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Spring Cleaning for your Heating and Cooling System

Spring Cleaning for your Heating and Cooling SystemWhen you are making your spring cleaning list to help freshen and organize your home following the winter season, be sure to include your heating and cooling systems. A clean HVAC system makes your home more comfortable and improves energy efficiency. Following are four key areas to include in your spring HVAC checklist this year.

Furnace Filter

Let’s start with one of the simplest, yet most important tasks on your spring HVAC checklist–changing the air filter. If you use a basic throw-away fiberglass filter, pick up some high-efficiency filters from your home store. The air filter is vital to protect HVAC components, drive energy efficiency, and maintain better indoor air quality.

Grilles and Registers

Clean all the grilles and registers in your home. You can do this with the brush extension of the vacuum or simply wipe them down with a cleaning cloth and spray bottle. If you see that the inside of the ductwork is filthy, schedule a duct inspection with your HVAC technician.

Evaporator Coil and Condensate Pan

The evaporator coil is the component contained in the air handler that removes heat from indoor air. During heat removal, condensation forms on the evaporator coil and fins, which attracts and basically traps mold development and dirt. These contaminants may also form in the condensate pan and drain tube.

The evaporator coil may be cleaned using a self-rinsing foaming coil cleaner. It only takes approximately 20 minutes, and you can follow up by pouring a half-gallon of 50/50 water and bleach into the condensate pan. This will help wash the foam cleaner down the condensate drain and clean the condensate pan and drain line in the process.

Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is contained in the outdoor half of your split-system A/C or heat pump. Spray the unit off with a garden hose to remove leaves and other debris. Before you clean the condenser or the indoor evaporator coil, make sure you turn power off at the circuit breaker.

To hire a professional to perform this spring HVAC checklist and more important HVAC tests, please 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). 

Common Plumbing Problems: How To

Common Plumbing Problems: How ToDid you know a dripping faucet wastes enough water in one year to fill the average water heater tank 50 times? That’s nearly one tank a week! If common plumbing problems have you puzzled or fearful you’ll make matters worse, read these tips on how to solve basic problems with your home’s plumbing and fixtures. You’ll help conserve a precious resource and save money.

Running Toilets

If you’re tired of jiggling the toilet handle, it’s time to fix it. The problem of running toilets is usually with the chain or the flapper and seat. If it’s the chain, bring in the slack so it doesn’t get caught in the flapper. When it’s a flapper and seat problem, try cleaning these parts. If that doesn’t work, pick up a new assembly at your home store.

Water Pressure

Low water pressure is often due to blockages in aging pipes, fixtures and appliances. If low water pressure is isolated to one outlet or fixture, such as a shower head, you’re in luck. Simply clean or replace the fixture.

High water pressure throughout your home usually requires adjusting the water pressure regulator. This device is typically located at the connection of the main water line to your home’s plumbing. This is actually a job for your plumbing professional.

Slow Or Clogged Drains

If there ever was a common plumbing problem, it’s slow or clogged drains. Like water pressure problems, the problem may not be as severe if it’s isolated to one drain. If slow draining is occurring throughout your home, you have a problem in the main drain line or the vent line.

For isolated problems, such as a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink, turn off the water. Next, place a bucket under the trap. Remove the trap. Be ready in case a lot of dirty water flushes out, but that’s what you want. Clean the trap out and re-install it.

If you need help with common plumbing problems, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. Proudly serving the Portland metro area for over 40 years!

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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Tankless Water Heaters in Your House: Pros and Cons

Tankless Water Heaters in Your House: Pros and ConsIf your older storage tank water heater is getting close to retirement age, you may be wondering if it’s worth going tankless. To help you decide, it’s good to learn the pros and cons of this type of water heater. The first pro of switching to a tankless water heater is the range of options it gives you. You can choose between gas-fired and electric models, and select a size ranging from a small unit to serve a single bathroom, or a large, whole-house model that’s capable of supplying three showers simultaneously.

Additional Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Making the switch to tankless water heating offers a number of other benefits:

  • Energy savings. Because there’s no tank of water that needs to be kept hot and ready for use, you can expect to see a drop in your household energy consumption and utility bills.
  • Long-term reliability. Storage tank water heaters typically wear out after 10 –13 years. As they age, the risk of a catastrophic tank failure and significant water damage increases. In contrast, tankless units have an expected service life of roughly 20 years, and there’s no tank that can suddenly fail.
  • Greater convenience. In the busy mornings and any other times when hot water is in greater demand, it’s easy to run out when you have a storage tank water heater. When you have on-demand units installed that match your peak household usage, you’ll assured of a continuous supply whenever hot water is needed.
  • Placement choices. Tankless units take up little room and are often wall mounted. The only restrictions on where you can place one are access to your gas line and the need for outdoor venting.

Potential Cons of Going Tankless

Tankless water heaters can cost two to three times as much as storage tank units, and the installation can cost more if your gas service needs upgrading. However, the reliability, convenience and energy savings you’ll gain can make the extra expense worthwhile.

For personalized advice about whether a tankless water heater is the ideal choice for your Portland-area 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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Cold Weather Calls for New Thermostat Programs

Cold Weather Calls for New Thermostat ProgramsThe change in seasons calls for a change in how you manage your home’s internal climate. While your programmable thermostat’s summertime settings have kept your home cool without wasting energy, they’re not as effective at keeping your home warm while keeping heating costs at a minimum. Resetting the programmable thermostat for the winter can help your home remain comfortable while maximizing your energy usage.

Choosing the Best Settings

So what settings should you use as you reprogram your thermostat? Here are some basic guidelines you can follow:

  • For the hours when you’re most likely to be up and about in your home, program your thermostat to maintain a temperature of 68 degrees.
  • For the hours when you’re asleep, program a setback temperature that’s 7 to 10 degrees lower than your daytime temperature.
  • You should also program a setback temperature for the hours when you’re most likely to be out of the house.

However, the above guidelines aren’t meant to be ironclad. Striking a balance between personal comfort and energy efficiency can be difficult during the winter. In the end, you should set your programmable thermostat so that it’s in line with your own comfort needs.

Indoor humidity can also play an important role in the comfort of your home. The drier winter air tends to lower perceived indoor temperatures, making a room feel colder than its actual temperature. Consider using a humidifier to maintain a relative humidity level of 30 to 40 percent throughout the winter months.

Other Tips

In addition to resetting the programmable thermostat, there are other things you can do to save energy and still maintain a comfortable environment:

  • Set your thermostat so that it begins heating your home 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning and 30 minutes before you return home.
  • Have your thermostat gradually lower your heating at least 60 minutes before you go to bed.

For more tips on resetting the programmable thermostat or if you need HVAC service for your Portland 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).

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Germicidal Control With UV Lights

Germicidal Control With UV LightsUnfortunately, your family and pets are not the only living residents of your home. Today’s houses are also filled with airborne germs and other microorganisms. In fact, most homes have a far higher concentration of germs than the outdoor air, because the walls, roof and comfort systems that protect residents from the elements also provide a fertile living environment for microorganisms. Continue reading

Weather Patterns Throughout America Mean Portland Homeowners Need A Stand-By Generator More Than Ever

The weather has certainly been crazy this year across the country – not to suggest that it has ever been predictable or cooperative. The recent storms do, at least, serve as reminders that it’s important to be prepared. Though, thankfully, most homes will never be severely damaged by a storm, most every home will be affected by the occasional storm-related blackout. A single snapped power line can knock out electricity to large parts of Oregon; multiply that by the hundreds of lines that can be downed by a major storm, and some homes can expect to be powerless for days.

Weather Patterns Throughout America Mean Portland Homeowners Need A Stand-By Generator More Than EverAbout 3.5 million American homeowners are left without electricity in an average week, according to the EPRI, while the weather experts at NOAA estimate the number of blackouts to be increasing about 7 percent each year. Continue reading

The Ins and Outs of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are a great way to improve energy efficiency in your home. Traditional units heat and store hot water regardless of how much you use. This creates two problems: either you don’t have enough hot water, or you have too much and energy is wasted reheating the water. A tankless water heater solves both of those problems by providing hot water only when you need it.

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Two HVAC Terms Portland Homeowners Should Know

HVAC technicians go through years of training to master the knowledge and skills of their craft. The average Portland homeowner doesn’t have the time to commit all this know-how to memory. It’s simply not practical. However, Roth Heating and Cooling has a few terms that homeowners could derive great advantages from understanding. Knowing these simple HVAC terms can educate you about how furnaces and air conditioners use energy, so when it comes time to buy, you can be sure to choose a system that will save you money. Continue reading