The air filter in your HVAC system is perhaps its most important component. While it is easy and inexpensive to replace, the air filter is the first line of defense in preventing breakdowns, maintaining performance and energy efficiency, extending the life of your equipment and protecting your indoor air quality. In other words, a clean air filter is a highly cost effective part of your HVAC maintenance.
How often should you replace the air filter?
Several factors impact how quickly your air filter will clog with dirt and contaminants.
In general, experts recommend a simple rule of thumb for changing your air filter based on the size:
- Change 1- to 2-inch filters every three months. (Scheduling filter replacements with the start of each new season is an easy way to remember.)
- Change 4-inch filters every six months (summer and winter).
- Change 5-inch filters once a year.
In addition to those guidelines, consider the specific conditions of your home. A number of situations could increase the frequency with which you will need to replace your filters. One- to two-inch filters may increase to every month, 4-inch filters to every two months and 5-inch filters to every six months.
Some factors to consider are:
- Home size
The larger the home, the more air that circulates and the more particles that collect in the filter. Therefore, the air filter in a large home may need to be changed more frequently.
- Open windows and doors
Opening windows and doors, while a good way to circulate fresh air on occasion, does allow dust and contaminants to enter your home from outside. If you leave them open regularly, you will likely need to replace your filters more often.
Furry animals, particularly those that shed, will cause your air filter to clog much more quickly. If you have multiple pets, that may increase the frequency to even greater than what is stated above.
The contaminants released from smoking also impact your air filter. The more smokers in the home, the more often you should change your air filter.
- Heater fan
If your heater fan runs constantly, replace your filter once a month; if it runs occasionally, every two months. If it rarely turns on, every three months.
Excess dust can occur from open windows and doors, pets, and other sources. Changing the filter as often as necessary can help alleviate dust accumulation.
Frequent filter changes can greatly help those in the home who suffer from allergies or other respiratory illnesses.
Signs that it is time to change your air filter include:
- the filter is visibly dirty with little or no filter material showing
- the furnace or air conditioner have begun to cycle on more frequently
- your home has become dustier
- a burning smell or other unusual odors emanate from the HVAC unit
Check your manufacturer’s recommendations or contact your HVAC technician for guidance.
For more assistance with indoor air quality or other HVAC questions, contact Rheem Pro Partners today. Serving homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Healthy indoor air quality is an important step in maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. The REME HALO Air Purifier is a whole-home system that adds a layer of protection to your home’s air quality and brings peace of mind to your family. The REME HALO is a step above other home air purifiers and its unique technology is effective against all types of air pollutants, including some viruses.
How does REME Halo work?
REME stands for Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy. This unique state-of-the-art technology is based on the process of air purification using hydrogen-peroxide molecules that exists in nature.
The REME Halo produces ionized hydrogen-peroxide molecules that sweep through the air throughout your home to instantly destroy a variety of contaminants. The system also creates a charge that causes tiny particles, such as dust and dander, to clump together so they can be captured by the air filter in your AC or furnace.
What types of pollutants does REME Halo eliminate or reduce?
- Up to 99% of airborne and surface bacteria, including MRSA, e-coli and others are eliminated. The REME Halo eliminates sneeze germs in the time it takes them to reach three feet
- REME Halo uses zinc ions to kill 99% of viruses on surfaces. (Note: One study in October 2020 by RGF Environmental Group showed the REME Halo to be 99.9% effective against COVID-19. The studies, however, are ongoing.)
- Dual ionizers reduce the presence of mold spores, pollen, dust, dander and microbes.
- Common household odors, such as those from pets, cooking, musty rooms, and dirty or sweaty clothing and shoes are minimized.
- REME Halo reduces the impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which come from a variety of sources, such as carpet, furniture, paint and stain, household chemicals, and artificially scented candles and air fresheners.
Benefits of installing the REME Halo Air Purifier
Unlike portable air purifiers which only work in one room, the REME Halo purifies the air throughout your entire home, keeping your family healthier and reducing frequency and severity of asthma and allergy symptoms. This is especially important for anyone in your household who suffers from severe allergies or respiratory illness.
Air Scrubber and iWave
Two other options work similarly to the REME Halo.
The Air Scrubber works with your existing HVAC system to clean the air in your home using light waves and a catalytic process that removes a number of airborne and surface contaminants such as air pollution, VOCs, surface contaminants, pet dander, odors and dust. The proprietary ActivePure technology reduces as much as 90% of airborne contaminants and destroys up to 99% of surface contaminants to purify and clean the air. Studies have shown the technology is effective against a number of viruses and illnesses caused by bacteria. In addition, the Air Scrubber reduces lingering odors and, because it traps so much dirt and debris, it can extend the life of your HVAC system.
The iWave uses a patented needle-point bi-polar ionization to break down pollutants and gases in the air stream. The ions transform pollutants they encounter by transforming them into harmless compounds like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor. The iWave neutralizes viruses, bacteria and mold by removing the hydrogen molecules that are their energy source and what keeps them alive. The ions also attach to pollen and other allergens to make them large enough to get trapped by the air filter in your ventilation system.
With professional installation, the REME HALO Air Purifier easily integrates with your HVAC system and provides quiet operation. Contact Rheem Pro Partners to learn more today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that can cause serious tissue damage and possibly death when too much builds up in the bloodstream. This can happen in a home with improperly ventilated appliances. Carbon monoxide safety is fairly simple to accomplish, however, with a few basic precautions.
Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated and, therefore, unaware of symptoms they may be experiencing and unable to remove themselves from the danger.
Carbon monoxide exposure is also particularly dangerous for unborn babies, young children, older adults, people with chronic heart disease, and anyone who is rendered unconscious as a result of CO exposure.
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
How to prevent CO poisoning
1. Install and maintain CO detectors.
Locate the CO detectors in the hallway near each sleeping area in the home. Check the batteries at least twice a year, when you check your smoke detectors. If the alarm sounds, leave the house and call 911. CO detectors are also available for motorhomes and boats.
2. Practice vehicle safety.
Have the exhaust system in your car or truck checked each year. Always open the garage door before starting the vehicle and while the vehicle is running; if the garage is attached to the house, do not leave a vehicle running inside.
3. Follow all instructions on fuel-burning appliances and engines.
Use gas appliances, wood-burning stoves, charcoal grills and anything that produces combustion fumes in properly vented areas. Do not use any appliance designed for outdoor use inside your home or garage.
4. Maintain your fireplace.
Have the fireplace chimney and flue cleaned and serviced annually. If gas appliances are vented through the chimney, make sure the chimney liner is not compromised and leaking CO into your living space.
5. Use solvents cautiously and according to directions.
Pay careful attention when using solvents (such as methylene chloride commonly found in paint and varnish removers). Use them only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
6. Maintain your heating and cooling system.
Dirty equipment and components can cause CO to leak inside your home. For example, the heat exchanger is designed to contain noxious gases, but if it cracks due to age or wear, it can no longer keep those gases, including CO, from leaking inside your living area. Schedule annual maintenance for your furnace and air conditioner to ensure they are functioning properly and safely.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today for all your HVAC needs. We are happy to help with all your service, installation and safety needs. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Thermostats are often the overlooked components of a home’s HVAC system. When the furnace or air conditioning is not working properly, the thermostat is rarely the first thing people check. The reality is, the thermostat is a complex piece of equipment and, if installed incorrectly or not properly maintained, it can cause issues with your heating and cooling systems.
Here are some tips for troubleshooting problems with a thermostat.
Where is it located?
To work properly, the thermostat should be positioned five feet from the ground and away from direct sunlight and heat sources of any kind. This includes heating vents and appliances that give off heat. Similarly, the thermostat should not be impacted by drafts from windows or doors.
Is it level?
Houses shift and settle over time. As a result, the thermostat may no longer be level. If the unit is tilted or slanted, it may not function properly. Older mercury bulb thermostats are especially impacted by this because the thermometer inside needs to be level to operate correctly.
How old is the thermostat?
Thermostats don’t last forever and like any mechanical equipment, the older it is, the more likely it is to break. Newer programmable thermostats work well and make efficient HVAC performance simple to maintain.
Is the power on? Does it need batteries?
Without power, the thermostat is not monitoring the temperature and sending the right messages to the HVAC system. Make sure the thermostat is connected to power and all the connections are tight. If it runs on batteries, it may need fresh ones.
Does it need cleaning? Are there loose or corroded wires?
Dust and dirt can cause the thermostat to malfunction. To clean it, turn off the power to the unit, remove the cover and gently dust the components with a soft brush and slide a slip of paper between the contacts. Check the wires. Tighten any loose ones and replace any that are corroded.
Is it programmed correctly? Is it on the correct “heat” or “cool” setting?
Thermostats can inadvertently be switched to the wrong setting or the programming could be off.
Is it installed correctly?
DIY thermostat installation is not recommended. If your thermostat was installed by the previous homeowner, it is possible that it is wired incorrectly or has loose wires.
Does the furnace/air conditioner kick on when the temperature is raised/lowered five degrees?
Your HVAC system should respond relatively quickly with a temperature setting change of five degrees or more. If this does not happen, the issue could be the thermostat.
Thermostat repair and installation is best left to professionals. Contact a Rheem Pro Partner for thermostat trouble or for any HVAC issues or questions. We serve customers throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Some noise from your furnace during its operation is normal. The development of a loud humming or buzzing noise, however, can be concerning. The fact is, a loud hum could indicate either a basic maintenance issue or it could also, potentially, mean there is a more serious problem.
The Likely Culprits
The blower motor, a key component of your HVAC system, is responsible for directing the heat generated by the furnace into the home. It is also the most common source of humming and buzzing noises. Often, noise from the blower motor is a result of insufficient lubrication. The hum may also result from dirt and debris getting inside the unit and causing damage.
Noise from loose equipment is typically the result of age or poor maintenance. Belts, nuts and bolts can loosen over time. When left unaddressed, this can lead to a serious equipment failure.
The joints and seems in your home’s ductwork can wear over time and become loose causing the ductwork to vibrate and hum. This can also indicate the presence of air leaks, which mean your system is not operating as efficiently as it should be.
Furnaces have two types of capacitors. The start capacitor helps the motor start up when the heater is first turned on. The run capacitor supplies electricity to the fan motors to help the blowers move the hot air throughout the home. When the unit is on and making noise but the motor is not turning, the issue could be that the capacitor has gone out and needs to be repaired or replaced.
This is the least likely cause of humming in an HVAC system, nevertheless, a failing transformer can hum when electrical current passes through it. If this is the case, the transformer should be replaced before the furnace stops altogether.
Troubleshooting the blower motor
Not all “hums” mean the same thing. Here are some ways to identify the specific issue with your blower motor.
Humming at slow speeds
Running at a slower speed once the home has reached the set temperature is an energy-saving measure of the furnace. If a noticeable hum accompanies the slowdown, it could mean that the motor is working harder than it should be for normal operation. If that is the case, the motor and the capacitor will need to be replaced. This problem can be avoided with proper maintenance and regularly replacing the air filter to prevent dust and debris from getting inside.
Humming without turning
If the hum occurs when the motor is on but not turning, the capacitor may be damaged and, if so, should be replaced. This could result from a poor quality capacitor or a blocked filter.
Humming when off
Humming when the blower is off usually indicates that the pilot light needs to be readjusted to the appropriate level.
Humming when on
Humming when the blower is on may mean the gas burners are dirty and need to be cleaned, adjusted or replaced.
The two best ways to avoid all of these problems are changing your furnace filter regularly and scheduling annual maintenance.
Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to schedule maintenance or to address any of your HVAC concerns. We serve customers throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Rheem stands by its products and backs them with a five-year limited parts warranty. Our Protection Plus Extended Service Agreement program, however, lets you enjoy worry-free service for up to 10 years beyond that.
Why Choose Protection Plus?
Your HVAC system is a big investment. The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners want you to feel good about your purchase over the life of the equipment. That’s why we recommend Protection Plus.
These plans are available for 12 months from the date your HVAC equipment is purchased from and installed by a Protection Plus pro.
Enjoy the peace of mind of added protection for your HVAC equipment. Here’s what that looks like:
- Complete coverage
This includes coverage of parts and labor on mechanical and electrical failures.
- One-call convenience
Experiencing an equipment failure is inconvenient enough. With Protection Plus, one call is all it takes to have a participating Protection Plus pro on the way to fix the problem.
When you sell your home, the agreement can be transferred to the new owners. This is an excellent benefit to offer buyers!
- Trusted service
You are guaranteed to have the expertise and service of a Rheem independent pro for as long as your agreement is in place.
- Budget protection
This means you are protected against unexpected expenses.
Choose the plan that is right for you.
Several Protection Plus plans are available. Select the one that best fits your needs and budget. Humidifiers, heat/energy recovery ventilators, electronic air cleaners and other optional equipment can be added to any of these coverage plans.
Platinum Plans – Parts and Labor
This covers parts for years 6 through 10 and labor from day 31 through year 10.
Gold Plans – Labor only
This covers labor beginning day 31 through year 5 or through year 10, depending on the plan.
Sterling Plans – Parts only
This covers parts from year 5 through year 10.
Bronze Plans – Labor only
This covers labor beginning Day 31 through year 2.
Combine Protection Plus with your contractor’s professional maintenance program for worry-free operation and service. This is an excellent way to maintain your heating and air conditioning equipment’s efficiency and performance year after year.
Contact your local Rheem Pro Partner today to learn more about Protection Plus and for all your HVAC needs. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Having trouble with an electric hot water heater? The trouble could be the heating element, improper settings, high water pressure or lack of tank maintenance. Electric water heaters are similar to gas water heaters in that they both heat and store water in an insulated steel tank. The difference is in how they are powered. Gas burners heat the water from below, while electric heaters have both upper and lower heating elements.
Here are six common issues to look for before calling for service. Be sure to turn off the power before checking electrical parts.
1. For no hot water
This problem could be a lack of power to the heater or a failed heating element.
2. For inadequate hot water
The tank capacity may not be large enough to meet your needs, for example, if you often have multiple people showering at once. If excessive demand is the issue, consider limiting shower duration, installing low-flow shower heads, and limiting how many water-using appliances (dishwasher, laundry) run at or close to the same time. Another option for high-demand households is a tankless water heater that provides continuous hot water. Lukewarm water could indicate a failed or defective heating element.
3. For water that is too hot
Check the heat setting on the thermostats. Adjust the temperature to the desired setting, then adjust the thermostat to the same setting. The temperature for hot water should be no higher than 120 degrees for safety.
4. For water leaks
Leaks can be caused by a number of factors including a faulty temperature and pressure relief valve, excessive pressure, overheating, a stuck valve or leaks from nearby plumbing. Check the valves and plumbing connections, loose heating elements and tank corrosion. If the leak continues, the tank will need to be drained in order to prevent serious water damage to the surrounding area.
5. For rust-colored water or bad odor
Check for corrosion inside the tank or pipes, or for a failing anode rod. A decaying or rotten egg smell can be caused by the release of hydrogen from the anode rod or corrosion inside a glass-lined tank. The tank will need to be drained and treated with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. If the smell persists, the options are replacing the anode rod or getting a heater with a plastic-lined tank.
6. For noise
Sediment build-up can cause overheating. Check for boiling water, which may cause a low, rumbling sound. The build-up of scales on the electric heating elements can cause a high-pitched whining. The tank will need to be flushed so the sediment or scales can be removed.
Rheem Pro Partners are here to tackle all your HVAC needs. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
HVAC systems have a lot of parts that inevitably wear out over time. At some point, replacing the system becomes more economical than continuing to pay for costly and unpredictable repairs. But how do you know when the right time is to purchase a new HVAC system?
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to replace your HVAC:
1. Your system is more than 10 years old
Age is not the only factor to consider, but if your system has passed its 10th birthday it may be showing signs of old age. Newer systems are engineered to function well for 15 to 20 years, but older systems were not built to last that long. A well-maintained system can last longer than a poorly maintained one and beat the odds for a while, but will eventually start needing more repairs and having more issues.
2. Repairs are more frequent and more costly
If your system is breaking down more often and calling for repairs has become a common occurrence, consider how much you are spending to keep what is likely an outdated system running. Compare the cost of frequent repairs to the cost of a new, highly efficient system. A useful rule of them is that it’s time to replace your old system when the repair costs are greater than half the price of a new unit.
3. Energy usage/bills continue to rise
Increasing energy bills are a sign that your HVAC system is losing its efficiency. That means it has to run longer and work harder to reach and maintain the set temperature. Most household energy consumption (more than 50%) is attributed to heating and air conditioning. A professional can conduct a home energy audit to determine the exact cause. A number of factors that can be contributors, such as leaks around windows and doors or insufficient insulation, but if the culprit is your aging HVAC, a new high-efficiency system can save a lot of money and keep your home comfortable.
4. Your system runs constantly
Your furnace and air conditioner should turn on and off intermittently to maintain the proper temperature. If your system runs constantly it most likely has lost its ability to heat or cool your home effectively. This could be due to age (wear and tear) or an accumulation of dirt and dust (maintenance), or both.
5. The comfort level in your home is not sufficient
Old HVAC systems will have more trouble maintaining an even, consistent temperature throughout your home. This could be caused by leaks in ductwork, a malfunctioning thermostat or other maintenance issues, but most likely it means the system is not powerful enough to effectively heat or cool your entire home. The result is less comfort due to hot or cold spots and higher energy bills.
6. Unusual sounds and smells are noticeable
A properly working system should be relatively quiet and circulate fresh, odor-free air. Bad odors or unusual noises could be a sign of a serious problem that should be evaluated right away.
7. Poor indoor air quality
Mold, mildew, excessive dust or unusually high humidity can be caused by inadequate ventilation and a failing HVAC system.
Need an expert opinion? The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners are ready and waiting to help. Contact us today for all your HVAC needs, throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Sometimes when a furnace stops working, a simple fix can get it going again. Before scheduling a service call, there are a few things you can check yourself and possibly avoid having a technician come to your home unnecessarily.
Here are 8 troubleshooting tips to try that might save you time, money and headaches.
1. Check the power
The furnace may be out due to a general power outage, which may not be immediately detectable, particularly during the day. Even gas furnaces require electricity to start, so if the power is out, the furnace may be too.
2. Check the electrical panel
A tripped circuit breaker could account for the furnace not turning on. This can result from the blower fan overloading the circuit.
3. Check the air intake and exhaust
The furnace needs fresh air to work properly. Make sure the air intake and exhaust, vented through an outside wall, is free of any debris that could be blocking air flow.
4. Check the thermostat
Occasionally the thermostat settings or programming gets changed inadvertently. Make sure the settings are correct, and are not set to “cool” by mistake. Another problem, and simple fix, could be that the thermostat batteries need to be replaced.
5. Check the air filter
If it has been a while since the filter has been changed, this could be the problem. A blocked air filter prevents sufficient air flow and allows dirt and dust to build up in the equipment. As a result, it is the cause of many furnace issues. Replace the filter every 60 to 90 days depending on how quickly it gets dirty or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. Check the pilot light
If you have an older model furnace with a pilot light. Relight the burner according to the instructions on the furnace cabinet. If the flame does not stay lit, or if it burns any color other than blue, call for service.
7. Check the gas valve
If you turn off the gas line at the end of the heating season, make sure it is open and not stuck in position preventing the gas from reaching the burners.
8. Check the “other” switch
There is a power switch, called the “furnace switch” that is either on the unit or on a nearby wall. This switch may have been improperly installed (i.e. “up” is “off” instead of “on”) or accidentally switched off. Try flipping the switch to see if the furnace kicks on.
9. Check the furnace panel cover
Older units have a panel cover that must be completely closed in order for the furnace to operate.
Don’t hesitate to contact Rheem Pro Partners for any questions or problems with your furnace — large or small. We are here to help, throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Regular maintenance goes a long way toward ensuring that your furnace functions properly all winter long. However, problems can still occur. Before calling for a repair, here are 10 simple furnace troubleshooting tips you can check and potentially fix yourself. From the filter to the thermostat, some basic knowledge might save you some money and get your furnace working again quickly.
1. Check the furnace filter
Furnace filters get clogged with dirt, dust and debris over time. This impedes the airflow necessary to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. Lack of sufficient airflow can prevent the furnace from turning on and eventually that buildup can even become a fire hazard. Check the filter every 30 days by holding it up to a light source. If no or minimal light passes through, clean or replace it immediately. Filters need to be replaced every 30 to 90 days or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Check the furnace switch
Switches can inadvertently be turned off. If that is the case, simply flip the switch back on. If that is not the issue, check that power is turned on at the breaker box or fuse box.
3. Check the electrical panel/circuit breaker
Make sure the HVAC breaker is on. If the breakers aren’t labeled, look for one that is in the opposite position of the rest. To reset the breaker, flip the switch all the way off and then back on. If you have a fuse box, look for the fuse that is melted or discolored. Replace it with the same size fuse. Turn the furnace switch on to see if power is restored to the furnace.
4. Look for a code
Furnaces manufactured after 1990 have a small window that flashes a light in a certain sequence. That code corresponds to a specific problem. Flip the furnace switch off and back on and note the sequence of the flashing light. A key that shows the meaning of the code can be found inside one of the access panel doors. This may not be an issue you can correct, but it is useful information to provide to your HVAC technician.
5. Check the furnace flame
A healthy furnace flame is blue and may have a yellowish tip. This indicates that the fuel is burning safely and efficiently. A flame that is any other color (red, yellow, purple, green) indicates a problem that should be addressed by a professional right away.
6. Check the pilot light and gas valve
If the flame is out completely, it needs to be relit. Turn off the gas for 10 to 15 minutes prior to relighting. Consult your owner’s manual and follow the instructions. Do not proceed if there is any lingering gas smell. That smell could indicate a leak. In that case, follow standard safety precautions — evacuate the home and call the gas company and fire department from a safe distance.
7. Secure the front panel
Many furnaces will not operate if the front panel is not completely closed.
8. Clear the area around vents and registers
Blocked vents and registers affect comfort and can result in duct leaks as well as HVAC breakdowns. All vents and registers should be fully open and unblocked, even those in unused rooms. Remove anything that is restricting airflow, such as rugs, furniture or other objects.
9. Check the thermostat and battery
Make sure the thermostat is set to “heat.” Test it by setting the temperature 5 or more degrees higher than the current room temperature. This should trigger the furnace to turn on. If it doesn’t, check the batteries and replace them if necessary. Electromechanical thermostats may need a gentle dusting with a soft brush on the inside. Make sure your thermostat is located properly, away from sunlight, lamps or other heat sources or drafts.
10. Schedule maintenance
Annual maintenance is the best way to ensure that your furnace will run properly and efficiently throughout the winter. Schedule your maintenance appointment before the cold weather hits when technicians are not as busy. Proper maintenance saves money and inconvenience over the life of the furnace and is even required by some manufacturers to keep the warranty in force.