Tag Archives: Humidity

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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Solve Problems With a Humidifier Throughout Heating Season

Solve Problems With a Humidifier Throughout Heating SeasonWinter in the Portland area has its own set of challenges. One problem that doesn’t have to be too difficult to deal with is dry air from your heating system.

A good level of humidity inside a home ranges from 30 to 50 percent. When you use your heating system, it naturally removes humidity, lowering it as far as 10 percent.

How to Tell if Your Home’s Humidity is Too Low

Obvious symptoms of too-dry air include:

  • Dry, cracking skin on your hands and feet
  • Chapped lips
  • Sore, dry nose
  • Bloody nose
  • Itchy skin that is soothed by lotion

Additional Low Humidity Problems

In addition to these minor discomforts, having low humidity can create the perfect atmosphere for certain types of viruses. It can also worsen the symptoms of people who suffer from allergies and eczema.

Your house can feel some discomfort from low humidity, too. When the air is too dry, you can start to see peeling and cracks in your paint and wallpaper. All the wood in your house needs a certain level of humidity to stay in good condition.

The Solution: A Humidifier

If you’re seeing signs of dry air in your home, there’s a simple solution. You can get a humidifier to help add moisture to your air.

There are two choices in humidifiers. Individual units cost less but don’t allow you to have much control over the amount of humidity in your air. You also have to be careful to keep them clean. The damp environment inside the unit can be a good growing place for mold and mildew if not properly maintained.

A whole-home humidifier is a bigger investment, but it allows you to set your humidity where you want it. This can be particularly useful when you have family members with breathing problems. Whole-home humidifiers release their water vapor into your ducts, allowing the humidity to reach all parts of the house evenly.

Whether you need to know more about humidifiers or have other HVAC problems that need solving in your Portland-area home, we’re here to help. 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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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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Oakozhan/Shutterstock”

Improve Comfort by Installing a Humidifier in Your Home

Improve Comfort by Installing a Humidifier in Your HomeEven in our humid climate, a furnace can dry out a home’s air and cause a number of problems over the winter. One of the best remedies for an overly dry indoor environment is a humidifier.

Adding humidity to the home eases respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and rhinitis, and other problems such as dry skin and chapped lips. Slightly humid conditions also make a home’s occupants feel warmer, so that the homeowner can turn down the thermostat a few degrees during the winter.

In addition, low humidity in homes damages wooden floors, furnishings, and musical instruments by drying them out and causing cracking.

For best results, aim for balanced humidity between 30 and 50 percent.

Installing a Humidifier

A whole-house humidifier, installed in your HVAC system, is the best way to maintain proper humidity. The appliance emits water vapor into the air through the ductwork, while the system monitors and controls the level of moisture. It uses water from the home’s plumbing system, so there’s no need to buy distilled water. Generally no maintenance is required other than cleaning out the tank a couple of times a year to remove mineral deposits.

Portable Humidifiers

Although a whole-house humidifier does a better, more efficient job of humidifying a home, some homeowners may opt for a portable or console model. These can be moved from room to room. They require refilling and frequent cleaning of filters to guard against mold and bacteria buildup.

Following are some popular types of portable humidifiers:

  • Warm mist: A heating element boils water, releasing it into the air as warm steam. It makes the room feel warmer than a cold mist type.
  • Cool mist: A wick filter absorbs water in the base of the appliance, while a fan blows dry air through the filter, causing the moisture to evaporate into the air.
  • Ultrasonic: These quiet humidifiers employ high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm at an ultrasonic frequency, breaking water down into a fine vapor mist.

For more on installing a humidifier, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve served Portland residents 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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5 Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality This Spring

5 Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality This SpringAlthough our green landscape means Portland enjoys better air quality than many cities, there are always things you can do to improve your indoor air quality. That’s especially true in spring when the pollen count rises. Here are some smart tips to put to use to keep your IAQ high all spring long.

Tips to Boost Indoor Air Quality

  • Vacuum smart – For your spring cleaning, choose a vacuum cleaner that contains a HEPA filter. Remove the dust kicked up by vacuuming by turning the thermostat to “fan on,” letting it run 15 minutes and then switching it back to “auto.”
  • Filter and clean your air – Use an HVAC system air filter with a MERV of 5 or higher, which is the minimum for improving indoor air quality. If you’re managing allergies or asthma, go for a MERV 10 or 11 pleated filter. Consider installing an air cleaner to control contaminants such as tiny dust and pollen particles, mold and bacteria, as well as the harmful fumes known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Maintain good airflow – To control odors and humidity, run exhaust fans for a few minutes after showering and cooking. If you had condensation on your windows this winter and still see it in spring, your home most likely needs more ventilation. A heating and cooling technician can assess your home and advise you on your best passive and mechanical ventilation options.
  • Get a handle on humidity – High humidity makes you less comfortable and helps mold and dust mites spread. In addition to ventilating, repair leaky plumbing fixtures and basement or roof leaks because these also add moisture to the air. If you notice mold on your ceilings, bubbling paint or other signs of high humidity, consider installing a dehumidifier.
  • Keep the HVAC system in shape – During normal use, the furnace and air conditioner pick up dust and debris that impair their efficiency and can eventually reduce air quality. Schedule your air conditioner’s annual inspection and cleaning early in spring so you have your pick of service providers and appointment times before the best ones are booked.

For more information on improving your indoor air quality, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We proudly handle the HVAC needs of Portland area homeowners.

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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Why You Might Want More Humidity in Your Home This Winter

Why You Might Want More Humidity in Your Home This WinterIf your throat feels a bit dry or your skin feels itchy and uncomfortable, it may have a lot to do with your indoor air – or what’s missing from it. Efforts to keep your home warm throughout the winter months may also remove much of the water vapor present in your home’s indoor air, effectively drying it out. Heavy use of your furnace can cause your home’s relative humidity to fall well below the 40 to 50 percent threshold needed to maintain a comfortable environment. Continue reading

Whole-House Humidifiers Extend Comfort And Savings, Where Portable Units Fail

Dry winter air can wreak havoc on a home. While low humidity levels can cause a home’s floors, wood trim and furniture to dry and crack, the people in the home typically fare much worse. Dry, itchy skin and irritated nasal passages leave many homeowners feeling uncomfortable this time of year — and there are indications that low humidity levels can complicate issues like allergies and asthma. Continue reading