Tag Archives: home comfort

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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Do You Know What the “Feels Like” Temperature in Your Home is?

Do You Know What the "Feels Like" Temperature in Your Home is?If you have ever checked your thermostat and wondered why your home feels less comfortable than the setting would indicate, it doesn’t necessarily mean the thermostat is malfunctioning. Other things factor into the “feels like” temperature, and this can vary several degrees from the actual temperature. Here is more about situations that influence how your indoor climate feels.

A Cool Breeze

Just as you feel better on a hot day when there is a breeze, you will feel cooler indoors when air is circulating. Sweat evaporates and pulls heat away from your body in the process, and it does so more efficiently when there is air flowing. In summer, using fans helps keep you cooler than using the A/C alone.

In winter, ceiling fans blades can be reversed to push warm air downward from the ceiling. However, because of the wind chill effect, keep the fans on the lowest setting to minimize the breeze you feel.

Sticky in Summer and Dry in Winter

Humidity also plays a big role in the “feels like” temperature and again this is because of how the human body reacts to moisture in the air. High humidity impedes evaporation and so body heat remains trapped.

In winter, low humidity causes problems. Although it might not be as apparent, people sweat in winter, and dry air often makes the sweat evaporate quickly. One result is you will feel colder.

Reduce humidity issues by installing a whole-house humidifier and dehumidifier. Other ways to control humidity include repairing plumbing problems, reducing the number of houseplants, and using exhaust fans.

In winter, add humidity using your whole-house humidifier or portable humidifiers. Incidentally, doing this will also help reduce dry skin and static electricity.

If humidity continues to be a problem, make sure to have your A/C checked to see if it is the correct size for your home. Wrongly sized air conditioners can cause higher humidity in the home.

For more advice about improving the “feels like” temperature in your home, 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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Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works in Your Home

Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works in Your HomeA variable-speed furnace offers quiet, energy efficient comfort using advanced motor technology. Instead of only running on top speed, a furnace equipped with an electronically-commutated motor (ECM) will adjust its running speeds based on your home’s need for heat. They save energy because ECMs use much less electricity than the standard motor, and its slower running speed helps distribute the heat more evenly.

What a Variable-Speed Furnace Does

Conventional blower motors, known as permanent split capacitor motors (PSCs) use alternating current (AC) while an ECM uses direct current (DC). Since our power supply is AC, the variable-speed furnace motor has an inverter that changes the power flow to DC, which is a more efficient use of electricity.

These motors also include high tech components that work with the HVAC system to sense how much heated air your home needs, and adjust their running speeds accordingly. If it’s just a few degrees, the motor will run at a slower speed. The ECM is also capable of sensing the airflow through the blower, making adjustments for constricted airflow from dirt filters or blocked return registers.

Variable-Speed Advantages

  • Cleaner air. Since a variable-speed furnace runs more slowly, it removes more airborne particulates, which creates a healthier home. Anyone who suffers from allergies to pollen, dander or mold may breathe easier.
  • Less electrical consumption. Although combustion furnace efficiency isn’t measured by its electrical use alone, your monthly energy bills will drop. If the furnace is equipped with an air conditioning system, your summer cooling costs will also decline. These systems also remove more humidity in the cooling mode since the air handler runs longer.
  • Quiet operation. These systems start and stop their cycles slowly. Even at top speeds, these motors are quieter than PSC motors.
  • Durability. HVAC systems with variable-speed motors tend to last longer since they avoid the stress and wear that frequent starts cause.

To learn more about a variable-speed furnace, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted 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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Do You Know How to Take Care of Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home?

Do You Know How to Take Care of Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home?If your home isn’t evenly comfortable throughout, you’re in good company. Many homes have hot and cold spots due to a number of design and aging factors. Instead of managing the discomfort by layering your clothing, you might find solutions by assessing the situation and adapting your HVAC system to the conditions unique to your home.

Common Causes of Uneven Temperatures

Two-story homes can be particularly challenging, since heat rises, and homes with uneven solar exposure have daily thermal variations. Areas with leaky doorframes or windows contribute to disparate temperatures, and the placement of the thermostat affects the comfort in rooms distant from its location, especially in larger, sprawling homes.

How to Fix the Problems

  • Evaluate your home for its sunlight exposure. Unequal distribution of windows causes heat gain or loss. Thermal windows, insulating window coverings, or reflective window films can help ease unequal temperatures throughout.
  • Seal leaky window frames with caulk and check the windows themselves for a tight fit. Fresh weather stripping on exterior doors slows air leaks, and draft blockers at their base stop-air infiltration. Expanding foam can seal places where pipes and wires enter your home.
  • Sprawling and two-story homes almost always benefit from a zoned HVAC system to eliminate hot and cold spots. HVAC experts divide the home into zones and install duct dampers that open and close based on the need for conditioned air. Each zone has its own thermostat that connects to a central control panel that sends the heated or cooled air just to the zones that need it.

    Zoning a home immediately improves comfort and lowers energy bills because you won’t need to condition your entire home to keep a single space comfortable. It’s far better to install a zoning system than alter the temperatures of rooms by closing the supply and return registers, something that will adversely affect the ductwork and mechanical components of the HVAC system.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can help you identify ways to solve the hot and cold spots throughout your home. We’ve provided outstanding 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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Don’t Let Heat Gain Make Your Air Conditioner Work Harder

Don't Let Heat Gain Make Your Air Conditioner Work HarderThe amount of heat gain in your home has a direct impact on your cooling costs because heat naturally moves from hot to cold constantly. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to slow or block heat gain to maintain indoor comfort.

Windows

Unless your home has Energy Star certified or thermal-rated windows, the windows could be responsible for nearly half the heat entering your home. Glass is a poor insulator, and heat readily flows through windows whether they receive direct sunlight or not.

Closing the window coverings during the hottest part of the day will slow some of the heat transfer. To get the best heat protection, make sure the coverings extend above and below the window frames and sit as closely to the glass surface as possible.

Solar shade screens work well on south- and west-facing windows to cut the radiant heat from entering. You can make them from kits sold at home improvement centers or ask a specialty contractor to make them for you.

Insulation

Although wall insulation matters, most of the heat gain that drives up cooling costs comes from an inadequately insulated attic. Attics reach extreme temperatures during the day, and that heat can penetrate through the ceilings. Consider increasing the insulation to 20 inches for the best heat control.

You can also improve your home’s heat resistance by choosing light roofing and exterior wall colors that reflect much more radiant energy.

Seal the Leaks

Air leaks around the window and door frames increase cooling bills. Caulk, expanding foam and weatherstripping are easy to apply to stop air infiltration immediately.

Internal Heat Sources

While your home’s exterior color, insulation levels and air leaks account for nearly 35 percent of the heat your home gains, indoor sources may account for almost 15 percent. Put off heat-producing activities as much as possible until it’s cooler, and use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to vent warm air.

To learn more about heat gain and keeping cooling costs low, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve proudly served 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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