How Can a Zoning System Make You and Your Home More Comfortable?

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How Can a Zoning System Make You and Your Home More Comfortable?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to cool off that one super-hot bedroom and warm up the basement without using space heaters? Up until now, regulating the heat to individual rooms required shutting off air flow by closing vents. Unfortunately, reducing air flow this way can shorten the life of your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump.

Zoning fixes all that issue AND saves you money.

What is a Zoned HVAC System?

Zoned HVAC controls the temperature for each section of your home independently of the others. You can keep the upstairs bedrooms cooler than the downstairs living area and even turn off the heat to your basement when it’s not in use.

An HVAC zoning system uses dampers inside the ductwork to redirect air from your furnace to the rooms you wish to heat. This customization gives you increased comfort and efficiency and saves money on heating bills.

Typically, we divide a home into zones that have similar heating and cooling needs. The zones will vary for different households, but for most, it will be the bedrooms, living areas, and basement.

How Does an HVAC Zoning System Work?

Your HVAC company will install motorized dampers inside the ducts. These dampers open and close based on signals from the thermostat. A control box holds several zone thermostats. These are wired to the thermostat connections on the HVAC unit. So, instead of one central control, your furnace is now controlled by multiple thermostats.

The dampers open and close when the thermostat for that zone senses a temperature fluctuation. Once all zones have reached the desired temperature, then the furnace or heat pump cycles off.

The Benefits of a Zoned HVAC System

  • Enhanced Comfort –  Create as many as four temperature-controlled “zones” within your home.
  • Convenience – You can change the temperature of a zoned system with a remote.
  • Conservation –  On average, a zoned system can save you up to 30 percent off your utility bill.

Is a Zoning System Right for Your Home?

Almost every household, both new or old, can benefit from a zoned HVAC system. Accommodate different comfort levels, while saving energy. You should also consider zoned HVAC if you have large windows in your home, a top floor that’s always warmer than lower floors, rooms that you seldom use or that feel stuffy, or special areas like a home office or gym that need additional cooling.

An HVAC professional, such as a Rheem Pro Partner can install a zoning system in your home. If you live in Colorado or Wyoming and want more information about how zoning can save you money, contact a Rheem Pro Partner, a group of elite independently owned heating and cooling contractors serving Denver since 1992.

7 Tips to Help You Stay Warm & Save Money this Winter

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7 Tips to Help You Stay Warm & Save Money this Winter

When cold weather hits, the heating bill goes up. That is just a fact of life. However, nobody wants to see their hard-earned dollars just fly out the window. So, here are 7 tips for helping you stay warm this winter AND cut down on your heating bills.

#1 – Schedule a Fall Tune-Up for Your Furnace

If you haven’t already done so, call Rheem Pro Partner, and have them inspect your furnace. Regular fall maintenance can identify potential problems before they become costly disasters. A technician will clean the unit and replace the furnace filter, increasing the efficiency of your furnace.

#2 – Install a Programmable Thermostat

There is no point in keeping your house toasty while you are away from home. A programmable thermostat allows you save money by adjusting the temperature according to your schedule. Set it and forget it. It’s that easy!

#3 – Make Windows and Doors Air Tight

We meant it when we said nobody wants to see their money fly out the window. Unfortunately, that is what happens in most homes. If your windows or doors are letting precious heat outside, use caulk or weather stripping to fill gaps and prevent drafts.

#4 – Install a Zoned HVAC System

Zoned HVAC systems give you more control by splitting your building into two or more zones. Each area can be heated separately using a programmable thermostat, cutting down on wasted energy.

#5 – Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater

Just by turning down the temperature 10 degrees on your water heater, you can save you up to 10% on your heating bill. We suggest setting the temperature to 120 degrees. If you have an electric water heater, install a time clock. This turns the heater on only during the hours you plan to shower, saving you even more money.

#6 – Conserve Water with Low-Flow Showerheads

You can still enjoy a warm shower and save money just by installing low-flow showerheads. Limiting baths and taking short showers will help reduce the amount of hot water used. For large families or those with teenage boys (who need those showers), cutting down on the flow of hot water can save lots of dollars.

#7 – Request an Energy Audit

Finally, request an Energy Audit. An HVAC professional, such as a Rheem Pro Partner, or your gas company can conduct a thorough home energy audit and identify ways to maximize efficiency and keep you more comfortable this winter.

If you live in Colorado or Wyoming and need to schedule a Maintenance Visit or a Home Energy Audit, contact a Rheem Pro Partner, a group of elite independently owned heating and cooling contractors serving Denver since 1992.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings for Heating and Cooling Systems

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Understanding Efficiency Ratings for Heating and Cooling Systems

Why should you consider purchasing an energy efficient heating and cooling system? Money, that’s why. New units can save you upwards of 20% on your heating costs over HVAC systems as little as ten years old. It’s true that a higher-efficiency furnace or air conditioner can cost more initially. However, manufacturer or local utility rebates may be available. You can always check with a Rheem Pro Partner for pricing on a new energy efficient unit.

So what is an energy-efficient furnace or air conditioner? Let’s take a look at some of the terms used to rate HVAC systems.

Dictionary of Efficiency Rating Terms

Understanding the different rating methods can help you make a more informed purchasing decision when shopping for a new heating and cooling system.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)

SEER measures the efficiency of your air conditioning equipment and the relation between input and output. When considering SEER measurements, higher numbers are better. Look for a unit that is 13 SEER or more.

EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)

The EER is similar to the SEER. However, EER is the cooling rating used by most geothermal heat pump manufacturers. It also takes into account the seasonal changes which will result in an air conditioning unit having to work harder in hotter weather. Therefore an EER measurement is lower than a SEER measurement for the same unit.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)

Manufacturers use the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency to rate the energy consumption of natural gas furnaces. Regulations require that all heaters have a minimum AFUE rating of 80% and like with SEER, the higher the number, the better.

COP (Coefficient of Performance)

COP indicates how much of the input energy transforms into heat by your heating system. This measurement is typically used to rate geothermal heat pumps and like other measurements, you want the higher numbers.

CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute. It indicates the volume of air moving through fans and ducts. SEER ratings are based on an air volume of 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning. This rating is more important for air conditioning than it is for heating.

BTU (British Thermal Unit)

British Thermal Unit (BTU) denotes cooling or heating capacity. You can expect one ton of air-conditioning to equal 12,000 BTUs,

Ask for a Home Energy Audit

Please keep in mind that these ratings do not take into account the size and condition of your ductwork.  For heating and cooling efficiency, you should call a professional HVAC company to do a home energy audit. They can help you select the right unit for your home and, if needed, upgrade your existing delivery system.

If you would like more information on high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, contact someone who can help. Rheem Pro Partners are HVAC experts who have served in Colorado and Wyoming since 1992.

Furnace Blowing Cold Air? Here’s What You Can Do

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Furnace Blowing Cold Air? Here's What You Can Do

Brrr! Why does the furnace quit on the coldest day of the year and always on a weekend?

We feel your pain! So, to help, here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem before you have to call for an emergency repair.

Top 3 Reasons a Furnace Blows Cold Air

#1 – Your Thermostat Is in the ON Position

Your thermostat has an ON and AUTO switch that runs your blower. If the switch is in the ON position, then the blower keeps running, even when the furnace is not heating. As soon as the furnace cycles back on the air will warm up again. All you have to do is switch the thermostat to the AUTO position. Then, the blower only comes on when the furnace heats.

#2 – The Pilot Light Is Out

A gas furnace has a small pilot light that stays on all the time. When the furnace cycles on, then the pilot light provides the flame that lights the gas and warms the air. If the pilot light goes out, then there is nothing to light the gas that fires the furnace. Lighting a pilot light is not hard but there are a few safety measures you need to follow.

Never try to light a pilot light if you smell gas in the room. Call your gas company’s emergency line and they will send someone to inspect your furnace lines.

If you don’t smell gas, then find the pilot light assembly. Most furnaces have a sticker with instructions on how to light the pilot light. If yours does not, then try to locate the gas valve. Switch it to the PILOT setting. Hold a lighted match to the pilot opening. If there is a reset button on the control panel, hold the button until the pilot light burns. Once it is going, set the valve to the ON position.  If the pilot light won’t stay lit, then you may have a faulty thermocouple or a dirty port. You can try cleaning the port with a piece of wire. If the thermocouple is bad, you will need to call a professional to make the repair.

Some furnaces have an electric starter instead of a pilot light. If you cannot find a pilot light, then an electric heating element is probably what ignites your furnace. When an element malfunctions, you will need to call an HVAC professional.

#3 – The Furnace Has Overheated

If you can’t get your furnace to blow any air, hot or cold, it’s possible it has overheated. Safeguards are in place that shut off the burners when the unit gets too hot. More often than not, the problem is a dirty air filter. Furnace filters should be checked frequently for dirt and debris. If you have pets you may find that you have to change out your filter as often as once a month. Once the air flow is no longer restricted and the unit cools down, the furnace should start blowing warm air.

If none of these fixes takes care of your furnace problems or you are not comfortable troubleshooting the issue, contact a professional.  Rheem Pro Partners are HVAC experts and have been serving Colorado and Wyoming since 1992.

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.