What’s the best way to ensure the convenience and reliability of hot water in your home? Most homes rely on a conventional water heater that stores water in a tank and heats it continuously. If you are in the market for a new water heater, it may be time to consider a tankless water heater. A tankless water heater does not store hot water, but rather heats the water on demand. Although the upfront cost can be much more than for a regular water heater, when sized and installed properly, a tankless water heater can be an economical solution for providing hot water to your home.
Here’s why a tankless water heater may be right for you.
1. Save energy and money
Keeping water hot all the time takes a lot of energy. A conventional system heats and reheats 50 or more gallons of water to ensure that hot water is always available. In contrast, by only heating the water when it is needed, tankless water heaters can lower a home’s energy cost by 30 to 50%. A tankless system is also more energy efficient. As much as 97% of the fuel consumed goes directly to heating the water.
2. Provide a continuous hot water supply
Despite continuously heating water, depending on the size of the water tank and how much hot water your family uses, a traditional water heater can run out of hot water. Because a tankless system works on demand, it provides an endless supply of hot water. No more cold showers or long waits for the tank to recover.
3. Require less space
Tankless water heaters are compact — about the size of a small suitcase, and are mounted on the wall, saving floor space.
4. Work with different types of fuel
Tankless water heaters can operate on natural gas or propane, or electricity. Electric systems are the most efficient, although a gas system may be cheaper to operate and will typically last longer.
5. Reduce the likelihood of leaks or flooding
Because the water isn’t being stored, there is far less chance of developing leaks. Tankless water heaters also eliminate other problems associated with water tanks, such as sediment buildup, tank noises and recovery time.
6. Last longer
While tankless water heaters cost more to purchase and install, they last up to twice as long – as long as 20 years, compared to 8 to 10 years for a conventional system.
7. Provide cleaner, fresher water
Because the water is not sitting in the tank for long stretches of time, but rather comes directly to your faucet, it is as clean and fresh as your water supply.
Questions about a new water heater? The experts at Rheem Pro Partners are here to help. Contact us today throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Sometimes taking care of your home means knowing what not to do. This applies to your central air conditioning system. To protect your home and your investment in your HVAC avoid these common mistakes.
1. Choose the wrong size AC
HVAC professionals size air conditioning units through careful calculations, taking into account a variety of factors. These include square footage; number of levels; the home’s layout, orientation and window placement; the number of occupants; and your lifestyle. An incorrectly sized air conditioner will work harder to cool the space, wear out more quickly, and operate at lower efficiency than it is designed for.
2. Skip proper cleaning of coils and fins
The coils and fins help the evaporator and condenser absorb and release heat. Layers of dust and grime get in the way of this process, making your system lose efficiency and costing you more to operate it.
3. Let the air filter become clogged and dirty
Clogged air filters are the main cause of air conditioners breaking down and wearing out prematurely. Dirt and debris cause restricted airflow, which is harmful to your system and compromises its performance. Changing the filter is also the easiest, most economical way to keep your system operating efficiently and effectively.
4. Forget to program or set your thermostat
Your thermostat is a key component in the function of your air conditioner. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat, if you haven’t already. Regardless of the type of thermostat you have, make sure to check the settings, particularly as the seasons change.
5. Set the temperature too low
Lowering the temperature setting does not cool your home faster. Doing so just makes the system run at full power longer, resulting in greater wear and tear. Simply set the thermostat for the temperature you want, and let the system do the work efficiently.
6. Allow drains to clog and overflow
Surrounding floors and walls can sustain permanent damage if water is allowed to collect and overflow. Clean the drain line and snake the drain every year to keep it clear and open.
7. Wait too long to replace an old unit
HVAC technology improves rapidly, so investing in a new system can be more affordable than continuing to repair and run an old, inefficient system. With a new system, you instantly begin saving on monthly energy bills and frequent repairs. New equipment, compared to an old unit, can save quite a bit over its lifetime, perform better and give you peace of mind.
8. Skip annual, professional maintenance
Annual professional maintenance will keep your system running at peak efficiency, greatly reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns and extends the life of your system, saving you money overall. Some manufacturers require regular service to maintain the warranty.
9. Run AC when no one is home
Cooling your home when no one is there wastes energy and money, and increases wear and tear on your system. Today’s air conditioners cool your home quickly, and programmable thermostats can help you control when the system turns on automatically.
10. Forget to close blinds, drapes and windows
Proper use of window coverings can assist your HVAC system. Keeping your home cooler in this way means your system doesn’t have to work as hard. Opening windows occasionally for fresh air is a good idea, but be sure to close them.
11. Put the outside unit in a hot spot
Having the outside unit in a sunny spot on the south or west side of your home will make your AC work too hard. Instead, locate it in a shady spot on the north or east side of your home.
12. Block the unit with shrubs or plants
Debris from trees, shrubs or plants can get inside the unit, hinder ventilation, clog the condenser coils and result in inefficient operation or even cause breakdowns. Keep the area around the unit free of anything that could get inside it.
13. Close unused vents
Closing the vents in unused rooms may seem to make sense but doing so is actually counterproductive. It often reduces the efficiency of the system.
14. Improperly locate the thermostat
To function properly, the thermostat should be located away from any heat sources such as windows, appliances or lamps, that can affect the temperature reading.
Rheem Pro Partners are here to address all your HVAC needs. Contact us today! We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Colorado is known for its dry climate, which has benefits but can take a toll on your skin and sinuses. The ideal humidity level is about 40% for optimal comfort and health. One of the best ways to maintain that level in your home is with an energy-efficient whole house humidifier.
How a whole house humidifier works
A whole house humidifier can be installed directly into your HVAC system, introducing humidity and moisture in the form of water vapor into your home through your air ducts. You can use a thermostat to easily monitor and adjust, not only your indoor temperature, but the humidity levels, as well.
Benefits of a whole house humidifier
Viruses, like the flu, flourish in low humidity environments and dry sinuses make people more susceptible to getting sick. Very dry air is hard on people’s respiratory systems, and can worsen allergy symptoms and asthma, as well as causing sore throats and dry, cracked skin. Bringing the right amount of humidity into your home keeps you and your family healthier.
Along with relieving the discomfort of dry skin, noses and throats, moisture in the air decreases static electricity, and the annoying shocks and clingy clothes that come with it.
Unlike a portable humidifier that only works in a limited area, takes up space, and needs constant refilling, a whole house system works behind the scenes to keep your entire home comfortable. The humidity level is easily and conveniently controlled with your thermostat.
A humidifier protects electronics against harmful static shocks. Humidity keeps wood furniture, flooring, trim and structural components from drying out, cracking and splitting.
Save energy and reduce monthly utility costs
In the winter, a whole house humidifier can save as much as 4% on energy costs for every degree you lower your thermostat because humid air feels warmer than dry air.
How much maintenance does a whole house humidifier require?
Very little. If your model uses a humidifier pad or filter, the media typically needs to be replaced about once per year. If you have a steam humidifier, it simply needs to be cleaned annually. Your HVAC technician can perform the annual maintenance on the humidifier along with your regular yearly HVAC service.
Learn more about how a whole house humidifier can benefit your home. Contact Rheem Pro Partners today. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Funny or unpleasant smells emanating from your air conditioner can negate the comfort you normally experience when you enter your home on a hot day. Odors can also be a sign of a more serious problem.
There are several potential causes of odors from your air conditioner. The type of smell is a clue to its origin. Learn more about what different smells mean.
Dirty socks or feet = mold, mildew, fungus
This is a common occurrence with air conditioners and is most likely the result of water accumulating in the drain pan, drip lines or ducts. The standing water can cause fungus, mold or mildew to grow. Dirty air filters can also create the smell as they accumulate moisture. Contact a professional to thoroughly clean the lines and ducts, and repair the source of the leak to prevent further problems.
Exhaust fumes = fluid leaks
If your air conditioner smells like your car’s exhaust it could mean a fluid leak. Some of the fluids in your AC, when heated, can give off that smell. Most likely it is a leak in the refrigerant line, which can impact the performance of your unit and cause hazardous environmental exposure.
Rotten eggs = gas leak
This smell is highly concerning. Gas distributors add that sulphuric/rotten eggs odor to otherwise odorless gas to alert homeowners to a gas leak. It may also smell like skunk spray. Immediately turn off the gas supply, contact your utility company or the fire department from a safe location outside your home.
Trash smell = dead animal
A foul or rotten smell could be dead rodents. Other critters, such as birds and insects, can nest in the system and become trapped in the equipment. Over time they emit these unpleasant odors. Pest-proof your equipment to avoid this scenario.
Cigarettes = odor from smoke accumulating in the filter and evaporator coil
If you or someone else smokes in your home, your AC can absorb the odors from embedded tobacco particles in the filter and evaporator coil. When the system turns on, the particles are knocked loose and travel back into your home. Change the filter often and restrict smoking to outdoors.
Burning = overheating motor, wiring or mechanical problem
The smell of burning gunpowder or plastic could mean that one or more electrical components are burning or there is a short. These could be circuit boards, power wires, fans and compressors, or others. Alternatively, the smell could be the result of dust on a system that hasn’t been used in a long time. If the smell doesn’t go away on its own once the system has been running for a while, or if it gets stronger, turn off the unit and call for service right away.
Don’t stress over odors in your HVAC! Contact Rheem Pro Partners to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
Because children are still developing, good indoor air quality at home is even more important for them than for adults. A child’s lungs and immune system are more susceptible to the negative effects of allergens and pollutants. Some toxins can even compromise brain development.
To protect your children, and your whole family, choose an air purifier that is most effective at removing the pollutants that are most harmful to kids.
Pollutants that cause problems for kids
Indoor air quality is impacted by a number of pollutants that come into our homes. They can be in the form of particles or in gaseous form. Many air purifiers can successfully remove both types, but if one is a particular problem, be sure the purifier you choose can handle that. Some common types of indoor pollutants include:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Volatile organic compound (VOCs)
- Tobacco smoke
Why you should install an air purifier
An air purifier provides many health benefits for your family.
- Ensures your family is breathing clean air.
The EPA estimates that indoor air is two to five times dirtier than outdoor air.
- Removes unpleasant odors.
Odors from cooking or other sources can overtake your home.
- Traps airborne allergens.
Airborne allergens, such as pet dander, contribute to a number of unpleasant symptoms.
- Neutralizes smoke.
Smoke from tobacco or a fireplace can linger and make your home smell unpleasant.
- Traps dust.
Air purifiers keep your home cleaner.
- Removes 99% of airborne bacteria.
Today, we are all more conscious of the spread of airborne illnesses. Air purifiers can keep you healthier at home by removing bacteria.
- Combats seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are uncomfortable and annoying. Eliminating the source from inside your home contributes significantly to your family’s wellbeing.
- Protects lung health.
Contaminants in the air can compromise respiratory health.
Best air purifier for kids
Choose an air purifier that can handle both particles and gaseous pollutants. Here is a look at some popular types.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrest ace) filters remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger from the air. They are the gold standard for allergen and airborne particle removal.
Activated carbon captures pollutants as they pass through the filter’s small, absorbent pores. They remove odors, chemicals and smoke, but not dust and allergens.
Ionizing air purifiers, UV air purifiers and other ozone emitters
A side effect of these types of air purifiers is the release of ozone, a toxin that can cause damage and development problems to the lungs of young children. Ionizers and electrostatic precipitators create ozone due to their high-voltage charge. UV air purifiers also emit ozone.
PECO (photo electrochemical oxidation)
PECO technology can destroy allergens and harmful airborne chemicals at the molecular level, rather than simply trapping them on the filter surface.
For more information on the right air purifier for your home, contact Rheem Pro Partners today! We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
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.