Tag Archives: oregon

Signs It’s Time for Thermostat Replacement

Signs It's Time for Thermostat ReplacementIf it’s time for thermostat replacement, will you recognize the warning signs? Thermostat malfunctions may be very conspicuous or they may be quite subtle, like simply poor efficiency and diminished indoor comfort. While a few DIY fixes may remedy simple problems, thermostat replacement is usually the more cost-effective way to deal with major malfunctions. In many cases, it’s also an opportunity to upgrade to a more advanced, digital thermostat, as well.

Here are some common issues that may warrant thermostat replacement:

  • Thermostat actuates at wrong temperature. If your thermostat activates the A/C or furnace at some temperature other than the one it’s set for, the thermostat sensor is out of calibration or defective. Some units have an adjustment that allows you to adjust thermostat calibration by plus or minus 5 degrees. However, if the difference between the thermostat setting and the temperature where it actuates is more than 5 degrees, replacing the thermostat is the only option.
  • Rapid on/off cycling. Temperature changes caused by a nearby exterior door opening and closing, or exposure to direct sunlight, may turn the HVAC system on and off too frequently. Relocating the thermostat may help. An over-sized furnace or A/C may cycle frequently, as well. If neither of these explanations applies, the issue is almost certainly thermostat-related and replacement is indicated.
  • Functions run nonstop. If the Heat or Cool functions stay on continuously without cycling off, first make sure the thermostat is set to Auto and the desired thermostat temperature setting is correct. If those check out, replacing the thermostat is probably the right call.
  • Thermostat is obsolete. An outmoded manual thermostat is a throwback to a bygone era of cheap energy and less convenience. The price of a new digital programmable thermostat will be compensated by lower monthly heating/cooling costs in the first year of operation. The user-friendly features offered by a digital model are also a vast improvement over the old-school manual model.

If your seeing signs that it’s time for thermostat replacement, contact the experts 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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How to Understand Energy Star Guidelines

Lowering Bills with Lower Water Heater Temperature

How to Understand Energy Star GuidelinesFinding ways to save energy is on the minds of many homeowners these days. One area of your home that you may need to take a second look for savings is your water heater. After all, energy consumed for water heating in the average home is second only to the HVAC system. Use these tips and information for how and why you should lower your water heater temperature.

Lower Energy Bills and More

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), water heating accounts for approximately 18 percent of the energy consumed in the average home. By turning back your water heater’s factory temperature of approximately 140 degrees, or higher, to 120 degrees, you may expect to save 10 to 12 percent of water heating costs.

Additionally, water temperatures in excess of 140 degrees can cause scalding in a matter of seconds — especially in the very young, elderly, and physically or mentally impaired populations.

A lower water heater temperature reduces or slows corrosion and wear on your water heater and pipes, too. The higher the temperature, the faster that mineral deposits accumulate, which reduces efficiency and additionally increases energy bills.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

It may take a few tries and a few hours to adjust your water heater temperature just right. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of hot water at the tap most distant from the water heater.
  • For gas models, turn back the thermostat dial located on the gas valve to the “low” setting.
  • For electric models, remove the bottom and top panels that cover the thermostats (some models have only one thermostat located on the bottom). Turn back the thermostat dial a few notches.
  • Give your water heater four hours for the temperature to fall.
  • Using your thermometer, measure hot water temperature again at the most distant tap.
  • Repeat as necessary until the temperature is at 120 degrees.

If you haven’t scheduled water heater maintenance in more than one year, contact Roth Heating & Cooling for an appointment, and we’ll take care of adjusting your water heater temperature for you!
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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Learn How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home’s Envelope

Learn How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home’s EnvelopeIn the average home, more than half of the conditioned air inside leaks out every hour, and an equal amount of unconditioned outdoor air gets drawn in to replace it. Finding and sealing air leaks in the envelope is vital to control that air exchange to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency and boost your comfort.

Identifying Where Leaks Occur

Air leakage usually occurs through gaps and cracks in the envelope that added together can have the same effect as leaving a window wide open year round. To find leaks, hold up a smoke pencil or burning stick of incense and watch the smoke column. If the smoke wavers in any of these areas, you’ve located a leak that needs sealing:

  • Window and door frames.
  • Crown moldings and baseboards.
  • Electrical outlet plates and light switches.
  • Appliance ventilation and exhaust fans.
  • Penetrations for pipes and wiring.
  • The fireplace.
  • In the attic, check around knee-walls, a chimney or furnace flue, plumbing vent pipes, dropped ceilings, and recessed light fixtures.
  • In the basement, check the spaces around the rim joists as well as any windows.

How to Seal Different Leak Sources

The most effective sealing method depends on the type of leak:

  • Leaks around fixed window frames and narrow gaps around attic and shell penetrations can be sealed with caulk. Use all-purpose latex caulk indoors, and a more durable silicone or siliconized latex product outdoors.
  • For leaks around moveable components like doors and window sashes, use weatherstripping. Vinyl gaskets are best around an older door, while tension-seal or V-shaped weatherstripping are ideal for tight-fitted doors and casement or double-hung windows.
  • For larger spaces around the rim joists and penetrations through the exterior envelope, use expandable spray foam.
  • Around a chimney/flue and recessed lights, install metal flashing then apply heat-resistant caulk.

If you’re concerned about locating all the air leaks around your home, schedule an energy audit. A trained and experienced auditor uses specialized equipment that’s able to pinpoint even tiny leaks so they can be sealed effectively.

For help sealing air leaks in 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 to Save Energy by Using All Parts of the HVAC System

How to Save Energy by Using All Parts of the HVAC SystemSaving energy in your home is good for the environment, and it’s also good for your comfort, HVAC efficiency, and energy budget when done correctly. That means saving energy by using all the parts of your HVAC system. Even better, you can use these free or low-cost tips to maximize energy savings!

Your HVAC System and Energy Savings

  • Thermostat: Fiddling with the thermostat to find the right temperature just gets frustrating after a while. That’s also not a very good plan for saving energy. You’re better off upgrading to a programmable thermostat so that you can program comfort temperatures and energy-saving set-back/up periods when you’re asleep or away.
  • Temperature settings: The key to saving energy with temperature settings is consistency. Choose a temperature that’s comfortable to you, such as 78 degrees for cool mode and 68 degrees for heat mode. Turn up/down the temperature 5–12 degrees at night and when no one is home. Additionally, use your ceiling fans to help stay cool and save even more energy.
  • Air filter: Check your air filter on a regular basis, and change it when it gets dirty. You’ll save energy, reduce wear on your HVAC system, and help improve your indoor air quality.
  • Ductwork: You won’t be very comfortable or save much energy if your ducts have problems. Check your ducts for damage, disconnected seams, tangled flex ducts, and holes. Mastic paste and metal tape are excellent for sealing leaky ducts. Crushed duct sections should be replaced.
  • Vents and grilles: Clean the vents and grilles each month or two. Remove a few of the vents and look inside the ducts. Are they dirty? Ask your HVAC contractor about the health and efficiency benefits of a professional duct cleaning.
  • Clean the coils: Your evaporator and condenser coils can’t exchange heat efficiently if they’re caked with dirt and grime. Use a can of coil cleaner to clean the coils and fins, and you’ll boost cooling and heating efficiency.

If you need assistance with any of these steps for maximizing HVAC energy savings 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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These Are the Types of Water Shutoff Valves

These Are the Types of Water Shutoff ValvesIf you’re like many homeowners, you’ve learned that the more you know how things in your home work, the better choices you can make when it comes time to make replacements or repairs. One component you’ll probably have to replace at some point is a water shutoff valve.

You’ll find one of these three types of valves on most incoming water lines in your home. They have a simple but important purpose — to shut off the water if you ever have an emergency or need to make repairs.

  1. Washer valves. Most of the water shutoff valves in your home will probably be of this type. They’re inexpensive but tend to wear out sooner than the other types of valves. The reason they’re prone to wear is that they stop water by screwing down a rubber washer when the handle is turned. Rubber, of course, will give out over time. The good news? When these valves give out, they’re simple and cost-effective to replace.
  2. Gate valves. The name of this valve describes the mechanism used to stop the flow of water. When the handle is turned on a gate valve, a metal piece (gate) is lowered into the grooved bottom of the valve. Gate valves should always be fully turned on or off. When left halfway, the bottom of the gate sits in the flow of water. This causes the metal to wear away, keeping the valve from sealing shut.
  3. Ball valves. This type of valve lives up to its name with a steel ball inside. A hole is drilled through the ball. When in the “on” position, the hole lines up with the openings of your water pipes. When in the “off” position, the ball rotates to stop water flow. Even though it’s the most durable type of valve, the ball valve isn’t the first choice of many plumbers because it’s expensive and doesn’t always fit in tight areas. This is because the handle is designed to only make a quarter turn.

For more advice on what water shutoff valve to use 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).

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Can Two-Stage Cooling Benefit Your Home?

Can Two-Stage Cooling Benefit Your Home?An innovative upgrade for central cooling systems that works well in our region is two-stage cooling. Such a system contains technology that tells the compressor how fast to run based on the amount of cooling needed. Most of the time it will run at its slower speed. A single-stage system only runs at high speed, which creates some issues with energy consumption, indoor comfort, and the long term performance of the equipment.

Energy Savings

The compressor for an air conditioner changes the pressure of the refrigerant that removes the heat from the air. It’s the hardest working, moving part inside cooling systems and it works more efficiently when it can run more slowly for a longer period.

The compressor consumes the most electricity when it first starts up, which is also when most of the wear occurs. A system that runs for longer periods in slower cycles doesn’t start and stop frequently, and consequently lasts longer and uses less electricity.

Increased Comfort

Since the air handler for a two-stage cooling system continues to move air until the compressor shuts off, rooms further from the air handler receive more cooled air, helping them reach and maintain cooler temperatures. Increased running time also improves the air quality, since more air goes through the air filter. Two-stage systems run more quietly inside and out, an important consideration if the air handler or condenser sits close to bedroom or living areas.

Two-stage systems remove excess humidity, an important benefit of air conditioning. Not only does excess humidity make you feel warmer, it can harm your home and your health. A system that runs slower for longer periods will have time to condense more water vapor without having to turn the temperature down as you would with a single-speed system. Lower humidity levels in the summer improve air quality by reducing the dust mite population and lowering mold growth.

Although a two-stage cooling system will cost more initially, it will pay for itself in energy savings and greater indoor comfort. To learn more, 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name of Artist/Shutterstock”

Back-to-School HVAC Tips

Back-to-School HVAC TipsWith the turning of the year in Portland, it’s a good time to make sure that your home will be cozy through the Pacific Northwest’s rainy winter. Now is the time to check over your home HVAC system and make sure that everything is in tip-top shape for the winter months ahead. Here are some of the tasks that should be on your to-do list:

  • Schedule seasonal maintenance. Before you switch your furnace on for the first time, have an HVAC technician come out and have a look at it. Seasonal maintenance can ensure that your system works at its peak efficiency throughout the heating season, and it can also help to detect and head off any potential larger issues.
  • Clean the coils of your air conditioner or heat pump. The indoor an outdoor coils of your A/C or heat pump transfer heat energy from (or into) your home. If they’re dusty, they can’t do so as efficiently, which means that you’ll spend more money on the same amount of cooling or heating.
  • Seal air leaks in your ductwork. Air leaks and insufficient insulation in home air ducts accounts for a 30 percent energy loss in many homes: conditioned air simply never reaches the living areas it’s intended for. Save money and energy by sealing any leaks, and making sure ducts are adequately insulated.
  • Change the air filters for your HVAC system. Clean air filters allow air to flow freely through your system, while clogged filters slow airflow and put strain on your system’s fan motor. That strain can lead to total system failure.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier. High humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus, which can threaten your health and the health of your home. A dehumidifier will help you manage indoor moisture through the rainy months.

If you want to know how you can prepare your home HVAC system for the winter ahead, give us a call 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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Here’s What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label Means

Here's What the Information on the EnergyGuide Label MeansWhen you’re shopping for HVAC systems, home appliances, and other consumer products, look for the EnergyGuide label. It’s the yellow label attached to most energy-consuming HVAC systems and appliances. The labels are loaded with valuable information about the energy consumption and efficiency of each product for you to compare.

Look for the Yellow Tag

One of the reasons EnergyGuide labels are so valuable is that they give you a clue as to how much a particular HVAC unit or appliance will cost through its service life. Instead of basing your important repair-or-replace decision based solely on the price tag cost, it’s wiser to compare the total costs for owning a product.

Additionally, higher-efficiency HVAC units and appliances generally provide better service, such as greater comfort, quieter operation, and fewer breakdowns. When you reap the rewards of energy savings month after month, you also help the environment!

Interpreting EnergyGuide Labels

The type of information contained on EnergyGuide labels is basically the same regardless of the product. Moreover, the information is current within one year since manufacturers are required to submit a report annually for all applicable products in production.

  • The type of product, features, capacity, and size, such as “Water Heater — Natural Gas, Capacity (first hour rating); 57 Gallons,” is located in the top left corner of the label.
  • Manufacturer, model, and make are in the top right corner.
  • If you’re shopping for a central air or heat pump system, the efficiency rating is expressed as SEER (cooling) and HSPF (heating) in the middle box. Higher SEER and HSPF ratings indicate higher energy efficiency.
  • A bar graphic is displayed beneath the rated product as it compares to the efficiency of similar products. This easily lets you see how efficient different models are for comparison.
  • The bottom third of the label contains information on the estimated annual energy usage of the product, and the estimated annual operating cost of the product.

Let the EnergyGuide label and our experts at Roth Heating & Cooling help you make the best decisions for your Portland-area home’s HVAC installation. Contact us today to learn more!

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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You Should Look for an HVAC Pro With These Certifications

You Should Look for an HVAC Pro With These CertificationsScheduling professional preventive maintenance is essential for maximizing the performance and efficiency of your HVAC systems. Sooner or later, however, many homeowners experience a malfunction and need to call an HVAC technician. With so many to choose from, you may not know how to decide just who to call. Make your choice easy by working with technicians that carry these vital HVAC certifications.

Environmental Protection Agency 608 Certification

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes rules and regulations regarding refrigerants. This is understandable since refrigerants have historically been harmful to the environment. As a result, the EPA requires that technicians handling refrigerants carry EPA 608 Certification.

As a homeowner, EPA 608 Certification is important to you because refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner or heat pump. Refrigerant is the substance that absorbs heat from your home to cool it. If you use a heat pump for home heating, the refrigerant runs in reverse and releases heat inside your home.

NATE Certification

Many career-minded technicians seek certification by the NATE (North American Technician Excellence) organization. The NATE organization doesn’t train technicians. They only test and certify technicians. The reason NATE was founded more than 20 years ago was to spearhead HVAC expertise in the field, build a more educated workforce, and promote HVAC technologies through public awareness.

Another point why NATE certification is the gold standard among HVAC techs is that NATE requires re-certification every two years. This may involve re-testing or continued education hours. NATE certifies technicians in core HVAC knowledge and at least one HVAC specialty field.

HVAC Excellence Certification

The HVAC Excellence certification is another respected achievement among technicians, HVAC companies, and customers. The HVAC Excellence organization’s goal has been to promote technical education and set a high bar in the HVAC workforce, and they continually succeed.

If you want a knowledgeable and reliable technician working on your HVAC system, make sure they carry the right HVAC certifications. Since we opened our business in 1976, Roth Heating & Cooling technicians have been the best around!

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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