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.
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!
Smoothly operating furnaces and air conditioners are fairly quiet, and the noise they do emit is usually consistent and unobtrusive. Consequently, when you hear noises that are loud, grating or out of the ordinary, it could be a sign that something has gone wrong.
Here are six common sounds that could indicate trouble with your HVAC equipment …
- A squealing blower motor
A bad belt may be the culprit, and if it is that’s something you can replace yourself (and for a low cost). If fraying or stretching is evident replace the belt quickly, since it could break at any moment.
Another possible source of the noise could be a lack of lubricant, and your blower motor should have ports if you need to apply more oil. Make sure you purchase a motor oil that is appropriate for use with HVAC equipment, and if you aren’t sure what that might be ask your HVAC contractor for advice.
- Loud banging, thumping or rattling
These sounds may indicate that something is coming loose in the blower assembly or motor. If so this is not something you can fix yourself, and even if you spot the unattached component you should still have a technician come and take a look.
Sometimes, rattling sounds can come from loose fasteners or screws somewhere in your HVAC system. You can check for this by inspecting and testing everything, and if you find anything loose you can tighten or re-fasten it yourself.
- Clicking sounds from the compressor or control panel
If these sounds originate from the outdoor compressor or indoor control panel, it could mean a relay is shot, or that an electric control is malfunctioning and causing the relay to work improperly. Either way, an HVAC technician can provide definitive answers.
If the clicking is confined to the outdoor unit of an air conditioner, it could be that the capacitor is about to fail. This could ultimately lead to compressor breakdown, and you need to summon a trained technician to inspect your HVAC system if you have reason to believe this could be the problem.
- Humming noises from the outdoor unit
If an outdoor unit is emitting humming sounds, it means the capacitor has failed but the compressor is still trying to do its work. This will burn out the compressor in short order, and you must shut the unit down completely if a clicking sound has turned to humming.
Fortunately, the capacitor for the compressor is a relatively inexpensive part, and your HVAC contractor can send an expert out to perform the installation after selling you the new capacitor.
- High-pitched whistling sounds
Whistling or screaming sounds emerging from a condenser (the outdoor section of your air conditioner) could be a sign of impending doom. It could mean that refrigerant is leaking, or that some other mechanical failure is causing a hazardous buildup of pressure inside the unit.
Needless to say, if you hear such noises you should shut the air conditioner off immediately, and contact your HVAC contractor right away since this could be a dangerous situation.
- The screeching of metal against metal
Metal-on-metal screeching sounds could indicate a bent, broken, or obstructed fan blade, if the noise is coming from the outdoor half of the air conditioner. After you’ve shut the HVAC system off, check the fan to see if there are obstructions, such as a branch or stick or other wind-blown item that may have fallen in through the fan’s grill, and if you find anything remove it.
Should metal-on-metal sounds come from a furnace or the indoor half of the air conditioner, it could mean that something is loose or broken, in which case you’ll need to summon a trained technician to handle the inspection and repairs.
Troubleshooting is Fine, but Proceed with Caution
In general, troubleshooting is perfectly fine if the source of the trouble is visible, simple to repair, and doesn’t involve any type of electrical or gas work. If you have any doubts, though, or lack the confidence necessary for troubleshooting, don’t be afraid to call your HVAC contractor to ask for professional assistance.
It never hurts to check things first on your own, but once you identify the reason for the unwanted noise you must take action quickly, before your furnace or air conditioner suffers permanent and irreplaceable damage.
Whether your HVAC noise problems are large or small, or come from an obvious source or are completely mysterious, Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming can diagnose the problem and come up with a solution. Contact us today and tell us what you’re hearing, and if there’s anything you can do about it we’ll let you know—and if there isn’t, well be happy to handle it for you.
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!
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.