Tag Archives: A/C

Common Causes of a Noisy Air Conditioner

Common Causes of a Noisy Air ConditionerA noisy air conditioner is both irritating and worrisome. If your A/C is making loud banging, hissing or high-pitched squealing sounds, contact your HVAC pro as these noises can indicate a potentially serious problem that needs immediate attention. You can try fixing the following less serious sounds on your own.

Rattling or Murmuring Coming From the Fan

To solve these common sounds, open the air handler cabinet, vacuum out any loose debris from around the fan and clean the blades. If the fan blades seem loose, tighten the hub using an Allen wrench or screwdriver. Finally, examine the blades and if any appear bent, apply gentle pressure to straighten it.

Humming or Grinding From the Blower Motor

These sounds originating at the blower are often a sign that the motor needs lubrication. If your unit has oil ports, you can lubricate it by adding a couple of drops of SAE 10 oil to each one. You can also prevent a recurrence by making a habit of oiling the motor at the start of each cooling season.

Rattling Noises In the Air Handler or Condenser Cabinet

The mechanical components housed in the indoor air handler and outdoor condenser units vibrate slightly when they’re running. Over time, this can loosen cabinet panel or mounting screws that weren’t fully tightened and result in a rattling noise. To correct this, simply follow the sound to its source, and tighten up the loose screw(s) with a screwdriver.

Low-Key Buzzing from the Outdoor Condenser Coil

The outdoor unit can start to get noisy when debris accumulates on the coil, so hose it down carefully with your garden hose. If it’s still noisy, check to see if the aluminum fins look bent. If they do, straightening them may help lessen the noise, but don’t use a sharp implement. Instead, buy an inexpensive tool called a fin comb, then insert the comb’s teeth in between the fins and gently slide it to straighten the bent ones.

For an expert diagnosis of what’s causing a noisy air conditioner 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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Understanding Ratings for Air Conditioners

Understanding Ratings for Air ConditionersYour central air conditioning system contains some of the most costly equipment you’ll buy for your home, and with a service life of 10 to 15 years or more, it’s a long-term investment. If you’re considering replacing your older equipment, it makes good sense to compare different models within your budget to help you make the wisest choice.

Why Comparing Air Conditioner Ratings Matters

It takes a lot of energy to run an air conditioner during a typical cooling season, so the equipment’s efficiency has a big impact on how much you spend to keep your home comfortable. This makes it vital to understand how equipment efficiency is measured. Every new A/C has an EnergyGuide label that’s in place to help consumers compare energy usage and features when they’re shopping for new equipment. One of the key pieces of information you’ll find on an air conditioner label is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER.

What is the SEER Rating and What Does it Tell You?

An air conditioner’s SEER rating is assigned by the U.S. Department of Energy. This numerical rating measures the efficiency of the equipment over a single cooling season, and a higher number indicates greater efficiency. Essentially, SEER tells you the equipment’s total cooling output in British thermal units (Btu) compared to its total energy consumption in watt-hours. Air conditioners on the market today are more efficient than ever before with ratings ranging between SEER 14 and 26.

The Other Air Conditioner Rating: EER

Another A/C rating that you’ll find mentioned in Energy Star specifications is the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This rating is a snapshot of the efficiency of an air conditioner operating at peak conditions with an outdoor temperature of 95 degrees, an indoor temperature of 80 degrees, and 50 percent humidity. More efficient equipment will have a higher EER.

Both of these ratings are valuable when you’re comparing air conditioners, because they tell you how efficient the equipment is in different operating situations.

To learn more about air conditioner ratings when choosing new equipment for 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

3 Ways You Can Take Care of Your Air Conditioner this Fall

3 Ways You Can Take Care of Your Air Conditioner this FallPortland enjoys moderately warm, sunny weather during summer with mild, rainy winters. Despite the area’s temperate climate, it is still critical that your air conditioner unit be maintained after the summer ends. Here are three ways you can keep your A/C maintained this autumn:

  • Clear any overgrown plants away from the condenser unit’s coils. Any accumulation of debris, such as matted grasses or dead leaves, can cause the A/C to work inefficiently, failing to keep your home cool and increasing your power bill. Clearing away the plants may not require professional help, but a HVAC technician coming for an annual service visit can take care of it for you if you prefer.
  • Once the coils are accessible, examine the condenser and evaporator coils for any accumulated dirt. These will also make the system run inefficiently. Generally, coils should be cleaned once a year. Our comprehensive service club agreements give homeowners peace of mind and make it easy to let us come and take care of it.
  • Look at the air filters to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. Some systems need new filters as frequently as six times a year.

These three simple tips can help you keep your air conditioner running at peak performance and save you money. For additional suggestions about keeping your Portland home comfortable year-round, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. We have been taking care of Portland residents for more than four decades and look forward to being able to help you.

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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Keep the Area Around Your Outdoor A/C Component Well Maintained for Better Efficiency

Keep the Area Around Your Outdoor A/C Component Well Maintained for Better EfficiencyWhen Portland summers strike, we all rely on our central air conditioners to help keep us cool and comfortable. The outdoor A/C component, however, is bulky and can be an eyesore. As a result, homeowners try to conceal it with landscaping. This actually does a lot more than simply beautify your property; it can also improve the efficiency of your cooling system by as much as 10 percent, but only if it’s done with care. Here are some tips for maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit in such a way that you can save money and improve efficiency.

Choosing Vegetation

Strategically planting around outdoor A/C equipment will create a shady area that can help prevent the system from overworking. This can help increase its lifespan and reduce cooling bills.

When selecting vegetation, it’s a good idea to avoid plants that shed leaves seasonally. This will reduce the amount of effort required for maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit. Hedges are a great option, and some homeowners erect latticework and climbing plants.

Appropriate Clearance

Clearance is an important consideration, both when initially planting and while maintaining your vegetation. If plants are too close to the unit, they may restrict airflow around the coils. Vegetation should be at least two to three feet from the outdoor component on all sides. Plants should be regularly trimmed in order to give the unit ample room to operate efficiently. Overhanging trees should be trimmed to allow for 5 feet of clearance above the equipment.

Clearing Debris

Keeping your equipment free and clear of debris is an essential part of properly maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit. Over time, leaves, grass, sticks and other debris can accumulate around the unit and cause problems with performance efficiency. For best results, take the time to regularly sweep debris away and hose down the equipment.

The professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling are happy to provide you with more advice on maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C Unit. Contact us to learn more.

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 Common A/C Condensate Drain Problems Portland Homeowners Need to Be Aware Of

3 Common A/C Condensate Drain Problems Portland Homeowners Need to Be Aware OfA/C systems are complex machines that need regular care. When homeowner and professional maintenance are overlooked or discounted, energy bills creep up, comfort suffers and system components begin to malfunction or fail. The condensate drain system, with very few or no moving parts, is no exception. Read on to learn about A/C condensate drain problems you should be aware of.

How the A/C Condensate Drain System Works

The condensate drain system is simplistic in function yet essential for proper A/C function. Condensate formed on the evaporator coil drips into the condensate pan. The water flows down a drain tube to a floor drain or empties outside the home. All you need for a well-operating system are clean and damage-free parts and gravity.

When Things Go Wrong

To borrow from the age-old idiom, when your condensate drain leaks, it pours, so a condensate drain leak is the number one red flag that something has gone wrong in the system. The problem arises when the drain trap becomes clogged with debris, mold growth, algae and anything else that falls into the condensate pan.

A clogged drain is one thing, but water spillage inside your home is quite another. If backup overflow systems fail or are simply not installed on your A/C model, you’re going to have water damage in your home when the pan overflows. Many A/C systems have a backup pan with a float switch so if the primary pan spills over, water is caught in the backup, and the float switch shuts down the A/C. This safety measure prevents water damage, but you’ll still need to call your HVAC tech to turn on the A/C.

The third of A/C condensate drain problems is the mold, bacteria and fungal growth on A/C components. The evaporator coil, drip pan and drain line are like tropical resorts for mold, algae and other contaminants. Not only does the buildup of such biohazards block airflow, increase energy bills and degrade cooling, but the spores are also released to circulate through the home.

For more information about A/C condensate drain problems, contact Roth Heating & Cooling for HVAC solutions in Portland.

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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Is Your A/C Acting Up? Here Are Some Basic Troubleshooting Tips

Is Your A/C Acting Up? Here Are Some Basic Troubleshooting TipsHas your home’s central air conditioning system been acting up? Perhaps it’s not cooling your home as quickly as it used to, or appears to be running constantly. Or maybe your monthly electric bills seem noticeably higher than last year’s, even though you haven’t otherwise changed your energy use at home. You can call a trusted A/C technician to look at your system, but before taking that step, try some A/C troubleshooting tips.

A/C Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check the air filter. A clogged filter can explain both decreased performance and increased energy use. When the filter is clean, it allows for smooth airflow through the A/C evaporator coil and the home’s ductwork system. When it’s dirty, your air conditioner has to work harder and longer to deliver the same amount of cool air. This wastes energy and stresses parts, leading to more repairs. Check the filter today, and then put your filter inspections on a monthly schedule. Change the filter when it looks clogged or dirty.
  • Clear debris away from the outside condenser/compressor. This unit also requires smooth airflow to allow for optimum heat exchange between the refrigerant in the coil and the outside air. Dirty coils, both inside and outside, also will impede heat exchange, though cleaning the coils is best left to a trained A/C technician.
  • Make sure the condensate drain isn’t clogged. The water – which is condensed out of the cooling air during the A/C process – can back up and damage walls, floors, fixtures and belongings. It also can promote mold and mildew growth.
  • Schedule annual preventative maintenance for your central A/C. This may not fit in with the other A/C troubleshooting tips, but it’s probably the most important. For your cooling system to run with its intended efficiency, and provide the comfort your family expects, it requires professional maintenance annually. During the tune-up, all of the other troubleshooting steps can be addressed as well.

For more A/C troubleshooting tips, or to schedule a spring preventative maintenance visit, please contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling, providing quality HVAC and plumbing services to 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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Important Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Important Spring Maintenance Tips for Your HomeSpring is the customary time for home cleaning. It’s also a great time to complete some maintenance tasks around your home to keep your HVAC system working efficiently. Read through the following spring maintenance tips to help your Portland home recover from the winter season.

HVAC Maintenance

On average, your HVAC system accounts for roughly half of your home’s energy bill. As such, keeping your A/C, heat pump or furnace in good condition is very important. Make sure to check your system’s air filter. A clogged filter can increase cooling and heating bills up to 15 percent. Also, inspect your central unit outdoors, and remove any obstructions to airflow, such as leaves, weeds and debris.

If you have a whole-home humidifier that needs to be shut down, or a dehumidifier that needs to be prepped for the cooling months, be sure to ask your HVAC technician to check these systems in addition to tuning up your A/C. Your air ducts should also be inspected. If applicable, make sure to put fresh batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors.

Sealing and Insulation

Sealing materials can dry out, letting attic insulation blow around. So, make sure to inspect your attic for adequate insulation of at least 12 inches (for fiberglass or cellulose). Then, look for moldy or wet spots, and replace the insulation if you find any. Lastly, make sure your attic door is insulated and sealed with foam weatherstripping.

Plumbing and Appliances

If you’ve noticed higher than normal water bills, look for signs of plumbing leaks, sweaty pipes and clogged drains. Since most plumbing is located in walls or outside your living space, you may need to give your home a good inspection.

Next, check your water heater temperature. It should be set at 120 degrees to produce efficient hot water without wearing your storage tank. Ask your HVAC technician or plumbing professional to flush out your tank and inspect other components.

For more spring home maintenance tips, please contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Aurora 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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What if the A/C Can’t Keep Up With Canby’s Humidity?

What if the A/C Can't Keep Up With Canby's Humidity?Keeping up with summer heat is one thing, but keeping up with summer humidity is quite another. Read on to learn the relation between temperature and humidity outside and inside the home, and take the necessary steps to give your Canby home’s A/C and energy budget a break. Continue reading

Are These Cooling Myths Keeping You From Saving?

Are These Cooling Myths Keeping You From Saving?Myths about money are everywhere, and when they are tied to your Portland home’s energy use, you may have fallen for them. Everyone wants to keep cool but still save money and energy this summer. Take a moment to learn about, and avoid, these cooling myths. Continue reading

What Causes the A/C in Your Portland Home to Freeze Up?

What Causes the A/C in Your Portland Home to Freeze Up?If you are enjoying the cooling comfort of your air conditioning when it suddenly stops working, the first thing to do is turn it off. Then check to see if ice is coating the coils. If so, you need to do some trouble-shooting to determine what causes the A/C to freeze up. First, locate the drainage hole and make sure it is clear. Water should be running out of the drainpipe. If it is not, the condensation is going somewhere, and most likely doing some damage when it gets there. It may be draining back into the unit and causing a freeze-up. Continue reading