Tag Archives: hvac system

Ways to Fix Uneven Cooling in Your Home

Ways to Fix Uneven Cooling in Your HomeThere are many factors that can contribute to uneven cooling in your home. The ductwork may need attention that requires sealing leaks or cleaning duct runs. Or, your A/C could just be getting old coupled with heat gain/loss due to your home’s orientation to the sun. Following are common reasons and solutions to help you fix cooling problems and help you save energy.

Duct Problems

The ducts are the lungs of your home — taking in warm air through return grilles and pushing cooled air out of supply vents. Here are some solutions to help your home’s lungs breathe easier.

  • Leaks: Loose duct joints, damage and holes allow cooled air to escape before reaching the living spaces. Duct air leaks should be wrapped with metal duct tape.
  • Insulation: Cool air quickly takes on heat through thin duct walls. Make sure the ducts located in the attic or basement are insulated.
  • Sizing: If your ducts weren’t sized correctly, you’ll need to install a zoning system or retrofit the ducts.
  • Dirty: Dirty vents and air ducts should be cleaned to allow free airflow and to improve indoor air quality.

A/C Issues

The central air system itself could be the problem for uneven cooling. If your A/C is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading. Room additions increase the cooling load of your home, and the extra load could be too much for your A/C. Installing a ductless mini split or upgrading to a larger A/C unit may be in order.

Sun-facing Rooms

Heat gain/loss occurs in every room, and in every room it’s different. Sun-facing rooms take on heat quicker than north-facing rooms. When coupled with other HVAC issues, such as leaky ducts, you are going to have substantial comfort problems.

Window treatments help curb heat gain/loss issues by slowing heat gain into sun-facing rooms. Installing awnings provide shade for sun-facing rooms and substantially reduce heat gain. A simpler method is to install window film and layered drapes, which also help with heat loss during the heating months.

For professional service to address uneven cooling in your Portland home, contact 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). 

3 Ways to Love Your HVAC System

3 Ways to Love Your HVAC SystemThis Valentine’s Day show your home’s heating and cooling system some love and it will properly love you back. Here are three ways you can give Love your HVAC system:

Inspect forced-air system filters regularly and change them when they look dirty or clogged. An air filter that’s clogged with dust and debris will slow airflow through your forced-air system, and potentially lead to dirty system components, among other problems. Both consequences will force machinery to work harder than necessary, wasting energy and stressing parts.

Consider turning down the temperature a few degrees in the winter (and up in the summer). It doesn’t take long for most people to become acclimated to a “new normal.” This will produce the positive results of adding months or years to your HVAC system’s service life, reducing breakdowns over time, and saving on monthly operating costs.

Seal air leaks in your home’s outer envelope. When a significant amount of air is allowed to transfer between inside and outside, your HVAC system must work all the harder to make your home comfortable and draft-free. This stresses heating and cooling equipment, wastes energy, and erodes comfort in the home. Upgrading insulation (especially in the attic) has the same positive effect as plugging air leaks, except in this case, insulation reduces the transfer of heat energy (as opposed to air) between inside and outside.

Other ways to love your HVAC system include: Installing a programmable thermostat (which allows you to set energy-saving schedules for temperature changes, such as while you’re away working or asleep at night); scheduling annual professional maintenance for your cooling and heating systems (which helps ensure comfort, energy efficiency and safety); sealing or repairing leaky or defective ductwork in your home; installing ceiling fans to supplement home cooling in the summer and help redistribute warm air in the winter; and keeping vents and registers clear of furniture, rugs and other objects that block airflow.

For advice on other ways to love your HVAC system this winter and spring, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, providing quality services to the Portland metropolitan area since 1976.

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

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in Winter

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in Winter

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in WinterWhen the snow and freezing rain of a typical Portland winter storm blow in, a power outage is often close behind. Take some time to prepare, though, and you can stay comfortable no matter the weather.

Staying Cozy Without Heating

If you have a propane or kerosene heater designed for use indoors and a very well ventilated room, this is your best bet for staying warm. If you have any suspicions that the room might lack good airflow, however, don’t risk it or you’re liable to end up ill from carbon monoxide exposure.

A safer bet is to make sure everyone in your household is dressed in layers of warm clothing and equipped with a warm blanket, then bring everyone into a small room. Your body heat, taken together, will keep the room warm.

When you know a storm’s coming, raise your thermostat temperature around 10 degrees so your home will take longer to cool down if the power goes out. If you have a fireplace, bring in extra firewood. Before winter hits, make time to seal air leaks around doors and windows, put up insulating drapes, and make other improvements that will help your home hold in warmth.

When a Generator is Worth It

A generator is always a nice convenience, but when your household includes a young child, elderly person or anyone else vulnerable to hypothermia, a generator can be a literal lifesaver. Depending on its size, a gasoline- or diesel-powered portable generator can power one or more circuits in your home. A smaller model can at least power an electric space heater.

If you prefer to have your whole home powered, consider investing in a standby generator. This is wired into your home’s electrical system and starts up automatically when a power outage occurs, then turns off when the power comes back. It’s connected to the natural gas mains, so it won’t run out of fuel.

For more ideas on staying cozy and safe during a power outage, talk with 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ehendel/Pixabay”

Why You Shouldn’t Try DIY HVAC Repairs

Why You Shouldn't Try DIY HVAC RepairsWhen your furnace starts acting up on a chilly Portland winter evening, it can be tempting to try to solve the problem yourself rather than wait for a technician to arrive. DIY HVAC repairs might sound practical, but they can end up costing more money and time than calling a pro would have.

Your Health and Safety

The most important reason to let a professional handle your heating and cooling repairs is to protect yourself and your family. While you might not be too concerned about the minor cuts and burns you can get during your DIY HVAC repairs, keep in mind this isn’t the worse that can happen.

Making a mistake around the system’s electrical components can give you a shock that leaves you hospitalized or even dead. An incorrectly performed electrical repair job might look okay at first, but spark a fire in the middle of the night. Damage to a gas furnace can create a potentially deadly carbon monoxide leak.

Practicality and Cost-Effectiveness

Licensed HVAC professionals bring not only years of training and experience, but also an array of tools specifically designed for HVAC repair. All this lets them troubleshoot your system and get the necessary repair work done fast. Better yet, you can be sure the repair work will last. Try to DIY it and you’re likely to spend more of your own time and money for an iffy repair job.

Some components, such as your air conditioner evaporator coils, are quite delicate and it’s easy to cause damage if you’re unaware of how to handle them. A mistake could turn a quick repair into an expensive component replacement job.

Changing your air filters, cleaning your outdoor condenser unit, and even patching a damaged air duct are all simple jobs you can do yourself, but for anything more complex, put your family’s safety first and call a pro.

If you’d rather avoid disastrous DIY HVAC repairs, get in touch with 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

New Year, New HVAC Maintenance Tasks

New Year, New HVAC Maintenance TasksNow that the hectic holiday season is over, you have a chance to catch your breath and enjoy some downtime. This mid-winter lull is also a good opportunity to give your HVAC system some attention. Here’s a handy checklist of HVAC maintenance tasks that can keep your system operating reliably and efficiently throughout the remainder of the winter:

Replace Your Air Filter

Ideally, you should be checking the filter once a month over the winter and putting in a fresh one whenever you see signs of debris accumulation. This is a chore that’s easy to neglect when you’re busy getting prepared for the holidays, so if you missed your December check, make it a priority now. A clean filter is important because it keeps your heating system running efficiently and lowers the risk of airflow restrictions that can cause overheating and an unexpected system shut down.

Clean Up Around Your Outdoor Unit

If you have a heat pump, now’s a good time to get rid of collected debris around the outdoor unit that might negatively affect its performance and energy efficiency. Pick a mild day and head outdoors to clear away any dead vegetation, missed fallen leaves, twigs or broken branches. Then, rinse off the condenser coil with lukewarm water to remove any buildup of dust that can interfere with efficient heat transfer.

Give Your HVAC Registers Some TLC

Clean, open and unobstructed vents and cold air returns ensure even heating and consistent temperatures from room to room in your home, and they help maintain good system airflow so your heating equipment operates efficiently. Giving the vents the attention they deserve is easy: simply take your vacuum along and visit each room to clean and check each vent/return grille.

Replace Your Thermostat Batteries

Your thermostat runs on electricity, so it’s easy to forget about replacing its backup batteries. Putting fresh batteries in periodically is important, though, because it lets the thermostat retain your programming and temperature settings when there’s a power outage.

For more expert advice about HVAC maintenance for your Portland-area 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “TeroVesalainen/Pixabay”

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).  

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Gellinger/Pixabay” 

How to Avoid Common Winter HVAC Concerns

How to Avoid Common Winter HVAC ConcernsIn the winter, you rely on your HVAC system to keep your home comfortably warm. However, your home comfort can be jeopardized by a variety of wintertime heating system problems. Here are some common winter HVAC concerns and what you should do to resolve them:

Inconsistent Heating

If some rooms are too warm while others feel too chilly when your heating system is running, check that the louvers are open on all your registers first. Then, examine the furnace filter because a clogged filter can reduce the amount of warm air that’s delivered to each room. Other possible causes that will require a professional diagnosis are leaky, damaged ducts or unbalanced airflow through the HVAC system.

Not Enough Heat

If the heating system doesn’t seem to stay running long enough to adequately heat your home, you have a situation known as “short cycling.” Your HVAC technician can do some detective work to find out why it’s happening, which could be a poorly-located or faulty thermostat, under- or over-sized equipment, or a corroded flame sensor.

Sudden Loss of Heat

If your furnace or heat pump suddenly stops cycling on, it may just need a simple fix like replacing dead thermostat batteries or a badly-clogged air filter, which can severely reduce airflow so the furnace overheats and triggers the high limit safety switch. Your heat pump can shut down similarly if the outdoor unit is covered with ice or snow and can’t defrost on its own. If none of these issues seem to be the cause, call your HVAC pro to check for more serious problems.

Combustion Fume or Gas Odors

Both of these issues pose serious safety hazards, so contact your home heating contractor immediately, and head over to a neighbor’s house until the problem is solved. Backdrafting combustion fumes from an obstructed vent system can pump deadly carbon monoxide gas through your home, while leaking gas lines can cause dizziness, vomiting and even asphyxiation, or an explosion or house fire.

If you need expert help solving winter HVAC concerns in 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”

Why the Gift of Home Comfort is Ideal This Season

Why the Gift of Home Comfort is Ideal This Season Whether it’s for yours or another’s, why not give the gift of home comfort this holiday season? It’s easy to take for granted when the furnace is working and the energy bills are reasonable. If someone you know could use a hand to lower heating bills or creating a more efficient home, why not consider one of these suggestions.

A Maintenance Contract

Professional HVAC maintenance improves the performance of HVAC systems, lowers energy bills and reduces the risk of system breakdowns. Maintenance contracts offer convenience, discounts on repairs and labor, as well as preferred appointment scheduling.

Programmable Thermostat

If someone on your gift list has an aging or outdated thermostat, consider giving them a gift certificate from an HVAC contractor for a new thermostat. The contractor can help them select and install the best thermostat to use with their system. Programmable thermostats give them precise control over home temperatures and take the effort out of managing temperatures based on their daily schedules.

An Energy Audit

If you know someone who is struggling with high energy bills, consider hiring an HVAC contractor or licensed energy auditor to evaluate the home. They might find a high rate of air infiltration or inadequate insulation in parts of the home. If you’re handy, you could volunteer to seal the leaks and help them add more insulation, both of which are affordable ways to increase home comfort.

Temperature Gun

A digital temperature gun is a point-and-shoot device that measures surface temperatures instantly. Using one to find energy losses throughout the home will provide a good starting point to find leaks and inadequate insulation. They’re inexpensive and fun for the curious. Besides learning home temperatures, they reveal outdoor conditions, and temperatures inside kitchen appliances.

Helping others with gifts that enhance home comfort are rewarding for both the giver and receiver. If you’d like to learn more about these gifts and ideas, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing 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). 

Winter Checklist: Maintaining Your Furnace 

Winter Checklist: Maintaining Your Furnace Maintaining your furnace during the winter keeps it running smoothly efficiently. It’s easy to take this hard working appliance for granted, but like all mechanical systems, it needs periodic attention to run at its best.

Schedule a Professional Service Check

The energy efficiency and durability of your furnace improves when a professional HVAC technician goes through it annually. The service includes thorough cleaning of the burner and the ignition system, as well as adjusting the air to fuel ratio based on the manufacturer’s specifications.

The technician will check all the safety switches to make sure they’re fully functional, as well as checking the gas lines and exhaust venting. The blower motor may require lubrication and the belt might need adjustment or replacement.

Check and Change the Air Filter

Checking and changing the air filter monthly will keep your system running as efficiently as possible. When the filters get dirty, the air flowing through the air handler slows down, and it will take the furnace longer to heat your home.

Dust also collects on the parts inside the air handler, which reduces their efficiency and can lead to system problems. It’s particularly serious when it covers the heat exchanger. When dust covers this part, it acts as insulation and keeps it warmer than the manufacturer intended.

Over time, the metal can crack, which may force an entire system replacement. Cracked heat exchangers may emit carbon monoxide (CO) into the air, which is a safety hazard, largely avoidable by maintaining the furnace and keeping the air filter clean.

Clean the Registers

Over the winter, keep an eye on the register covers. Clean them when they’re dirty and note any areas of excessive dust, which could indicate ductwork leaks. Leaks need to be repaired quickly to prevent high heating costs and keep indoor air quality high. All the ducts should be open and remove anything that blocks the free flow of air.

Each of these suggestions for maintaining your furnace will help it keep your home comfortable and lower your heating costs. For more information, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing top-notch 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

How Should You Use a Ductless, Mini-Split System?

How Should You Use a Ductless, Mini-Split System?Ductless mini-splits have been enjoying slow growth in popularity in this country, as more homeowners discover the benefits of using these systems to heat or cool. Here’s a brief explanation as to how they work, and what the best uses of mini-split systems might be.

How Mini-Splits Work

Ductless mini-splits are, as the name implies, a mode of heating and cooling that doesn’t use ducts. They are in fact a type of heat pump, with an outdoor condenser and an indoor air handler. The parts are connected by a conduit that contains the refrigerant and electrical line. Refrigerant is pumped into the home where it absorbs heat, and then is pumped out again and exhausted to cool the home. The process is reversed to heat the home.

Heat pumps are generally not recommended for extreme climates, particularly places where winter temperatures fall consistently below 32 degrees F. Often an auxiliary form of heating is needed during freezing weather — such as a gas furnace or heating strips, the latter of which can be expensive to run.

When to Use a Mini-Split System

Homeowners typically install mini-splits to heat or cool a part of the home that is too cold or too hot. Or, they might be used in an add-on, or when a garage, attic or basement space is finished out. Such spaces may represent challenges when it comes to running existing ductwork to them: it may be too expensive or too complicated.

Ductless mini-splits offer clean technology, without combustion, since they run on electricity. They are also considered efficient, quieter and less intrusive when they turn on than a central HVAC system.

They are also versatile as far as mounting options. The air handlers may be mounted on the ceiling, wall or floor, or be left freestanding. Since the air handlers are compact, they can be placed in a location where they are out of the way.

The main drawback of mini-splits is they are considered somewhat expensive, in terms of purchase and installation.

To learn more about mini-split systems, 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”