Tag Archives: tips

Tips for Simple Summer HVAC Maintenance

Tips for Simple Summer HVAC MaintenanceIn Lake Oswego, we are blessed with one of the most moderate summer climates in the country. That said, we do have our scorchers when temperatures climb. Warmer weather, coupled with our omnipresent humidity, means it’s time to turn the air conditioner on. That’s why even in the warmer times, it’s a good idea to practice a bit of heating and cooling maintenance.

Here are some tasks that should be on your maintenance list every year:

  1. Schedule your air conditioner preventative maintenance inspection. Even if you don’t use the air conditioner that much, it’s always good to have it looked at once a year. Over time, Have your Heating and Cooling technician check refrigerant levels, inspect the condensate drain for leaks. Check the controls and thermostat, inspect the wiring and look at the coils. You’ll be ahead of the game if you fix small problems before they become big problems.
  2. Before you turn on your A/C, have a look around the outdoor condenser to ensure it’s free and clear of weeds, branches and anything else that might obstruct air flow. Trim grass and weeds, prune crowding shrubs to two feet away and remove any limbs that might fall on the unit. Indoors, check supply and return vents to ensure furniture, drapes and carpet are not blocking air flow.
  3. Change the air filter. Start the cooling season with a clean filter. A dirty filter will impede air flow, causing your A/C to slow down and work harder to cool your home. Not only does that cost you more, but you also will feel less comfortable. Keeping a clean air filter is important to maintaining good air quality.
  4. Monitor the humidity in your home. Buy an inexpensive hygrometer to check humidity levels. In summer, humidity should ideally be no more than 40 percent. We know that’s a challenge in our climate, but you can help your A/C do its job of dehumidifying by taking shorter showers, fixing leaks and installing exhaust ventilation in the bathroom.

To learn more about summer HVAC maintenance, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Lake Oswego.

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”

Don’t Forget About Your HVAC System During Spring Cleaning

Don't Forget About Your HVAC System During Spring CleaningAs mild as Portland’s summers are, your air conditioner still has a lot of work to do to keep you cool. A thorough HVAC spring cleaning before the summer heat moves in will help your system cool reliably and efficiently.

Brush Off the Dust

Inspect your air filter and if you see a buildup of dust, put in a new filter. A dirty filter limits airflow, reducing your system’s energy efficiency. If you suffer from spring allergies, consider upgrading to a MERV 11 or 12 pleated filter, which will trap dust and pollen more effectively than thin fiberglass filters.

Remove your supply air registers and return air grilles by unscrewing them. Place them in a mild solution of dish soap to soak. Use your vacuum’s hose attachment to clean out dust and debris from the ducts behind the registers and vents. Wipe the registers and grilles down with a rag and replace them when dry.

Clean your outdoor unit by first using a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris such as leaves and grass clippings. Then get out your wet-vac and fit the brush attachment onto the hose. Use this to remove the remaining dirt from the fins.

Call in a Pro

Some of the most important parts of HVAC spring cleaning involve components only a professional can access. Every year, schedule a professional air conditioner inspection before the cooling season beings.

Your technician will clean the motor and blower fan, test the motor’s voltage and amp draw, clean the evaporator coil, inspect the coil for leaks, test the refrigerant charge, take care of any loose or corroded wires or electrical connections, clear the drain line, and perform many other tasks. All these steps keep your air conditioner running at top efficiency and help the components reach their maximum lifespan. A professional cleaning also prevents annoyances such as an overflowing drain pan and ice on your outdoor coil, which can develop into bigger problems.

For pro help with your HVAC spring cleaning, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling anywhere 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “lsantilli/Shutterstock”

Don’t Let Attic Safety Fall by the Wayside

Don't Let Attic Safety Fall by the WaysideNow that spring is here, it’s time to do some of those maintenance and repair tasks you’ve been thinking about all winter. Chances are, one of those projects may involve a visit to the attic for you or someone you hire. If so, have you given any thought to attic safety?

Attic Hazards

The hazards of doing work in the attic are surprisingly numerous. It’s a place we’re usually not that familiar with, offering sometimes limited visibility. Also, attics tend to be hot, dusty and uncomfortable, with movement severely restricted, and if yours doesn’t have a floor, navigating on exposed joists can be tricky. Plus, unpleasant surprises may await you, be it an infestation of vermin, or an outbreak of mold. It pays to be mindful of these hazards, and to take steps to overcome them before you or a technician starts your project.

Here are some suggestions to improve attic safety.

  1. Limit trips to and from the attic. Whether you have pull-down stairs, a staircase or just a ladder, take extra care going up and down. Organize your project so you minimize trips.
  2. Don’t overheat. Temperatures can soar in the attic, even on a mild spring day, so drink plenty of water and if your project allows you to, run a portable fan to keep cool. Vacuum the attic first, if possible, so less dust will be swirling around.
  3. Wear protective clothing and gear. Cover arms and legs to prevent exposure to irritating insulation and hazards such as protruding nails. Wear goggles or safety glasses and a respirator with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  4. If you discover vermin, have the attic fumigated before work begins.
  5. Cover exposed joists with planks, but be mindful of how you place your feet on the planks so you don’t topple over and go through the ceiling.
  6. Even if there’s overhead lighting in the attic, take a work light so you can see in corners.

Find out more about attic safety from Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide quality service to customers in Portland and the surrounding 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “David Papazian/Shutterstock”

Tips to Keep Your Basement from Flooding

Tips to Keep Your Basement from FloodingBasement flooding has always been a problem in homes. It’s even more of an issue these days, however. More and more homeowners have converted basements from neglected, empty voids into living spaces, home offices and other uses. Frequently, basements are also utilized to store valuables, too. Consequently, any water inundation into the basement can be especially damaging and expensive. It also poses a health hazard — a chronically wet basement becomes ground zero for mold growth that can affect the entire house.

Basement flooding can originate from several sources. Here are some common causes and what to do about them.

  • Grade the landscape — The contour of the landscape surrounding the perimeter of the home’s foundation should slope away from the house. During rainy periods, this prevents water pooling and soaking in around the foundation, eventually entering the basement through minute cracks and crevices.
  • Clean the gutters — Overflowing gutters hammer the ground directly below with cascading water during heavy rain or rapid snow melt. This deluge can penetrate the foundation and infiltrate the basement. Check the gutters for obstructions and clean them when necessary. Also make sure gutter downspouts extend far enough away from the house so discharged water doesn’t soak into the foundation and basement.
  • Install a sump pump — A high natural water table under the house exerts pressure on the basement slab. Ground water may invade the basement through small cracks, particularly during rainy weather. A sump pump installed the basement floor automatically pumps infiltrating ground water through a discharge line into the backyard. A foundation drainage system in the ground around the perimeter of the foundation also channels ground water away from the house.
  • Install a sewage backflow valve — Sewage backup can result from an obstructed sewer line or if the municipal system is inundated with water during a flood. Toxic sewage reflux entering your home first emerges through drains in the lowest point in the house — the basement. A backflow protection valve installed by a qualified plumber prevents sewage reflux.

For professional advice to prevent basement flooding, 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: “Jana Guothova/Shutterstock”

Tips for Remembering to Change Your Air Filter

Tips for Remembering to Change Your Air FilterWith warmer weather on the way, this is a good time to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the cooling season. One of the most important tasks to perform during this time is changing your air filter. This helps ensure that your system can run efficiently, and it also improves the air quality in your Portland home by removing filters covered in dust and debris. If you have trouble remembering to change your filter, keep the following tips in mind.

Label the Filters

Write the date that each filter should be changed on the cardboard edge with a permanent marker. When you’re not sure how long it’s been since you last changed filters, just look on these labels to see when you need to replace your current filter.

Set Reminders

Create a reminder on your phone, tablet or computer to let you know that it’s time to change your air filter. How often you need to change it depends on the types of filters you use. For example, high-efficiency filters usually don’t need to be changed as often, but this can make you more likely to forget to perform this task. Having a reminder on one of your electronic devices helps ensure that you won’t forget to change filters.

Store Filters in a Noticeable Spot

Having air filters stored in an out-of-the-way spot means you’re more likely to forget about them. Keeping them out in the open, such as on a shelf in your laundry room, can help you remember to change them on schedule. Consider putting a sticky note with the date they need to be changed on them in order to remind yourself.

Make It Part of Seasonal Cleaning

Plan on changing your air filter while doing other seasonal cleaning tasks, such as washing windows in spring or cleaning the gutters in fall. Grouping these tasks together can be a helpful reminder.

If you need HVAC maintenance this spring, please contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We offer dependable HVAC services for Portland 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: “M.-Dykstra/Shutterstock”

Spring Forward, But Don’t Forget Your HVAC System

Spring Forward, But Don’t Forget Your HVAC SystemThough it seems like only yesterday we were “falling back,” it’s already almost time to “spring forward” when Daylight Saving Time begins. In addition to moving the clock ahead one hour, it’s a useful reference point that reminds us to take care of important household chores — like testing and changing the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Others involve the HVAC system. Spring is a transitional season and now’s the time to prepare for the transition from heating to cooling. Here are some things to remember as we spring forward into summer.

Change The System Air Filter

It’s the single most important DIY task to ensure system performance and efficiency. If you don’t know how, ask your HVAC contractor to show you. Once you’ve got this simple procedure down, keep changing the filter monthly throughout the coming summer. You’ll feel a difference in indoor comfort and see a difference in lower operating costs.

Schedule Preventive HVAC Maintenance

It’s important to get an annual A/C system check-up by a qualified HVAC technician before summer sets in, preferably at seasonal startup of the system. This ensures optimum cooling all summer long and also allows the field tech to spot minor incipient problems now — before they turn into a major breakdown later. Also, the warranty terms of most manufacturers require a record of regular annual maintenance to keep the warranty valid.

Have The Ductwork Inspected

If it’s been a few seasons since anyone looked inside there, a duct inspection by an HVAC contractor may reveal leakage that’s all too common in residential ductwork. It’s also a major cause of energy inefficiency, high operating costs, and poor system performance. If signs of leaks are observed, the contractor can discuss sealing options.

Clear The Outdoor Unit

Remove any winter cover from the outdoor half of the central A/C. If weeds or other overgrowth are obstructing the air vents, cut them back to create two feet of clear space on all sides for maximum air circulation.

For professional HVAC service to spring forward into another summer, in Portland 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: “Gustavo-Frazao/Shutterstock”

What You Should Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

What You Should Consider When Purchasing a New FurnaceReplacing your old furnace with an efficient model available today involves more than just picking one out of the same size. There are installation details to consider, such as making your home more efficient, correctly sizing your new heating system, inspecting the ducts and more.

Use this guide to help you choose and install your system the correct way and to ensure the greatest return on your investment.

Tighten Up Your Home

Your new heating system is going to work a lot better if it’s installed in an efficient home. Air leaks in the thermal envelope and inadequate insulation levels increase the heating load and your energy bills. Ask your HVAC provider to perform an energy evaluation, which shows you exactly where caulk, weatherstripping and insulation is needed.

Heating Efficiency

New, high-efficiency furnaces convert nearly 100 percent of fuel to home heating. That’s a remarkable improvement from old furnaces, which often delivered 65 to 75 percent heating efficiency.

If you’re undecided between a new standard furnace with 80 to 85 percent efficiency and a high-efficiency system, ask your HVAC provider to conduct a lifetime cost analysis. The lifetime cost of your new heating system is the sum of purchase, installation and the estimated operating and maintenance expenses from day one. Then, you can determine which heating system is the right investment for your home and needs.

Furnace Sizing

Another great reason to button up your home is that it may actually reduce the size of heating system you need. A heating load calculation of your home should be conducted using HVAC industry best practices to determine precisely how many BTUs your new furnace should be. Otherwise, you could end up spending extra money on an oversized system that won’t run as efficiently.

How’s Your Ductwork?

A quality ductwork system is essential to maximizing the performance and efficiency of your new heating system. After all, it’s your air ducts that convey heated air throughout your home. Your ductwork should be inspected for leaks, damage, and correct sizing.

If you need assistance selecting the right furnace for your Portland area home, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

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: “lithian/Shutterstock”