Tag Archives: save money

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.

Refrigerator

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.

Microwave

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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5 Common Energy Myths You Need to Know

5 Common Energy Myths You Need to KnowIf you’re looking for ways to lower your household operating costs, curbing your energy consumption is a good place to start. Before you implement any tips for reducing consumption, it’s good to recognize energy myths like these:

Myth 1: Run the Ceiling Fans to Make Your Home Cooler

Fans simply move air, they don’t cool it. The feeling of air moving across the skin makes a body feel cooler, but you can’t feel the effect unless you’re in the same room. So, running fans in unoccupied rooms wastes energy instead of saving it.

Myth 2: Dial Back the Thermostat Setting to Cool the House Faster

Your cooling system runs at a steady pace to reach the thermostat’s temperature setting, no matter how low it’s set. If you set it too low, you’ll only end up wasting energy and your home will feel uncomfortably chilly.

Myth 3: Shut the Registers in Seldom-Used Rooms to Save Conditioned Air

Your HVAC system relies on balanced airflow to operate efficiently, and shutting some registers can upset the balance and cause a pressure increase within the system. The equipment then has to work harder to compensate, so it consumes more energy instead of less.

Myth 4: Leave the Thermostat Temperature Setting Constant to Save Energy

There’s a misconception that raising the thermostat setting at night or when no one is home is inefficient because it takes a lot of energy to bring the temperature back down again. Regular temperature setbacks of eight hours or more during such periods are a proven way to save energy, and it’s easy to accomplish with a programmable thermostat.

Myth 5: Use Sleep Mode to Reduce Your Computers’ Energy Consumption

If your computers are set to go into sleep mode whenever they’re not in use, you’re wasting energy. Sleep mode is fine for short periods, but you should put your computers on power strips and shut them down completely during longer periods while you’re at work and overnight while you’re sleeping.

For help debunking energy myths and advice on ways to reduce consumption in your Portland-area 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).

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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Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the Temp

Want to Save Money and Sleep Better? Lower the TempThere’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to refresh us and restore our energy levels so we can work and perform better the next day. If you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, it could be because of a number of factors, but one of the main reasons for sleeplessness is going to bed in a room that’s too warm.

Sleep experts maintain that 65 degrees is the optimum temperature for sleeping. It’s also a good temperature to set your thermostat for saving money on utilities. So here’s why and how you can accomplish both goals at once: sleep better and save energy by just lowering the thermostat.

Sleeping Better in a Colder Room

Our bodies are ruled by a biological process called circadian rhythms. This is how we respond to the 24-hour cycle of dark and light that determines our sleepiness or wakefulness. Sometimes, things interfere with these rhythms and ruin our sleep — caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, watching TV or looking at electronic devices near bedtime, keeping lights on when we go to bed, and also, it seems, keeping the thermostat too high in winter.

Circadian rhythms naturally lower our body temperatures when darkness falls and it’s time for sleep. When the furnace is on too high, we may start sweating or feeling uncomfortable and wake up as our bodies try to adjust our temperature downwards. By turning the thermostat down to 65 — or, as experts say, adjusting the temperature a little higher or lower to meet your body’s individual needs — you can eliminate that interrupting episode and perhaps sleep the whole night through.

Programming Savings

Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to save energy when you do this:

  • Set the temperature lower in winter when you’re sleeping or away; set it higher in summer for the same periods.

A programmable thermostat eliminates the need to always remember to adjust the thermostat prior to bedtime.

To learn more about how to save energy with a programmable thermostat, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Portland. We’ve been emphasizing excellent customer service since 1976.

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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Tight Ducts are Important for Keeping Heat Inside Your Home Where it Belongs

Tight Ducts are Important for Keeping Heat Inside Your Home Where it BelongsYou can have the highest-quality furnace or A/C in the world but if your home’s ductwork is defective, you’ll still waste money on energy and not be as comfortable as you’d like. Your indoor air quality might suffer as well. Find out why tight ducts are so essential to effective heating and cooling.

The Importance of Tight Ducts

Most American homes have forced-air heating and cooling systems. A main HVAC system (usually a furnace, A/C or heat pump) creates warm or cool air, and a powerful fan blows that conditioned air throughout your home. It reaches its destination via a network of ducts and registers. Supply ducts take the conditioned air to your rooms, while return ducts and registers draw the air back into the equipment to be heated or cooled all over again. Of course, you want to avoid faulty ductwork, where ducts aren’t well connected to each other, to registers, or to the furnace plenum. Negative consequences of ducts that aren’t tight include:

  • Wasted energy, as conditioned air leaks out into unconditioned areas such as crawl spaces, the attic or garage, and wall voids. When this happens, your HVAC equipment must work all the harder to move air to rooms that need heating or cooling.
  • Certain rooms that never seem to be cool or warm enough, because so much conditioned air is being lost before it ever gets there. This issue is exacerbated with rooms at the end of long duct runs that are leaking air.
  • Indoor air quality that degrades as dirty air from crawl spaces and other unconditioned areas gets sucked into leaky ducts, as a result of negative air pressure. That dirty air winds up circulating throughout your home with the conditioned air.

Achieving Tight Ductwork

While you can find and seal accessible and obviously leaking ducts yourself using mastic sealant and/or metal-backed tape, your best bet is to hire a professional to inspect your ductwork, seal leaks, and apply insulation where necessary

For a professional ductwork inspection in your Portland area home, please contact us at 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). 

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Want to Do an Energy Evaluation on Your Home? Use this Checklist

Want to Do an Energy Evaluation on Your Home? Use this ChecklistEven though American homes are becoming increasingly energy efficient these days, there’s still lots of room for improvement in most households. Most homeowners are more than willing to invest in improving energy efficiency, both for altruistic and financial reasons. The main obstacle isn’t a lack of will but rather knowledge about what needs to be done. That’s where a home energy audit comes into play. A professional energy evaluation will reveal where energy is being lost in the home, and then tell you how to stop it.

What’s Involved in a Home Energy Evaluation?

  • The energy auditor(s) will inspect your home, checking out likely spots for energy waste, such as windows, doors, and the attic. He or she will inspect your heating and cooling system, including the ductwork. He or she will likely ask to look at previous years’ utility bills to better understand energy usage in your home and detect any patterns over time.
  • Diagnostic tests are undertaken to confirm where energy is being lost. The most common is the blower-door test. A powerful fan and housing is installed in a main exterior door frame, after all windows, doors, and vents have been closed. As the fan blows outward, it depressurizes the house. A gauge measures how quickly air rushes back into the home via air leaks. This measures your home’s airtightness.
  • During the blower-door test, the auditor, using thermographic scanning equipment, will detect where air is leaking, plus locate where insulation is insufficient.
  • A test similar to the blower door also may be done inside your ductwork, to determine how much air is leaking during the heating and cooling process.

After the evaluation, you’ll receive a detailed report listing areas of improvement. While some of the recommendations will be tasks that you can do yourself, other recommendations, such as replacing windows, repairing ducts or upgrading HVAC equipment, will require professional help.

To discuss scheduling a professional home energy evaluation for your Portland area home, please contact us at 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). 

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Be Proactive and Check Your Furnace Filter Quality

Be Proactive and Check Your Furnace Filter QualityYour furnace works hard to heat your home, but it won’t work as well if you are not using the right filter or if you don’t change the filter. Attention to furnace filter quality is one of the best steps toward keeping your furnace running smoothly this season. Here is what you should know about choosing a filter and how often to change it.

How to Choose a Filter

Don’t pick the first and cheapest filter you see. There is a significant difference between those thin, single panel mesh filters and higher quality options. Fiberglass furnace filters will keep some dust out of your furnace, which is important, but will still allow a lot in to pollute the air in your home.

Look instead for disposable pleated air filters. These have a higher MERV rating, which is the minimum efficiency reporting value and means they trap more particles. For home use, buy filters with a rating from 9 to 13. Some sellers might encourage you to choose higher-rated filters, but most residential HVAC systems won’t function well when those are used because high-MERV filters reduce airflow to the system.

High quality pleated filters will help protect your furnace from contaminants and will improve your indoor air quality by reducing allergens. You should not just put the new filter in and forget about it, however. For the best results, you should change them every month.

Changing Your Filter

Here are three reasons why you should change your furnace filter monthly:

  • Reduce allergies. Clogged air filters will not reduce allergens in your home’s air and can even make things worse.
  • Keep your heating bills lower. Dirty filters reduce airflow, which makes your furnace struggle harder to perform. This leads to greater energy consumption.
  • Protect your furnace. The reduced airflow, in addition to particles collecting on inner furnace components, can lead to a furnace breakdown. Changing the filter can prevent costly repairs or complete furnace malfunction.

For more information about furnace filters and your Portland area home, please contact us at 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). 

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Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler Weather

Tips for Reducing Energy Costs During Cooler WeatherThe major components of winter comfort include a home’s heating system, the water heater and the windows. Increasing the energy efficiency of each of these will cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

  • Have your heating system serviced. Having an HVAC professional maintain your furnace or heat pump will cut energy consumption. The cleaning and adjustments technicians make improve efficiency and safety. Running a system that’s dirty or out of adjustment not only increases energy bills, but it also creates premature and unnecessary wear.
  • Turn down the thermostat. The ideal indoor temperature ranges from 68 to 78 degrees. In the winter, consider lowering the daytime temperature to 68 and reduce it even more at night. Use warmer bedding and clothing to make up the difference. A programmable thermostat will take all the effort out of adjusting the temperature daily.
  • Tend to the water heater. Depending on your family size, heating water could be the second-highest energy expenditure during the winter. The water heater is often the most neglected appliances in homes, but it’s easy to improve its energy efficiency by turning down its temperature to 120 degrees. Not only will it consume less energy, it will also last longer.
    Draining a few quarts from the bottom of the tank two or three times a year also improves its performance and increases its durability. Wrapping it with an insulating blanket, found at home improvement centers, cuts its energy usage.
  • Deal with the windows. Unless you have Energy Star or thermal-rated windows, you can lose a lot of heat through the glass and frames. Glass has almost no ability to resist heat transfer, and metal frames conduct heat outdoors readily. Closing the window coverings at night and opening them when it’s sunny will help cut those thermal losses. Poorly sealed windows let in cold drafts that caulk or weatherstripping can stop.

The pros at Roth Heating & Cooling can improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC and plumbing services for Portland-area homeowners 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).

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How You Can Reset Your Programmable Thermostat


How You Can Reset Your Programmable Thermostat
With the summer cooling season over, now is the time to think about how to keep your home warm this coming winter. Of course, you may still have summertime settings left over in your programmable thermostat. The following shows how you can reset your thermostat for optimal savings and heating comfort this winter.

Resetting Your Thermostat

You can start off by wiping your thermostat’s slate clean through a reset, which will clear all settings and return it back to its factory state. Thermostat controls tend to vary among manufacturers and models, so you may need to consult your thermostat’s user guide for more detailed steps.

Temperature Setbacks for Cooler Weather

Temperatures of around 68 to 72 degrees are not only comfortable with the right amount of clothing, but they’ll also help you keep your heating bills to a minimum. You can set your thermostat at these temperatures while you’re at home for maximum comfort.

Just as you would during the summer, you should program your thermostat to set itself back 10 to 15 degrees during periods when your home is empty (for example, while you and your loved ones are away at work or school). You can also use these setbacks as you sleep, since you’ll be in bed and won’t need as much heat from your HVAC system as you’d normally would while you’re up and about.

You’ll be able to save a significant percentage on your annual heating bills, especially if the setback period lasts for eight hours.

Contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling to discover more programmable thermostat savings. We proudly serve Portland and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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