Having a furnace that is functional, energy-efficient and safe brings peace of mind. The best time to get your furnace ready for winter, therefore, is before you need it. Avoid unpleasant surprises by taking some simple steps so that when that first cold snap hits, you can simply enjoy being warm and cozy.
1. Schedule annual maintenance in the fall.
Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid inconvenient and costly breakdowns or repairs. Skipping annual service may even void the manufacturer’s warranty. Scheduling a maintenance appointment in the fall makes good sense because technicians aren’t as busy so it’s easier to get an appointment that fits with your schedule.
2. Change your furnace filter.
Dirty air filters are the main culprit in furnace issues. A simple, inexpensive way to protect your system and potentially extend its life is to ensure that your furnace filter is clean. Check the filter every 30 days and clean or replace it every 30 to 90 days, depending on how quickly it gets clogged.
3. Switch the thermostat from cooling to heating
Test your furnace before you need it to confirm that it is working correctly. This is simple to do by switching the thermostat to heating to see if the furnace kicks on.
4. Check that the furnace burners are free of dust and debris
Dust and debris accumulate on the furnace burners during the warmer months when the furnace is not in use. Clean the burners before winter and check for any misalignment or rust.
5. Test the thermostat
Check the batteries and make sure your furnace responds when you adjust the thermostat. Consider getting a programmable thermostat to allow you to conveniently adjust the temperature to save money and energy when you are sleeping or away from home.
6. Uncover all heating vents
Check all heating vents to make sure they are open and clear of any obstructions, such as rugs or furniture.
7. Clean your air ducts
If you find your air filters get dirty quickly, consider having your air ducts professionally cleaned. This can also be beneficial for anyone in the home who has severe allergies or respiratory issues, or for those with compromised immune systems. Cleaning your air ducts is also a good idea following a remodeling project.
8. Inspect the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors
Check the chimney for carbon buildup or other debris (including small animals that may have found there way in.) Use this time to test or replace carbon monoxide detectors as well.
9. Test the igniter switch
Newer systems have igniter switches instead of pilot lights. Test the switch to make sure it lights properly. If not, check the breaker. If that does not solve the problem, call a professional.
10. Consider getting a new furnace if yours is more than 20 years old
Age is only one factor that should be considered when making the decision to get a new furnace. If you find that your current older system is breaking down more frequently, it is likely time to invest in a new one. Keep in mind that newer models are far more energy efficient, often come with rebates or tax credits, and will substantially lower your monthly energy costs.
Rheem Pro Partners is here to help with all your furnace and HVAC needs. Contact us today in Colorado and Wyoming.
An annual furnace tune-up may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, when considering the costs associated with a new furnace, high monthly energy bills and unexpected or emergency repairs, the relatively low cost of furnace maintenance becomes much more reasonable.
Make sure the tune-up you are getting is thorough and, at a minimum, consists of these of basic steps:
The technician is trained to spot signs of trouble such as cracks, excessive wear and tear, corrosion and leaks, and will also check the air filter and make sure there is proper ventilation. Identifying an issue early can mean the difference between a minor repair or expensive one following a breakdown.
Testing for leaks and fumes.
Equipment that is damaged, broken or poorly vented can create safety hazards including carbon monoxide poisoning. The inspection should include the furnace exhaust outlet in the chimney or direct vent pipe section to check for broken components and cracks and also include the fuel pressure, airflow and the pilot or ignition.
Checking the burners for proper ignition
Safe and efficient operation also requires clean burners with proper ignition. The technician will make sure that the burners are free of dust and debris that can build up over the summer months and that the flame is burning consistently and cleanly.
This should include the outdoor unit, blower, fan blades and drain line which get dusty and dirty over time as well as the indoor components.
Lubricating motor parts
A special lubricant is applied every few years to prevent the motor parts from drying out and becoming damaged.
Replacing the air filter
Starting the season with a new air filter, and then replacing it every 30 to 90 days as needed, is a crucial step in keeping your furnace running smoothly for years.
Testing carbon monoxide detector
Your annual fall maintenance appointment is the perfect time to test the carbon monoxide detector and should be on your technician’s checklist.
Any necessary adjustments
The technician will make any necessary adjustments to return your system to proper specifications for efficient and trouble-free operation throughout the winter.
A written analysis including professional maintenance recommendations for the year should be part of the annual inspection and service.
What you should expect after a furnace tune-up?
The tune-up itself can improve the function and efficiency of your furnace, which translates into fewer repairs, no unexpected breakdowns, lower energy costs and a longer life for your system.
Rheem Pro Partners are your local HVAC experts. Contact us today for all your heating and cooling needs throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Energy bills account for a significant portion of a home’s expenses, and as much as half of that is for the home’s heating, ventilation and cooling system. It is no surprise, therefore, that energy efficiency is a major concern for many homeowners. Here are several simple ways to make your HVAC more efficient and save money.
1. Seal heating and cooling ducts
Forced-air furnaces and air conditioners use air ducts to move heated or cooled air throughout the home as well as to draw air back into the system. Over time, they can develop leaks or if they were incorrectly installed they may have gaps that allow air to escape. This makes the HVAC work harder to maintain the proper temperature in the home and increases your utility bills. Sealing and insulating ducts can greatly improve efficiency (by as much as 20% according to energystar.gov). Start by sealing the seams of the ducts running through crawl spaces, the attic, and an unheated basement or garage. Then wrap them in insulation and do the same for other ducts that you can access.
2. Change the air filter
Regularly changing the air filter is a simple and economical way to ensure that your HVAC maintains its efficiency and continues to run smoothly between annual tune-ups. Check the air filter every 30 days and replace every 30 to 90 days as needed or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Failing to do so can lead to unnecessary repairs and shorten the life of your system.
3. Get a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is an easy way to reduce your energy use when you are not at home and prolong the life and health of your equipment. The thermostat adjusts the temperature for greater efficiency and cost savings when no one is home and automatically readjusts to more comfortable levels when you return home.
4. Eliminate drafts
Drafts can impact your energy costs year round. Check the weather seals around doors and windows and seal any cracks to prevent loss of heat in the winter and loss of cooled air in the summer.
5. Add insulation
Insufficient insulation can also cause your HVAC to work harder in order to maintain a comfortable temperature, raising your energy bills. An energy auditor or insulation professional can help you determine your home’s insulation levels.
6. Use curtains and blinds
Window coverings can help keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer, and give your HVAC equipment a boost as well. Open blinds and curtains to let sun in during the winter to help warm up rooms and keep them closed in summer to help rooms stay cooler. Curtains offer an extra layer of insulation between the glass and your home’s interior.
7. Make the most of passive solar
The way a home is oriented and where the windows are placed play a big part in how much energy a home will use for heating and cooling by maximizing sunlight in cooler climates and minimizing it in warmer climates.
8. Regularly schedule maintenance
Having your furnace checked in the fall and your air conditioner checked in the spring will help ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises when you need your equipment to work. HVAC technicians are trained to spot problems while they are still small and easy to repair. They make sure your equipment is operating safely as well as efficiently, and make any necessary adjustments. Annual maintenance is required for the warranty by some manufacturers.
9. Make sure your equipment is sized and installed properly
Bigger is not always better and smaller is not always less expensive. If your energy bills are high and your comfort level is not what it should be, it is possible that your system is too big or too small for your home or that it was improperly installed.
10. Upgrade your HVAC and Choose ENERGY STAR
Technology in this industry is constantly improving. If your system is more than 15 to 20 years old, replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR model can greatly improve both energy efficiency and comfort. While a new system is an investment, the savings on monthly energy bills and repairs can greatly offset that initial cost over the life of the system. ENERGY STAR models often qualify for rebates and tax credits.
Rheem Pro Partners can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home’s HVAC. Contact us today in Colorado and Wyoming.
HVAC systems can be costly to purchase and to repair. If you are in a desperate situation, you may feel especially vulnerable and concerned that you are getting your money’s worth from a contractor. Be informed and stay alert to avoid common HVAC repair scams with these helpful tips.
1. Get a written estimate for repairs
Getting an estimate in writing is always a smart practice so that you know what to expect and can question any additional or excessive charges later on.
2. Get a second opinion
Whether you are purchasing a new system or getting major repairs on your current system, it pays to get a second opinion. Legitimate companies want to help consumers avoid scammers.
3. Request the broken part
If the contractor says a part needs to be replaced, ask for the broken part. If you’re not sure the replacement was necessary, you can bring it to a certified HVAC repair company for a second opinion. And never buy used parts.
4. Avoid “free” or frequent tune-ups
Companies that advertise free tune-ups are often trying to entice customers to purchase unnecessary services following the “free” inspection. It may sound like a good deal at first, but could end up costing much more for work you don’t even need. Similarly, do not pay for tune-ups more than once a year. An annual tune-up is all that is necessary to maintain your warranty and keep your equipment in good shape.
5. Beware of low, limited-time offers
Contractors that advertise “buy now and save,” may just be planning to price-gouge you when they return to fix the unit a second time.
6. Don’t pay upfront
Contractors often ask for a down payment to begin work, with the final payment due once the work is completed. Beware of contractors who ask for the full amount up front. Once you’ve paid, you have little recourse if they do a poor job, or if they disappear altogether.
7. Be sure your new system is sized and installed correctly
Ask for the calculations used to determine the load and size of the unit and compare two or three bids. An incorrectly sized unit will not work properly. It will cost more to run, wear out sooner and likely have difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout your home.
8. Research the contractor – make sure he or she is certified on your equipment
Before agreeing to any work, do your homework. Make sure the contractor you hire is certified and insured. If possible, get referrals from people you trust who can vouch for the company, or ask for references and follow up. Also make sure the contractor actually works for the company he claims to be representing.
Rheem Pro Partners have been trusted HVAC professionals serving Colorado and Wyoming since 1992. Contact us today for all your HVAC needs.
A cool home is like an oasis on a hot summer day, but high energy bills can turn that relaxing image into a mere mirage. Fortunately, maximizing your home’s energy efficiency in order to lower energy costs is possible with a few smart strategies.
1. Conduct an energy audit
Hire a professional to conduct a home energy assessment, or perform one yourself by walking through your home paying careful attention to potential energy drains. Make a checklist of areas you’ve inspected and note any problems you’ve discovered. Pay particular attention to drafts and air leaks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and the junctures of walls and ceilings.
2. Use your windows
If temperatures where you live cool off at night, turn off your energy-consuming cooling system and open windows to allow cooler air to circulate for free. Window coverings prevent heat gain during the day. According to energy.gov, about 76 percent of sunlight coming through standard double-pane windows becomes heat. Choose window coverings that are adjustable and let you balance the need to keep heat out but let light in.
3. Let your thermostat do the work
Set your thermostat as high as possible to save money while still maintaining comfort. The less the system has to work, the more energy savings you will realize. Use a programmable thermostat to automatically raise the temperature when no one is home and lower it to the optimal temperature when you return. Resist setting the temperature to lower than normal because doing so wastes energy and money without cooling your home any faster.
4. Employ fans and ventilation
Ceiling fans are an economical way to cool your home and allow your air conditioner to operate more efficiently. Choose a ceiling fan (and air conditioner) with an Energy Star rating for maximum efficiency. The ceiling fan creates a wind chill effect that helps occupants of the room feel cooler, which means the thermostat can be set a few degrees higher. The fan doesn’t actually cool the room, however, so turn it off when no one is in that space.
5. Weatherize your home
Sealing cracks and openings is a simple way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as ensuring your home has sufficient insulation will keep the cool air in and the hot air out.
6. Turn down the heat on appliances and lighting
Avoid using appliances and lights that generate a lot of heat. On hot days, use the microwave or outdoor grill rather than the stove or oven. Dishwashers, computers and hair dryers create heat. Find ways to be more efficient with the appliances that you have to use. Reduce your hot water use. Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
7. Maintain your cooling system
Keep air vents clean and free of debris with occasional vacuuming, and make sure they aren’t blocked by furniture or other items. Regularly change the air filter in your cooling system — every one to three months — to keep it running as efficiently as possible. Dirty air filters cause the air conditioner to work harder (use more energy), break down more often and need replacing sooner.
8. Upgrade to a more efficient air conditioner
HVAC technology is constantly improving, so replacing an old, inefficient air conditioner with a new high-efficiency one can quickly save you money by lowering the operating expense. Those savings will offset the expense of the replacement. Rebates may also be available to lower the upfront cost.
Let the pros at Rheem Pro Partners help you save money with a new air conditioner or maximize the efficiency of your current system with expert service and maintenance. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to make sure your home’s air conditioner is in great shape for the season. Here are 10 seasonal maintenance steps you can take now to optimize your air conditioner’s performance, save money and keep your cool.
1. Seal cracks and prevent air leaks
Maximize your air conditioner’s energy efficiency by locating and sealing any cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Add insulation where needed, including around electrical outlets on outside walls, which can allow cooled air to escape or let hot air in.
2. Position the thermostat correctly
In order to accurately read the temperature in the home, the thermostat should be placed on an interior wall, away from any heat sources. This includes air vents, lamps, heat-producing appliances and direct sunlight.
3. Upgrade to a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, also known as a programmable thermostat, makes it nearly effortless to adjust the temperature in your home at specified times of the day to maximize efficiency and save energy. Program the thermostat to raise the temperature when no one is home. Most new thermostats allow you to save several options for different days of the week or times of day, depending on your particular needs and schedule. This way, the house is always cool when you need it to be, without wasting energy and money.
4. Close blinds
If there are areas of your home that get a lot of direct sun during the day, consider keeping the blinds or curtains closed to prevent the home from heating up and causing your air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
5. Use a ceiling fan
Set your ceiling fan to run in a counterclockwise direction to push down the air directly under the fan. This creates a wind-chill effect. A ceiling fan is far less expensive to operate than an air conditioner, (approximately $1.50 a month for half a day versus $25, respectively) and can keep your A/C from overworking.
6. Raise the temperature
For every degree below 78, energy consumption increases about 8 percent. You can save a considerable amount for every degree above 78 you are willing to set your thermostat at (about $8 per degree for every $100 of energy costs).
7. Check air filters
Replacing your air filter every one to three months, depending on how quickly it becomes dirty, is an easy and economical way to keep your system clean and running at maximum efficiency. It also will prevent breakdowns caused by blocked airflow and lengthen the life of the system.
8. Keep you A/C in the shade
Shading your outdoor unit will help your system run more efficiently. The air in a shaded area is substantially cooler than surrounding air in the sun. Keeping your A/C at a lower temperature makes it easier for the system to cool the air.
9. Use landscaping to your advantage
Avoid landscaping that absorbs and radiates heat (such as rock, cement or asphalt) on the west and south sides of your home. If you must have those materials, make sure they are shaded.
10. Call an HVAC professional
Regular maintenance before the heat of the summer hits will ensure that your air conditioner is ready to go when you need it and is far less likely to have unexpected breakdowns. Annual service may be required to keep the warranty in force and will extend the life and efficiency of the system.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today with all your air conditioning needs. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Purchasing a central air conditioner is a major home investment. The price range for a new system varies greatly — from about $3,000 to about $7,500. The difference depends on multiple factors. The main considerations are the size of the home, the SEER rating, which indicates energy efficiency, and the type of equipment. Understanding what to look for in order to compare options is the best place to start.
How much does an A/C unit for a 2,000 sq. ft. home cost?
On average, an A/C unit cools 400 square feet of a home per one ton of air conditioning cooling capacity. This produces 12,000 BTUs per 600 square feet. Dividing the 2,000 square-foot measurement by 400 square feet of cooled area (per one ton A/C unit cooling capacity) determines that a 5.0-ton air conditioner is needed. An A/C system of this size should be able to remove 60,000 BTUs per hour (5.0 tons x 12,000 BTUs). A 5.0-ton air conditioner would cost about $1,980 for the A/C unit, and about $3,690 for the unit plus installation.
What is SEER and how does it affect A/C cost?
An air conditioner’s efficiency affects both the initial purchase cost and the cost of operation, so it is an important factor in any A/C purchase decision. SEER is the standard rating for air conditioner efficiency. It stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. SEER ratings range from an average of 13-14 for standard efficiency all the way up to a maximum efficiency of 22-24. The higher the rating the more expensive the unit will be to purchase, but the upfront cost will be offset by lower energy costs over the life of the system. In addition, higher efficiency units may qualify for rebates. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend purchasing the most efficient air conditioner you can afford.
What type of system is best for your home?
Several types of air conditioning systems exist for home use.
- Central air uses the home’s duct system to distribute cooled air throughout the home and is often paired with the heating system for easy access and control of heating and cooling throughout the year.
- Ductless mini-splits are great for homes or additions that don’t already have air ducts. They consist of an inside and an outside unit.
- Heat pumps are another version of a ductless system that works well in warmer climates. Rather than cooling the air, they pump the heat from inside to the outdoors.
- Window units fit inside a window and cool one room or area of a home.
- Portable air conditioners can be easily relocated to different areas of the home as needed. They use an evaporative system with a split or hose.
- The home’s layout, the number of levels and the family’s lifestyle, along with square footage, should be used to determine the best size and type of air conditioner for a home.
- Installation must be factored into the cost of a new air conditioner.
- A smart thermostat can maximize the efficiency of a new system, further lowering the operating costs.
- Rebates are often available for high-efficiency systems.
- Warranties impact repair costs, and often require regular maintenance to remain in force.
- Installation of a new furnace at the same time can save money on both systems.
To make the best choice for a new cooling system, ask the experts at Rheem Pro Partners today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
All air conditioners will leak some water but homeowners should know when the leak surpasses a normal amount and needs attention. Leaks can occur from the outdoor condenser unit or from the indoor unit. The thermostat setting and the outside temperature can affect how much condensation your air conditioner produces with normal operation. Higher temperatures and humidity will cause the unit to work harder and produce more water. In general, you should not see more than a small puddle beneath the condensing unit. If the leak is greater than that, or lasts for more than 24 hours, have the system inspected by a professional contractor.
Here is a breakdown of common causes of air conditioner leaks.
Clogged or cracked condensate drain
The condensate drain can occasionally become clogged due to dirt, rust, algae, mold or other debris that builds up over time. Some systems that drain to the outside use gravity to keep the condensate flowing freely, but clogs can cause water to back up and overflow.
Disconnected drain line
An improper air conditioner installation can result in the drain line coming loose, causing the pipe to disconnect. The broken connection means the condensate is not draining into the pan as it should and creates a visible leak.
Cracked or missing drain pan
The condensate pan can rust and crack, causing water to leak from the air conditioner.
Dirty air filter
The air filter keeps dirt and debris out of the air conditioner so that air circulates freely. When the filter gets dirty, airflow over the evaporator coils is restricted. This can cause the coils to get too cold and actually freeze over. Once the coils warm up again and melt, the excess moisture can drip and overflow the condensate pan.
Low refrigerant levels
The evaporator coils can also freeze over as a result of a drop in the refrigerant level. Too little refrigerant causes the pressure in the air conditioner system to become too low. This is another cause of frozen evaporator coils that can lead to a leak.
How to prevent air conditioner leaks
The best way to prevent leaks is with annual professional maintenance. This will keep the lines clear and prevent the condensate drain and pan from becoming excessively dirty during the cooling season.
The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners are here to help with all your air conditioning needs. Call today for service or to purchase a new system. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
The HVAC system is an essential component of any home’s comfort, health and safety. Choosing a home heating and cooling system that meets those basic needs while also keeping budget and energy use in check is important to most homeowners. With that in mind, here is a look at one system that does just that: geothermal. Check out the benefits…
1. High efficiency and lower energy costs
Geothermal energy systems work by moving heat, which is more efficient and less costly than generating heat. Geothermal equipment operates at 300 to 500 percent efficiency. That means for every unit of electricity the heat pump uses, it moves three to five units of heat. Compared to even the most efficient furnaces and air conditioners, geothermal energy saves 30 to 60 percent on heating and 25 to 50 percent on cooling.
2. Renewable/low environmental impact
Because it is practically emission-free, geothermal energy is the greenest power source currently available. While it does require electricity, pairing a geothermal system with solar panels can lower the already low environmental impact. Rather than using fossil fuels that are not renewable, release greenhouse gases and cause pollution, geothermal heat pumps extract only heat from the earth where the temperature stays consistent throughout the year.
The heat comes from below ground, so it is not affected by weather. Electricity shortages can occur with wind and solar when conditions aren’t optimal (no wind or sun), but the heat generated by the Earth never runs out.
4. Reliable/low maintenance
Few moving parts means a geothermal system is very reliable and requires little maintenance. Chances of a breakdown are minimal.
The main component of the system is below ground. There is no fan or compressor to generate noise.
6. Longer lifespan than traditional HVAC
Geothermal heat pumps last about 24 years, or even as long as 50 years if properly maintained, compared to traditional HVAC with a lifespan of 13 to 15 years.
Without any sort of combustion of fossil fuels, geothermal systems have no risk of explosion, carbon monoxide poisoning, toxic fumes or gas leaks — only clean, renewable energy.
8. Appropriate for any size home
Geothermal energy works for any size home, and even for large commercial buildings. The key is to accurately size the equipment for the home and your particular needs.
Disadvantages of geothermal energy
Despite the many benefits of geothermal, there are a few additional things to keep in mind:
- Higher initial cost – Installation of a geothermal heat pump is extensive and more costly than installing a traditional HVAC system, although it can pay for itself in five to ten years.
- More costly to retrofit – Geothermal is well-suited to new construction because it involves large scale-excavation, which may be difficult with an existing home.
- Repairs to underground components can be costly. While unlikely, damage can occur to the buried loops from tree roots, shifting soil and even rodents and accessing them for repair can be quite costly.
- Fewer knowledgeable installers – geothermal installers are not as widely available as other HVAC technicians.
Curious about geothermal? Contact Rheem Pro Partners today to learn more. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Having your air conditioner stop working is annoying and in some instances can quickly become a safety issue. Before you pick up the phone to place a service call, however, here are a few simple things you can check yourself. Knowing these A/C troubleshooting tips can save you time, money and inconvenience.
1. Check the power to the unit.
Make sure both the indoor and outdoor unit power switches are turned on. This may seem obvious, but occasionally switches get flipped inadvertently.
2. Check the power to the house and the circuit breaker
Make sure power is reaching the house and the outlet used by the air conditioner. If the breaker trips repeatedly, this could be a sign of a larger problem that should be checked by an electrician.
3. Check the air filter and vents
Make sure the air filter is clean. Restricted air flow can cause the system to malfunction so the filter should be replaced regularly to prevent problems. Also, check to see that the vents are open and not blocked by furniture or other items.
4. Check the thermostat batteries
Make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries and that the settings have not been accidentally changed. If the setting and the ambient room temperature don’t match, the thermostat may be malfunctioning.
5. Check the condensation pump and the A/C drain line
Many units have a safety switch that turns the unit off in the event of a leak. Check the pan under the unit to see if the drain is clogged. If that is the case, empty the pan and flush the drain line. The unit may start working again. It is important not to bypass the safety switch or you could end up with serious water damage in your home.
6. Consider the outdoor temperature
On excessively hot days, the system may struggle to maintain the set temperature. The greater the difference between the inside and outside temperature, the harder it is for the air conditioner to maintain that temperature.
7. Clear any debris from the outside air compressor
Remove any debris that may be blocking the outside unit. Trim trees and hedges to prevent leaves and dirt from collecting around it. Keep landscaping around the unit to a minimum, allowing at least 2 feet of clear space all the way around.