Tag Archives: home comfort

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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Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your Home

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your HomeDo you dust and vacuum your home frequently but cleaning up the dust never remedies the problem? The reason why your home gets dusty again too quickly may be due to specific issues with your HVAC system, such as:

  • Leaky ductwork: When the ductwork that distributes your conditioned air isn’t airtight, all sorts of particles can get pulled into the HVAC system from unfinished spaces like the attic and wall cavities. This means that particles like bits of drywall, pest droppings, insect body parts, insulation fibers and similar debris gets sent out through the ductwork into your home every time the blower fan cycles on.
  • Inadequate filtration: If you use a thin fiberglass filter in your HVAC system, you might notice that it rarely looks dirty or needs replacement. This is a sure sign that the filter isn’t capturing the smaller particles that contribute to household dust like pollen, animal dander, skin cells, microscopic mites, bits of soil, paper/textile fibers and human and animal hair. Instead, these particles are bypassing the filter, getting into the air handler unit and being continually redistributed through your home.

Effective HVAC-Related Dust Remedies

Giving the HVAC system some attention by taking the following steps can often help remedy a problem with excessive dust.

  • Have an HVAC pro inspect the ductwork to determine if there are significant leaks due to deficiencies and damage, like disconnected or crushed sections and holes or gaps, and have any such issues repaired.
  • Get the ductwork professionally sealed so debris from unconditioned areas can’t get drawn in.
  • Upgrade to a pleated filter with the highest recommended MERV rating mentioned in your equipment owner’s manual.
  • Change your air filter It should be checked once a month and replaced when there is any visible sign of dust accumulation.
  • Make sure that you install the air filter in the right direction and that it’s all the way into its slot, so air can’t be easily pulled in around it.

To learn more effective dust remedies to keep your Portland-area home cleaner and improve your air quality, 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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How to Upgrade Your Kitchen Ventilation

How to Upgrade Your Kitchen VentilationHow’s the ventilation in your kitchen? Consider yourself lucky if your kitchen range is ventilated to the outdoors. That’s the best way to get rid of irritating smoke and water vapor, which can add humidity in your home, making you feel uncomfortable and even causing issues with mold and mildew. If you don’t have adequate kitchen ventilation, maybe it’s time to look into it.

Types of Kitchen Ventilation

The most favored type of kitchen ventilation is of the updraft design. These use a blower to inhale cooking vapors, then push them through a duct which, we hope, exhausts the vapors through the roof rather than the attic. These are likely to be in the form of hoods or canopies, purchased separately from the stove.

The downdraft type draws cooking vapors across the surface of the range, and down through a duct that exhausts to the outdoors. These are likely to be integrated into the cooking appliance’s surface. The main drawback in using them is that they do not rise more than 10 inches above the surface of the range, and so cannot capture steam from a tall pot. They are usually chosen when they are to be incorporated into an island where the homeowner doesn’t want a view blocked, or in a kitchen with a high ceiling, where ductwork would be too high to work effectively in the updraft model.

Whichever type you choose, be sure that it can move the volume of air you will need to move in relation to the heat output of your range. Your ventilation specialist can help you calculate this.

Installing Kitchen Ventilators

If you have an older house, you may already have ducts in place that can accommodate the installation of new, upgraded kitchen ventilation. If the ductwork isn’t in the right position to accommodate a new range hood or canopy, you will have to move it. Unless you’re an accomplished DIYer, you may need a ventilation and ductwork specialist to advise you on installation.

For more on kitchen ventilation, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve Portland and the surrounding 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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How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your Home

How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your HomeIn our region, high humidity in the home can be a problem. In summer when the air is warm, it will hold more moisture and make us feel warmer than we need to. That means turning the air conditioner down just to feel comfortable. Any time of the year, high humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew and fungus, which can destroy paper, drywall, paint and other materials — plus, it’s unhealthful to breathe these pollutants.

The best way to control humidity is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Under most circumstances, your A/C performs that function adequately, but if you have an excessively moist home, it can be overwhelmed.

Learn how to reduce humid conditions with the following tips and maybe you’ll see results that will help you until you can plan for a dehumidifier.

Tips for Reducing Too-Humid Conditions

  1. Sequester plants. Having lots of plants in the home is a lovely way to decorate and to improve air quality, but plants also raise moisture levels. Round them up and move them to one room.
  2. Keep your air filter clean. A dirty air filter won’t do as good a job allowing proper air flow into your HVAC system. Slower air flow can mean the system won’t dehumidify the air as effectively. Change the air filter frequently.
  3. Take shorter showers. If you live with several people, long and frequent showering can up moisture in the air significantly. Ask people to take shorter showers. Crack the window and run a fan so the humidity can escape.
  4. Install kitchen or bathroom ventilation. Ventilation exhaust fans are not expensive to purchase or install, and they do a a great job of removing moisture from bathrooms and around the kitchen range.
  5. Fix leaks asap. As soon as you realize a faucet, a pipe, the attic or ceiling is leaking water, fix the leak so you prevent flooding and lower moisture levels. Also be vigilant about the HVAC’s condensate drain; a plugged drain can also boost air moisture.

To learn more about lowering humidity, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of 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).

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Considering Improving Your Home’s IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here’s What to Know

Considering Improving Your Home's IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here's What to KnowYou may not spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of the air inside your home. However, clean air can help keep everyone in the home healthy. It has even greater benefits for allergy sufferers and for those with breathing difficulties. Improving your indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a fairly easy task that offers a great return on your investment.

What Affects IAQ?

The quality of your air can be affected by many factors. If you have smokers or pets in the home, if you have pollen-bearing plants in your yard or neighborhood, or if there’s a major roadway nearby, your air may not be as clean as you’d want it to be. Other factors affecting IAQ include having lots of dust in the air or high levels of humidity that might encourage mold growth.

What Improves IAQ?

The first, and simplest, fix for your IAQ is a good filter for your HVAC system. If you replace it regularly, a filter will catch many of the larger allergens and contaminants that get into your home.

Filters aren’t sufficient to catch the smallest particles, however. They also don’t do much about mold or mildew growth inside your ducts or around your A/C’s evaporator coil.

To take care of these contaminants, many homeowners opt to install UV, or ultraviolet, lights inside their ducts or near their evaporator coils. These lights work at a wavelength that attacks bacteria and mold spores. The lights disrupt the contaminants’ DNA, preventing them from reproducing and shortening their lives.

Since UV lights are installed within the HVAC system, they have no effect on the people or pets living in the home. These lights are remarkably effective. They have been shown to improve IAQ in less than an hour after being turned on, and they continue to clean the air as long as your HVAC system is on. Paired with a high-quality filter, UV lights can give you the indoor air quality your family needs to stay healthy.

For more information about using UV lights in your Portland area home, contact 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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Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the Temp

Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the TempThere’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to refresh us and restore our energy levels so we can work and perform better the next day. If you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, it could be because of a number of factors, but one of the main reasons for sleeplessness is going to bed in a room that’s too warm.

Sleep experts maintain that 65 degrees is the optimum temperature for sleeping. It’s also a good temperature to set your thermostat for saving money on utilities. So here’s why and how you can accomplish both goals at once: sleep better and save energy by just lowering the thermostat.

Sleeping Better in a Colder Room

Our bodies are ruled by a biological process called circadian rhythms. This is how we respond to the 24-hour cycle of dark and light that determines our sleepiness or wakefulness. Sometimes, things interfere with these rhythms and ruin our sleep — caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, watching TV or looking at electronic devices near bedtime, keeping lights on when we go to bed, and also, it seems, keeping the thermostat too high in winter.

Circadian rhythms naturally lower our body temperatures when darkness falls and it’s time for sleep. When the furnace is on too high, we may start sweating or feeling uncomfortable and wake up as our bodies try to adjust our temperature downwards. By turning the thermostat down to 65 — or, as experts say, adjusting the temperature a little higher or lower to meet your body’s individual needs — you can eliminate that interrupting episode and perhaps sleep the whole night through.

Programming Savings

Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to save energy when you do this:

  • Set the temperature lower in winter when you’re sleeping or away; set it higher in summer for the same periods.

A programmable thermostat eliminates the need to always remember to adjust the thermostat prior to bedtime.

To learn more about how to save energy with a programmable thermostat, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Portland. We’ve been emphasizing excellent customer service 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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HVAC Comfort Solutions to Be Thankful For

HVAC Comfort Solutions to Be Thankful ForIf you’re planning to replace your aging HVAC equipment soon, you should take the time and learn about the latest efficiency and home comfort solutions. When you’re aware of different options like the following, you can choose equipment with features that provide the greatest return on your investment.

Variable-Speed Air Handlers

These air handlers have electronically commutated blower fan motors that can adjust their speed to match the changing comfort needs in a home. They also operate on the lowest speed possible, and cycle for longer periods. As a result, a variable-speed blower uses less energy and provides better temperature and humidity control, and enhanced air filtration.

Zoning Systems

Zoning the HVAC system can boost efficiency and comfort, especially in a two-story or larger home. An experienced HVAC pro installs powered dampers in the ducts and a programmable thermostat to set up separate heating and cooling zones. One central panel is installed where you can control comfort and energy use in all the zones.

Fan-Only Switch

With this feature on the HVAC system, you can use just the blower for air circulation at those times of year when cooling and heating aren’t needed.

Whole-House Dehumidifiers

These units can keep excess moisture under control, so your home doesn’t feel as hot and sticky and you’re more comfortable. When humidity is dealt with, your A/C or heat pump doesn’t have work as hard, so it uses less energy. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy better air quality and fewer issues with allergens and mold.

Automatic Fan Delay

A blower fan with automatic delay stays running temporarily at the end of each HVAC equipment cycle. This ensures that all of your conditioned air gets pushed out of the ducts, instead of being wasted.

Variable-Speed Compressors

These compressors are built using inverter technology so they’re able to adjust their speed incrementally to utilize the system capacity needed at any given time. This reduces energy consumption and equipment wear, but you’ll experience no loss of comfort.

To learn more about these and other home comfort solutions, contact the Portland HVAC experts 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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Aiming and Redirecting Vents for Greater Comfort and Efficiency

Aiming and Redirecting Vents for Greater Comfort and Efficiency | RothIf you have a central air conditioner, then your home comfort relies on well-designed ducts — and well-managed air vents. While these unobtrusive fixtures may not seem like much, they actually play a big part in managing your indoor airflow. Here’s what you need to know about opening, closing, and redirecting vents in your Portland, Oregon, home:

  • Your A/C and furnace probably share the same vents. This can be tricky: remember, cool air sinks, while warm air rises. Vents near your baseboards will be more efficient at warming your home during the winter, while vents higher on the wall or ceiling will be more effective at cooling your home through the summer. You can use a ceiling fan to gently draw air upwards or push it downwards to manage your indoor temperature better.
  • You can close or block off vents to rooms you don’t want to cool or heat — but use this sparingly. Vents often come with their own shutters which can be closed, or you can purchase a set of magnetic covers to form a more airtight seal. This prevents conditioned air from entering rooms you don’t want cooled. But watch out: those unless you seal the return air vents, those rooms will still deliver warm air to your A/C, which can raise your cooling costs. And sealing off too many rooms changes the air pressure through your entire duct system, meaning more wear and tear on your fan motor and duct seams.
  • You’re not stuck with the vents you have. The small grates have some angled fluting which looks like it’s used to direct airflow, but the impact from those small angled pieces is actually minimal. Replacing the vent covers with decorative vent covers can be an inexpensive way to beautify your home environment.

If you have questions about the airflow in your home, about redirecting vents, or about managing your home comfort, don’t hesitate to call us up 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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On or Auto: Which is the Better Thermostat Setting for Your Canby Home?

On or Auto: Which is the Better Thermostat Setting for Your Canby Home?By understanding your thermostat’s fan settings, you will gain more control over your comfort and potential energy savings. The decision to use the “on” or the “auto” setting plays an important role in how your home feels, air quality and operating expenses. Here is how these settings compare to each other.

General Comfort

When you have set the fan control to “on,” it will run continuously even when the air conditioner has finished a cycle and is not actively cooling the air. This increases comfort because air temperature in the home remains more even. Instead of a sudden halt to cool air, you will notice a more gradual change. For instance, the ductwork will still be cool from the previous cycle and, unless something has gone amiss, air coming from the registers should still be relatively cool. In addition, the flow of air will have time to permeate the home’s rooms and diminish warm spots.

Air Quality

Setting the fan to “on” is also the better choice regarding indoor air quality. The constant flow of air prevents stagnation and since the air is moving through the air filter more often, the result is cleaner air.

Expense

The “auto” thermostat setting typically comes out ahead in a positive way regarding monthly energy costs. It uses less energy because the fan runs only a short amount of time and at a relatively slow speed.

However, the fan will experience more wear and tear at this setting. Like many types of mechanical devices, the strain of starting and stopping can be greater than if it were left continually running.

When you upgrade your air conditioner, you can get around the drawbacks of both settings by choosing one with a variable speed fan motor. Fan speed is automatically adjusted to meet the immediate climate needs of the home. Most of the time the fan runs at very low speeds, and this reduces the operating costs while offering more comfort and improved air quality.

For more about choosing the right thermostat setting and saving energy, please 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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