Air conditioning is a relatively new invention and didn’t become a fixture in American homes until after World War II. We’ve all experienced the relief of air conditioning on an extremely hot day — upon arriving at home after a day outside or when ducking into a store or restaurant to escape the heat. In many areas, however, air conditioning is more than comfort, it also increases health and safety.
A brief history
The first “air conditioner” was created by naval engineers for President James Garfield in 1881 when he was dying. It consumed half a million pounds of ice in two months.
In 1902, Willis Carrier, an American engineer, made the first machine that resembles modern air conditioners. In the 1920s and 1930s, mechanical cooling appeared in theaters, the first places to adopt the idea. Air conditioning was brought into homes after WWII.
Benefits of home air conditioners
By the 1950s, air conditioning had begun to be considered essential for modern living. Manufacturers claimed multiple benefits:
- better sleep
- healthier air quality
- cleaner interiors
- reduced risk of dehydration and heat stroke
- reduced asthma attacks
- ability to exercise indoors
Consequences (good and bad)
The widespread adoption of air conditioning changed the design of homes and led to the demise of the front porch, wide eaves and high ceilings. Thick walls, attics and cross ventilation were also no longer necessary for natural cooling.
Air conditioning changed how Americans live, work and play. Families spend more time indoors, perhaps leading to the rise of the television industry and indoor entertainment centers. Geographical difference became insignificant in terms of environment. Homes in sunbelt cities became more popular. The development of the IT industry was only possible with the advent of air conditioning to keep computers and other electronics cool.
On the downside, energy use increased dramatically. Today, the push to make all devices more energy efficient is critical to many industries.
It is unlikely that anyone wants to give up the many benefits of air conditioning. Thankfully, HVAC technology is constantly improving and equipment is more efficient than ever. If your A/C is more than 10-15 years old, upgrading your equipment can provide better performance, more convenience, and greater savings over the life of the system.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today for all your air conditioning needs. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Smart HVAC leverages environmental sensor technology to improve performance and efficiency. Many homes already use programmable thermostats, but with today’s ever-evolving technology, these devices are only the beginning.
Smart HVAC conveniently brings many benefits to your home.
Smart HVAC systems can send homeowners notifications to schedule regular inspections and cleanings. Smart systems can also use analytics to predict breakdowns and repairs in advance. Taking care of your equipment before something breaks down is better for you, your home and your HVAC equipment as well as for the environment and your energy bills.
Automatic adjustments and geofencing
Programmable features automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time or day. Some smart thermostats use geofencing technology, tied to your smartphone, to determine when residents of the home are approaching or leaving and automatically adjust the heating and cooling in your home.
Improved energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is a big concern with HVAC equipment. Smart thermostats and other measures already help with this. In the not-too-distant future, fully sensored systems could potentially detect problems such as energy losses due to leaking air ducts or an improperly sealed attic, which cause your system to be less efficient and cost more to operate.
Vents control the amount of hot or cold air let into each room of your home. Traditional vents must be manually opened or closed to allow or prevent airflow. Closing one vent forces more air out of the other vents, but doesn’t change the total amount of airflow. Smart vents add energy efficiency by working with the smart thermostat, which controls the total airflow. The smart vent detects activity and automatically redirects the air where it is needed, signaling the thermostat when less airflow is needed overall. Smart vents can be programmed and adjusted to accommodate individual preferences.
Smart humidifiers and air purifiers
Smart humidifiers and air purifiers can address a major issue in your home: air quality. These smart appliances can detect humidity and pollution levels in the air and respond accordingly. Purifiers can help reduce airborne allergens, while humidifiers improve air quality and make your home more comfortable. Whole home versions can be wired into your smart thermostat.
Smart window treatments
Smart windows and electronic window shades work with your smart home system to control how much light and heat come into your home through the windows with the touch of a button. Traditional windows can be converted with state-of-the-art technology for convenience and energy efficiency.
Learn more about the latest smart HVAC technology for your home at Rheem Pro Partners. Contact us today! We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Central air conditioning is a pleasure for homeowners during the hot summer months, but it can also be a big expense. An air conditioner that runs constantly is using more energy unnecessarily. Finding the cause is important for both your comfort and your wallet.
Here are some of the common issues that cause an air conditioner to run excessively.
Improper size and installation (including wrong duct size)
When it comes to air conditioners, bigger is not always better and smaller is not always less expensive. A unit that is too big will not be able to remove the moisture from the air effectively and, as a result, will have shorter run times while using excessive amounts of electricity. A unit that is too small will have to work harder to cool your home, increasing wear and tear without reaching the desired coolness. For optimal performance, the system must be sized correctly. That said, a properly sized, efficient air conditioner is designed to run continuously in order to maintain the desired temperature, but will do so with maximum efficiency and minimum wear and tear.
The ductwork must also be sized relative to the unit in order to properly distribute the air throughout your home for comfort and efficiency.
Dirty or restrictive air filter
The air filter should be changed regularly (every one to three months for a standard one- to two-inch filter) in order to protect your HVAC system and keep it working properly. A clogged filter blocks airflow, causing the system to work harder. To achieve the desired temperature, that can mean running more often. All that extra work can lead to breakdowns and premature replacement, as well as higher energy bills and less comfort.
Dirt and debris, such as leaves, grass clippings and mud, that collects on the evaporator or condenser coils can diminish the performance of your air conditioner. Condenser coils are exposed to the elements and need to be cleaned. Periodically, turn off the electrical power to the system and hose down the unit.
The evaporator coils are continually exposed to airflow circulated by the blower and can build up dust and dirt. A layer of dirt on the surface of the coils can affect their ability to transfer heat from the air to the refrigerant, causing longer “on” cycles. A visual inspection of the evaporator coils can determine if they are in need of maintenance.
Blower motor and fan issues
One possibility is that the fan speed needs to be adjusted. If, however, your air conditioner is older, the blower motor and other mechanical components may be showing signs of wear. At 15 years, the system is nearing time for replacement. Age and wear are two contributors to decreased performance and could be the reason your system runs more often.
The issue may not be with the air conditioner itself, but with the thermostat. A faulty thermostat prevents the system from turning off once the desired temperature is reached. Compare the actual temperature in the room to the thermostat setting. If it is lower, then the thermostat likely needs to be replaced.
Air leaks or poor insulation
Leaks in the air ducts allow the cooled air to escape before reaching the rooms of your home, so even though the air conditioner is working, the living spaces are not reaching the correct temperature and the system keeps running. Poor insulation and air leaks around doors and windows can have the same effect.
Lack of maintenance
Most problems can be easily resolved — and prevented — with proper maintenance. A professional technician will thoroughly examine and clean the system, as well as correct any issues before they turn into costly repairs. Foregoing annual maintenance can lead to airflow problems and inefficient cycling, and may also void your warranty.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today for air conditioner maintenance, repair or replacement options. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Air filters, air cleaners and air purifiers can all help reduce the amount of dirt and contaminants in your home, but they each work differently and to different degrees toward that purpose. To better understand and determine the best solution to improve and maintain indoor air quality in your home, read the descriptions provided below.
The air filter is a component of your HVAC system. Its main purpose is to keep dust, dirt and debris out of the system, so that your furnace and air conditioner maintain their efficiency and performance. Standard air filters trap larger particles that can damage the system’s components. Air filters also contribute to cleaner air throughout your home.
The air filter needs to be replaced regularly, depending on how quickly it gets clogged with dust and other debris. This is a simple, inexpensive maintenance task that should not be ignored in order to protect your HVAC system. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for recommendations on how often to replace the filter and what type and size of filter to use.
Every air filter has a MERV rating to indicate its effectiveness. The higher the rating, the more particles are captured. Some air filters can trap the tiny particles that affect health, but those are generally too restrictive, preventing sufficient airflow which can damage the system.
Air cleaners work with filtration to reduce up to 99% of particles in the air, both the large particles that can interfere with your HVAC system’s performance and the microscopic particles that impact the health of the home’s occupants. Air cleaners can trap those tiny particles without compromising the performance of your HVAC.
Air cleaners are built into your HVAC system and are installed between the air return duct and the furnace or air conditioner. Air passes through a built-in filter and, in this way, all the air that flows through your home’s ductwork is cleaned of dust, mold, pet dander, tobacco smoke, pollen and more.
Like air cleaners, air purifiers address indoor air quality by removing impurities such as those indicated above. Air purifiers work with filtration. Some incorporate hydrogen-peroxide or UV germicidal lamps to neutralize and sanitize the air.
Some additional options…
The Air Scrubber works with your existing HVAC system. It attaches directly to the ductwork and cleans the air in your home using light waves and a catalytic process to remove a number of 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. The Air Scrubber also reduces lingering odors, such as from cooking. Because of the amount of dirt that it traps, it can extend the life of your HVAC system as well.
The iWave uses patented needle-point bi-polar ionization to create positive and negative ions in equal amounts. Once injected into the air stream, the ions break down pollutants and gases they encounter, 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 (the pathogens’ energy source). The ions attach to pollen and other allergens until they are large enough to get trapped by the air filter in your ventilation system. The iWave installs in your duct air conditioning system.
The REME Halo is another whole-home air purifier that uses state-of-the-art ionization technology based on the air purification process found in nature. REME stands for Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy.
The REME Halo produces ionized hydrogen-peroxide molecules that sweep through the air, instantly destroying 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.
Ask your HVAC professional which device is best for your home.
For more assistance with indoor air quality or other HVAC questions, contact Rheem Pro Partners today. Serving homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
A zoning system is a way to more easily and efficiently heat or cool specific areas, so that your home remains comfortable throughout without wasting energy. Zoning allows for even heating or even cooling of problem areas.
What is a zoning system?
Unlike central heating and air conditioning that control the temperature uniformly throughout your entire home all the time, zoning allows you to divide your home into different areas that have different heating and cooling needs based on how and when those spaces are used.
Each zone is controlled by its own thermostat that can be adjusted independently. Dampers open and close to allow or block the heated or cooled air from flowing into the zone. This provides greater flexibility and efficiency than a standard system. It also increases comfort, saves money on energy bills and lessens wear and tear on the equipment.
When should you add a zoning system?
1. Building a new home
This is a great time to consider a zoning system because all the mechanical and electrical parts needed can be installed at the same time. It also allows you to choose an HVAC system that can accommodate zoning.
2. Installing new HVAC and ductwork
Similarly, when you are getting a new system, you can incorporate zoning at the same time.
3. Inconsistent temperatures in different areas
Areas of your home that are difficult to heat or cool (resulting in hot or cold spots) would benefit from a zoning system.
4. Differing needs or preferences of the people in your home
From babies to grandparents and everyone in between, people have different needs and preferences that are more easily satisfied with a zoning system.
5. Infrequently used areas
Why pay to heat or cool areas that no one is occupying? Simply closing vents in little or unused rooms is inefficient and can harm your HVAC equipment. Zoning allows you to control the temperature safely and only pay for the energy that is actually needed.
6. Certain room features can create different needs
High ceilings, rooms above an unheated garage, rooms with lots of windows, basements, attics, lofts and sunrooms all have different characteristics that affect room temperature and airflow.
7. Multiple stories
We all know that the top floor can be too hot in summer and too cold in winter, while the reverse is true for the lower floor. Zoning can efficiently keep all the stories in your home more comfortable all year long.
What is needed for a retrofit?
Adding the benefits of zoning to an existing home requires a new thermostat (preferably programmable) for each zone; a central zone control panel connected to the thermostats to control the dampers (one panel can control multiple zones); and a transformer for the zone control panel, plenum tubing, flex dampers, a control limit switch and fire-rated tape.
Retrofitting is a big project that should be done by a professional. It requires knowing the total cubic feet per minute of air produced by your HVAC system, as well as a host of mechanical knowledge.
Learn more about zoning systems by contacting Rheem Pro Partners today! We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
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.