7 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Air Conditioner

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7 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Air Conditioner

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!

What is the Difference Between Ductless vs. Ducted Air Conditioning Systems?

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What is the Difference Between Ductless vs. Ducted Air Conditioning Systems?

If you are building or remodeling a home, or simply want to add a cooling system to an existing home, you may be wondering about the various options and which one is best for your situation. Most people are familiar with central air conditioning (also called ducted air conditioning), but you may be less familiar with ductless air conditioning (also called a ductless mini-split system).

Here’s an overview of both types.

Ducted air conditioning unit (or central air conditioning)

As the name implies, a ducted air conditioning unit uses air ducts and vents to distribute the cooled air throughout the home and return air to the system. Typically the ducts are used for both cooling and heating your home. The main unit of the air conditioner is installed outside (although sometimes it is mounted on the roof or in the attic) so it doesn’t take up living space. It sits on a concrete pad and connects to the ducts and the HVAC system.

Ductless air conditioning unit (or ductless mini-split system)

Ductless systems use an air handler unit that is mounted on the wall or ceiling, rather than air ducts, to deliver cooled air. They are energy efficient because air is not lost traveling through ducts to each room. However, depending on the size of your home, you may need to install more than one. In this way, they can also be used to cool specific areas or even to supplement central air systems.

Which Type of Air Conditioner Is Right for Your Home?

When a ducted air conditioning unit may be the best option:

A ducted air conditioning unit may be preferable if you already have ducts in your home for a forced air heating system. In that case, installation is just a matter of hooking up the new air conditioner unit to the existing ducts, making it an affordable option that can be installed quickly.

Ducted systems are preferable if airflow is a concern, as they are designed to circulate air. Ducted systems are virtually invisible because the ducts are hidden behind walls and the unit is outside, so they are a good choice if aesthetics are a concern.

Ducted systems may be simpler and less expensive to maintain because there is only one unit.

When a ductless air conditioning unit may be the best option:

Ductless air conditioning units are much easier and less expensive to install in homes that don’t already have ducts since the units go right in the wall or ceiling. Ductwork is expensive and complicated to install because it involves running the ducts from room to room and cutting holes in walls, floors and ceilings. In some cases, there may not even be enough room to install ducts. A ductless unit may also be preferable if you are removing the ducts during a renovation, or if you are building an addition and don’t want to add ducts and upgrade your current HVAC system.

Rooms can be independently controlled with separate air handlers, saving energy and arguments over temperature control.

Start with a qualified installer

Whichever system you choose, proper design and installation is the key to having an air conditioner that functions properly, efficiently and lasts a long time. Hire a trained HVAC professional to design and install your system.

Still have questions? The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are happy to help. Contact us today! We proudly serve Colorado and Wyoming.

3 Signs Your Air Conditioner May Be on it’s Way Out

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3 Signs Your Air Conditioner May Be on it's Way Out

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.

5 Reasons to Invest in Regular HVAC Maintenance

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5 Reasons to Invest in Regular HVAC Maintenance

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.

Contact Rheem Pro Partner to schedule your summer maintenance today! Rheem Pro Partner serves homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Frequently? Here are Some Things You Can Do

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Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Frequently? Here are Some Things You Can Do

If you notice your air conditioner turning on and off every few minutes, you should address it right away. This is known as short cycling. It wears out the compressor, one of the main components of the outside unit that is very expensive to repair or replace.

Short cycling can lead to other problems as well.

  • The repeated system start-ups use more energy and unnecessarily Increase energy costs.
  • The excessive wear-and-tear shortens the life-span of your air conditioner.
  • Over-worked equipment results in costly repairs.
  • High humidity or temperature swings mean decreased comfort.

What can cause an air conditioner to short cycle?

Dirty air filter

One common cause is a dirty air filter, which can inhibit airflow and cause a host of problems. Change the air filter every 30 to 60 days to keep your air conditioner equipment clean and running smoothly.

Dirty condenser coils

When the condenser unit and coils get dirty, they don’t work efficiently, making the whole system work harder and possibly overheat. This triggers the unit to shut off and restart repeatedly. Make sure the area around the unit is clear of debris such as leaves.

Improperly located thermostat

Locating a thermostat improperly can cause the thermostat to misread the actual temperature and turn on and off more than necessary. Make sure your thermostat is installed on an interior wall away from windows, doors to the outside, air vents and direct sunlight.

Frozen evaporator coil

Restricted airflow and low pressure throughout the system can result in ice or frost forming on the evaporator coil.

Oversized air conditioner

If short cycling has always been an issue, it is likely that your air conditioner is too big for your home. An oversized air conditioner will cool your home quickly but without properly dehumidifying the air. In addition to short cycling, this can lead to hot and cold spots, and the lack of efficiency will mean higher energy bills.

Low refrigerant / freon

Low levels of refrigerant may indicate that there is a leak. Any leak should be identified and repaired right away by your HVAC professional.

Because short cycling can be an indication of a serious problem, the sooner you address it the better in order to prevent or mitigate any potential damage.

Rheem Pro Partner is ready to help with all your air conditioning needs. Contact us today in Colorado and Wyoming with your concerns about short cycling, or any questions regarding your heating and cooling equipment.

What to Do Before Turning on Your Air Conditioner for the First Time this Summer

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What to Do Before Turning on Your Air Conditioner for the First Time this Summer

When summer comes, your air conditioner is a vital asset in your fight to stay cool, calm and collected.

But you should never take the health of your air conditioner for granted. Before the hot weather season officially arrives, here are a few steps you should take to guarantee your air conditioner will be ready to run at full efficiency when you need it …

Outside the Home: Preparing the Condenser

  • If you used a cover on your outdoor condenser unit to protect it from the snow over the winter, remove it before you start the air conditioner.
  • If no cover was used, clean off any and all debris that may have fallen onto the condenser. Next, remove the grill over the fan to check for any debris that may have fallen inside the unit.
  • With a soft brush attachment, vacuum the blades of the fan before reinstalling the grill, and vacuum out the bottom of the condenser box as well. If the blades are covered with grease or grime, you can use a soapy solution and a rag to wipe them off.
  • Remove the side and top panels on the condenser to access the condenser coils. Clean them thoroughly with a soft brush, or wash them off with a hose, or wipe them clean with a special condenser cleaning fluid that can be obtained from any HVAC dealer or home improvement store.
  • Make sure the area around the condenser is clear of all objects or vining plants, within a distance of at least three feet on all sides. When the AC is in operation air should flow freely all around the perimeter of the condenser.
  • If there is a power switch on the condenser, turn it to the ‘on’ position (you should also check the circuit breaker to make sure the power is on there).

Inside the Home: The Filter, Vents and Thermostat

  • Switch the thermostat manually from ‘heat’ to ‘cool.’ If you have a smart thermostat, reprogram it to reflect the coming changes of season. Check the battery on the thermostat to makes sure it is still working, or simply change it if you have not done so within the previous 6-9 months.
  • Clean the dust off the vents in each room throughout the house. If you can see dust has collected inside the vents in the ductwork, vacuum it out with a soft brush attachment.
  • Replace the HVAC air filter. Even if the filter doesn’t look overly dirty, it is always a good idea to get a new filter at the beginning of each heating or cooling season. In general filters should be changed every three months, so that schedule can be coordinated to make sure you install a new one at these important times. While you don’t have to buy the most expensive filters on the market, DO NOT use cheap fiberglass filters. They will rapidly become dirty and will not work particularly well even when they’re new.

Bonus Tip: Schedule a tune-up and maintenance inspection with your HVAC contractor

Home maintenance is important, but there are certain matters you should leave to the professionals.

A trained HVAC professional can inspect your coolant lines for leaks, replenish your supply of coolant if it is low, check your electrical connections and inspect your ductwork to see if it needs to be cleaned or repaired. After these tests are completed, they will turn the system on to make sure everything is top working order.

Seeking the Best HVAC Maintenance Services? Call Rheem Pro Partners Today

At Rheem Pro Partners, our technicians are constantly on-the-go throughout the spring and early summer months, offering expert AC tune-up and maintenance inspection services to our grateful customers in Colorado and Wyoming. To beat the summer rush, please contact us today to schedule your inspection—the health of your air conditioner could depend on it.

10 Easy Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

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10 Easy Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

Owning and operating a home can be expensive, but one way to save money is to save energy. Saving energy doesn’t have to mean huge sacrifices in comfort or quality of life. Today, many savvy Colorado and Wyoming homeowners take these simple steps to keep their homes operating efficiently and economically. By giving a little attention to your HVAC system, including your air conditioner, furnace, water heater, and heat pump, as well as addressing other common energy guzzlers, you can save, too!

Here are 10 steps you can take today:

1. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees).
Most water heaters come from the factory with a default setting of 140 degrees. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees not only saves energy, it also prevents scalding. This is especially important in homes with young children.

2. Make sure your water heater has an insulating blanket.  
Installing an insulating blanket is a quick, inexpensive fix that will pay for itself within a year in energy cost savings.

3. Make sure your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump receive professional maintenance each year. Look for the ENERGYSTAR label when replacing your system.
Regular professional maintenance can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your HVAC system by preventing costly breakdowns, as well as by keeping your equipment operating at peak efficiency. When it is time to buy a new system, the ENERGYSTAR label will help you determine the models that are most energy efficient. This is an important consideration when making your buying decision because it directly impacts the overall cost. As a general rule, purchasing the most efficient system you can afford will give you the greatest savings over time.

4. Replace your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.  
CFLs and LEDs are more expensive to purchase than the standard incandescent bulbs but can save three-quarters of the electricity used. Start by replacing incandescents that are 60-100W and are used several hours a day.

5. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms.
Consider installing timers, photo cells or occupancy sensors to make turning off lights in empty rooms and spaces effortless.

6. Turn off your computer when you are not using it. 
Turn off the monitor if you aren’t using it for more than 20 minutes, and turn off both the CPU and the monitor if they won’t be used for more than 2 hours.

7. Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use.  
Many appliances use energy even when they are not turned on such as cell phone chargers, fans, televisions and coffee makers.

8. Install a programmable thermostat. 
A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive device that makes your HVAC smart by only heating and cooling your home when you need it. While you are at work or school during the day or sleeping at night, the temperature setting adjusts so your home is comfortable, but you are not paying for energy that you don’t need.

9. Clean or replace filters in your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump.  
Replacing (or cleaning) your air filters every 30-60 days (depending on need) will keep your system clean and efficient, and help prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

10. Caulk leaky windows and doors.  
Improve the comfort of your home and stop paying for wasted energy by sealing air leaks and adding sufficient insulation.

The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are ready to answer all your home energy questions. Contact us today to learn more!

8 Reasons to Tune-up Your Home’s Air Conditioner in the Spring

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