How to Know When It’s Time to Repair vs. Replace Your Furnace

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How to Know When It's Time to Repair vs. Replace Your Furnace

Your furnace is a big investment, one that’s crucial to your family’s health, comfort and safety. Whether repairing it or replacing it is the best option is a common question. The answer? That depends. Multiple factors determine which course is right for your particular situation. An HVAC professional can help you evaluate your specific needs and equipment in order to help you make the right choice. In the meantime, these guidelines can help you make an initial assessment.

When Repairing is Best

  • Furnace is less than 10 years old.
  • Furnace is still heating your home efficiently and evenly .
  • Your heating bills haven’t been increasing over time.

A furnace that is under 10 years old most likely still has years of useful life. If your heating bills have remained steady, and you generally experience even heating throughout your home, then your furnace is still operating with efficiency. Some problems with uneven heating may be resolved with a furnace repair, or by addressing other issues such as duct leaks, insufficient insulation, or weatherproofing. A NATE-certified HVAC technician can help you find ways to improve the performance and efficiency of your system that will allow you delay replacing it for a few more years..

A general rule of thumb is, weighing the cost of the repair against the cost of a new furnace, if the repair is less than one-third the cost of a new heating system — and your current system meets the criteria above — then doing the repair makes good economic sense.

When Replacement is Best:

  • Furnace is more than 15 years old.
  • Your furnace was built before 1992.
  • Frequency of repairs is increasing.
  • Utility bills are increasing.
  • Original furnace was improperly installed and not the correct size.
  • You have a cracked heat exchanger and the warranty has expired.

A furnace that is more than 15 years old is nearing the end of its useful life (typically 15-20 years) and the money you would put into continued repairs is probably better spent investing in a new, more efficient heating system. If your furnace was built before 1992, this is definitely the case because, compared to today’s models, those much older furnaces are only 65% efficient. This means they also cost significantly more in energy costs each month.

If you are experiencing the need for more frequent repairs or if you’ve seen your utility bills increasing, replacement is most likely the better option. The cost of repairs that don’t keep your system running smoothly for any length of time can quickly add up, and then you still have have an old, inefficient furnace that is expensive to operate.

In some cases, age is not the issue. A heating system that was improperly sized or poorly installed can be costing you money while not providing adequate comfort. Many small fixes over time will cost more than a new system that is sized and installed correctly. If you’ve inherited a furnace that is under 10 years old, but was not properly maintained you may also find replacing it will be more cost effective than undoing existing damage.

A system that needs a major repair that is no longer covered by the warranty, such as a cracked heat exchanger, needs to be replaced. The heat exchanger itself cannot easily or effectively be replaced and cannot be repaired.

Have a highly trained and qualified technician give you an honest assessment of your equipment. Contact a Rheem Pro Partner in Denver today for a free consultation!

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!

How to Avoid Furnace Repairs During the Coldest Days in Colorado or Wyoming

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Emergency furnace repair calls are no fun for anyone. In Denver, and throughout Colorado and Wyoming, cold winter temperatures can make being without heat even for a short time uncomfortable and even dangerous. The inconvenience of having to be home to meet a repair technician, as well as the expense of after hours or holiday service only compounds an already bad situation.

You can, however, avoid the hassle and discomfort of most furnace problems with a few basic maintenance steps.

Check and Change Your Furnace Air Filter Regularly

Over time, the air filter fills with dirt, dust and debris reducing the amount air flowing into your system. Once the air filter is clogged, it begins to negatively impact the performance of your furnace by causing the system to work harder and making it susceptible to costly breakdowns. A dirty air filter also prevents your equipment from operating at peak efficiency so your energy bills will be higher. Furnace filters should be replaced every one to three months.

Keep Your HVAC System Free of Debris

To do this, make sure the area around your furnace is clean and clear. Dirt and debris can block airflow and cause your system to break down. Also, periodically check your air vents to make sure they are open, uncovered and unblocked, and free of dirt, debris and clutter. Furniture and other items can impede the heat coming into the room, and debris can enter the system through the vents. Vacuuming or dusting in and around them can also help keep dust and dirt from entering the air ducts.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Annual maintenance by an HVAC professional has many benefits that will save you money as well as the frustration of dealing with unexpected repairs. Trained technicians can catch problems that most homeowners won’t recognize or know how to address and in doing so prevent minor issues from becoming major, expensive ones. Regular maintenance ensures that your system is not only functioning properly, but optimally. Having your system professionally maintained each year improves your furnace’s energy efficiency, which means lower utility bills, and lengthens the useful life of the equipment, so you won’t have to replace it as soon. Overall, the cost of the maintenance visit will pay for itself in improved performance, fewer repairs and longer life.

Schedule your maintenance appointment with a Rheem Pro Partner today!

No Heat in Your House? 4 Things to Check and Do

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Having your heat go out in the winter is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and in some cases, may be a safety issue. In general, when your heating system stops working, you’ll need to call a professional to come out and take a look. However, before you do that, there are a number of things you can check to ensure that there really is a problem with the system.

Start with the Thermostat

  • Settings can accidentally get changed, so first make sure the thermostat is set properly on “Heat” rather than “Cool.” If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure the time and temperature is set correctly.
  • Check to make sure the temperature on the thermostat is set to a level that is high enough to trigger the furnace to kick on.
  • If the settings are correct, try adjusting the temperature to 5 degrees higher than the current room temperature to see if the furnace starts up.

Check the Circuit Breaker Panel to See if a Breaker has Been Tripped

While this shouldn’t happen often, a heating system can overload the circuit panel and trip the breaker, preventing the furnace from turning on. Flipping the breaker switch should do the trick. If this happens repeatedly, however, the actual cause may be more serious and you should schedule a service call.

Check the Furnace

Check to make sure the furnace’s power switch is in the “on” position. If the furnace power is on, follow the instructions to reset the system. Look for the  button to trigger the reset process.

Check the Vents

Blocked or closed vents prevent heat from flowing and circulating properly, resulting in cold spots. When furniture and other items get moved around, sometimes vents can be blocked or covered. Vent covers may inadvertently be closed as well. Make sure all vents have open access and airflow. Check both the supply vents (where heat comes out) and return vents (where air goes back the furnace).

If after checking all of these things your furnace is still not working, or if you have any questions or concerns, contact a Rheem Pro Partner for a free estimate today.

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.

Advantages of HVAC Maintenance Performed by a Colorado or Wyoming Rheem Pro Partner

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Your home is the one place where life should be worry-free. While we can’t guarantee that you’ll never have any disappointments, we can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed when you choose a Colorado or Wyoming Rheem Pro Partner for your HVAC maintenance (and all your HVAC needs).

Heating and cooling are two of the most important systems in your home, and it is important to have maintenance and repairs done by someone you trust.  Rheem Pro Partner was created with that in mind.

Rheem Pro Partner Contractors (formerly The Rheem Team) has been serving customers throughout Colorado and Wyoming since 1992. 
Formed with the goal of being the most highly trained, reliable, and professional technicians in the industry, Rheem Pro Partner backs individual contractors with the strength of a national organization.  That means you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality workmanship and customer service.

All Rheem Pro Partner Top Contractors strive for complete customer satisfaction with every job. 
Each of our contractors is a licensed, highly trained, courteous, NATE-certified HVAC professional offering free on-site evaluations and quotes, and 100% satisfaction of the completed work.

Did you know Rheem Pro Partner services all HVAC brands and systems 24/7?  

Our full range of services includes:

  • Installation
  • Repairs and maintenance for heating and cooling systems
  • Water heaters
  • Indoor air quality
  • Real time monitoring service that allow you to adjust your thermostat from your mobile phone          

Rheem Pro Partner is dedicated to always providing exceptional service and workmanship.  Call us today and have one less thing to worry about!

3 Common Furnace Repairs that Annual Maintenance May Prevent

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Nothing is quite as comforting as coming home to a warm house on a cold wintry day.  Yet, chances are, you don’t think about your furnace unless it stops working.  By then, however, you may be dealing with costly repairs that could have been avoided or minimized.  Scheduling annual maintenance for your heating system is a simple step that saves money and time, and minimizes inconvenience and discomfort.

As with any appliance that has multiple moving parts, your furnace is at risk for wear and tear. When these parts become damaged they can make your furnace less efficient or stop working altogether. Here are three common problem areas that your HVAC professional can identify before they become serious:

The Fan

The fan keeps warm air circulating throughout your home and has several components that require attention and maintenance.

  • Dry ball bearings can cause friction in the fan shaft.
  • Fan blades can become loose or bent.
  • Motor mounts can come loose.
  • Fan belts wear out.
  • Fan motor issues and electrical issues, including frayed wiring, affect performance, efficiency and safety.

The Burner

During routine maintenance the burner is inspected and cleaned to insure that it is functioning properly. Dust and dirt covering the burner components can prevent all the burners from lighting and can also cause excessive wear and tear.  This can result in uneven heating.

The Ignition

Today’s furnaces typically work with an electronic ignition.  There are two types: intermittent and hot surface. Dirt and grime that build up over time negatively affect the performance of both types. The intermittent pilot uses a fuel nozzle that can become clogged, blocking the gas from flowing. The dirt on the hot surface igniter can act as insulation, and prevent the igniter from becoming hot enough to light the gas jet. During a maintenance visit, the HVAC professional will clean the igniter components to help prevent these issues.

An annual maintenance inspection is a worthwhile investment. While there are things you can do yourself to keep your furnace running smoothly such as replacing your furnace filters regularly, HVAC professionals are trained to spot potential problems that you likely won’t see.

Protect your family’s comfort and safety.  Schedule your annual furnace maintenance appointment with a Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado or Wyoming today.

Questions to ask a Furnace Repair Company

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Whether you are in need of a furnace repair company because your HVAC system is not working properly or you are looking for a company to perform an annual tune-up on your system, it’s important to remember that it’s always a good idea to ask questions before choosing a company to hire. You might be inclined to hire a company that mailed you a coupon good for an excellent discount or even free services. But before hiring a company that you know very little about, make sure to ask several questions.

Questions to ask a furnace repair company:

Question: How long have you been in business? While the length of time a furnace repair company has been in business is not necessarily an indicator of the company’s skills or professionalism, you might feel more comfortable using a company that has significant experience.

Question: What are your business hours? If you are looking for furnace repair in Denver, you have many choices. There are several furnace repair companies that are available to take your phone call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While you might not need furnace repairs on a weekend or during the night right now, you might need help at an inopportune time of day in the future. It’s a good idea to develop a professional relationship with a company that is available for emergency furnace repair services on weekends, holidays, etc.

Question: Have there been many formal complaints made against your company? This might not be a question that you feel comfortable asking the furnace repair company directly. But you can certainly review whether the company has faced any recent customer complaints on your local Better Business Bureau’s website.

Question: Are you licensed and insured? It’s important to hire a furnace repair company that is licensed and insured. Even the most experienced furnace repair technicians can get hurt accidentally.

Question: Can you provide me with a written price quote for parts and services? Most reputable furnace repair companies offer their customers price quotes in writing. It’s always a good idea to get a price quote in writing so you don’t find yourself paying too much for products or labor.

Question: If I purchase a new furnace through your company, do you offer any financing options? If you need a complete replacement of your HVAC system, you might be looking at spending quite a bit of money. If you do not have that amount of money on hand, you may have to put the cost on a credit card or consider using an alternative financing method. If you need a financing option, it makes sense to work with a furnace repair company that either accepts credit cards or offers another type of financing.

Question: Do you offer a free estimate? If you have a serious issue with your furnace or air conditioning system and you know the repair (or replacement) will be relatively expensive, it’s a good idea to get a free price quote from more than one company.

 

Commercial HVAC Heating Tips

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One of the most important commercial HVAC heating tips is to have maintenance performed on your building’s system on a regular schedule. When you own or manage a commercial building, you HVAC system must be reliable and dependable. If the heat in your building is not working on a very cold day, there is little possibility that the people who are supposed to work in your building on that day will be able to stay for an extended period of time. This can lead to a steep financial loss to the business(es) that utilize your building.

Purchasing and installing a new commercial HVAC heating system can be costly. However, it might be necessary if your building’s current system is too antiquated to function well and do its job effectively. A commercial HVAC heating system that cannot maintain a comfortable indoor temperature might use an excessive amount of energy as it runs, which can result in an unreasonably high energy bill. Many times, it make sense to opt for a new commercial HVAC heating system when the existing system is inefficient and breaks down regularly.

No matter if you are considering the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system for your commercial building or if you are committed to keeping your current system running for the next several years, there are many commercial HVAC heating tips to consider. HVAC tips are meant to help commercial building managers or commercial building owners run their HVAC system in the most efficient manner possible.

Commercial HVAC Heating Tips:

Always have your commercial HVAC heating system serviced during the down season. In most geographic areas, there is a period of time in between summer and winter in which the air conditioning system does not run as frequently and the heating system is not yet needed. This is a good time to schedule a maintenance tune-up.

Avoid the need for emergency HVAC repair. It’s never a good situation when a commercial building has to close because the HVAC system is not working. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to warning signs that signal something is amiss. A commercial HVAC heating company should be called as soon as a problem is suspected.

Consider replacing an old commercial HVAC system. If your commercial building is being heated, cooled and ventilated by an older system, it’s time to start thinking about an HVAC replacement. You might be able to stick with the old system for another few years, but it doesn’t hurt to start your research and think about the specific replacement system you will eventually want to have installed.

Understand how to use your building’s thermostat(s). Depending on the size of your commercial building, you may have one thermostat or many thermostats to manage. Using a zoning system in a large building makes sense. It also allows you to control which parts of the building are kept at a comfortable temperature all day long, and which areas can be kept hotter or cooler depending on when those areas are typically in use. Keeping the temperature set correctly is important, and can lead to significant energy savings.

Make sure to schedule an appointment with your commercial HVAC heating company to discuss the abovementioned tips, as well as others, so your commercial building’s HVAC system is always running as efficiently as possible.