Tag Archives: Portland

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “TBIT/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Monam/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomainArchive/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Public Domain/Wikipedia”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ArtsyBee/pixabay”

Do You Know the Types of Plumbing Pipes?

Do You Know the Types of Plumbing Pipes?It’s so easy to ignore the plumbing in your home because the pipes are largely hidden from view, and most of the time it works exactly as it was intended. However, the type of pipes your home has may make an impact on how you maintain and use your home.

Supply Lines

  • Galvanized steel — You may find galvanized pipes in older homes. With an average lifetime of 50 years, it’s no longer used in new construction or as replacements.
  • Polybutylene pipes — These were used in new construction during the late 1970s and 1980s and eventually a lawsuit forced the manufacturer to recall it and halt its use. It had a high failure rate, causing serious flooding in attics, walls, and basements. If you suspect you have polybutylene pipes, it’s a good idea to be proactive and have a plumber inspect your home and recommend a retrofit.
  • Copper — Copper is still the pipe of choice for new home construction because it’s durable and dependable. It’s safe, resistant to corrosion, and flexible.
  • PEX — PEX piping has so many advantages when installing new plumbing. It’s as durable as copper, more flexible, and about a third the cost. There’s no need for special tools to connect the pipes together, since they snap together with the fittings to create water-tight joints.
  • PVC — Polyvinyl chloride pipes have been used for supply lines in the past, but some jurisdictions won’t allow them because of leaching problems with hot water lines.

Drain Lines

  • Cast iron — Many older homes use cast iron sewer lines that last for decades, but over time, tree roots can damage them, or they simply rust from the inside out. Plumbers can install plastic liners in aging iron pipes to solve drainage problems.
  • PVC — Today’s homes use PVC almost entirely for drain and sewer lines. It’s impervious to many chemicals, unaffected by soil moisture, and cannot rust.

Knowing the materials that comprise your plumbing system is an important aspect of homeownership. If you’d like to learn more, contact Roth Heating and Cooling, providing HVAC and plumbing 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: “fran1/pixabay”

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and Replacement

A Timeline for HVAC Maintenance and ReplacementEstablishing an HVAC maintenance timeline helps you keep your system running dependably and efficiently for the many years they’re designed to last. These systems use many mechanical and electrical parts that need cleaning and adjusting to perform at their best. Without attention from you and an HVAC pro, efficiency and durability decline.

How Long They Last

A well-maintained air conditioner or heat pump should last between 10–16 years, and a furnace between 15–20 years. Exceptions to these parameters do occur, primarily based on usage and maintenance.

Scheduling Maintenance Tasks

Check the air filter monthly when the system runs frequently. Neglecting filter changes is the most frequent cause of high energy costs and premature system failure. Dirt slows the air flowing through the air handler, and it takes the system longer to condition your home. The longer running cycle wears the parts and drives up energy costs.

Keep the outdoor condenser clean. A clean condenser loses the heat from the refrigerant faster and keeps cooling bills lower. Hose the coils off periodically and remove any vegetation that blocks the air flow through it.

Scheduling Professional Maintenance

An HVAC pro should clean, adjust, and inspect your cooling and heating system at least once a year, preferably in the spring or fall before its season starts. These systems create vibrations as they run, use oil, and collect dust, all of which interferes with their efficiency and performance.

The goal of professional maintenance is to bring the equipment back to its original settings as much as possible. The technician will check the refrigerant level, clean and lubricate motors, and verify that all the electrical and safety components work properly.

Improper refrigerant levels drive up cooling costs and contribute to compressor wear and early failure. Gas furnaces need professional servicing once a year for greatest efficiency and safe operation.

Sticking to the HVAC maintenance timeline helps you get the most from your system monthly and prolong its lifetime. To learn more, contact Roth Heating and 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Clker-Free-Vector-Images/pixabay”