and energy-saving set-back/up periods when you’re asleep or away.
  • Temperature settings: The key to saving energy with temperature settings is consistency. Choose a temperature that’s comfortable to you, such as 78 degrees for cool mode and 68 degrees for heat mode. Turn up/down the temperature 5–12 degrees at night and when no one is home. Additionally, use your ceiling fans to help stay cool and save even more energy.
  • Air filter: Check your air filter on a regular basis, and change it when it gets dirty. You’ll save energy, reduce wear on your HVAC system, and help improve your indoor air quality.
  • Ductwork: You won’t be very comfortable or save much energy if your ducts have problems. Check your ducts for damage, disconnected seams, tangled flex ducts, and holes. Mastic paste and metal tape are excellent for sealing leaky ducts. Crushed duct sections should be replaced.
  • Vents and grilles: Clean the vents and grilles each month or two. Remove a few of the vents and look inside the ducts. Are they dirty? Ask your HVAC contractor about the health and efficiency benefits of a professional duct cleaning.
  • Clean the coils: Your evaporator and condenser coils can’t exchange heat efficiently if they’re caked with dirt and grime. Use a can of coil cleaner to clean the coils and fins, and you’ll boost cooling and heating efficiency.

If you need assistance with any of these steps for maximizing HVAC energy savings 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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Back-to-School HVAC Tips

Back-to-School HVAC TipsWith the turning of the year in Portland, it’s a good time to make sure that your home will be cozy through the Pacific Northwest’s rainy winter. Now is the time to check over your home HVAC system and make sure that everything is in tip-top shape for the winter months ahead. Here are some of the tasks that should be on your to-do list:

  • Schedule seasonal maintenance. Before you switch your furnace on for the first time, have an HVAC technician come out and have a look at it. Seasonal maintenance can ensure that your system works at its peak efficiency throughout the heating season, and it can also help to detect and head off any potential larger issues.
  • Clean the coils of your air conditioner or heat pump. The indoor an outdoor coils of your A/C or heat pump transfer heat energy from (or into) your home. If they’re dusty, they can’t do so as efficiently, which means that you’ll spend more money on the same amount of cooling or heating.
  • Seal air leaks in your ductwork. Air leaks and insufficient insulation in home air ducts accounts for a 30 percent energy loss in many homes: conditioned air simply never reaches the living areas it’s intended for. Save money and energy by sealing any leaks, and making sure ducts are adequately insulated.
  • Change the air filters for your HVAC system. Clean air filters allow air to flow freely through your system, while clogged filters slow airflow and put strain on your system’s fan motor. That strain can lead to total system failure.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier. High humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus, which can threaten your health and the health of your home. A dehumidifier will help you manage indoor moisture through the rainy months.

If you want to know how you can prepare your home HVAC system for the winter ahead, give us a call 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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