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Your questions answered: HVAC FAQs

No matter what your HVAC questions are, the techs at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling in Portland have answers. Whether you have questions about selecting new HVAC equipment to best practices on care and maintenance, we can assist. Our online FAQs answers give you a rapid response for your convenience, but if you want to know more on any topic, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 503-213-4433.
Like any product you want to keep in good shape, HVAC equipment requires proper care in order to provide the best benefits. Trained experts can service your heating and cooling products to make certain they're working at their maximum potential and help prevent more expensive repairs in the middle of the hottest or coldest months of the year.
The cost can fluctuate depending on the equipment size and different features, so we advise contacting Three Rivers Heating & Cooling at 503-213-4433 to get a quote.
With two-stage heating, furnaces may operate on two different levels: high and low. Since you can heat your home on the low setting a lot of the time, a two-stage furnace can run longer and more efficiently. Two-stage heating also operates more quietly than traditional furnaces and can provide more even heat distribution and fewer temperature swings.
Three Rivers Heating & Cooling offers several different brands and models that have advanced technology to cool and warm your home more efficiently. Technology in the newer HVAC systems offers more precision when it comes to supporting your home comfort needs. If you need more information, please contact our experts at 503-213-4433.

Modern furnaces are created with a host of innovative features older furnaces don't have. Todays heating systems offer more even heating and are better at governing airflow. Although the air coming out of your vents may seem cooler than your old furnace, the airflow is much better and more efficient.

Another perk of modern furnaces is their ability to work with other HVAC products as part of a high-efficiency whole home comfort system. When combined with a high-efficiency air conditioner, furnace blowers can more easily accommodate add-on cooling. Other innovations, such as Precise Comfort technology and variable speed motors, will help your furnace run more efficiently and quieter than ever.

The Department of Energy recently raised the minimum efficiency levels for air conditions, and the standards vary by region. Contact Three Rivers Heating & Cooling at 503-213-4433 to learn the requirements for the Portland area.

There are many ways to reduce your energy costs and one of the best ways is to make sure you have an energy-efficient HVAC system. Three Rivers Heating & Cooling offers many highly efficient products that will help reduce the amount of energy you are using and save you money. In addition to looking for products that have the Energy Star® certification, high SEER ratings for air conditioners or AFUE ratings for furnaces, here are some other steps to consider:

  • Remember to arrange regular maintenance and have an experienced contractor take a look at your system to ensure its running efficiently.
  • If you have specific areas of your home that you need to heat or cool, you could consider a zoning system. This allows you to target that area and eliminates wasted energy on heating or cooling areas that aren't used.
  • Programmable or smart thermostats make it easier to maintain your home comfort while not wasting energy to heat or cool your space if you aren't home. It is an easy way to decrease energy costs and once you set it, you can walk away and understand its going to take care of your indoor comfort.
Three Rivers Heating & Cooling has been supporting the Portland community for many years and has been providing trustworthy and dependable service. Our service and the products we carry are of the highest quality and you won't be disappointed in the results. Our well-trained team is here to help you get your ideal home comfort.

There are four things to assess when improving your indoor air quality:

  • The indoor air quality in your house starts to suffer when the air begins filling up with air pollutants. The biggest concern is removing these pollutants. Some to-dos to include on your weekly checklist is vacuuming, washing your linens and confirming any cleaning products are stored properly.
  • Especially in newer homes, the insulation is installed so well that it might be hard for these pollutants to leave the home. While it helps to keep your home warm or cool, depending on the season, its beneficial to get some fresh air inside.
  • Make sure that you have good ventilation and schedule routine maintenance on your system. And while that's very beneficial, you can also take your IAQ even further by using air filters, germicidal lights and purification systems to get rid of particles while eliminating chemical vapors.
  • Smart or programmable thermostats can help control humidity levels as well as the temperature. This can help stop germs and other particles from collecting while sustaining your home comfort.
Each house brings a unique situation, which is why we recommend that you contact our pros at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to find out which solution will be best for your space. Our experts will conduct an evaluation of your current system and determine what your ideal home comfort looks like. That will help us determine which products will be most effective.
You may be surprised to learn that air conditioners don't technically make your home cooler; they actually remove the hot air and direct it outside. This hot air blows across a refrigerant coil on the indoor unit and then is sent to the outdoor unit where it is released. Your air conditioner transfers as much hot air outside as is necessary to reach the temperature you have set on your thermostat.
Minimum energy efficiency standards vary by region. Additionally, air conditioners, heat pumps and packaged units made after Jan. 1, 2015, have higher minimum efficiency levels than HVAC products manufactured prior to that date. The team at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can help you find out the minimum requirements for Portland, let you know if your current systems meets those requirements or help you find a replacement air conditioner that does.
Your systems service panel will have a white label on it, with your systems model and serial numbers at the top. M/N is the model number and S/N is the serial number.
Since equipment size needs differ for each home, the best way to determine the right size equipment for your home is to have a technician from Three Rivers Heating & Cooling come out to perform load calculation tests. The tests take factors such as square footage, insulation value and amount, and more into account to determine your homes HVAC equipment needs.
Yes debris can inhibit your systems ability to function effectively. Its not uncommon for heat pumps to have frost or ice on them during the winter, but many include defrost controls so they can work efficiently regardless of the weather conditions.
When a cooling system uses two-stage cooling, it means that there are two levels of operation. This allows the system to work more efficiently since there is one level for milder weather and one for harsher weather that demands the system work harder. Two-stage cooling also enables slight temperature changes so you don't experience extreme differences in temperature. Aside from better efficiency, other benefits of two-stage cooling include quieter operation and enhanced humidity control.
Your system could be freezing up for a couple of reasons, but the most common are dirty filters, low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil and/or a faulty blower motor. Changing a filter is something any homeowner take care of; however, you'll want to call the professionals at Three Rivers Heating & Cooling at 503-213-4433 for other problems or if you have other questions or concerns.
Three Rivers Heating & Cooling has a number of great thermostat options for your HVAC systems. The best thermostat for you will depend on a couple variables, such as whether you want one that's programmable or not. No matter what kind of thermostat you'd like or if you're looking for something that can fit with a home automation system call Three Rivers Heating & Cooling to hear about which thermostats you can choose from. Our team will help you find one thats best for your system, your family's needs and your budget.
A heat pump covers both your homes heating and cooling needs, offering you one HVAC system that can be used all year. In the warmer months, heat pumps act like an air conditioner, capturing the hot air from inside your home and directing it outside; in the cooler months, this process is reversed. Heat pumps can be very energy efficient and may produce two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.
At Three Rivers Heating & Cooling, we do recommend replacing both your indoor and outdoor units at the same time because:
  • Outdoor systems are now built to work with their matching indoor system for maximum efficiency. When you replace only one of your systems, you may not see the same savings on your energy bills as if you had replaced them together.
  • Thanks to technological improvements, newer systems mean improved efficiency. This is also true for HVAC systems. While the advancements focus on greater heating and cooling efficiency, they also include benefits such as better air handling, filtering and noise reduction.
  • If your heating and cooling systems are more than 10 years old, they need to be replaced. Older models have outdated technology that is likely adding to your energy costs due to poor efficiency. So by replacing your indoor system at the same time as your outdoor equipment, both your systems will provide better energy efficiency that helps you reduce your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable.
Your home energy system could have a communication module that delivers performance stats to an online site or portal. You can visit this to monitor your system's status, the amount of energy being produced and the positive effect you are having on the environment. You can also take a look at your owner's manual for recommendations on monitoring performance.
Rain will clean the modules by itself in most areas; however, if you live in a dusty area, you may see improved performance after periodically spraying the modules with water. Please note that high-pressure hoses and detergents should never be used to clean solar modules, as they can damage the product.
Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can help suggest the right thermostat for you based on your home and current heating and cooling equipment. We offer a selection of programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats, which can help increase the efficiency of your homes furnace and/or air conditioner. View our thermostats or give us a call at 503-213-4433 for more information.

A big portion of your monthly energy costs can be attributed to your heating and cooling system. It makes sense, because our home comfort is an important aspect of our day-to-day lives. Luckily, there are high-efficiency solutions from Three Rivers Heating & Cooling that can keep you comfortable while also lowering energy costs. When it's time for you to look for a new HVAC system, there are a couple things to consider. You'll want to find air conditioners with high SEER ratings and furnaces with high AFUE ratings. These ratings measure efficiency, so the bigger the number the better off you'll be when it comes to saving on energy costs. You can also consider these tips:

  • Keep your system operating to its best ability by scheduling routine maintenance. It helps maintain efficiency and make sure everything is functioning properly.
  • Consider a zoning system if you only have certain rooms that need to be heated or cooled. There is no need to waste energy adjusting the temperature in a room that is never, or rarely used.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy states that programmable thermostats can save up to 35 percent on heating costs and 25 percent on cooling costs. There are a lot of programmable and smart thermostat products that are easy to use and vary in the type of features-so you can find an option that you are comfortable with.
A zoning system allows you to divide your house and heat or lower the temperature in each space differently. While these systems function well for houses that have parts that are rarely used, they can also be helpful in situations where you and your family cant agree on the temperature in different areas of your residence. There are a variety of additional pluses of zoning systems, including efficiency and comfort. Look through our selection of zoning systems or give Three Rivers Heating & Cooling a call to see how a zoning system could fit in your home.