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.

3 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Purchasing HVAC Equipment Online

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3 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Purchasing HVAC Equipment Online

You can get everything online these days, including a full range of HVAC equipment. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, and that is certainly true if you need a new furnace or air conditioner.

You may think you’re getting a discount, but in the end all you’ll get out of the deal are headaches and heartache. And in truth you won’t even get the discount: with utility and manufacturer rebates included, the total costs of purchasing from a local dealer will be equivalent to buying online, and without the extra risk.

Purchasing HVAC equipment online is a bad idea, and if you’ve been thinking about it you really need to think again.

Here are three reasons why this option is a recipe for disaster …

1. Manufacturers’ warranties won’t cover online purchases

HVAC manufacturers have the right to void their warranties if their appliances are purchased from questionable sources, and that’s exactly what they’ll do to you if you buy your furnace or air conditioner from an online dealer.

Major HVAC manufacturers are happy to offer guarantees on their equipment, on the assumption that it will be professionally installed. But when furnaces and air conditioners are purchased online, quality assurance in installation services is lacking, since the best installers generally won’t get touch equipment that has been shipped in by truck, sight unseen, from some distant warehouse.

2. If you buy a new furnace or air conditioner online, your purchase can’t be customized for size

Professional HVAC installers rely on Manual J protocols to calculate the exact heating and cooling loads HVAC equipment must meet in order to properly function in a particular home. These calculations should be performed onsite before you purchase a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump, and if you order your equipment from an online dealer you’ll just be guessing about the size and are likely to make a mistake.

But can’t I buy equipment that’s the same size as my old equipment, you ask? No, because your heat and cooling load may have changed significantly since your last furnace or air conditioner was installed. Any remodeling or other structural changes to your home, or alterations in your living patterns, or even changes in the landscaping outside can impact your heating and cooling requirements, and possibly by a substantial degree.

3. Quality contractors avoid HVAC equipment purchased online like the plague

Good contractors have their reputations to worry about, and they won’t be anxious to install HVAC equipment that doesn’t carry a warranty or has not been carefully chosen based on Manual J estimates (which they’ve had the chance to perform). And they won’t be willing to come to your home for repair and maintenance work, either, should your HVAC system start to break down at some point in the future.

If you purchase a furnace or air conditioner online, your only options for installation will be discount, fly-by-night operators who don’t stand behind their work and are only in it to make a fast buck. Is that really what you want?

That last is a rhetorical question, of course it isn’t.

Want Guaranteed Excellence? Choose Rheem Pro Partners

In Colorado and Wyoming, you can’t go wrong if you purchase your HVAC equipment package from Rheem Pro Partners. We’re licensed, insured, experienced, employ highly trained experts, and offer superior and highly affordable installation and maintenance services to support your purchase of a high-quality furnaceair conditioner, or heat pump. Get your equipment from us and we can guarantee you strong, reliable, consistent performance from day one. Please contact us today to speak with one of our representatives, and to find out more about our excellent products and services.

Contact a Rheem Pro Partner Today!

5 Benefits of Having Your Furnace Maintained Before Winter Hits

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5 Benefits of Getting Your Furnace Maintained Before Winter Hits

Rheem Pro Partners recommends furnace service and maintenance be done at least once a year to prevent breakdowns and costly repairs during the cold winter months when a furnace is needed the most. Having a furnace go out in the middle of the night, or on a weekend or holiday, is even more frustrating and expensive if you have to pay overtime rates. Why risk it when there is a simple, cost effective solution that provides peace of mind as well as the tangible benefits outlined below? And keep in mind that by calling early — before the winter rush — you have a better chance of getting the appointment that best fits your schedule.

Here are 5 benefits of getting your furnace maintained before winter hits:

1. Ensure Proper Airflow

Over time, dust and debris in your heating system, as well as other factors such as duct leaks or needed minor repairs, can limit or restrict the amount of airflow. This decreases energy efficiency, compromises your furnace’s performance (and your comfort level), and causes greater wear and tear on your furnace.

2. Reduce Repairs

In addition to thoroughly cleaning your system, your HVAC technician is trained to spot and correct small issues before they become costly repairs. This keeps your furnace running smoothly and prevents those annoying and inconvenient breakdowns.

3. Maintain Your Manufacturer’s Warranty

Many manufacturers require annual maintenance in order for their warranty to remain in effect. In the event of a major defect or problem you don’t want to discover your warranty has been voided because of a lack of proper maintenance.

4. Maintain or Improve Furnace Efficiency

Furnaces have many moving parts and how well those parts operate affects its efficiency, and subsequently, your energy bills. Annual maintenance will save you money throughout the heating season by keeping your energy costs down.

5. Keep You Safe

Any time combustion is involved, there is some risk. A well-maintained furnace will ensure that your home and family are safe by preventing gas and carbon monoxide leaks.

Don’t wait to find out there is a problem with your furnace! Contact a Rheem Pro Partner today to schedule your fall maintenance. We serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter? 5 Tips for Prepping Your Furnace

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The Halloween pumpkins have left the porch and thoughts are shifting to Thanksgiving pumpkin pie – a sure sign that winter is on the way. Before you are tempted by holiday shopping and festive gatherings, there is one important question to ask: Is your furnace ready for winter?

Chances are you have turned on your heat by now and it is working just fine. However, there are some important steps to take to ensure that your home stays cozy and warm throughout the season.

Here is a quick checklist to help you avoid any unfortunate surprises.

1. Replace the Air Filter

We can’t stress enough how important this simple step is. Air filters should be replaced every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and the time of year. In winter (or whenever you are using your furnace), inspect the filter monthly and replace it with a new one when it is dirty. Clean air filters are the most economical way to help keep your furnace working efficiently and effectively, prevent unnecessary wear and tear, and keep your energy costs low. Simply remove the old filter, and install the new one following the direction of the arrows. Consider upgrading to a pleated filter, a HEPA filter or an electrostatic filter for even better performance.

2. Open All Air Vents & Make Sure they are Uncovered

Blocked or closed vents can cause your furnace to work harder than necessary and can drive up your heating costs. They also, obviously, prevent heat from getting into the room. During the summer, vents may be closed or furniture rearranged without considering the location of the vents. Sometimes books, papers or other objects block the air vents as well. Check the vents in each room to make sure they are open and unobstructed. You can also use a screwdriver to remove the vent cover, and vacuum in and around the vent to remove any dust and debris that may have accumulated. And don’t forget the return air vents.

3. Make Sure the Area Around Your Furnace is Free of Debris and Clutter

Your furnace room may be a tempting storage space for seldom-used items, but storing belongings around your furnace can be a safety hazard. Clutter and debris can also impact your system’s performance. Check the area to be sure nothing is interfering with the operation of your furnace. Also make sure the burners are free of dust and dirt.

4. Make Sure Your Thermostat is Working Properly

Your thermostat should be set on “Heat” and the fan should be set on “Auto.” To check if it is working properly, raise the temperature setting 5 degrees above the current room temperature. The furnace should start up right away. If not, your thermostat may be malfunctioning.

5. Schedule an Appointment to Clean Your Furnace

Regular service by a trained HVAC professional goes a long way toward maintaining or even extending the functional life of your furnace. A qualified HVAC technician can professionally clean all the parts of your furnace, spot potential problems before they become expensive repairs, and keep your system running efficiently – saving you money and the inconvenience of a breakdown.

Don’t wait! Schedule your fall maintenance appointment with a Rheem Pro Partner today!

Air Conditioner Not Cooling? Here are Some Common Causes

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

Before Calling a Professional:

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

Problems a Professional Will Need to Fix:

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

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

7 Tips on How to Maintain Your Air Conditioner

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

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

1. Keep your coils clean.

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

2. Keep surrounding shrubbery trimmed.

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

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

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

4. Check your ductwork and seal open spaces.

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

5. Change your filter.

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

6. Adjust your thermostat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Change the Filter

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

2. Check Your Ducts for Leaks

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

3. Clean the Coils

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

4. Check the Outdoor Condenser Unit

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

5. Hire a Professional to Perform Air Conditioner Maintenance

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

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

Is Now a Good Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

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If your A/C has been malfunctioning, or is not working as efficiently or effectively as it should, you may be thinking about purchasing a new one. There are several factors to consider when contemplating this major investment.

  • Age of the Air Conditioner

    Age alone is not a reason to replace your air conditioner. If it works, and your utility bills are low, you’re probably fine not making a change. It is worth noting, however, that many improvements have been made to newer air conditioners. Improvements such as programmable thermostats and better overall design make them much more energy efficient. The savings on utility bills could be significant if you have an older unit, and those savings can greatly offset the cost of a new air conditioner. Energy Star recommends upgrading to an energy-efficient unit if your current A/C is 10 or more years old. Many HVAC technicians typically recommend replacing units if they are 15 years or older. Your HVAC professional can help you evaluate the savings you are likely to achieve with a new system and determine whether a replacement makes sense for you.

  • Frequency and Cost of Repairs

    If you’re constantly replacing parts or repeatedly having the same repair issues you should consider replacement. Even if this is your first significant repair, a good guideline is the $5,000 rule. Multiply the age of your air conditioner by the cost of the repair. If the number is greater than $5,000, replacing it makes sense.

  • Nature of Repairs

    If your A/C requires additional refrigerant (Freon) that can indicate there is leak. This type of repair can get pricey pretty quickly. The coolant itself costs $40-$175 per pound. While that may include the cost of the service call, repairing the leak plus topping off the coolant can run between $550 and $1,000. This type of leak can also signal that the compressor is about to fail. All together, replacing the compressor, repairing the leak, and adding coolant can cost as much as a new low-end unit.

  • Energy Efficiency

    The industry measures efficiency of new air conditioners with the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the product. In January 2006, the standard for residential air conditioners was increased to a SEER of 13 or higher. Efficient A/C systems keep your utility bills low and also reduce your environmental impact.

Additional Factors

Some other things to consider include:

Is the repair covered by a warranty?

Are replacement parts available?

How long do you plan to stay in your home? Will you reap enough benefit from a new air condition, either through your own comfort or through the sale of your home?

What is the life expectancy of the unit? Is it serviceable for a few more years?

New refrigerants. R22 was the standard for many years and is now being phased out and the price is getting very expensive. Manufacturers are no longer allowed to make AC units with R22. All newly manufactured air conditioning units are now using R410A – an earth friendly refrigerant.

To gauge the condition of your existing air conditioner, schedule an inspection today with the most qualified HVAC technicians – a Rheem Pro Partner.