10 A/C Tips For Summer

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10 A/C Tips For Summer

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to make sure your home’s air conditioner is in great shape for the season. Here are 10 seasonal maintenance steps you can take now to optimize your air conditioner’s performance, save money and keep your cool.

1. Seal cracks and prevent air leaks

Maximize your air conditioner’s energy efficiency by locating and sealing any cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Add insulation where needed, including around electrical outlets on outside walls, which can allow cooled air to escape or let hot air in.

2. Position the thermostat correctly

In order to accurately read the temperature in the home, the thermostat should be placed on an interior wall, away from any heat sources. This includes air vents, lamps, heat-producing appliances and direct sunlight.

3. Upgrade to a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat, also known as a programmable thermostat, makes it nearly effortless to adjust the temperature in your home at specified times of the day to maximize efficiency and save energy. Program the thermostat to raise the temperature when no one is home. Most new thermostats allow you to save several options for different days of the week or times of day, depending on your particular needs and schedule. This way, the house is always cool when you need it to be, without wasting energy and money.

4. Close blinds

If there are areas of your home that get a lot of direct sun during the day, consider keeping the blinds or curtains closed to prevent the home from heating up and causing your air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

5. Use a ceiling fan

Set your ceiling fan to run in a counterclockwise direction to push down the air directly under the fan. This creates a wind-chill effect. A ceiling fan is far less expensive to operate than an air conditioner, (approximately $1.50 a month for half a day versus $25, respectively) and can keep your A/C from overworking.

6. Raise the temperature

For every degree below 78, energy consumption increases about 8 percent. You can save a considerable amount for every degree above 78 you are willing to set your thermostat at (about $8 per degree for every $100 of energy costs).

7. Check air filters

Replacing your air filter every one to three months, depending on how quickly it becomes dirty, is an easy and economical way to keep your system clean and running at maximum efficiency. It also will prevent breakdowns caused by blocked airflow and lengthen the life of the system.

8. Keep you A/C in the shade

Shading your outdoor unit will help your system run more efficiently. The air in a shaded area is substantially cooler than surrounding air in the sun. Keeping your A/C at a lower temperature makes it easier for the system to cool the air.

9. Use landscaping to your advantage

Avoid landscaping that absorbs and radiates heat (such as rock, cement or asphalt) on the west and south sides of your home. If you must have those materials, make sure they are shaded.

10. Call an HVAC professional

Regular maintenance before the heat of the summer hits will ensure that your air conditioner is ready to go when you need it and is far less likely to have unexpected breakdowns. Annual service may be required to keep the warranty in force and will extend the life and efficiency of the system.

Contact Rheem Pro Partners today with all your air conditioning needs. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

How Much Does a Central Air Conditioner Cost?

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How Much Does a Central Air Conditioner Cost?

Purchasing a central air conditioner is a major home investment. The price range for a new system varies greatly — from about $3,000 to about $7,500. The difference depends on multiple factors. The main considerations are the size of the home, the SEER rating, which indicates energy efficiency, and the type of equipment. Understanding what to look for in order to compare options is the best place to start.

How much does an A/C unit for a 2,000 sq. ft. home cost?

On average, an A/C unit cools 400 square feet of a home per one ton of air conditioning cooling capacity. This produces 12,000 BTUs per 600 square feet. Dividing the 2,000 square-foot measurement by 400 square feet of cooled area (per one ton A/C unit cooling capacity) determines that a 5.0-ton air conditioner is needed. An A/C system of this size should be able to remove 60,000 BTUs per hour (5.0 tons x 12,000 BTUs). A 5.0-ton air conditioner would cost about $1,980 for the A/C unit, and about $3,690 for the unit plus installation.

What is SEER and how does it affect A/C cost?

An air conditioner’s efficiency affects both the initial purchase cost and the cost of operation, so it is an important factor in any A/C purchase decision. SEER is the standard rating for air conditioner efficiency. It stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. SEER ratings range from an average of 13-14 for standard efficiency all the way up to a maximum efficiency of 22-24. The higher the rating the more expensive the unit will be to purchase, but the upfront cost will be offset by lower energy costs over the life of the system. In addition, higher efficiency units may qualify for rebates. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend purchasing the most efficient air conditioner you can afford.

What type of system is best for your home?

Several types of air conditioning systems exist for home use.

  • Central air uses the home’s duct system to distribute cooled air throughout the home and is often paired with the heating system for easy access and control of heating and cooling throughout the year.
  • Ductless mini-splits are great for homes or additions that don’t already have air ducts. They consist of an inside and an outside unit.
  • Heat pumps are another version of a ductless system that works well in warmer climates. Rather than cooling the air, they pump the heat from inside to the outdoors.
  • Window units fit inside a window and cool one room or area of a home.
  • Portable air conditioners can be easily relocated to different areas of the home as needed. They use an evaporative system with a split or hose.

Other considerations

  • The home’s layout, the number of levels and the family’s lifestyle, along with square footage, should be used to determine the best size and type of air conditioner for a home.
  • Installation must be factored into the cost of a new air conditioner.
  • A smart thermostat can maximize the efficiency of a new system, further lowering the operating costs.
  • Rebates are often available for high-efficiency systems.
  • Warranties impact repair costs, and often require regular maintenance to remain in force.
  • Installation of a new furnace at the same time can save money on both systems.

To make the best choice for a new cooling system, ask the experts at Rheem Pro Partners today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

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Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

All air conditioners will leak some water but homeowners should know when the leak surpasses a normal amount and needs attention. Leaks can occur from the outdoor condenser unit or from the indoor unit. The thermostat setting and the outside temperature can affect how much condensation your air conditioner produces with normal operation. Higher temperatures and humidity will cause the unit to work harder and produce more water. In general, you should not see more than a small puddle beneath the condensing unit. If the leak is greater than that, or lasts for more than 24 hours, have the system inspected by a professional contractor.

Here is a breakdown of common causes of air conditioner leaks.

Clogged or cracked condensate drain

The condensate drain can occasionally become clogged due to dirt, rust, algae, mold or other debris that builds up over time. Some systems that drain to the outside use gravity to keep the condensate flowing freely, but clogs can cause water to back up and overflow.

Disconnected drain line

An improper air conditioner installation can result in the drain line coming loose, causing the pipe to disconnect. The broken connection means the condensate is not draining into the pan as it should and creates a visible leak.

Cracked or missing drain pan

The condensate pan can rust and crack, causing water to leak from the air conditioner.

Dirty air filter

The air filter keeps dirt and debris out of the air conditioner so that air circulates freely. When the filter gets dirty, airflow over the evaporator coils is restricted. This can cause the coils to get too cold and actually freeze over. Once the coils warm up again and melt, the excess moisture can drip and overflow the condensate pan.

Low refrigerant levels

The evaporator coils can also freeze over as a result of a drop in the refrigerant level. Too little refrigerant causes the pressure in the air conditioner system to become too low. This is another cause of frozen evaporator coils that can lead to a leak.

How to prevent air conditioner leaks

The best way to prevent leaks is with annual professional maintenance. This will keep the lines clear and prevent the condensate drain and pan from becoming excessively dirty during the cooling season.

The professionals at Rheem Pro Partners are here to help with all your air conditioning needs. Call today for service or to purchase a new system. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

7 Troubleshooting Tips to Try Before Calling for Air Conditioner Service

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7 Troubleshooting Tips to Try Before Calling for Air Conditioner Service

Having your air conditioner stop working is annoying and in some instances can quickly become a safety issue. Before you pick up the phone to place a service call, however, here are a few simple things you can check yourself. Knowing these A/C  troubleshooting tips can save you time, money and inconvenience.

1. Check the power to the unit.

Make sure both the indoor and outdoor unit power switches are turned on. This may seem obvious, but occasionally switches get flipped inadvertently.

2. Check the power to the house and the circuit breaker

Make sure power is reaching the house and the outlet used by the air conditioner. If the breaker trips repeatedly, this could be a sign of a larger problem that should be checked by an electrician.

3. Check the air filter and vents

Make sure the air filter is clean. Restricted air flow can cause the system to malfunction so the filter should be replaced regularly to prevent problems. Also, check to see that the vents are open and not blocked by furniture or other items.

4. Check the thermostat batteries

Make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries and that the settings have not been accidentally changed. If the setting and the ambient room temperature don’t match, the thermostat may be malfunctioning.

5. Check the condensation pump and the A/C drain line

Many units have a safety switch that turns the unit off in the event of a leak. Check the pan under the unit to see if the drain is clogged. If that is the case, empty the pan and flush the drain line. The unit may start working again. It is important not to bypass the safety switch or you could end up with serious water damage in your home.

6. Consider the outdoor temperature

On excessively hot days, the system may struggle to maintain the set temperature. The greater the difference between the inside and outside temperature, the harder it is for the air conditioner to maintain that temperature.

7. Clear any debris from the outside air compressor

Remove any debris that may be blocking the outside unit. Trim trees and hedges to prevent leaves and dirt from collecting around it. Keep landscaping around the unit to a minimum, allowing at least 2 feet of clear space all the way around.

Annual maintenance by an HVAC technician before the start of the cooling season can prevent many of these problems. Contact Rheem Pro Partners today to schedule your maintenance appointment. We are located throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

What Happens if the Air Filter Isn’t Changed in a Furnace or Air Conditioner?

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What Happens if the Air Filter Isn’t Changed in a Furnace or Air Conditioner?

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

A dirty air filter will eventually block all airflow through your HVAC system and cause operating problems such as the complete loss of heating or cooling. This can happen if the filter goes without replacement or cleaning for well past the recommended 60-90 days. Chances are the problem is the result of a mechanical failure due to overworking the system and will require repair or replacement. An even greater danger is the possibility of the furnace overheating and starting a fire. The cost is time and inconvenience of any of these issues will be way higher than simply replacing the filter in a timely manner.

Poor air quality

The quality of a home’s indoor air is impacted in part by how the filtration system in the furnace or air conditioner works. When the air filter is clogged, it is no longer able to remove dust and debris. Those particles end up in the air ducts and released into your home along with the circulated heated or cooled air. This is especially dangerous for those with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems, but clean indoor air impacts everyone’s comfort.

Shortened lifespan

Excessive wear and tear due to a dirty air filter (or any lack of maintenance) will shorten the life of the furnace or air conditioner and require a replacement sooner than would otherwise be necessary.

Frozen coil

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.

8 Top HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

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8 Top HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

Did you know that your pets can decrease the performance of your HVAC system? Fur, dander, and other tracked-in particles can get inside the system, lowering indoor air quality. Minimize your household’s allergens by applying the following HVAC maintenance tips.

Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

1. Bathe your pets often.

Dirt and debris cling to your pets’ coats when they come in from outside. This dirt then transfers itself from their fur to your furniture, the air, and eventually the ductwork. Bathing your pets regularly cuts down on the pollutants being brought into the house.

2. Clean your home regularly.

While bathing your pets helps, it won’t eliminate dirt entirely. Dust and mop often to keep floors and furniture from gathering too much dirt.

3. Change your air filter.

Airborne hair and dander tend to accumulate very quickly in standard air filters. A clogged air filter can result in air quality problems. Change your filter regularly to ensure maximum HVAC system efficiency.

4. Deep-clean your carpet.

No matter how often you vacuum or spot-clean your carpet, allergens get trapped deep inside the pile. Eventually, these allergens can be stirred up and become airborne, cycling through your home. Deep-cleaning your carpet every six months eliminates “nesting” and cuts down on airborne particles.

5. Clean your air ducts.

Your air ducts provide the passageway for the air being circulated through your home. Having them professionally cleaned ensures that no hidden dirt is contributing to poor indoor air quality.

6. Seal your air ducts.

Sealing/insulating your air ducts not only prevents bad air from getting in, it encourages good air circulation and distribution.

7. Cover your condenser unit.

Keeping your condenser closed protects it from curious outdoor pets who might damage it.

8. Invest in an air purifier.

Whole house electronic air purifiers can remove up to 99% of airborne particles, reducing health risks and increasing HVAC system efficiency. Air cleaners are a great investment for pet owners in particular.

Don’t forget to schedule your professional tune-up!

As important as it is to clean and maintain things yourself, it’s also important that you hire a licensed technician to check your HVAC system once or twice a year. A professional can catch problems in the system early, saving you larger expenses later.

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.

6 Common HVAC Installation Mistakes and How They Can Cost You Money

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6 Common HVAC Installation Mistakes and How They Can Cost You Money

To avoid future issues and expenses, it is important that your HVAC system is installed correctly. We have prepared a helpful guide of things to watch out for, including a careless contractor.

What are some common HVAC installation mistakes?

1. Don’t choose the wrong contractor.

The most important thing you can do when installing an HVAC system is to find a great contractor. An inexperienced or lazy contractor can make a great deal of mistakes, costing you both time and money. Take the time to find an honest, reputable technician to successfully install your HVAC system.

2. Avoid installing an incorrectly sized system.

An inexperienced contractor will often install an HVAC system that is either too small or too large for the house in question. A small furnace will result in poor air distribution and an overworked system, while a large furnace will constantly turn on and off. Both will increase your utility bill.

3. Make sure you have properly designed air distribution.

One of the HVAC system’s functions is to distribute heating and cooling evenly throughout the home. If there is a flaw in the distribution design, then the air being circulated is uneven. This results in some rooms being too hot and some being too cold.

4. Don’t waste energy due to faulty ductwork.

Cheap ductwork and poor workmanship leads to future leaks, drafts, and expenses. Your contractor should install ductwork with care.

5. Watch out for an ill-functioning exhaust system.

A proper exhaust system is important for your safety and health. Furnaces produce carbon monoxide, which needs to be vented away from the building. An exhaust that is sized incorrectly or installed poorly can cause a backup.

6. Ensure you have a fully functional drainage system.

Air conditioners produce waste water that must be drained safely. Improper installation leads to water leaks and frozen pipes.

How do these mistakes cost you money?

HVAC installation mistakes can cause you several problems.

  • Shortened HVAC lifespan:
    A system that functions incorrectly is one that functions poorly. Careless mistakes will decrease the lifespan of your HVAC system, resulting in expensive replacement costs.
  • Lower efficiency:
    Installation mistakes can cause your HVAC system to waste energy, lowering efficiency.
  • Decrease in home comfort:
    HVAC installation errors result in uneven heating and cooling, allergens, and poor indoor air quality. All of these things lower the level of comfort in your home.

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.

Why is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

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Why is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

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.

7 Ways to Maintain Your Mini-Split Air Conditioner

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7 Ways to Maintain Your Samsung Mini-Split Air Conditioner

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 6 Most Common Air Conditioning Problems in Denver

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The 6 Most Common Air Conditioning Problems in Denver

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.