Heating & AC FAQs

Have Questions about Your HVAC System? We’ve Got Answers!

Heating and cooling systems are quite complex—often, home and business owners have questions about how these systems work, as well as how to address common problems. Here at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical, Drain Services, we believe that informed property owners make the best property owners! With that in mind, we offer answers to some of the most commonly-asked heating and air conditioning questions in our helpful FAQs! Find the answers you need below!

Looking for heating, AC, plumbing, or electrical services near Portland? Contact Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical, Drain Services at (503) 994-9924 to find out how we can help!

What size heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit should I have for my home?

It depends on the square footage and available duct work in the home. Contact us at (503) 994-9924 for a free estimate with our Account Managers.

How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?

It is measured in SEERS. The higher the SEER rating, the larger the coil is, thus the more efficient (temperature difference between entering air vs. discharge air). Gas furnaces are measured in AFUE.

How much does a new replacement HVAC system cost?

It depends on the size of equipment needed and what filtration system or zoning system you would like. Contact us at (503) 994-9924 for more information and a specific estimate.

What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?

It helps you save energy by setting temperature back during unoccupied hours.

What is a good temperature to set my thermostat at?

72 degrees. If it is very hot outside, setting it any lower will not make any difference.

Is there anything I should do before calling for service?

Check your breaker panel and make sure it’s on. Also check to make sure your thermostat is requesting the desired temperature.

Do electronic air cleaners really work? What is the maintenance to keep it going?

Yes they work, and with little maintenance cost. You just need to keep them clean regularly (monthly with continuous fan usage).

What maintenance should I do on my air conditioner?

Make sure to keep a clean filter in place at the air handling unit, and prevent any vegetation from growing around it. Everything else should be done by a heating and cooling contractor. Call us at (503) 994-9924 or contact us online to schedule a maintenance call.

How often should I have maintenance on my heating and cooling system?

Twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall.

Should I close air registers?

One or two is okay, but generally speaking it is not a good idea. This causes air flow restrictions.

When I schedule a service call, why am I given a window of time instead of a specific time?

The first customer each day, for each technician, can be given an exact time of arrival. There is no way to know how long that call will take. There may be a few or a lot of repairs. Traffic may also delay technicians or maybe a customer has an emergency and cancels last minute. We stay with a customer until we have completed the work. We will do the same thing for you.

Do I need to be home while the technician is performing work on my system?

No, you don't have to be there, but it would be best. There is typically a lot of information to share and we can provide the best service by helping you make the best decisions if you are present. If you cannot be home, we can make arrangements with you. When you call in to set up a service appointment, let us know if you need us to meet a neighbor or friend. Either way, we will need a phone number to call and confirm that someone is available to meet our technician.

If I need to cancel a service call, how late can I do that?

We are aware that life throws everyone a curve ball. You can cancel at any time. We do politely ask you to be courteous and call as soon as possible, your friends and neighbors may be waiting for a technician as well.

If I really like the work performed by my technician, can I specifically request them next time?

Yes, you can and we will do our best to accommodate your request. However, there are two things to keep in mind. One, your favorite technician may be trained or certified for certain tasks, but not others. We may not be able to send the same tech to repair your oil furnace as we sent to tune-up your air conditioner. Two, requesting a tech can cause a delay. We might be able to send someone else sooner.

When a technician finds something wrong with my system, can they fix it on the spot or will I need to schedule another appointment?

Our technician's van is fully stocked to make almost any repair, so we can perform the repairs at time of service. Sometimes parts have to be ordered and in that case we will come back after the parts arrive. Occasionally, in the summer, air conditioning coils freeze over. The technician will likely have to return once the ice has melted.

If I have a problem with my system during non-business hours, what should I do?

Call our office number. Even after hours a real person will answer the phone to help you. If it's an emergency, a technician will be paged to return your call.

Will the technician leave me with notes regarding my system?

Yes! We have an exciting new software system that will send a paperless document to your email account. It will have the details regarding the service call, receipt of payment, and recommendations that could improve your HVAC system.

Who should I call if I have a question after the service has been performed?

Call our office phone number. Those paperless documents are stored in our computer system under your address. If we can't help you based on that info, the technician who helped you will contact you directly.

What should I do about a frozen heat pump?

Turn the thermostat to the emergency heat position. This will use your back-up source of heat, disallowing the heat pump to run during this condition. Once all of the ice is gone, schedule a service call. It is extremely important that the ice is removed naturally so that no further damage is done.

How often do I need to change/clean my air filter?

Typically every three months. It depends on the type of filtration system and dust conditions inside the home (kids, pets, etc.). Sometimes filters need to be changed at sooner intervals. We recommend checking them once a month. After the first year you will get an idea of the schedule.

What should I do if my thermostat is blank?

This can happen for several different reasons. Before calling a service technician check that your circuit breakers are on and filters are clean.

My heat pump is making weird noises and venting a lot of steam. Should I be concerned?

No, this is normal operation for a heat pump when it goes through a defrost cycle. This cycle is necessary in order to maintain efficiencies by melting off any ice built up on the coils. This cycle should only last a few minutes before returning to the normal heating cycle. But if you are concerned, call us and we can help rest your concern.

My gas furnace only runs for a few minutes before shutting off. Then it comes back on in a couple minutes and repeats this on and off before it feels warm. Why is this happening?

It could be possible that your furnace's mechanical safety switches are tripping due to improper operating conditions or that your furnace could even be "short cycling" due to over sizing. In either case, a service call should be set up to prevent further problems.

My heating system starts at 4am even though I programmed the thermostat to start at 6am. Why does it do this?

Most of today’s thermostats have an “Adaptive Intelligent Recovery” setting that can be turned off. The thermostat is starting the heating cycle earlier so the indoor temperature will be reached by 6am rather than starting the heating cycle at 6am.

Have more questions? Don’t see your question listed here? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at (503) 994-9924 to speak with a member of our team today!


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