Tag Archives: service and maintenance

When to Call Your Technician: HVAC Problems

When to Call Your Technician: HVAC ProblemsYour home’s HVAC system contains complicated equipment, so it can be difficult to know for sure if a developing issue is worth a phone call to your HVAC pro. Here’s a look at some common HVAC problems that deserve the attention of an experienced technician.

Unfamiliar Sounds

Some noise is expected when your HVAC equipment is running, like a hum from the outdoor compressor, a whir from the blower fan, or a pop and whoosh as air moves through the ductwork. New or startling sounds like banging, rattling, hissing or high-pitched screeching can be warning signs of serious problems, so they should be investigated immediately.

Elevated Energy Bills

Your energy bills are bound to rise if your household usage increases, or there’s a rate increase by the utility company. If your bills are climbing for no obvious reason, however, there may be a problem with your HVAC system. Some common issues that a pro should check for are an age-related drop in efficiency, dirty cooling coils, ductwork deterioration, and a low refrigerant level.

Water Leaks

During the cooling process, it’s normal for A/Cs and heat pumps to condense water from the air, but it should be sent straight outdoors through the built-in condensate drain. If you discover a puddle under your air handler, a technician needs to inspect the drainage system for obstructions or inadequate slope on the line.

Excessive Humidity

If your home always seems too warm and sticky, and you’re seeing more mold growth in moisture-prone areas like the bathrooms, your HVAC technician needs to find out why. It may be due to short-cycling oversized equipment, or undersized equipment that can’t dehumidify the space effectively.

Unpleasant Smells

Normally, you shouldn’t notice any odor in the air coming from your HVAC registers. If you’re getting a “dirty sock,” acetone-like or acrid burnt smell, call your HVAC pro to identify and correct the underlying cause. Odors like these can be related to mold/mildew growth, a refrigerant leak, or hazardous overheating/arcing of an electrical component.

Contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling for expert help solving HVAC problems in your Portland-area home.

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

When You Should Schedule a Water Heater Tune-Up

When You Should Schedule a Water Heater Tune-UpThe centuries-old axiom, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” still rings true today when it comes to taking care of your home’s essential systems. Why wait for something to break down before you call a professional? It doesn’t make sense. What does make good sense is scheduling regular water heater tune ups in the spring or fall to keep your hot water flowing efficiently year-round.

Prevent Corrosion

Water heaters are susceptible to corrosion because they are manufactured of steel. To help prevent the storage tank from rusting, an aluminum or magnesium anode rod is installed. The aluminum and magnesium metals rust before the steel storage tank does.

Anode rods last about three to four years before they have corroded beyond the point of usefulness. So, it’s very important that your plumber replaces the anode rod every few years to prevent the storage tank from rusting and leaking water in your home.

Water Heating Efficiency

Water heaters warm up cold intake water with an electric heating element or a gas burner. Three common situations that occur with water heaters that reduce heating efficiency are:

  • The electric heating element or the combustion components age and falter.
  • The heating components become dirty and heat water less efficiently.
  • Sediment on the bottom of the storage tank inhibits efficient heating.

During annual preventive maintenance, your plumber drains the tank to remove deposits, cleans the combustion chamber, and inspects the heating element — saving you energy and helping your water heater last longer.

Schedule Pro Maintenance or DIY?

Modern home comfort systems, such as your water heater and HVAC systems, are sophisticated equipment that requires a knowledgeable pro to service. There are electrical parts to check, combustion parts to test and inspect, and much more.

As a homeowner, you can help maintain your storage tank between service visits by draining a gallon of water from the drain bib of the tank every few months. This helps keep sediment and deposits to a minimum.

To learn more about maintenance of your water heater, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical to schedule water heater service.

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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HVAC System Prep for Spring

HVAC System Prep for SpringPart of the transition from the heating months to the cooling months is getting your HVAC system ready. By staying on top of HVAC prep, service and maintenance, your home will be more comfortable, you’ll save energy and enjoy better indoor air quality. Following are spring cleaning tips for your HVAC system that you or your HVAC technician should perform.

Replace Air Filter

Your HVAC system’s air filter helps the moving parts operate smoothly by keeping them clean. Regular filter changes saves energy and prevents components, such as the blower motor, from failing before their time. When you are choosing a pack or box of filters, go with a high-efficiency air filter.

Clean the AC Coil

The evaporator coil is the device that pulls heat out of return airflow. If the coil is dirty, which it will be following the heating months, the coil won’t cool your home as efficiently as it could. This makes your AC or heat pump run longer and use more energy.

Prep the Outdoor Unit

Before you switch your thermostat to COOL, inspect the outdoor unit. Clear away any debris that has collected around the unit that could block airflow to the coil. Look in the top of the unit to make sure there aren’t any sticks or other objects inside that could damage or obstruct the blower.

Inspect Air Ducts

Leaky air ducts waste energy. Duct leaks may also pull in contaminants from your attic or basement, and introduce them into your living spaces. One of the common telltale signs of leaky air ducts is uneven airflow from various vents in your home. You can seal leaky duct joints with metal tape.

Professional Preventive Maintenance

Professional HVAC prep and service is important to help your HVAC system operate more efficiently and to avoid repairs and early failure. Moreover, there are many tasks only your HVAC technician should perform, such as checking refrigerant, to get your central air system ready for summer.

For professional service for HVAC prep or HVAC repair for your Portland area home, please contact the professionals 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). 

The Importance of an Annual Electrical Safety Check

The Importance of an Annual Electrical Safety CheckAn electrical safety check might prevent serious damage to your home or any of its major appliances. The electrical system is easy to ignore since it’s out of sight and silent. But doing so could be risky because electricity is a powerful force. A periodic inspection will assure you that it’s working as it should and meets all safety codes.

Scheduling an Electrical Safety Check

Home safety professionals recommend that a licensed electrician look it over once a year to keep minor issues from becoming catastrophic problems. If your electrical system shows any of these signs of electrical problems, schedule an inspection promptly:

  • Frequent circuit breakers trips
  • Lights flicker, which could indicate a short in the wiring in the walls or the cord
  • Humming noises from the breaker box. This is never a good sign, and usually means that the breaker is bad and won’t trip even if it’s overloaded. Heat will build and it has the potential to start a fire.
  • The home is more than 25 years old. The wiring insulation may have disintegrated or the outlets have aged.
  • The wiring is aluminum. Over time, aluminum wiring oxidizes, which increases the resistance on the wiring, causing it to overheat.

What to Expect During an Electrical Safety Check

During an electrical safety check, the electrician will test the circuit breakers and visually inspect the switches and outlets. Outward signs of problems include switches that don’t work and discolored outlets.

Excessive use of power strips or multi-outlets usually indicates you need more outlets or receptacles. If your circuit breaker box is full, you may need a new, larger box to handle your present power demand and provide room for future expansion.

Other issues might include shorts when using certain switches, outlets or appliances. The electrician will pinpoint the problem, whether it’s in the wall, a fixture, or an appliance.

It makes sense to have an electrical safety check to avoid preventable damage to your home, appliances, or devices. If you’d like to learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing licensed HVAC and electrical 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). 

Fall Plumbing Tips to Follow

Fall Plumbing Tips to FollowThe arrival of fall tells us that winter isn’t far away, so it’s time to get your plumbing system ready for colder weather. Following these essential fall plumbing tips can make the task easier.

Put Away Your Garden Hoses

To keep your hoses in good condition so you can use them next year, disconnect and drain each one. Then, roll them up and store them in a spot where they won’t be exposed to freezing temperatures, like the basement.

Winterize Your Outdoor Hose Bib

If your bib is equipped with an indoor shutoff, close it then go outside and open the bib spigot and let any remaining water drain out. Lastly, cover the bib with a foam insulator for an extra layer of protection against freezing and bursting.

Protect Vulnerable Pipes From Freezing

Adding protection to vulnerable water pipes can prevent freezing and let you avoid the headaches of dealing with ruptures and water damage. First, install insulated foam sleeves on pipes situated in unheated areas, like the garage or basement. If you have accessible pipes running through an exterior wall, you should protect them with heat cable that’s controlled by an automatic thermostat.

Perform Water Heater Maintenance

Since you’re tackling plumbing maintenance, it’s the ideal time to drain and flush sediment from your water heater tank, and make sure that the pressure relief valve is functioning properly. You should also adjust the unit’s thermostat setting to 120 degrees, and install insulated foam sleeves on first four feet of hot water piping coming from the tank. If your appliance is older and not well-insulated, you should also add an insulated tank blanket to limit heat losses.

Check Your Sump Pump

To prevent damage from basement flooding and water intrusions during the fall and winter, this is a good time to test your sump pump’s functionality and clear any accumulated debris from the sump pit. If you don’t already have one, invest in a backup battery so your pump works during a power outage.

For help winterizing your Portland-area home with these fall plumbing tips, 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).

Tips for Preparing Your Home’s HVAC for Winter

Tips for Preparing Your Home's HVAC for WinterWhen the air turns cold and you switch on your heating equipment for the first time in nearly a year, the last thing you want is for it to not be operating properly. To keep you from being unprepared, here are a few quick winter prep tips that’ll allow your household to continue running smoothly:

Call a Technician

Annual maintenance of your heating equipment will keep it operating at peak performance for many years. A professional HVAC technician will ascertain any potential problems that might arise and make suggestions that will improve its energy efficiency. This means a more robust system that saves you money.

Test the Thermostat

If your thermostat isn’t working properly, your entire household – and its energy bill – will suffer. Before the winter season kicks into full gear, we suggest that you switch on your heating equipment to test it out. If it takes longer than expected to warm up your home, then it may be time to invest in a new thermostat, preferably a wi-fi or other advanced model.

Fix Ductwork Leaks

When air leaks occur due to holes and tears in your ductwork, the heating equipment is forced to work harder to deliver the same amount of comfort throughout your home. You can choose to either fix these problems yourself or contact a professional technician for assistance. Either way, tend to this immediately.

Check the Vents

You’d be surprised how many heating and cooling issues come down to blocked or clogged vents. It isn’t uncommon for vents to become clogged by dirt and debris, which is an easy solution to fix in a matter of minutes by removing the vents, wiping them down, and cleaning out the debris. It’s also possible that vents in certain locations may be blocked by boxes and similar items that can be removed.

For more expert advice on the winter prep needs for your HVAC system, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, please contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of Portland and the surrounding area 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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Start Your Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it's time to start dealing with your HVAC system's fall maintenance needsIt seems that just as you get accustomed to one season, another one is already here to take its place. Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, it’s time to start dealing with your HVAC system’s fall maintenance needs. Here’s what we would suggest you tackle right away:

Hiring an Heating & Cooling Technician

Your heating and cooling equipment should be checked each year for any possible issues that could hurt the system’s efficiency or lifespan. A technician will be able to pinpoint these issues and help maintain the equipment, which will keep your energy costs down and help the system last longer.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Your air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, if neglected debris in the air will eventually clog filters and cause your furnace to stop working properly. This is a do-it-yourself project, that could have lasting effects on your utility bills.

Remove Debris from Outdoor Unit

If your HVAC system includes an outdoor unit, it’s time to walk outside and check on it. There’s a very good chance that it’s covered with anything from leaves to bird nests. Remove what you can by hand and then grab a hose to clean the rest of it off. This is a quick and easy job that will keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.

Switch to a Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat

This piece of advice is good for any time of the year. While your home probably isn’t equipped with one of those antiquated manual models, there’s a good chance that you don’t have one of the newest “smart” thermostats. These devices allow you to make changes on-the-fly so that you can adjust them as needed. Plus, they send reports on usage to help you target your energy bills.

For more fall maintenance assistance or any other home comfort questions, be sure to reach out to the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling, serving the heating and cooling needs of Lake Oswego and the surrounding area 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).

How To Endure Severe Weather: 5 Tips For Preparing Your Home

How To Endure Severe Weather: 5 Tips For Preparing Your HomeAlthough the weather in the Portland region is calm nearly all year long because of the sheltering we experience from the mountains, occasionally we do have to endure severe weather. Being prepared is your best insurance against the hardship the loss of utilities can cause for both you and your home. Continue reading

Air Conditioner Replacement — Knowing When Repairs Won’t Cut It

Air Conditioner Replacement -- Knowing When Repairs Won't Cut ItYou could wait until your air conditioner completely croaks to replace it, but that could leave you without air conditioning on a hot afternoon in Portland. Rather, the best step to take is to learn what signs indicate your air conditioner is on its last leg. That way, you can stop pouring money into repairs and fit an air conditioner replacement conveniently into your schedule and budget. Continue reading

Heat Pump Maintenance — Why It’s A Seasonal Concern

Heat Pump Maintenance -- Why It's A Seasonal ConcernJust like any other piece of heating and cooling equipment, heat pumps need regular tune-ups to operate well. That’s why every season, heat pump maintenance should be your number one concern. And here’s why. Continue reading