Tag Archives: heating

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).

Here Are 3 Reasons Why Your Furnace is Blowing Cold Air

Here Are 3 Reasons Why Your Furnace is Blowing Cold AirYour furnace helps ensure that your Portland home stays warm and toasty in winter, but what happens if it’s only blowing cold air? When you have a furnace cold air problem, it’s important to determine what might be causing it, so you can get heated air flowing again. These are a few possible causes of this heating system issue.

Thermostat Problems

A simple problem with your thermostat could be causing cold air to blow out of your vents when your furnace is on. Check the setting on your thermostat to see if it is set to the “auto” position instead of the “on” position. The “on” position causes the fan to run constantly, but this won’t produce heated air.

Pilot Light

Gas furnaces have a small flame that burns all the time and helps them ignite. If you have a gas furnace, check the pilot light to see if it is lit. When the pilot light goes out, your furnace isn’t able to blow heated air. Instead, you’ll just feel cold air coming out of your vents. If the pilot light went out, carefully relight it so you’ll be able to heat your home again.

Dirty Air Filter

The air filter in your furnace helps trap dust and other particles, which allows it to heat your home efficiently. When this filter becomes covered in debris, it makes it harder for air to flow through to your furnace. This can end up putting your furnace in danger of overheating, which can result in the burners automatically shutting off for safety reasons. Check your air filter, and replace it with a new one if it’s coated with dust and debris.

If none of these are causing your furnace cold air problem, it’s time to call in professional HVAC technicians to check it. These HVAC experts can determine the cause of this problem and take steps to fix it.

If you have a furnace cold air problem this winter or if your heating system needs other repairs, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We offer dependable heating and cooling services 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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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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Is Radiant Flooring the Best Choice for Your Home?


Is Radiant Flooring the Best Choice for Your Home?
In Portland’s chilly, wet winters, a heating system that infuses your home with an even, draft-free warmth can be a real comfort. While radiant flooring is a good choice if you want this kind of warmth, it’s better suited to some situations than others.

Why Choose Radiant Floor Heating?

A forced-air system, such as a furnace, blows warm air into the room, which quickly rises to the ceiling. A radiant floor system gives off heat that directly warms people and furniture. This type of heat makes you feel warmer overall, allowing you to set a lower thermostat temperature to save energy.

No blowing air also means fewer airborne contaminants such as dust and mold spores, a plus if you experience allergies or asthma. With no motor or air moving through ducts, radiant floors are also quieter than forced-air systems. With no air vents to worry about, you can place your furniture and rugs anywhere.

Consider Your Options

Most homes with radiant flooring use either a hydronic (water) or electric design. A hydronic system uses tubes under the floor to circulate hot water produced by a boiler. The energy-efficiency of boiler heating makes hydronic systems suitable for heating the whole house. If the pipes aren’t installed during the home’s construction, however, the floor must be removed to install them.

In an electric system, pads embedded with electric heating cables are installed under the floor. Considering the relatively high cost of electric heating, these systems are best kept to a limited area, such as the bathroom. Some designs can be installed without removing the floor as long as the floor is accessible from underneath via the basement or crawl space.

Radiant flooring systems require a floor covering that holds and transmits heat well without suffering heat damage. Tile, stone, laminate, some types of vinyl flooring and even concrete are all options. You’ll want to avoid hardwood and thick carpet, though.

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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Propane vs. Electricity: Comparing the Operating Costs

Propane vs. Electricity: Comparing the Operating Costs Choosing between propane and electricity to fuel your home heating system often comes down to the cost of both options. In our climate, using a propane furnace or a heat pump that utilizes electricity can be an efficient and dependable way to heat your home.

Energy Produced

A gallon of propane produces around 27 kilowatts (kWs) of electricity. According to Portland General Electric (PGE), each kW (not including taxes or fees) you use under 1,000 per month on a standard plan costs $06.5 and anything over 1,000 costs $07.22. The cost of 27 kWs is $1.75 if you keep usage under 1,000 kWs for the month and $1.94 if you exceed the 1,000 kW threshold.

Current Costs

Although propane costs vary by provider, the national average for a gallon of propane as of March 2014 was $3.08. The current cost of an equivalent amount of electricity from PGE (minus service charges, taxes and fees) is $1.75.

Efficiency

The heating efficiency of propane and electricity is measured differently. Propane furnaces carry AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings that indicate how much fuel is used to heat your home and the proportion that’s wasted as combustion gases. The most efficient furnaces available have efficiency ratings close to 99 percent, which means the system only wastes 1 percent of the fuel it uses.

A heat pump’s efficiency is measured by how many units of heat it produces based on the amount of energy it uses. The current minimum HSPF (heating season performance factor) stands at 8.2. A typical heat pump offers 300 percent efficiency because it produces three units of heat per unit of energy it uses. A combustion system can never attain efficiency greater than 100 percent.

To learn more about heating with propane and electricity, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been providing exceptional HVAC 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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