How to Change Your HVAC Filters in 3 Easy Steps

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Prolong the life of your HVAC system and keep it functioning with one simple maintenance task: regularly changing the air filter. You count on your air conditioner and furnace to work when you need them, and the air filter is a small but vital component that greatly impacts your system’s performance and longevity. Take care of the filter, and you’ve done a lot to protect your entire heating and cooling system.

Why it’s important to change your filter on a regular basis.

The air filter protects your indoor air quality by preventing dirt, dust and debris from circulating back into your home and it also protects your HVAC equipment. When the filter is dirty, however, it doesn’t adequately clean your air, and the dirt that clogs the filter restricts the airflow through the system. This makes your furnace and air conditioner work harder, which has several consequences that affect your wallet. First, it compromises your system’s ability to operate at peak efficiency and that means higher energy bills for the same or poorer performance. Second, it can result in costly repairs that are easily avoidable. Lastly, It shortens the useful life of your equipment, and that means purchasing a replacement sooner. To prevent these problems and additional expenses, simply check your air filter once a month, and replace or clean it (depending on the type you have) as needed.

Change your filter in 3 Easy Steps:

1. Determine what kind of filter you need.

Turn off the furnace and remove the filter, which is located inside the furnace or the return air vent. Pay attention to which direction the arrows on the frame are facing. These indicate the direction of the airflow. For easy future reference, mark the direction with a permanent marker on the outside of the furnace.

2. Get a replacement filter.

If it is a disposable filter, make a note of the filter size indicated on the cardboard frame, and buy a replacement. (Filters are available to purchase from Rheem Pro Partner.)
If the frame is plastic, it is a reusable filter that needs to be cleaned periodically with a vacuum and water. (This should be done outside, if possible.)

3. Install the new filter.

Insert the new filter, or reinsert the reusable filter once is it completely dry, into the furnace. Make sure it is facing the correct way.

Replacing your filter is the simplest, most cost-effective way to protect your HVAC system, your home’s air quality, and your peace of mind.

A Rheem Pro Partner can help with all your HVAC needs. Contact us in Colorado and Wyoming today!

5 Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a HVAC Contractor

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Your heating and cooling system is a major part of your home and a big investment. Every day you count on it to run smoothly, and when it doesn’t, the concern over the cost and inconvenience of someone coming out to fix it is real. The HVAC contractor you hire should be an ally, not an adversary, but that means knowing how to choose the right person and company for the job. Rheem Pro Partner assists homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming and we pride ourselves on providing exceptional service. Regardless of who you hire, however, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing someone to work on your system.

Here’s what you should ask every HVAC technician before hiring them:

1. Are you licensed and insured?

Most states require that HVAC technicians are licensed. Ask for the license number and look it up with through the state licensing board. Be sure to also see proof of insurance and make sure it is current. The contractor should have both liability and worker’s compensation insurance. This protects you in case something goes wrong on the job.

2. How much experience do you have in the industry?

Hiring someone who has been in the business for a long time can give you added peace of mind. As with most trades, an experienced HVAC technician has likely encountered a number of problem situations and learned how to prevent them or handle them efficiently if they happen again. In addition to asking how much experience they have, ask how they gained their experience. Have they worked on your specific brand or type of system? What kind of ongoing training have they had? Are they NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certified?

3. Can you provide references from past customers?

Ask for references and then follow up with them to find out how the technician works. Was the technician courteous, respectful and professional? Was the work was done in a timely manner? Did he leave a mess? Were the details of the job, including all costs, explained well up front and given in writing? Would the reference hire this person/company again?

4. How do refunds, warranties and guarantees work?

If your current system is still under warranty, the technician should follow that warranty. If there is no longer a warranty, find out what guarantee the technician provides for the work. Ask about the refund policy, and what will be done if the equipment doesn’t work after the repair or installation.

5. Can you provide a written quote (and is it free)?

As a best practice, most HVAC technicians will provide a written quote that outlines the responsibilities of both the contractor and the customer. This should be done after the technician has inspected your equipment. Ask in advance if the initial inspection and quote is free.

Reputable contractors will gladly show you their credentials, provide references and answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Rheem Pro Partner has experienced, professional, NATE-certified technicians serving Colorado and Wyoming. Contact us for all your HVAC needs today!

9 Ways to Save Money on Your Air Conditioning Bill

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The best thing about air conditioning is how it keeps you cool and comfortable even on the hottest days. The worst thing is how much it can cost to operate. According to Energy Star, the average American household spends $2,000 a year on energy bills. Here are some simple steps you can take that will save money by making your air conditioner more efficient. Here in Colorado and Wyoming, air conditioning is more than a luxury in the heat of summer. Rheem Pro Partner is pleased to share these tips to help you keep your cool!

1. Close the blinds and curtains

Use window treatments over large windows, and keep blinds and curtains, particularly on south-facing windows, closed during the day. This will make your home easier to cool and your air conditioner won’t have to run as much.

2. Clean or replace the air filter regularly

A dirty air filter requires your system to work harder, using more energy. It can also lead to breakdowns and early replacement. Cleaning or replacing your filter regularly (every 30-60 days) is an easy and economical way to keep your air conditioner running efficiently, prevent avoidable repairs and extend the life of your system.

3. Get an annual check-up

Regular maintenance at the start of the cooling season may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it will save you money over the life of your air conditioner. Your HVAC technician can spot and correct small problems before they become big, expensive problems and potentially leave you without air conditioning when you need it most. Keeping your system in top shape extends its life and maximizes efficiency, which saves money on energy bills.

4. Use a programmable or smart thermostat

In addition to closing the blinds and curtains during the day, if no one is at home turn the thermostat setting up enough during those hours (and at night) so your air conditioner doesn’t turn on as often (or at all). A programmable thermostat does this automatically, making it an effortless process, and saves the average home up to $150 a year.

5. Use fans to promote better air flow

Fans use less energy than your air conditioner and can reduce your energy consumption overall. By circulating the cool air, a well-placed fan can reduce the need for your air conditioner to push more air into the room.

6. Increase the temperature

An air conditioner will run at optimal performance at 78 degrees — cool enough for you to feel comfortable, but not so low that your air conditioner has to work overtime.

7. Make sure your home is sealed and insulated well

Air leaks around doors, windows and fireplaces send your cooled air right out of your home, along with your money. Check for drafts and spaces where air is escaping and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping. The proper amount of new insulation can also greatly reduce your energy costs.

8. Keep your vents clean

Dust, dirt and debris in your air vents can clog your air conditioner and keep it from functioning efficiently. Make sure furniture and other items aren’t blocking air vents and restricting airflow.

9. Check your ductwork for leaks

Leaks and improper insulation can result in your air conditioner wasting energy by cooling your attic and crawl spaces. Make sure the energy you are paying for makes it into your living areas.

Make sure your air conditioner is operating most efficiently. For more information, contact a Rheem Pro Partner today!

5 Ways to Troubleshoot Your AC & Furnace Thermostat

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If your air conditioner or furnace isn’t working properly, the issue could be with the thermostat. Before scheduling a service call, there are several ways you can troubleshoot the problem to determine if this is the case, and even resolve it on your own. Of course, if you need assistance in Colorado or Wyoming, Rheem Pro Partner is always available to answer your questions and provide help.

1. Check the batteries

Electronic thermostats are generally very reliable, so the issue could be as simple as old batteries. Replace the batteries when the low-power light comes on and this may well get your system functioning properly again.

2. Check for loose wires

Wires can come loose or not have a proper connection. Turn off the power and carefully remove the thermostat cover to check the connections. Tighten any loose screw terminals. If a wire is loose, place it back on the terminal clamp and tighten the screw.

3. Check for dirty components

Dust and dirt can get inside the thermostat and cause it to malfunction. With the power off, remove the thermostat cover and gently clean the components, especially the bimetallic coil and the switch contact surfaces. Dust inside with a soft brush. Clean the contacts by rubbing a slip of paper between them.

4. Check the anticipator

In mechanical thermostats, the anticipator controls how often the furnace or air conditioner cycles on and off. If yours is cycling too frequently or not frequently enough, the anticipator — a flat metal pointer on a disc — could be in need of a slight adjustment. Remove the cover and move the pointer one calibration mark closer to the word “longer” on the disc if the cycle is too frequent, or one calibration mark away from the word “longer” if it isn’t cycling often enough. In a few hours, you will know if the problem has been resolved.

5. Check the circuit breaker/fuse

The thermostat may have lost power due to a flipped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Test the circuit breaker or replace the fuse to resolve the problem. If this happens repeatedly, call your HVAC professional to see if there is a bigger problem causing the overload.

In Colorado and Wyoming, contact a Rheem Pro Partner for all your air conditioner and furnace needs! We’re happy to answer your questions.

5 Simple Things That Will Maximize The Life Of Your Air Conditioner

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Regular maintenance keeps your air conditioner functioning properly, protects your investment and ensures that your home will be cool and comfortable throughout the warmest months of the year. Colorado and Wyoming homeowners can rely on Rheem Pro Partner for professional maintenance, but here are five simple ways you can extend the life of your air conditioner.

1. Regularly replace the air conditioner filter

Making sure your air conditioner has a clean filter is, perhaps, the simplest and most cost effective way to keep your system working efficiently and effectively. The filter prevents dust, dirt and debris from clogging the condenser and damaging the equipment. When the filter is dirty, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, using more energy for the same or worse result. Your energy costs go up and your air conditioner wears out faster, not only increasing operating costs, but incurring costs for repairs and possibly for a replacement sooner than necessary. Check your filter once a month. Replace it when necessary to save 5-10% on your energy costs and for your peace of mind.

2. Clean and inspect your home’s ductwork

Over time, through normal operation, the ducts and registers in your home become dusty and dirty — and maybe even clogged. This impedes the performance of your air conditioner, causing it to work harder to cool your home. If they are very dirty, have your ducts professionally cleaned.

3. Make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated

Cracks, leaks and insufficient insulation waste energy and increase your energy costs. Check around doors and windows for leaks. Seal any cracks or gaps with caulk or weatherstripping.

4. Don’t overwork your system

Overuse will shorten the lifespan of your air conditioner. Install a programmable thermostat to easily control when the air conditioner turns on and off, so it is not running when no one is home or at night when the outside air is cooler. Opening windows to take advantage of natural breezes during these times allows your air conditioner to rest.

5. Have your air conditioner inspected and maintained each year.

Even with the other steps that you can do yourself, annual professional maintenance is necessary to keep your air conditioner performing efficiently and effectively. Your HVAC professional can prevent problems and address any issues before they become costly. Keeping your air conditioner in good shape each year will keep it working well year after year, extending the life of your system and saving you money in the process.

Contact a Rheem Pro Partner to schedule your maintenance appointment today!

What You Need to Know About Mini-Split Air Conditioning Systems

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Are you ready to install a cooling system in your home? A mini-split air conditioning system may be just what you need. Also known as a ductless air conditioning system, this type of cooling offers many advantages over traditional central air conditioners. We particularly like Samsung for its high energy efficiency and strong performance. Homes in Colorado and Wyoming can benefit from a Samsung Pearl or Whisper mini-split system. Here’s what you need to know.

How Mini-Split Systems Work

The mini-split system has an outdoor condensing/compression unit which applies pressure to the refrigerant and disperses it to the units strategically placed inside the home for more efficient energy usage. Having the condenser outside means quieter operation inside.

Each indoor unit has an air handler, a blower and an evaporator coil. The indoor units are typically placed where they are most needed. This adds to the efficiency of this type of system because no energy is being wasted to cool areas of your home that don’t need air conditioning. Another advantage is the ability to place the units out of the way, even in walls or ceilings.

Mini-Split System Options

Mini-splits offer several ways to customize the system for your home.

Single-zone / multi-zone condenser unit

A single-zone unit cools one room or zone, while a multi-zone unit can work in a number of rooms or zones. Your HVAC professional can help you determine the right configuration for your home.

Ceiling cassette

In situations where space is an issue, a ceiling cassette is an excellent option. Fan coils are mounted in the ceiling and disperse air without taking up space in the room.

Wall unit

Control your system from an easily accessible central location.

Heat pump

Mini-splits work as both cooling and heating systems. A heat pump transfers heat from one place to another.

Common Applications of Mini-Splits

Mini-splits are well-suited to areas where ductwork is not available or would be too costly to install. Room additions are a perfect example of this. Similarly, basement or garage that have been converted to living space can benefit from mini-splits. In larger homes with smaller central air conditioning systems, mini-splits are a smart way to supplement the ducted system. And, of course, mini-splits can easily be incorporated into new construction.

Benefits of Ductless Cooling

Variety of features

Mini-splits offer flexibility that makes them ideal for many homes and applications, as well as convenient features for simple, efficient operation, such as remote controls for easy access, programmable timers save energy, adjustable airflow to optimize room temperature, washable filters for easy maintenance, and heat pumps for heating in winter months.

Multiple operating modes

Efficiency can be further enhanced with sleep mode and fan-only mode.

Increased energy efficiency

Traditional air duct systems can lose up to 30% of energy due to faulty construction and leaks. Mini-splits avoid that problem and also allow you greater control over which areas of your home are being cooled and when. All this means lower energy bills and less wasted energy.

Improved air quality

Mini-splits are cleaner to operate, and easier to clean and maintain than traditional ducted systems.

Find out if mini-splits are right for your home. Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to learn more about Samsung mini-splits.

Thinking of a New Air Conditioning System? Here are 5 Ways to Save Money

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The summer is about to heat up and you may already be switching from heat to air conditioning. However, if your air conditioner was not working as well as you would have liked last year, you may be considering buying a new one. Before you panic at having to make a large investment, let us relieve you of some of the sticker shock. Today’s technology has vastly improved both the function and efficiency, so owning and operating a new air conditioner may be more affordable than you think.

Check out these 5 ways to save money on a new air conditioner.

1. Look for financing options.

Many companies offer financing options that allow you to break up the purchase price into monthly payments. This may help you afford  more efficient equipment that will save you even more money on energy costs over the life of the unit.

2. Choose high efficiency equipment.

A general rule of thumb is to purchase the most efficient air conditioner you can afford, because that efficiency will pay off over the life of the system. Look for Energy Star ratings that often come with rebates and other incentives. Depending on the age and efficiency of your old unit, you may find that when you combine the cost of the new air conditioner with monthly savings, you are actually spending less.

3. Get the right size.

A reputable contractor will accurately measure the size of the unit your home needs for optimal performance based on multiple measurements and factors — not just square footage. This is key to ensuring that your air conditioner will perform properly and without excessive wear and tear. Improperly sized air conditioners will work harder, use more energy and break down sooner.

4. Place the outside unit on the north or east side of the house.

Locating the unit out of direct sunlight, but with plenty of room for air to flow freely (about 2 feet on each side and 4 feet of clearance on the top). This will prevent debris from creating clogs and causing mechanical failures, and also ensures that a sufficient supply of fresh air is reaching the unit. Keep plants and shrubs neatly trimmed and make sure the area remains free of leaves and other debris.

5. Maintain the AC on a regular basis.

Protect your investment with regular maintenance every year and call your HVAC professional when issues arise. This will go a long way toward keeping your new air conditioner in great shape for many years to come, so you won’t have to replace it any time soon.

Rheem Pro Partner is ready to help you find the perfect air conditioner for your home and budget. Contact us today!

5 Signs Your Water Heater is About to Fail

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Turning on the faucet and having clean, safe hot and cold water is something most of us take for granted. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it might be time to consider a replacement for your water heater before there is a real problem.

1. Age of the water heater

Sadly, water heaters don’t last forever. Generally, once they reach 10+ years old, you should be considering a replacement before the worst happens. If you are unsure of the age of your water heater, look for the serial number which includes a date code. Check with the manufacturer to help you decipher the code and determine the date it was made.

2. Rusty water

Rusty water from the hot water faucet is an indication that the water heater is rusting on the inside and may soon develop a leak. It is possible that the rust is coming from galvanized pipes. A simple test is to drain water from the tank into a bucket. Do this a few times. If by the third bucketful the water is still rusty, it is the water heater and not the pipes.

3. Rumbling and noises

Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank and with repeated heating that sediment begins to harden. The two outcomes of this are: 1) the water heater becomes less efficient, requiring more energy to produce the same amount of hot water, and 2) the extra effort causes greater wear and tear on the system, including tiny holes. If you notice even small leaks around your water heater, it is probably time to replace it.

4. Metallic smell

A metallic smell or taste is another sign that the water heater is breaking down and should be replaced.

5. Leakage around the water heater

As the water heats, the metal in the tank expands and after many years tiny holes or fractures can develop allowing water to leak. Even just the detection of moisture or a small amount of water can indicate a leak. It is important, however, to check for other sources, such as the fittings or connections to the tank.

Don’t wait for your water heater to quit completely or cause a major leak. If you have any concerns, contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to assess the condition of your water heater.

5 Common Problems with Older Air Conditioning Systems

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Air conditioning has become a necessity more than a luxury. It keeps you comfortable in extreme temperatures and also keeps you healthy by maintaining your indoor air quality. If you are finding that your air conditioner no longer cools as well or as consistently as it used to, however, it may be time for an inspection to determine if repairs are needed or the unit is ready to be replaced.

Here are 5 common problems that occur with an older air conditioning system.

1. Slow performance

The first sign you may notice that your old air conditioner is feeling its age will likely be that it just doesn’t cool your home as quickly as it once did. As with all mechanical systems, over time wear and tear take a toll on your air conditioner’s performance. Even with regular maintenance, eventually it will break down beyond what is economically feasible to repair. When you first experience this, you may not need to replace your system right away, but you should begin looking into a replacement so you have time to consider your options, and budget for a new one.

2. Poor efficiency

Older air conditioners can begin to show damage to components that directly impact performance and efficiency such as the coil, the compressor and even the fan. This damage results in the air conditioner having to work harder to keep you comfortable and use much more energy to do so. Even without the deterioration of major components, however, an older air conditioning system (15 years old or more) will not work as efficiently as it once did, or as efficiently as a new, recently designed model. Advances in technology have greatly improved efficiency over the past decade.

3. High energy bills

As a result of poor efficiency, another sign you may begin to notice is a rise in the amount you pay for your energy bills each month. As your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, you will have to pay more to get the same performance (or perhaps even worse performance).

4. Unit requires additional refrigerant

The need to add refrigerant is a signal that there might be a coolant leak. Replacing refrigerant and repairing the leak can be costly, but the larger concern is that this indicates the compressor will soon fail.

5. Frequent repairs.

The closer your air conditioner gets to the end of its useful life (typically 10-15 years), the more likely it is that breakdowns will occur more frequently and that they will occur when you really need your AC to function properly. If this has already happened, and the cost of repairs is adding up, you may find that it is more cost-effective to simply replace the entire unit instead of continuing to repair it. Because a newer model will be significantly more efficient, you will most likely be able to offset the cost of a new air conditioner with rebates from the manufacturer and/or your municipality, as well as from lower energy bills and no longer paying for all those repairs.

What You Can Do: To gauge the condition of your existing A/C, schedule an inspection with a Rheem Pro Partner HVAC technician today!

8 Indoor Air Quality Solutions to Alleviate Spring Allergies

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Spring is a welcome reprieve from the long Colorado winters — that is, unless you suffer from spring allergies. You don’t, however, have to suffer inside your home. For starters, you and your HVAC technician can provide relief by making sure the air filter, humidifier and air ducts (all key components that contribute to your indoor air quality) are in great shape.

Here are 8 solutions to alleviate spring allergies:

1. Change air filters every 30 days during peak usage months.

Clogged air filters cause your air conditioner to work harder — increasing the risk of a breakdown, shortening its useful life, and raising your energy bills. They also contribute to poor indoor air quality. Dust and debris that is normally filtered out of your air is recirculated. Pet hair, household chemicals, paint, and even carpet and furniture can contaminate your air as well. When your air filtration system isn’t working properly, the negative effects of these irritants is compounded. Poor indoor air quality can lead to allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses that can seriously jeopardize your health. Change your filter once a month and you and your family will breathe easier.

2. Clean hard and carpeted floor surfaces often and shake out or vacuum door mats.

You can ease the burden on your HVAC system and help your air stay cleaner by eliminating some of the dirt, dust and debris that gets into your home. Regular dusting and vacuuming reduces harmful allergens, dust and mites. Look for a vacuum that uses HEPA filters.

3. Check the seals in all windows and doors, and re-seal where necessary.

As you take steps to protect your indoor air quality, this will keep dust, pollen and other pollutants from getting into your home.

4. Use a humidifier  to balance humidity levels.

Humidity (the amount of water vapor in the air) varies by location, climate and time of year. High humidity contributes to the growth of mold and bacteria. Low humidity (overly dry air) contributes to dry, itchy skin, throat and nasal passages and can make you more susceptible to colds and flu. The level of humidity in your home is largely a personal preference and can be balanced with the use of a humidifier.

5. Install a whole-house air cleaner.

A whole-house air cleaner works with your HVAC system but goes beyond your HVAC air filters to remove contaminants from your air. Air cleaners trap particles as small as a human hair and work 24/7. They also prevent dust from building up, so you don’t have to clean as often.

6. Have your air ducts cleaned.

Dust and dirt (among other nasty things) can get trapped in your air ducts and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Have your ducts cleaned to prevent those particles from re-entering your living space.

7. Resist the urge to open doors and windows even on the nicest days!

Opening doors and windows lets in fresh air, but also allergens and dust along with it.

8. Have your home checked by an HVAC technician annually.

Your HVAC technician knows what to look for and can recommend the solutions that are right for your home.

Don’t suffer with spring allergies! Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today for indoor air quality assistance.