Tag Archives: hvac equipment

3 Signs Your A/C’s Condensate Drain Line Needs to be Cleaned

3 Signs Your A/C's Condensate Drain Line Needs to be CleanedThe condensate drain line in your central air conditioner safely conveys water out of your house. Lots of it. On a humid summer day, the evaporator coil in a residential A/C can extract over 25 gallons of water vapor from the air. If everything works right, as condensate collects in the drip pan beneath the indoor air handler, the drain line conveys it to a household drain connection or discharges it outside.

If something goes awry, however—like a clog in the condensate drain line—the drip pan overflows and continues overflowing every time the A/C cycles on. Because the air handler is typically enclosed inside a closet, many gallons may be spilled before it’s noticed. By then, expensive water damage to the house—and possibly to valuable possessions, too—has already occurred.

Be alert to these signs that your condensate drain line needs to be cleaned:

  1. Unexplained pooling of water around the indoor air handler. The most likely suspect is drip pan overflow due to a clogged or sluggish drain line.
  2. Standing water inside the pan. It’s normal for the drip pan under the air handler to be wet when the system’s running. However, standing water accumulating in the pan indicates a problem such as a clog or a kink in the drain line.
  3. System shuts itself down. If your A/C inexplicably shuts off and won’t start again, the drip pan may be full. Some systems incorporate a safety sensor to prevent drip pan overflow by automatically shutting down the unit if the drain line clogs. This requires a qualified HVAC service tech to clear the clog and restart the system.

Professional service for condensate drain issues includes using air pressure to blow out the entire span of drain line. Since algae or mold growth in the drip pan is the most common cause of clogs, the pan and drain line are cleaned and sterilized. Time-release biocide tablets may also be installed in the pan to prevent recurrence for the rest of the cooling season.

For qualified service to diagnose and resolve condensate drain line issues, contact the 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). 

Syncing You Home’s HVAC Systems Improves Efficiency

Syncing You Home's HVAC Systems Improves EfficiencyIf you’re concerned about the high cost of heating and cooling your home, you’re probably looking for effective ways to lower your yearly household energy consumption. Getting all of your home’s various systems into sync goes a long way toward improving efficiency and saving energy. Taking the following measures makes syncing HVAC systems easier and can bring you the greatest boost in overall efficiency:

Maintain HVAC Equipment

Keeping your HVAC equipment clean and tuned up, and catching/fixing developing issues early all play a part in maximizing its efficiency, so be sure to schedule twice-yearly preventive maintenance visits.

Stop Air Leaks

While you need controlled air exchange for good indoor air quality, sealing uncontrolled air leaks in your home’s exterior envelope is vital to limit energy losses. To curb such losses, seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors, along the foundation and around penetrations for pipes, vents and wiring using caulk, weatherstripping and expandable spray foam.

Attend to the Ductwork

Uninsulated, leaky ducts can cost you 20 percent or more in lost HVAC equipment output. To limit this loss of efficiency, correct any duct defects like damaged or disconnected sections, then seal the joints/seams with metal-backed tape and install an R-6 insulation wrap on all accessible ducting.

Air Seal and Insulate the Attic

Air leakage and insufficient attic insulation can let conditioned air escape and allow heat transfer between the attic and your living space. You can curtail this energy drain by sealing leaks around HVAC, electrical and plumbing lines, the chimney and access hatch, and the attic perimeter. Then, increase the amount of insulation between your attic floor joists so you have a total of R-38 to R-60.

Replace Drafty Windows

Updating your older windows can eliminate drafts and limit heat gains and losses through the glass. In our climate zone, the most efficient windows are Energy Star-certified and have a U-factor of 0.25 or less, a solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC) between 0.35—0.60, and an air leakage (AL) rating below 30.

For more advice on syncing HVAC systems in your Portland 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). 

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Your New Year Should Include These HVAC Resolutions

Your New Year Should Include These HVAC ResolutionsThe holiday season isn’t complete without New Year’s resolutions. This year, include some HVAC resolutions that will improve your heating and cooling systems. With the right resolutions, faithfully followed, you’ll improve indoor comfort, boost HVAC system performance, and save money.

Have regular preventive maintenance performed

Resolve to call your HVAC professional for regular preventive maintenance on your heating and cooling systems. A maintenance visit allows an HVAC expert the chance to inspect your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner from end to end. Minor repairs and adjustments that improve performance can be made during a maintenance inspection.

Check and change air filters monthly

Air filters remove particulates such as dust, hair, pollen, and fibers from your indoor air. In doing so, these particulates accumulate in the filter and clog it up. You should check your air filter at least once a month and change it when it gets dirty. Fresh filters are more effective at capturing and holding airborne particulates. They also contribute to the airflow your HVAC equipment needs to work properly.

Seal wasteful air leaks

Air leaks in your home’s structure and in the HVAC system ductwork can waste hundreds of dollars worth of conditioned air. If ductwork leaks are bad enough, heated or cooled air won’t even be able to reach your indoor living spaces. Seal air leaks in your home’s structure with caulking or other appropriate material. Make sure all ductwork sections fit together tightly and that each section is properly sealed with mastic, a specialized duct sealant, or with metal tape.

Switch to a programmable thermostat

Improve your control over your HVAC system by switching to a programmable thermostat. You’ll be able to save money by reducing HVAC operation when heating or cooling isn’t needed, such as when you’re away at work or school.

For more than forty years, Roth Heating and Cooling has been the top choice of HVAC customers in Portland, Canby, Hillsboro, and nearby Oregon cities. Contact us today for more information on the best HVAC resolutions for your home and for the heating and cooling services you need throughout the year.

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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Learning About the Energy Star Guidelines

Learning About the Energy Star GuidelinesHeating and cooling your home to maintain comfort consumes a lot of energy. In fact, it accounts for roughly half of your household’s total energy usage. When the time comes to replace your existing HVAC equipment, it’s wise to look for ways to save energy and lower your utility bills. Learning more about the Energy Star program and the efficient products that meet its guidelines is a good place to start.

Energy Star Program Basics

The Environmental Protection Agency introduced the program in 1992 with the goal of helping consumers find products that meet higher energy efficiency standards. These products also cost less to operate and have less of an impact on the environment.

Program Guideline Overview

Products with the Energy Star logo have met the program’s strict guidelines, which include:

  • Passing stringent tests performed in a program-approved laboratory, with the results verified by a third party.
  • Belonging to a product category that generates energy savings across the country.
  • Performing efficiently at a level consumers expect, and having features that are in demand.
  • Providing enough savings through increased efficiency so consumers can recoup the higher up-front cost over a reasonable time period.
  • Being clearly labeled so they’re easily identified as Energy Star-qualified products.

The HVAC-related products that carry the logo include furnaces, air-source and geothermal heat pumps, room and central air conditioners, dehumidifiers, ductless mini-splits and ventilation fans.

Benefits of Purchasing Energy Star-Qualified Equipment

Investing in Energy Star-qualified HVAC equipment offers numerous benefits:

  • Energy cost savings: Certified products use up to 20 percent less energy than the least efficient comparable unit.
  • Fewer repair and maintenance problems: Qualified products are better constructed from higher-quality materials in order to meet the program’s performance guidelines.
  • Longer service life: When it’s properly maintained, durable, well-built equipment is more likely to exceed its expected lifespan.
  • Tax credits and other incentives: Qualifying for Federal tax credits and product rebates can help you save money on Energy Star-certified equipment.

To learn more about the benefits of investing in HVAC equipment with the Energy Star logo for 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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Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler Weather

Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler WeatherThe major components of winter comfort include a home’s heating system, the water heater and the windows. Increasing the energy efficiency of each of these will cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

  • Have your heating system serviced. Having an HVAC professional maintain your furnace or heat pump will cut energy consumption. The cleaning and adjustments technicians make improve efficiency and safety. Running a system that’s dirty or out of adjustment not only increases energy bills, but it also creates premature and unnecessary wear.
  • Turn down the thermostat. The ideal indoor temperature ranges from 68 to 78 degrees. In the winter, consider lowering the daytime temperature to 68 and reduce it even more at night. Use warmer bedding and clothing to make up the difference. A programmable thermostat will take all the effort out of adjusting the temperature daily.
  • Tend to the water heater. Depending on your family size, heating water could be the second-highest energy expenditure during the winter. The water heater is often the most neglected appliances in homes, but it’s easy to improve its energy efficiency by turning down its temperature to 120 degrees. Not only will it consume less energy, it will also last longer.
    Draining a few quarts from the bottom of the tank two or three times a year also improves its performance and increases its durability. Wrapping it with an insulating blanket, found at home improvement centers, cuts its energy usage.
  • Deal with the windows. Unless you have Energy Star or thermal-rated windows, you can lose a lot of heat through the glass and frames. Glass has almost no ability to resist heat transfer, and metal frames conduct heat outdoors readily. Closing the window coverings at night and opening them when it’s sunny will help cut those thermal losses. Poorly sealed windows let in cold drafts that caulk or weatherstripping can stop.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC and plumbing 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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What You Should Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

What You Should Consider When Purchasing a New FurnaceReplacing your old furnace with an efficient model available today involves more than just picking one out of the same size. There are installation details to consider, such as making your home more efficient, correctly sizing your new heating system, inspecting the ducts and more.

Use this guide to help you choose and install your system the correct way and to ensure the greatest return on your investment.

Tighten Up Your Home

Your new heating system is going to work a lot better if it’s installed in an efficient home. Air leaks in the thermal envelope and inadequate insulation levels increase the heating load and your energy bills. Ask your HVAC provider to perform an energy evaluation, which shows you exactly where caulk, weatherstripping and insulation is needed.

Heating Efficiency

New, high-efficiency furnaces convert nearly 100 percent of fuel to home heating. That’s a remarkable improvement from old furnaces, which often delivered 65 to 75 percent heating efficiency.

If you’re undecided between a new standard furnace with 80 to 85 percent efficiency and a high-efficiency system, ask your HVAC provider to conduct a lifetime cost analysis. The lifetime cost of your new heating system is the sum of purchase, installation and the estimated operating and maintenance expenses from day one. Then, you can determine which heating system is the right investment for your home and needs.

Furnace Sizing

Another great reason to button up your home is that it may actually reduce the size of heating system you need. A heating load calculation of your home should be conducted using HVAC industry best practices to determine precisely how many BTUs your new furnace should be. Otherwise, you could end up spending extra money on an oversized system that won’t run as efficiently.

How’s Your Ductwork?

A quality ductwork system is essential to maximizing the performance and efficiency of your new heating system. After all, it’s your air ducts that convey heated air throughout your home. Your ductwork should be inspected for leaks, damage, and correct sizing.

If you need assistance selecting the right furnace for your Portland area home, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

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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Preparing Your Home for Fall by Using these Maintenance Tips

Preparing Your Home for Fall by Using these Maintenance TipsAs you get your home ready for the fall season, take time to perform a few essential home maintenance tasks that will help your HVAC equipment work better. In a well-maintained home, heating equipment will operate more efficiently and economically while keeping your living spaces more comfortable. Here’s a brief list of some of the home maintenance projects you should consider.

  • Find and seal air leaks: Air leaks in your home’s structure can let hundreds of dollars worth of heated air escape unused. Worse yet, you’ll have to pay more to heat enough air to make up for the loss. Locate air leaks and seal them appropriately. Most cracks, holes and gaps can be sealed with caulking. Check for leaks in common areas, such as around door and window frames, at points where pipes or wires penetrate the walls, and in areas where the foundation and attic floor connect with the house frame. Contact your HVAC professional for information about a home energy audit that can locate hard-to-find leaks.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts: Make sure your home’s gutters are clean and free of debris and blockages, such as leaves, sticks, and mud. This will reduce the possibility of water leaks during rainstorms or when ice and snow melts off your roof.
  • Check and repair roofs: Inspect your ceiling carefully for any damage that could create holes or openings in the roof. Look for loose or missing shingles, damage to flashing or seals around chimneys or roof penetrations, and obvious holes in the roof’s surface. This type of damage can lead to water leaks and can allow substantial amounts of energy and heated air to escape. Contact a roofing professional to correct these problems.

For nearly 40 years, Roth Heating & Cooling has served Portland, Hillsboro, Canby and the nearby Oregon communities with high-quality HVAC sales, maintenance, and service. Contact us today for more information on fall home maintenance and what you can do to ensure your home and HVAC system are ready for the cooler months.

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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These Factors Can Help You Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Your HVAC System

These Factors Can Help You Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Your HVAC SystemThe question of whether to repair or replace an ailing HVAC system is not always an easy one. To make matters worse, system malfunctions often occur during the height of the cooling or heating months when you’re using your A/C, heat pump, or furnace the most. Consider the following factors to make the best decision for your situation.

System Age

The age of the HVAC unit needing repair is a very important factor for determining whether to replace or repair. The useful life cycle of heat pumps and air conditioners is 10 to 15 years respectively. Boilers and furnaces may provide efficient heating for up to 20 years with regular maintenance. If your HVAC system is within one-third of these numbers, an HVAC replacement may be your best option.

Comfort, Energy Bills, and Home Efficiency

Poor comfort characterized by uneven temperatures is usually accompanied with higher energy bills. Check for drafts around windows and doors. Attic insulation should be above floor joists. Sealing drafts and boosting attic insulation can reduce the burden on your ailing HVAC system.

Home-efficiency upgrades definitely help reduce energy bills and enhance comfort. If repair costs are less than 25 percent of a replacement system and your HVAC unit is within a reasonable age, upgrading home efficiency and repairing your unit makes sense.

Interdependent Systems

Your HVAC system is actually a combination of mechanical, refrigeration, venting, plumbing, and electrical components that rely on each other for overall performance and efficiency. If your repair is a failed blower motor, for example, the cause could be airflow obstructions in the air ducts. An ailing compressor could be the result of dirt and mold insulating the evaporator.

The point is this: You may have more than one repair on your hands. Your HVAC contractor should thoroughly inspect your system for incidental repair causes and problems. Additionally, obtain a lifetime cost evaluation of your system, including repairs, and weigh it against the immediate energy savings you receive with an HVAC upgrade.

For help navigating the repair-or-replace dilemma, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve helped Portland residents with HVAC system solutions 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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Good Quality Air Filter Could be the Key to Better Breathing

Good Quality Air Filter Could be the Key to Better BreathingHVAC equipment is a major investment in your family’s comfort. An air filter for your system is extremely inexpensive by comparison. The health of your family and your HVAC system, however, depend on that filter. A good quality air filter is key to better breathing for your family and better efficiency for your HVAC equipment.

MERV Ratings

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a numerical scale that gives you a sense of how thoroughly an air filter mechanically blocks particulates in your Portland home. The higher the number, the more effective the filter. Clean rooms for high technology and pharmaceutical manufacturing, for example, use filters rated MERV 19 and 20. The cheapest disposable filter for home use may have a MERV rating between one and three.

Air Filter Choices

Air filters come in a wide range of materials at many price levels. The four most popular types:

  • Washable filters—Generally made from aluminum mesh and intended to be rinsed off monthly, these have low MERV ratings between one and four, and may actually encourage biological growths such as fungi, bacteria and spores.
  • Fiberglass air filters—These are the inexpensive, disposable filters you can find in big-box improvement stores, and also in discount stores and even the pharmacy. They do nothing to improve indoor air quality and are designed to prevent particulate damage to your HVAC system. They are rated MERV two to three, removing only about 10 percent of a home’s pollutants.
  • Pleated filters—At MERV ratings between eight and 13, these filter out up to 45 percent of your Portland home’s indoor particulate pollution. The pleats increase surface area, and higher quality fibers—cotton and polyester instead of fiberglass—provide superior mechanical filtration.
  • High-efficiency air filters—Coming in at MERV ratings between 14 and 16, these HVAC filters remove up to 85 percent of particulates, pollutants and allergens from your home’s air. They are generally very thick, and need professional installation in your HVAC ductwork, as they can affect airflow rate.

For more guidance on selecting the best air filter for your home’s HVAC system, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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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Efficient HVAC Equipment: Do Your Homework

Efficient HVAC Equipment: Do Your HomeworkOver the last decade, it has been easier to find efficient HVAC equipment that incorporates better technology that will lower your energy bills, especially if you’re running a heating or cooling system that’s 10 years or older. This guide can help you learn the basics about efficiency ratings for HVAC equipment. Continue reading