Tag Archives: hvac maintenance

Why it Pays to Invest in Preventive Maintenance

Why it Pays to Invest in Preventive MaintenanceOf all the appliances in your home, your HVAC system is probably the most complicated and expensive. It also requires periodic preventive maintenance to run efficiently and dependably.

The benefits of professional attention far outweigh its cost, like:

  • Lower energy bills. Cooling and heating your home use about half your energy budget, and having your equipment professionally serviced helps lower energy use. When a system is cleaned, adjusted and lubricated, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable. The goal of the HVAC tuneup is to bring the system back as closely as the technician can to its original factory settings.
  • Longer system lifetime. Everything mechanical wears with use, but keeping the parts clean goes a long way toward increasing their useful life. Over time, electrical parts corrode and when they do, the flow of electricity slows and heat builds. Dust on the components inside heating and cooling systems slows the heat exchange process. Your system has to run longer, which wears the parts prematurely.
  • Greater dependability. When a HVAC pro goes through your system during a preventive maintenance visit, he or she may find a part that’s not functioning as well as it should. Replacing a small part before it fails keeps your system running dependably especially during weather extremes.
  • Fewer repair costs. A failing part can have a damaging ripple effect throughout the system, and instead of needing to replace just one part, you may need to replace several others.
  • Maintain a valid warranty. Some manufacturers require periodic maintenance performed by an HVAC pro to keep the warranty active. Considering the cost of parts and labor, losing this protection could cost a good deal.

The best way to achieve the highest performance your system can provide is through routine preventive maintenance. 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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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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A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and Replacement

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and ReplacementEstablishing an HVAC maintenance timeline helps you keep your system running dependably and efficiently for the many years they’re designed to last. These systems use many mechanical and electrical parts that need cleaning and adjusting to perform at their best. Without attention from you and an HVAC pro, efficiency and durability decline.

How Long They Last

A well-maintained air conditioner or heat pump should last between 10–16 years, and a furnace between 15–20 years. Exceptions to these parameters do occur, primarily based on usage and maintenance.

Scheduling Maintenance Tasks

Check the air filter monthly when the system runs frequently. Neglecting filter changes is the most frequent cause of high energy costs and premature system failure. Dirt slows the air flowing through the air handler, and it takes the system longer to condition your home. The longer running cycle wears the parts and drives up energy costs.

Keep the outdoor condenser clean. A clean condenser loses the heat from the refrigerant faster and keeps cooling bills lower. Hose the coils off periodically and remove any vegetation that blocks the air flow through it.

Scheduling Professional Maintenance

An HVAC pro should clean, adjust, and inspect your cooling and heating system at least once a year, preferably in the spring or fall before its season starts. These systems create vibrations as they run, use oil, and collect dust, all of which interferes with their efficiency and performance.

The goal of professional maintenance is to bring the equipment back to its original settings as much as possible. The technician will check the refrigerant level, clean and lubricate motors, and verify that all the electrical and safety components work properly.

Improper refrigerant levels drive up cooling costs and contribute to compressor wear and early failure. Gas furnaces need professional servicing once a year for greatest efficiency and safe operation.

Sticking to the HVAC maintenance timeline helps you get the most from your system monthly and prolong its lifetime. To learn more, contact Roth Heating and 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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Understanding DIY or Professional HVAC Maintenance Tasks

Understanding DIY or Professional HVAC Maintenance TasksYour home’s HVAC system needs regular maintenance to operate well for its lifespan. Much of that needs to be performed by a qualified professional. Heating and cooling systems have sensitive components that need expert handling for both your safety and the safety of the machinery. Here are some guidelines regarding tasks you can take care of and what jobs are best left to your technician.

Changing the Filter

You should change filters whenever they are dirty because grimy filters lead to problems such as stressed fan motors, dirty evaporator coils, dirty air ducts, and dust in the air you breathe. This is an easy task requiring little time and effort and most homeowners prefer to handle it without help.

If dirty filters have caused problems for the system, that is another story. Make sure you call your HVAC technician if your coils have frozen, if you suspect your ductwork is dirty, or if the fan motor keeps shutting off.

Cleaning

Seasonal HVAC maintenance visits usually include some cleaning tasks specific to the machinery. Your contractor can take care of cleaning the coils and cleaning interior parts that have gathered dust.

Some cleaning projects are DIY and will make your system run better as well as make any maintenance task easier. This includes keeping the area around the furnace and other interior HVAC components neatly swept and free of clutter. Outdoors, keep trees and bushes trimmed back from the compressor and don’t let brush or grass clippings build up nearby. The technician will appreciate clear access to the units. It also reduces the amount of debris being trapped inside.

Repairs

It can be tempting to explore your HVAC equipment when something is malfunctioning. Clearing a clog in the drainage pan or tightening a bolt is fine, but avoid doing anything more than that. Call your technician to make repairs such as loose wiring, broken belts, or stalled fans. This is the safest and smartest way to handle these issues.

For more about HVAC maintenance and your Portland 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).

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Should Air Filters be Changed More Frequently During Summer?

Should Air Filters be Changed More Frequently During Summer? | RothEven though Portland’s summers are relatively mild, your air filter has a lot to deal with during the cooling season. Taking care of your filter correctly protects your comfort and your health.

How Summer Affects Your Air Filter

While it’s a good idea to inspect your filter once a month, during milder weather, you may not always need to change it monthly. During the cooling season, when you’re using your A/C almost daily, lower-efficiency filters should be changed every month. There are a few reasons for this.

Higher cooling demand — As your air conditioner runs, it pulls room air through the filter and the filter picks up debris from the air. If you’re running your A/C for hours a day most days, it will fill up quickly.

More air contaminants — Naturally higher summertime humidity encourages the growth of mold and bacteria, which worsens your indoor air quality. Plants that bloom in summer add pollen to your air. All this means more contaminants to clog up your filter.

Higher humidity — Humid indoor air provides ideal growing conditions for the mold spores and bacteria on your filter. Leave the filter in too long and it could develop mold that releases more spores into your air.

Know When to Change Your Air Filter

In summer, 1-inch fiberglass filters should be changed every month. Higher-efficiency filters, which have larger particle-trapping surfaces, can last up to 3 months. They also improve your indoor air quality, unlike lower-efficiency filters. Your air quality affects exactly how long they last. If you smoke, have pets or live near a major road or other source of pollution, the filter will become dirty faster.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on when to change the filter. To be on the safe side, once a month, remove the filter and hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see light through the filter, it’s time to put in a clean one.

For more guidance on keeping your air quality high, contact us 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).

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Keep Your Cool This Summer by Avoiding These Home Cooling Myths

Keep Your Cool This Summer by Avoiding These Home Cooling MythsKeeping your home comfortable during the summer in Portland can be costly, especially if you follow some of the commonly believed myths about more efficient cooling. Here are five of the most common home cooling myths, as well as the facts dispelling each.

A Larger Air Conditioner Improves Cooling

If the system in your home was sized properly at installation, but it’s not cooling effectively, it’s likely in need of maintenance, which includes cleaning the evaporator or condenser coils, replacing the air filter and checking the coolant levels. Upgrading to a larger model will result in a system that cycles off when it reaches the set temperature, then back on when more cooling is called for. This constant cycling is inefficient, costing you more money, and leading to frequent maintenance and premature failure.

Turning the A/C Off When Leaving Wastes Money

Many people believe that it takes more energy to cool a warm home than it does to leave the A/C on while you’re away. The truth is that anytime the system is running, it’s using large amounts of energy — far more than cooling down your home when you arrive. To save money and remain comfortable, install a programmable thermostat and have it lower the temperature about an hour before you’re due home so that it’s cool when you arrive.

Lowering the Temperature Cools Your Home Faster

Turning the thermostat all the way down won’t cool your home any faster, as the air conditioner has a set amount of cool air it can generate at any time. Additionally, if you forget to reset the thermostat, you may end up wasting money.

Air Conditioners Only Cool the Air

In addition to cooling air, air conditioners also remove humidity, which makes you feel comfortable at a higher temperature.

Fans Help Cool a Room

Fans only help to circulate the air, making you feel cooler by evaporating sweat faster via the wind chill effect. Using fans in an empty room wastes energy.

For more information about these common home cooling myths, talk to the HVAC experts 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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Keep the Area Around Your Outdoor A/C Component Well Maintained for Better Efficiency

Keep the Area Around Your Outdoor A/C Component Well Maintained for Better EfficiencyWhen Portland summers strike, we all rely on our central air conditioners to help keep us cool and comfortable. The outdoor A/C component, however, is bulky and can be an eyesore. As a result, homeowners try to conceal it with landscaping. This actually does a lot more than simply beautify your property; it can also improve the efficiency of your cooling system by as much as 10 percent, but only if it’s done with care. Here are some tips for maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit in such a way that you can save money and improve efficiency.

Choosing Vegetation

Strategically planting around outdoor A/C equipment will create a shady area that can help prevent the system from overworking. This can help increase its lifespan and reduce cooling bills.

When selecting vegetation, it’s a good idea to avoid plants that shed leaves seasonally. This will reduce the amount of effort required for maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit. Hedges are a great option, and some homeowners erect latticework and climbing plants.

Appropriate Clearance

Clearance is an important consideration, both when initially planting and while maintaining your vegetation. If plants are too close to the unit, they may restrict airflow around the coils. Vegetation should be at least two to three feet from the outdoor component on all sides. Plants should be regularly trimmed in order to give the unit ample room to operate efficiently. Overhanging trees should be trimmed to allow for 5 feet of clearance above the equipment.

Clearing Debris

Keeping your equipment free and clear of debris is an essential part of properly maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C unit. Over time, leaves, grass, sticks and other debris can accumulate around the unit and cause problems with performance efficiency. For best results, take the time to regularly sweep debris away and hose down the equipment.

The professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling are happy to provide you with more advice on maintaining the area around your outdoor A/C Unit. Contact us to learn more.

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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3 Common A/C Condensate Drain Problems Portland Homeowners Need to Be Aware Of

3 Common A/C Condensate Drain Problems Portland Homeowners Need to Be Aware OfA/C systems are complex machines that need regular care. When homeowner and professional maintenance are overlooked or discounted, energy bills creep up, comfort suffers and system components begin to malfunction or fail. The condensate drain system, with very few or no moving parts, is no exception. Read on to learn about A/C condensate drain problems you should be aware of.

How the A/C Condensate Drain System Works

The condensate drain system is simplistic in function yet essential for proper A/C function. Condensate formed on the evaporator coil drips into the condensate pan. The water flows down a drain tube to a floor drain or empties outside the home. All you need for a well-operating system are clean and damage-free parts and gravity.

When Things Go Wrong

To borrow from the age-old idiom, when your condensate drain leaks, it pours, so a condensate drain leak is the number one red flag that something has gone wrong in the system. The problem arises when the drain trap becomes clogged with debris, mold growth, algae and anything else that falls into the condensate pan.

A clogged drain is one thing, but water spillage inside your home is quite another. If backup overflow systems fail or are simply not installed on your A/C model, you’re going to have water damage in your home when the pan overflows. Many A/C systems have a backup pan with a float switch so if the primary pan spills over, water is caught in the backup, and the float switch shuts down the A/C. This safety measure prevents water damage, but you’ll still need to call your HVAC tech to turn on the A/C.

The third of A/C condensate drain problems is the mold, bacteria and fungal growth on A/C components. The evaporator coil, drip pan and drain line are like tropical resorts for mold, algae and other contaminants. Not only does the buildup of such biohazards block airflow, increase energy bills and degrade cooling, but the spores are also released to circulate through the home.

For more information about A/C condensate drain problems, contact Roth Heating & Cooling for HVAC solutions in Portland.

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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Top Reasons to Build a Custom Home of Your Own

Top Reasons to Build a Custom Home of Your OwnIf you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’ve been looking at pre-built or semi-custom homes. But if you want something that you can truly make your own, a custom-built home offers exactly what you’re looking for.

Top Reasons to Build a Custom Home

When you build a custom home, you can take advantage of the flexibility and creativity it offers. Here are five great reasons why opting for a custom-built home is the best choice when it comes to home ownership:

  1. You can build a home completely to your specs and unique tastes. There’s no need to worry about how to work around someone else’s blueprints.
  2. Need a bigger garage, extra storage space or an extra room for exercise or entertainment? You can incorporate all of these extras plus much more into a custom-built home. You can also add extras that account for your present and future needs, such as aging in place options like entryways built with wheelchair accessibility in mind.
  3. You can easily incorporate energy-efficient extras into a new build at a lower cost than it would take to retrofit green options into an existing home. These options can help you save hundreds of dollars each year on your overall energy costs.
  4. Custom homes require less initial maintenance than existing homes since everything is practically brand-new, from the flooring and building materials to the appliances, HVAC and plumbing systems. It’s also much easier to keep track of their condition from the start, unlike with existing homes with used appliances and HVAC systems.
  5. Custom homes offer a tremendous level of customer satisfaction that’s unmatched by already-built or even semi-custom homes. When you build a custom home, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that there are no other homes just like it. A custom home is truly a one-of-a-kind deal.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can help you with your custom home’s HVAC and electrical wiring needs. We proudly serve the Portland area and have done so 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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Signs You Should Disregard a Prospective HVAC Contractor

Signs You Should Disregard a Prospective HVAC ContractorSelecting a reliable HVAC contractor can be a challenge. Do you simply take the recommendation of friends? Should you select one from the phone book or from an Internet search? Here are some tips for avoiding HVAC contractors who are less than professional: Continue reading