Tag Archives: hvac contractor

Benefits of Having a Maintenance Agreement

Benefits of Having a Maintenance AgreementYou rely on your HVAC system to keep your home comfortable, but it’s easy to take it for granted and forget to schedule routine maintenance visits. Signing up for a yearly maintenance plan with a well-established HVAC contractor is a hassle-free way to ensure that your equipment gets the professional care it needs. Having a maintenance agreement not only gives you reminders when routine service is needed, it can benefit your entire HVAC system in a number of other ways as well:

  • You may not realize that without regular maintenance, your HVAC equipment can lose up to five percent of its original energy efficiency each year. The semi-annual inspection, cleaning and tuneup that your system receives with a maintenance plan can halt, and sometimes reverse this slow loss of energy efficiency and help keep your yearly heating and cooling costs in check.
  • A thorough, twice-a-year inspection of the HVAC system also allows your technician to catch and make you aware of any emerging issues while they’re still minor. This gives you the chance to have these issues taken care before they develop into serious, costly problems that require extensive repairs.
  • Taking a proactive approach to HVAC maintenance and fixing problems early on also improves the reliability of your system’s components. This gives you peace of mind that your equipment is less likely to fail or break down in the middle of the heating or cooling season when it’s under the greatest amount of strain.
  • As with other types of mechanical equipment, your HVAC system components are more likely to last longer if they’re well maintained. When your equipment gets the timely care it needs through a maintenance plan and stays running in optimal condition, it can reach (or even exceed) its expected lifespan.
  • Having a maintenance agreement in place gives you documented proof that you’ve complied with your equipment manufacturer’s warranty requirements if a component fails and you have to file a claim.

To learn more about the benefits of having an HVAC maintenance agreement, contact the Portland home comfort pros 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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Energy Efficient Reasons to Buy HVAC Products With the Energy Star Logo

Energy Efficient Reasons to Buy HVAC Products With the Energy Star LogoReplacing outdated HVAC equipment with more efficient pieces can be daunting, but help is at hand. Energy Star is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) program for testing and rating appliances, products and practices so homeowners can save money and energy while reducing their carbon footprint. The Energy Star logo can guide your search for equipment that will trim your bills significantly.

Leading the Way to Efficiency

Developed 20 years ago, the EPA’s Energy Star program has helped homeowners and businesses nationwide make more efficient HVAC product choices, saving billions of dollars in energy expenses, while preventing an estimated 2 billion metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment.

The Energy Star label, which signifies that the product exceeds government-mandated minimum standards for efficiency, provides information on energy consumption and estimated annual costs to run the appliance.

Earning the Energy Star Logo

The EPA uses a set of strict guidelines for awarding the Energy Star label. Besides delivering features and performance in line with consumer demands, the products must also be energy efficient. Since Energy Star-rated products usually cost more than similar, more conventional models, the product must be efficient enough to allow consumers to recover the difference in cost through greater energy savings within a reasonable time period. Further, performance and energy consumption must be measured and verified through rigorous testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory and reviewed by a third-party certification process.

HVAC-related products that may bear the Energy Star logo include central air conditioners, ductless heating and cooling systems, water heaters, ventilation fans, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, boilers, furnaces and heat pumps.

Finding Energy Star-Rated Equipment

Ask your HVAC contractor about Energy Star-rated equipment, or look for the blue logo when you shop at a home improvement store. You can also shop for Energy Star-rated products online by using Energy Star as part of your search criteria, or visiting the Energy Star website to see a list of approved equipment.

To learn more about the Energy Star logo, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve been providing great customer service to our Portland-area customers 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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Air Conditioning Options for Your Attic Remodel

It’s nice to make use of available space in your home. After all, why should attic space go unused? Deciding on air conditioning an attic remodel takes some thought. Consider the following three methods that are often used to cool livable attic space.

Extend the Existing System

If you already have a central air conditioning system, installing additional ductwork and connecting it to the system may be a practical option. This design can work if the current air conditioner is large enough to cool the extra load. Keep in mind that upper floors and attics are substantially warmer than the ground floor. Your HVAC contractor should perform a load calculation of your home to determine feasibility.

Replace the Old Air Conditioner With a New, Larger System

New air conditioning systems are designed for better efficiency and comfort than those manufactured 10 or 20 years ago. If you have an older air conditioner that still uses ozone-depleting refrigerant, consider upgrading to a new system that’s sized to cool your home and the attic remodel.

Add an Independent System

Installing an independent air conditioner for the attic space is an attractive option. An independent system may be a new central air conditioner and air ducts, or you may decide to go ductless like many other homeowners.

Ductless air conditioners are low profile units that use point-of-use air handlers so there’s no need for ductwork. Refrigerant lines are piped inside the walls, which provide unobtrusive installation and function. Considering the unique heat gain elements of attic space, an independent system makes sense for greater comfort.

Home Efficiency Upgrades

Have an energy audit performed before any cooling or heating upgrade. An energy audit pinpoints where energy is being wasted. Air sealing and adding insulation lower the home’s load and may help you decide which cooling option is best.

For more information about air conditioning an attic remodel in your Portland home, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services to 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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Simple Air Conditioner Maintenance Tasks Any Homeowner Can Handle

Simple Air Conditioner Maintenance Tasks Any Homeowner Can HandleRegular maintenance can help keep the air conditioner in your Portland home running as efficiently as possible and prevent system problems in the future. The following air conditioner maintenance tasks can easily be completed yourself, saving the cost of a service visit.

Change the Air Filter

A dirty or clogged air filter can make the air conditioner work harder to keep you comfortable, reducing its efficiency by up to 15 percent and causing excess wear and tear on sensitive components. Check the air filter monthly and clean or replace it as necessary.

Clean the Condenser Coil

The performance of the condenser coil outside your home can be degraded by the accumulation of debris, including grass clippings, twigs, leaves and trash. Use a brush or your hands to dislodge any larger items and rinse the coil down with a garden hose to remove fine particles. Keep a two-foot section around the condenser clean of all debris, such as tall grass, overgrown plants, toys or lawn furniture.

Clean the Condensate Drain

Use a brush or a stiff wire to dislodge any debris from the condensate drain and drain channels. A clogged condensate drain can encourage the growth of mold, which could cause health problems, as well as possible water damage.

Have the HVAC System Serviced Annually

Have your HVAC contractor inspect the HVAC system and perform routine maintenance at least once a year to make sure the entire system is running safely and efficiently. An experienced professional will tackle much more extensive maintenance tasks, as well as in-depth inspections to ensure the equipment is performing properly and efficiently.

To schedule professional air conditioner maintenance, or for other home comfort concerns, contact the HVAC experts at Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Portland area 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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What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Home Energy Audits

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Home Energy AuditsHomeowners who take advantage of home energy audits learn about the overall energy efficiency of their homes and where to make improvements that cut energy costs year-round. Audits are performed by licensed HVAC contractors or energy auditors who identify all the factors that contribute to an inefficient and potentially unhealthy home.

What’s Involved in an Energy Audit

The HVAC professionals may start the audit by reviewing your energy bills over the past year and asking questions about how you use energy.

The central component of the audit is a blower door test that involves a large fan. The tech places the blower door in an exterior door frame. Once your home is ready, the professional will turn on the fan and watch how fast the air pressure falls using gauges on the blower door. If it falls quickly, it tells the auditors that your home has few air leaks. If it loses pressure slowly, it indicates you have air coming indoors from gaps, hole, or cracks to compensate for the air pressure your home is losing.

The auditors will use infrared cameras to pinpoint where the leaks are based on the thermal differences between the incoming air and your home’s surfaces. The cameras also tell the team where insulation may be lacking in the walls, foundation and attic of your home.

Additional Services

Home energy audits often include a ductwork inspection to evaluate possible leakage. Even the tightest home can have high energy bills if the conditioned air blows through leaking ducts, since the conditioned air is lost to places where it’s not needed.

Depending on the extent of your home energy audit, the professionals may evaluate your home for safe wiring and pinpoint any water leaks or plumbing problems.

If you’d like to learn more about home energy audits and their benefits, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided top-notch 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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Increase Efficiency & Safety by Cleaning Your Home’s Dryer Vents

Increase Efficiency & Safety by Cleaning Your Home's Dryer Vents Did you know that your home’s dryer vents can pose a threat to your safety? Even if you empty the lint trap after every load, you’re probably not cleaning up all the lint buildup, which can eventually prevent your dryer vent from exhausting properly. Due to the blockage, your dryer may overheat, threatening your Portland home and your personal safety.

Signs of Blocked Dryer Vents

  • Clothing doesn’t dry completely or takes much longer than normal to dry.
  • Clothes dry, but feel much hotter than usual to the touch.
  • Clothes smell musty coming out of the dryer.
  • The vent hood flap doesn’t pop open as it should when the dryer is in use.
  • The laundry area or laundry room is excessively hot when the dryer is in use or has just completed it’s cycle.
  • A lot of lint accumulates in and around the lint filter.
  • Your dryer sheets seem to smell stronger than usual after the drying cycle.

What Your HVAC Contractor Can Do

You probably already know that your contractor should inspect and clean your HVAC system every year. Your plumbing vent pipes also need annual maintenance. You should have your HVAC technician clean your dryer vents using specialized cleaning equipment. He can remove any debris (branches, leaves, bird nests, etc.) blocking your vent pipe, which typically sticks out of your roof.

Your HVAC contractor will then use a high-powered vacuum equipment, snakes and brushes to clean out the entire length of the vent. Your contractor may also need to replace non-metal transition ducts running between the dryer and main vent because they constitute a fire danger.

Semi-rigid metal ducts will make your venting system safer and help improve your dryer’s efficiency and performance. If it’s been more than a year since your last dryer vent cleaning, schedule an inspection right away.

When your home’s dryer vents need a thorough cleaning, contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Aurora area.

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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How to Hire the Best Contractor For All of Your HVAC Needs

How to Hire the Best Contractor For All of Your HVAC Needs If you want your heating equipment to run smoothly this winter, hiring an HVAC contractor you can trust is an essential task. This job isn’t too hard to complete, as long as you do your due diligence. We suggest you consider the following tips when selecting the best contractor for your HVAC needs:

  • Ask around — There’s a good chance that the best HVAC contractor around is already being utilized by friends, family, or co-workers. This is why your first step should be to ask people you know if they can recommend someone.
  • Get a list of references — Once your hunt begins, be sure to obtain a list of references from each prospective contractor. Choose the first letter of the last of the contacts to ensure that you get a fair sampling, then call each person on the list.
  • Expect a home evaluation — Before a contractor agrees to conduct any work, they’ll want to evaluate your home’s needs and find any potential problem areas.
  • Check for proper licensing, insurance and bonding — A reputable contractor won’t have any problem providing you with documentation that shows they meet all licensing, insurance and bonding minimums based on local or state regulations.
  • Inquire about brands — HVAC companies typically carry a limited number of brands. Sometimes, they have their favorites and stick with a very small amount. Find out which brands they use and research them if needed.
  • Suggestion of Energy-Efficient Equipment — A contractor should not try to dissuade you from upgrading to more efficient equipment. In fact, they should be singing the praises of Energy Star-qualified equipment, including those in their most efficient category.
  • Get everything in writing — Prior to working with a contractor, make sure every detail of the job is put into writing. This should cover the equipment that will be installed, time completion estimates, how to handle problems, cost estimates and any other pertinent details.

If you would like more information on what to look for when hiring an HVAC contractor, please contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of Portland and the surrounding areas 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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Compare a Maintenance Agreement With a Warranty

Compare a Maintenance Agreement With a WarrantyTaking steps to protect your heating and cooling equipment before problems occur is smart, but how do you decide between a home warranty and an HVAC maintenance agreement? By comparing the benefits of each type of coverage, you’ll see that a maintenance agreement comes out ahead, and here are the reasons why:

  • Discounted repairs and parts.HVAC service plans usually offer a healthy discount on labor and parts on any needed repairs. Home warranties typically have a limited list of repairs they’ll pay for, and often charge a deductible for each covered service.
  • Preventative care.Many maintenance agreements include semi-annual system tuneups and cleanings, which are essential to keep the equipment running at peak efficiency and extend its useful service life. Most home warranties don’t, which adds to your out-of-pocket costs. If you neglect proper maintenance, a warranty may not cover the repairs if an equipment breakdown or failure happens.
  • Lower energy costs.Those twice-yearly visits you receive as part of an HVAC service plan can keep your equipment running at 95 percent of its original efficiency, and this saves you money on operating costs. A home warranty won’t bring you any energy savings because it doesn’t cover maintaining, cleaning or tuning up the equipment.
  • Preferential scheduling.Maintenance plan customers are put at the front of the line when they call for service, and many HVAC contractors extend them a same-day guarantee. Home warranty companies usually don’t make this effort, and it may take days for a technician to arrive.
  • Familiarity and trust.If you sign a maintenance agreement with a familiar HVAC contractor, you’re already confident in their reliability and reputation for excellent service. Choosing a home warranty means you won’t decide who services and repairs your costly home comfort system. Most likely, the technician who rings the doorbell is from the HVAC contractor at the top of the warranty company’s rotating list of providers.

If you have questions about how our maintenance agreements compare to a home warranty, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve made the comfort of Portland area residents our top priority 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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A Refrigerant Charge Could Be the Cure for a Warm A/C

A Refrigerant Charge Could Be the Cure for a Warm A/CWhen your cooling system isn’t delivering the cold air it normally does, it could need a refrigerant charge. Not only won’t your equipment cool as well, it can cause premature compressor failure, which is the most expensive part in an air conditioner or heat pump.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, refrigerant that’s 20 percent below the level the manufacturer intended can reduce the cooling efficiency of a system by 29.4 percent. Low levels occur either from inadequate charging when the air conditioner was installed or from refrigerant leaks.

Normally, the refrigerant is checked when an HVAC contractor services your system. They use pressure gauges to determine what the pressure is in the refrigerant lines. If the refrigerant charge is too low, the technician will find the source of the leaks and repair them before adding more. These leaks are not only the cause of low system efficiency, they’re also an environmental hazard.

The best way to avoid a refrigerant leak and the consequent need to have it refilled is by keeping the coils clean. Dust can cause holes to develop in the refrigerant coils, and since the refrigerant is under pressure, it naturally escapes. If your system uses R-22 or Freon, having to refill it could be costly, since its supply is declining annually and prices are rising continuously.

The coils are found in the outdoor condenser and the inside air handler. Hosing off the outdoor coil several times a year will keep it clean. If you can access the evaporator coil, clean it occasionally and make it a point to keep the air filter clean. A dirty filter will deposit dust on the coil, reducing its efficiency.

Adding more refrigerant needs to be done by a licensed HVAC contractor who has the U.S. EPA certifications to handle it. They add more by turning the system on and adding it gradually.

If you think you may need a refrigerant charge based on your cooling system’s performance, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling, providing 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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Are You Hearing Any of These A/C Noises in Your Portland Home? What They May Mean

Are You Hearing Any of These A/C Noises in Your Portland Home? What They May MeanWhen you are using the air conditioning system in your Portland home, it is quite normal to hear some noise, but if you hear excessive noise or if new noises start happening, it could be a symptom of a greater problem. The following list describes some of the most common A/C noises and their causes, so that you can determine the severity of a problem and whether you should contact your HVAC contractor: Continue reading