Tag Archives: energy savings

Heating Efficiently: Energy Myths for Fall

Heating Efficiently: Energy Myths for FallWith temperatures getting cooler in the Portland area, you’ll soon be using your heating system to warm up your home. Before doing so, it’s important to understand some common energy myths about heating homes. Falling for these myths could end up costing you more money on your energy bills this fall and winter.

Myth: Turn Your Thermostat Up for Faster Heating

Raising the temperature on your thermostat might seem like a good way to get your home feeling warmer more quickly, but all it does is increase your heating bills. Your heater puts out the same amount of heat, no matter what the temperature is set at. When you turn up your thermostat, your heating system just runs for a longer period of time.

Myth: Leave Your Thermostat at the Same Setting to Save Energy

One of the biggest energy myths is that leaving your thermostat set at the same temperature throughout the heating season will lead to less energy use and lower bills. However, you’ll save energy and reduce your bills by lowering your thermostat setting at certain times, such as during the night and during the day when you’re not home.

Myth: Use Your Fireplace for Heat to Save Energy

Relying on your fireplace for heat might seem like an energy-efficient way to reduce heating bills. However, fireplaces don’t do a good job of heating large areas in a home, and you can lose more of your heated indoor air from your furnace as it goes up the chimney. This can result in higher energy bills during fall and winter.

Myth: Close Vents in Unused Areas to Save Energy

Closing off certain vents won’t reduce your energy bills. In fact, you can end up with higher ones and a heating system that has to work harder to heat up areas with open vents. This puts more wear and tear on your heating system, which can lead to repairs or a shorter life span.

If your heating system needs maintenance or repairs this season, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling for help. We offer dependable heating services for Portland 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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Ways to Save Money with a Smart Home

Ways to Save Money with a Smart HomeNowadays, homeowners are able to enjoy greater comfort and convenience thanks to advancements like smart home technology. Equipping your home with the following upgrades can provide you with significant smart home savings on your energy bills, too:

Intelligent HVAC Controls

Compared to programmable thermostats that make adjustments based on the schedule you input, a smart thermostat fine tunes your HVAC system output by learning your routine and gathering occupancy intelligence. It can tell which rooms are occupied and by how many people, and when no one is at home.

Perceptive Kitchen Appliances

Imagine the potential for smart home savings on energy if you have remote communication with your kitchen appliances. Your fridge could send you an alert if the door gets left open, and the range can warn you if the oven is left on. Plus, all your kitchen appliances can work together to improve efficiency by switching to power-saving mode when they’re not being used.

Energy-Wise Window Treatments

Solar radiation coming through your windows can increase your home’s cooling load considerably, but you may not always remember to close your curtains and blinds. Today, you can have smart film installed that lets the light in but limits heat gain by blocking UVA and UVB radiation, and control it via a smartphone app.

Intuitive Light Bulbs

If you’re concerned about energy waste from lights left on around the house, you can have WiFi-enabled bulbs installed and turn them off remotely from your favorite device. Plus, you can customize your lighting preferences to turn certain lights on before you normally wake up, turn all the lights off when no one is home, or even adjust the brightness at different times of day.

Clever Laundry Equipment

When you own a smart washer, you won’t waste energy rewashing loads of laundry because the appliance senses when you’ve forgotten and tumbles the load so it stays fresh. If the dryer’s energy usage increases due to restricted airflow from a plugged-up lint filter, the machine can alert you instantly.

To learn more energy-smart money-saving tips 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).

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Why Shouldn’t You Shut Rooms to Save Energy?

Why Shouldn't You Shut Rooms to Save Energy?When you’re looking for effective ways to reduce your household utility bills, don’t get taken in by the myth that shutting the air vents in unused rooms saves energy. The truth is, shutting a room won’t lower your energy consumption, and it can cause some serious issues in your home such as:

  • A decline in air output. When some vents are closed, airflow gets restricted in the ducts and pressure increases in the HVAC system. If you have a standard blower with one speed, the fan slows down as the pressure rises, so conditioned air output drops at the open registers.
  • Possible compressor failure. When system airflow slows down, ice will start to build up on the cooling coil of your A/C or heat pump. Coil icing can cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail, which means you’ll have to replace your HVAC system’s most costly component.
  • More duct leakage. Higher system pressure and airflow restrictions can make any unsealed ductwork leaks worse and even create new ones. The loss of conditioned air makes it harder to maintain comfort and increases your energy costs
  • Lost energy savings. If you upgraded to a system with a variable-speed air handler, its electronically computated motor speeds up in response to a system pressure increase. Since it’s using more energy, you lose the savings you’d expect to gain with variable-speed equipment.
  • Heightened safety risks. The higher pressure that results from closing some air vents when you’re operating the furnace can cause damage to the heat exchanger, which increases your risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.

Zoning: A Better Energy-Saving Alternative

Having your HVAC professional install a zoning system is a better way to control your energy use in different areas of your home. Independent heating and cooling zones are created with motorized dampers in the ductwork and dedicated programmable thermostats. The equipment is then connected to one central panel where you program in your desired comfort settings for the entire house.

Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling to learn about better energy-saving alternatives to shutting a room in your Portland home.

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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Here’s What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label Means

Here's What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label MeansWhen you’re shopping for HVAC systems, home appliances, and other consumer products, look for the EnergyGuide label. It’s the yellow label attached to most energy-consuming HVAC systems and appliances. The labels are loaded with valuable information about the energy consumption and efficiency of each product for you to compare.

Look for the Yellow Tag

One of the reasons EnergyGuide labels are so valuable is that they give you a clue as to how much a particular HVAC unit or appliance will cost through its service life. Instead of basing your important repair-or-replace decision based solely on the price tag cost, it’s wiser to compare the total costs for owning a product.

Additionally, higher-efficiency HVAC units and appliances generally provide better service, such as greater comfort, quieter operation, and fewer breakdowns. When you reap the rewards of energy savings month after month, you also help the environment!

Interpreting EnergyGuide Labels

The type of information contained on EnergyGuide labels is basically the same regardless of the product. Moreover, the information is current within one year since manufacturers are required to submit a report annually for all applicable products in production.

  • The type of product, features, capacity, and size, such as “Water Heater — Natural Gas, Capacity (first hour rating); 57 Gallons,” is located in the top left corner of the label.
  • Manufacturer, model, and make are in the top right corner.
  • If you’re shopping for a central air or heat pump system, the efficiency rating is expressed as SEER (cooling) and HSPF (heating) in the middle box. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings indicate higher energy efficiency.
  • A bar graphic is displayed beneath the rated product as it compares to the efficiency of similar products. This easily lets you see how efficient different models are for comparison.
  • The bottom third of the label contains information on the estimated annual energy usage of the product, and the estimated annual operating cost of the product.

Let the EnergyGuide label and our experts at Roth Heating & Cooling help you make the best decisions for your Portland-area home’s HVAC installation. Contact us today to learn more!

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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Here’s How You Can Use Solar Shades to Reduce Your A/C Costs

Here's How You Can Use Solar Shades to Reduce Your A/C CostsSure, it’s cloudy most of the time in Portland but even we can have our hot, sunny spells in summertime. Whenever the sun shines, it causes solar gain in the home. In the winter, that’s not a bad thing, but in summer, it can drive the need to turn down the air conditioner and use more power.

In our environmentally minded city. we like to do all we can to reduce power use, so turning to a low-tech, passive means such as solar shades may appeal to you.

What Are Solar Shades?

These shades block sunlight and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. They’re made of special material that stands up to UV rays over the long term while preventing solar gain. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes, designs, and shapes.

Why Install Solar Shades?

Following are some of the benefits of installing UV-blocking shades.

  • These shades can cut down on heat gain from solar radiation as a factor in driving up your summertime energy use, so that you not only use less power, but also lower your utility costs.
  • While regular window shades and curtains certainly do help block sunlight and keep interior temperatures down in summer, UV-blocking shades have an edge by protecting you and your furnishings from UV rays. UV light over time can cause skin cancer, and can make carpets, drapes, furniture, flooring, and home furnishings fade or discolor.
  • These shades allow you to block sunlight but still see outdoors. And, even though you’ve got a view of the outdoors, solar shades inhibit the ability of passersby to see inside your home.
  • UV-blocking shades cut down on glare, so that on too-sunny days, you don’t need to squint in your own living room.
  • While some homeowners are exploring installing solar screens on the exterior of their windows, UV-blocking shades are more convenient, allowing you to leave shades down or roll them up, depending on the weather. These shades are available with manual or motorized operation.

Want to learn more about solar shades? Contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve served Portland since 1976.

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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Keeping Your Windows Maintained

Keeping Your Windows MaintainedIn the never-ending quest to lower energy bills, sometimes homeowners overlook an important area: their windows. A significant amount of energy can be lost through your windows.

Where does this energy loss come from? Typically, there are two sources:

  1. Air leaks let conditioned air out and unconditioned air in. This forces your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a constant temperature. Air leaks can occur when windows aren’t properly installed. They can also just happen as a result of your house shifting and caulk shrinking over time.
  2. Heat transfer brings the sun’s heat inside in the summer. In the winter, it lets your furnace’s heat escape outside. Since glass has no insulating properties, heat moves through it very easily.

How can you reduce this energy loss? There are several options available.

  • Seal air leaks. This may sound complicated, but it usually just involves caulk and weatherstripping. Apply caulk around your window frames. Since caulk does crack and settle over time, be sure to check your caulk periodically and reapply as needed. Weatherstripping can be used around the window sash to form a seal when it’s closed.
  • Use window treatments. Blinds, curtains, and other types of window treatments make up for the insulation that glass lacks.
  • Shade the outside of the window. Strategically planted trees or shrubs can keep the sun off your window and reduce heat transfer. If plants aren’t an option, awnings provide the same benefit.
  • Use storm windows. Much like caulk and weatherstripping, storm windows help stop air transfer. You can choose from a broad range of different materials, types, and costs for storm windows. Just be sure to install them following the manufacturer’s directions, making sure they’re square with your current windows and form a seal.
  • Upgrade to new, more energy-efficient windows. Not only can new windows give you energy savings, but they can increase your property value, as well. If you decide to investigate this option, use the Energy Star ratings to help you find energy-efficient window choices.

Want to know more about maintaining the windows in your Portland-area home? 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).

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Is Your Skylight an Energy Waster?

Is Your Skylight an Energy Waster?A skylight is a practical way to get a little extra sunshine in Portland’s rainy climate. By making sure your skylights are properly weatherized, you can enjoy the light without drafts and energy loss.

How Your Skylight Can Cost You

Windows account for around 10–15 percent of your home’s heat loss in winter and 30 percent of your heat gain in summer. Skylights are even more problematic because they’re hit with more direct sunlight in summer than windows in the wall receive. In winter, they lose around 40 percent more heat than windows because warm air rises, heading straight for the skylights.

To make matters worse, it’s easy to overlook deteriorating caulk and weatherstripping when it’s up on the ceiling. That increases the chance your skylights will develop air leaks that waste your conditioned air, cause drafts, and let in air contaminants.

Improve a Skylight’s Efficiency

In late autumn and late spring, thoroughly clean your skylights. Cleaning before winter ensures you’ll get the maximum amount of sunlight. Get up on a ladder and inspect the caulk and weatherstripping around your skylights. If you notice the weatherization material is deteriorating, remove it completely and apply new caulk or weatherstripping.

Have your skylights professionally inspected once a year. Some issues, such as damaged flashing, might be obvious, but others take an experienced eye to spot.

Install blinds. These let you control how much light you get on hot days and act as insulation in winter. In fact, blinds increase a skylight’s energy efficiency by nearly 40 percent. Blackout blinds used on a fixed skylight can boost energy efficiency by up to 45 percent.

Applying a low-emissivity film is another option for controlling excess heat coming in. On the down side, these films also reduce heat gain in winter when you might actually want it, cut the amount of light you get, and they aren’t adjustable like blinds.

If you’d like some help improving your home’s weatherization, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland 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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Energy Efficient Reasons to Buy HVAC Products With the Energy Star Logo

Energy Efficient Reasons to Buy HVAC Products With the Energy Star LogoReplacing outdated HVAC equipment with more efficient pieces can be daunting, but help is at hand. Energy Star is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) program for testing and rating appliances, products and practices so homeowners can save money and energy while reducing their carbon footprint. The Energy Star logo can guide your search for equipment that will trim your bills significantly.

Leading the Way to Efficiency

Developed 20 years ago, the EPA’s Energy Star program has helped homeowners and businesses nationwide make more efficient HVAC product choices, saving billions of dollars in energy expenses, while preventing an estimated 2 billion metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment.

The Energy Star label, which signifies that the product exceeds government-mandated minimum standards for efficiency, provides information on energy consumption and estimated annual costs to run the appliance.

Earning the Energy Star Logo

The EPA uses a set of strict guidelines for awarding the Energy Star label. Besides delivering features and performance in line with consumer demands, the products must also be energy efficient. Since Energy Star-rated products usually cost more than similar, more conventional models, the product must be efficient enough to allow consumers to recover the difference in cost through greater energy savings within a reasonable time period. Further, performance and energy consumption must be measured and verified through rigorous testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory and reviewed by a third-party certification process.

HVAC-related products that may bear the Energy Star logo include central air conditioners, ductless heating and cooling systems, water heaters, ventilation fans, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, boilers, furnaces and heat pumps.

Finding Energy Star-Rated Equipment

Ask your HVAC contractor about Energy Star-rated equipment, or look for the blue logo when you shop at a home improvement store. You can also shop for Energy Star-rated products online by using Energy Star as part of your search criteria, or visiting the Energy Star website to see a list of approved equipment.

To learn more about the Energy Star logo, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve been providing great customer service to our Portland-area customers 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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Going on Vacation? Consider These Ways to Save While You’re Away

Going on Vacation? Consider These Ways to Save While You're AwayGetting ready for your summer vacation? Don’t forget to take the time to prepare your home for energy conservation. Keeping your home as energy efficient as possible will help you come home to a comfortable house and a reasonable utility bill. Here’s a look at some of the easiest ways to save while you’re away.

Change Thermostat Settings

Think you should shut down your air conditioner while you’re on vacation? Think again. Doing so will mean that you don’t spend money on cooling your home during your getaway, but it also means your house will become a lot hotter than normal. This can wreak havoc on woodwork and cause your system to work extra hard to restore normal temperatures when you get home.

The smarter solution is to turn the programmable thermostat up by about four or five degrees. This causes the system to cycle on less frequently but won’t allow your home to heat up too much.

Utilize Window Treatments

You can reduce the energy your A/C needs to exude even further by using blinds, curtains and drapes to shade your home and act as a barrier against radiant heat from the sun.

Adjust Refrigerator Settings

For relatively short vacations, consider turning your refrigerator’s thermostat to a slightly warmer setting to save energy. If you’ll be gone for a prolonged period of time, though, it’s probably in your best interest to empty the unit and unplug it entirely. Be sure to leave the door open to prevent mold and mildew.

Unplug Devices

Electrical devices and appliances that are plugged in while not in use are true energy vampires. One of the simplest ways to save while you’re away is to go around and unplug TVs, computers, clocks, and other devices before your departure.

Set Timer Lights

Keep your home safe without wasting energy. Placing security lights on a timer ensures that you don’t build up a hefty bill during vacation.

Contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling to learn more effective ways to save while you’re away this summer. 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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Setting Your Thermostat: Fan On or Auto?

Setting Your Thermostat: Fan On or Auto?Whether you have a standard digital or manual thermostat, or a more advanced programmable or WiFi thermostat, you may have wondered about the fan setting. The “cool” and “heat” settings are obvious, but deciding upon the best fan settings — “on” and “auto” — takes a little more thought. Read on to learn how setting your thermostat fan to “on” or “auto” affects comfort, efficiency and indoor air quality.

Fan “On” or “Auto”: What’s the Difference?

The thermostat settings “cool” and “heat” control the cooling and heating systems and home temperature. The fan settings “on” and “auto” control the operation of the blower after the cooling and heating systems turn off.

Setting the thermostat fan mode to “on” will make the blower run continuously after the cooling or heating system has turned off. “Auto” fan mode turns the blower on and off in time with the cooling and heating systems.

Better Comfort and Efficiency

Running the fan continuously in the “on” setting doesn’t affect comfort very much, unless you just like to hear the HVAC system running. Using ceiling fans in occupied rooms to promote airflow is more practical and uses less energy, so if you want to keep energy bills in check, setting the thermostat fan mode to “auto” is best.

Additionally, by running the blower continuously after the cooling cycle ends, water condensation on the evaporator coil evaporates and returns back to the living spaces to increase indoor humidity.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is an important element of home comfort and health. Many homeowners don’t realize that the indoor air quality of the average home is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Using the “on” setting for continuous airflow helps boost indoor air quality by running airflow through the furnace filter more times.

However, you may still face higher energy bills. The best solution for saving energy and maintaining healthful indoor air quality is a whole-house air purifier.

For more tips on setting your thermostat for the best results, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today. We’ve helped Portland area homeowners with HVAC solutions 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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