Buying a New Furnace? Here are 10 Important Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor

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Buying a New Furnace? Here are 10 Important Questions to Ask Your HVAC Contractor

A new furnace is an investment so you should choose your new unit carefully. The right system can save you money on your utility bills and create a comfortable environment for you to live in.

To make sure you get the right furnace, here are ten questions to ask your HVAC contractor.

1. Do I need to repair or replace my system?

Of primary concern is if your heating system is a safety hazard. Ask your HVAC  contractor if the unit poses a risk to you and your family. If the repair is going to be costly, consider the age of your unit. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years.

2. What’s the best way to heat and cool my home?

Heating expenses can be expensive, making energy efficiency an important goal for those who want to reduce utility expenses. Ask your contractor about energy-efficient HVAC systems and consider whether a heat pump might be a good choice since they both heat and cool.

3. What size HVAC system do I need?

If you buy an HVAC system that’s too big, you’ll end up wasting money and energy, and if it’s too small, you won’t be comfortable during the summer or winter months. Ask your HVAC contractor how many BTUs of heating and tons of AC you need for the square footage of your home. Then use that information to purchase a properly sized system.

4. How is efficiency measured?

The AFUE standard measures furnace energy efficiency. AFUE measures the percentage of the energy input converted to heat (BTUs). The higher the ratio, the more efficient the furnace. A contractor should be able to answer questions about different types of energy-efficient furnaces.

5. What types of furnaces are available?

There are four main types of furnaces: natural gas, oil, electric, and propane. Your HVAC contractor can guide you based on your fuel type, installation area, and heating needs.  In addition to forced air furnaces, you should ask your contractor about heat pumps or geothermal systems for heating and cooling.

6. How much will installation cost?

The national average is $6,000 for a full furnace installation. This includes the furnace itself, labor fees, ductwork, removal, and disposal of the old furnace. However, this cost varies based on the size of the unit and your contractor’s labor fees. Ask for an estimate that breaks down materials and labor.

7. Do you offer any special financing, discounts, or rebates?

Some HVAC systems qualify for rebates if you are making energy-efficient upgrades to your heating and cooling system. Ask your contractor what the qualifying minimum efficiency level is for any rebates. You can also inquire about special financing or other discounts they might be offering.

8. Does a warranty cover my new furnace?

Nearly all manufacturers offer a 5-year warranty on their equipment, but for most brands, most of the time, that warranty is extended if you register the product. Ask if your new furnace comes with a warranty and the specifics of what is covered.

9. Is maintenance necessary?

Some warranties require regular maintenance for continued coverage. Ask if care is needed for your unit’s warranty. Also, discuss with your HVAC contractor the benefits of routine maintenance and if they have a maintenance program.

10. Should I be concerned about my indoor air quality?

Your HVAC contractor may provide other products and services besides heating and cooling. Ask about indoor air quality and how filtration systems or humidifiers could benefit you.

Rheem Pro Partners can help you sort through the various heating options available for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

11 Reasons to Choose a Rheem Furnace

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11 Reasons to Choose a Rheem Furnace

There are many reasons homeowners choose to purchase a top-notch commercial furnace like a Rheem. Rheem is American-made with patented technology, comes with a 5-year warranty, and has a 50-year warranty for parts.

Since your furnace is a long-term investment, you want to ensure that you get the best-performing system for your money.

Rheem Furnaces

Depending on your fuel source, Rheem offers gas furnaces, heat pumps, and even oil furnaces. Their furnaces are at the top of the list of best furnace brands, and they consistently receive good reviews from customers.

  1. They offer models for every climate and budget.
  2. Rheem furnaces will last for 20+ years when properly maintained.
  3. Rheem furnaces can serve spaces up to 2,500 square feet.
  4. Several Rheem furnace models qualify for rebates.
  5. Rheem’s Direct Spark ignition system is known for reliability and durability.
  6. Built-in diagnostics provide quick discovery and repair of furnace problems.
  7. The PlusOne sensor signals a clogged furnace drain so that you can avoid leaks and water damage.
  8. Two-stage gas valves maintain even, quiet heating.
  9. Modulating gas valves deliver precise, even heat.
  10. Rheem’s ECM motors use less electricity than PSC motors.
  11. Rheem’s new, patented heat exchanger reduces operating noise by 20%.

Gas Furnaces

Rheem has over 20 models that run on either natural gas or propane, including the industry’s lowest-emission gas furnace. Their gas furnaces feature the EcoNet® Smart Monitoring System, which uses sensor technology to help reduce heating expenses. Rheem’s natural gas and propane furnaces also feature a PlusOne™ Ignition System, which is more reliable than other igniters.

Rheem Heat Pumps

Rheem offers six models of heat pumps with features such as EcoNet functionality® and a scroll compressor mechanism that allows them to compress air more efficiently.

Rheem Pricing

When researching furnace costs, it’s essential to include delivery and installation, which depends heavily on the model and size. Also, take into consideration whether or not the furnace is eligible for rebates and manufacturer warranties.

Rheem Warranties

Rheem’s gas furnaces come with a limited 10-year parts warranty as well as a limited lifetime heat exchanger warranty. Some models are eligible for a lifetime conditional unit replacement warranty.

All Rheem heat pumps have a limited five-year parts warranty, and all except the three-phase pump have a 10-year conditional parts warranty. Some pumps even have 10-year compressor warranties.

Choosing a new HVAC system can be overwhelming. You can trust the experts at Rheem Pro Partners to help you get the best system for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

4 Things to Consider When Buying a Water Heater

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4 Things to Consider When Buying a Water Heater

A water heater is an investment and not something that occurs often. Therefore, you will want to do your due diligence before purchasing one. Here are just a few of the things you need to consider when buying a water heater.

  1. What are the cost advantages for different types of water heaters?
  2. How does the water heater function, and will it work in your home?
  3. Should you switch to a tankless water heater?
  4. What type of warranty comes with the purchase?

Carefully considering your options before shopping can help you make a more informed decision and give you the best return on your investment.

What are the cost advantages for different types of water heaters?

Most residential water heaters run on gas or electricity, and the gas water heaters will be further divided between natural gas and propane heaters. Gas water heaters generally have a higher up-front cost and require special ventilation. However, gas typically costs less than electricity and so operating costs are lower.

Tank storage heaters are the most common type of water heater used in the United States. However, because the water is continuously heating in the tank, tank heaters use more energy and increase utility bills than tankless water heaters.

Energy-efficient models reduce the amount of heat lost during storage and convert energy to heat more efficiently. Look for the EF Rating on the tank to see if it meets federal energy standards.

How does the water heater function, and will it work in your home?

Other factors to consider are space and your existing power source. If you want to upgrade to a larger water heater, make sure you have the space for the larger tank. Special water heaters, known as lowboys, are available for tight accommodations, or you may want to consider a tankless water heater instead.

If your current water heater runs on electricity, switching to a gas-powered heater may not be easily accomplished. It is much easier to switch from a gas heater to electric, although you still may need the services of an electrician.

Should you switch to a tankless water heater?

At first glance, tankless water heaters seem to hold all the advantages. They are smaller, use less energy, and have a longer lifespan than tank heaters. However, the up-front cost is much higher, and if overtaxed, they may not be able to keep up with demand.

Tankless water heaters also require non-traditional setups, and you may need to hire a contractor to reroute gas lines or add new venting.

What type of warranty comes with the purchase?

Once you’ve decided on the type of water heater you wish to purchase, you need to look at brands and models. Check the manufacturer’s warranty for coverage and stipulations. Will you need to get regular maintenance? Does the warranty cover labor or parts only? How long does it stay in effect?

Before purchasing your new water heater, consider your options so you can choose the right solution for your needs.

Rheem Pro Partners can help you sort through the hot water tank options available for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

What to Expect When You Install a Whole-House Humidifier

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What to Expect When You Install a Whole-House Humidifier

Winter brings dry, cold air, which can pose a threat to your family’s comfort and health. Fortunately, there is a solution to itchy skin and sinus issues. You can install a whole-house humidifier!

What Is a Central Humidifier?

A central humidifier impregnates the air with water vapor, increasing humidity levels in a room. Although there are smaller, portable humidifiers, a central humidifier is wired into your home’s HVAC system and hooked up to the house’s plumbing. This permanent installation humidifies the entire house, delivering vapor through the ductwork. This delivery system makes central humidifiers highly efficient.

What are the other benefits of installing a whole-house humidifier?  Let’s take a look.

Increased Comfort

A whole-house humidifier integrates with your cooling and heating system. It introduces humidity into your home in the form of water vapor through your ductwork. The humidity level is then monitored and controlled by your thermostat, just like the temperature is, keeping you comfortable all year round.

Easy to Use

Portable humidifiers are a hassle to clean and fill. You may have to have several throughout your home just to get some measure of relief. With a whole-house humidifier, you eliminate messy tanks you need to clean and fill!

Lower Utility Bills

Homes with low humidity levels often have higher utility bills because the HVAC system works more challenging to maintain a specific temperature. A well-humidified home will save you money because you won’t need to adjust your thermostat as often since the humidity levels stay constant, stabilizing the air in your home.

Humidity in the air can help you feel warmer at lower temperatures. According to the EPA, you can potentially save 4% off of your utility bill just by lowering the thermostat.

Improved Health

Humidified air can help reduce the risk of infections and the spread of viruses.  Germs spread easier in cold, dry conditions. A humidifier also alleviates bloody noses and dry, itchy skin. Your home also benefits when you install a whole-house humidifier. Your houseplants will love the humidity, and wood floors and furniture also benefit from higher humidity levels!

You can install a whole-house humidifier in either a new furnace or in your existing HVAC system. Check with your HVAC professional for humidifier options and costs.

Call on us if you have questions about whole-house humidifiers. You can trust the experts at Rheem Pro Partners to help you get the best system for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

The Pros and Cons of an Electric Heat Pump in Colorado and Wyoming

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The Pros and Cons of an Electric Heat Pump in Colorado and Wyoming

People in the market for an HVAC system in Colorado and Wyoming have choices. The most common choice is between gas furnaces and heat pumps. Deciding which one is best for your home depends on your needs and desires.

What is an Electric Heat Pump?

A heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and transfers it into a home or place of business. This transfer of energy produces a steady enough supply of heat to raise indoor temperatures to a comfortable level. Even when temperatures approach freezing, the outdoor air still contains heat, and by working continuously a heat pump can remove it in sufficient quantities to heat enclosed spaces.

Heat pumps don’t just “heat” the air. They can also cool the air just by reversing the heat extraction process.

Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

If you live in Colorado or Wyoming, there are pros and cons to installing a heat pump that you should consider.

Pros

  • Energy-efficiency. A heat pump uses electricity to facilitate the transfer of already-existing heat from one area to another. It uses existing heat and doesn’t have to generate any additional heat.
  • Lower installation costs. Indoor furnaces are usually part of a heating and cooling system which main or may not be integrated. A heat pump only requires one installation covering both applications.
  • Nearly soundless operation. Heat pumps make very little noise as opposed to forced air systems.
  • Humidity. Even in relatively mild winter temperatures, the heat pump produces heated air with a higher moisture content than the dry heat produced by a furnace.
  • Safety. While such occurrences are rare, furnaces can produce carbon monoxide, which is not an issue with electric heat pumps.

Cons

  • Higher operating costs. Electricity is typically more expensive than natural gas. Despite a heat pump’s energy efficiency, your utility bills may not be lower because of fuel prices.
  • Shorter lifespans. On average, heat pump systems wear out more quickly because they run year-round, heating and cooling.
  • Poor efficiency in frigid conditions. While heat pumps work in cold weather, their efficiency levels drop once temperatures sink below freezing.

Dual System Heating

In Colorado and Wyoming, a heat pump alone is not always a practical solution in winter. However, you may want to consider a dual heating system that uses a heat pump with a gas furnace as a backup when temperatures plunge below freezing.  With a dual heating system, the heat pump can function as an air conditioner in the summer, giving the homeowner a versatile design that eliminates the need for a separate air conditioner.

Rheem Pro Partner is Turning Up the Heat

If you consider changes in your HVAC system, we can help you make the right choice for yourself and your family. Our product line features an expansive array of great furnaces and heat pumps.

If you contact us today, we can introduce you to an impressive variety of superior quality HVAC equipment. In Colorado and Wyoming, Rheem Pro Partner is your best bet for great products and even better service, and that is why you should come to us to discuss your home heating and cooling options.

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Furnace May Need to be Replaced

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5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Furnace May Need to be Replaced

Have you been hearing weird noises coming from your furnace or inching the thermostat up to warm your rooms? If so, then your furnace may need to be repaired or replaced. Here are some tell-tale signs that you shouldn’t ignore to save money on monthly energy bills and ongoing repairs.

Signs There is Something Wrong with Your Furnace

To determine whether you need to repair or replace your HVAC system, evaluate the issues causing you concern.

1. Utility bills are on the rise.

Have you noticed a gradual increase in your monthly utility bills? An energy leak, punctured unit, broken vents, etc., are all evidenced by a steady climb in heating costs. At the very least, a tune-up can shed light on the issue, and you can evaluate whether or not you need to repair or replace the furnace.

2. Your furnace is old and outdated.

If you notice a decrease in functionality and your furnace is over 15 years old, it is probably time for a replacement. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your HVAC system, but it will still eventually wear out. It isn’t usually worth making repairs to an outdated system because the return just won’t justify the expenditure.

3. Your home always feels cold.

Uneven heating can indicate a broken system or an improperly sized furnace. If your furnace can’t keep up during cold weather, then something is not correct. If your furnace runs ALL the time, then that is also an issue, but it could be with the thermostat and not the furnace. The best way to determine whether or not it’s a more straightforward fix than a replacement is to call a technician.

4. You notice odd sounds or smells.

Do you smell something burning? Can you hear creaking, whistling, or rattling? Odd sounds or smells could indicate that the furnace is broken. If you ever smell gas, turn off the furnace, ventilate your home, and call someone immediately.

5. Small repairs are adding up.

If you’ve had several minor repairs over the past couple of years, then it may be time to replace the furnace. HVAC systems have a lifespan, and minor issues with an older furnace indicate that the system is wearing out. By the time you pay for several repairs, you might as well pay for a brand new furnace.

How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Furnace

Of course, the best maintenance is always preventative maintenance. Avoid costly repairs and replacements by scheduling routine maintenance at least once a year. You can also inspect and care for your unit yourself and make sure you change the furnace filter often.

Rheem Pro Partners can schedule maintenance or help you sort through the HVAC options available for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Do Furnaces Require Annual Maintenance?

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Do Furnaces Require Annual Maintenance?

While homeowners count on their furnaces to keep their homes warm and comfortable during the cold winter months, many do not take the important step of scheduling professional furnace maintenance before the cold weather sets in each year. Routine maintenance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it will most likely save you money over the life of your system. Many manufacturers require annual maintenance as part of the warranty.

Benefits of annual maintenance

  • Uncover and address problems
    Even small problems can lower the efficiency of your furnace and decrease its performance. A part that is beginning to wear will go unnoticed without regular inspection. A technician performing regular tune-ups, however, will be able to discover any defects and suggest solutions before the problem gets worse, and consequently more expensive to address.
  • Prevent breakdowns 
    Catching problems or potential problems early greatly decreases the chance that your furnace will break down when you need it. Not only is a repair call in the middle of winter more expensive, it is far more inconvenient. To prevent unexpected breakdowns, schedule your maintenance appointment at your convenience in the fall, before the cold weather sets in. During the heating season, technicians are far busier, with less availability to meet your scheduling needs.
  • Extend system life
    Regular maintenance keeps your system in peak working order, which ensures that it will keep performing for many years, whereas neglecting maintenance will likely shorten the life of your furnace.

What to expect

  • Thorough inspection
    Your annual maintenance appointment should include an extensive examination. The technician will thoroughly inspect all the components, from the air filter, to the flame sensor, vent system, heat exchanger, burners, blower, and even the electrical wire. Some furnace components can become safety hazards if they are not working properly. If the flame sensor malfunctions and doesn’t shut the furnace off in the event the flame goes out unexpectedly, carbon monoxide or other gases could create a dangerous, even deadly, situation.
  • Thorough cleaning
    As your HVAC system circulates air throughout your home, dust, dirt and other debris can end up inside the furnace. This can happen even if you change the filter regularly, but it will definitely happen if you don’t. Dirt prevents the furnace from operating at peak efficiency and, over time, can cause parts to strain and eventually break. Your technician will thoroughly clean the entire system. This, along with changing the filter, will not only keep your system working properly, it will improve your indoor air quality as well.

Don’t wait! Contact Rheem Pro Partners to schedule your annual furnace maintenance appointment today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

What is Two Stage Heating?

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What is Two Stage Heating?

A furnace is a long-term investment and one of the ways to make sure you get the most out of that investment is by understanding all the aspects of how the furnace works that impact its efficiency. One important consideration is choosing the option of a two-stage furnace rather than single-stage furnace.

The difference between one-stage and two-stage

Furnaces produce heat at one temperature throughout each operating cycle. As the heat concentrates in the home’s living spaces, the temperature rises. When the desired setting (the temperature the thermostat is set at) is reached, the furnace cycles off until the temperature drops. This is how a one-stage furnace operates. While this is effective, it is not the most efficient method for home heating.

As the name implies, a two-stage furnace has two stages of heating that are used to meet the current heating needs. It has the ability to run at full capacity when necessary, such as when the outdoor temperatures are especially low and the house needs to warm up quickly. When the temperatures are milder, however, it can operate on low-power mode to sufficiently heat the home while using less energy. Most of the time, homes can remain comfortable using only the low-power mode.

Advantages of a two-stage furnace

  • Consistent comfort.
    Two-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with one-stage furnaces. Heating cycles are longer in low-power mode but at a fraction of the cost, so the furnace can maintain the temperature within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting at all times, without wasting energy.
  • Quiet operation
    Because a two-stage furnace starts in the first stage, when less heat is required, it doesn’t reach full capacity all at once. This eliminates that sudden blast of air.
  • Better air filtration
    The air filter can more easily capture more contaminants because air is constantly passing through it.
  • Efficient performance
    Even though it is running longer, the lower-capacity first stage burns less fuel than a standard furnace that runs at full capacity and turns on and off throughout the day.

One-stage furnaces are less expensive to purchase, but it is important to factor in the energy savings over the life of the furnace. One-stage furnaces also have a harder time maintaining even heat throughout multi-story homes. Because they run at full power all the time, the areas closest to the vents will heat faster than those farther away. This can contribute to hot and cold spots.

Learn more about the advantages of two-stage furnaces by calling Rheem Pro Partners. Our experts are available to answer your questions and serve all your HVAC needs. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

AFUE: How Furnace Efficiency is Measured

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AFUE: How Furnace Efficiency is Measured

Many factors go into choosing the heating system that is best for your home. One important factor to understand is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. Because home heating accounts for nearly half of a home’s energy use, knowing how to use this information when purchasing new heating equipment can help you make the best choice, save money and improve your comfort.

What is AFUE?

AFUE is an efficiency rating for combustion heating appliances, which includes furnaces and boilers. It is the ratio of the furnace’s annual heat output compared to the annual fuel energy the furnace consumes. In other words, it measures how much energy consumption actually goes into producing heat for the home. A furnace that has 95% AFUE rating uses 95% of the energy it consumes to heat the home. With a furnace that has a lower AFUE, more of the money you spend on energy costs is lost to inefficiency.

The minimum required AFUE for most furnaces is 80. An AFUE of 90 or higher is considered high efficiency.

How is AFUE calculated?

AFUE is calculated by dividing into the amount of fuel supplied to the furnace or boiler by the amount of heat produced, usually measured in BTUs.

How to find the AFUE rating

The AFUE rating of your current furnace should be on the faceplate. If not, locate the model and serial numbers and use that information to find the AFUE rating on the manufacturer’s website. Look for the AFUE on new furnaces to compare.

How AFUE translates to saving money

Compare AFUE ratings. For every dollar spent on fuel for a furnace with a 95 AFUE, $0.95 cents goes to heating your home and $0.05 is lost in the combustion process. Similarly, for every dollar spent on fuel for a furnace with an 80 AFUE, $0.20 is lost. So while a furnace with a higher AFUE will cost more up front, it will save a lot more in energy costs over its lifetime.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a program of the Department of Energy to help consumers identify the most energy-efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star logo for furnaces that are up to 15% more efficient than baseline models.

Once you have purchased your furnace, there are many ways to ensure your furnace is operating at peak efficiency, beginning with proper professional installation. In addition, install a programmable thermostat, change the air filter regularly, and schedule annual maintenance to keep your furnace in good condition.

Rheem Pro Partners is ready to address all your HVAC needs and questions. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

An Overview of How Heating Systems Work

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An Overview of How Heating Systems Work

Space heating is the largest energy expense in your home. Understanding how your home heating works can help you get the most benefit from your system in terms of comfort, efficiency and energy cost savings. Here is an overview of the different available systems.

Furnace / Forced air

A central gas heating system relies on a cycle of warming cooler air. The furnace burns natural gas or propane to generate heat in the furnace’s burner. The heat then passes through a heat exchanger. This makes the heat exchanger hot enough to heat the air. Air is directed through return vents into the home’s ductwork and is blown over the heat exchanger where it is warmed. The furnace’s blower then forces the air into the supply ductwork where it is distributed throughout the home via the supply vents.

Boiler

Similar to furnaces, boilers can use a variety of fuels, including natural gas, propane, heating oil, or electricity. Newer model boilers can be very energy efficient. The biggest difference is that rather than heating air, a boiler heats water. The heated water or steam is distributed throughout the home through a series of pipes. The heat from the water seeps into the house through convectors, cast iron radiators, baseboard radiators or, sometimes, air handlers. Some boilers can provide hot water as well.

Heat pump

Heat pumps take heat from outside and release it inside during the cold months. One of the benefits of a heat pump is that it can operate in reverse in the summer months, taking the heat from inside and releasing it outside in order to cool the home. Air-source heat pumps transfer warmth from the air. Ground-source, also called geothermal, heat pumps rely on warmth from the earth or an underground water source. Both types of heat pumps can be installed in a home with ductwork or can be installed as ductless systems.

Radiant heat

Radiant heat systems circulate water as steam or liquid. They are silent and don’t create blasts of air into a room. They warm up the room more slowly than forced air heating systems, but can be more efficient because no heat is lost as the air travels throughout the home’s ductwork. They also tend to be better for people with allergies because without constant air circulation, allergens aren’t stirred up. Radiant heat can be installed with passive solar (the cleanest and least expensive to operate), with a boiler-based system that includes radiant floor heat, or with a baseboard system.

Electric baseboards

Baseboards that operate exclusively with electricity are typically used as supplemental heat, although they can be installed in every room. As a supplement, for example, a baseboard heater in a bedroom can run at night while the main heating system is at a low temperature setting. Baseboard heat is usually installed below a window. As the cold air falls from the window, it enters the heater through a vent. The air is warmed by metal fins heated by electricity. The warm air rises to heat the room, creating a convection current. Baseboard heaters can also work with water or oil, but still require some electricity to operate.

Rheem Pro Partners can help you sort through the various heating options available for your home. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.