Tag Archives: heating system

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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Geralt/Pixabay”

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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Pixel_perfect/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock”