Tag Archives: indoor air quality

Summer is Over: Change Your Air Filter

Summer is Over: Change Your Air FilterThe end of summer means it’s time to change air filters before the heating season starts. If you haven’t used your furnace since spring, why do you need to put in a new filter? Here are some important reasons for changing your air filter after summer:

Dust and Debris Buildup

Dust and debris can build up on your furnace filter, especially if it shares the same ductwork as your air conditioner. Putting in a new HVAC filter removes this buildup and prevents it from being blown around your home, which would lower your indoor air quality. A brand new filter helps keep the air in your home clean and healthier to breathe.

Improved Efficiency

A dirty air filter means that your HVAC system has to work harder to cool or heat your home. This can end up causing damage that shortens the life span of your system. Changing air filters helps keep your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible. This has the added benefit of reducing your monthly energy bills, since your HVAC system uses less power overall.

When to Change Air Filters

How often do you need to change your air filter? This depends on certain factors, such as whether or not you have pets in your home. If you have pets, you should check and change your filter every one or two months. If you don’t have pets, you should be able to wait and change it every three months.

Reminders to Change Your Air Filter

It’s easy to forget to change your air filter, especially during summer. You can set a reminder for yourself on your phone or tablet, so you’ll remember. Another way to remember is to buy an extra filter and place it close to your HVAC system as a visual reminder. Consider putting a note on it with the date that it needs to be changed. This should help you remember to check your air filter and change it as needed.

For information on maintenance services and plans for your HVAC system in your Portland home, please contact Roth Heating and 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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Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your Home

Dust Remedies and Reasons in Your HomeDo you dust and vacuum your home frequently but cleaning up the dust never remedies the problem? The reason why your home gets dusty again too quickly may be due to specific issues with your HVAC system, such as:

  • Leaky ductwork: When the ductwork that distributes your conditioned air isn’t airtight, all sorts of particles can get pulled into the HVAC system from unfinished spaces like the attic and wall cavities. This means that particles like bits of drywall, pest droppings, insect body parts, insulation fibers and similar debris gets sent out through the ductwork into your home every time the blower fan cycles on.
  • Inadequate filtration: If you use a thin fiberglass filter in your HVAC system, you might notice that it rarely looks dirty or needs replacement. This is a sure sign that the filter isn’t capturing the smaller particles that contribute to household dust like pollen, animal dander, skin cells, microscopic mites, bits of soil, paper/textile fibers and human and animal hair. Instead, these particles are bypassing the filter, getting into the air handler unit and being continually redistributed through your home.

Effective HVAC-Related Dust Remedies

Giving the HVAC system some attention by taking the following steps can often help remedy a problem with excessive dust.

  • Have an HVAC pro inspect the ductwork to determine if there are significant leaks due to deficiencies and damage, like disconnected or crushed sections and holes or gaps, and have any such issues repaired.
  • Get the ductwork professionally sealed so debris from unconditioned areas can’t get drawn in.
  • Upgrade to a pleated filter with the highest recommended MERV rating mentioned in your equipment owner’s manual.
  • Change your air filter It should be checked once a month and replaced when there is any visible sign of dust accumulation.
  • Make sure that you install the air filter in the right direction and that it’s all the way into its slot, so air can’t be easily pulled in around it.

To learn more effective dust remedies to keep your Portland-area home cleaner and improve your air quality, 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”

How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your Home

How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your HomeIn our region, high humidity in the home can be a problem. In summer when the air is warm, it will hold more moisture and make us feel warmer than we need to. That means turning the air conditioner down just to feel comfortable. Any time of the year, high humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew and fungus, which can destroy paper, drywall, paint and other materials — plus, it’s unhealthful to breathe these pollutants.

The best way to control humidity is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Under most circumstances, your A/C performs that function adequately, but if you have an excessively moist home, it can be overwhelmed.

Learn how to reduce humid conditions with the following tips and maybe you’ll see results that will help you until you can plan for a dehumidifier.

Tips for Reducing Too-Humid Conditions

  1. Sequester plants. Having lots of plants in the home is a lovely way to decorate and to improve air quality, but plants also raise moisture levels. Round them up and move them to one room.
  2. Keep your air filter clean. A dirty air filter won’t do as good a job allowing proper air flow into your HVAC system. Slower air flow can mean the system won’t dehumidify the air as effectively. Change the air filter frequently.
  3. Take shorter showers. If you live with several people, long and frequent showering can up moisture in the air significantly. Ask people to take shorter showers. Crack the window and run a fan so the humidity can escape.
  4. Install kitchen or bathroom ventilation. Ventilation exhaust fans are not expensive to purchase or install, and they do a a great job of removing moisture from bathrooms and around the kitchen range.
  5. Fix leaks asap. As soon as you realize a faucet, a pipe, the attic or ceiling is leaking water, fix the leak so you prevent flooding and lower moisture levels. Also be vigilant about the HVAC’s condensate drain; a plugged drain can also boost air moisture.

To learn more about lowering humidity, 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).

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Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV Lights

Purifing Indoor Air Quality with UV LightsThe lights are placed within the ductwork or air handler of HVAC systems where nearly all the air in your home passes over it. UV light is hazardous to eyesight and they’re out of sight inside the HVAC equipment.

How UV Systems Compare

Compared to other kinds of air purification equipment, UV lighting offers:

  • High energy efficiency. The new generation of UV lights use LED technology and require annual replacement. Air purifiers rely on filters that need replacement as often as semiannually that can cost much more than the UV light bulbs.
  • Low maintenance. Since they’re out of sight, UV lights require little maintenance, especially if you keep the air filter for your HVAC system clean.
  • Protection against VOCs. These gases are among the most common airborne pollutants in the typical home. They come from products made from hydrocarbons and have varying degrees of toxicity. The lights are the only way to reduce the VOC load in the air without relying on year-round fresh air ventilation, which isn’t realistic during the summer or winter.
  • Odor-free. UV rays eliminate much of the need for disinfecting air sprays that have overpowering scents that may even include VOCs. Air sprays only offer spot protection from the spread of infectious germs, while UV lighting systems protect the whole home.
  • A cleaner HVAC system. The lights will eliminate mold growth inside the air handler and the ductwork. When mold grows inside the air handler on the evaporator coil, cooling efficiency drops and air quality declines.

Cleaner, healthier air is easy to achieve by using UV lights in your HVAC system. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, proudly serving homeowners in the greater 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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Know These Things About Washable Air Filters

Know These Things About Washable Air FiltersWhile it’s almost always better to choose products that are reusable instead of disposable to keep the planet healthier, it’s not so with most washable air filters for your HVAC system. The air filter you use for your system affects its energy consumption, dependability and durability.

The differences between reusable and throwaway filters might be hidden to the eye, but over time, your HVAC system might show the signs, which include:

  • Higher repair costs. Reusable filters aren’t as dense as disposable filters, which let smaller particles enter your air handler. They may only catch animal fur and human hair, along with lint and larger dust particles.

    The remaining particulates, including dust mite waste, mold spores, animal dander and pollen will pass through. When these smaller particles get inside the air handler, they’ll land on the parts and act as insulation.

    Heat builds on the parts, which is one of the most common causes of reduced component life and system breakdowns.

  • Poor air quality. Since the smaller particulates will circulate through the air, your indoor air quality will suffer when exclusively using washable air filters in your home. Family members who suffer from allergies or asthma will experience more discomfort.
  • Mold growth. Reusable air filters have to be washed to remove the particles on them. If they’re replaced with any kind of moisture inside them, they can support mold growth. Some types of mold are harmless, but others may precipitate a health problem in sensitive individuals.

When you’re choosing an air filter, check your owner’s manual or contact us contractor for the best type to use. One the filter becomes too dense it will slow the airflow through the system too much, and one that’s too porous, like reusable filters, won’t trap small particles that eventually will harm the equipment.

The money and materials you save using washable air filters may not have a positive effect on the environment or your budget if they result in higher costs associated with repairs or your health. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Sherwood 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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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”

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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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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Clean Your Air With These Houseplants

Clean Your Air With These Houseplants | RothDecorating with houseplants creates natural beauty indoors, along with enhancing indoor air quality (IAQ). Some plants are natural air cleaners and remove stubborn volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could degrade your health. VOCs come from many common household products and are one of the most difficult indoor pollutants to neutralize.

These plants offer the best protection against a buildup of VOCs indoors:

  • Spider plants
  • Dracena
  • Ficus trees or weeping figs
  • Peace lily
  • Boston fern
  • Snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue)
  • Aloe vera
  • Bamboo palm, lady palm,
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Golden pothos
  • English ivy
  • Wax begonia

These plants are among the most common used indoors and are readily available at local nurseries, in the garden centers of home improvement stores and at flower shops. Although each of these is easy to grow, they have individual needs for light exposure and moisture requirements.

To achieve higher IAQ using plants, you’ll need two plants every 100 square feet, whose pot diameter is 10 to 12 inches. Some are also toxic to children and pets, so before choosing, check with your veterinarian or look it up on a reputable website to learn if it’s safe.

The gases from chemicals that these houseplants remove include benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and trichloroethylene. These VOCs come from new furniture, flooring, carpeting, paints and finishes, along with cleaning supplies. You’ll also find them in air fresheners, cosmetics, anything perfumed and many household cleaners.

VOCs lower IAQ as they concentrate, primarily because of the lack of fresh air ventilation. You can, however, use ultraviolet lights inside the ductwork or the air handler for your HVAC system to lessen the impact VOCs make on your health.

An energy recovery ventilator (ERVs) dilutes the concentration of VOCs by exchanging stale indoor air with fresh, outside air. ERVs are an energy efficient option for better IAQ since they use heat exchange technology to keep cooling and heating bills low.

While houseplants are a solution for removing harmful VOCs, you can also use your home’s HVAC system to improve the overall air quality. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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