Tag Archives: home heating

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? 

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? The holiday season is a time for colorful decorations and get-togethers with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a risky period when an average of 47,000 house fires occur that cause 500 fatalities each year. For a safer home this season, use these tips to avoid holiday fire hazards.

Test Your Smoke Detectors

Have smoke detectors installed in strategic areas on each level of your home, such as in the kitchen and near sleeping areas. Press the test button on each device once a month to ensure that it’s fully functional, replace the batteries in early winter, and you can cut your risk of becoming a fire-related statistic in half.

Invest in Fire Extinguishers

Buy a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home, learn how to use it properly and place each one where it’s easily reached in the event of a fire. Choose A-B-C rated extinguishers that can put out fires caused by the three most common causes: combustibles like wood and paper, flammable liquids/gases and electrical sources. Opt for the largest-capacity extinguisher that you can easily lift and carry.

Take Precautions With Supplemental Heat Sources

If you plan to use a space heater for extra warmth this winter, make sure it’s one with an auto-shut off that kicks in if the unit tips over, and place it several feet away from combustible materials, like upholstered furniture, window coverings and the Christmas tree. If you use the fireplace, make sure the damper is open when you light it, and have a protective firescreen in place to prevent sparks from escaping.

Get Safety-Wise With Holiday Decorations

Switch to LED holiday lights that emit very little heat, replace any frayed/damaged extension cords and don’t overload your electrical outlets. Real trees can become a fire hazard as they dry out, so opt for an artificial, fire retardant-treated tree, and use a sturdy, stable tree stand. And, don’t forget to unplug all your holiday lights each night before you head to bed.

To learn more about preventing holiday fire hazards in your Portland-area home, 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). 

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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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”

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby Home

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby HomeNow that winter is approaching, it’s time to take smart steps to protect your family from hazards like carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, and prevent unnecessary damage to your home. Taking the following winter home safety precautions can keep you warm and secure throughout the heating season.

Schedule Heating System Service

To ensure that your heating system operates reliably and safely this winter, have it inspected, cleaned, and tuned up by an experienced HVAC technician. During routine maintenance, your technician performs vital safety-related tasks, like checking the condition of the heat exchanger, testing system safety controls, checking the electrical wiring and tightening the connections, and inspecting and cleaning the burner.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that’s a byproduct of incomplete combustion in fuel-burning equipment like your gas furnace. You can’t see, taste or smell the gas, so your only warning of its presence is the alarm on a functional CO detector. To make sure your detectors are working properly, put fresh batteries in each one and test them once a month. If any of your CO detectors fails to beep when tested, replace it immediately.

Clean Up Around the Furnace

If you have items stored near the furnace that are flammable or may block airflow, move them. Combustibles like paint thinner, charcoal lighter fluid, and any products in aerosol cans should be stored in a ventilated location that’s nowhere near the furnace.

Have the Furnace Flue Cleaned

Have a chimney sweep clean out the flue to remove built-up soot and debris that might cause a blockage, so harmful combustion fumes can vent properly.

Protect Your Vulnerable Water Pipes

Frozen, burst water lines can cause considerable mess and costly damage. To keep pipes from freezing, drain the water line to your outdoor faucet and shield it with an insulated cover. If you have water pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, garage or crawl space, wrap them in foam insulation sleeves or self-regulating heat tape.

To learn more winter home safety tips for your Portland-area home, or to schedule heating system maintenance, 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?Now that the weather is getting colder, it will soon be necessary to run the heating system to maintain comfort in your home. Before heating season arrives, make sure the furnace is ready to go by taking care of these tasks.

Install a Clean Furnace Filter

Putting in a fresh filter ensures good system airflow, which promotes energy efficiency. To maintain that good efficiency all winter, check the condition of the filter every month and replace it when you see debris starting to accumulate, or at least once every three months.

Schedule a System Tuneup

Before you start up the furnace this year, have an HVAC professional perform routine maintenance. A certified technician can inspect and clean the various components, and tackle other vital tasks like checking for heat exchanger damage, lubricating the blower motor, adjusting the burner, tightening the electrical connections, testing the safety controls and making sure the thermostat is working properly.

Optimize the Thermostat Programming

If you need to make setback adjustments on your programmable thermostat, now’s the time to get them done. If you still have a manual thermostat, have your technician install a programmable one that matches your equipment and usual weekly schedule. Then, you can program in energy-saving temperature setbacks during the periods when you’re usually sleeping or away from home.

Give the Air Vents Some TLC

Remove all your vent covers and wipe them down, then use the vacuum hose to suction any debris and dust from the open ducting boots. As you’re replacing the clean covers, make sure the louvers are open and clear away any items that might block airflow at the vents.

Get the Flue Cleaned Out

Have the flue swept out to get rid of soot deposits and any debris that might block proper combustion fume venting, like rodent/bird nesting materials, dead leaves or broken branches. With a clean, unobstructed flue, there’s less danger that fumes containing carbon monoxide can’t exit the house properly.

To get the furnace in your Portland home ready for the coming heating season, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling to schedule a maintenance visit.

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: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

HVAC Stands for More Than Just Heating and Cooling

HVAC Stands for More Than Just Heating and CoolingIn Portland’s mild climate, it’s easy to ignore your home comfort systems, but doing so can cost you. Learning exactly what HVAC stands for will help you start building the knowledge you need to improve your comfort and lower your bills.

Heating

Heating, the H in HVAC, usually comes from either a furnace or a heat pump. A furnace burns fuel, such as natural gas or propane, to create a flame. A fan in the furnace blows your home’s air over a heat exchanger, which moves heat from the flame into the air. The warm air continues into your ducts and out to your rooms.

A heat pump is, in essence, an air conditioner that can work in reverse. In heating mode, it uses the refrigerant it contains to absorb heat from the outdoor air and move it into your home. It’s the most efficient electric heating method available and ideal for our climate.

Ventilation

The V in HVAC stands for ventilation, an easily overlooked part of your home comfort system. Although it doesn’t directly affect something as noticeable as your room temperature, good ventilation has a number of benefits. Simple exhaust fans remove odors and excess humidity.

A balanced whole-house ventilation system goes a step further by removing stale indoor air, which contains contaminants, odors, and humidity, and replacing it with the same amount of fresh outdoor air. These systems are especially important in modern airtight homes, which receive less natural airflow than drafty older houses. With whole-house ventilation, you’ll enjoy healthier, fresher-smelling air throughout your home.

Air Conditioning

The AC in HVAC stands for air conditioning, which can be supplied by either an air conditioner, used when the home also has a furnace, or a heat pump. An air conditioner and a heat pump in cooling mode work the same way, using refrigerant to carry heat out of your home. These systems also reduce humidity as they cool.

Whether your home could use an improvement in airflow, or your heating or cooling system is due for an upgrade, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “martan/Shutterstock”

Start Lowering Your Heating Load Today For Energy Savings Over The Long Term

Did you know the biggest consumer of energy in your home is your heating system? It uses more energy than your air conditioner or water heater. That’s why decreasing the demand on your heating system should be a top priority as you head into the coldest months of the year. Continue reading

Maintaining Your Heat Pump: What You Can Do Yourself, And What You Should Have Your Contractor Do

Proper preventive maintenance is vital to keep your heat pump in tip-top shape. Frequent monitoring and cleaning of your system will ensure a long and efficient life. There are some tasks that homeowners can handle on their own, while others should be left to a qualified professional. Continue reading