Tag Archives: winter season

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in Winter

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in Winter

How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage in WinterWhen the snow and freezing rain of a typical Portland winter storm blow in, a power outage is often close behind. Take some time to prepare, though, and you can stay comfortable no matter the weather.

Staying Cozy Without Heating

If you have a propane or kerosene heater designed for use indoors and a very well ventilated room, this is your best bet for staying warm. If you have any suspicions that the room might lack good airflow, however, don’t risk it or you’re liable to end up ill from carbon monoxide exposure.

A safer bet is to make sure everyone in your household is dressed in layers of warm clothing and equipped with a warm blanket, then bring everyone into a small room. Your body heat, taken together, will keep the room warm.

When you know a storm’s coming, raise your thermostat temperature around 10 degrees so your home will take longer to cool down if the power goes out. If you have a fireplace, bring in extra firewood. Before winter hits, make time to seal air leaks around doors and windows, put up insulating drapes, and make other improvements that will help your home hold in warmth.

When a Generator is Worth It

A generator is always a nice convenience, but when your household includes a young child, elderly person or anyone else vulnerable to hypothermia, a generator can be a literal lifesaver. Depending on its size, a gasoline- or diesel-powered portable generator can power one or more circuits in your home. A smaller model can at least power an electric space heater.

If you prefer to have your whole home powered, consider investing in a standby generator. This is wired into your home’s electrical system and starts up automatically when a power outage occurs, then turns off when the power comes back. It’s connected to the natural gas mains, so it won’t run out of fuel.

For more ideas on staying cozy and safe during a power outage, talk with us at Roth Heating & Cooling 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: “ehendel/Pixabay”

How to Avoid Common Winter HVAC Concerns

How to Avoid Common Winter HVAC ConcernsIn the winter, you rely on your HVAC system to keep your home comfortably warm. However, your home comfort can be jeopardized by a variety of wintertime heating system problems. Here are some common winter HVAC concerns and what you should do to resolve them:

Inconsistent Heating

If some rooms are too warm while others feel too chilly when your heating system is running, check that the louvers are open on all your registers first. Then, examine the furnace filter because a clogged filter can reduce the amount of warm air that’s delivered to each room. Other possible causes that will require a professional diagnosis are leaky, damaged ducts or unbalanced airflow through the HVAC system.

Not Enough Heat

If the heating system doesn’t seem to stay running long enough to adequately heat your home, you have a situation known as “short cycling.” Your HVAC technician can do some detective work to find out why it’s happening, which could be a poorly-located or faulty thermostat, under- or over-sized equipment, or a corroded flame sensor.

Sudden Loss of Heat

If your furnace or heat pump suddenly stops cycling on, it may just need a simple fix like replacing dead thermostat batteries or a badly-clogged air filter, which can severely reduce airflow so the furnace overheats and triggers the high limit safety switch. Your heat pump can shut down similarly if the outdoor unit is covered with ice or snow and can’t defrost on its own. If none of these issues seem to be the cause, call your HVAC pro to check for more serious problems.

Combustion Fume or Gas Odors

Both of these issues pose serious safety hazards, so contact your home heating contractor immediately, and head over to a neighbor’s house until the problem is solved. Backdrafting combustion fumes from an obstructed vent system can pump deadly carbon monoxide gas through your home, while leaking gas lines can cause dizziness, vomiting and even asphyxiation, or an explosion or house fire.

If you need expert help solving winter HVAC concerns in your Portland home, contact us today 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: “Name”

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? 

Holiday Fire Hazards: Are You at Risk? The holiday season is a time for colorful decorations and get-togethers with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a risky period when an average of 47,000 house fires occur that cause 500 fatalities each year. For a safer home this season, use these tips to avoid holiday fire hazards.

Test Your Smoke Detectors

Have smoke detectors installed in strategic areas on each level of your home, such as in the kitchen and near sleeping areas. Press the test button on each device once a month to ensure that it’s fully functional, replace the batteries in early winter, and you can cut your risk of becoming a fire-related statistic in half.

Invest in Fire Extinguishers

Buy a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home, learn how to use it properly and place each one where it’s easily reached in the event of a fire. Choose A-B-C rated extinguishers that can put out fires caused by the three most common causes: combustibles like wood and paper, flammable liquids/gases and electrical sources. Opt for the largest-capacity extinguisher that you can easily lift and carry.

Take Precautions With Supplemental Heat Sources

If you plan to use a space heater for extra warmth this winter, make sure it’s one with an auto-shut off that kicks in if the unit tips over, and place it several feet away from combustible materials, like upholstered furniture, window coverings and the Christmas tree. If you use the fireplace, make sure the damper is open when you light it, and have a protective firescreen in place to prevent sparks from escaping.

Get Safety-Wise With Holiday Decorations

Switch to LED holiday lights that emit very little heat, replace any frayed/damaged extension cords and don’t overload your electrical outlets. Real trees can become a fire hazard as they dry out, so opt for an artificial, fire retardant-treated tree, and use a sturdy, stable tree stand. And, don’t forget to unplug all your holiday lights each night before you head to bed.

To learn more about preventing holiday fire hazards in your Portland-area home, 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). 

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace Maintenance

Why You Need to Have Regular Furnace MaintenanceThe benefits of furnace maintenance far outweigh its cost on many levels. Although it does cost money, the amount is small compared to the benefits a well-tuned system gives you.

Having your furnace serviced by a pro annually will:

Lower heating bills.

The efficiency you gain from a tuned-up furnace is well worth the small cost of having it professionally serviced each year. Dust and sooty deposits on the furnace’s parts lowers their efficiency.

The technician will look for abnormal amounts of soot inside the furnace and trace the possible causes. A dirty heat exchanger slows the heat transfer to the incoming air, which makes your furnace run longer.

Run safely.

All gas furnaces have safety features that prevent them from malfunctioning. The service technician will check their condition and ensure that they’re fully functional. They also use meters to measure the electrical flow, and verify that the gas lines are tight.

They’ll check carbon monoxide (CO) levels along with inspecting the condition of the chimney or flue. Any cracks or blockages can back up CO and other exhaust gases indoors.

Have fewer repair costs.

As the technician cleans and adjust your system, he or she will spot small problems that could escalate if left unattended. A motor that runs without enough lubrication will fail faster, and dust buildups burn out electrical components.

Last longer.

Without adequate maintenance, the wear and tear on all the parts increases and it takes years off the lifetime of your heating system. It’s particularly hard on the heat exchanger. As dust covers it, it will stay hot longer, which weakens the metal from which it is made.

Over time, cracks form that can leak CO into your home’s air. An HVAC or gas company technician has to disable a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. You won’t be able to use it until it’s repaired or the system completely replaced.

Investing in furnace maintenance has tangible benefits for your comfort and safety. For more information, 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). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Pixel_perfect/Pixabay”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Name”

These are the Keys to Preventing Freezing Pipe Bursts

These are the Keys to Preventing Freezing Pipe BurstsPipe bursts can really ruin your day. Protecting your pipes when the Portland weather freezes can prevent devastating damage to your home and belongings as well as save you a considerable amount of money in cleanup costs. Here’s how to keep your pipes cozy to prevent them from freezing in the winter.

Insulate Your Pipes

Preventing pipe bursts starts with adequate insulation. Use inexpensive, pre-fabricated foam pipe insulation sleeves to insulate both hot and cold water pipes that run exposed through the basement, crawlspace, or other cold area. This is a good time to add an insulating jacket to your water heater to save on your energy bill.

Attach a Heat Cable to Your Pipes

When pipe bursts seem imminent due to freezing weather in the forecast, a heat cable can save the day. This flexible electric heating cable wraps around a plastic or metal pipe in an unconditioned area to prevent it from freezing. A built-in thermostat heats up the cable when the temperature dips below 38 degrees and turns it off when it reaches 45 degrees.

Open the Cabinets and Turn the Water On

To reduce the chances of kitchen or bathroom pipes on an exterior wall freezing, open the doors to the cabinets that house the pipes. On the coldest of days, leave warm water running very slowly to help combat freezing.

Don’t Forget the Outdoor Spigot

Once the gardening season ends and you no longer need the outdoor spigot, locate the shutoff valve and turn it off. Open the smaller valve on the side to drain the remaining water from the pipe.

If Your Pipes Burst

If your pipes burst while there’s still ice in them, turn off the water to the pipe and call a plumber. Knowing ahead of time where the main shutoff valve is can save you a few minutes of panic and enable you to contain the damage quickly if a burst pipe thaws and sends water rushing into your home.

For more expert advice about preventing pipe bursts, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling, proudly serving our Portland-area neighbors.
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: “MikeBird/Pixabay”