Category Archives: Ventilation

How to Upgrade Your Kitchen Ventilation

How to Upgrade Your Kitchen VentilationHow’s the ventilation in your kitchen? Consider yourself lucky if your kitchen range is ventilated to the outdoors. That’s the best way to get rid of irritating smoke and water vapor, which can add humidity in your home, making you feel uncomfortable and even causing issues with mold and mildew. If you don’t have adequate kitchen ventilation, maybe it’s time to look into it.

Types of Kitchen Ventilation

The most favored type of kitchen ventilation is of the updraft design. These use a blower to inhale cooking vapors, then push them through a duct which, we hope, exhausts the vapors through the roof rather than the attic. These are likely to be in the form of hoods or canopies, purchased separately from the stove.

The downdraft type draws cooking vapors across the surface of the range, and down through a duct that exhausts to the outdoors. These are likely to be integrated into the cooking appliance’s surface. The main drawback in using them is that they do not rise more than 10 inches above the surface of the range, and so cannot capture steam from a tall pot. They are usually chosen when they are to be incorporated into an island where the homeowner doesn’t want a view blocked, or in a kitchen with a high ceiling, where ductwork would be too high to work effectively in the updraft model.

Whichever type you choose, be sure that it can move the volume of air you will need to move in relation to the heat output of your range. Your ventilation specialist can help you calculate this.

Installing Kitchen Ventilators

If you have an older house, you may already have ducts in place that can accommodate the installation of new, upgraded kitchen ventilation. If the ductwork isn’t in the right position to accommodate a new range hood or canopy, you will have to move it. Unless you’re an accomplished DIYer, you may need a ventilation and ductwork specialist to advise you on installation.

For more on kitchen ventilation, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve Portland and the surrounding 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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Ventilation: Keeping Your Home’s Air Fresh

Ventilation: Keeping Your Home's Air FreshAdequate home ventilation plays a significant role in your family’s health, during the heating season when all the doors and windows are closed. Indoor air pollutants build, especially in energy efficient, air-tight homes, that can cause mild to serious illnesses.

Increasing the amount of fresh air indoors reduces bad air quality that may come from:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come from common household products. Burning candles, using perfumed soaps, air fresheners, dryer sheets or cleaning products introduce potentially harmful VOCs, as do home improvement products like flooring, furniture and upholstery fabrics.
  • Combustion byproducts from gas stoves, malfunctioning furnaces or gas dryers, or exhaust fumes and VOCs entering through small air leaks from an attached garage.

Keeping the air fresher is possible by using:

  • Kitchen and bathroom fans. Whenever you use a gas stove or oven, turn on the exhaust fan as long as it vents outdoors. A re-circulating fan just blows the gases back into the kitchen.
  • Use bathroom fans to remove excess humidity while and after showering. Running all the ventilating fans at once also helps clear the air after using products high in VOCs.
  • Supply-only fans. Window fans and whole-house fan pull fresh air in directly. They’re an excellent solution when outdoor temperatures are comfortable enough to bring indoors, although they introduce allergens when pollen counts outdoors are high. Using them when it’s cold outside increases heating costs.
  • Balanced ventilation systems. These types of mechanical systems combine the benefits of removing stale indoor air and replacing it with fresh air without changing the indoor temperature. They use innovative technology that exchanges the thermal energy of the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air.
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) deliver fresh air into your home’s forced-air HVAC system or direct it into a specific room or area. They’re the most energy efficient and effective way to improve air quality year-round.

Fresh air ventilation is essential to good health the enjoyment of your home. To learn the best options for your home, 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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Why is a Heat Recovery Ventilator Beneficial in Your Home?

Why is a Heat Recovery Ventilator Beneficial in Your Home?Modern homes typically are tightly constructed, with a prime focus on energy efficiency. This is a good thing for saving energy, and it saves your household on electric and gas bills. There is a potential downside to an airtight house, though. Unless the home has an effective ventilation system, there’s no way to exchange stale inside air with fresh outside air, other than opening windows. This is where a balanced ventilation system — for example, a heat recovery ventilator — can play an important role in preserving indoor air quality. The bonus with an HRV (or its close relative, an energy recovery ventilator), is that it also helps with home heating and cooling.

In any ventilation system that draws fresh outside air into the home, a problem arises when the outside air adds to the heating or cooling load inside. A heat recovery ventilator (or HRV) addresses this issue by maintaining separate but parallel airstreams, incoming and outgoing. As the air moves in both directions, heat energy from one airstream is transferred into the other. In the winter, heat from outflowing air transfers over to the incoming cold air, making the injection of outside air less of a challenge for your heating system. In the summer, heat from inflowing outside air is transferred over to the air that’s leaving the house.

An HRV has an additional capability: It not only transfers heat energy but also transfers moisture. As a result, during cold winter weather, when the air gets especially dry, some of the marginally more humid indoor air that’s being exhausted will transfer over to the dry inflowing air to help maintain a comfortable humidity level inside. To a limited extent, an ERV may serve the opposite purpose during hot, muggy summer weather, helping your A/C dehumidify the indoor air.

HRVs and ERVs don’t work in every climate (they’re less effective in areas with mild winters and summers), and they can be relatively expensive to install.

For more information on the benefits HRV/ERVs can provide 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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Find Out the Best Way to Ventilate Your Bathroom

Find Out the Best Way to Ventilate Your BathroomAlthough bathroom ventilation is essential to the well-being of your home and health, many homeowners often overlook the importance of properly ventilating. Do you know whether your existing ventilation system is up to par? Find out everything you need to know about selecting and installing the right exhaust fan for your bathroom.

A Closer Look at Proper Ventilation

Your bathroom is regularly exposed to high levels of moisture and humidity. At the same time, the space is small and enclosed. Without a good bathroom ventilation system in place, you could wind up with warped wood, damaged drywall, and a breeding ground for mold and mildew. But just because you have a bathroom fan doesn’t mean that it’s getting the job done right. You may find that your existing system exhausts excess moisture into the space between ceiling joists or into an attic. This only moves the problem from one location to another. Instead, you need to install a bathroom fan that will exhaust moisture and mold spores outside of the home.

Selecting a Bathroom Fan

Once ready to install a properly ventilating bathroom fan, you need to know what to look for:

  • Airflow capacity — The airflow capacity of bathroom fans is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). In order for your bathroom’s ventilation needs to be met, you’ll need a fan with 1 CFM per square foot of the bathroom’s floor space. In the event that your bathroom is larger than 100 square feet, you’ll need to increase the fan’s airflow capacity by 50 CFM for each toilet, bath, shower, or bath/shower combo and by 100 CFM per whirlpool.
  • Noise Many homeowners are concerned with the noise factor associated with bathroom fans. If this is a concern, look for a fan rated at 0.5–1.2 sones. Fans rated higher than 4 sones, on the other hand, are the loudest.
  • Energy efficiency Maximize your energy savings by looking for an exhaust fan that has received the Energy Star label.

Ready to improve your bathroom ventilation? Call the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling. We serve the Greater Portland area.

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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HRV and ERV Troubleshooting Tips that Keep Your Ventilation Working

HRV and ERV Troubleshooting Tips that Keep Your Ventilation WorkingA few heat recovery ventilation (HRV) and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) troubleshooting tips can keep fresh air moving in and stale, stagnant air moving out of your home. The goal of HRV and ERV is to intake and exhaust air in balanced amounts, without compromising heating and cooling. Heat energy is transferred from the warmer air stream to the cooler air stream. In summer, that means heat in the incoming fresh air is moved to the outgoing air stream to prevent burdening your A/C. During winter, the opposite occurs. Up to 85 percent of heat is recovered from an HRV system. ERV units also transfer humidity in addition to heat, reducing the accumulation of indoor humidity in summer and preventing excessively dry air conditions in winter.

Both ventilation systems consist of small-diameter, dedicated intake and exhaust ducts routed through a central controller that incorporates twin blower fans, filter media and the heat/humidity exchange core. HRVs and ERVs impose minimal maintenance requirements and only a few HRV and ERV troubleshooting tips are generally necessary for proper operation. The following are a few common problems and how to troubleshoot them:

  • No Power: Is a circuit breaker tripped? Reset any tripped breakers and try again. If the tripped breaker recurs, contact your qualified HVAC service provider.
  • Low Air Flow: Reusable filters should be removed and cleaned at regular intervals per manufacturer’s instructions, generally every other month. If air flow is not improved, contact a professional.
  • HRV Leaking Condensate: This is usually a drain issue. Is the condensate drain line kinked or obstructed? Make sure the drain line is routed on a slope to allow gravity flow of water.
  • ERV Unresponsive: If outdoor temperatures fall below 23 degrees, an automatic defrost cycle activates to prevent a frozen central core. While the defrost cycle is active—up to 20 minutes—operation is interrupted. After defrost is completed, normal function should return. If not, call a qualified service technician.

For more HRV and ERV troubleshooting tips and professional service to remedy the trouble, in Portland contact 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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3 Ventilation Options That Can Help Cool Your Home

3 Ventilation Options That Can Help Cool Your HomeA good home ventilation system can greatly reduce or even eliminate your reliance on an air conditioner for cooling in your Portland home. This can dramatically lower utility bills. Here are three home ventilation options to consider to help keep your home cool without spending too much.

Natural Ventilation

By opening windows in your home during the cooler morning and evening hours, you can let the wind naturally cool your home. Open windows on the shady side of your home to draw in cool air and open windows on the opposite side to create a cross-breeze. In homes with multiple stories, open windows on each floor, allowing hot air to rise and exit out of the upper windows while cooler air is naturally drawn in from the lower windows to replace it. Close the windows during the heat of the day to retain the cool air.

Ceiling and Portable Fans

In combination with natural ventilation or even with air conditioning, fans can help you feel cooler at the same temperature. Install ceiling fans in common areas such as the living room, and use portable fans for individual cooling. To improve natural ventilation, use box fans in windows on the opposite sides of your home, with one exhausting air and one drawing air in, which will create a stronger cross-breeze. Because fans make you feel cooler by drawing away perspiration, not by actually cooling the air, you should turn off fans when you leave the room to save energy.

Whole-House Fans

Whole-house fans are typically installed in the floor of the attic and through the ceiling below, allowing them to draw hot air out of the home and exhaust it through the attic vents. Cool air is then drawn in through open windows to replace the exhausted air. Whole-house fans move large volumes of air and can sometimes replace an air conditioner in cooler areas while using less than 25 percent of the energy.

For more information about home ventilation options, talk to our HVAC experts at Roth Heating and Cooling. We proudly serve the Portland area.

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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Ventilation Is a Plus in Your Portland Metro Home: 4 Qualities Your System Should Have

Ventilation Is a Plus in Your Portland Metro Home: 4 Qualities Your System Should HaveHaving proper ventilation in your Portland area home is essential to maintaining optimal indoor air quality. Weatherization upgrades in modern homes often leave indoor environments too well-sealed, preventing a much needed influx of fresh air. If you feel your home has unnecessary odors, high humidity or a “stuffy” atmosphere, or you worry that home occupants are suffering unduly from allergies or respiratory issues, you likely need a whole-house ventilation system.  Continue reading

That Heat in Your Attic–Is It Making You Hotter in the Rest of Your Home?

That Heat in Your Attic--Is It Making You Hotter in the Rest of Your Home?Although average summer highs in the Portland area typically top out in the low 80s, Rose City homeowners who have attics unprotected by insulation and ventilation commonly experience attic heat temperatures of 120 degrees or more. This increase in temperature at the top of your house results from the sun’s rays blasting the roof surface. It will transfer the heat right into your living spaces unless it’s impeded by insulation, a radiant barrier and/or an attic fan providing ventilation. Continue reading

Choosing Ventilating Fans for Your Portland Metro Home

Choosing Ventilating Fans for Your Portland Metro HomeRemoving stale air or whisking out offensive odors is the primary function of fans in your home. However, many homeowners don’t realize there’s a bit of science behind choosing ventilating fans based on the size of the area to ventilate and the length of the vent the air has to pass through.  Continue reading

Rate Indoor Air Quality Through 3 Attached Garage Factors

Rate Indoor Air Quality Through 3 Attached Garage FactorsHave you thought about your home’s indoor air quality lately? If you’re like most homeowners, probably not. We usually assume that the air inside our homes is safe and free of pollutants — but for homes with attached garages, that may not be the case. Continue reading