Tag Archives: home comfort

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality Concerns

Breathe Easy: Know These Fall Air Quality ConcernsFall in Oregon means spectacular leaf colors and cooler temperatures. However, fall also means there could be a decrease in indoor air quality in your home. The following information outlines some of these fall air quality concerns and what can be done about them.

Common Fall Air Quality Concerns

  • Airborne contaminants: Airborne contaminants in your home can increase with fall weather. If you’re opening your windows to enjoy some cool autumn air, you could also be letting in particulates and other airborne contaminants from the outdoors. Dust, dirt, and other common particulates are just as likely to be present in the fall as any other time of the year.
  • High humidity: Humidity in the fall can be just as high as at other times of the year. Inside your home, increased humidity can make it easier for mold to grow. High humidity levels can also cause your indoor spaces to feel uncomfortable.
  • Lack of ventilation: At the opposite end of fall comfort, you may find it necessary to close your windows to keep out an unexpected chill. If temperatures drop far enough, you’ll need to close the windows and keep them closed. This reduces air circulation and ventilation inside your home, which can contribute to decreased air quality.

What to Do

  • Increase ventilation: Many fall air quality concerns can be reduced with better ventilation. Open windows when possible. Use window air conditioners on fan-only settings. Put in a whole-house ventilation system that keeps a steady airflow moving throughout your home.
  • Change HVAC air filters: Air filters in your HVAC system help remove airborne contaminants. Make sure you have a clean filter in your heating and cooling systems.
  • Install dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers remove moisture from your indoor air. Whole-house models can dehumidify an entire home, while smaller portable models can reduce humidity in a single room.

Roth Heating and Cooling provides high-quality HVAC sales, service, and installation in Portland, Hillsboro, Canby, Lake Oswego and the surrounding Oregon communities. Contact us today for more information on fall air quality concerns and how to make sure your indoor air is fresh and clean throughout autumn.

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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Thermostat Settings During Fall Vacations

Thermostat Settings During Fall VacationsFall weather in the Portland area can range from warm to cool, which makes thermostat settings challenging before going on a vacation. Most thermostats don’t automatically switch between cooling and heating, which means that you’ll have to select one or the other before you go and set the temperature accordingly.

Fortunately weather forecasts are more reliable than ever and you’ll be able to look up the weather trends for at least a month in advance. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center publishes weather outlooks from one day to a year ahead.

Before leaving, consult their maps or tables online to find their predictions for the weather and select the heating or cooling function. As a rule of thumb, set the temperature four degrees above or below the temperature you normally keep your home.

If you’re leaving pets at home, you may want to leave the temperature within a few degrees of the temperature you normally keep the home, since they adapt to the temperatures you normally keep.

Making It Simple

Upgrading your thermostat from a manual or programmable unit to a Wi-Fi device will not only simplify thermostat settings, it will give you minute-by-minute information on conditions in your home, like its temperature and humidity, and sometimes occupancy. With a smart Wi-Fi thermostat, you’ll be able to change the function between heating and cooling, along with the temperatures.

You can even reset the temperature to one that you’ll find most comfortable when you’re about to arrive home. However, if you use a heat pump and need heating, you’ll want to reset it 24 hours ahead of time so that the auxiliary heating coil doesn’t turn on. The coil uses much more energy to heat than the heat pump does. A smart thermostat equipped with intelligent recovery technology will prevent the heat pump from using the coil.

The temperature settings for your home while you’re away can affect your home’s interior and the comfort of any pets you leave behind. 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).

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall Allergies

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall AllergiesPortland ranks high among the worst places for airborne allergies, primarily from trees, weeds, and pollen. Fortunately, the best air filters for your HVAC system reduce the irritations that the widespread proliferation of ragweed pollen causes.

Look for its MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The scale runs from 1 to 16 and higher numbers indicate the filter traps smaller particles. Some manufacturers have simplified the scale and label their filters as “good, better, and best.”

Filters with MERV ratings from 1 to 4 are equivalent to the “good” designation. Those rated between 5 and 8 are better, and the highest for residential purposes range between 9 and 12.

Pollen particles are small and will pass through filters with MERV ratings 7 and below. Higher MERV rated filters will capture a higher percentage of these particles. Choose a filter with a better designation or whose MERV rating is 9 or higher.

Words of Caution

Before upgrading the filter for your HVAC system, consult your owner’s manual for the highest rated filter you can use with it. Denser filters slow the air flowing through the air handler and putting a filter inside it that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendation will raise energy bills and may cause system problems.

Many of the best air filters for allergy relief are pleated. They capture more particles because of their greater surface area and denser weave. Because they’re more effective at trapping particles, they need to be checked and replaced more often than lower rated filters.

Running your system with a dirty filter pulls dustier air through the ductwork, which defeats the purpose of using your HVAC system to control pollen and other airborne allergies. Unless the pollen is trapped at the filter, it can continue to circulate through your home’s air wherever else it lands.

Ductwork, carpet, furniture, and window coverings all hang onto these particulates and when they’re disturbed, your allergies may flare up again.

The best air filters can ease your suffering through allergy season and longer. 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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5 Tips for Generator Maintenance

5 Tips for Generator MaintenanceOwning a generator provides peace of mind that your home’s lights stay on, the refrigerator keeps running and essentials like the sump pump are fully operational when a power outage occurs. To ensure that your generator works reliably and efficiently, it’s vital to keep it well maintained. Here’s what routine generator maintenance should include:

Checking and Replacing the Oil and Filter

Oil is necessary to lubricant key components of your backup generator motor, but it breaks down over time, so the oil and its filter need to be replaced periodically. Generators typically need an initial oil change after the first 8–30 hours of run time, and then regular oil changes after every 100–200 hours of use, or at least once a year. The scheduling varies by manufacturer, so be sure to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

Changing the Spark Plugs

Like any other combustion motor, your generator has spark plugs that must be changed out every so often. You should follow your manufacturer’s guidelines, but as a general rule, spark plugs need replacement after 100 hours of run time.

Replacing the Air Filter

If the filter is dirty, your generator motor won’t have adequate airflow to stay running, so you need to replace it according to your owner’s manual schedule. Typically, replacing the air filter is recommended after every 25 hours of run time, or once a year.

Performing a Periodic Visual Checkup

Once every couple of months, give your generator a general visual inspection. Tidy up any debris around the unit, look for oil and fluid leaks, check that there’s coolant visible in the overflow tank, and the battery is clean and free from corrosion.

Scheduling Yearly Professional Maintenance

You can have a pro tackle all of the above tasks, as well as perform a detailed annual inspection and more in-depth maintenance, such as flushing the coolant, checking the control panel, wiring and all connections and clamps, and inspecting and/or testing the battery and its cables and charger, alternator and transfer switch.

To schedule generator maintenance at 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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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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