Tag Archives: annual maintenance

The Importance of an Annual Electrical Safety Check

The Importance of an Annual Electrical Safety CheckAn electrical safety check might prevent serious damage to your home or any of its major appliances. The electrical system is easy to ignore since it’s out of sight and silent. But doing so could be risky because electricity is a powerful force. A periodic inspection will assure you that it’s working as it should and meets all safety codes.

Scheduling an Electrical Safety Check

Home safety professionals recommend that a licensed electrician look it over once a year to keep minor issues from becoming catastrophic problems. If your electrical system shows any of these signs of electrical problems, schedule an inspection promptly:

  • Frequent circuit breakers trips
  • Lights flicker, which could indicate a short in the wiring in the walls or the cord
  • Humming noises from the breaker box. This is never a good sign, and usually means that the breaker is bad and won’t trip even if it’s overloaded. Heat will build and it has the potential to start a fire.
  • The home is more than 25 years old. The wiring insulation may have disintegrated or the outlets have aged.
  • The wiring is aluminum. Over time, aluminum wiring oxidizes, which increases the resistance on the wiring, causing it to overheat.

What to Expect During an Electrical Safety Check

During an electrical safety check, the electrician will test the circuit breakers and visually inspect the switches and outlets. Outward signs of problems include switches that don’t work and discolored outlets.

Excessive use of power strips or multi-outlets usually indicates you need more outlets or receptacles. If your circuit breaker box is full, you may need a new, larger box to handle your present power demand and provide room for future expansion.

Other issues might include shorts when using certain switches, outlets or appliances. The electrician will pinpoint the problem, whether it’s in the wall, a fixture, or an appliance.

It makes sense to have an electrical safety check to avoid preventable damage to your home, appliances, or devices. If you’d like to learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing licensed HVAC and electrical 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). 

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and Replacement

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and ReplacementEstablishing an HVAC maintenance timeline helps you keep your system running dependably and efficiently for the many years they’re designed to last. These systems use many mechanical and electrical parts that need cleaning and adjusting to perform at their best. Without attention from you and an HVAC pro, efficiency and durability decline.

How Long They Last

A well-maintained air conditioner or heat pump should last between 10–16 years, and a furnace between 15–20 years. Exceptions to these parameters do occur, primarily based on usage and maintenance.

Scheduling Maintenance Tasks

Check the air filter monthly when the system runs frequently. Neglecting filter changes is the most frequent cause of high energy costs and premature system failure. Dirt slows the air flowing through the air handler, and it takes the system longer to condition your home. The longer running cycle wears the parts and drives up energy costs.

Keep the outdoor condenser clean. A clean condenser loses the heat from the refrigerant faster and keeps cooling bills lower. Hose the coils off periodically and remove any vegetation that blocks the air flow through it.

Scheduling Professional Maintenance

An HVAC pro should clean, adjust, and inspect your cooling and heating system at least once a year, preferably in the spring or fall before its season starts. These systems create vibrations as they run, use oil, and collect dust, all of which interferes with their efficiency and performance.

The goal of professional maintenance is to bring the equipment back to its original settings as much as possible. The technician will check the refrigerant level, clean and lubricate motors, and verify that all the electrical and safety components work properly.

Improper refrigerant levels drive up cooling costs and contribute to compressor wear and early failure. Gas furnaces need professional servicing once a year for greatest efficiency and safe operation.

Sticking to the HVAC maintenance timeline helps you get the most from your system monthly and prolong its lifetime. To learn more, contact Roth Heating and 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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Heat Pump Maintenance, If Performed Routinely, Can Save Energy

Heat Pump Maintenance, If Performed Routinely, Can Save EnergyYour heat pump works hard all year, keeping you comfortable in Portland’s warm summers and chilly winters. It’s for exactly this reason regular heat pump maintenance is so important. Neglect it for too long and you could cut your heat pump’s efficiency by as much as 25 percent. Caring for your system year round, however, keeps it running at top efficiency and helps the components last longer, too.

DIY Jobs for Optimal Efficiency

A dirty air filter limits airflow into the system, placing strain on the fan motor. This reduces the motor’s efficiency and causes wear that can lead to the motor’s early failure. Every month, check the air filter and replace it if it’s covered in dust. Thin fiberglass filters usually have to be replaced once a month. For longer-lasting filters, better indoor air quality and greater protection for your system, invest in higher-efficiency pleated filters.

The outdoor condenser unit also needs good airflow to stay efficient. Lawn clippings, leaves and other debris on the exterior fins impair airflow, so periodically remove these with a stiff brush. Once a year, lift off the condenser unit’s top and vacuum up debris inside with a wet vac. Then gently hose down the exterior fins from the inside of the unit outward.

Professional Maintenance Is a Must

While annual maintenance is enough for a furnace or A/C, a heat pump should be professionally cleaned and inspected twice a year. Fall and spring, before the heating and cooling seasons, are ideal times to schedule heat pump maintenance.

Many of the jobs your technician will do improve the system’s energy efficiency, as well as protect the components and ensure safe operation. A few of these jobs are:

  • Cleaning the motor and testing its performance
  • Cleaning the evaporator coil if needed
  • Measuring for correct airflow
  • Inspecting for loose or corroded electrical connections
  • Measuring the refrigerant charge and pressure
  • Testing the thermostat and controls
  • Inspecting the ducts for blockages and damage

If you haven’t scheduled professional heat pump maintenance in a while, get in touch with us at Roth Heating & Cooling anywhere around 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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Increase Efficiency & Safety by Cleaning Your Home’s Dryer Vents

Increase Efficiency & Safety by Cleaning Your Home's Dryer Vents Did you know that your home’s dryer vents can pose a threat to your safety? Even if you empty the lint trap after every load, you’re probably not cleaning up all the lint buildup, which can eventually prevent your dryer vent from exhausting properly. Due to the blockage, your dryer may overheat, threatening your Portland home and your personal safety.

Signs of Blocked Dryer Vents

  • Clothing doesn’t dry completely or takes much longer than normal to dry.
  • Clothes dry, but feel much hotter than usual to the touch.
  • Clothes smell musty coming out of the dryer.
  • The vent hood flap doesn’t pop open as it should when the dryer is in use.
  • The laundry area or laundry room is excessively hot when the dryer is in use or has just completed it’s cycle.
  • A lot of lint accumulates in and around the lint filter.
  • Your dryer sheets seem to smell stronger than usual after the drying cycle.

What Your HVAC Contractor Can Do

You probably already know that your contractor should inspect and clean your HVAC system every year. Your plumbing vent pipes also need annual maintenance. You should have your HVAC technician clean your dryer vents using specialized cleaning equipment. He can remove any debris (branches, leaves, bird nests, etc.) blocking your vent pipe, which typically sticks out of your roof.

Your HVAC contractor will then use a high-powered vacuum equipment, snakes and brushes to clean out the entire length of the vent. Your contractor may also need to replace non-metal transition ducts running between the dryer and main vent because they constitute a fire danger.

Semi-rigid metal ducts will make your venting system safer and help improve your dryer’s efficiency and performance. If it’s been more than a year since your last dryer vent cleaning, schedule an inspection right away.

When your home’s dryer vents need a thorough cleaning, contact the professionals 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “eyeidea/Shutterstock”

A Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency: From Roof to Slab

A Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency: From Roof to SlabTaking a whole-house systems approach to energy efficiency will lower your energy bills. This is an important undertaking when you want reduced costs without sacrificing comfort. Energy losses occur through your home’s envelope because of heat transfer. Heat constantly seeks out cold, so by sealing the air leaks, adding insulation, improving weatherstripping and making lifestyle changes, you can keep your home more comfortable without relying so heavily on your HVAC system. Continue reading

With Annual Maintenance, You’ll Avoid Furnace Problems

Even though winter has already set in, it isn’t too late to schedule your annual furnace maintenance. With regular maintenance, your home heating and air conditioning systems will last long into the future which means you will avoid costly and inconvenient breakdowns. Continue reading

When Good Boilers Go Bad: How To Answer The Repair-Or-Replace Question

If you use a boiler to heat your home, did it sit unused for several months until recently? After being forgotten for the last season, your boiler may be in need of significant repairs or replacement. Determining which method works best for your home and budget can be difficult, but a few pieces of information will make the decision easier: Continue reading

Forgetting To Have Your HVAC System Serviced Could Be A Lapse You’re Likely To Remember

Your HVAC system is the largest factor in keeping your home comfortable. That’s why forgetting to have it serviced regularly — at least once a year and ideally twice — can lead to huge problems you are likely to regret. Getting a service check will help prevent your HVAC system from breaking down unexpectedly as well as keep it working as efficiently as possible.  

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Your Furnace Needs An Annual Maintenance Check

Is your furnace operating safely and efficiently? At the start of each heating season it’s important to get a heating tune-up to make sure that your furnace is ready to go. A dirty system can drive up your energy costs and threaten the life of your equipment, leading to expensive repairs. Continue reading