13 Ways to Lower Your Water Heating Bill

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13 Ways to Lower Your Water Heating Bill

The Department of Energy estimates that water heating costs are responsible for about 18 percent of a household’s yearly energy consumption. Consequently, your determination to save money on energy costs should include strategies to reduce your hot water usage and water-related energy consumption.

If you implement the recommendations listed below, you’ll be rewarded with a lower utility bill each month—and possibly a dramatically lower utility bill, depending on how wasteful you’ve been up to now.

Without further ado, here are 13 ways you can save money on your water heating costs …

#1 Reduce your shower time

For every minute you spend in the shower, you’ll use about five gallons of water. If you cut your average shower time from 10 to five minutes each day, you could save 175 gallons of water and 35 minutes of energy or fuel consumption per week.

#2 Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees

A 10-degree Fahrenheit reduction in water heater temperature will cut that appliance’s power usage by 3-5 percent each time it is activated.

#3 Never let the water run unnecessarily

Letting the hot water run continuously when you’re washing hands, doing the dishes or shaving could add a few dollars to your energy costs each year. Since you probably do this without thinking, it should be an easy adjustment to make now that you’re aware of the problem.

#4 Use cold water to do your laundry

Cold water will do the job just as well as hot water in most instances. You should always make sure to use cold water during the rinse cycle, and over the course of a year this action alone could reduce your hot water usage by a couple of percentage points.

#5 Learn to use your dishwasher more efficiently

People tend to use their dishwashers too often or casually. To reduce unnecessary energy consumption, you should only wash dishes when the dishwasher is full. You should choose shorter cycles as well, which will be more than long enough to get your dishes clean if you rinse them thoroughly with cold water before putting them in the dishwasher.

#6 Fix leaky faucets

Did you know that a hot water faucet leaking at a rate of one drop per second could cost you an extra $1 in energy charges each month? Over the course of a single year that adds up to 3,153 gallons of wasted water, plus several hours of excess energy usage.

#7 Install low-flow fixtures

Water faucets and showerheads that are more than 25 years old are a great deal less efficient that current models. A good-quality low-flow showerhead can cut your rates of water usage in half, without impacting your comfort level.

#8 Ask a contractor to install heat traps on your water heater tank

The Department of Energy reports that heat traps on hot water outlet pipes and cold water inlet pipes can save you up to $30 per year on energy. Most modern water heaters already have these traps installed, so you likely won’t have to do this unless your heater has been in place for a decade or more.

#9 Insulate your water heater’s storage tank

To find out whether your storage tank needs more insulation, check its R-value (a measurement of insulating capacities) in your water heater owner’s manual. If its less than R-24 you should install in insulation blanket, being careful not to cover the thermostat on electric water heaters or the top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment on gas water heaters. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, you can ask your water heating contractor to come and do it for you. As a physical test, you can put your hands on the outside of your water heater tank, and if it feels warm it needs more insulation.

#10 Insulate the first few feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater

What this does is raise the temperature of the water in the pipes, possibly by as much as 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit. This eases your water heater’s workload and gives you the option of lowering its temperature settings a bit below that 120-degree standard.

#11 Install a timer on your electric water heater

A timer will reduce energy consumption by shutting down the heating unit when you’re at work or sleeping and have no need for on-demand hot water. If you live in an area that charges higher electricity rates during certain hours, you can program the timer to shut the heater down during those times, too.

#12 Look for the Energy Star label

The Energy Star label on a dishwasher or washing machine guarantees energy-efficient performance, in comparison to appliances from 15-20 years ago that were tilted more toward the energy-hog side. Appliances that earn this designation will be accompanied by a yellow Energy Guide sticker, which reveals how many kilowatt-hours of energy that appliance will consume each year (based on typical levels of usage) and how much that energy will cost.

#13 Consider replacing your current water heater with a more efficient appliance

Energy-efficient water heaters are now standard, with Energy Star labels and yellow Energy Guide stickers attached to verify their excellence. While a good-quality tanked model could represent a drastic improvement over your old water heater, the best way to save money on water heating is to switch to a tankless water heater. These appliances deliver hot water strictly on demand, eliminating all excess heating costs associated with tank technology.

Rheem Pro Partner Knows Water Heaters

Want to reduce your water heating bills? Then you should contact us today, because Rheem Pro Partners offers a full-line of energy-efficient water heaters plus professional and affordable installation services. We have multiple tanked and tankless options to show you, all accompanied by warranties on tanks, parts and labor. These superbly-crafted and exquisitely-designed water heaters will reduce your energy bills from the day they’re first installed, proving once again that you can’t go wrong in Colorado and Wyoming when you come to Rheem Pro Partner for assistance.

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.

8 Things to Look for When Buying a Furnace

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8 Things to Look for When Buying a Furnace

New furnaces require a significant financial investment, and if you make the wrong choice the size of that investment may grow as you’re forced to pay for multiple repairs and upgrades.

If you’re in the market for a new furnace, here are eight factors to consider before you make your purchase …

  1. Fuel-use efficiency

Furnaces are evaluated based on their AFUE ratings. AFUE stands for ‘annual fuel utilization efficiency,’ and it refers to the percentage of the fuel your furnace consumes that is actually converted to usable heat.

In areas where winter temperatures routinely plunge below zero, you’ll want to purchase a furnace with an AFUE rating of 92 or better. A premium-quality furnace might carry a rating of 97-98 percent, and while such an appliance may seem costly it can deliver amazing levels of energy savings over the course of its lifespan.

  1. Furnace operating speed

Your choices are furnaces with single-speed blowers, which (as the name implies) run at the same speed all the time, or variable-speed furnaces, which adjust the intensity of their operation based on changes in the weather.

Variable-speed furnaces that adjust their pace of heat production up or down as outdoor temperatures rise and fall will consume less fuel and cost less to operate, while still keeping you warm and comfortable at all times. Variable-speed furnaces are more expensive, but because they are more efficient they may reduce your energy bills dramatically if you live in locations that experience frequent fluctuations in wintertime temperatures.

  1. Programmable thermostats

For maximum reductions in energy usage, you should support your new furnace by adding a programmable thermostat with WiFi capability as a companion piece.

Compared to traditional thermostats, programmable thermostats can cut your energy costs by 10-20 percent. The secret of their success is that they let you customize your HVAC system’s operation down to the minute, putting you in the driver’s seat as you look to reduce your utility costs to the lowest level possible.

  1. The quality of the warranty

Most high-efficiency modern furnaces come with a 10-year limited warranty on parts and a 20-year warranty on the heat exchanger, which is vital to the continued functioning of the furnace. You might be able to extend that warranty by 5-10 years for a price, if you want to give yourself additional peace of mind.

As you look at the warranty don’t forget to read the fine print, so you can avoid any nasty surprises down the road. Regular maintenance may be required to preserve warranty protections, but its in your best interest to schedule annual maintenance visits anyway.

  1. Zoning capacity

If you live in a large house, or one that just naturally has broad temperature differentials between rooms, you should consider installing a zoned heating system. Zoned installations feature multiple thermostats for separate rooms or sections of the house, and wireless or manual dampers on your registers will let you direct heated air to the parts of the home where it is needed the most.

Zoning might sound expensive, but keep in mind it still involves only one furnace, and it would allow you to shift the heat exclusively to the spaces you occupy, thereby saving you the trouble (and the expense) of heating sections of your home that are lightly-used.

  1. Indoor air quality

In combination with your new furnace, you might want to consider upgrading to superior-quality air filters. If you are unsure about which ones offer the best performance, you can ask the HVAC technicians installing your new furnace to check your old filters and make recommendations.

To bolster your indoor air quality even further, you may want to supplement your new furnace by adding an air cleaner or air purifier, which can be installed inside your ductwork. A whole-house humidifier is another great option for wintertime comfort, since heated air can be quite dry and can leave you feeling itchy and uncomfortable.

  1. The credentials of your HVAC contractor

Unfortunately, there are many fly-by-night operators in the heating and cooling business, and if you have the misfortune of employing one you’ll likely suffer significant financial losses because of that mistake.

A legitimate HVAC contractor will have an established presence in the community, documentation to prove they’ve been licensed, great reviews online, and a roster comprised entirely of highly-trained and fully-certified technicians with a wealth of experience. They may not give you the lowest bid on labor and installation costs, but they’ll save you a lot of headaches and heartaches in the long-run by doing the job right.

  1. Available rebates and incentives

When you purchase a new energy-efficient furnace with a high AFUE rating, you likely be eligible for a broad range of rebates, tax breaks and other financial incentives offered by state and local governments, the federal government, furnace manufacturers and retailers.

Energy-efficiency is all the rage these days, and you’d be amazed how many benefits are available to anyone who chooses to install energy-saving and environmentally-friendly technology. Financing options are usually available to help you handle the costs of a new furnace as well, and your HVAC contractor will work with you to keep your equipment and installation costs well within your budget.

Rheem Pro Partner Offers Unmatched Expertise in Furnace Sales and Installations

Are you ready to buy a new furnace, or at least ready to consider the idea? Before you take the plunge, please contact Rheem Pro Partner today to discuss your options, and to make an appointment for a full HVAC system inspection. As our satisfied customers in Colorado and Wyoming can attest, we offer top-quality heating and cooling products backed by superior installation services.

What to Do When Your HVAC Unit is Making Loud Noises

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What to Do When Your HVAC Unit is Making Loud Noises

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 …

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

5 Benefits You Can Expect When Upgrading Your HVAC System

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5 Benefits You Can Expect When Upgrading Your HVAC System

This is a fact of life you must face: your heating and air conditioning equipment will eventually wear out, no matter how diligent you are about maintenance and repairs.

But that can be a good thing, since HVAC technology is always improving in terms of durability and cost-efficiency. Consequently, if the time has come to upgrade your HVAC system, you should see that as an opportunity rather than a burden.

When you purchase and install a new, high-efficiency furnace, air conditioner and/or heat pump, here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy …

  1. Shrinking utility bill

Is your current HVAC equipment more than a decade old? If it is, get ready for some amazing news: a new ENERGY STAR-certified, high-efficiency furnace, air conditioner or heat pump could save you 20 percent or more on your monthly heating and air conditioning bills.

Two-stage or variable-speed furnaces or air conditioners are especially recommended (they are designed to maximize energy savings), and you should look for air conditioners with SEER ratings of higher than 13 and furnaces with AFUE ratings of 92 percent or greater.

  1. Improved heating and cooling performance

HVAC systems in Colorado and Wyoming are stressed by a significant workload, and after 10 or more years of operation they will start to function at a lower level of efficiency, that is inevitable and unavoidable. You may not notice the decline in performance, since the change happens gradually, but you can be sure it is there.

After upgrading your HVAC equipment, you’ll almost certainly notice an uptick in performance, which will translate to more consistently comfortable temperatures.

  1. Fewer repairs and service calls

As HVAC systems age, they will inevitably need more—and costlier—repairs.

Ever-increasing repair bills are not a form of preventive medicine that will extend your heating and air conditioning equipment’s lifespan indefinitely, but a sign of impending breakdown, and the sooner you upgrade the sooner you’ll begin enjoying all the financial benefits an upgrade entails.

  1. Increased home comfort

Your heating and cooling equipment have one primary purpose—to keep you comfortable all summer and all winter long, regardless of how extreme the conditions are outside.

Older HVAC systems that are slowly grinding to a halt will have a difficult time keeping up when temperatures reach their zenith in summer and nadir in winter, but if you invest in modern HVAC equipment those troubles will vanish. New furnaces and air conditioners will adjust their performance to meet seasonal conditions, and you won’t have to worry about them being overwhelmed by the challenge.

  1. Worry-free days and nights

In the back of your mind, you’ve known for a while that the end is near for your current HVAC system. But thinking about the expense of purchasing a new system has kept you sweating it out, hoping against hope that your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump will somehow beat the odds and hold out for a couple of more years.

Once you take the plunge, however, you’ll soon realize that upgrading your HVAC system was one of the smartest things you ever did. With financing available you should be able to handle the upfront costs, and with all the money you’ll be saving on energy and repair costs you’ll soon realize you made a tremendous investment.

Is it Time to Upgrade? Here’s How to Know

The two best indicators that an HVAC system needs an upgrade are age and rising costs. If your equipment is 10 years old or older it is living on borrowed time, and it is likely outdated in any case. If you’ve noticed rising repair and energy costs it means your current HVAC system is no longer delivering reliable or cost-effective performance, and if you continue to patch it up you’ll basically be throwing good money after bad.

In Colorado and Wyoming, Rheem Pro Partner sells and installs the best air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps available anywhere on the market. Rheem is the leading name in the home comfort game for a reason: saving you money is our number one concern, and we invite you to contact us today to find out more about our fantastic product lines, and about the financing packages that can help you afford them.

How to Save Money & Energy with a Programmable Thermostat

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How to Save Money & Energy with a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are highly touted, and deservedly so. But you won’t automatically save energy and save money simply because you have one installed.

Savvy homeowners will learn all the ins and outs of their programmable thermostats, develop strategies for using them, and make sensible adjustments based on the information their thermostats provide.

Picking the Right Programmable Thermostat

Various thermostats have different capabilities, and you should study your options carefully to make sure you select one with the right package of features.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Diverse scheduling options

Some thermostats let you program each day individually, while others have separate settings for weekends and weekdays, or one unitary setting to cover the whole week. Presumably, you’ll save more money and more energy if you can program each day of the week individually, based on your personal habits, but if you have a consistent schedule that may not be necessary.

  • Learning capacity

Newer, so-called “smart” programmable thermostats can decode your home comfort habits and program the operation of your HVAC system automatically in response (with override options available, of course). This could be ideal if your activities and home comfort preferences are stable and predictable, or if you worry that you’ll forget to program your thermostat on your own.

  • WiFi capability

Smart thermostats with WiFi connectivity give you 24-hour control of your home environment, regardless of where you are in the world. All you need to do is install the appropriate thermostat app in your smartphone or tablet, and once you learn to use it you’ll be all set to go.

WiFi capability will add to the expense of your thermostat, but if you are a detail-oriented person you’ll likely gain maximum energy efficiency from having a unit that gives you minute-by-minute control over the functioning of your heating and cooling system. This is perfect if you have an unpredictable schedule and are often uncertain about when exactly you’ll be arriving home.

Theoretically, a programmable thermostat with WiFi capability offers peak energy and money savings, but that is only true if you are prepared to exploit the WiFi feature for everything it’s worth.

  • Additional perks

Some smart programmable thermostats directly monitor the activity of furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps, and they can give you warnings if there is a decline in performance or any other sign that suggests maintenance or repairs are needed. In addition to connecting with home heating and cooling equipment, many smart thermostats can also be connected to humidifiers or dehumidifiers, allowing you to customize their operations as well.

Before purchasing any programmable thermostat, you should familiarize yourself with all its capabilities to see if it offers any extra benefits you might find attractive (and profitable).

Tips for Using Programmable Thermostats

Most programmable thermostats come with factory settings, but you must take control of them yourself if you expect to gain maximum benefits.

Here are some tips that will help you get the most bang for your buck when you invest in a programmable thermostat:

  • In summer or winter, set your thermostat 7-10 degrees higher than you normally would for at least 8 hours a day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you’ll save 10 percent on total energy costs by following this advice.
  • Program your thermostat to keep the home at least 10 degrees warmer or cooler than normal while you sleep.
  • When programming the thermostat for the overnight hours, set it so it will begin reducing or raising temperatures one hour before you to bed, and set it to begin reversing the process 30 minutes before you are scheduled to awake in the morning.
  • For the best combination of money savings and acceptable comfort, the Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees during waking hours in summer and at 68 degrees during waking hours in winter. Naturally, your comfort preferences may vary.
  • Temperatures should be kept 10-15 degrees higher or lower than normal when you are away from home. To make sure this doesn’t compromise your comfort, program the thermostat to activate your HVAC system 20-30 minutes before you leave the home, and/or 20-30 minutes before you arrive. Of course, if you have a programmable thermostat with WiFi connectivity you can make the latter adjustments from wherever you are.

Many people are intimidated by what they perceive to be the complexity of programmable thermostats. But if you take the time to read the user’s manual and experiment with its different features, you’ll soon figure it out.

Your HVAC contractor is a valuable resource as well, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them questions about how to use—and get the most out of—your new programmable thermostat.

Learn More about Programmable Thermostats from Rheem Pro Partner

In Colorado and Wyoming, Rheem Pro Partner is the unsurpassed expert in home comfort technology. Please contact us today to learn more about programmable thermostats, and about your affordable options for purchase and installation.

Are Annual Furnace Inspections Really Necessary?

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Are Annual Furnace Inspections Really Necessary?

Annual furnace inspections might seem fussy or a nuisance, but they’re just the opposite. Maintenance and tune-up visits are important, and there are several good reasons why HVAC contractors strongly recommend you have an inspection performed before the beginning of each heating season.

8 Benefits of Annual Furnace Inspections

If you arrange to have a trained HVAC technician inspect your furnace and the HVAC system that supports it, here are some of the benefits you can expect:

  1. Cleaner air

During your annual tune-up, the technician who visits your home will clean your HVAC system inside and out, and that will prevent your furnace from spreading airborne contaminants once it’s switched on. The technician can also change your air filter for you, if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself. If you’ve been buying cheap filters, the technician will recommend a superior model that will do a much better job of capturing dirt, pet dander, pollen, chemical traces and other indoor pollutants that can damage your health.

  1. Proper airflow

Tune-ups focus on smooth operation of the system, and one of the first things a technician will check for is restricted airflow. This can happen if the air filter is clogged, if the blower is plugged with dirt or other debris, or if there are obstructions inside the ductwork.

  1. Safety

Malfunctions in a gas furnace can be especially dangerous. Gas leaks or carbon monoxide buildup can be fatal if they aren’t addressed quickly, but fortunately a trained technician can keep your furnace in good working order to make sure these types of problems don’t arise.

  1. Reduction of repair costs

Do you want to pay a little bit now or a lot more later? Annual maintenance inspection plans are a cheap and easy way to avoid costly repairs, since they allow HVAC technicians to uncover and fix small problems before they turn into much bigger problems, which could conceivably threaten your furnace’s survival.

  1. Convenience

Annual maintenance inspections are unobtrusive and can be fit in around your schedule. But breakdowns are unexpected and unpredictable, and if your furnace goes out on the coldest night of the year, or during one of your busiest work weeks, it could cause significant disruptions to your personal and professional life. It could even force you to leave your home for a few days, while you wait for an HVAC technician to finish the necessary repairs.

  1. Better energy efficiency

High-quality furnaces can only deliver superior performance if they are kept in prime working order. All the parts of a furnace need to be cleaned on a regular basis, and without consistent maintenance dirt and grime can build up and interfere with efficient furnace operation.

  1. Maintenance of the manufacturer’s warranty

Did you know that most manufacturer’s warranties become null and void if the furnace is not regularly maintained? Needless to say, it is not in your best interest to negate your furnace’s warranty, and just the fact that manufacturers require maintenance and tune-up visits tells you how vital they are to the health and welfare of your HVAC system.

  1. Extended lifespan for your HVAC system

Like other heavy-duty appliances, furnaces face an enormous workload, and if they aren’t well-maintained they can fail suddenly and without warning. Neglecting a furnace is a recipe for disaster, and if you skip on maintenance inspections you’ll be asking for trouble. But if you keep them fine-tuned and fully ready for action at all times, they can last for 15 years or more.

  1. Superior Home Comfort

When furnaces are neglected they won’t operate at peak efficiency, that’s an undeniable fact. They will struggle to handle their heating responsibilities, and that means you’ll be left shivering on the coldest nights when you should be toasty and comfortable. Annual maintenance inspections are the best way to prevent this unfortunate occurrence, and if you fail to have an inspection done your personal comfort may be seriously compromised.

Rheem Pro Partner offers the Best Maintenance Services

In Colorado and Wyoming winters can be long and severe, and you need to know that your furnace will be ready to go when you need it. Annual inspections are an excellent way to keep your furnace in top working order, and that is doubly true if you choose Rheem Pro Partner to handle the job. Our skilled technicians are experts in basic and advanced furnace maintenance, and we invite you to contact us today to schedule your autumn tune-up and inspection.

What’s the Difference Between Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers?

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What’s the Difference Between Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers?

The terms ‘air cleaner’ and ‘air purifier’ are often used interchangeably, and from a functional standpoint each serves a similar purpose. But they rely on different filtering technologies to restore compromised indoor air quality.

Air cleaners and air purifiers come in two models, portable and whole-house. The former will filter the air in specific rooms, while the latter are installed directly inside HVAC systems and can help keep the air fresh and healthy throughout the home.

Air Cleaners

For the removal of dust particles and other types of non-organic contaminants, air cleaners come highly recommended.

What are air cleaners?

An air cleaner contains filters that remove a wide variety of airborne contaminants from indoor breathing spaces. Over time these filters will have to be cleaned and/or changed, but with regular maintenance they will do a superb job of providing you with ample quantities of breathable air.

How do air cleaners work?

Air cleaners are installed inside ductwork, where they can work their magic as heating and cooling systems continuously circulate air throughout the home. Each time air passes through the filters will capture and remove more contaminants, and as long as you change the air cleaner filters on schedule your appliance should deliver outstanding performance for years.

What do air cleaners filter?

The list of indoor contaminants removed by a well-functioning air cleaner may include:

  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Smoke
  • Fumes or gases from cleaning products

Whole-house air cleaners offer excellent protection for those who are prone to allergies, asthma attacks, and dry and itchy skin, eyes, throat and nasal passages.

Air Purifiers

People who are concerned about the ravages of living allergens would be wise to invest in an air purifier rather than an air cleaner.

What are air purifiers?

Air purifiers target airborne bacteria, mold, mildew, dust mites, fungus and viral agents for extinction. These purifiers can remove other contaminants as well, but they are specially designed to prevent ductwork and other areas of the home from being invaded and colonized by unwanted microorganisms.

How do air purifiers work?

Air purifiers rely on UV (ultraviolet) light to kill or deactivate microbial life. Installed on or near the HVAC air handler, whole-house UV air purifiers are highly effective at preventing mold, mildew or fungus outbreaks, and they can stop bacteria and viruses from contaminating the air you breathe and putting your family’s health at risk.

What do air purifiers filter?

Good-quality air purifiers do an amazing job of eliminating:

  • Mold
  • Bacteria
  • Mildew
  • Fungus
  • Dust mites
  • Viruses

Should You Buy an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier?

An air cleaner is an ideal choice for those who are most concerned about typical indoor air pollutants, which may come from inside the home or through open windows if you live in a polluted area.

Meanwhile, air purifiers are the best option for homeowners with ongoing mold problems, or whose families suffer from frequent viral infections. Moisture problems in the home are another good reason to choose air purifiers, since microorganisms tend to thrive in moist environments.

Regardless of whether you purchase an air cleaner or air purifier, you won’t get good results if you purchase cheap equipment, or choose cut-rate installation services. Whole-house air cleaners and air purifiers are definitely more effective than portable models, but if you live in an apartment portable appliances can still make an impact.

Indoor Air Quality is a Rheem Pro Partner Specialty

If you want to learn more about air purifiers and air cleaners, and about installation procedures for whole-house models, please contact Rheem Pro Partner today. We provide the very best solutions for indoor air quality restoration and maintenance throughout the Colorado and Wyoming area.

6 Common Causes of a Leaking Water Heater

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6 Common Causes of a Leaking Water Heater

A hot shower is one of life’s simple pleasures and one that most of us count on without giving it any thought. So when that shower turns unpleasant due to low water pressure or no hot water we want a simple fix. The problem is quite possibly a leaky water heater. Troubleshooting the exact cause starts with understanding the various causes of water heater leaks, and the first step is examining the tank to find the source.

Here are six common causes of a leaking water heater:

1. Drain valve

One common cause — and the easiest to fix — is a loose drain valve. A drain valve can loosen over time and create a slow leak. Simply tighten it with a wrench just until it is snug. Be careful not to over tighten it and don’t force it.

2. Air pressure

Pressure can build up in the tank. This forces water to leak out of the tank in order to relieve the pressure. This occurs most commonly when the water temperature is set too high. It can also happen if the pressure from the exterior water supply is too great, or if the temperature pressure relief valve is defective.

3. Age of the water heater

Water heaters typically last 8-10 years. As they near the end of their lifespan, corrosion becomes more evident and can result in a leak. If this the case, call your HVAC technician immediately to address the problem. Waiting too long puts you at risk for flooding and the damage and headaches that come with it.

4. Condensation

Condensation can occur on the outside of the water heater when cold water enters the tank and the outside air is hot. This can sometimes be mistaken for a leak, but it is normal and common. Simply wipe down the water heater.

5. Rust

Water heaters are often made of steel, which is mostly iron. An anode rod inside prevents the iron from rusting, but over time, the rod can wear out and fail. If that happens, the rust will eventually create a leak. Prior to that, however, you may notice your hot tap water develop a rusty brown color. Call your technician right away to replace the anode tube and prevent further damage.

6. Sediment build-up

Over time, the minerals that exist naturally in hard water can settle in the bottom of the water tank and create a layer thick enough to block access to the burner that heats the water. As a result, the burner runs longer to heat the water and the excess wear and tear leads to deterioration. This can cause a leak or, worst case, cause the water tank to burst. Prevent sediment build-up by flushing the tank once a year.

Rheem Pro Partner serves Colorado and Wyoming. Contact us today for all your heating and cooling needs.