Tag Archives: heating system

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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Why Now Is the Best Time to Replace Your Furnace

If your furnace is getting older and struggled to keep your home comfortably warm this past winter, now is a good time to consider upgrading. Why should a homeowner replace a furnace now instead of waiting until the fall? Because scheduling your furnace replacement this spring has a number of advantages, like the following:

Slow Time Savings

Every year, there’s a lull between heating and cooling seasons when HVAC contractors aren’t as busy. These companies want to keep their technicians working steadily through these slow periods, so they usually offer discounts on new equipment purchases and installations. Planning your furnace replacement now can now only save you money on the upfront cost, and it also comes with the bonus of flexible scheduling since your HVAC contractor isn’t fully booked up.

No Discomfort or Inconvenience

Now that the outdoor temperatures are warming up, there’s less risk of discomfort or inconvenience from a lack of home heating while you’re having a new furnace installed. If your cooling system is aging, it’s also a good time to talk about a package deal with your HVAC contractor to have a new air conditioner installed too. By having both systems updated now, you can reap the benefits of greater comfort and energy efficiency all year long.

Ample Time for Comparisons

If you have to replace failed heating equipment unexpectedly at the height of the season, you’ll have to a rush to choose your new furnace. Since there’s no need for heating right now, you have lots of time to compare features like variable-speed blowers, EMC motors, modulating gas valves, multi-stage burners or smart controls and make an informed choice.

Easier Financial Planning

Since you’re not in hurry, you’ll also have an opportunity to investigate different ways of financing your equipment purchase that won’t strain your budget. Spring is traditionally tax refund time too, so you might have extra cash on hand to put toward the cost of a new furnace.

To learn more reasons why spring is the ideal time to replace a furnace, contact the Wilsonville-area home comfort pros at 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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Are Home Space Heaters Dangerous?

Are Home Space Heaters Dangerous?Home space heaters can be a boost to your all-round comfort in winter. They can also help you save money, by providing spot warming so you can keep the furnace thermostat lower. But any auxiliary heater has its hazards. Learn how to use them — but with care.

The Hazards of Space Heaters

Space heaters are the cause of as many as 18,000 residential fires annually in the U.S. Most of the time those fires occur because a home’s residents are using them improperly.

Whether a space heater is powered by electricity or combustion, improper use can lead to injury or death. Electric heaters are often the source of fires because of frayed cords, or from overheating due to plugging into an extension cord. Setting a heater too close to combustible materials may also result in fires.

Improperly vented combustion-powered heating may be the source of toxic fumes; without venting, a heater powered by natural gas, propane or kerosene should never be used indoors.

Safety First

If you plan to use an auxiliary heater to either warm a room or provide spot heating, be sure you adhere to some basic precautions:

  1. Never buy a heater without a safety grill, all its knobs and controls, feet and sensors to shut off the appliance in case it tips over. Dispose of old heaters without these features. Dispose of old heaters with frayed cords.
  2. Never operate an electric-powered heater in a wet room, such as a bathroom.
  3. Set heaters on level surfaces. Do not set them on combustible surfaces.
  4. Never place anything on top of a space heater.
  5. Don’t use auxiliary heaters in a child’s room.
  6. Position room heaters away from foot traffic.
  7. Run the power cord over the carpet, not under it.
  8. Turn space heaters off when you go to bed. Unplug them when you leave the house.
  9. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly.
  10. Purchase “UL Listed” heaters. The Underwriters Laboratory mark guarantees they have been tested for safety.

For more on proper use of space heaters, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We provide quality service to our Portland customers.

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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What is That Furnace Odor?

What is That Furnace Odor?A reliably working furnace is a must if you expect to stay comfortable in Portland’s chilly, wet winters, so a funny furnace smell can be a little unsettling. While some of these odors can be safely ignored, others require immediate attention.

Dust and Must

When your furnace kicks on for the first time in fall, you might notice the smell of burning dust. During the off season, dust settles on your furnace’s heat exchanger. When the system heats up again, the dust burns off. The odor is nothing to worry about and should disappear within a few hours.

The smell of must or mildew is also relatively common when a furnace first starts up for the season. Sometimes this happens when a little mold collects in the air ducts, the air filter or the humidifier while the system isn’t in use. If the odor doesn’t go away within a day and you know your filter and humidifier are clean, then you might have a serious mold problem in your ducts or elsewhere. Contact a technician for a duct inspection.

Urgent Issues

The odor of sulfur or rotten eggs means natural gas is leaking from somewhere. Open a window, get out of the house, and immediately contact your gas company. The smell of formaldehyde suggests a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to a carbon monoxide leak. Turn your furnace off and call a technician.

If you smell hot or burning plastic, wires or rubber, your furnace could be close to catching fire. Turn it off and contact a technician. This type of furnace smell is usually caused by an overheating component or damaged wiring. Address the problem early and you can prevent further damage to your furnace.

The smell of smoke coming from an oil furnace is sometimes due to a dirty oil filter, nozzle or flue connector, or a blocked chimney. If you also hear banging or rumbling sounds, though, shut off the furnace and call for service.

If a strange furnace smell is bothering you, contact us for guidance 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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Everything You Need to Know About Heat Exchangers

Everything You Need to Know About Heat ExchangersHeat exchangers are found in all types of equipment, from refrigerators and air conditioners, to smoke stacks to diesel engines. But when we talk about the heat exchanger in your furnace, we mean a specific type of technology. Following is a brief explanation of what the heat exchanger in your furnace does.

Your Furnace’s Heat Exchanger

All heat exchangers perform the same function — that of moving heat from one fluid (a liquid or a gas) to another, but depending on the technology, they work in different ways.

The furnace heat exchanger uses fuel — propane, natural gas or oil — to create heat. The blower motor or fan then projects air over the heat exchanger and into your home’s ductwork, which distributes it throughout the home. Pretty simple, right?

To explain a little more in depth, the burners ignite and produce combustion gases. The gases are sent into the exchanger, where heat from the gases is transferred onto the walls of the heat exchanger.

As the gases cool, the draft inducer blower directs them into venting pipes and they are exhausted from the home. This takes place at the same time the hot air from the combustion gases is picking up heat from the heat exchanger walls, prior to being distributed through the ductwork.

What Can Go Wrong With the Heat Exchanger

Over time, a heat exchanger can develop cracks from the repeated heating and cooling of the metal. When this occurs, carbon monoxide may start leaking out. That said, modern heat exchangers are built with many improved safety features over old models, so malfunctions that can endanger your household are rare.

Annual maintenance on a furnace should include inspection of the heat exchanger for cracks. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home to ensure that accumulations from any malfunctioning combustion appliances do not mount to dangerous levels.

If you would like to know more about heat exchangers in particular or any of your other HVAC system parts, we can answer your questions. Contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We have served Portland 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).

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Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby Home

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby HomeNow that winter is approaching, it’s time to take smart steps to protect your family from hazards like carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, and prevent unnecessary damage to your home. Taking the following winter home safety precautions can keep you warm and secure throughout the heating season.

Schedule Heating System Service

To ensure that your heating system operates reliably and safely this winter, have it inspected, cleaned, and tuned up by an experienced HVAC technician. During routine maintenance, your technician performs vital safety-related tasks, like checking the condition of the heat exchanger, testing system safety controls, checking the electrical wiring and tightening the connections, and inspecting and cleaning the burner.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that’s a byproduct of incomplete combustion in fuel-burning equipment like your gas furnace. You can’t see, taste or smell the gas, so your only warning of its presence is the alarm on a functional CO detector. To make sure your detectors are working properly, put fresh batteries in each one and test them once a month. If any of your CO detectors fails to beep when tested, replace it immediately.

Clean Up Around the Furnace

If you have items stored near the furnace that are flammable or may block airflow, move them. Combustibles like paint thinner, charcoal lighter fluid, and any products in aerosol cans should be stored in a ventilated location that’s nowhere near the furnace.

Have the Furnace Flue Cleaned

Have a chimney sweep clean out the flue to remove built-up soot and debris that might cause a blockage, so harmful combustion fumes can vent properly.

Protect Your Vulnerable Water Pipes

Frozen, burst water lines can cause considerable mess and costly damage. To keep pipes from freezing, drain the water line to your outdoor faucet and shield it with an insulated cover. If you have water pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, garage or crawl space, wrap them in foam insulation sleeves or self-regulating heat tape.

To learn more winter home safety tips for your Portland-area home, or to schedule heating system maintenance, 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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Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler Weather

Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler WeatherThe major components of winter comfort include a home’s heating system, the water heater and the windows. Increasing the energy efficiency of each of these will cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

  • Have your heating system serviced. Having an HVAC professional maintain your furnace or heat pump will cut energy consumption. The cleaning and adjustments technicians make improve efficiency and safety. Running a system that’s dirty or out of adjustment not only increases energy bills, but it also creates premature and unnecessary wear.
  • Turn down the thermostat. The ideal indoor temperature ranges from 68 to 78 degrees. In the winter, consider lowering the daytime temperature to 68 and reduce it even more at night. Use warmer bedding and clothing to make up the difference. A programmable thermostat will take all the effort out of adjusting the temperature daily.
  • Tend to the water heater. Depending on your family size, heating water could be the second-highest energy expenditure during the winter. The water heater is often the most neglected appliances in homes, but it’s easy to improve its energy efficiency by turning down its temperature to 120 degrees. Not only will it consume less energy, it will also last longer.
    Draining a few quarts from the bottom of the tank two or three times a year also improves its performance and increases its durability. Wrapping it with an insulating blanket, found at home improvement centers, cuts its energy usage.
  • Deal with the windows. Unless you have Energy Star or thermal-rated windows, you can lose a lot of heat through the glass and frames. Glass has almost no ability to resist heat transfer, and metal frames conduct heat outdoors readily. Closing the window coverings at night and opening them when it’s sunny will help cut those thermal losses. Poorly sealed windows let in cold drafts that caulk or weatherstripping can stop.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC and plumbing services for Portland-area homeowners 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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Your Furnace Replacement: Key Questions for Your Contractor

Your Furnace Replacement: Key Questions for Your ContractorReplacing the furnace in your Portland area home is a decision most homeowners don’t make lightly. It’s a sizable investment that will affect your comfort for years to come. You’ll want to do your research and ask questions to determine the best furnace fit for your needs. When you speak with your heating contractor, ask these furnace replacement questions. They’ll help you gain the information you need to make the right choice. Continue reading