Tag Archives: Electrical System

5 Tips for Generator Maintenance

5 Tips for Generator MaintenanceOwning a generator provides peace of mind that your home’s lights stay on, the refrigerator keeps running and essentials like the sump pump are fully operational when a power outage occurs. To ensure that your generator works reliably and efficiently, it’s vital to keep it well maintained. Here’s what routine generator maintenance should include:

Checking and Replacing the Oil and Filter

Oil is necessary to lubricant key components of your backup generator motor, but it breaks down over time, so the oil and its filter need to be replaced periodically. Generators typically need an initial oil change after the first 8–30 hours of run time, and then regular oil changes after every 100–200 hours of use, or at least once a year. The scheduling varies by manufacturer, so be sure to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

Changing the Spark Plugs

Like any other combustion motor, your generator has spark plugs that must be changed out every so often. You should follow your manufacturer’s guidelines, but as a general rule, spark plugs need replacement after 100 hours of run time.

Replacing the Air Filter

If the filter is dirty, your generator motor won’t have adequate airflow to stay running, so you need to replace it according to your owner’s manual schedule. Typically, replacing the air filter is recommended after every 25 hours of run time, or once a year.

Performing a Periodic Visual Checkup

Once every couple of months, give your generator a general visual inspection. Tidy up any debris around the unit, look for oil and fluid leaks, check that there’s coolant visible in the overflow tank, and the battery is clean and free from corrosion.

Scheduling Yearly Professional Maintenance

You can have a pro tackle all of the above tasks, as well as perform a detailed annual inspection and more in-depth maintenance, such as flushing the coolant, checking the control panel, wiring and all connections and clamps, and inspecting and/or testing the battery and its cables and charger, alternator and transfer switch.

To schedule generator maintenance at 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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5 Tips for Electrical Savings This Fall

5 Tips for Electrical Savings This FallIf you want to save money by lowering your household operating expenses, reducing your electricity consumption is an ideal place to start. Here are five ways to generate electrical savings throughout your home this fall:

Have Your Dryer Ductwork Cleaned

If you haven’t had your dryer’s vent duct cleaned recently, this frequently-used appliance is likely burning through too much electricity — even if you keep the lint catcher clean. Having the duct professionally cleaned this fall can give you peace of mind that your dryer is operating at optimal efficiency, and it can reduce the risk of fire too.

Take Advantage of Time-of-Use Savings

Signing up for a time-of-use program with your electric company can reduce the rate you pay for every kilowatt hour of electricity used during specific “off peak” time periods. Such programs typically have different hours depending on the season, so make sure you stick with the appropriate schedule to maximize your savings this fall and winter.

Boost Your Water Heating Efficiency

An electric water heater is the second biggest electricity consumer in the average home. If you have an older electric model, you can trim its consumption by lowering its thermostat setting from 140 to 120 degrees, and adding an insulated jacket to curb standby heat losses.

Reduce Standby Electricity Waste

Your home likely has scads of devices that draw electricity all the time, even when they’re not in use. You can eliminate this kind of energy waste by unplugging items like your computers, TVs, coffee maker, cell phone charger and satellite box after every use, or by grouping like items together on power strips and shutting them off in between uses.

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs last for about 50,000 hours while using just 300 kWh of energy. The savings can add up quickly because just one LED bulb uses 2,700 fewer kWh less than an incandescent, and 700 kWh less than a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb.

To learn more effective tips on how to enjoy fall and winter electrical savings in your Sherwood-area home, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical.

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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Are You Ready for an Electrical Upgrade?

Are You Ready for an Electrical Upgrade?Depending on the age of your home, you could be due for an electrical upgrade. In recent years the number of appliances and devices that people use has steadily increased, and the existing wiring may not be adequate for either safety or convenience.

Signs you may need an upgrade include:

  • Frequent circuit breaker tripping. If one or more circuit breakers trips when the electrical loads are higher, you may be overloading that particular circuit. A circuit breaker that trips when you use a hair dryer or other device that pulls a lot of power might be inadequate. Breaker failure is less common, but it does happen. Your electrician can assess the condition of the breaker.
  • Insufficient outlets. The excessive use of power strips or extension cords indicates you may not have enough electrical outlets in any particular room. Current electrical codes require one outlet for every 12 feet of wall space. Most cords are six feet long, and this outlet requirement eliminates many safety hazards.
  • Adding a major appliance. If you’re adding an appliance that has uses a lot of electricity, like a dryer, extra dishwasher, stovetop, or refrigerator, chances are you’ll need an electrical upgrade. Converting from a gas to an electric dryer or stove will require a dedicated and specialized outlet.
  • Aluminum wiring. Homes built between the 1960s and mid 1970s may have aluminum wiring. A copper shortage drove builders to use aluminum in place of copper to cut construction costs. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that homes with some or all aluminum wiring were 55 times more likely to experience an electrical fire.

    If you can access the place where wires enter your home, look for printing on the insulation that says aluminum, CL-clad, or Romex. If you see either, consider upgrading your wiring. Electricians can have developed safe ways to eliminate the safety hazard without replacing all the wiring with copper.

An electrical upgrade keeps your home up-to-date as you add appliances and devices to your home. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Electrical, providing trusted 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).

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Important Fire Regulations for Commercial Buildings

Important Fire Regulations for Commercial BuildingsAs a building owner or property manager, understanding fire regulations for commercial buildings can help you comply with local ordinances that protect public safety. These regulations cover prevention, detection and safe evacuation from all commercial buildings.

Electrical

Oregon requires that all upgrades or modifications to an electrical system be made by a licensed electrician. The building’s owner or agent must ensure that all the wiring inside the building is in good condition and that the tenants are using outlets safely by not overloading them or running excessively long extension cords.

Exits and Stairwells

Each exit requires a lighted sign that runs on both building power and backup batteries. All stairwells must have backup lighting in case of a power outage, as well as handrails that lead to a place where building occupants can exit safely onto a street.

Smoke Detectors 

Each building must have a working smoke detector in the hallways. A tag must hang from the smoke detector indicating the last date the batteries were replaced and when the detector was tested.

Sprinkler Systems

The fire regulations for commercial buildings also apply to sprinkler systems. Each sprinkler needs to carry a tag from the local fire department stating that it’s functional. Commercial codes require one sprinkler for every 150 square feet of space.

HVAC Systems

All HVAC systems, commercial and residential, need to be installed and maintained by a licensed contractor. These systems contain high voltage components and combustible fuels. Staying on top of your system’s maintenance after installation can help keep your building safer and energy bills lower. Although not mandated by building or fire regulations, installing the most efficient HVAC system in a commercial building can save a good deal of energy without sacrificing anyone’s comfort.

If you’d like more information about commercial building fire regulations in the Portland or Willamette Valley area, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been providing outstanding services for residential and commercial building owners 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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Is Your Home Electrical System Up to Code? Tips to Know for Sure

Is Your Home Electrical System Up to Code? Tips to Know for SureWhen it comes to any home electrical system, safety always comes first. To keep homeowners safe, every home that’s built or renovated in the Portland area must conform to local building codes. Portland is one of countless cities that have adopted the National Electrical Code, a comprehensive set of standards for safe electrical wiring and equipment. Continue reading