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.

Top 10 Considerations When Buying a New Furnace this Winter

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Top 10 Considerations When Buying a New Furnace this Winter

Have you considered purchasing a new furnace this winter? Make sure you evaluate the following features to ensure you are making a wise investment.

Things you should consider before buying a replacement furnace.

1. Fuel Type

There are 3 possible fuel sources: electricity, natural gas, and propane.

  • Electric
    Electric furnaces draw heat from electricity, so they tend to increase your utility bill.
  • Gas
    Gas furnaces offer a less expensive alternative to electric furnaces. They are powered by natural gas.
  • Oil/propane
    Oil/propane furnaces provide a good option for homes that don’t possess gas lines. Oil furnaces tend to be dirtier than their electric and gas counterparts and take up more space.

2. Energy Efficiency

A furnace should not waste energy. Check energy ratings to ensure that your replacement furnace will run efficiently.

3. Indoor Air Quality

Your furnace plays a large role in indoor air quality. If the furnace runs poorly, chances are high that pollutants and allergens will get into the system. The furnace then circulates these particles through the air in your home.

4. Price

Cheaper is not always better. Your gut might say to go with the most inexpensive option, but remember that you often get what you pay for. Take the time to weigh cost against features.

5. Size

Choosing a correctly-sized furnace makes all the difference in the world. A furnace that is too small for your home will overwork itself, while a furnace that is too large will constantly turn on and off, driving up your utility bill.

6. Warranty

Make sure you understand what type of warranty the furnace offers and how long it lasts.

7. Zoning

Zoning systems are great for houses that don’t receive even air distribution. They divide the house into sections and allow you to control each section independently.

8. Speed Blowers

Variable speed blowers allow you to change the speed at which your furnace blows air. This results in a more even temperature distribution.

9. Rebates and Incentives

Certain incentives for purchasing high-efficiency equipment include money back in your bank account. Ask about potential rebates and incentives that might come with the furnace you are considering.

10. Installation

Before purchasing a new furnace, ask yourself who will be responsible for installing it. Your contractor should be honest, reputable, and experienced.

Why is installation quality such a big deal?

Untrained technicians can make a lot of mistakes that will cause you problems and cost you money. To avoid installation errors and long-term repair issues, it is important to hire a quality contractor to install your new furnace.

Your family’s comfort is our priority. Contact the Rheem Pro Partner today for all of your heating and air conditioning repairs and emergencies. We serve homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming and want to see your needs met with the skill, experience, and care of licensed professionals.

6 Reasons Why Changing Your Furnace Filter is So Important

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6 Reasons Why Changing Your Furnace Filter is So Important

HVAC system maintenance is important both for functionality and for home comfort. Changing your furnace filter is one way to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

Why is it so important to change your furnace filter?

1. It saves money.

When your air filter is functioning properly, your HVAC system runs more efficiently. This conserves energy, lowering your utility bill. It also prevents the need for future repairs, which makes the upfront cost of replacement filters much more appealing.

2. It increases your furnace’s lifespan.

A clogged filter can result in an overworked system, reducing your furnace’s lifespan and turning “replacement time” into a necessity rather than an option.

3. It improves indoor air quality.

An old furnace filter loses its ability to trap pollutants and allergens. Dirty air is circulated, causing health concerns. A new filter captures these allergens, making the air being circulated safe to breathe.

4. It reduces the need for repairs.

Regularly changing your furnace filter keeps other problems at bay. A clean filter means fewer repairs.

5. It increases energy efficiency.

As already mentioned, an efficient system produces efficient energy use. A clean filter helps prevent energy waste.

6. It keeps the furnace and your home clean.

Do you enjoy breathing fresh air? That is the air filter’s job. A clean filter results in clean air, which results in happy skin, eyes, and lungs.

How often should you change your furnace’s air filter?

There are several principles you should consider when deciding whether or not you should change your furnace filter.

  • High-efficiency filters do not need to be changed as often as filters with low MERV ratings.
  • Your furnace filter will likely need to be changed in peak seasons of use, such as winter (heating) and summer (air conditioning). During these periods of frequent system use, you should check your filter monthly and replace it as needed.
  • Households containing pets or smokers typically require regular filter changes. More contaminants in the air (pet hair, dander, smoking byproducts, etc.) result in clogged filters.

Look for a manufacturer recommendation on your air filter’s packaging that lists the filer’s standard lifespan.

How else can you protect your HVAC system?

On top of changing your furnace filter regularly, you should schedule routine HVAC tune-ups by a licensed professional. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid problems and save money on future repairs.

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.

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.

Is a Mini-split Ductless System the Answer to the Hot or Cold Spots in Your Home?

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Is a Mini-split Ductless System the Answer to the Hot or Cold Spots in Your Home?

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

Small size

The indoor unit can be mounted on a wall or ceiling or even in a closet.

Easy installation

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 control

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.

No ductwork

Ductwork needs to be maintained and can develp leaks that make the system less efficient.

Safer

Window air conditioners provide inadvertent access to intruders.

Longer lifespans

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.

8 Tips on How to Check an HVAC System When Buying a Home

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8 Tips on How to Check an HVAC System When Buying a New Home

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!

Heat Pump vs. Furnace — Which Should You Choose?

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Heat Pump vs. a Gas Furnace -- Which Should You Choose?

People in the market for an HVAC system upgrade do have choices. For heating in winter, the most common choice is between gas furnaces and heat pumps. Both technologies have much to recommend them, so before the final selection is made there are multiple factors to consider.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and transfers it into a home or place of business, in a steady enough supply to raise indoor temperatures to a comfortable level. Even when temperatures approach freezing the outdoor air will still contain a fairly significant amount of heat, and by working continuously a heat pump can remove it in sufficient quantities to heat enclosed spaces.

Despite the name heat pumps can function as indoor heaters and as de facto air conditioners. To produce a cooling effect, it pumps heat out of the air inside and transfers it outdoors for release.

Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

In comparison to gas furnaces, heat pumps have some advantages and disadvantages …

Pros

  • Energy-efficiency. A heat pump uses electricity to facilitate the transfer of already-existing heat from one area to another, and it works very efficiently because it doesn’t have to generate any additional heat.
  • Lower installation costs. Indoor furnaces are usually teamed with central air conditioning systems, each of which must be purchased and installed separately. But a heat pump only requires one installation.
  • Nearly soundless operation. Heat pumps don’t create anywhere near as much noise as gas furnaces, which use forced-air technology to distribute heat throughout a home.
  • Safety. While such occurrences are rare, and avoidable if proper maintenance procedures are followed, furnaces are capable of producing dangerous gas or carbon monoxide leaks if certain failures occur.

Cons

  • Higher operating costs. Electricity is more expensive than natural gas, and the gap is usually large enough to cancel out the efficiency gains associated with heat pumps.
  • Shorter lifespans. Overall, heat pump systems are more complex than furnaces and subject to wearing out more quickly, and this problem is exacerbated by the fact they run throughout the year instead of just during the winter.
  • Poor efficiency in frigid conditions. While heat pumps can work in cold weather, their efficiency levels drop precipitously once temperatures sink below freezing. There simply isn’t enough heat in the air outside to sustain effective pumping action beyond a certain point, and once temperatures drop into the single digits or below zero it is impossible for a heat pump to keep a home comfortable.

What is a Gas Furnace?

A gas furnace relies on a steady feed of natural gas to fuel a continuous cycle of combustion whenever the furnace is switched on, creating intense heat that is highly effective at warming indoor spaces. This heat is distributed throughout a home through an extensive network of ducts and heat registers, and it can be kept running for as long as it takes for temperatures to rise to the desired level.

Pros and Cons of Gas Furnaces

The advantages and disadvantages of gas furnaces are well-known, since this technology has been in use for decades …

Pros

  • Lower operating costs. While the price of natural gas is flexible, it is still a less expensive fuel to burn than coal, which is the fossil fuel used to generate most of the electricity we use (and which heat pumps rely on).
  • Longer lifespan. While the typical heat pump may last up to 15 years, a 20-30-year lifespan is normal for a well-maintained high-efficiency gas furnace.
  • Decreased costs of purchase and installation (in some cases). The cumulative cost of installing an air conditioner for summer and a heat pump for winter is more prohibitive than the installation costs for a heat pump alone. However, if your air conditioner is fine and you only need a new furnace, your installation and equipment costs will be lower than for a heat pump, by anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
  • Lower maintenance and repair costs. The heating season in most regions of the United States lasts from 3-6 months, but heat pumps may be called on to heat or cool all year long. Consequently, they are more subject to mechanical breakdowns of various types.
  • Greater dependability in all weather conditions. Once temperatures drop below freezing, gas furnaces will begin to outperform heat pumps, and by an ever-widening margin as the mercury begins to plunge. There simply is no way a person living in Montana, North Dakota, Colorado or Wyoming alone can get by with a heat pump—and nothing else—during the winter.

Cons

  • The risk of gas or carbon monoxide leaks. This risk is mostly dependent on the homeowner. Annual inspections by trained HVAC professions can virtually eliminate the chances of this happening, and no one who owns a gas furnace should be lax about arranging such visits.
  • A deleterious impact on indoor air quality. The products of gas combustion can be unhealthy to breathe and can create unpleasant odors, especially when furnaces are not working efficiently. To help prevent such problems, gas furnaces should be cleaned by an HVAC professional on a regular basis, and air filters should be changed whenever they become clogged and are constricting air flow.

Dual System Heating: The Best of Both Worlds?

In Colorado and Wyoming, a heat pump alone is not a practical solution in winter. But it is possible to install a dual heating system that uses a heat pump to fulfill some heating duties, with a gas furnace available as a backup when temperatures plunge to unpleasant depths. With a dual heating system, the heat pump can function as an air conditioner in the summer as well, giving the homeowner a versatile system that eliminates the need for one piece of expensive HVAC equipment.

While a heat pump is generally more expensive to operate than a furnace, even in relatively mild winter temperatures, the heat it produces usually has a higher moisture content than the dry heat produced by a furnace. People who experience itching or burning of the eyes, throat or skin when the air is excessively dry may prefer to use a heat pump in the spring or fall, or in winter when temperatures are relatively mild.

Rheem Pro Partner is Turning Up the Heat

If you are considering changes in your HVAC system, we can help you make the right choice for you and your family. Our product line features an expansive array of outstanding furnaces and heat pumps, and if you contact us today we can introduce you to an impressive variety of superior quality HVAC equipment. In Colorado and Wyoming Rheem Pro Partner is your best bet for great products and even better service, and that is why you should come to us to discuss your home heating and cooling options.

What to Do if Your Furnace Keeps Turning On and Off

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What to Do if Your Furnace Keeps Turning On and Off

Furnaces are calibrated to turn on and off based strictly on changes in indoor air temperature. But sometimes, furnaces will begin turning on and off too rapidly to be responding to temperature variations.

This is not normal behavior and the problem is unlikely to clear up on its own. This pattern of functioning is called short cycling, and it is a sign of trouble that you cannot afford to ignore.

Short Cycling Means Trouble

Furnaces normally shut on and off between three and eight times per hour, and in colder weather a quick pace in cycling should be expected. But when your furnace is short cycling it will switch on and off every two or three minutes, which indicates a malfunction or glitch somewhere in the system.

Three Common Causes of Short Cycling

Your furnace’s short cycling could be a sign of many things, including:

#1 Dirty air filter

When air filters aren’t changed regularly, they can become clogged and dirty. This leads to restricted air flow through the intake vents, which could cause the heat exchanger to shut down soon after the furnace is turnn’t cool properly and would be in danger of burning out if it kept running.

Experts estimate that up to 90 percent of short cycling is caused by a died on, since it worty air filter, which is a testament to how lax people are about changing their air filters on time.

#2 Thermostat problems

Reliable thermostat performance is required for a furnace to work properly. But if your thermostat isn’t working it can cause a range of system operating troubles, including short cycling.

#3 An incorrectly-sized furnace

If your furnace is too big for your home, it will tend to heat up the rooms in your house too quickly, possible leading to a pattern of short cycling. This may seem like a sign of superior efficiency, but a furnace that short cycles for this reason will wear out much more rapidly than it should.

What Can Be Done?

When your furnace is short cycling, you can do some troubleshooting on your own before you summon a professional. Here are the steps you can take that may solve the problem:

#1 Check your air filter

Air filters that have been in place for an extended period of time should be replaced, and a good rule of thumb is to get a new filter at the beginning of each heating and cooling season. If you’ve been using a cheap fiberglass model, try upgrading to a good-quality pleated filter with a MERV rating of 9-12.

Once the filter has been replaced, the chances are good the short cycling will stop. If it doesn’t, you can move on to the next possibility.

#2 Check the thermostat

A short cycling problem could indicate a failing thermostat battery, or that the thermostat was installed in direct sunlight or next to a heat register, where the temperature spikes can confuse it. You can try changing the battery on your own, although you’ll need to consult a technician if you need to move the thermostat to another location, or if your thermostat can’t be fixed and needs to be replaced. If you suspect the thermostat is faulty and might need replacing, you should ask your HVAC contractor to send someone to your home to exam it.

#3 Check the furnace’s blower

A burned-out blower could be the cause of the short cycling. The way to check for this is to hold your hand next to a heat register, and if air flow is super-low or nonexistent, it means the furnace is running but the blower is not.

A burned-out blower fan could be yet another indication (and an expensive one, at that) that your air filters are dirty and need more frequent changing.

Want a Foolproof Solution? Call Rheem Pro Partner

By following these tips, you should be able to solve your short cycling problem in most cases. But if you can’t, please don’t hesitate to contact Rheem Pro Partner right away. We’ll dispatch one of our top technicians to your home to inspect your HVAC system and diagnose the difficulty, and to make a recommendation on how to resolve the situation once and for all. In Colorado and Wyoming, when your HVAC equipment is malfunctioning you can always count on Rheem to help you out.

How Much Can You Save with a High Efficiency Furnace?

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How Much Can You Save with a High Efficiency Furnace?

If your furnace was installed more than 10 years ago and does not carry the high-efficiency moniker, it might be time to consider an upgrade. While this might require a significant upfront investment, in the long-run that investment could pay off in a big way.

The good news is that efficiency in furnaces is now carefully measured, and that means you can figure out how much a new furnace might save you on energy bills before you decide which make and model to buy.

What is AFUE?

AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. Expressed as a percentage, it measures the amount of fuel your furnace uses that is converted to heat.

High-efficiency furnaces have high AFUE percentages, signifying the low levels of gas they waste. Current government standards mandate AFUE ratings of 80 percent or higher, and any new furnace you purchase is likely to offer an AFUE rating of somewhere between 80 and 98 percent—meaning between 80 and 98 percent of the fuel you pay for will actually be used to heat your home.

To put these numbers in perspective, a furnace installed 30-40 years ago might have wasted as much as 30-40 percent of the fuel it burned, depending on how well maintained it was, while a furnace that meets the minimal standards today would only waste half that amount.

Cost Comparison: 80% AFUE vs. 96% AFUE Furnace

The cost of a new furnace will vary, based mainly on its AFUE rating. In general you should expect to pay between $1,500 and $4,000 for the furnace alone, not including installation, and a furnace with an AFUE rating of 96 percent will likely cost you 40-50 percent more than one with an AFUE rating of 80 percent.

That might sound like a significant mark-up, but it really isn’t when you factor in expected energy savings.

Savings Differential: 80% AFUE vs. 96% AFUE Furnace

With AFUE data available, calculating the savings offered by one furnace over another is a straightforward affair. You simply use the furnace with the lower rating as your baseline, the take the difference in percentages to compute your expected fuel savings. To put that more simply, a new furnace with an AFUE of 96 would produce heating bills 16 percent lower than a furnace with an AFUE of 80.

Of course, if you have an older furnace with uncertain performance, you can’t be sure how much savings a new 80 AFUE furnace would deliver. But if you estimate savings of 10-20 percent (which may be modest if your current furnace isn’t in great working order), and your current winter heating bills run about $100 a month, installing a furnace with an AFUE of 80 could cut your costs down to $80 a month.

Meanwhile, a 96 AFUE furnace could potentially reduce your bills to just $64 a month, and over time those kinds of savings could really add up.

Efficiency Improvements and Other Factors that Can Affect Savings

Needless to say, the size of your savings will depend on the length of the winter and on the hours you use your furnace each day. In Colorado and Wyoming winters are long and cold, which definitely magnifies the impact of a high-efficiency furnace of any AFUE rating in this part of the country.

In addition to installing a new high-efficiency furnace, there are other types of changes you could make that would have an impact as well. Upgrading your insulation, sealing air leaks, weatherstripping around doors and windows, and switching to double-glazed or high solar gain/low-e glass windows could boost your home’s energy-efficiency by a substantial amount, while remodeling or a sudden jump in the price of natural gas could push your heating bills upward.

But regardless of any other changes you make, getting a new furnace with a strong AFUE rating could still cut your winter heating bills by a consequential amount, and with an expected lifespan of 25 or more years (if you are diligent about maintenance), your new furnace should pay for itself in energy savings well before it needs replacement.

Another advantage of installing a new high-efficiency furnace is that it will increase your property values should you decide to sell your home within the next few years, and that alone could make it worth the investment.

Get High-Efficiency Service from Rheem Pro Partner

At Rheem Pro Partner we sell high-efficiency furnaces manufactured by Rheem, one of the most esteemed and respected names in the heating and cooling industry. We also employ highly-trained HVAC technicians who can handle any installation job regardless of the challenges involved. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new high-efficiency furnace, please contact us today for more information and to arrange a consultation. If you ultimately decide to do business with us, you’ll join a long list of satisfied customers in Colorado and Wyoming who’ve turned to us in their time of need.