Tag Archives: Lower energy bills

What’s Affecting Your Energy Bills?

What's Affecting Your Energy Bills?Some, but not all, of the hardworking appliances inside your home raise energy bills as they start to wear out. If you are concerned with keeping your home’s energy costs low and you depend on the conveniences they offer, keep an eye on these vulnerable appliances:

Water heater

Next to your HVAC system, the water heater uses the most energy, and if it isn’t energy efficient to start with, its consumption could be high. As water heaters age, mineral solids in the water solidify at the bottom of the tank and the appliance starts to lose its efficiency.

It’s also the one appliance that can do a lot more damage if it isn’t replaced as it starts to fail. A leaking or burst water heater will flood the area around it, and water damage isn’t cheap or easy to repair. If yours is over 12 years old, it’s time to think about replacing it.


The refrigerator is another appliance that runs 24/7 and it will lose efficiency over time. Since it pulls air from the surrounding area, its components are often covered with dust. The gaskets around the refrigerator and freezer doors can start to leak, a sure sign the refrigerator is driving up energy bills. While you can replace the gaskets, they are expensive, and often cost more than the appliance is worth.


Over time, microwave ovens do wear out. The magnetron inside them will lose power over time. Most microwaves also use a mica plate that diffuses the microwave energy that will deteriorate over time, especially if it’s dirty.

HVAC systems

Like anything mechanical, HVAC equipment will wear out and as they do, energy costs rise. The lifetime of most systems ranges between 12 and 20 years. Although this appliance is the most expensive in most homes, replacing it increases comfort and lowers energy consumption.

It’s important to stay on top of the maintenance these appliances require to keep energy bills low and prolong their lifetimes. To learn more, 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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Lower Energy Bills are a Great Gift to Yourself

Lower Energy Bills are a Great Gift to YourselfAlthough it might take a small investment of money and time, it’s possible to lower energy bills quickly and easily before the heating season is in full swing. Besides cutting your overhead, these tips increase home comfort and enjoyment through the holidays and beyond.

  • Switch to LED holiday lights. These lights are widely available, affordable, and use a fraction of the electricity that older strings of lights use. The LED bulbs emit far less heat, which also makes them a safer alternative should you use them next to flammable trees or decorations.
  • Have your heating system serviced. Not only does professional cleaning and adjusting save energy dollars, it also promotes safety. Heat pumps also need maintenance for winter heating to maintain their efficiency.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat remembers to turn down the heat at night and when you’re away. You can set it to heat your home just before you return home or awaken.
  • Have a professional change the air filter for the furnace or heat pump regularly. Checking and changing the air filter cuts heating costs and extends the life of the furnace or heat pump.
  • Flush the water heater. This appliance uses nearly 20 percent of your home’s energy, and a clean tank heats water faster. Lowering the water temperature to 120 degrees F will also lower energy bills and prevents scalding injuries. Mineral solids are also less likely to form at the bottom, which increases the lifetime of a storage tank water heater.
  • Seal air leaks. Cracks, crevices, and gaps in your home’s envelope drive up energy costs and for the most part, are easy to seal. Check around the exterior window and door frames, look under sinks for gaps around pipes, and the exterior walls. Caulk seals small cracks effectively, and expanding foam will stop air infiltration around pipes. Fresh weatherstripping stops drafts around exterior doors.

Having lower energy bills not only benefits you financially, it also lightens the load on the environment and your home’s major appliances. If you’d like to learn more, contact Roth Heating & Plumbing, proudly serving 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: “Pexels/Pixabay”

Sealing Air Leaks: Do It Now, Before the First Cold Front

Sealing Air Leaks: Do It Now, Before the First Cold FrontNo matter what HVAC system you install and how well you maintain it, you cannot achieve an efficient home if you have significant air leaks. Air leaks are responsible for heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer. Spend time finding and sealing air leaks in your home to keep comfort high and bills low.

How to Find Leaks

At first you may have a hard time finding leaks, but over time it will become easier. If you would like professional help, have an HVAC technician come in and perform a blower door test. The blower door test will reveal virtually all significant leaks so you can seal them.

To inspect for leaks by yourself, take a walk around your home looking for major holes or cracks. These are typically present where the foundation meets the rest of the wall, as well around any piping or electrical entrance into the home.

You can follow a similar procedure inside the home, but should then try feeling for leaks or watching for airflow as you move a tissue or incense stick around the exterior wall. Give extra attention to windows and doors, the most common sources of leaks. Also be aware that fireplaces and outlets commonly exhibit leaks as well.

Sealing Air Leaks

Most typical leaks can be filled with either weatherstripping or caulking. You can find both at most hardware stores for a fairly cheap price. Caulking is used on leaks that are in stationary locations, like a wall or ceiling. Weatherstripping on the other hand is perfect for leaks around door joints, where movement is still required.

If you do find a leak around a fireplace, furnace or other heat generating equipment, you may have to use a special sealant. Sheet metal, sheetrock and cement caulk are all fire resistant materials that are often used. If you are presented with a situation that you are unsure of, contact an HVAC professional for guidance.

For help sealing air leaks in your Portland, Oregon home, contact 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “John Kasawa/Shutterstock”

The Kids Are Back in School, So It’s Primetime to Recoup Summertime Energy Expenses

The Kids Are Back in School, So It's Primetime to Recoup Summertime Energy ExpensesFrom video games and television to air conditioning and pool filtering, having the kids home during the summer is a big energy expense. If the high energy bills during these months has you concerned, you’ll be glad to know that fall is a great time to recoup summertime energy expenses. With the kids away at school, sports or other activities throughout most of the day, you’ll have the chance to cut back at home.

To help you maximize your energy savings, we’ve come up with a few tips that are easy to understand and follow. You can:

  • Adjust your thermostat – You want your kids to be cool and comfortable while at home, but when they’re away there’s little reason to keep your programmable thermostat at the perfect temperature for comfort. By raising the temperature a few degrees, your air conditioner won’t need to work has hard or use as much energy.
  • Unplug those electronics – Even when a device is off, it draws power from the grid when plugged into a socket. Idle, plugged-in devices can account for as much as 10 percent of energy usage in the average home.
  • Darken your rooms – Sunlight entering through your home’s windows can create a greenhouse effect. You can reduce your need for air conditioning by simply closing blinds, shades and drapes when you don’t need a room to be lit.
  • Use the library for homework – The house is filled with lots of entertaining distractions, so going to the library or other quiet place for homework is great for getting things done. You’re also using someone else’s lights and air conditioning, so it’s great for saving money as well.
  • Schedule your maintenance – The kids going back to school is a great time to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance. With no one around using the air conditioning or heat, your HVAC contractor can ensure everything is working properly.

If you’re looking for more information on how to recoup summertime energy expenses or other issues related to home comfort, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided excellent service to Portland and the surrounding areas 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Maglara/Shutterstock”

Don’t Touch the Thermostat and Keep Your Home Cool Anyway

Don't Touch the Thermostat and Keep Your Home Cool AnywaySummertime in Portland is paradise, but high energy bills during the cooling season can take some of the joy out of warm, sunny weather. This year, resolve to keep your home cool without cranking the thermostat. Here are a some low-cost and no-cost ways to stay cooler at higher thermostat settings all season long. Continue reading

Take Charge of Your Energy Bills with a Programmable Thermostat

Take Charge of Your Energy Bills with a  Programmable ThermostatAs a homeowner, the systems and appliances you choose for your home affect comfort and the pocketbook. The system that has the greatest impact on comfort and the energy budget is the HVAC system. If your energy bills are consistently higher than you would like, and the comfort level in your home is less than optimal, take charge of both with a programmable thermostat. Continue reading

The Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater for Your Home

The Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater for Your HomeJust heating up water and keeping it hot and available accounts for 20-30% of the energy bills in an average home. One of the drawbacks of a tank water heater is that in order to provide hot water consistently, it has to always have water on hand, regardless of whether or not it is being used. As the water heater heats the water from the tank and it is used in our homes, it needs to be constantly replenished. Continue reading

A Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency: From Roof to Slab

A Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency: From Roof to SlabTaking a whole-house systems approach to energy efficiency will lower your energy bills. This is an important undertaking when you want reduced costs without sacrificing comfort. Energy losses occur through your home’s envelope because of heat transfer. Heat constantly seeks out cold, so by sealing the air leaks, adding insulation, improving weatherstripping and making lifestyle changes, you can keep your home more comfortable without relying so heavily on your HVAC system. Continue reading

Have You Heard These Geothermal Myths? Don’t Fall for Them

Have You Heard These Geothermal Myths? Don't Fall for ThemBecause geothermal heat pump systems still aren’t very common, a number of geothermal myths exist about them, including some that are highly misleading. Geothermal is actually among most energy efficient ways to condition your home. These systems pair the components of geothermal energy with a heat pump to achieve significant comfort, durability and energy savings. Continue reading