Top 6 Reasons to Replace Your Furnace This Fall

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If you’ve been balancing the cost of repairing an older furnace against the cost of getting a new one, this may just be the perfect time to explore your options. During the fall, HVAC companies have not hit their busy season. The sooner you call, the easier it will be to schedule a maintenance check for your current furnace and get advice and information on a new one.

There are several factors to consider when making the decision to repair or replace your furnace.

1. Unpredictable heating.

Over time, a furnace loses its ability to heat your home consistently.

2. High Energy Bills.

Your furnace also becomes less efficient as it ages. And, because advances in technology are happening all the time, a new furnace will be much more efficient than your old one, even at its peak.

3. Frequent Repairs.

Once your furnace starts to need repairs, chances are it will continue to need them. Even if individual repairs are not that expensive, the costs will begin to quickly add up. Of course there is also the inconvenience of scheduling service calls and having your furnace out when you need it. A good rule of thumb is to replace your furnace if the repair cost is at least 50% of a new one. For old furnaces, approaching the end of their usable life, that percentage drops down to 10% because of the likelihood of more frequent repairs.

4. Broken Heat Exchangers.

One of the more serious problems with an older furnace is a cracked heat exchanger. When this occurs, the unit will leak carbon monoxide, which poses a serious health risk to the people in your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is potentially fatal.

5. Your Furnace is 12-20 Years Old.

On average, a furnace lasts 12-20 years. While age is certainly a consideration, evaluating the cost to keep the furnace running is a better indicator of whether to replace or not. Today’s modern furnaces are so efficient, the cost savings on your energy bills can significantly offset the cost of the furnace. New furnaces also have many available features such as programmable thermostats that let you automatically lower the temperature in your home when no one is there.

6. Tax Credits & Rebates.

Manufacturers’ rebates and federal tax credits offer big savings as incentive to purchase new energy-efficient equipment. The latest models are better for you and better for the environment. Ask your HVAC professional what offers are available in your area.

Don’t wait! Contact Rheem Pro Partners today to find out which new furnace is right for you!

What You Need to Know About Furnace Filters

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Maybe it is on your to-do list, or maybe you’ve thought about putting it on your to-do list… If replacing your furnace filter is not part of your regular home maintenance, though, it should be. This is one of the simplest, low-cost steps you can take to protect one of the most important investments in your home.

How a Furnace Works

While there are different models, most furnaces work by drawing in air from return ducts throughout your home, warming it over a heat exchanger, and then blowing the heated air with a fan through ducts that open into the various rooms. This is known as “forced-air.”

What a Furnace Filter Does

When the air comes into the furnace through the return ducts, it typically carries with it dust, hair and other debris. The purpose of the furnace filter is to keep all of that dirt from collecting in the blower fan. This has several benefits. It prevents damage and excess wear on your furnace; it helps keep your furnace running efficiently; and it keeps all that dirt from recirculating in your home, reducing allergens and improving your indoor air quality.

The furnace filter is only effective until it becomes full, however, so to keep your furnace, functioning properly, it should be replaced with a new one every 1-3 months, depending on the type.

How Filters are Rated

Furnace filters are rated on the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale, which runs from 1-16. The higher the rating, the more particles the filter will trap. Higher ratings aren’t necessarily better, however. The highest rated filters may not allow enough air to flow through and can make your furnace work harder (less efficiently). Most furnaces work best with a filter rated between 8 and 11. Check with your furnace manufacturer to determine if your model has a recommended maximum MERV rating.

Filter Types

Disposables

The most common filters are the disposable, pleated variety. These are made of paper and polyester. They vary in price from a few dollars up to $40, depending on the rating, size and brand. Pleated filters should be checked monthly, to make sure there are no blockages, and replaced every 3 months.

Another type of disposable filter is made of fiberglass. This is the cheapest, but also the flimsiest. Fiberglass filters have the lowest MERV rating and should be replaced monthly, so consider that when you are pricing them against longer-lasting pleated filters.

Permanent

Permanent reusable filters are expensive, but last up to 5 years with proper cleaning (every 3 months). Also called washable filters, they have either an aluminum or plastic frame and are more efficient than disposables. Clean them with a vacuum and water.

Electrostatic Filters

Both disposable and permanent filters are available in electrostatic versions, which self-charge as air passes through them. The charge allows them to collect more particles. Homes with pets or smokers can benefit from electrostatic filters. Make sure that they are safe to use with your particular furnace.

Filter Sizing

Furnace filters are sized by thickness, height and width. Check the old filter for the size (typically printed on the frame) before buying a replacement. If your furnace takes a custom size, check with the manufacturer for where to purchase.

How to Replace Your Filter

Replacing your furnace filter is simple, but it helps to do a little preparation. First, turn off the furnace while you are changing the filter so it doesn’t turn on during the process. Next, have a trash bag ready for the old disposable filter, as it will come out full of dust and dirt. Then open the filter compartment door (between the air intake and the furnace), and slide the old filter out. If you have a permanent filter, vacuum it off before cleaning it thoroughly with water and let it dry completely. Vacuum the outside of the furnace and around the filter area if it is dusty before inserting the new filter. Look for the arrow on the filter that indicates the direction of airflow. The arrow must face the furnace side of the compartment to work properly. Slide the new/clean filter into the compartment and restart the furnace.

Check your furnace filter every month, and replace it (or clean it) every 3 months. Doing so will help keep your furnace running properly, reduce the risk of breakdowns, and keep your energy bills low.

Still need help or interested in upgrading your filter? Rheem Pro Partners are here to assist you. Contact us today.

Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

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Water is one of those life essentials that you count on every day, and problems with your water heater are frustrating. Here are some common problems and what may be causing them. Some causes depend on what type of water heater you have.

No Hot Water

If your water heater is electric, and doesn’t generate hot water even after being on for a while, chances are the electric heating element is not working. If that is the case, you can get a replacement from your local hardware store.

If your water heater is gas, check the pilot light. If it is turned off, simply turn it on. The gas will flow again, and your water will heat.

Every water heater has a thermostat. This could also potentially be the problem. If it is malfunctioning, the water may be too hot or too cold. Contact your HVAC professional for a replacement.

Black or Rusty-Colored Water

Discolored water is startling to see in your sink or shower, but it can be fixed. Your water heater has a metal element inside, called the anode. With extended heat exposure, over time the anode can rust and degrade. As it dissolves in the water, you see that rust color. To fix the problem, replace the anode with a new one.

Water is Too Hot

Water that is too hot could be caused by the thermostat being set too high, or by a thermostat that is malfunctioning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding. If yours is set correctly and the water is still too hot, you may need a new thermostat.

Water is Leaking

Leaks from a water heater are a common problem that can either start from the top or the bottom of the device. While there can be a number of causes, the most common is corrosion. When water stays in the tubes for a long time, sediments and rust start to form, and eventually create cracks inside the tubing or the tank itself. The result is a leak.

Water Smells Funny

Every time you run the water in your home, you notice a smell like rotten eggs. This is likely a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. Bacteria feed on the hydrogen emitted by the anode rod in your water tank. Another form of bacteria, Legionella, can develop in mildly warm water. To eliminate the bacteria, flush your hot water heater. Drain all the water and fill the tank with 2 pints of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Leave it in the tank for 2 hours. Then drain the tank and refill it with fresh water. Do this once a year as a preventative measure. To prevent Legionella from infecting your water, make sure your water heater is set at 120 degrees.

Popping Noises

Popping sounds are also caused by excessive sediment in the tank. To eliminate the sediment, flush the tank and refill with fresh water. Flushing the tank and scrubbing the tubing and other parts once a year can prevent the noise from reoccurring.

What to Do if the Hot Water Heater Dies?

Water heaters typically last 10-15 years. If yours has outlived its useful life, you will have to replace it. There are many options, and likely some improvements since your current water heater was installed. Talk to your HVAC company to determine which type of heater is right for you.

Call a Rheem Pro Partner! Make sure you have a licensed contractor install your water heater. You’ll get a better warranty and a better installation than you can do yourself.

Duct Sealing: Aeroseal Colorado

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Do you have any of these common problems associated with your HVAC system?

  • High energy bills
  • Air conditioner or furnace runs constantly
  • Musty odors or fumes
  • Rooms that are too hot or too cold
  • Excessive dust or humidity

If you are experiencing any of these, the problem may not be your HVAC system at all. The likely culprit is leaky air ducts.

Aeroseal Colorado can help. Aeroseal is an innovative, award-winning, highly touted, patented technology that stops leaks from the inside out.

Leaky Air Ducts Cost You Money

The biggest energy loss in your home may well be hidden behind your walls, ceilings and floors. Leaks happen regardless of age. They are common (up to 90% of buildings in North America are estimated to have leaks) and expensive (sucking up nearly 30 cents of every dollar spent on HVAC costs).

Aeroseal Saves You Money

Aeroseal saves homeowners an average of $300 per year on energy costs and makes your home more comfortable by

  • Preventing cooled or heated air from escaping to the outside or areas of your home where it isn’t needed.
  • Increasing energy efficiency.
  • Keeping your HVAC system from overworking and wearing out prematurely.
  • Reducing excess humidity and the damage it causes.
  • More effectively heating and cooling all rooms in your home.
  • Eliminating musty odors and improving indoor air quality.

The Aeroseal Process

Aeroseal’s trained technicians use specially designed software to measure the amount of duct leakage in your home. Next, they seal all the registers to make sure air is only escaping through the leaks. Aeroseal’s innovative process injects sealant into the ducts, then introduces tiny polymer particles that first stick to the edges of the leak, then to each other, until the leak is completely and permanently sealed. Finally, they complete the computer program to analyze the result and verify that all the leaks are sealed. The entire process takes just 4-8 hours.

Experts Agree

Aeroseal Colorado is recognized by numerous public and private entities, including the Department of Energy, Popular Science Magazine, the 2016 AHR Expo and Consumer Reports.

Don’t let leaky air ducts rob you of your comfort and your hard-earned money. Protect your investment. Contact Rheem Pro Partners or Aeroseal Colorado today to schedule a free consultation.

School’s Back in Session. Is it Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

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While Mother Nature begins the process of winding down, the start of the school year brings its own sense of energy and activity. Chances are, with new schedules and commitments, and temperatures beginning to dip, you aren’t wondering if it is time to replace your air conditioner. But, here’s why you should.

More availability.

In the cooler months, demand for air conditioner installation drops significantly. With fewer buyers to work with and schedule, professionals have more time to spend with you and answer your questions. As a result, you can be sure you are getting the best equipment for your needs and that it is installed properly. Scheduling at your convenience is much easier. You can even schedule installation in advance, giving your installer the opportunity to make specific recommendations for your home that maximize efficiency and performance unique to your home.

Better pricing.

Buying now can save you money. Lower demand means HVAC companies are likely to offer lower prices on their services. Manufacturer rebates typically pop up in the fall as well.

The luxury of time.

So often we make major purchases in emergency situations – something breaks when we need it most and we don’t have time to do proper research. By addressing your air conditioning needs in the off season, you give yourself the luxury of time to research your options and make an informed decision, rather than rushing into a purchase that may not be right for you simply because you need something.

Temps can remain high.

Even in September, temperatures can be in the 90s. While you may already be thinking about the cooler weather that’s coming, you could very well still be using your A/C. If it is not working properly and you are anticipating needing a new one next year, you can address those needs now and have a functioning system while you still need it this year.

Avoid repair costs.

Repairing an older air conditioner to get you through the end of the season may not make economic sense. With all the advantages of shopping for a new unit now, you could be wasting money by paying for repairs now, and waiting until spring or summer to buy a new unit.

If your air conditioner is not cooling your house properly, your HVAC professional can determine the cause, and advise you on replacing your system.

The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are ready to help. Call us today!

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Air Conditioner

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An air conditioner provides comfort and safety and can add value to your home. Choosing a new one is an important decision that requires some thought and attention. For starters, here are 6 common mistakes to avoid in order to ensure that you get many years of excellent performance. You’ll save money, time and grief in the process.

1. Buying the Wrong Size Air Conditioner

Buying a unit that is too big or too small will end up costing you money, and likely will not provide the level of cooling you need. A unit that is too small will work unnecessarily hard and still not be able to cool your home properly. A unit that is too big won’t provide uniform temperatures throughout your home. Both will operate inefficiently, cycling often and driving up your utility costs.

2. Putting the AC in the Wrong Place

Hiding your air conditioner behind plants or shrubs may be aesthetically pleasing, but it can clog the condenser coils, make the AC less efficient, and hinder ventilation. Many of today’s models are designed to be more visually appealing. If you do need to camouflage yours, however, be sure that any shrubs or plants are at least 2 feet away from the unit, and are regularly trimmed to prevent debris from getting into the condenser. Have your unit professionally serviced every year to clean out any dirt and debris that may collect inside.

3. Missing Rebate Opportunities

Manufacturers typically offer rebates that can mean significant savings on your A/C purchase. Those rebates often come during the fall, when most customers aren’t shopping. Don’t miss out on this opportunity by waiting until spring or summer to research your purchase. Great deals are available now!

4. Not Getting More than One Estimate

Not all air conditioners are the same. Prices, options, installation costs, service agreements and permits vary. Not all HVAC companies are the same either. Experience, reputation, reliability and training vary. Get multiple quotes and ask lots of questions to be sure you are making an accurate comparison.

5. Pursuing the Lowest Price

When comparing air conditioners, purchase price doesn’t tell the whole story. Energy bills are an ongoing cost of operation, and sacrificing efficiency for a lower upfront cost could end up costing you more. Ongoing maintenance issues are another consideration. Paying more for reliability and durability can save big over the life of the product. Similarly, skimping on the cost of installation by hiring the wrong contractor can lead to product failure and the need to replace the unit sooner. An air conditioner is a long-term investment in your home. It makes good economic sense to purchase the most efficient one you can afford, even if it costs a little more.

6. Not Getting A Written Guarantee

A written guarantee is your assurance that the company you purchase from stands by its products and services. Be sure to secure your investment with no-hassle, no-questions-asked protection against breakdowns. A true guarantee includes a Performance Guarantee, an Investment Guarantee and a true 100% Satisfaction Guarantee – in writing. Be sure to read it carefully, to know if there are any exclusions.

Bonus Tip:  Do your homework!

Start with a reliable, reputable HVAC company with a strong track record of excellence. You can count on your Rheem Pro Partner for excellent products and services. Contact us today for more information.

Air Conditioner Not Cooling? Here are Some Common Causes

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During the summer, you count on your air conditioner to work without giving it much thought. Yet, when it doesn’t work properly, it becomes a huge inconvenience. Before you panic, however, there are some simple things you can check on your own that might just fix the problem quickly and easily. Knowing what you can do and when you will need a professional is important.

Before Calling a Professional:

  • Check the Thermostat
    The thermostat can accidentally get switched to the wrong setting. Make sure it is set to “auto” and not “heat” or “on.” If it is set to “on” the fan will blow air even when the air conditioner is not cooling.
  • Clean the Outside A/C Unit
    Make sure there is nothing clogging the coils. Clear away any leaves, dirt, or other debris. Keep shrubs and plants trimmed and at least two feet from the unit. Carefully clean the outside of the unit with a hose (low pressure), coil cleaner, and a coil brush.
  • Change Your Filter
    Dirty filters make your A/C work harder than necessary and compromise performance. Replace your filter every one to two months during cooling season.

Problems a Professional Will Need to Fix:

  • Restriction in the airflow
    This could be caused by a number of things, including a clogged filter or lack of regular maintenance. Restricted airflow can cause the compressor to freeze up.
  • No electricity getting to the outside unit
    This can happen if the circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown, and can indicate a major problem with the unit.
  • Dirty evaporator coil
    The evaporator coil, which is part of the inside A/C unit, can get dirty if the filter isn’t changed regularly and must be cleaned by a professional.
  • Outdoor condenser fan not operating
    The condenser fan can fail if the fan motor is bad.
  • Low on refrigerant
    This usually indicates a leak in the system that needs to be repaired, and can also be a sign that the compressor is about to fail.
  • Broken or disconnected return duct
    A damaged return duct will pull in unconditioned (warm) air from the outside or an attic space.

Have you determined you need a Professional? Don’t wait! If your air conditioner is blowing warm air, contact a Rheem Pro Partner to schedule an appointment today!

Rheem Prestige Variable Speed RA20 Air Conditioner Review

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The Rheem Prestige Variable Speed RA20 offers many enhancements that maximize efficiency and functionality, while making service and maintenance a breeze.

Highest energy efficiency rating = big savings on energy costs

SEER and EER ratings indicate an air conditioner’s energy efficiency. The higher the rating , the greater the efficiency – and the greater your savings on utility bills. The Rheem RA20 features PlusOne™ Energy Efficiency with a minimum of 20 SEER (the minimum industry standard is 13 SEER) and 13 EER system performance, making it extremely economical to operate.

Top-tier performance = maximum comfort and efficiency

The Copeland Scroll™ Variable Speed Compressor’s modulating technology provides more precise temperature control, lower humidity and greater efficiency. The overdrive feature provides cooling load up to 107°F so you stay cool and comfortable even when outside temperatures soar.

Durability & noise reduction = years of worry-free operation

The Rheem RA20 is built to last with design features that reduce noise. Enjoy your cool, comfortable home and peace and quiet.

  • New composite base pan dampens sound, captures louver panels, eliminates corrosion and reduces number of fasteners needed.
  • Curved louver panels provide ultimate coil protection, enhance cabinet strength, and increased cabinet rigidity.
  • Optimized fan orifice optimizes airflow and reduces unit sound.

Smart design features = savings on maintenance and service

Rheem has incorporated many features that make it easy for technicians to access components so they can work quickly and efficiently­— saving you time and money on service calls. PlusOne™ Expanded Valve Space and PlusOne™ Triple Service Access give technicians greater accessibility, more room to work, and use fewer fasteners so they can work faster.

Smart tech = smart savings

  • The RA20 is an EcoNet™ Enabled product. The EcoNet Smart Home System provides advanced air and water control for maximum energy savings and ideal comfort.
  • A QR code provides technical information on demand for faster service calls.

Lasting beauty = no need to hide it

  • The powder coat paint system gives a long lasting professional finish.
  • Modern cabinet aesthetics increase curb appeal with a pleasing design
  • Rust resistant screws, confirmed through 1500-hour salt spray testing, keep your unit looking sharp.

Are you wondering if the Rheem Prestige Variable Speed RA20 is right for you? Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to learn more.

7 Tips on How to Maintain Your Air Conditioner

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Today’s newer air conditioners are very efficient, but there are still some things you can do to maximize that efficiency over the life of your system. Even if your air conditioner has some years on it, these tips will help you keep cool all summer long.

Let’s begin from the outside and work our way in.

1. Keep your coils clean.

Leaves and other debris accumulate around your unit over the winter as well as throughout the cooling season. Dirty coils make your unit work harder and can take years off its useful life. Cleaning the AC coils and fins and regularly making sure the surrounding area is clean and clear of obstructions should be part of your normal maintenance. You can clean your unit with a regular garden hose and a broom. Do not use a pressure washer, as the strong spray could damage your system. Be sure turn off the power to the unit before you start and keep it off until the coils have had a chance to dry thoroughly.

2. Keep surrounding shrubbery trimmed.

Many people use shrubbery and plants to hide the unit, but they can be a source of debris that can clog your system. Keep shrubs and plants trimmed and make sure there is adequate clear space (about two feet) around the unit.

3. Angle your dryer vent away from your AC unit.

Your dryer exhaust can be another source of dirt and debris. Lint from the dryer can get inside the vents of your air conditioner and cause problems by clogging the coils. You can prevent this by simply angling your dryer vent away from your unit.

4. Check your ductwork and seal open spaces.

Leaks and gaps in your ductwork make your A/C work harder and provide less benefit. The cool air escapes through the leaks instead of making it into your home. Do a visual inspection of your ductwork to make sure it is in good shape and not allowing air to escape. Similarly, cool air escapes through poorly sealed doors and windows. Make sure those seals are adequate as well. Having enough insulation also improves your air conditioner’s performance.

5. Change your filter.

Dirty or clogged filters put an unnecessary strain on your A/C, making it work harder and shortening its life. Regularly changing the filter is an easy, economical way to keep your A/C functioning properly for many years. This simple step will help keep your utility bills low as well.

6. Adjust your thermostat.

Use your programmable thermostat to raise the temperature for the long periods of the day that you are normally away. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, make the adjustments manually. This offers the short-term benefit of a lower utility bill each month, and the long-term benefit of extending the useful life of your A/C.

7. Last but definitely not least: Schedule an annual tune-up with an HVAC professional.

Routine maintenance is cost effective, saving you both money and headaches. A trained HVAC technician can detect many small problems before they turn into costly repairs that leave you with out A/C when you really need it. Your HVAC professional will thoroughly inspect your system to make sure everything is functioning correctly, check the filter and refrigerant, clear the drain, and clean the unit inside and out.

Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to schedule your A/C maintenance or to get answers to your maintenance questions. We’re here to help!

5 Ways to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Air Conditioner and Save Money

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Summer can be a challenging balance between keeping your home cool and keeping your utility bills low. Here are 5 simple ways to do both:

1. Change the Filter

This is perhaps the simplest and most economical way to improve the efficiency of your A/C. With just a little effort, you’ll see big rewards. If you haven’t changed the filter since last summer, now is definitely the time to do so. Filters should be changed or cleaned every month or two during cooling season to keep your system running efficiently. The frequency is higher if you have furry pets or excessive dust. Clean filters can lower your system’s energy consumption by 5-15%. And that’s not all. Clean filters also prolong the life of your air conditioner by keeping dirt out of the evaporator coil (which can impair the coil’s capacity for heat absorption), and improve air quality by removing allergens and other irritants.

2. Check Your Ducts for Leaks

If your air conditioner works, but doesn’t produce as much cool air as it should, your ducts could be the problem. Duct leaks can result in as much as 40% of energy being lost with a functioning air conditioner. That is a lot of wasted energy costing you money without providing the comfort you are paying for. Inspect your ducts to make sure they are well insulated, with no gaps or holes. Also check that there is no air loss where the ducts connect to the system.

3. Clean the Coils

Even if you regularly change or clean your filter, your air conditioner’s evaporator coil collects dirt over the winter and during use. The dirt reduces airflow and compromises your A/C’s performance. Before the start of the summer season, check the coil and clean it if necessary. The aluminum fins on the coils can be damaged so clean them carefully. Consider using a “fin comb” (available at air conditioner wholesalers) to restore the fins to there original condition.

4. Check the Outdoor Condenser Unit

The same goes for the outdoor condenser. Dirt, leaves and other debris can collect around the unit and should be cleared away. Trim any nearby foliage so that it is at least two feet from the condenser.

5. Hire a Professional to Perform Air Conditioner Maintenance

For worry-free service, schedule routine maintenance with an HVAC professional before the summer heat arrives, and again at the end of the season. Professional maintenance ensures that your A/C is operating efficiently. Qualified technicians can spot and correct small problems before they become big, costly problems, and reduce the chance that you will be without air conditioning when you need it.

A Rheem Pro Partner technician is ready to serve you. Call today for your maintenance check, or with any air conditioning concerns or questions.