A mini-split ductless system — a heating and cooling alternative that doesn’t require air ducts — can solve a number of problems, even in a home that has existing HVAC equipment.
What is a Mini-Split Ductless System?
Mini-split ductless systems are designed to heat or cool one specific room or zone, which is why they don’t require ductwork to move air throughout the home. With a multi-split ductless system, multiple indoor units (up to five) can be connected to one outdoor unit. This allows for independent control of the temperature in various areas.
Where are Mini-Split Ductless Systems Typically Used?
Mini-splits are ideal for homes without a central heating and cooling system already in place (so no existing ductwork). They are also a cost-effective solution for room additions or converted living spaces. Connecting a new or renovated space to the home’s central air system can be expensive and may even require an upgrade to handle the additional space.
Advantages of Ductless Mini-Splits
The indoor unit can be mounted on a wall or ceiling or even in a closet.
Installation requires only a three-inch hole in the wall for the conduit. However, a professional installer is recommended to ensure proper design and installation.
Flexibility and convenience
Separate controls for each unit make it easy to tailor heating (or cooling) to your family’s specific needs by lowering (or raising) the temperature in rooms that are not being used or to meet the unique requirements of different rooms and people in the household.
Remote controls allow you to control the temperature of the room you are in, without having to rely on a central thermostat that controls the entire home.
Doubles as air conditioning and heating system
Ductless mini-split is one system that can provide both heating and cooling with the same equipment.
Sleek, modern look
The unit can be seamlessly adapted to fit any decor.
Saves money and energy, gain efficiency
Traditional central air systems use ductwork to move the air throughout the home. The heated or cooled air can be wasted through tiny leaks and cracks in the ducts or, if the ducts are dirty, the equipment may require more energy to maintain the comfort level of the home. Mini-splits are high-efficiency systems that eliminate the ductwork, and the flexibility of zone or room control further maximizes their efficiency. As a result, mini-splits are less expensive to operate than central air systems.
Ductwork needs to be maintained and can develp leaks that make the system less efficient.
Window air conditioners provide inadvertent access to intruders.
A well-maintained ductless system can last 20 years, compared to 15 years for a traditional ducted HVAC system.
Tax credits and rebates
Various tax credits, rebates and other incentives may be available for heat pump upgrades.
Ductless Mini-Split Disadvantages
Higher upfront costs than some systems
While they are less expensive to operate, they are more expensive to install.
Some people may not like the look of the indoor units
The units are visible, unlike a furnace and air conditioner that are typically separate from the living areas of the home.
Rheem Pro Partners, in Colorado and Wyoming, can answer all your questions about mini-split ductless systems and help with all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us today for an estimate.
Many homeowners wonder if an annual air conditioner tune-up is an unnecessary expense. On the contrary, regular maintenance saves money by preventing costly repairs and extending the system, as well as by maximizing the unit’s efficiency and performance. Learn more about why you should schedule an air conditioner tune-up before the start of the season.
Here are 7 good reasons why you won’t want to skip your annual tune-up.
1. A spring tune-up will give your air conditioner a head start.
Your air conditioner has likely been idle for months. Before you need it every day, it is a good idea to get it checked out — the same way you might have your car serviced before a cross-country trip. It might be just fine, but it makes sense to start the season with your system at peak function and efficiency.
2. Regular maintenance is almost always less costly than repairs.
Preventive maintenance is a cost-effective to way to avoid or minimize repairs and breakdowns. A certified technician can identify and address any issues while they are minor. Often just cleaning and making simple adjustments is enough to prevent the excessive wear-and-tear that would otherwise shorten the life of your air conditioner.
3. Neglecting regular maintenance can void your warranty.
Many manufacturers require annual maintenance to keep the warranty in force.
4. A well-maintained air conditioner lasts longer than one that isn’t.
Maintenance is about more than preventing breakdowns. Keeping your system in good working order extends its useful life. The longer your system works, the longer before you have to replace it.
5. A tune-up can increase efficiency and decrease cooling costs.
Energy costs account for a significant percentage of most household budgets. When your air conditioner is well-maintained it uses less energy and is, therefore, less expensive to operate. Dust and debris build-up, a condensate drain clog, parts that need lubrication and adjustment can all lower efficiency over time. A poorly maintained system has to work harder, and use more energy, to keep your home comfortable.
6. The EPA, Energy Star and U.S. Department of Energy all recommend regular maintenance
A clean, efficient air conditioner is good for your budget and good for the environment.
7. You’ll get faster service with more flexible scheduling in the spring.
Before the start of the season, technicians have greater availability. This means you can schedule your maintenance appointment at your convenience. This may not be the case in the middle of summer if you need a repair. Emergency or after-hours service can also be more costly to obtain.
What to Expect from an Air Conditioner Tune-up:
A thorough inspection and maintenance appointment will take some time. The technician should:
- Clean the filters, coils and fins
- Check for the correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
Contact Rheem Pro Partners today to schedule your air conditioner tune-up in Colorado and Wyoming today and enjoy a worry-free summer!
Running an air conditioner certainly doesn’t require knowledge of how to build or even repair one, but learning how some of the main components work may help you better maintain your system. Here we explain about the air conditioner evaporator coil and air conditioner condenser coil.
Unlike a furnace that produces heat, an air conditioner relies on refrigerant or coolant to remove heat from the air by absorbing it and releasing it outside. The evaporator coil and the condenser coil are integral parts of this process.
What is an Evaporator Coil?
The cooling process begins with the evaporator coil, also known as an evaporator core. It is located inside your home near the air handler (the blower fan) and consists of U-shaped tubes set into panels. The evaporator coil holds the refrigerant and is made of copper, steel or aluminum – materials that easily conduct heat. The panels are positioned to form an “A” and are lined with thin pieces of metal called “fins” which draw the hot air close to the refrigerant to maximize cooling.
The compressor pulls the liquid refrigerant through an expansion valve that relieves the pressure from the refrigerant and quickly cools it, allowing it to absorb heat as it then flows through the tubing in the evaporator coil. The valve controls how much refrigerant flows to the evaporator for overall energy efficiency. The blower fan draws the hot air over the evaporator coil. The refrigerant absorbs the heat, warms and evaporates.
When the water vapor in the warm household air hits the cold evaporator coils, the water vapor condenses into liquid form and drips down into the condensate pan, which drains the water away outdoors. This is how your evaporator coil reduces the humidity in your home.
Evaporator Coil Maintenance
In order to operate efficiently, the evaporator must be clean. Dust can prevent the refrigerant from properly doing its job and cause the system to work harder than necessary to cool your home. Keeping the evaporator free from dust and debris requires regularly changing or cleaning the air filter (every 30-90 days) and scheduling annual maintenance by a certified HVAC technician to thoroughly clean and inspect the system.
Frost on the evaporator coil indicates that the system is dirty and malfunctioning in some way. Do not run an air conditioner if you notice frost because doing so can cause serious damage to the equipment. Evaporator coils can also develop tiny pinhole leaks due to corrosion caused by moisture from condensation mixing with common household chemicals in the air. Oily residue around the evaporator or in the drain pan is a sign your coil is leaky and requires replacement. The chemicals in the air are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and come from carpeting, fabrics, cleaners, pressed wood, air fresheners and other similar sources. Maintaining proper ventilation can prevent VOCs from harming your air conditionaer and your health.
What is a Condenser Coil?
The condenser coil is housed in the condenser unit, the portion of the air conditioner system that is outside and houses the compressor, the condenser coil and a fan.
After the refrigerant in the evaporator coil has absorbed the heat from the air in your home, a copper tube transfers it to the condenser unit. The low-pressure, warm refrigerant gas enters the compressor where it is pressurized and turns into a hot, high-pressure gas. From there, the gas flows into the condenser coils and the refrigerant releases most of the heat it has absorbed. The fan on the top of the condenser unit also causes the refrigerant to lose heat by blowing air over the condenser coil. The condenser coil is designed to maximize the time the refrigerant is in contact with the blowing air, so it can release as much heat as possible.
As it cools, the refrigerant changes from a hot gas to a hot liquid. From there, it flows back through a copper tube into your home and into the expansion valve located in the indoor unit near the evaporator coil.
Condenser Coil Maintenance
Similar to the evaporator coil, the condenser coil needs to stay clean. To ensure proper airflow, periodically check for debris, such as leaves and branches, that may be blocking the system. Maintain a clear area around the unit and prevent leaves or other foliage from falling on or near the condenser. Frost or even ice can develop on the condenser unit as a result of dirt in the system. If you notice a buildup of dirt on the condenser coil, use a stiff brush to gently clean the fins. Annual professional maintenance will keep the condenser coil, and the entire condenser unit in good shape.
Importance of regular professional maintenance
It’s important to perform routine A/C maintenance that keeps your evaporator and condenser coils and the rest of your system running efficiently. If something does go wrong, you’ll be better able to troubleshoot the problem. Your knowledge will also help you make smart choices when you’re ready to buy replacement components or upgrade your air conditioner.
For more assistance or to schedule a maintenance appointment, contact Rheem Pro Partners in Colorado and Wyoming today!
Whether purchasing a brand new home, or a home that is new to you, making sure you understand your HVAC system from the start will go a long way toward insuring your comfort and safety in your new place. For an older home purchase, getting an HVAC inspection and scheduling maintenance is especially important.
While checking out the bedrooms and the kitchen appliances, be sure to look at the HVAC equipment too. For starters, review the stat sheet on the house you are interested in for a list of the types of HVAC equipment, as well as the fuel used to power them. If that information is missing, be sure to ask.
Here are some tips for evaluating the HVAC equipment in a potential home.
1. Understand what your HVAC system includes.
In addition to the furnace, air conditioner and water heater, the HVAC system might include a programmable thermostat and indoor air quality accessories. Many HVAC systems also include ductwork.
2. Visually inspect the equipment.
Does the equipment appear to be in good condition? Does it make noises that are concerning? Make a note of anything that seems unusual and be sure to have your home inspector check it out. You can also hire an HVAC professional to do an inspection.
3. Ask about the system’s age.
HVAC equipment typically lasts 10 to 15 years. If the equipment is in that range, you may wish to ask for it to be replaced, even if it has been well-maintained. New equipment will have far greater energy efficiency and reliability, making it much more cost effective to operate. The Department of Energy estimates that a 12-year-old central air conditioner that is replaced with a new Energy Star model can reduce air conditioning energy costs by 30 percent.
4. Look for the energy label.
Even if the equipment is newer, look for the yellow energy label for the energy efficiency rating and the estimated operating costs compared to similar equipment. The Energy Star logo indicates greater efficiency than standard equipment. Check the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) for boilers and furnaces and the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating for air conditioners. When judging these ratings, keep in mind the overall maintenance the equipment has received.
5. Understand the warranty.
Ask about the warranty and any maintenance agreements. Find out if they transfer to the new owners.
6. Ask about past maintenance and repairs.
HVAC technicians sometimes leave behind a dated job ticket when they service an air conditioner, boiler, furnace or heat pump either attached to the unit or posted nearby. This type of information is a record of what has been done to the system. Check for frequent repairs, especially big-ticket items like blower motors or compressors. These could signal trouble that the equipment may need to be replaced soon.
7. Pay attention to the comfort levels in different rooms.
Cold, drafty spots or hot, stuffy spots could indicate a problem such as leaks or poor insulation.
8. Schedule a professional inspection and preventative maintenance.
Have the HVAC system inspected before you close on the house. At the very least, have a certified HVAC technician come out and do a thorough cleaning and maintenance before you move in.
A certified HVAC technician is an invaluable resource when you purchase a home. He or she will explain the system to you, provide recommendations for what you need to do to keep the system running as efficiently as possible, answer any additional questions you have and give you a good idea of how much life is left in the system. Keep in mind, an older system doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced. A well-maintained gas furnace or boiler can last between 15-20 years, while a heat pump or central air conditioner can last 10-15 years.
For your new home HVAC inspection, contact your Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming today!
How many years your air conditioner will last depends a lot on how well you take care of it. With a little attention and maintenance, such as regularly changing the air filter and utilizing a programmable thermostat, you can maximize the life of your air conditioning unit. The simple steps listed below will save you money by lowering your energy costs and minimizing repairs as well as by delaying the need for a replacement.
To help extend the life of your air conditioning unit, here are a few things you can do:
1. Schedule regular maintenance
A trained HVAC technician is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting and maintaining your air conditioner. During a service visit before the start of each cooling season, the technician will thoroughly clean the unit and make repairs or adjustments as needed. Doing so will prevent costly repairs down the road, and keep your system running as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.
2. Change the air filter on a regular basis
The air filter keeps your air conditioner (and your home) clean by preventing dust and debris from building up inside and ensuring sufficient airflow. This prevents breakdowns and extends the life of your system. Filters also help your unit operate at maximum efficiency, so your energy bills stay as low as possible. Air filters do get dirty, however, and once that happens they can no longer do their job. Check the filter periodically to make sure it isn’t clogged and change it every 30-60 days as needed to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
3. Keep the outdoor unit clean and clear of debris
While the air filter keeps the indoor unit clean, keeping the outdoor unit clean is equally important to prevent mechanical problems. The area directly around the unit should be free of any debris, such as leaves, that can get inside. Maintain sufficient clear space around the unit so it can intake and exhaust air properly. Don’t plant shrubs too close, or stack things on or against the unit.
4. Invest in a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat makes it easy to adjust the temperature when you’re away or at night so that your air conditioner is not running when you don’t need it. With preprogrammed or custom settings, you can set it once to match your schedule to save energy, money and wear-and-tear on your air conditioner.
5. Insulate doors and windows
Air leaks that allow warm air in and let cool air escape make your air conditioner work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. This wastes energy, raises your energy bills and shortens the life of your system. Check the caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows every year and repair or replace it as needed.
6. Install blinds and curtains
The sun coming through uncovered windows can quickly heat up your home and keep your air conditioner running. Insulated or even non-insulated blinds and curtains, particularly on windows that get direct sunlight, will help keep your home cool and give your air conditioner a break.
7. Allow air to circulate
Proper airflow is necessary for your air conditioner to work efficiently. Make sure air vents are clear and unobstructed to allow air to circulate freely throughout your home.
For help with all your air conditioning needs, contact Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming today!
If you are building or remodeling a home, or simply want to add a cooling system to an existing home, you may be wondering about the various options and which one is best for your situation. Most people are familiar with central air conditioning (also called ducted air conditioning), but you may be less familiar with ductless air conditioning (also called a ductless mini-split system).
Here’s an overview of both types.
Ducted air conditioning unit (or central air conditioning)
As the name implies, a ducted air conditioning unit uses air ducts and vents to distribute the cooled air throughout the home and return air to the system. Typically the ducts are used for both cooling and heating your home. The main unit of the air conditioner is installed outside (although sometimes it is mounted on the roof or in the attic) so it doesn’t take up living space. It sits on a concrete pad and connects to the ducts and the HVAC system.
Ductless air conditioning unit (or ductless mini-split system)
Ductless systems use an air handler unit that is mounted on the wall or ceiling, rather than air ducts, to deliver cooled air. They are energy efficient because air is not lost traveling through ducts to each room. However, depending on the size of your home, you may need to install more than one. In this way, they can also be used to cool specific areas or even to supplement central air systems.
Which Type of Air Conditioner Is Right for Your Home?
When a ducted air conditioning unit may be the best option:
A ducted air conditioning unit may be preferable if you already have ducts in your home for a forced air heating system. In that case, installation is just a matter of hooking up the new air conditioner unit to the existing ducts, making it an affordable option that can be installed quickly.
Ducted systems are preferable if airflow is a concern, as they are designed to circulate air. Ducted systems are virtually invisible because the ducts are hidden behind walls and the unit is outside, so they are a good choice if aesthetics are a concern.
Ducted systems may be simpler and less expensive to maintain because there is only one unit.
When a ductless air conditioning unit may be the best option:
Ductless air conditioning units are much easier and less expensive to install in homes that don’t already have ducts since the units go right in the wall or ceiling. Ductwork is expensive and complicated to install because it involves running the ducts from room to room and cutting holes in walls, floors and ceilings. In some cases, there may not even be enough room to install ducts. A ductless unit may also be preferable if you are removing the ducts during a renovation, or if you are building an addition and don’t want to add ducts and upgrade your current HVAC system.
Rooms can be independently controlled with separate air handlers, saving energy and arguments over temperature control.
Start with a qualified installer
Whichever system you choose, proper design and installation is the key to having an air conditioner that functions properly, efficiently and lasts a long time. Hire a trained HVAC professional to design and install your system.
Still have questions? The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are happy to help. Contact us today! We proudly serve Colorado and Wyoming.
On a hot summer day, an air conditioner can be a true lifesaver, as long as it’s working properly. The main way to ensure that your system will keep you cool all summer long, and save money in the long run, is to schedule a professional tune-up at the start of the season. In addition, however, you can avoid an unpleasant surprise by taking a moment to understand the warning signs that your air conditioner may be failing and the steps you can take to prevent a breakdown before it happens.
Here are five signs of a potential problem with your air conditioner:
1. Increased energy bills
An air conditioner that works harder to achieve the proper temperature uses more energy. If your energy bills are increasing and your home takes longer to cool, this could indicate that your system is failing.
2. The air coming from the vents isn’t cold
The air blowing through the vents should be consistently cool. If you notice that it is no longer as cold as when your system was new, or, of course, if it’s not cold at all, have your system checked out by a professional. The problem could be a simple fix, or something more serious.
3. Weak airflow from your vents
Limited airflow could indicate an issue with the compressor. It may also mean that your air ducts are dirty. Dust and debris can build up in the ducts and prevent air from flowing properly. Leaks in the ducts also prevent the conditioned air from reaching your home’s living spaces. (Ask us about Aeroseal, a patented process that thoroughly and economically seals holes and cracks in air ducts.)
4. Strange noises coming from the AC unit
Air conditioners are designed to run quietly. Squealing, grinding or grating sounds are a clear indication of a malfunction. Have a technician check out any unusual noises as soon as possible. Correcting the problem early can prevent a costly breakdown later on.
5. Leakage around the air conditioning unit
Any leaks should be addressed immediately. Water pooling around the unit may be caused by a clogged or broken drain tube. The presence of water or moisture can lead to mold growth. Water dripping inside the unit may come from ice melting. If the drip pan is full, or you hear chunks of ice falling, call your HVAC technician right away. Either of these can cause significant damage to your air conditioner. A refrigerant leak also requires immediate attention. Refrigerant leaks pose serious health risks and can also indicate a major problem with your system.
Any of these signs warrant a service call. For increased peace of mind, however, be sure to schedule an annual tune-up by a licensed HVAC technician. Doing so will greatly diminish the likelihood of emergency repairs and will also extend the life of your air conditioner and save money on energy costs.
Contact Rheem Pro Partner today for all your air conditioning needs. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
When your HVAC system is running smoothly, scheduling maintenance appointments may be way down at the bottom of your to-do list. However, annual HVAC maintenance is the easiest and most economical way to ensure that your air conditioner and furnace work properly and safely all season long. Taking care of your equipment improves energy efficiency and prevents the inconvenience of breakdowns and costly emergency repairs. It also keeps your system from needing a replacement prematurely. Preventive maintenance is the best way to protect this significant investment in your home.
Here are the top five reasons you should invest in regular HVAC preventive maintenance:
1. Increases energy efficiency
An HVAC system that has to work harder to maintain the proper temperature uses more energy. Regular maintenance keeps your system running as efficiently as possible and that can translate into substantial energy cost savings over time.
2. Minimizes air conditioner and furnace repairs
A trained HVAC technician can catch small problems while they are easy and inexpensive to fix, and even prevent problems from arising in the first place. Maintenance appointments at the start of the season can be easily scheduled at your convenience. Regular maintenance prevents the need for emergency repairs, which are costly and inconvenient. During peak periods in winter and summer, any service call can be challenging to schedule as demand increases dramatically.
3. Lengthens the lifespan of your air conditioner and furnace
Normal wear-and-tear occurs over time as your furnace and air conditioner are used normally and can get worse as the equipment ages without proper care. Regular maintenance decreases that wear-and-tear, effectively prolonging the life of your system. This means more years of service before you need a replacement.
4. Improves indoor air quality
Indoor air pollution has become an increasing problem as our homes are sealed more tightly against the elements, trapping harmful or irritating substances such as dust, cigarette smoke and pet dander, inside. This is particularly troubling for people with allergies or respiratory illnesses. Regular HVAC maintenance keeps your system clean and ensures that the air circulating throughout your home is clean and well-filtered.
5. Ensures the safety of your home
A poorly maintained HVAC system can result in a carbon monoxide leak. Preventive maintenance typically includes a carbon monoxide test which can detect a potential hazard before it becomes deadly.