Today’s smart thermostats are a critical component of a home’s HVAC system. Sophisticated programmable features allow users to be more energy efficient by controlling when and how much they heat and cool their homes. Some systems even allow for independent control of specific areas within a home. As with any technology, however, thermostats can malfunction. When an air conditioner or furnace does not work properly, the problem may actually be with the thermostat.
The first thing to check is the settings. Settings can inadvertently get changed, or perhaps go unadjusted for the new season. If correcting the settings doesn’t fix the problem, it’s time to look for other causes. Here are five indications that your thermostat is bad or failing.
1. The Thermostat Has No Power.
One of the simplest ways to check the thermostat is to change the temperature setting to see if the air conditioner or furnace turns on. If adjusting the temperature doesn’t result in a change in the air temperature in your home, the problem could be that the thermostat isn’t getting any power. Try changing the batteries or check the circuit breaker that powers the thermostat.
2. Inconsistent Temperatures.
A faulty thermostat could result in hot or cold spots in your home. The thermostat may be causing your system to cycle on and off too frequently leading to poor temperature distribution, particularly in the rooms farthest from the central unit. The thermostat may need to be cleaned, adjusted or replaced.
3. Changing the Batteries Didn’t Help.
Fresh batteries can often resolve the issue. If that doesn’t work, however, have your HVAC technician troubleshoot the problem.
4. The Air Conditioner or Furnace Runs Constantly and Won’t Turn Off.
This may be a sign that the thermostat is not calibrated correctly and, as a result, is not sending the proper signals to the HVAC system. Another issue could be a break in the wiring preventing a signal from being generated.
5. The Air Conditioner or Furnace Won’t Start.
Similar to No. 4 above, the calibration or wiring could be the culprit. Another cause may be the location of the thermostat. If it is in a place that is in direct sun, or is subject to breezes, the thermostat may not be getting an accurate reading of the ambient temperature.
Do you have questions about your thermostat or are you looking to upgrade? Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today. We proudly serve homes in Colorado and Wyoming.
It may sound strange that in the heat of summer your air conditioner can actually develop frost but it is possible – and it isn’t good. Understanding the causes, however, can help you prevent your A/C from freezing up. Common culprits include inadequate maintenance, a faulty thermostat and clogged air filters.
What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze?
- Low Refrigerant Levels
The air conditioner cools the air in your home by drawing the hot air over evaporator coils filled with refrigerant. The coils absorb the heat and transfer it outside. A refrigerant leak results in an insufficient amount of refrigerant to remove the heat from the air. Condensation builds up on the coils and eventually freezes.
- Poor Airflow / Dirty Air Filters
While the refrigerant is one part of the equation, the airflow is the other part. Without enough air being drawn over the evaporator coils, there is not enough heat being absorbed, so the coils freeze. Low airflow can result from dirty air filters, blocked air ducts, closed or blocked vents or closed dampers.
- Dirty Coils
Dirt on the coils can prevent them from functioning properly. During normal operation, condensation develops and drips off the coils. Dirt prevents the proper heat transfer between the coils and the air. The coils get too cold and freeze.
- Thermostat Issues
A poorly functioning thermostat can cause the air conditioner to run all night when it doesn’t need to. In addition to wasting energy and money, this can also cause the air conditioner to freeze.
- Closed Supply Registers
People often close the supply registers in unoccupied rooms to save money and energy, but this can actually make your air conditioner less efficient. Having too many closed could even cause the air conditioner to freeze.
- Insufficient Fan Speed
The correct balance of airflow and air pressure is necessary for the proper operation of your air conditioner. A damaged blower fan may not be running at the right speed. The resulting lack of airflow and sufficient heat causes condensation to build up on the coils and freeze.
How to Prevent an Air Conditioner from Freezing Up
- Schedule an AC tune-up
Annual maintenance by an HVAC technician is the first and best line of defense for protecting your system.
- Have the refrigerant level checked
If you suspect a problem, make sure the refrigerant level is adequate and there are no leaks.
- Change the filter monthly
Regularly change the air filter to maintain proper airflow.
- Keep the supply vents open
Make sure no more than a quarter of your home’s supply registers are closed in order to prevent freezing.
- Have the fan speed increased
Make sure the fan is not worn or damaged.
- Have the thermostat checked
Be sure the thermostat is on the correct setting and functioning properly.
If you have any concerns about freezing or other issues with your air conditioner, don’t wait. Contact a Rheem Pro Partner in today! We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
As we continue to seal our homes against the elements in an effort to make them more energy efficient, we must also protect our indoor air quality by limiting chemicals and irritants inside that can compromise our health. We must also maintain the systems that represent our best line of defense against indoor air pollution. Air filters and air purifiers, when properly maintained, are designed to keep indoor air clean. However, dirt and debris can collect in air filters and also in the air ducts that circulate the air throughout a home.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution:
- Dust, pet dander and pollen are common allergens.
- Excess moisture from bathing and cooking can lead to mold growth.
- Smoke and fumes from fireplaces, candles, tobacco and gas appliances can trigger respiratory problems.
- Harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC) released by some cleaners, adhesives, paints and many other common household products can be toxic.
- Radon gas is emitted naturally by the ground in certain areas and can become trapped inside. It has been linked to lung cancer.
Here are 6 easy things you can do to improve your indoor air quality and health:
1. Keep Your Home Clean
Dust often and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove allergens and other indoor air pollutants. Brush your pets outside frequently to remove loose hair and dander. Avoid using cleaners and air fresheners with chemical scents.
2. Change Your Air Filters (use high-end media filters)
The air filter on your HVAC system keeps dust and debris out of your air conditioner and furnace, and ultimately out of your home, but it needs to be changed every one to three months, before it gets clogged. Consult the owner’s manual or ask your HVAC professional what type of filter is best for your system. The filter should remove as much dirt from the air as possible without compromising airflow. A media filter, which is different from a standard air filter, sits in between the main return duct and the blower cabinet. Made of a deeply pleated, paper-like material, media filters are at least seven times better than a standard filter at removing dust and other particles.
3. Invest in an Air Purifier / Cleaner
An air purifier can remove the tiniest dust particles, allergens and irritants. A whole house purifier protects your entire home and is especially beneficial for family members with allergies or respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
4. Clean Your Air Ducts
Over time, air ducts can collect dirt that is then redistributed throughout your home. Professional air duct cleaning can prevent dirt from accumulating and reduce wear and tear on your HVAC equipment.
5. Let the Fresh Air In
Once in a while, open windows or patio doors to allow fresh air to circulate.
6. Test Your Home for Radon
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up and become trapped in your basement. If radon is detected at an unsafe level, institute a mitigation plan.
Your Rheem Pro Partner is happy to provide you with clean, healthy and affordable indoor air quality solutions. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Whether hiring an HVAC company for repairs, maintenance or installation, choosing the right people to do the work in your home is as important as choosing the right equipment. Even the best HVAC system will not work efficiently or effectively if it is not properly installed or serviced.
Look for these 10 qualities in order to choose a great HVAC company.
1. Brand Experience
Choose an HVAC technician that has experience in the brand you are purchasing. Many equipment manufacturers offer special training and education so the technicians who install and service their equipment are experts and understand all the nuances of the system. That training also qualifies the technician to make sure you are purchasing the equipment that is best for your home.
2. NATE Certification & NCI Training
NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification is a designation of excellence that HVAC professionals earn through experience and continuing education. Obtaining NATE certification requires passing rigorous exams and it must be updated every two years to reflect up-to-date knowledge of innovation, practices and technology in the industry. National Comfort Institute (NCI) offers cutting-edge training and coaching programs.
3. Licensed & Insured
Checking licenses and insurance for any contractor that comes into your home is a good consumer practice. HVAC technicians are required to be licensed by the state to show that they have the proper training and expertise to work safely and meet industry standards. Reputable contractors carry insurance that protects both the company and the customer, and will not hesitate to show you all necessary documentation. Be sure to check that names and dates are accurate and current.
4. Years of Experience
Experience includes both organized training as well as on-the-job training. The longer a technician has worked in the industry, the more likely he or she has encountered a wide variety of problems that needed to be resolved and can apply that knowledge to getting your job done right the first time. While longevity is not a guarantee, it is an indication that the company is doing good work.
5. Good References & Online Reviews
Check both references supplied by the company as well as unsolicited online reviews. Ask people you know and trust for referrals. When checking references, ask about how the company works. Were they professional and courteous? Did they communicate well? Were there any surprises? Was the work completed on time and within budget? Are you satisfied with the work? Would you hire them again? Also, confirm that the company has a physical location.
6. Provides an In-home Evaluation
An in-home evaluation is necessary to properly choose heating and cooling equipment. A knowledgeable, trained contractor will calculate many factors to properly size the system including square footage; R-value of the insulation; the number, size and orientation of windows; the condition of the duct system; and the customer’s preferences. This can only be done with an on-site inspection.
7. Offers Estimates in Writing
The contractor should provide a detailed, written estimate of all work and/or what is being installed. Be sure to have any questions addressed before signing a contract.
8. Rebates & Special Offers
Many manufacturers and municipalities offer discounts and rebates for the purchase and installation of energy-efficient equipment. Be sure to ask what is available.
Ask your HVAC technician about efficiency when choosing equipment or deciding on repairs. Factor in energy cost-savings over the life of the equipment as well as the initial cost. Choose the most efficient system you can afford.
Understand the warranties and how to keep them in force, and ask about maintenance agreements.
Rheem Pro Partners are HVAC experts. Contact us today in Colorado and Wyoming for all your HVAC needs.
If your mini-split air conditioner is not cooling properly there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem before calling for maintenance or repairs.
1. Check Your Settings.
Your AC unit may allow for a variety of settings, so check to make sure something wasn’t inadvertently turned off or changed. The unit works best with the “fresh air” vent setting turned off. This setting is designed to allow your system to pull air from outside, but cooling the hot outdoor air requires your condenser to work harder. When this feature is turned off, the system uses the cooler indoor air, which takes less effort to cool to the desired temperature. Your room will cool faster and with less wear and tear when the fresh air vent is off. Also, check that the unit is set on cool mode and the temperature is set as “low.”
2. Make Sure Your Fan is Turning in the Right Direction.
A ceiling fan can make your HVAC system more efficient all year round, as long as it is turning in the correct direction. In the winter, the blades should rotate clockwise (reverse) as you are looking up. In the summer, they should turn counterclockwise (forward).
3. Make Sure Each Room’s Size is Compatible with Your Mini-Split AC.
The room size must be appropriate for the unit. If the mini-split is too small for a large room, it will not be able to cool the space sufficiently.
4. Check for Leaks.
Every AC is a closed system that draws air over coils filled with refrigerant in order to cool the air. A refrigerant leak is a serious problem that requires an HVAC professional. Running the air conditioner without fixing the leak can permanently damage the equipment.
5. Remove Obstacles and Other Electronics.
Anything that blocks the airflow from the mini-split can prevent the room from cooling properly. If necessary, relocate large objects, such as furniture. Electronics can heat up and make it more difficult to cool the room. Don’t overload the space with heat-generating items such as televisions and computers.
6. Clean the Air Filter.
The air filter protects the evaporator core and prevents the accumulation and buildup of dirt and dust. For best results and to keep your system operating efficiently over its lifetime, clean out the air filters once a month.
7. Make Sure the Voltage is Correct.
The voltage stabilizer output must be above 180V in order for the air conditioner to work normally.
For more information on mini-splits installation, or for any HVAC questions, contact a Rheem Pro Partner today. You can find us throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
The new Rheem Prestige Series High-Efficiency Combination Boilers provide an elegant solution for your home’s heat and hot water needs by conveniently putting both vital systems in one efficient package. Each Rheem Combination Boiler is a single unit that heats both the air in your home and the water you use every day.
The Combi offers several important features and benefits:
- High Efficiency
An impressive 95% AFUE rating (the measure of how efficiently a furnace utilizes fuel) means very little fuel is wasted. The rating means that the unit delivers 95 BTUs of heat for every 100 BTUs of gas used and may qualify for local and/or utility rebates. This is good for your budget, your comfort, and the environment.
- Two in One
One unit for both functions means only one unit to service and maintain for both space heating and hot water.
- Saves Energy
Domestic hot water is generated on demand so there is no need to continuously heat and store water in a tank. This saves on energy use and the associated energy costs.
- Saves Space
With one unit for heating both the air and the water in your home, instead of a separate furnace and hot water heater, less space needs to be dedicated to your HVAC equipment.
- Lower Installation Costs
The unit installs with 2″ and 3″ Schedule 40 PVC venting, which is easier to work with and lower cost than stainless steel. This means significant savings of both money and time.
- Improved Venting
The Combi offers greater flexibility for venting, which gives homeowners more flexible and versatile options for locating the equipment. The maximum vent length is 100 feet for 3″ and 50 feet for 2″. In addition, the unit is vented with room air which further saves money and time.
How it Works:
Rheem Prestige Series High-Efficiency Combination Boilers work with
- Hydronic Baseboard Heating
- Radiant Flooring
- Hydronic Air Handlers
Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today for more information and to see if a combination boiler is right for your home. Rheem Pro Partners serve customers in Colorado and Wyoming.
Now, before the summer heat hits, is a good time to schedule a maintenance appointment and make sure your cooling system is ready for the season. There are many reasons your Denver home’s central air conditioner may need to be looked at by a certified contractor. Knowing the most common air conditioner problems can help you diagnose them, or even better, avoid them. Common problems are faulty wiring, low refrigerant, non-functioning outside fan, a frozen coil and air flow issues.
1. Faulty wiring.
Bad wiring can trip the circuit breaker or keep the unit from getting power. Wiring that is not up to code, or is damaged or poorly installed can not only affect your air conditioner’s performance, it is also a serious safety/fire hazard.
2. Low refrigerant.
Refrigerant is the chemical in your air conditioning system that cools the air. Low refrigerant most often means there is a leak, although it could indicate other problems. Any hint of a leak should be checked by a professional and addressed immediately.
3. Outside fan is not working.
The outside fan moves the heat out of your home. If the fan is not working properly, the heat transfer won’t be successful and could result in the compressor overheating and tripping the safety overload. Even more serious, a fan problem could cause internal damage to the compressor.
4. Outside unit is not working.
If the entire outside unit is not working, the problem could be a lack of power, improper installation or a faulty thermostat.
5. Frozen coil.
This is most commonly a problem with air flow and the culprit is often a dirty air filter. Buildup on the coils or debris blocking the air flow to the system can also cause this. Frost on the inside coil could indicate low refrigerant.
6. Poor air flow.
Change the air filter regularly, every 30-90 days. Keep the coils free of dirt and make sure to maintain a clear area around the outdoor unit that is free from leaves, branches and other debris. Annual maintenance by a professional HVAC technician will keep your system clean and functioning properly.
Preventive maintenance at the start of the season is the best way to avoid serious problems and expensive repairs. Problems like the ones outlined here are easily discovered with a professional inspection and can often be addressed while they are still minor. Look for a NATE-certified technician to promptly diagnose and make any necessary repairs.
The NATE-certified technicians at Rheem Pro Partners can handle all your air conditioning needs. Contact us today in Colorado and Wyoming.
A mini-split ductless system — a heating and cooling alternative that doesn’t require air ducts — can solve a number of problems, even in a home that has existing HVAC equipment.
What is a Mini-Split Ductless System?
Mini-split ductless systems are designed to heat or cool one specific room or zone, which is why they don’t require ductwork to move air throughout the home. With a multi-split ductless system, multiple indoor units (up to five) can be connected to one outdoor unit. This allows for independent control of the temperature in various areas.
Where are Mini-Split Ductless Systems Typically Used?
Mini-splits are ideal for homes without a central heating and cooling system already in place (so no existing ductwork). They are also a cost-effective solution for room additions or converted living spaces. Connecting a new or renovated space to the home’s central air system can be expensive and may even require an upgrade to handle the additional space.
Advantages of Ductless Mini-Splits
The indoor unit can be mounted on a wall or ceiling or even in a closet.
Installation requires only a three-inch hole in the wall for the conduit. However, a professional installer is recommended to ensure proper design and installation.
Flexibility and convenience
Separate controls for each unit make it easy to tailor heating (or cooling) to your family’s specific needs by lowering (or raising) the temperature in rooms that are not being used or to meet the unique requirements of different rooms and people in the household.
Remote controls allow you to control the temperature of the room you are in, without having to rely on a central thermostat that controls the entire home.
Doubles as air conditioning and heating system
Ductless mini-split is one system that can provide both heating and cooling with the same equipment.
Sleek, modern look
The unit can be seamlessly adapted to fit any decor.
Saves money and energy, gain efficiency
Traditional central air systems use ductwork to move the air throughout the home. The heated or cooled air can be wasted through tiny leaks and cracks in the ducts or, if the ducts are dirty, the equipment may require more energy to maintain the comfort level of the home. Mini-splits are high-efficiency systems that eliminate the ductwork, and the flexibility of zone or room control further maximizes their efficiency. As a result, mini-splits are less expensive to operate than central air systems.
Ductwork needs to be maintained and can develp leaks that make the system less efficient.
Window air conditioners provide inadvertent access to intruders.
A well-maintained ductless system can last 20 years, compared to 15 years for a traditional ducted HVAC system.
Tax credits and rebates
Various tax credits, rebates and other incentives may be available for heat pump upgrades.
Ductless Mini-Split Disadvantages
Higher upfront costs than some systems
While they are less expensive to operate, they are more expensive to install.
Some people may not like the look of the indoor units
The units are visible, unlike a furnace and air conditioner that are typically separate from the living areas of the home.
Rheem Pro Partners, in Colorado and Wyoming, can answer all your questions about mini-split ductless systems and help with all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us today for an estimate.
Ahh, spring! Or is it ahhchoo? Milder weather, longer days and awesome skiing are just some of the benefits of springtime in Colorado, but as flowers and trees begin to bloom, spring allergies can make the season miserable for those who have them. Fortunately, a few simple steps can minimize the impact of allergens inside your home and greatly improve your comfort. Start by scheduling HVAC maintenance before you turn on your air conditioner for the first time. Next, change your air filters regularly. And lastly, consider installing a whole house air purifier.
The Problem: Allergens
Allergens are airborne particles that make the air harder to breathe and irritate your eyes, throat and nasal passages. Symptoms include coughing and sneezing, red eyes, itchy throat and runny nose. They can also make chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma, worse or even life-threatening.
Allergens include many sources – pet dander, dust mites, mold and insect droppings as well as pollen. These tiny particles make their way into your home through the air and can also be carried in on clothing and shoes. Once inside, they settle on surfaces where they continue to make you and your family uncomfortable.
The Solution: HVAC Maintenance
Minimize the discomfort of spring allergies with these 6 tips:
1. Purchase high quality filters.
Air filters are your first defense against dirty air and allergens in your home. For most homes, filters with a MERV rating 8 to 12 are sufficient to trap particles but still allow proper airflow to keep your equipment running efficiently. Once the filter gets dirty, however, it no longer protects your system or the air quality in your home so it is important to check the filter monthly and replace it every 30 to 90 days.
2. Get rid of debris around the outdoor unit…and the indoor unit.
Your air conditioner draws air into your home through the outdoor condenser unit. Keep the area around it free from leaves, branches and other debris, and clear away any dust and dirt that starts to accumulate. Similarly, the indoor unit should be kept free of dirt and debris. Sweep and dust it frequently to reduce the amount of allergens getting into the system, and refrain from storing items around the equipment.
3. Check for mold.
Mold grows in areas with moisture and humidity. Inspect the air ducts, condensate drip pan and drain, evaporator coils and the air handler every few weeks for signs of mold. Small amounts of mold can be removed fairly easily, but call a professional if the mold is widespread. Left untreated, mold spores can cause serious health problems and even death.
4. Dust registers and return vents first, then everything else.
The registers and return vents circulate the air from the HVAC system, so if they are dusty, your home will be dusty. Clean them with a damp rag –before dusting the other areas — to prevent dust mites and other allergy-causing particles from being spread throughout your home.
5. Duct cleaning.
A periodic air duct cleaning helps keep your home healthier instead or circulating potential problems over and over again.
6. Schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment.
A thorough cleaning of your HVAC equipment before you begin using it for the season will go a long way toward eliminating allergens indoors. Doing so improves the health of your cooling system by clearing dust and any blockages, and also improves the health of your entire home.
7. Have a whole house air purifier installed.
A whole house air purifier reduces allergy and asthma symptoms by removing the smallest particles from the air. In addition, it keeps your HVAC system cleaner as well, prolonging its life and improving its efficiency.
Contact a Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming today to schedule your spring maintenance appointment or to learn more about whole house air purifiers.
Many homeowners wonder if an annual air conditioner tune-up is an unnecessary expense. On the contrary, regular maintenance saves money by preventing costly repairs and extending the system, as well as by maximizing the unit’s efficiency and performance. Learn more about why you should schedule an air conditioner tune-up before the start of the season.
Here are 7 good reasons why you won’t want to skip your annual tune-up.
1. A spring tune-up will give your air conditioner a head start.
Your air conditioner has likely been idle for months. Before you need it every day, it is a good idea to get it checked out — the same way you might have your car serviced before a cross-country trip. It might be just fine, but it makes sense to start the season with your system at peak function and efficiency.
2. Regular maintenance is almost always less costly than repairs.
Preventive maintenance is a cost-effective to way to avoid or minimize repairs and breakdowns. A certified technician can identify and address any issues while they are minor. Often just cleaning and making simple adjustments is enough to prevent the excessive wear-and-tear that would otherwise shorten the life of your air conditioner.
3. Neglecting regular maintenance can void your warranty.
Many manufacturers require annual maintenance to keep the warranty in force.
4. A well-maintained air conditioner lasts longer than one that isn’t.
Maintenance is about more than preventing breakdowns. Keeping your system in good working order extends its useful life. The longer your system works, the longer before you have to replace it.
5. A tune-up can increase efficiency and decrease cooling costs.
Energy costs account for a significant percentage of most household budgets. When your air conditioner is well-maintained it uses less energy and is, therefore, less expensive to operate. Dust and debris build-up, a condensate drain clog, parts that need lubrication and adjustment can all lower efficiency over time. A poorly maintained system has to work harder, and use more energy, to keep your home comfortable.
6. The EPA, Energy Star and U.S. Department of Energy all recommend regular maintenance
A clean, efficient air conditioner is good for your budget and good for the environment.
7. You’ll get faster service with more flexible scheduling in the spring.
Before the start of the season, technicians have greater availability. This means you can schedule your maintenance appointment at your convenience. This may not be the case in the middle of summer if you need a repair. Emergency or after-hours service can also be more costly to obtain.
What to Expect from an Air Conditioner Tune-up:
A thorough inspection and maintenance appointment will take some time. The technician should:
- Clean the filters, coils and fins
- Check for the correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat.