Category Archives: IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality Concerns

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality ConcernsFall in Oregon means spectacular leaf colors and cooler temperatures. However, fall also means there could be a decrease in indoor air quality in your home. The following information outlines some of these fall air quality concerns and what can be done about them.

Common Fall Air Quality Concerns

  • Airborne contaminants: Airborne contaminants in your home can increase with fall weather. If you’re opening your windows to enjoy some cool autumn air, you could also be letting in particulates and other airborne contaminants from the outdoors. Dust, dirt, and other common particulates are just as likely to be present in the fall as any other time of the year.
  • High humidity: Humidity in the fall can be just as high as at other times of the year. Inside your home, increased humidity can make it easier for mold to grow. High humidity levels can also cause your indoor spaces to feel uncomfortable.
  • Lack of ventilation: At the opposite end of fall comfort, you may find it necessary to close your windows to keep out an unexpected chill. If temperatures drop far enough, you’ll need to close the windows and keep them closed. This reduces air circulation and ventilation inside your home, which can contribute to decreased air quality.

What to Do

  • Increase ventilation: Many fall air quality concerns can be reduced with better ventilation. Open windows when possible. Use window air conditioners on fan-only settings. Put in a whole-house ventilation system that keeps a steady airflow moving throughout your home.
  • Change HVAC air filters: Air filters in your HVAC system help remove airborne contaminants. Make sure you have a clean filter in your heating and cooling systems.
  • Install dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers remove moisture from your indoor air. Whole-house models can dehumidify an entire home, while smaller portable models can reduce humidity in a single room.

Roth Heating and Cooling provides high-quality HVAC sales, service, and installation in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, Lake Oswego and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on fall air quality concerns and how to make sure your indoor air is fresh and clean throughout autumn.

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

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your Home

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your HomeDo you dust and vacuum your home frequently but cleaning up the dust never remedies the problem? The reason why your home gets dusty again too quickly may be due to specific issues with your HVAC system, such as:

  • Leaky ductwork: When the ductwork that distributes your conditioned air isn’t airtight, all sorts of particles can get pulled into the HVAC system from unfinished spaces like the attic and wall cavities. This means that particles like bits of drywall, pest droppings, insect body parts, insulation fibers and similar debris gets sent out through the ductwork into your home every time the blower fan cycles on.
  • Inadequate filtration: If you use a thin fiberglass filter in your HVAC system, you might notice that it rarely looks dirty or needs replacement. This is a sure sign that the filter isn’t capturing the smaller particles that contribute to household dust like pollen, animal dander, skin cells, microscopic mites, bits of soil, paper/textile fibers and human and animal hair. Instead, these particles are bypassing the filter, getting into the air handler unit and being continually redistributed through your home.

Effective HVAC-Related Dust Remedies

Giving the HVAC system some attention by taking the following steps can often help remedy a problem with excessive dust.

  • Have an HVAC pro inspect the ductwork to determine if there are significant leaks due to deficiencies and damage, like disconnected or crushed sections and holes or gaps, and have any such issues repaired.
  • Get the ductwork professionally sealed so debris from unconditioned areas can’t get drawn in.
  • Upgrade to a pleated filter with the highest recommended MERV rating mentioned in your equipment owner’s manual.
  • Change your air filter It should be checked once a month and replaced when there is any visible sign of dust accumulation.
  • Make sure that you install the air filter in the right direction and that it’s all the way into its slot, so air can’t be easily pulled in around it.

To learn more effective dust remedies to keep your Portland-area home cleaner and improve your air quality, 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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Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV Lights

Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV LightsThe lights are placed within the ductwork or air handler of HVAC systems where nearly all the air in your home passes over it. UV light is hazardous to eyesight and they’re out of sight inside the HVAC equipment.

How UV Systems Compare

Compared to other kinds of air purification equipment, UV lighting offers:

  • High energy efficiency. The new generation of UV lights use LED technology and require annual replacement. Air purifiers rely on filters that need replacement as often as semiannually that can cost much more than the UV light bulbs.
  • Low maintenance. Since they’re out of sight, UV lights require little maintenance, especially if you keep the air filter for your HVAC system clean.
  • Protection against VOCs. These gases are among the most common airborne pollutants in the typical home. They come from products made from hydrocarbons and have varying degrees of toxicity. The lights are the only way to reduce the VOC load in the air without relying on year-round fresh air ventilation, which isn’t realistic during the summer or winter.
  • Odor-free. UV rays eliminate much of the need for disinfecting air sprays that have overpowering scents that may even include VOCs. Air sprays only offer spot protection from the spread of infectious germs, while UV lighting systems protect the whole home.
  • A cleaner HVAC system. The lights will eliminate mold growth inside the air handler and the ductwork. When mold grows inside the air handler on the evaporator coil, cooling efficiency drops and air quality declines.

Cleaner, healthier air is easy to achieve by using UV lights in your HVAC system. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, proudly serving homeowners in the greater 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “GDJ/Pixabay”

Considering Improving Your Home’s IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here’s What to Know

Considering Improving Your Home's IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here's What to KnowYou may not spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of the air inside your home. However, clean air can help keep everyone in the home healthy. It has even greater benefits for allergy sufferers and for those with breathing difficulties. Improving your indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a fairly easy task that offers a great return on your investment.

What Affects IAQ?

The quality of your air can be affected by many factors. If you have smokers or pets in the home, if you have pollen-bearing plants in your yard or neighborhood, or if there’s a major roadway nearby, your air may not be as clean as you’d want it to be. Other factors affecting IAQ include having lots of dust in the air or high levels of humidity that might encourage mold growth.

What Improves IAQ?

The first, and simplest, fix for your IAQ is a good filter for your HVAC system. If you replace it regularly, a filter will catch many of the larger allergens and contaminants that get into your home.

Filters aren’t sufficient to catch the smallest particles, however. They also don’t do much about mold or mildew growth inside your ducts or around your A/C’s evaporator coil.

To take care of these contaminants, many homeowners opt to install UV, or ultraviolet, lights inside their ducts or near their evaporator coils. These lights work at a wavelength that attacks bacteria and mold spores. The lights disrupt the contaminants’ DNA, preventing them from reproducing and shortening their lives.

Since UV lights are installed within the HVAC system, they have no effect on the people or pets living in the home. These lights are remarkably effective. They have been shown to improve IAQ in less than an hour after being turned on, and they continue to clean the air as long as your HVAC system is on. Paired with a high-quality filter, UV lights can give you the indoor air quality your family needs to stay healthy.

For more information about using UV lights 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Clean Your Air With These Houseplants

Clean Your Air With These Houseplants | RothDecorating with houseplants creates natural beauty indoors, along with enhancing indoor air quality (IAQ). Some plants are natural air cleaners and remove stubborn volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could degrade your health. VOCs come from many common household products and are one of the most difficult indoor pollutants to neutralize.

These plants offer the best protection against a buildup of VOCs indoors:

  • Spider plants
  • Dracena
  • Ficus trees or weeping figs
  • Peace lily
  • Boston fern
  • Snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue)
  • Aloe vera
  • Bamboo palm, lady palm,
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Golden pothos
  • English ivy
  • Wax begonia

These plants are among the most common used indoors and are readily available at local nurseries, in the garden centers of home improvement stores and at flower shops. Although each of these is easy to grow, they have individual needs for light exposure and moisture requirements.

To achieve higher IAQ using plants, you’ll need two plants every 100 square feet, whose pot diameter is 10 to 12 inches. Some are also toxic to children and pets, so before choosing, check with your veterinarian or look it up on a reputable website to learn if it’s safe.

The gases from chemicals that these houseplants remove include benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and trichloroethylene. These VOCs come from new furniture, flooring, carpeting, paints and finishes, along with cleaning supplies. You’ll also find them in air fresheners, cosmetics, anything perfumed and many household cleaners.

VOCs lower IAQ as they concentrate, primarily because of the lack of fresh air ventilation. You can, however, use ultraviolet lights inside the ductwork or the air handler for your HVAC system to lessen the impact VOCs make on your health.

An energy recovery ventilator (ERVs) dilutes the concentration of VOCs by exchanging stale indoor air with fresh, outside air. ERVs are an energy efficient option for better IAQ since they use heat exchange technology to keep cooling and heating bills low.

While houseplants are a solution for removing harmful VOCs, you can also use your home’s HVAC system to improve the overall air quality. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Helpful Tips for Allergy Season

Helpful Tips for Allergy SeasonSpringtime means it’s also allergy season. Since the Portland area gets hit pretty hard when it comes to grass and pollen allergies, taking steps to reduce allergens in your home is crucial. Use the following allergy tips to get started.

Use New Air Filters

The air filters in your home’s HVAC system are supposed to trap allergens and other debris, but they can’t do that effectively when they’re dirty. One of the first things to do this spring is take out your current air filters, and replace them with brand new ones. This helps ensure that your filters are able to catch allergens and prevent them from being blown around your home when your HVAC system is running. Keep in mind that switching to high-efficiency air filters means that you’ll have even fewer allergens in your home.

Clean Return Vents and Registers

Dust, allergens and other debris can end up covering your registers and return vents. When your HVAC system is on, these particles are blown around your home, which lowers the indoor air quality and triggers allergy symptoms. Wipe these down with damp rags to remove allergens and other debris that has built up.

Clean Indoor and Outdoor Units

Keep allergens and dust off of your indoor and outdoor HVAC units by doing a thorough cleaning this spring. When these units are dirty, the allergens and other debris on them are circulated throughout your home.

Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance

One of the most effective allergy tips is having HVAC maintenance done. This helps ensure that your system is free of blockages, as well as allergens and other debris that can make it harder for it to run. Making sure that your HVAC system can run efficiently can go a long way toward reducing indoor allergens.

To schedule HVAC maintenance to improve your indoor air quality and reduce allergies this spring, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We offer HVAC maintenance and installation services for homeowners 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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Use These Methods to Control Pollutants in Your Home

Use These Methods to Control Pollutants in Your HomeEven the cleanest home will have a certain level of pollutants in the air. Activities of daily living, the use of certain products, and even simple inactivity can result in the production of dust, odors, and other pollutants that can make your indoor living spaces unpleasant. Here are some ways you can control pollutants in your home and make your indoor air fresher and cleaner.

Stop Pollutants at Their Source

Indoor pollutants include both particulates, such as dust and pollen, and gaseous material, such as fumes and odors. Stopping these pollutants at their source prevents them from getting into your home in the first place. Clean and dust your home, including vacuuming rugs and carpets, at least once a week. Take out trash regularly — every day, if possible. Keep odor-causing materials such as paints, solvents, and cleaners in tightly-sealed containers. Store them away from HVAC system return ducts where any leaked odors could be pulled into your heating and cooling ductwork and distributed throughout your house.

Be Careful with Daily Activities

Where possible, avoid doing any activities indoors that would generate pollutants, such as sanding, painting, or drilling. Limit or prohibit smoking inside your home. Test new cleaners or other material before bringing them indoors to see if the odors are strong or objectionable. Run kitchen fans when cooking to help remove food odors. Operate bathroom fans to help remove moisture and odors from this area.

Increase Indoor Ventilation

Open windows and doors to increase the amount of fresh air flowing through your home. Put fans in windows to increase the amount of clean air being brought into your home. Install a whole-house ventilation system that will allow you to sustain good levels of ventilation in the summer and winter. These systems remove stale indoor air and bring in fresh outdoor air while maintaining indoor temperatures.

With nearly four decades of experience in the HVAC industry, Roth Heating and Cooling provides expert sales, installation, and service for customers in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on controlling and reducing pollutants in your home.

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 Decide Between Air Filtration and Air Cleaning

How to Decide Between Air Filtration and Air CleaningIf you’re concerned about maintaining indoor air quality in your Portland area home, it’s important to understand the difference between air filtration and air cleaning. While all forced-air heating and cooling systems have some form of air filtration, not all households have dedicated air cleaning systems. If you have family members who are susceptible to allergies or respiratory ailments, you’ll want to consider an air cleaning system.

First it helps to understand how basic air filtration works in an HVAC system. In most households, this involves a cheap, flat-panel fiberglass (or other synthetic) filter that goes into a slot in your furnace compartment, usually where the ductwork attaches. Before air is drawn into the furnace or A/C for conditioning, the filter removes some proportion of the solid particulates in that air. However, the main purpose of a low- or standard-efficiency air filter is to protect HVAC components rather than clean indoor air.

This doesn’t mean that higher-efficiency air filtration can’t achieve cleaner and healthier air. High-efficiency HVAC filters can remove the vast majority of airborne particulates. This is accomplished with denser (or more) filtration media removing a wide range of contaminants, large and small. However, the denser filtration media also may restrict airflow. Adverse effects may include wasted energy, stressed system components, and uneven heating and cooling. A forced-air system can be modified to work with a high-efficiency filter, though this may be costly. Consider a whole-house air cleaning system instead.

A whole-house air cleaner is connected directly to your HVAC system, and like an air filter treats all of the air that circulates through that system. But rather than simply capturing airborne particulates with fiberglass or some other filtration medium, an air cleaner typically employs a combination of technologies to clean the air. These might include ultraviolet light, electrostatic attraction or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filtration. A quality air cleaner can remove more than 99 percent of the particulates in your indoor air.

To talk to a trained technician about cleaning or filtering the air in 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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Improve Comfort by Installing a Humidifier in Your Home

Improve Comfort by Installing a Humidifier in Your HomeEven in our humid climate, a furnace can dry out a home’s air and cause a number of problems over the winter. One of the best remedies for an overly dry indoor environment is a humidifier.

Adding humidity to the home eases respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and rhinitis, and other problems such as dry skin and chapped lips. Slightly humid conditions also make a home’s occupants feel warmer, so that the homeowner can turn down the thermostat a few degrees during the winter.

In addition, low humidity in homes damages wooden floors, furnishings, and musical instruments by drying them out and causing cracking.

For best results, aim for balanced humidity between 30 and 50 percent.

Installing a Humidifier

A whole-house humidifier, installed in your HVAC system, is the best way to maintain proper humidity. The appliance emits water vapor into the air through the ductwork, while the system monitors and controls the level of moisture. It uses water from the home’s plumbing system, so there’s no need to buy distilled water. Generally no maintenance is required other than cleaning out the tank a couple of times a year to remove mineral deposits.

Portable Humidifiers

Although a whole-house humidifier does a better, more efficient job of humidifying a home, some homeowners may opt for a portable or console model. These can be moved from room to room. They require refilling and frequent cleaning of filters to guard against mold and bacteria buildup.

Following are some popular types of portable humidifiers:

  • Warm mist: A heating element boils water, releasing it into the air as warm steam. It makes the room feel warmer than a cold mist type.
  • Cool mist: A wick filter absorbs water in the base of the appliance, while a fan blows dry air through the filter, causing the moisture to evaporate into the air.
  • Ultrasonic: These quiet humidifiers employ high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm at an ultrasonic frequency, breaking water down into a fine vapor mist.

For more on installing a humidifier, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve served Portland residents 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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