Programmable thermostats are highly touted, and deservedly so. But you won’t automatically save energy and save money simply because you have one installed.
Savvy homeowners will learn all the ins and outs of their programmable thermostats, develop strategies for using them, and make sensible adjustments based on the information their thermostats provide.
Picking the Right Programmable Thermostat
Various thermostats have different capabilities, and you should study your options carefully to make sure you select one with the right package of features.
Here’s what to look for:
- Diverse scheduling options
Some thermostats let you program each day individually, while others have separate settings for weekends and weekdays, or one unitary setting to cover the whole week. Presumably, you’ll save more money and more energy if you can program each day of the week individually, based on your personal habits, but if you have a consistent schedule that may not be necessary.
- Learning capacity
Newer, so-called “smart” programmable thermostats can decode your home comfort habits and program the operation of your HVAC system automatically in response (with override options available, of course). This could be ideal if your activities and home comfort preferences are stable and predictable, or if you worry that you’ll forget to program your thermostat on your own.
- WiFi capability
Smart thermostats with WiFi connectivity give you 24-hour control of your home environment, regardless of where you are in the world. All you need to do is install the appropriate thermostat app in your smartphone or tablet, and once you learn to use it you’ll be all set to go.
WiFi capability will add to the expense of your thermostat, but if you are a detail-oriented person you’ll likely gain maximum energy efficiency from having a unit that gives you minute-by-minute control over the functioning of your heating and cooling system. This is perfect if you have an unpredictable schedule and are often uncertain about when exactly you’ll be arriving home.
Theoretically, a programmable thermostat with WiFi capability offers peak energy and money savings, but that is only true if you are prepared to exploit the WiFi feature for everything it’s worth.
- Additional perks
Some smart programmable thermostats directly monitor the activity of furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps, and they can give you warnings if there is a decline in performance or any other sign that suggests maintenance or repairs are needed. In addition to connecting with home heating and cooling equipment, many smart thermostats can also be connected to humidifiers or dehumidifiers, allowing you to customize their operations as well.
Before purchasing any programmable thermostat, you should familiarize yourself with all its capabilities to see if it offers any extra benefits you might find attractive (and profitable).
Tips for Using Programmable Thermostats
Most programmable thermostats come with factory settings, but you must take control of them yourself if you expect to gain maximum benefits.
Here are some tips that will help you get the most bang for your buck when you invest in a programmable thermostat:
- In summer or winter, set your thermostat 7-10 degrees higher than you normally would for at least 8 hours a day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you’ll save 10 percent on total energy costs by following this advice.
- Program your thermostat to keep the home at least 10 degrees warmer or cooler than normal while you sleep.
- When programming the thermostat for the overnight hours, set it so it will begin reducing or raising temperatures one hour before you to bed, and set it to begin reversing the process 30 minutes before you are scheduled to awake in the morning.
- For the best combination of money savings and acceptable comfort, the Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees during waking hours in summer and at 68 degrees during waking hours in winter. Naturally, your comfort preferences may vary.
- Temperatures should be kept 10-15 degrees higher or lower than normal when you are away from home. To make sure this doesn’t compromise your comfort, program the thermostat to activate your HVAC system 20-30 minutes before you leave the home, and/or 20-30 minutes before you arrive. Of course, if you have a programmable thermostat with WiFi connectivity you can make the latter adjustments from wherever you are.
Many people are intimidated by what they perceive to be the complexity of programmable thermostats. But if you take the time to read the user’s manual and experiment with its different features, you’ll soon figure it out.
Your HVAC contractor is a valuable resource as well, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them questions about how to use—and get the most out of—your new programmable thermostat.
Learn More about Programmable Thermostats from Rheem Pro Partner
In Colorado and Wyoming, Rheem Pro Partner is the unsurpassed expert in home comfort technology. Please contact us today to learn more about programmable thermostats, and about your affordable options for purchase and installation.
Annual furnace inspections might seem fussy or a nuisance, but they’re just the opposite. Maintenance and tune-up visits are important, and there are several good reasons why HVAC contractors strongly recommend you have an inspection performed before the beginning of each heating season.
8 Benefits of Annual Furnace Inspections
If you arrange to have a trained HVAC technician inspect your furnace and the HVAC system that supports it, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- Cleaner air
During your annual tune-up, the technician who visits your home will clean your HVAC system inside and out, and that will prevent your furnace from spreading airborne contaminants once it’s switched on. The technician can also change your air filter for you, if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself. If you’ve been buying cheap filters, the technician will recommend a superior model that will do a much better job of capturing dirt, pet dander, pollen, chemical traces and other indoor pollutants that can damage your health.
- Proper airflow
Tune-ups focus on smooth operation of the system, and one of the first things a technician will check for is restricted airflow. This can happen if the air filter is clogged, if the blower is plugged with dirt or other debris, or if there are obstructions inside the ductwork.
Malfunctions in a gas furnace can be especially dangerous. Gas leaks or carbon monoxide buildup can be fatal if they aren’t addressed quickly, but fortunately a trained technician can keep your furnace in good working order to make sure these types of problems don’t arise.
- Reduction of repair costs
Do you want to pay a little bit now or a lot more later? Annual maintenance inspection plans are a cheap and easy way to avoid costly repairs, since they allow HVAC technicians to uncover and fix small problems before they turn into much bigger problems, which could conceivably threaten your furnace’s survival.
Annual maintenance inspections are unobtrusive and can be fit in around your schedule. But breakdowns are unexpected and unpredictable, and if your furnace goes out on the coldest night of the year, or during one of your busiest work weeks, it could cause significant disruptions to your personal and professional life. It could even force you to leave your home for a few days, while you wait for an HVAC technician to finish the necessary repairs.
- Better energy efficiency
High-quality furnaces can only deliver superior performance if they are kept in prime working order. All the parts of a furnace need to be cleaned on a regular basis, and without consistent maintenance dirt and grime can build up and interfere with efficient furnace operation.
- Maintenance of the manufacturer’s warranty
Did you know that most manufacturer’s warranties become null and void if the furnace is not regularly maintained? Needless to say, it is not in your best interest to negate your furnace’s warranty, and just the fact that manufacturers require maintenance and tune-up visits tells you how vital they are to the health and welfare of your HVAC system.
- Extended lifespan for your HVAC system
Like other heavy-duty appliances, furnaces face an enormous workload, and if they aren’t well-maintained they can fail suddenly and without warning. Neglecting a furnace is a recipe for disaster, and if you skip on maintenance inspections you’ll be asking for trouble. But if you keep them fine-tuned and fully ready for action at all times, they can last for 15 years or more.
- Superior Home Comfort
When furnaces are neglected they won’t operate at peak efficiency, that’s an undeniable fact. They will struggle to handle their heating responsibilities, and that means you’ll be left shivering on the coldest nights when you should be toasty and comfortable. Annual maintenance inspections are the best way to prevent this unfortunate occurrence, and if you fail to have an inspection done your personal comfort may be seriously compromised.
Rheem Pro Partner offers the Best Maintenance Services
In Colorado and Wyoming winters can be long and severe, and you need to know that your furnace will be ready to go when you need it. Annual inspections are an excellent way to keep your furnace in top working order, and that is doubly true if you choose Rheem Pro Partner to handle the job. Our skilled technicians are experts in basic and advanced furnace maintenance, and we invite you to contact us today to schedule your autumn tune-up and inspection.
The terms ‘air cleaner’ and ‘air purifier’ are often used interchangeably, and from a functional standpoint each serves a similar purpose. But they rely on different filtering technologies to restore compromised indoor air quality.
Air cleaners and air purifiers come in two models, portable and whole-house. The former will filter the air in specific rooms, while the latter are installed directly inside HVAC systems and can help keep the air fresh and healthy throughout the home.
For the removal of dust particles and other types of non-organic contaminants, air cleaners come highly recommended.
What are air cleaners?
An air cleaner contains filters that remove a wide variety of airborne contaminants from indoor breathing spaces. Over time these filters will have to be cleaned and/or changed, but with regular maintenance they will do a superb job of providing you with ample quantities of breathable air.
How do air cleaners work?
Air cleaners are installed inside ductwork, where they can work their magic as heating and cooling systems continuously circulate air throughout the home. Each time air passes through the filters will capture and remove more contaminants, and as long as you change the air cleaner filters on schedule your appliance should deliver outstanding performance for years.
What do air cleaners filter?
The list of indoor contaminants removed by a well-functioning air cleaner may include:
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Fumes or gases from cleaning products
Whole-house air cleaners offer excellent protection for those who are prone to allergies, asthma attacks, and dry and itchy skin, eyes, throat and nasal passages.
People who are concerned about the ravages of living allergens would be wise to invest in an air purifier rather than an air cleaner.
What are air purifiers?
Air purifiers target airborne bacteria, mold, mildew, dust mites, fungus and viral agents for extinction. These purifiers can remove other contaminants as well, but they are specially designed to prevent ductwork and other areas of the home from being invaded and colonized by unwanted microorganisms.
How do air purifiers work?
Air purifiers rely on UV (ultraviolet) light to kill or deactivate microbial life. Installed on or near the HVAC air handler, whole-house UV air purifiers are highly effective at preventing mold, mildew or fungus outbreaks, and they can stop bacteria and viruses from contaminating the air you breathe and putting your family’s health at risk.
What do air purifiers filter?
Good-quality air purifiers do an amazing job of eliminating:
- Dust mites
Should You Buy an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier?
An air cleaner is an ideal choice for those who are most concerned about typical indoor air pollutants, which may come from inside the home or through open windows if you live in a polluted area.
Meanwhile, air purifiers are the best option for homeowners with ongoing mold problems, or whose families suffer from frequent viral infections. Moisture problems in the home are another good reason to choose air purifiers, since microorganisms tend to thrive in moist environments.
Regardless of whether you purchase an air cleaner or air purifier, you won’t get good results if you purchase cheap equipment, or choose cut-rate installation services. Whole-house air cleaners and air purifiers are definitely more effective than portable models, but if you live in an apartment portable appliances can still make an impact.
Indoor Air Quality is a Rheem Pro Partner Specialty
If you want to learn more about air purifiers and air cleaners, and about installation procedures for whole-house models, please contact Rheem Pro Partner today. We provide the very best solutions for indoor air quality restoration and maintenance throughout the Colorado and Wyoming area.
A hot shower is one of life’s simple pleasures and one that most of us count on without giving it any thought. So when that shower turns unpleasant due to low water pressure or no hot water we want a simple fix. The problem is quite possibly a leaky water heater. Troubleshooting the exact cause starts with understanding the various causes of water heater leaks, and the first step is examining the tank to find the source.
Here are six common causes of a leaking water heater:
1. Drain valve
One common cause — and the easiest to fix — is a loose drain valve. A drain valve can loosen over time and create a slow leak. Simply tighten it with a wrench just until it is snug. Be careful not to over tighten it and don’t force it.
2. Air pressure
Pressure can build up in the tank. This forces water to leak out of the tank in order to relieve the pressure. This occurs most commonly when the water temperature is set too high. It can also happen if the pressure from the exterior water supply is too great, or if the temperature pressure relief valve is defective.
3. Age of the water heater
Water heaters typically last 8-10 years. As they near the end of their lifespan, corrosion becomes more evident and can result in a leak. If this the case, call your HVAC technician immediately to address the problem. Waiting too long puts you at risk for flooding and the damage and headaches that come with it.
Condensation can occur on the outside of the water heater when cold water enters the tank and the outside air is hot. This can sometimes be mistaken for a leak, but it is normal and common. Simply wipe down the water heater.
Water heaters are often made of steel, which is mostly iron. An anode rod inside prevents the iron from rusting, but over time, the rod can wear out and fail. If that happens, the rust will eventually create a leak. Prior to that, however, you may notice your hot tap water develop a rusty brown color. Call your technician right away to replace the anode tube and prevent further damage.
6. Sediment build-up
Over time, the minerals that exist naturally in hard water can settle in the bottom of the water tank and create a layer thick enough to block access to the burner that heats the water. As a result, the burner runs longer to heat the water and the excess wear and tear leads to deterioration. This can cause a leak or, worst case, cause the water tank to burst. Prevent sediment build-up by flushing the tank once a year.
Rheem Pro Partner serves Colorado and Wyoming. Contact us today for all your heating and cooling needs.
How many years your air conditioner will last depends a lot on how well you take care of it. With a little attention and maintenance, such as regularly changing the air filter and utilizing a programmable thermostat, you can maximize the life of your air conditioning unit. The simple steps listed below will save you money by lowering your energy costs and minimizing repairs as well as by delaying the need for a replacement.
To help extend the life of your air conditioning unit, here are a few things you can do:
1. Schedule regular maintenance
A trained HVAC technician is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting and maintaining your air conditioner. During a service visit before the start of each cooling season, the technician will thoroughly clean the unit and make repairs or adjustments as needed. Doing so will prevent costly repairs down the road, and keep your system running as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.
2. Change the air filter on a regular basis
The air filter keeps your air conditioner (and your home) clean by preventing dust and debris from building up inside and ensuring sufficient airflow. This prevents breakdowns and extends the life of your system. Filters also help your unit operate at maximum efficiency, so your energy bills stay as low as possible. Air filters do get dirty, however, and once that happens they can no longer do their job. Check the filter periodically to make sure it isn’t clogged and change it every 30-60 days as needed to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
3. Keep the outdoor unit clean and clear of debris
While the air filter keeps the indoor unit clean, keeping the outdoor unit clean is equally important to prevent mechanical problems. The area directly around the unit should be free of any debris, such as leaves, that can get inside. Maintain sufficient clear space around the unit so it can intake and exhaust air properly. Don’t plant shrubs too close, or stack things on or against the unit.
4. Invest in a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat makes it easy to adjust the temperature when you’re away or at night so that your air conditioner is not running when you don’t need it. With preprogrammed or custom settings, you can set it once to match your schedule to save energy, money and wear-and-tear on your air conditioner.
5. Insulate doors and windows
Air leaks that allow warm air in and let cool air escape make your air conditioner work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. This wastes energy, raises your energy bills and shortens the life of your system. Check the caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows every year and repair or replace it as needed.
6. Install blinds and curtains
The sun coming through uncovered windows can quickly heat up your home and keep your air conditioner running. Insulated or even non-insulated blinds and curtains, particularly on windows that get direct sunlight, will help keep your home cool and give your air conditioner a break.
7. Allow air to circulate
Proper airflow is necessary for your air conditioner to work efficiently. Make sure air vents are clear and unobstructed to allow air to circulate freely throughout your home.
For help with all your air conditioning needs, contact Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming today!
If you are building or remodeling a home, or simply want to add a cooling system to an existing home, you may be wondering about the various options and which one is best for your situation. Most people are familiar with central air conditioning (also called ducted air conditioning), but you may be less familiar with ductless air conditioning (also called a ductless mini-split system).
Here’s an overview of both types.
Ducted air conditioning unit (or central air conditioning)
As the name implies, a ducted air conditioning unit uses air ducts and vents to distribute the cooled air throughout the home and return air to the system. Typically the ducts are used for both cooling and heating your home. The main unit of the air conditioner is installed outside (although sometimes it is mounted on the roof or in the attic) so it doesn’t take up living space. It sits on a concrete pad and connects to the ducts and the HVAC system.
Ductless air conditioning unit (or ductless mini-split system)
Ductless systems use an air handler unit that is mounted on the wall or ceiling, rather than air ducts, to deliver cooled air. They are energy efficient because air is not lost traveling through ducts to each room. However, depending on the size of your home, you may need to install more than one. In this way, they can also be used to cool specific areas or even to supplement central air systems.
Which Type of Air Conditioner Is Right for Your Home?
When a ducted air conditioning unit may be the best option:
A ducted air conditioning unit may be preferable if you already have ducts in your home for a forced air heating system. In that case, installation is just a matter of hooking up the new air conditioner unit to the existing ducts, making it an affordable option that can be installed quickly.
Ducted systems are preferable if airflow is a concern, as they are designed to circulate air. Ducted systems are virtually invisible because the ducts are hidden behind walls and the unit is outside, so they are a good choice if aesthetics are a concern.
Ducted systems may be simpler and less expensive to maintain because there is only one unit.
When a ductless air conditioning unit may be the best option:
Ductless air conditioning units are much easier and less expensive to install in homes that don’t already have ducts since the units go right in the wall or ceiling. Ductwork is expensive and complicated to install because it involves running the ducts from room to room and cutting holes in walls, floors and ceilings. In some cases, there may not even be enough room to install ducts. A ductless unit may also be preferable if you are removing the ducts during a renovation, or if you are building an addition and don’t want to add ducts and upgrade your current HVAC system.
Rooms can be independently controlled with separate air handlers, saving energy and arguments over temperature control.
Start with a qualified installer
Whichever system you choose, proper design and installation is the key to having an air conditioner that functions properly, efficiently and lasts a long time. Hire a trained HVAC professional to design and install your system.
Still have questions? The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are happy to help. Contact us today! We proudly serve Colorado and Wyoming.
On a hot summer day, an air conditioner can be a true lifesaver, as long as it’s working properly. The main way to ensure that your system will keep you cool all summer long, and save money in the long run, is to schedule a professional tune-up at the start of the season. In addition, however, you can avoid an unpleasant surprise by taking a moment to understand the warning signs that your air conditioner may be failing and the steps you can take to prevent a breakdown before it happens.
Here are five signs of a potential problem with your air conditioner:
1. Increased energy bills
An air conditioner that works harder to achieve the proper temperature uses more energy. If your energy bills are increasing and your home takes longer to cool, this could indicate that your system is failing.
2. The air coming from the vents isn’t cold
The air blowing through the vents should be consistently cool. If you notice that it is no longer as cold as when your system was new, or, of course, if it’s not cold at all, have your system checked out by a professional. The problem could be a simple fix, or something more serious.
3. Weak airflow from your vents
Limited airflow could indicate an issue with the compressor. It may also mean that your air ducts are dirty. Dust and debris can build up in the ducts and prevent air from flowing properly. Leaks in the ducts also prevent the conditioned air from reaching your home’s living spaces. (Ask us about Aeroseal, a patented process that thoroughly and economically seals holes and cracks in air ducts.)
4. Strange noises coming from the AC unit
Air conditioners are designed to run quietly. Squealing, grinding or grating sounds are a clear indication of a malfunction. Have a technician check out any unusual noises as soon as possible. Correcting the problem early can prevent a costly breakdown later on.
5. Leakage around the air conditioning unit
Any leaks should be addressed immediately. Water pooling around the unit may be caused by a clogged or broken drain tube. The presence of water or moisture can lead to mold growth. Water dripping inside the unit may come from ice melting. If the drip pan is full, or you hear chunks of ice falling, call your HVAC technician right away. Either of these can cause significant damage to your air conditioner. A refrigerant leak also requires immediate attention. Refrigerant leaks pose serious health risks and can also indicate a major problem with your system.
Any of these signs warrant a service call. For increased peace of mind, however, be sure to schedule an annual tune-up by a licensed HVAC technician. Doing so will greatly diminish the likelihood of emergency repairs and will also extend the life of your air conditioner and save money on energy costs.
Contact Rheem Pro Partner today for all your air conditioning needs. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
When your HVAC system is running smoothly, scheduling maintenance appointments may be way down at the bottom of your to-do list. However, annual HVAC maintenance is the easiest and most economical way to ensure that your air conditioner and furnace work properly and safely all season long. Taking care of your equipment improves energy efficiency and prevents the inconvenience of breakdowns and costly emergency repairs. It also keeps your system from needing a replacement prematurely. Preventive maintenance is the best way to protect this significant investment in your home.
Here are the top five reasons you should invest in regular HVAC preventive maintenance:
1. Increases energy efficiency
An HVAC system that has to work harder to maintain the proper temperature uses more energy. Regular maintenance keeps your system running as efficiently as possible and that can translate into substantial energy cost savings over time.
2. Minimizes air conditioner and furnace repairs
A trained HVAC technician can catch small problems while they are easy and inexpensive to fix, and even prevent problems from arising in the first place. Maintenance appointments at the start of the season can be easily scheduled at your convenience. Regular maintenance prevents the need for emergency repairs, which are costly and inconvenient. During peak periods in winter and summer, any service call can be challenging to schedule as demand increases dramatically.
3. Lengthens the lifespan of your air conditioner and furnace
Normal wear-and-tear occurs over time as your furnace and air conditioner are used normally and can get worse as the equipment ages without proper care. Regular maintenance decreases that wear-and-tear, effectively prolonging the life of your system. This means more years of service before you need a replacement.
4. Improves indoor air quality
Indoor air pollution has become an increasing problem as our homes are sealed more tightly against the elements, trapping harmful or irritating substances such as dust, cigarette smoke and pet dander, inside. This is particularly troubling for people with allergies or respiratory illnesses. Regular HVAC maintenance keeps your system clean and ensures that the air circulating throughout your home is clean and well-filtered.
5. Ensures the safety of your home
A poorly maintained HVAC system can result in a carbon monoxide leak. Preventive maintenance typically includes a carbon monoxide test which can detect a potential hazard before it becomes deadly.