Tag Archives: hvac system

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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Upgrade Indoor Home Comfort With a Wi-Fi Thermostat

Upgrade Indoor Home Comfort With a Wi-Fi ThermostatWhen it comes to making your Portland home more comfortable throughout the year, making the switch to a Wi-Fi thermostat can help. This type of thermostat offers a number of benefits compared to standard thermostats. Knowing more about these thermostats can help you decide whether or not to invest in one for your home.

How They Work

Wi-Fi thermostats are designed to adjust the temperature in your home just as standard thermostats do. However, these thermostats can be programmed and adjusted from any device in your home or even on devices that you have with you while you’re away from home. This convenience offers several important advantages over standard thermostats and makes it easier for you to keep your home comfortable at any time.

Benefits of Wi-Fi Thermostats

Wi-Fi thermostats can be programmed to gather information on the current conditions inside your home and adjust the temperature accordingly. This means that you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn the thermostat up or down before leaving the house or before heading to bed. Your thermostat can handle that for you, which helps ensure that your home stays as cool or as warm as you need it to be.

These thermostats can also be programmed or adjusted from nearly any location, as long as you have Wi-Fi access. You can program your Wi-Fi thermostat or make changes to it from your mobile phone, laptop or tablet when you’re out and about. Even if you are traveling or away on vacation, you can still program your thermostat as needed to make sure your home doesn’t get too hot or cold.

Some Wi-Fi thermostats can also alert you when your HVAC system starts running less efficiently than normal. This helps ensure that you have your system inspected and repaired as needed.

If you need more information on getting a Wi-Fi thermostat for your home, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We offer reliable HVAC services 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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Condensation On My Air Conditioner Unit: Should I Be Worried?

Condensation On My Air Conditioner Unit: Should I Be Worried?When something is wrong with your air conditioner, it will let you know in a number of different ways. Maybe you have a gut feeling your energy bills are too high, and you certainly know when your home is uncomfortable. Another sign your air conditioner is failing is condensation collecting on and/or around it. Switch the thermostat and your panic buttons off, and keep reading before you make your next call.

What Harm is a Little Water?

Water condensation on your air conditioner’s evaporator coil is normal. However, as you’ve realized, water leaking from your air conditioner onto your floor is not acceptable. Depending on where your indoor A/C unit is located, condensate leaks may cause damage to your ceiling, walls, flooring and/or other building materials and property.

What to Do?

In order to know what to do about a leaky A/C, it’s helpful to know how condensation forms and the most common reasons why it’s leaking. Condensation forms as a result of water vapor in warm airflow being pulled across the cold evaporator coil. Under normal conditions, the condensate drips into a pan, flows down the drain and through a tube away from your home. End of story — unless your A/C unit is experiencing these problems:

  • A blockage in the drain tube is causing an overflow. Your HVAC technician uses either a powerful blower or heavy-duty vacuum to push or pull the blockage through. Then, the line is chemically treated.
  • The float switch has malfunctioned. Some air conditioners have a float switch that turns off the unit when water fills the drip pan too high. If your A/C is equipped with such a device, but it’s not working, it needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • The drip pan has rusted through or it has broken. Your technician can simply replace the drip pan.

Ask your HVAC technician or plumber if your A/C has a float switch. If not, you’d be wise to have one installed in the drain trap. For assistance repairing air conditioner condensation problems in your Portland home, please contact the professionals at 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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Considering Improving Your Home’s IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here’s What to Know

Considering Improving Your Home's IAQ by Using UV Lights? Here's What to KnowYou may not spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of the air inside your home. However, clean air can help keep everyone in the home healthy. It has even greater benefits for allergy sufferers and for those with breathing difficulties. Improving your indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a fairly easy task that offers a great return on your investment.

What Affects IAQ?

The quality of your air can be affected by many factors. If you have smokers or pets in the home, if you have pollen-bearing plants in your yard or neighborhood, or if there’s a major roadway nearby, your air may not be as clean as you’d want it to be. Other factors affecting IAQ include having lots of dust in the air or high levels of humidity that might encourage mold growth.

What Improves IAQ?

The first, and simplest, fix for your IAQ is a good filter for your HVAC system. If you replace it regularly, a filter will catch many of the larger allergens and contaminants that get into your home.

Filters aren’t sufficient to catch the smallest particles, however. They also don’t do much about mold or mildew growth inside your ducts or around your A/C’s evaporator coil.

To take care of these contaminants, many homeowners opt to install UV, or ultraviolet, lights inside their ducts or near their evaporator coils. These lights work at a wavelength that attacks bacteria and mold spores. The lights disrupt the contaminants’ DNA, preventing them from reproducing and shortening their lives.

Since UV lights are installed within the HVAC system, they have no effect on the people or pets living in the home. These lights are remarkably effective. They have been shown to improve IAQ in less than an hour after being turned on, and they continue to clean the air as long as your HVAC system is on. Paired with a high-quality filter, UV lights can give you the indoor air quality your family needs to stay healthy.

For more information about using UV lights in your Portland area home, 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Could It Be Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Wiring?

ICould It Be Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Wiring?t may be the last thing on your wish list for home improvements, but electrical wiring could be unsafe, inadequate, or both and needs replacing. Even though the expense may seem high, it’s well worth doing given what’s at risk.

The signs of bad wiring include:

  • Flickering lights or bulbs that dim when you turn on an appliance. This almost always indicates that the circuit breaker for that outlet is overloaded.
  • Sizzling sounds coming from an outlet or discolored outlets. Electricity should be silent. Discolored outlets could indicate overheating.
  • Circuit breakers that trip frequently. When too much power goes through a circuit breaker, a contact point builds too much heat and it shuts itself off.
  • Burning rubber smells or excessively hot cords. Anytime you smell a suspicious odor coming from an appliance or a cord feels hot, you should turn it off or pull it immediately. The problem may be the device you’re using. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to contact an electrician to identify the problem.
  • Aluminum wiring. Home builders used aluminum wiring to cut costs in homes built between the 1960s and 70s. While it may not be a problem, it can be. Work-arounds may be available to reduce the danger associated with this type of electrical wiring.
  • Lack of grounded outlets or no GFIs. Any outlet that isn’t grounded should be changed, and GFI circuits reduce the risk of an appliance or device being exposed to water.
  • Overloaded outlets. If you have to use surge protectors or power strips throughout your home, you probably need more receptacles, especially when you’re plugging higher wattage appliances into them. Vacuum cleaners, space heaters, hair dryers, and some televisions use more power than others, and need to be plugged directly into an outlet for safety.

Inadequate or unsafe electrical wiring accounts for the majority of preventable home fires. If you suspect yours is inadequate or you’ve experienced any problems with it, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide trusted HVAC and electrical 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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Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need More Than One?

Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need More Than One?If you have a long wait between turning on your faucet or showerhead and getting hot water, you may think that there’s nothing you can do about it. It just takes as long as it takes, right?

The truth is, there is a solution that many homeowners aren’t aware of – installing multiple tankless water heaters near the points of demand is the solution.

What is a Point of Demand?

Any point where you need hot water to come out is called a point of demand. This includes your kitchen sink, washing machine, showers, and bathroom sinks.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

First, let’s think about a traditional water heater. With this type of water heater, water fills up a large tank. The water is heated up, then kept at the same hot temperature while it waits to be used. When you turn on a hot water tap, the water flows from the tank to your point of demand.

This system has pros and cons:

  • Pro: Stores a lot of hot water
  • Con: Uses energy to keep the water hot all the time
  • Con: Can be susceptible to rusting out and flooding your home

A tankless water heater is a much smaller unit that’s installed on a wall along the path of the pipe. When you turn on the hot water tap, water flows through the pipes and also through the tankless heater. Inside the tankless heater, the water is warmed up before it finishes its journey to your faucet.

Because tankless heaters are not as large as traditional models, it’s possible to place one near each main point of demand in your home. This allows hot water to get to your tap faster, reducing the wasted water that runs down your drain while you wait for it to heat up.

Additional Pros and Cons:

  • Pro: Requires less energy because they are not keeping water hot at all times
  • Pro: Avoids the “rusted out” problem of traditional models
  • Con: Higher initial investment

Need more information about how multiple water heaters can help in your Portland-area home? 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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How to Conduct Your Own At-Home Energy Tests

How to Conduct Your Own At-Home Energy TestsIf you’re looking for ways to reduce your household utility bills, performing some basic energy tests can help you identify areas where energy is being wasted. Here’s a brief guide to help you find and address energy inefficiencies in some of the most common problem areas:

  • Air leaks. Leaks in your home’s conditioned envelope can account for 10-20 percent to your total energy consumption. The first step in reducing this waste is finding leak sources and sealing them with an appropriate caulk product, expandable spray foam insulation or weatherstripping. Indoors, look for leaks along the baseboards, where walls and ceilings meet, at switches/electrical outlets on exterior walls, and around any penetrations between the living area and attic. Outdoors, check around window and doors, where different building components meet, the sill plate, and at penetrations for pipes, vents, and wires.
  • Lighting your home accounts for roughly 10 percent of your energy usage. You can reduce this by replacing inefficient incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
  • For optimal energy efficiency, the Department of Energy recommends that home attics in our regions are insulated to R-60 between the floor joists. To ensure that your attic is properly insulated, check whether there’s a vapor barrier against the floor and that it’s covered with enough insulation to hide the floor joists from view. Additionally, make sure the access hatch is weatherstripped and insulated on the attic side.
  • HVAC ductwork. Leaky, uninsulated ductwork can waste up to 1/3 of your HVAC system’s output. If your accessible ductwork isn’t sealed and insulated, you can improve its efficiency by applying metal-backed tape to all the joins and seams, then wrapping the ducts in R-6 insulation.

For an in-depth assessment of your home’s efficiency, you can have a professional energy audit performed. An energy auditor uses specialized testing tools like blower doors and thermographic scanners to pinpoint air leaks and poorly-insulated areas so you can make targeted improvements.

For more advice about conducting energy tests and other ways to improve efficiency 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby Home

Winter Safety Precautions for Your Canby HomeNow that winter is approaching, it’s time to take smart steps to protect your family from hazards like carbon monoxide (CO) exposure, and prevent unnecessary damage to your home. Taking the following winter home safety precautions can keep you warm and secure throughout the heating season.

Schedule Heating System Service

To ensure that your heating system operates reliably and safely this winter, have it inspected, cleaned, and tuned up by an experienced HVAC technician. During routine maintenance, your technician performs vital safety-related tasks, like checking the condition of the heat exchanger, testing system safety controls, checking the electrical wiring and tightening the connections, and inspecting and cleaning the burner.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that’s a byproduct of incomplete combustion in fuel-burning equipment like your gas furnace. You can’t see, taste or smell the gas, so your only warning of its presence is the alarm on a functional CO detector. To make sure your detectors are working properly, put fresh batteries in each one and test them once a month. If any of your CO detectors fails to beep when tested, replace it immediately.

Clean Up Around the Furnace

If you have items stored near the furnace that are flammable or may block airflow, move them. Combustibles like paint thinner, charcoal lighter fluid, and any products in aerosol cans should be stored in a ventilated location that’s nowhere near the furnace.

Have the Furnace Flue Cleaned

Have a chimney sweep clean out the flue to remove built-up soot and debris that might cause a blockage, so harmful combustion fumes can vent properly.

Protect Your Vulnerable Water Pipes

Frozen, burst water lines can cause considerable mess and costly damage. To keep pipes from freezing, drain the water line to your outdoor faucet and shield it with an insulated cover. If you have water pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, garage or crawl space, wrap them in foam insulation sleeves or self-regulating heat tape.

To learn more winter home safety tips for your Portland-area home, or to schedule heating system maintenance, 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: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Cold Weather Calls for New Thermostat Programs

Cold Weather Calls for New Thermostat ProgramsThe change in seasons calls for a change in how you manage your home’s internal climate. While your programmable thermostat’s summertime settings have kept your home cool without wasting energy, they’re not as effective at keeping your home warm while keeping heating costs at a minimum. Resetting the programmable thermostat for the winter can help your home remain comfortable while maximizing your energy usage.

Choosing the Best Settings

So what settings should you use as you reprogram your thermostat? Here are some basic guidelines you can follow:

  • For the hours when you’re most likely to be up and about in your home, program your thermostat to maintain a temperature of 68 degrees.
  • For the hours when you’re asleep, program a setback temperature that’s 7 to 10 degrees lower than your daytime temperature.
  • You should also program a setback temperature for the hours when you’re most likely to be out of the house.

However, the above guidelines aren’t meant to be ironclad. Striking a balance between personal comfort and energy efficiency can be difficult during the winter. In the end, you should set your programmable thermostat so that it’s in line with your own comfort needs.

Indoor humidity can also play an important role in the comfort of your home. The drier winter air tends to lower perceived indoor temperatures, making a room feel colder than its actual temperature. Consider using a humidifier to maintain a relative humidity level of 30 to 40 percent throughout the winter months.

Other Tips

In addition to resetting the programmable thermostat, there are other things you can do to save energy and still maintain a comfortable environment:

  • Set your thermostat so that it begins heating your home 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning and 30 minutes before you return home.
  • Have your thermostat gradually lower your heating at least 60 minutes before you go to bed.

For more tips on resetting the programmable thermostat or if you need HVAC service for your Portland home, contact us at 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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How You Should Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

How You Should Check Your Carbon Monoxide DetectorsWhen you being running your heating system and close your home against the winter air, the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure increases. You can lessen the threat it poses to your family’s well-being by keeping your furnace professionally maintained. For complete protection though, you also need to know how to check and maintain the carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Why Checking Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors Matters

Carbon monoxide gas is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of any fossil fuel, so it can be produced by your gas furnace, hot water heater or kitchen range. In small amounts, CO causes flu-like illness. Exposure to a high level of the gas can render a person unconscious and quickly cause death. Since CO has no color, taste or odor, you won’t know you’re at risk unless a carbon monoxide detector sounds a warning alarm.

Advice for Testing and Maintaining Your CO Detectors

Here’s some helpful advice on how to test and maintain well-functioning carbon monoxide detectors in your home:

  • Read the manual for each detection device you own and follow any brand-specific guidelines from the manufacturer for proper use and care.
  • In general, it’s wise to check the functionality of your detectors monthly by holding down the “test” button for a few seconds. If you don’t hear a beep, put in new batteries and test again. If the device makes no sound, it needs replacement.
  • Replace all device batteries twice a year. You might find it easier to remember if you do this when you’re changing the clocks for daylight saving time.
  • CO detectors lose the ability to sense the gas after five years of use, so replace all of your devices when they reach that age. So you don’t forget to do so, choose a model with a replacement alert feature.
  • If you want plug-in or wired detectors, buy detectors with battery backup so they’ll still function if a power outage

Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling for more advice about keeping your Portland home protected by checking your carbon monoxide detectors and properly maintaining your heating equipment.
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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