Have you started noticing some problems with your hot water? Is it running out faster than usual or not getting up to temperature? These and other issues could be a sign that your hot water heater is not working as it should. So, how will you know if you can repair the unit or if you should invest in a new one?
When Should You Replace Your Water Heater?
Here are five signs it’s time to replace your water heater.
1. You have repaired your water heater more than once during the year.
Many homeowners prefer the smaller upfront cost of making a repair rather than replacing an entire system. Sometimes, a repair is all that’s necessary. However, if the issue goes deeper than a simple repair, it is far more cost-effective to bite the bullet and replace everything. This is partially why it is so important to talk to a professional. They can tell you if the issue is surface-level or long-term.
2. Water is leaking and pooling around the unit.
Extensive leaking and pooling indicates your water heater is past its lifespan and needs to be replaced.
3. You are seeing water that is “bad.”
“Bad water” can refer to hard water, dirty water, or discolored water. If your faucets produce rust-colored water, chances are high that the heater itself is rusty. Whether you put your tap water in or on your body, it needs to be pure.
4. Your water is not up to temperature.
This issue seems like it would be the best indicator that you need a new water heater, but many homeowners dismiss cool or lukewarm water as “one of those things.” Remember, your water heater has one job – to heat water! If the heater isn’t doing its job, it needs to be inspected for either repair or replacement.
5. You own an old or outdated system.
Like every appliance and system, water heaters will eventually wear out. If you have noticed a lot of issues with your water heater and it’s over ten years old, you might want to consider replacing it rather than repairing.
Replacement vs. Repair
How do you know when it’s only a repair issue? Look closely at the following factors.
As already mentioned, lifespan plays a huge role in whether you should repair or replace. The average lifespan of a water heater is about 10 years. If the heater is older than that and causing problems, it might need to be replaced soon anyway.
Does the cost of the repair justify the lack of replacement? If it costs the same amount of money (or less) to bring a new heater in, always choose replacement.
3. Overall Performance
If your heater is downright unreliable and constantly needs to be fixed, it might be smarter to just replace it.
Your family’s comfort is our priority. Contact Rheem Pro Partners today for all of your heating and air conditioning repairs and emergencies. We serve homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming and want to see your needs met with the skill, experience, and care of licensed professionals.
A two-stage variable speed furnace offers a number of advantages for heating a home and can be a smart investment when choosing a new furnace.
What is a 2-stage variable speed furnace?
A variable speed furnace has an electronically commutated motor (ECM). It is a DC motor that is able to achieve greater efficiency than most AC motors. While the initial cost of a furnace with an ECM will be higher than a traditional furnace, the typical payback is four to five years.
How does it work?
The variable speed furnace varies the amount of circulated air, unlike conventional motors that operate at one constant speed. By monitoring data from the heating and cooling system, the furnace adjusts for greater comfort and efficiency of operation. This allows the system to compensate for factors like dirty filters or blocked vents by increasing the fan speed. The majority of the time, the first stage operates running at about 65% capacity. When the temperature drops, the second stage kicks in for added warmth.
What are the key benefits?
1. ECMs are low-maintenance
ECMs cycle on and off much less frequently than single-stage furnaces. As a result, there is much less stress put on the furnace. This means minimal risk of breakdowns and a longer operating life for the system.
2. Energy efficient
Unlike a single-stage furnace that only has a high capacity setting, a two-stage furnace operates the majority of the time at the low capacity stage. Therefore, the system uses much less energy overall, even though it operates more often.
3. Can reduce operating costs
The combination of greater energy efficiency, minimal maintenance, fewer repairs and longer operating life all translates to reduced operating costs over the life of the system.
4. Quieter operation
Another benefit of the two-stage furnace running at low output most of the time, is a great reduction of the operating sounds typically associated with traditional heating systems that constantly cycle on and off through many short, full-blast cycles.
5. More even temperatures (increased comfort)
The consistent operation at the lower output stage (less cycling on and off) means your home maintains a more constant temperature. A single-stage furnace, that blasts your home with a large amount of heat every time the system turns on can create temperature spikes and dips. A two-stage furnace, however, operates longer than a single-stage furnace (and at a lower setting), which allows it to heat your home more consistently and with much smaller temperature fluctuations.
6. Improved indoor air quality
The design of the two-stage furnace with its longer heating cycles sends the circulated air through the system’s filtration devices more often than a single-stage furnace. More particles are removed from the air so your home maintains a higher level of freshly filtered air.
Because a two-stage furnace has longer heating cycles than a single-stage furnace, air is sent through your system’s filtration devices more often. This leads to better air quality because more particles are removed from the air and your home will have a more consistent supply of freshly filtered air.
Do you have more questions about two-stage variable speed furnaces? The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners are here to help with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today. We proudly serve the Colorado and Wyoming region.
Choosing a new furnace for your home means evaluating a number of features, and at the top of that list should be selecting the right furnace size. Even the most efficient furnace model, if too big or too small, will not function properly. You can approximate the correct size on your own, but be sure to discuss how to calculate furnace size accurately with your HVAC technician.
Why does furnace size matter?
The size of the furnace is critical for performance. Size impacts the furnace’s efficiency, cost and lifespan, as well as its ability to provide comfort in your home. Understand that over the life of the furnace, bigger does not necessarily mean more powerful (as in providing more heat) and smaller doesn’t necessarily mean less expensive. The most important thing is to choose the right size.
If your furnace is too big…
An oversized furnace is more likely to heat your home unevenly. It will turn on when it gets cold and heat up some areas of the home too quickly. When those rooms become uncomfortably hot, the heater will shut off, leaving other areas of the home still cold. That frequent cycling is less efficient and raises your energy costs.
If your furnace is too small…
Similarly, a furnace that is too small will be unable to adequately heat your entire home, leaving some areas cold and causing the system to run longer or turn on frequently. The extra wear and tear will possibly lead to more breakdowns and repair and may also shorten the lifespan of the furnace.
How to determine the right size furnace for your home
There are two ways to determine the correct size furnace for your home.
1. Approximate Calculation
Determine the square footage. This may be written somewhere in your purchase documents, or you can measure it yourself. Next, determine the base BTU. The British Thermal Unit is the amount of energy used to cool one square foot of your home, approximately 25 BTUs. Multiply the number of square feet by 25 to get the base BTU measurement. Lastly, if your home has high ceilings (over 8 feet) increase the BTU amount by 25%.
2. The Professional Method (Manual J)
Your HVAC technician can obtain a more precise measurement using Manual J calculations, which consider a number of factors in addition to square footage. These include the number of people in the home; the climate; the number, placement and orientation of windows; the amount of insulation in the walls and more.
Rheem Pro Partners can determine the proper furnace size to maximize comfort and efficiency in your home. Contact us today for more information. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
The middle of winter is certainly not the best time to discover that you have a worn-out furnace. Certain factors may precipitate the immediate need for a replacement, while others are less urgent and may afford you some time to research and shop for the best deals. Here are some conditions to consider to help you decide whether repair or replacement is your best course of action for keeping your home safe and comfortable.
Your furnace is emitting carbon dioxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can cause death when inhaled over a long period. It is known as the silent killer because it is often undetected. A cracked combustion chamber allows your furnace to leak carbon monoxide into your home and should be replaced immediately. These signs could indicate that your furnace is emitting carbon monoxide and should be checked right away:
- The furnace burner flame is yellow instead of blue
- Excess moisture forms on windows, walls and other surfaces
- Rust appears on pipes
- Streaks of soot are visible around the furnace
- There is no upward draft in the chimney
- People in the home experience feelings of nausea, disorientation, headaches and other flu-like symptoms
The cost of repair is more than half the cost of replacement; repairs are more serious and more frequent.
If the repair would cost less than half the cost of a new furnace, it is probably more cost-effective to repair it than replace it. However, the age of the furnace is an important factor as well. If your furnace has reached more than three-quarters of its life expectancy and the repair is one-third or more of the cost of a replacement, it is better to replace it. Experiencing more frequent breakdowns and subsequent repairs is another point in favor of replacement. Keep in mind that a new furnace is going to be more efficient and reliable than your current system and will be less expensive to operate over its lifetime.
You are planning to sell your home soon.
Homebuyers want to know that their new home will provide comfort and safety. A new furnace will not likely increase your home’s value, but it can be an important selling point as it is a costly item that addresses those concerns. A furnace that is found to be at the end of its life expectancy during an inspection will probably need to be replaced. Without that, potential buyers may pass on the house or ask for a reduced price.
Furnace is more than 15 years old.
Most furnaces have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. If it is still working well, replacing it isn’t urgent, but keep in mind that technology is constantly improving. A new furnace could be more affordable than you think once you factor in greater efficiency (lower energy bills) and possible rebates. Rather than waiting for your furnace to fail, begin the process of investigating a new system, which can be installed at your convenience and preserve the comfort of your home.
Heating bills are rising.
Heating costs fluctuate from season to season due to a variety of factors. If, however, you notice that your bills are steadily increasing, it could be time to invest in a new, more efficient system.
Furnace is less effective.
If your furnace is not heating your home as well from year to year, you may need maintenance or you may be ready for a replacement. Ineffective furnaces run nonstop or cycle frequently in order to maintain the proper temperature and comfort level, which uses more energy than necessary. An ineffective furnace can also cause hot or cold spots in your home.
Furnace makes strange noises.
All furnaces make some noise when they turn on, but sounds that are becoming louder or are unusual, such as rattling, popping, screeching or humming, should be checked out by your HVAC technician. Some noises are more serious than others. Pay attention to the type of sound and where it is coming from to help the technician diagnose the cause.
Furnace warranty has expired.
If your furnace is out of warranty, frequent or serious repairs can add up quickly.
If you are experiencing more than three of these conditions, replacing your furnace rather than continuing to repair it makes sense. Replacing an old furnace with a new furnace that has a higher AFUE (today’s furnaces are as high as 98.5%) can greatly offset the cost of a new system with lower energy bills and no or minimal repairs.
Rheem Pro Partners are ready to help you purchase and install the furnace that is perfect for your home and budget. Contact us today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
The HVAC system is one of the most expensive investments in a home, yet keeping it in top condition year after year is actually fairly simple and inexpensive. In addition to annual maintenance by a trained technician, the main way to keep your furnace and air conditioner running properly is to change the air filter every 60 to 90 days (depending on how quickly it gets dirty and clogged). This small task is often overlooked, but not doing it is the most common cause of bigger, costlier problems. Changing the air filter regularly is the best way to ensure the ideal comfort level in your home.
Here is a look at what can happen when the filter isn’t changed regularly.
Loss of efficient heating
Air filters trap the dirt, dust and other particles in the air inside your home to prevent it from getting into your heating and cooling system and being recirculated throughout your home. Eventually, the filter becomes clogged with debris and air can no longer pass through it freely. Without sufficient airflow, the equipment has to work harder to adequately heat or cool the home and keep it at a comfortable temperature. This takes more energy for the same result. You may experience this as short cycling, where the furnace turns on and off repeatedly throughout the day.
Higher energy bills
With a dirty air filter, the HVAC system works harder to maintain the proper temperature in your home. It is using more energy to achieve that level of comfort than it would have to with a clean air filter. That extra work requires more energy and that means higher energy bills.
Total loss of heating or cooling
Poor air quality
An air conditioner that runs harder because of a clogged air filter risks having the cooling coil freeze. This prevents the air conditioner from working.
Save time, money and inconvenience and keep your HVAC running efficiently by replacing the filters as needed. To make it as easy as possible, set a reminder on your phone or computer and stock up on filters for the season or year to be sure you always have a new one on hand.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today with any questions about your current HVAC system or to purchase a new one. We are experts on keeping your HVAC efficient and your home comfortable all year long. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Have you noticed that your boiler is no longer functioning as efficiently as it once was? You may be wondering if it is more cost-effective at this time to repair or replace it. Several indicators can help you make that determination with confidence.
Here are some key factors that signal it could be time for a replacement.
Boilers typically have a lifespan of up to 15 years. If your boiler has had standard maintenance and is approaching the 15-year mark, age is the likely culprit for any problems. As the boiler ages, it has to work harder, which can hinder optimal operation, increase wear and tear and result in the need for more frequent repairs. Age alone does not necessarily mean there is a problem, but the cost and frequency of repairs for an older furnace are a good indication that it is time for a replacement.
2. Increase in energy bills
As your boiler nears the end of its lifespan it will likely become less efficient. This means it requires more energy for the same level of performance, which translates to higher monthly energy costs. Energy bills typically represent the largest amount of a home’s budget, after mortgage payments, and minimizing them is often a priority for homeowners. If you notice your bills are getting significantly higher, it may be time to upgrade to a new energy-efficient model. The reduction in energy costs can help offset the cost of replacement.
3. Yellow flames
A properly functioning furnace produces a blue flame. Discoloration, in the form of yellow flames, happens when dirt and soot clog the burners and prevents the gas and oxygen from mixing properly. The boiler is then burning carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas. At low levels, carbon monoxide causes headaches and dizziness, but at higher levels it is lethal, so this issue should be addressed immediately. Contact your HVAC technician or gas company as soon as possible.
4. Loss of comfort
If your home is not evenly heated, meaning you experience hot spots or cold spots that you can’t control, the problem may be the boiler and, if so, it is probably time for a replacement.
Leaks, even if they are small, are a strong indication that it is time to replace your boiler. You will want to prevent small leaks from becoming larger and potentially causing more damage to your home.
6. Gas smell
A gas smell around the boiler indicates a gas leak, and any gas leak is dangerous. In this situation, repairing an older boiler completely is not possible. A boiler with this type of leak should be replaced as soon as possible.
7. Frequent repairs
As a boiler ages and repairs become more frequent, investing in a new boiler makes sense. While the initial cost of replacement may seem high, the cost of multiple individual repairs each year adds up quickly. In addition, a new, energy-efficient system will have significantly lower operating costs, making it a wise investment.
8. Strange noises
Unusual noises beyond the normal sounds of the boiler turning on, such as rattling, banging and clanking, indicate that the pressure inside the system is no longer at optimal levels. This negatively affects the overall performance of your heating system.
Rheem Pro Partners is ready to help you find the best, energy-saving replacement for your old boiler. Contact us today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Snow and cold are part of the winter experience in Colorado and Wyoming, despite the potential for year-round sunshine and occasionally even mild winter temperatures. Having a reliable HVAC system for heating your home is necessary for both comfort and safety. Here are six common furnace problems and tips on how to repair or avoid them.
1. Short cycling
Short cycling, when your furnace turns on and off too frequently, can have numerous causes.
The air filter is clogged.
Replace the dirty air filter with a new, clean one. The filter should be replaced every 30-90 days, depending on how quickly it gets dirty.
The thermostat batteries are low.
Replace the old batteries.
The blower isn’t working.
If no heat is coming from the vent when the furnace turns on, it could be a faulty blower motor. Contact your HVAC technician.
The furnace is oversized.
A furnace that is too large for the home will turn off quickly because it doesn’t need as much time to reach the set temperature. However, a furnace that is too large is inefficient and costly to operate. Talk to your HVAC technician about options.
2. Uneven heating
Insufficient insulation and air leaks around doors and windows are the most common culprits for cold spots in a home. However, uneven heating can also result from a furnace that is improperly sized, generally one that is too large. It can also be caused by leaks in the ductwork.
3. High energy costs
If your energy bills have been getting steadily higher, the problem could be an older furnace that is no longer operating efficiently. If the furnace is not that old, the issue could be a clogged air filter, leaky air ducts, blocked vents, poor insulation or leaks around doors and windows.
4. Pilot light goes out
A dirty pilot, flame sensor or burner can cause an outage, short cycling, furnace lockout or delayed ignition of the burners. Wear and tear of the ignition components, such as the hot surface igniter or thermocouple can also cause the pilot light to go out. The problem may also be with the gas supply. Anything interfering with the gas requires a trained HVAC technician to evaluate the situation.
5. Unusual noises
Some noise is part of normal furnace operation, however, unusual noises, such as whining or squealing, can indicate a problem with the motor. The bearings may be failing, and the motor may need to be replaced to prevent the furnace from failing. Other noises may point to a problem with airflow or signal that the burners are dirty. Getting any of these checked out right away may prevent the immediate need for replacement.
6. Water leaks
Air conditioners and high efficiency furnaces produce condensate and have drain pipes for proper water drainage. If these lines are clogged or cracked, leaks occur. Other possible sources of leaks are the collector box, the heat exchanger or the evaporator drain pan. Your HVAC technician can determine the source of the leaks and offer repair options.
To keep your HVAC running smoothly replace the furnace filters regularly and have your system professionally maintained.
The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners are here to help with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today for information and estimates. We proudly serve Colorado and Wyoming.
Have you considered purchasing a new furnace this winter? Make sure you evaluate the following features to ensure you are making a wise investment.
Things you should consider before buying a replacement furnace.
1. Fuel Type
There are 3 possible fuel sources: electricity, natural gas, and propane.
Electric furnaces draw heat from electricity, so they tend to increase your utility bill.
Gas furnaces offer a less expensive alternative to electric furnaces. They are powered by natural gas.
Oil/propane furnaces provide a good option for homes that don’t possess gas lines. Oil furnaces tend to be dirtier than their electric and gas counterparts and take up more space.
2. Energy Efficiency
A furnace should not waste energy. Check energy ratings to ensure that your replacement furnace will run efficiently.
3. Indoor Air Quality
Your furnace plays a large role in indoor air quality. If the furnace runs poorly, chances are high that pollutants and allergens will get into the system. The furnace then circulates these particles through the air in your home.
Cheaper is not always better. Your gut might say to go with the most inexpensive option, but remember that you often get what you pay for. Take the time to weigh cost against features.
Choosing a correctly-sized furnace makes all the difference in the world. A furnace that is too small for your home will overwork itself, while a furnace that is too large will constantly turn on and off, driving up your utility bill.
Make sure you understand what type of warranty the furnace offers and how long it lasts.
Zoning systems are great for houses that don’t receive even air distribution. They divide the house into sections and allow you to control each section independently.
8. Speed Blowers
Variable speed blowers allow you to change the speed at which your furnace blows air. This results in a more even temperature distribution.
9. Rebates and Incentives
Certain incentives for purchasing high-efficiency equipment include money back in your bank account. Ask about potential rebates and incentives that might come with the furnace you are considering.
Before purchasing a new furnace, ask yourself who will be responsible for installing it. Your contractor should be honest, reputable, and experienced.
Why is installation quality such a big deal?
Untrained technicians can make a lot of mistakes that will cause you problems and cost you money. To avoid installation errors and long-term repair issues, it is important to hire a quality contractor to install your new furnace.
Your family’s comfort is our priority. Contact the Rheem Pro Partner today for all of your heating and air conditioning repairs and emergencies. We serve homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming and want to see your needs met with the skill, experience, and care of licensed professionals.
Have you considered investing in a new thermostat? Few homeowners even realize that they have more than one option. To decide what thermostat best fits your needs, you need to understand how each type works.
What are the different types of thermostats?
There are 3 primary types of thermostats you can purchase for your home.
1. Manual (Analog) Thermostat
Manual (analog) thermostats are probably what you think of when the word “thermostat” comes to mind. You adjust them by hand from inside your home. Most older thermostats are manual, but the standard is quickly changing as technology advances and programmable thermostats have become more popular.
Manual thermostats offer several benefits, including lower installation cost and a long lifespan. However, they offer little in the way of pre-programming.
2. Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats have many more options than manual thermostats because of customization. Programmable thermostats allow you to pre-program temperature changes, similar to setting an alarm for the whole week.
Programmable thermostats are ideal for homeowners who work out of the house, as you can pre-program a warmer temperature during the day to save money on your utility bill. Additionally, you can program the air conditioner to kick on just before you get home from work so the house is nice and cool upon arrival.
3. Smart Thermostat
Smart (WiFi thermostats go above and beyond even programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats follow patterns in the adjustments you make and programs you set. Then, they use that information to automatically adjust the temperature for you.
A smart thermostat is also controlled via WiFi. In addition to using the thermostat’s technological intuition, you can make changes from your phone or computer… at any time, from anywhere.
How can you know which thermostat is right for you?
It’s all about evaluating your schedule and needs as a homeowner. For instance, if you work from home, you may not need a smart thermostat as you can control the temperature manually. If you often travel for business or pleasure, a smart or programmable thermostat might offer some helpful features.
If you have any further questions regarding the pros and cons of each thermostat, we want to help. Your family’s comfort is our priority. Contact the Rheem Pro Partner today for all of your heating and air conditioning repairs and emergencies. We serve homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming and want to see your needs met with the skill, experience, and care of licensed professionals.
HVAC system maintenance is important both for functionality and for home comfort. Changing your furnace filter is one way to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
Why is it so important to change your furnace filter?
1. It saves money.
When your air filter is functioning properly, your HVAC system runs more efficiently. This conserves energy, lowering your utility bill. It also prevents the need for future repairs, which makes the upfront cost of replacement filters much more appealing.
2. It increases your furnace’s lifespan.
A clogged filter can result in an overworked system, reducing your furnace’s lifespan and turning “replacement time” into a necessity rather than an option.
3. It improves indoor air quality.
An old furnace filter loses its ability to trap pollutants and allergens. Dirty air is circulated, causing health concerns. A new filter captures these allergens, making the air being circulated safe to breathe.
4. It reduces the need for repairs.
Regularly changing your furnace filter keeps other problems at bay. A clean filter means fewer repairs.
5. It increases energy efficiency.
As already mentioned, an efficient system produces efficient energy use. A clean filter helps prevent energy waste.
6. It keeps the furnace and your home clean.
Do you enjoy breathing fresh air? That is the air filter’s job. A clean filter results in clean air, which results in happy skin, eyes, and lungs.
How often should you change your furnace’s air filter?
There are several principles you should consider when deciding whether or not you should change your furnace filter.
- High-efficiency filters do not need to be changed as often as filters with low MERV ratings.
- Your furnace filter will likely need to be changed in peak seasons of use, such as winter (heating) and summer (air conditioning). During these periods of frequent system use, you should check your filter monthly and replace it as needed.
- Households containing pets or smokers typically require regular filter changes. More contaminants in the air (pet hair, dander, smoking byproducts, etc.) result in clogged filters.
Look for a manufacturer recommendation on your air filter’s packaging that lists the filer’s standard lifespan.
How else can you protect your HVAC system?
On top of changing your furnace filter regularly, you should schedule routine HVAC tune-ups by a licensed professional. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid problems and save money on future repairs.