Tag Archives: fall maintenance

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall Allergies

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall AllergiesPortland ranks high among the worst places for airborne allergies, primarily from trees, weeds, and pollen. Fortunately, the best air filters for your HVAC system reduce the irritations that the widespread proliferation of ragweed pollen causes.

Look for its MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The scale runs from 1 to 16 and higher numbers indicate the filter traps smaller particles. Some manufacturers have simplified the scale and label their filters as “good, better, and best.”

Filters with MERV ratings from 1 to 4 are equivalent to the “good” designation. Those rated between 5 and 8 are better, and the highest for residential purposes range between 9 and 12.

Pollen particles are small and will pass through filters with MERV ratings 7 and below. Higher MERV rated filters will capture a higher percentage of these particles. Choose a filter with a better designation or whose MERV rating is 9 or higher.

Words of Caution

Before upgrading the filter for your HVAC system, consult your owner’s manual for the highest rated filter you can use with it. Denser filters slow the air flowing through the air handler and putting a filter inside it that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendation will raise energy bills and may cause system problems.

Many of the best air filters for allergy relief are pleated. They capture more particles because of their greater surface area and denser weave. Because they’re more effective at trapping particles, they need to be checked and replaced more often than lower rated filters.

Running your system with a dirty filter pulls dustier air through the ductwork, which defeats the purpose of using your HVAC system to control pollen and other airborne allergies. Unless the pollen is trapped at the filter, it can continue to circulate through your home’s air wherever else it lands.

Ductwork, carpet, furniture, and window coverings all hang onto these particulates and when they’re disturbed, your allergies may flare up again.

The best air filters can ease your suffering through allergy season and longer. For more information, 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Fall Plumbing Tips to Follow

Fall Plumbing Tips to FollowThe arrival of fall tells us that winter isn’t far away, so it’s time to get your plumbing system ready for colder weather. Following these essential fall plumbing tips can make the task easier.

Put Away Your Garden Hoses

To keep your hoses in good condition so you can use them next year, disconnect and drain each one. Then, roll them up and store them in a spot where they won’t be exposed to freezing temperatures, like the basement.

Winterize Your Outdoor Hose Bib

If your bib is equipped with an indoor shutoff, close it then go outside and open the bib spigot and let any remaining water drain out. Lastly, cover the bib with a foam insulator for an extra layer of protection against freezing and bursting.

Protect Vulnerable Pipes From Freezing

Adding protection to vulnerable water pipes can prevent freezing and let you avoid the headaches of dealing with ruptures and water damage. First, install insulated foam sleeves on pipes situated in unheated areas, like the garage or basement. If you have accessible pipes running through an exterior wall, you should protect them with heat cable that’s controlled by an automatic thermostat.

Perform Water Heater Maintenance

Since you’re tackling plumbing maintenance, it’s the ideal time to drain and flush sediment from your water heater tank, and make sure that the pressure relief valve is functioning properly. You should also adjust the unit’s thermostat setting to 120 degrees, and install insulated foam sleeves on first four feet of hot water piping coming from the tank. If your appliance is older and not well-insulated, you should also add an insulated tank blanket to limit heat losses.

Check Your Sump Pump

To prevent damage from basement flooding and water intrusions during the fall and winter, this is a good time to test your sump pump’s functionality and clear any accumulated debris from the sump pit. If you don’t already have one, invest in a backup battery so your pump works during a power outage.

For help winterizing your Portland-area home with these fall plumbing tips, 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).

4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVAC

4 Ways to Change Seasons with Your HVACNow that the seasons are changing, it’s almost time to make the switch from cooling to heating your home. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can have your home and HVAC system primed for maximum comfort and efficiency throughout the fall and coming winter. Here are four ways to make the transition go smoothly:

1. Check Airflow at the Registers

Closed or obstructed registers can upset pressure balance within the HVAC system and cause a loss of efficiency or even an unexpected equipment shutdown due to overheating. To prevent these issues, make sure that your registers are open and not blocked by furniture, area rugs, long curtains or similar items.

2. Switch Ceiling Fan Direction

During the summer, you likely had your ceiling fan blades set to spin counter-clockwise and push cool air down. Now, you need put the fan speed on low and switch the blade direction button on the housing. This gets the blades turning clockwise, so cooler air at floor level gets drawn up, and warm air is sent back down along the walls.

3. Replace the Air Filter

Transitioning seasons is also the perfect time to check the air filter and replace it if it shows any visible dirt accumulation. Having a fresh filter in place ensures that air can flow freely through the HVAC system, which helps avert the problems caused by restricted airflow.

4. Schedule Heating System Service

A thorough furnace checkup by a certified technician can verify that key components including the blower motor, gas burner, heat exchanger and ventilation flue are working safely and reliably, so your home stays comfortable and there’s less risk of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Allow Ample Time When Transitioning Back and Forth

If you need to switch between cooling and heating to match the fall weather, allow a five-minute break in between mode changes on the thermostat. This lets the system’s refrigerant pressure equalize and averts a sudden shutdown or compressor lockup that trips the breaker.

For help making sure that transitioning seasons goes smoothly 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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Plumbing Upgrades You Need This Season

Plumbing Upgrades You Need This SeasonNow that summer is waning and you’re spending more time indoors again, it’s a good opportunity to make some beneficial plumbing upgrades around your home. Here are five upgrade suggestions that can lower your water and energy bills, increase your comfort and help the environment too:

Invest in a New Water Heater

If your water heater is 10 or more years old, it can be up to 20 percent less efficient than the new appliances on the market. Today’s gas-fired storage tank water heaters are better insulated to reduce standby heat losses, and they offer features like electrical igniters and flu damper controls to curb your gas consumption.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Did you know that faucets and showers account for about one-quarter of the total household water usage in an average home? Installing low-flow fixtures can cut that consumption by 30 to 50 percent and bring you significant savings on your water and energy bills.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Toilet

Replacing the water-guzzling older toilets in your home with high-efficiency models is a great way to reduce your water bills and help the environment too. The latest models include dual-flush toilets that use jet-powered siphonic flushing action to empty the bowl completely while using as little as .9 gallons of water.

Have Pressure-Compensating Valves Installed

Do you notice a distinctly unpleasant pressure and temperature change when you have the shower running and someone flushes or turns on a faucet elsewhere in your home? If you have a pressure-compensating valve installed, you can set it and never experience more than a three-degree temperature change again.

Install a Water Filtration System

If the taste or quality of your home’s water supply is less than ideal, consider adding a point-of-use or whole-house filtration system. A licensed plumber can test your water and help you choose the right system, such as activated-charcoal to remove odors and improve taste, reverse-osmosis to filter out sediment, UV light to kill bacteria and viruses, or a multi-stage system with combined capabilities.

To learn more about plumbing upgrades for 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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Start Your Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it's time to start dealing with your HVAC system's fall maintenance needsIt seems that just as you get accustomed to one season, another one is already here to take its place. Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it’s time to start dealing with your HVAC system’s fall maintenance needs. Here’s what we would suggest you tackle right away:

Hiring an Heating & Cooling Technician

Your heating and cooling equipment should be checked each year for any possible issues that could hurt the system’s efficiency or lifespan. A technician will be able to pinpoint these issues and help maintain the equipment, which will keep your energy costs down and help the system last longer.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Your air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, if neglected debris in the air will eventually clog filters and cause your furnace to stop working properly. This is a do-it-yourself project, that could have lasting effects on your utility bills.

Remove Debris from Outdoor Unit

If your HVAC system includes an outdoor unit, it’s time to walk outside and check on it. There’s a very good chance that it’s covered with anything from leaves to bird nests. Remove what you can by hand and then grab a hose to clean the rest of it off. This is a quick and easy job that will keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.

Switch to a Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat

This piece of advice is good for any time of the year. While your home probably isn’t equipped with one of those antiquated manual models, there’s a good chance that you don’t have one of the newest “smart” thermostats. These devices allow you to make changes on-the-fly so that you can adjust them as needed. Plus, they send reports on usage to help you target your energy bills.

For more fall maintenance assistance or any other home comfort questions, be sure to reach out to the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling, serving the heating and cooling needs of Lake Oswego and the surrounding area 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).

Back-to-School HVAC Tips

Back-to-School HVAC TipsWith the turning of the year in Portland, it’s a good time to make sure that your home will be cozy through the Pacific Northwest’s rainy winter. Now is the time to check over your home HVAC system and make sure that everything is in tip-top shape for the winter months ahead. Here are some of the tasks that should be on your to-do list:

  • Schedule seasonal maintenance. Before you switch your furnace on for the first time, have an HVAC technician come out and have a look at it. Seasonal maintenance can ensure that your system works at its peak efficiency throughout the heating season, and it can also help to detect and head off any potential larger issues.
  • Clean the coils of your air conditioner or heat pump. The indoor an outdoor coils of your A/C or heat pump transfer heat energy from (or into) your home. If they’re dusty, they can’t do so as efficiently, which means that you’ll spend more money on the same amount of cooling or heating.
  • Seal air leaks in your ductwork. Air leaks and insufficient insulation in home air ducts accounts for a 30 percent energy loss in many homes: conditioned air simply never reaches the living areas it’s intended for. Save money and energy by sealing any leaks, and making sure ducts are adequately insulated.
  • Change the air filters for your HVAC system. Clean air filters allow air to flow freely through your system, while clogged filters slow airflow and put strain on your system’s fan motor. That strain can lead to total system failure.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier. High humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus, which can threaten your health and the health of your home. A dehumidifier will help you manage indoor moisture through the rainy months.

If you want to know how you can prepare your home HVAC system for the winter ahead, give us a call 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: “geralt/Pixabay”