Tag Archives: heating system

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Heat Pump

Retrieving data. Wait a few seconds and try to cut or copy again.Heat pumps offer a more energy-efficient way to keep your Portland home warm when it’s cold out. If you have this type of heating system, it’s important to keep the following information in mind.

Heat Pumps Are Programmable

You can make your heat pump even more energy-efficient by using it with a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat makes it easy for you to adjust the temperature inside your home on a regular basis. All you need to do is program the thermostat to increase or decrease by a few degrees at certain times in order to save energy. For example, you can have your programmable thermostat drop a few degrees at night while you’re asleep or during the day when you’re at work. Your heating system won’t run as often during these times, which reduces energy usage, utility bills and wear and tear on your heating system.

Heat Pumps Need Regular Maintenance

Heat pumps are much more efficient than gas furnaces, but they need routine maintenance in order to stay this way. Regular maintenance helps catch potential problems early and ensures that your heat pump is in good condition for the heating season.

Heat Pumps Have a Defrost Cycle

If you notice what looks like smoke coming from your outdoor heating unit, don’t panic. Heat pumps often produce steam when they go into defrost mode during winter. When the defrost cycle is on, the auxiliary heat inside your home might come on to ensure that your home stays warm.

Heat Pumps Cool Homes

Heat pumps aren’t just for heating homes. They also keep them cool during summer. Your heat pump provides your home with comfort all year long, whether it’s hot or cold out. Keep in mind that this means your heat pump will also need routine maintenance during the summer months. This helps it stay efficient when it’s cooling your home.

If your heat pump needs service or repairs this season, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide prompt, reliable HVAC services for customers in and around 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).  

Winter Furnace Efficiency: Achieving Comfort for Less

Winter Furnace Efficiency: Achieving Comfort for LessIn the chilly, rainy Portland winters, any steps you take toward improving furnace efficiency pays off in terms of comfort and savings. Better yet, most of the improvements you can make are easy and affordable.

Help Your Furnace Do its Job

One of the best things you can do to improve your furnace efficiency is to seal up any leaks in your duct system. In the average home, the ducts lose as much as 20 percent of the air they carry through leaks. Inspect your exposed ducts and make sure the sealing around the joints is free of damage. Replace any damaged sealing. Look for holes in flexduct and fiberglass ducts. These should be patched or the flexduct replaced.

If you’re not using a programmable thermostat, consider switching. These themostats let you set energy-efficient temperatures for certain times of the day so you won’t waste energy by forgetting to turn the heat down when you’re out or in bed.

If a hard-to-heat part of the house is making you turn up your thermostat more than you’d really like, consider having a zoned system installed. This will let you direct more heat to the parts of the house that need it.

Stay Current on Maintenance

Even one season of neglecting maintenance will affect your furnace efficiency. Change your air filter on time, which is usually once a month for low-efficiency fiberglass models. Once or twice a year, take the covers off your air registers and vents, and clean them to remove dust buildup. Then vacuum out the inside of the duct behind them using your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment.

Every year, schedule a professional furnace inspection. Over the heating season, your furnace collects dust and can develop issues such as loose wires, a dirty burner, a wobbly blower fan, and other wear that brings down its efficiency. A heating and cooling technician can access areas of your heating system you can’t to clean and make repairs.

For help maximizing your furnace efficiency, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling anywhere around Portland.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

New Year, New HVAC Maintenance Tasks

New Year, New HVAC Maintenance TasksNow that the hectic holiday season is over, you have a chance to catch your breath and enjoy some downtime. This mid-winter lull is also a good opportunity to give your HVAC system some attention. Here’s a handy checklist of HVAC maintenance tasks that can keep your system operating reliably and efficiently throughout the remainder of the winter:

Replace Your Air Filter

Ideally, you should be checking the filter once a month over the winter and putting in a fresh one whenever you see signs of debris accumulation. This is a chore that’s easy to neglect when you’re busy getting prepared for the holidays, so if you missed your December check, make it a priority now. A clean filter is important because it keeps your heating system running efficiently and lowers the risk of airflow restrictions that can cause overheating and an unexpected system shut down.

Clean Up Around Your Outdoor Unit

If you have a heat pump, now’s a good time to get rid of collected debris around the outdoor unit that might negatively affect its performance and energy efficiency. Pick a mild day and head outdoors to clear away any dead vegetation, missed fallen leaves, twigs or broken branches. Then, rinse off the condenser coil with lukewarm water to remove any buildup of dust that can interfere with efficient heat transfer.

Give Your HVAC Registers Some TLC

Clean, open and unobstructed vents and cold air returns ensure even heating and consistent temperatures from room to room in your home, and they help maintain good system airflow so your heating equipment operates efficiently. Giving the vents the attention they deserve is easy: simply take your vacuum along and visit each room to clean and check each vent/return grille.

Replace Your Thermostat Batteries

Your thermostat runs on electricity, so it’s easy to forget about replacing its backup batteries. Putting fresh batteries in periodically is important, though, because it lets the thermostat retain your programming and temperature settings when there’s a power outage.

For more expert advice about HVAC maintenance for your Portland-area 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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Winter Checklist: Maintaining Your Furnace 

Winter Checklist: Maintaining Your Furnace Maintaining your furnace during the winter keeps it running smoothly efficiently. It’s easy to take this hard working appliance for granted, but like all mechanical systems, it needs periodic attention to run at its best.

Schedule a Professional Service Check

The energy efficiency and durability of your furnace improves when a professional HVAC technician goes through it annually. The service includes thorough cleaning of the burner and the ignition system, as well as adjusting the air to fuel ratio based on the manufacturer’s specifications.

The technician will check all the safety switches to make sure they’re fully functional, as well as checking the gas lines and exhaust venting. The blower motor may require lubrication and the belt might need adjustment or replacement.

Check and Change the Air Filter

Checking and changing the air filter monthly will keep your system running as efficiently as possible. When the filters get dirty, the air flowing through the air handler slows down, and it will take the furnace longer to heat your home.

Dust also collects on the parts inside the air handler, which reduces their efficiency and can lead to system problems. It’s particularly serious when it covers the heat exchanger. When dust covers this part, it acts as insulation and keeps it warmer than the manufacturer intended.

Over time, the metal can crack, which may force an entire system replacement. Cracked heat exchangers may emit carbon monoxide (CO) into the air, which is a safety hazard, largely avoidable by maintaining the furnace and keeping the air filter clean.

Clean the Registers

Over the winter, keep an eye on the register covers. Clean them when they’re dirty and note any areas of excessive dust, which could indicate ductwork leaks. Leaks need to be repaired quickly to prevent high heating costs and keep indoor air quality high. All the ducts should be open and remove anything that blocks the free flow of air.

Each of these suggestions for maintaining your furnace will help it keep your home comfortable and lower your heating costs. For more information, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing top-notch 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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Benefits of a Smart Heating System

Benefits of a Smart Heating SystemThe increasingly high cost of heating a home makes it vital to look for ways to improve HVAC system efficiency. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, there are smart heating systems available that can fine-tune your energy usage, reduce your HVAC operating costs and give you a more comfortable home environment.

Smart Heating System Basics

Smart systems combine the latest and best in intelligent controls with the most technologically-advanced equipment offerings. The result is a heating system that’s ultra reliable, efficient, intuitive and responsive. Some of the key components used in today’s smart systems that can give you unparalleled control and convenience include:

  • Learning thermostats
  • Variable-speed air handlers
  • Variable-capacity furnaces
  • Intelligent zoning

Smart Heating Capabilities and Benefits

A learning thermostat like the NEST PRO or the IComfort from Lennox is the central component in a smart heating system, and it gives you the ability to access, program and make heating adjustments from anywhere via an easy-to-use app. These adaptive, intelligent thermostats have capabilities that go well beyond basic remote accessibility, however, and can also:

  • Make maintenance hassle-free. A smart thermostat continuously monitors your system’s operation and reminds you about replacing the air filter, scheduling preventive maintenance and can alert you and your HVAC company if problems arise that need attention.
  • Provide optimal functionality. Your intelligent thermostat can communicate directly with other system components like the variable-speed air handler and multi-stage furnace to provide effortless oversight of your comfort and energy consumption.
  • Boost air quality automatically. Intuitive thermostats can monitor outdoor pollen counts and indoor humidity levels and take steps like starting up the appropriate system component to filter the air or maintain a healthy humidity level.
  • Streamline heating in multi-level/larger homes. If you have an intelligent zoning system installed, your thermostat can also monitor and adjust heating in specific areas based on occupancy and use.
  • Make saving energy intuitive. An intelligent heating system can use the GPS in your smartphone to detect when you’re home and away and make adjustments to the warm air output accordingly.

To learn more about smart heating options for your Sherwood OR area 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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Tips to Heat Cold Rooms in Your Home

Tips to Heat Cold Rooms in Your HomeAs the colder months of the year take hold, it gets more difficult to keep your home warm. There are often rooms that stay cold no matter how long you run your primary heating equipment. Today, we’re going to show you some ways that you can heat cold rooms by improving your system’s efficiency and airflow, along with a few alternative heating solutions.

Contact a Technician

Before the winter season begins each year, it’s important to schedule an annual check-up by a certified technician. This will ensure the best efficiency possible.

Replace the Air Filter

As dirt and debris make their way through your home’s heating system, the air filter that keeps it from being recirculated back into your home quickly gets clogged up. Check the filter each month and once it gets dirty, put it in a new one.

Check the Registers

If air isn’t allowed to flow freely through your registers, it’ll be more difficult to heat cold rooms around your home. Check the registers to make sure they’re open and unblocked.

Use Duct-Booster Fans

If your home is heated via forced-air, attaching duct-booster fans to the registers will allow you to increase the airflow. This will heat your home faster and more efficiently.

Install Solar Panels

The use of solar energy is a great way to lower energy usage and cut your monthly bills. The initial cost may scare you a bit, but the application of renewable energy that will last for at least a couple of decades is well worth the cost.

Install Radiant Floor Heating

Rather than rely on heated air from above, turn your attention to heated floors below. This type of heating is easy to install and can be used on various types of flooring, such as tile, laminate, and carpet.

If you’re looking for more advice on how to heat cold rooms, or if you have any other home comfort concern, be sure to contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of 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). 

3 Common Heat Exchanger Problems

Close up tube or coil of heat exchangerWhen it comes to the safe operation of your furnace, there’s one component that plays a vital role: the heat exchanger. This coil of metal tubing is what keeps combustion fumes contained so they go out the exhaust vent pipe. If problems develop with this critically-important device, those noxious fumes that contain carbon monoxide and other harmful gases can escape and enter the warm air that’s being distributed through the ductwork in your home.

Here are three problems that commonly occur with heat exchangers and how to address them:

1. Rust and Corrosion

Heat exchangers can corrode and rust out due to excess condensation inside the furnace. Mostly, this is a problem with high-efficiency condensing furnaces. When the system is working properly, the condensate is expelled through a built-in drainage system. If the drain line gets partially blocked, the furnace still operates, but condensation can’t flow out freely and will gradually rust out the heat exchangers, allowing fumes to escape through holes in the metal. Condensation can also cause similar problems in a lower-efficiency furnace if the exhaust flue pipe is too small.

2. Age-Related Deterioration

Furnace heat exchangers are designed durably to withstand repeated cycles of heating up and cooling down over a long service life. With advancing age, the expansion and contraction that occurs will cause metal fatigue and small cracks will form in the material. When this happens, the furnace will need replacement.

3. Premature Metal Failure

Under certain conditions metal fatigue can happen prematurely, which means a costly early replacement of the furnace. The underlying cause may be insufficient system airflow or burner irregularities, but both result in overheating of the metal.

Preventing Problems With The Heat Exchanger

For safety and peace of mind, it’s wise to stay ahead of developing heat exchanger-related problems by having a trained HVAC technician inspect your furnace annually. An experienced technician will clean the components, check for adequate airflow, make any necessary burner adjustments and inspect the heat exchanger for wear and damage.

To have your furnace heat exchanger inspected, contact the Portland home comfort pros 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). 

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace Maintenance

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace MaintenanceThe benefits of furnace maintenance far outweigh its cost on many levels. Although it does cost money, the amount is small compared to the benefits a well-tuned system gives you.

Having your furnace serviced by a pro annually will:

Lower heating bills.

The efficiency you gain from a tuned-up furnace is well worth the small cost of having it professionally serviced each year. Dust and sooty deposits on the furnace’s parts lowers their efficiency.

The technician will look for abnormal amounts of soot inside the furnace and trace the possible causes. A dirty heat exchanger slows the heat transfer to the incoming air, which makes your furnace run longer.

Run safely.

All gas furnaces have safety features that prevent them from malfunctioning. The service technician will check their condition and ensure that they’re fully functional. They also use meters to measure the electrical flow, and verify that the gas lines are tight.

They’ll check carbon monoxide (CO) levels along with inspecting the condition of the chimney or flue. Any cracks or blockages can back up CO and other exhaust gases indoors.

Have fewer repair costs.

As the technician cleans and adjust your system, he or she will spot small problems that could escalate if left unattended. A motor that runs without enough lubrication will fail faster, and dust buildups burn out electrical components.

Last longer.

Without adequate maintenance, the wear and tear on all the parts increases and it takes years off the lifetime of your heating system. It’s particularly hard on the heat exchanger. As dust covers it, it will stay hot longer, which weakens the metal from which it is made.

Over time, cracks form that can leak CO into your home’s air. An HVAC or gas company technician has to disable a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. You won’t be able to use it until it’s repaired or the system completely replaced.

Investing in furnace maintenance has tangible benefits for your comfort and safety. 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). 

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Do You Smell That? Common Heating System Odors

Do You Smell That? Common Heating System OdorsA home heating system in good condition will not only operate quietly and efficiently, it will also operate without producing any odors. If you detect unusual odors coming from your heating system, don’t panic. Here is a brief description of common heating system odors in approximate order from most to least serious:

Rotten egg odor

Natural gas used in heating systems is odorless, so gas companies add a chemical to cause the rotten egg smell. If the odor is faint, it may go away quickly. If the odor is strong, however, it may mean a gas leak. Open windows to provide ventilation, shut off your heating system if possible, and leave your house immediately. Call your gas company or fire department for help.

Smoke or burning smells

The odor of burning wires, plastic insulation, or other material inside the system could indicate overheating. The smell (and worse, the sight) of smoke could indicate severe overheating or even a fire. Shut the system off until the source of the odor is located by your HVAC professional.

Electrical “ozone” smell

This odor can indicate overheating as well as problems with motors, wiring, or electrical components. It can indicate the pending failure of a blower motor. Again, the system should be shut down and the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Burning dust smell

This odor is common when heating systems are first started after being idle over the summer. Dust that accumulates on system components could get hot when the system operates and cause this smell. It will usually stop within a few cycles of the heating system.

Dead animal or carrion smell

It is possible for small animals such as mice to get into the heating system or ductwork and die, producing a carrion odor. The smell should go away once the dead animal is found and removed.

Since 1976, Roth Heating and Cooling has served the HVAC needs of customers in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on heating system odors, what they mean, and what you can do about them.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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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