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How to Protect Your Furnace From the Cold

hvac in cincinnati greater comfort

Your furnace works hard to keep you warm and cozy by both heating and circulating air throughout your home in the winter. On top of this, your filtration system rids the air in your home of impurities.

Your furnace really does a lot to take care of you during the cold months. Believe it or not, you can return the favor: maintenance by an experienced professional, light cleaning and simple measures to keep your furnace from working too hard can greatly impact how efficiently your unit will run—and how long it will last. (1).

Take these 5 simple steps to save yourself time and money this winter—and to keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible, for as long as possible.

1. Change your filters.

Want to know one of the easiest ways to maintain your system? Your furnace is already working hard to keep your home cozy, but a clogged filter will force it to work harder to heat your home. Make sure to change your filter regularly: you can usually tell when a filter needs changing just by looking at it—but you can always ask us how often to change out your current unit’s filters. Keep in mind that replacing furnace filters costs far less than the damage caused by neglecting them (1, 2).

2. Clear the area around your external intake pipe.

Have a high-efficiency, modern furnace with intake and exhaust pipes outside your house? If so, your intake is subject to obstructions and debris like snow, ice, soot buildup, or even animal nests. This can causes lower efficiency as well as carbon monoxide buildup so it is important to remove anything that could keep your chimney from properly ventilating your home. Ask us about any questions you have in terms of getting rid of debris (3, 4, 5).

3. Move objects near your furnace.

Within your home, you want to remove items around your furnace or water heater—especially anything flammable. Not only are household items and clutter around your furnace a fire hazard, they make it difficult to perform maintenance on the unit. As a result, you want to make sure to clear the area around your vents in addition to the area around your furnace. Furniture in front of a vent will prevent warm air from spreading throughout your rooms to properly heat your home (4, 6, 7.)

4. Take advantage of your programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats keep your furnace from running when you don’t need your home heavily heated. Give your furnace some time off during the day while your family is at work and school and there’s no one around to appreciate the heat. A programmable thermostat will allow you to run your furnace at lower temperatures while you’re away and warmer temperatures when you come home.

Also make sure you check your thermostat! It’s very easy to overlook the importance of checking your thermostat, but it’s a very quick way to make sure your furnace is running properly. Always make sure your thermostat is set to the correct heating settings and remember if it’s working properly it will respond immediately when you turn it on (4, 5, 8.)

5. Schedule your maintenance with us before the cold winter hits.

Make sure to prepare for winter months by scheduling an inspection before the cold weather hits. (This is usually in October, and when it comes to your A/C, you want to see us in April.) Reduce the chance of breakdowns and help your machine last longer by preparing your unit before it has to switch modes. Not only will inspections keep your unit working as efficiently as possible, it will keep your family warm and comfortable all winter, they will keep you safe. A professional can find and fix carbon monoxide leaks, which will save your family from experiencing negative physical side effects of this colorless odorless gas in the air (9).

Regular Maintenance Is Critical for Your Furnace’s Long Life

Call us today at 859-491-4915 or toll free at 844-491-4915 to learn more about our preventative maintenance agreement.

References/Further Reading

  1. http://www.lennox.com/lennox-life/comfort-matters/tips-maintenance/how-is-your-furnace-like-the-heart-of-your-home
  2. http://www.centralhtg.com/blog/preparing-your-furnace-for-winter
  3. http://www.lennox.com/lennox-life/comfort-matters/tips-maintenance/5-easy-ways-to-keep-your-furnace-happy
  4. http://www.lawescompany.com/7-quick-tips-to-prepare-your-furnace-for-the-cold
  5. http://afmheatcool.com/How_to_Get_Your_Furnace_Ready_for_Winter.aspx
  6. http://www.jerrykelly.com/blog/6-ways-to-prepare-your-furnace-for-winter
  7. http://www.allweatherheatandcool.com/how-to-prepare-your-furance-for-winter/
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Heat Recovery Ventilators: Get Natural Ventilation in Your Home

 

Heat ventilator

Beyond improving your heating and cooling systems to bring your family ultimate comfort, these are 3 steps that are also commonly taken to make sure your entire home is as energy efficient as it can be:

  • Improve insulation and seal air leaks
  • Seal ductwork, ensuring it is proper connection/insulation
  • Energy audits to see a “big picture” view of the home, including areas where energy efficiency could improve

What to Know About Energy Audits

Often times we can describe how the air in our home feels—and we can see evidence of air leaks or insulation issues with our energy bill, but an energy audit gives us diagnostic testing to make recommendations we know will help.

Energy audits help you see how your home uses energy and in what ways you can reduce that consumption. We want to ensure you are not wasting energy—or said another way, not wasting your money. Again, beyond looking at your heating and cooling system, other steps can be taken to decrease consumption, including sealing of air leaks, sealing of ductwork, replacing of windows, and installation of renewable energy systems.

Another layer of complexity is that just because a home is designed in a way that is energy-conscious, doesn’t mean your getting the highest air quality that you’re after.

For example, if you have a highly efficient HVAC, you’ve improved your insulation and sealed your ductwork throughout the home, and you know you have no need to replace windows in your home, that actually may mean your home could have limited ventilation. In other words, many homeowners find that a trade-off can exist between energy-efficient measures and the kind of ventilation your home has. Ventilation is important because it helps us better manage and eliminate particles in the air, so if we limit our ventilation too much, that can affect our air quality.

One Solution: Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV)

But this is where Heat Recovery Ventilators can be of use. Take for example when the temperature gets especially low and your heating system runs constantly for days at a time. Many of us will experience a stuffy house, or certain rooms that seem to have air that is more stale than normal.

The problem is if we were to open a window or door—even just for a few minutes at a time—you’re quickly losing valuable heat. You’re also not necessarily bringing more healthy air into the home. Instead, you’re opening your home up to allergens and pollutants and therefore you’re not necessarily improving air quality at all.

Second, opening up a door or looking to rely on a fan is not actually going to evenly deal with the air in your home, and it’s certainly not a whole-house solution. In the end, turning on a fan or relying on opening a window or a door is not an effective or practical way to get rid of the stale air that you’re experiencing.

What many people with very airtight homes incorporate is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), which is specifically designed to transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air as ventilation occurs. The result is that you can breathe fresh new air and you no longer have certain places in your house with air that’s uncomfortable or unhealthy for you and your family. With this solution, you haven’t “undone” all the sealing or insulation that you’ve worked hard for: you can still save money, but also avoid any stale or stuffy air.

Consider how normally, when ventilating air from your home, a fan blows air out of the house and vents allow new air in to offset the pressure change. This works well when the temperature outside is mild and your HVAC system is not on. However, when it is very cold (or very warm), your HVAC system turns on and the ventilation process removes conditioned air, replacing it with outside air, which is either too hot or too cold.

A Heat Recovery Ventilator can use a heat exchanger to retain heat in whichever environment you want it to be. For example, during this time of year, a Heat Recovery Ventilator will transfer indoor air into a chamber where heat is then transferred to outdoor air. In summary, the stale air can be removed from your home, air is circulated back into the home, and energy is not wasted.

Call us to Learn More about Natural Ventilation

Installation of a heat recovery ventilator can be a simple process. Because you’ll want to take into account your entire home’s energy use and design, it’s best when done by an experienced professional. Call us today at 859-491-4915 or toll free at 844-491-4915 to learn more about a Heat Recovery Ventilator that will keep your air fresh without inviting all the pollen, pollutants, and allergens into your home.

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Greater Comfort’s Guide to Mastering Your Energy Bill Each Month

hvac cincinnati greater comfort

As a homeowner, you know that heating and cooling your home will consistently take more energy than other systems in your home. Even if you have a brand new system that’s highly efficient and sized right for your home, you still want to do your part to lower the energy bill as much as possible—while still maintaining a comfortable living (or working) environment.

Follow these tips and you can save a great deal on your energy bill each month.

Get More Informed About Your Heating & Cooling System—And Your Other Options

It’s best to know some of the options about upgrading or replacing an HVAC system before we really need to make that decision! When it comes to replacing or upgrading your heating and cooling system, you’ll be taking into account the life of the system, any issues or repairs that are required, your home’s design, and the underlying efficiency it’s delivering, which is indicative of how well its been maintained and how long it has left to “live.”

When you work with the experts at Greater Comfort, we can help you upgrade to a system by letting you compare makes and models, including the associated system designs. We can then show you how this can benefit your home—both comfort-wise and how it will impact your up-front costs and your energy usage on an ongoing basis.

Even if you aren’t looking for any kind of replacement or upgrade right now, you want to be able to know the answers to these questions. It may be too soon to ask these questions, but when the time is right, be equipped to ask some of these questions:

  • What all does your installation estimate include?
  • What are the benefits of the brands (makes and models) your company offers? How are these different than other brands?
  • Can you share your warranty specifications I should be aware of?
  • What size system does my home need—and what does that mean for any other recommendations you have?

It’s worth your time to know as much as you can about other issues, including how much your system could cost over a lifetime, before you make any decisions.

Put Your Tune-Ups on the Calendar 

Getting in your annual home heating and cooling tune-ups is one of the most significant ways you can ensure your system lasts for as long as possible. Because it can be easily forgotten if you need to, add a reminder to your calendar so that you don’t forget.

Another easy solution is to ask us about our maintenance program that you can enroll in. Our preventative maintenance agreement includes two inspections per year—in April and in October, to reflect the cooling start-up season and then the heating start-up season. 

It’s just one more simple way to make sure your system is operating efficiently and safely on an ongoing basis.

Beyond an inspection of the system, we’re looking for any signs of issues or deficiencies such as leaks or corrosion or “wear” that’s not normal. We also want to make sure the system is operating safely, we will change the filters and we’ll ensure ventilation is occurring properly. Again, ongoing maintenance helps prevent emergency repairs, but it also just keeps the system working as economically as possibly. These tune-ups are also a great time to continue to talk to us about the life of your system.

For the heating tune-up specifically, we’re able to do the following:

  • Check evaporator fan motor amp draws
  • Verify proper manifold gas pressure
  • Check induced draft motor amp draw
  • Clean flame rod (if applicable)
  • Check heat exchanger
  • Inspect flue and fresh air make–up
  • Inspect contractors
  • Electric resistance heating elements
  • Disconnects & wiring
  • Tightening all electrical connections
  • Verify proper thermostat operation & program

If you ever think you’ll be fine by skipping a professional tune-up entirely, know that many warranties only apply if you’ve had a certified professional perform this list of services.

Have a question?

At Greater Comfort, we encourage you to ask questions!

We have no issue with explaining what we’re doing, or further explaining any recommendations we have for you. We take each inspection as another opportunity to be able to educate you as much as possible as to what you can be doing to preserve the life of your system, and what you can be doing to have ultimate comfort, all year long.

Our furnace and air conditioning experts proudly serve all of Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and Southeastern Indiana. With over 60 years of experience, our highly trained technicians bring our special brand of expertise and customer service to every job we perform. Give us a call today at 859-491-4915 or toll free at 844-491-4915.

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Myths vs. Reality: Busting Myths About Mini-Split Heat Pumps

what to know about heat pumps

What are ductless heat pumps?

Ductless heat pumps are also referred to as ductless mini-split systems, named that way because they are used in homes with non-ducted heating systems. They are popular in areas with temperatures that typically stay above freezing.

Just like your more traditional heat pumps, mini splits have the outdoor component and the indoor unit: the system will either bring heat in from outside your home to warm it up, or take heat out of your home to cool it down depending on the season (1, 2).

Ductless heat pumps have been around for more than 50 years. Over time they have become more and more quiet, more efficient—and they are now more affordable than ever (3). Choosing the right system for your home can be complicated by myths about ductless heat pumps. Here we break down 6 common misconceptions about mini splits.

Myth #1: Ductless Heat Pumps Won’t Work In Cold Climates

Truth: Many people go ductless as a way to supplement their current heating system. If and when temperatures drop lower than freezing, heat pumps with dual-fuel systems will keep your home warm by alternating between the electric heat system and a gas furnace system (or other systems that use oil or propane). The two systems will never run simultaneously and the most cost efficient system will operate to heat your home (4, 5).

Myth #2: Ductless Heat Pumps Have Expensive Ongoing Costs

Truth: Ductless heat pumps can save you $1000 to $2000 in energy costs (6) in one year alone. Just like any system, efficiency is one of the major factors that determines how much you will or will not pay when it comes to your monthly energy bill.

Myth #3: Ductless Heat Pumps Are Dirty and Hard To Clean

Truth: The majority of ductless heat pumps will come with systems to self clean, which minimizes the chance for any bacteria to build up (6). Also keep in mind that homeowners can also easily clean the system’s filters monthly, or as needed, and should make sure to remove any debris from the area around the outside unit (7).

Myth #4: Ductless Heat Pumps Are Only for New Homes or Buildings

Truth: Ductless heat pumps are a reliable option for upgrading your home’s current heating system. They will actually work together with existing boilers and furnaces to save fuel and efficiently heat your living space. In fact, one of the main advantages they offer is that you can add them on to existing systems so that individual rooms can have more comfortable air.

Myth #5: Ductless Heat Pumps Don’t Last Very Long

Truth: Just like with any heating and cooling unit, you need to take care of your system to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Again, this myth could not be further from the truth as one of the major benefits of going ductless is how long the units can last—and still be efficient! If you properly care for your system and have regular maintenance performed, ductless heat pumps can operate for over 20 years (8, 9).

Myth #6: Ductless Heat Pumps Won’t Work Well With Room Additions

Truth: When you add another room to your house or even change an attic from a storage space to a living space, ductless heat pumps can save you from the need to add electric resistance heaters. They also prevent you from further extending any current ductwork or piping in your home. Again, since they are so flexible, they are actually optima for add-ons or room additions (10, 11, 12).

Only Certain Rooms In Your House Need Heating? Mini Split is Your Flexible Solution

Ductless systems are a flexible way you can increase ongoing comfort in your home. You can use ductless mini split heat pumps that will match their energy use to the need for heating or cooling in the home, which means they won’t waste electricity by turning on and off repeatedly.

Whether it is a single room, an entire floor, or your entire house, give us a call today at 859-491-4915 to learn more about how you can create “zones” in your home and start saving money today.

References/Sources

  1. http://www.angieslist.com/articles/ductless-heat-pump-right-my-home.htm
  2. http://www.lennox.com/help/faqs/heat-pumps
  3. http://www.nextstepliving.com/savings-and-efficiency-ductless-mini-splits-are-new-efficient-way-cool-and-heat-your-home
  4. https://dawsonpower.com/blog/2014/09/heat-pump-myths-debunked/
  5. www.lennox.com
  6. http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/articles/energy-efficiency/busting-myths-about-electric-heat-pumps
  7. http://energy.gov/energysaver/operating-and-maintaining-your-heat-pump
  8. https://goingductless.com/faq
  9. http://www.theheatpumpstore.com/about-us/faq/
  10. http://www.nwseed.org/wp-content/uploads/Heatwise-FAQs.pdf
  11. http://www.theheatpumpstore.com/about-us/faq/
  12. http://dayheating.com/products/ductless-heat-pump/faq.html

 

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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Furnace?

northern kentucky heating system installs greater comfort
What are the benefits to replacing your furnace?

When it comes to an emergency situation, as homeowners, we might be faced with the question: should we really replace our furnace?

Just like with changes we make to our house in terms of air quality, windows and other changes to insulation, and even roofing—greater efficiency can mean lower monthly bills. With that said, sometimes it can still be difficult to know if comfort at a lower ongoing cost is worth paying up-front for an upgrade. Here’s more information to help you make the decision with confidence.

Whether you have a gas furnace, heat pumps or air handlers, we know that you will make the best decision when you are fully informed. Ask us to hear all the options you have in terms of installation, replacement and ongoing maintenance for your system.

Here’s what you should talk over with your experienced HVAC:

  • How old your system is
  • Whether or not the technology is still best for your home
  • Cost of repairs relative to cost of a new furnace that fits your needs

System Age

Even if you’re system seems to be working fine, if you see an increase in your monthly bills (month to month or year over year) that’s unexplained, it could be a sign your system is not as efficient as it used to be. With air conditioners and heat pumps lasting up to 12 years, on average, and furnaces lasting up to 20 years, on average, it’s safe to say that many people see problems before the end of the life of their furnace. It’s also important to remember these are averages.

That’s where we come in to give you expert advice on whether or not it is likely that you will have (costly) repairs in the future—based on the current “health” of your system, including factors such as the age of the system.

Technology
 

It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that HVAC technology is constantly advancing. When you upgrade to a new model, an added benefit is that you get the latest technology available to keep your air as comfortable and healthy as possible. Not only does better technology mean more even temperature, and less noise, it also means greater savings in terms of your utility bill. Be sure to see if there are any rebates such as tax rebates that you might be able to utilize when getting a new furnace.

Costs
 

We’ve talked about before that if your estimated repair costs are going to exceed 30 to 50 percent of the cost of your system’s current value, then you want to consider getting a new system. Many people also prefer, at that point, to put money into a new system, rather than a system that could have more, ongoing issues due to age and normal wear. 

If the estimated repair costs are less than one third of the value of the system and you know you have many years left in your system, in many of the cases you’ll want to repair the system. These kind of repairs can include airflow issues, thermostat problems, cycling, noise issues, problems with your blower, over-heating or under-heating, dirty air filters, or other issues.

Of course your course of action also depends on the actual problem you are experiencing!

We are able to work on every major brand of heating system, making sure we are able to get your system back in top condition as quickly as possible.

If you choose to install a new furnace, whether you have traditional forced air heating with a gas furnace, use a heat pump, or your home has its original boiler, Greater Comfort will help you select a new heating system for optimal efficiency and comfort. We will work with you to ensure you get exactly what you need to stay warm all winter, and so that you have a high quality, dependable system.

Installing a New Furnace: Worry-Free Heating for Years to Come

We can install any major brand or type of furnace, dual fuel system, hybrid system, heat pump, boiler or rooftop packaged unit. High efficiency furnaces available today consume more than 30 percent less fuel than older furnaces. We want you to find a high efficiency model that makes the upgrade a long-term fit for your home and family. It might make sense to ask us for home energy audit to see where there is opportunity to save energy throughout the home.

Call us to Help You Consider the Options for Repair or Replacement

A new furnace is about safely heating your home—now and into the future. Call us today if you want to learn more about year-round comfort for your home. Contact us for 24-7 emergency service at 859-491-4915.

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Make Sure Your Family Has Clean & Pure Air in 2016

hvac northern kentucky

During the holiday season, we often have close friends and family come and visit us. It’s also the perfect time of year to give consideration to your air purification and cleaning system.

We may think of allergies as being worse in other seasons, but just as many contaminants and pollutants build up in the fall and winter months inside our home.

In fact, indoor air quality is an issue we should be aware of throughout the year.

Indoor Air Quality: Not Just for Those With Allergies

One of the biggest myths about indoor air quality is that only those people with severe allergies have to be worried about pollution inside the home. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In winter, as people turn on their heating systems and as people utilize their fireplaces, we can see an uptick in indoor allergens.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks we have today—and that’s consistent throughout the year. Also according to the EPA, some of the indoor air pollutants we have can include:

• bacteria
• dust mites
• mold
• bacteria
• viruses

What’s more is that the source of these pollutants can vary greatly. We see pollutants enter the air from adhesives, paint, varnishes, products we use on the body, cleaning products, pesticides and building materials. Pollutants are broken down into two categories: particulate matter (like dust, smoke, pollen, dander, tobacco) and gaseous pollutants (like gas cooking stoves, paints or vehicle exhaust.)

Air cleaning systems can clean out particles and gaseous pollutants. Still other air cleaners actually destroy (or convert) pollutants via UV light technology. Increasing ventilation in the home also support removal of pollutants in our air.

Air Cleaning Technologies: What to Know

You may wonder: what are some of the questions you should be asking when it comes to selecting your air cleaning technology? Here are a few of the questions to consider:

• Does this air filter remove large particles, and if not, what can be used in combination with it to ensure large particles in the air can be removed and/or destroyed?
• Does this filtration system apply to gases in the home?
• Will this be effective in dealing with bacterial and/or mold in the air?
• Can you verify that none of these systems produce any lung irritants?
• How do you describe the performance of this air cleaner—and why is this superior to other solutions?
• Do these cleaning systems/devices handle odors in the air as well?

Your HVAC expert can help you find air cleaning technologies that, when combined, can work effectively and be a solution that has longevity.

What Kind of Air Cleaners or Purifiers Should My Home Have?

Mechanical filters use a media filter made of carbon, fiberglass or another porous material to capture particles as air passes through them. The highest rated media filters (HEPA) can capture up to 99.9% of all contaminants 0.3 microns or larger. Many mechanical air filters can be measured in terms of MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. On a scale of 1 to 20, this allows people to compare the efficacy of air filters across brands. Ask us for more specific information or about specific filters you have. In general, there will be three factors we will take into consideration:

• Size of Pollutants: Air testing is highly recommended to determine which allergens and pollutants pose the greatest risk in your home. Common allergens like dust and pollen can be captured by many filters, but smaller particles like mold spores or smoke particles cannot.
• Whole House Options: This option means your whole house is effectively working to remove and destroy contaminants, making sure that allergens and pollutants do not circulate back into your home’s air supply. For homes without air handlers, there are standalone options or single–room options available.
• Multi–Stage Air Cleaning: Air cleaners and purifiers come in many forms, so it is best to decide if you want to have a single device or multiple devices that can clean air effectively.

When it comes to installation, your experienced and professional HVAC will guide you so you meet install requirements and so you know what kind of maintenance your system requires. Give us a call today at 859-491-4915 to learn your options on how you can find allergy relief and more pure air through air cleaners in your home.

Sources/References

  • http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home
  • http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home#indoor-air
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What’s Actually Happening with a Two-Stage Furnace?

two stage furnace system cincinnati ohio

Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage Furnace

Consider a single-stage furnace: as you might have guessed, your system has one speed it operates at with a single-stage furnace. A single-stage furnace also means your furnace is constantly working; it’s either at maximum air speed, or you are waiting for cooling to occur. Once the home does cool, then the furnace will start again when it’s a one-stage system.

With a more precise alternative, you can have the furnace adjust how hard it is working to match your specific needs. Rather than always running at full capacity and then shutting off (and then back on), a two-stage furnace is made up of two-stages of capacity: high and low.

This ability to go back and forth between these levels of operation results in consistent temperature and more even airflow. Just consider how the low setting on a two-stage furnace meets heating demands about 80 percent of the time.

What does this mean on a day-to-day basis? First, it means you have very even temperatures in your home, and people do not feel “air movement” most of the time, either. Many times, since it is not running at full speed, it is also very quiet. When you run your furnace at a lower speed, it really helps you have ultimate comfort!

Another way of thinking about a two-stage system is that when you need your furnace to work harder (extreme cold days), it will. When you don’t need it work harder (more mild days in the winter), however, it won’t. Many people who live in areas where temperatures can vary day to day enjoy this real-time benefit of greater control and efficiency. The benefits to having a full (or high) speed alongside a half (or low) speed, is not just in the winter. A two-stage system also means you can greater humidity control in your home during all months of the year.

Because your system can run at a low, optimal speed, it has greater ability to have more air pass through the system, and therefore more air contaminants can be captured.

Maintaining Your Furnace

Now that you know more about longer, low-capacity operation, and the benefits that are passed on to you, it’s time to examine what else you should know after installation.

What are some of the basics that you want to do to maintain your furnace so you can continue that high degree of efficiency and comfort?

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Check electrical
  • Check carbon monoxide
  • Clean furnace or boiler
  • Check vent pipe to chimney
  • Clean and adjust burners
  • Check all safety devices
  • Inspect combustion chamber
  • Check/clean blower wheel
  • Check furnace wiring
  • Check hot water tank
  • Check gas valve operation
  • Test for any gas or heat exchanger/combustion chamber leaks
  • Check humidifier
  • Check motors and controls sequence
  • Check and fix of thermostat

Call the Experts at Greater Comfort

With more than 60 years of experience, our highly trained technicians can help you maintain your system and also answer any questions you have on our visit. If you are considering a two-stage furnace or need to get your maintenance in, give us a call today at 859-491-4915.

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Repair vs. Replace: When It’s Time to Replace Your Faulty Furnace

 

install new furnace

Many furnaces operate between 16 and 20 years. After that point, new models can end up saving you as much as 20 percent on your energy bill.

What are some signs that you need to consider installing a new HVAC?

  • Large temperature variations that are of concern
  • Noise issues
  • Frequent repairs, especially in last 2-3 years
  • Uneven heating—especially in areas that weren’t that way before
  • Thermostat issues such as frequent adjustment
  • Blower-related issues
  • Higher energy bills than normal

Even if you’re system seems to be working fine, if you see an increase in your monthly bills (month to month or year over year) that’s unexplained, it could be a sign your system is not as efficient as it used to be.

So how do we measure your heating system’s efficiency?

When it comes to the efficiency of furnaces and boilers, we look at efficiency in terms of annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE.

To get the AFUE, we look at how efficient the appliance is at converting energy to heat and we divide it by the amount of fuel used by the appliance each year.

  • 56-70 percent AFUE: very low-efficiency system
  • 80-83 percent AFUE: medium-efficiency system
  • 90+ percent AFUE: high efficiency system

Lennox® brings you high efficiency and maximum air quality and ongoing comfort. Additionally, Lennox® furnaces are also up to nine times quieter than competitors’ models.

The decision is yours, but know that a more mature system may require more repairs, and those repair costs should be taken into consideration. A general rule of thumb is that if your repair costs are going to exceed 30 to 50 percent of the cost of your system’s value, it’s time to seriously consider getting a new system.

The list of benefits when you get a new furnace include:

  • Improved air quality
  • Lower energy bills
  • More even airflow and heating throughout the home
  • Updated standards and warranty
  • Peace of mind knowing you’ve reduced the risk of carbon monoxide emissions
  • Greater efficiency from your system

Whatever your home, lifestyle and budget is, there’s a Lennox system that can meet your needs, whether that be:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Precise temperature
  • Allergen filtration
  • Humidity control
  • Quiet operation
  • Reduction of safety risks

Ready to say goodbye to your furnace?

Call us today to receive $400 off any complete Lennox HVAC system not covered by a Lennox Factory rebate. Simply tell us you saw this promotion on our blog.  Give us a call today to learn more at 859-491-4915.

Sources and References

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Top Things to Keep in Mind When You Need a New Furnace

heating repair and heating installation

With the average expectancy for a gas furnace being 18 years, many people make the decision to replace their current furnace after approximately 10-15 years due to efficiency savings.

If you are considering a new furnace, here are 3 things to consider as you talk with a professional about your options.

1. Energy source and system type

Nothing is more important than the heating system you choose for your home. One of the first things you can examine is looking at the energy source for you new furnace.

No matter if you had gas, electric or oil heating, in the past, your expert can talk you through the benefits for your home with a new system. Generally speaking, for gas furnaces, you can find an economical way to heat, especially when temperatures are extremely low.

An oil or propane furnace is a powerful solution but can be more expensive and it can require more space. An electric furnace is what it sounds like—a system that makes heat from electricity. Your HVAC will likely talk you through the benefits of an electric-powered heat pump which would use less electricity, however. There are many other factors as play and you want to be sure you don’t sacrifice quality for short-term savings.

You also want to get the most efficient furnace that fits within your budget. In other words, you want to get the highest Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, so that your month-to-month bills are as low as possible. Your qualified expert can help you decide if having a split system or a packaged system is best for your home.

2. Zoning systems

If you have one or more rooms that always seem to be a different temperature than the rest of your house, zoning is solution that can help with this issue. Or, on the opposite end, if you have a room or section of the house that doesn’t need to be heated/cooled like the rest of the house, then zoning is also a way you can keep your home comfortable—while not heating or cooling areas that are barely used.

3. Variable speed

When it comes to furnace blowers, your HVAC will help you pick a variable-speed blower or a fixed-speed blower. In short, variable-speed often means more comfort and control when it comes to your furnace’s fan motor. Variable-speed blowers provide you with the ability to vary the speed of your blower, and they can save you money since they can use less electricity than standard motors. Variable-speed motors can also help you clean and better circulate the air in your home. Also ask your HVAC how your decision will affect the sound in your home; in most cases, a variable-speed system will be more quiet operation.

Adding Value to Your Home: The Benefits of the Newest Technology

Deciding to get a new furnace is undoubtedly a big decision, but when you’re informed, it adds value to your home, can help you protect your health through improved air quality, and can help reduce your ongoing energy bills. If you do decide to get a new furnace, one of the benefits of taking advantage of the newest technology is that you can get just the right amount of airflow, heat and even make sure your humidity levels are what they should be, which all means greater comfort for your home.

The latest systems also offer you more precision than ever when it comes to temperature adjustments, meaning you have greater control of our comfort, no matter the temperature outside. Your qualified professional will help you decide which technology and which brand is best suited for your home.

Once you get your new furnace installed, be sure to see if there is a maintenance program you can take advantage of. You can also maximize your cost savings by turning down your thermostat, when applicable, or utilizing your programmable thermostat when away from the home or at nights. When you see how low your energy bills can be by taking advantage of a high-performing furnace and a programmable thermostat, you will be glad you made the investment.

Want to know more about your furnace options or our maintenance program? Give us a call today to learn more at 859-491-4915.

Source/References

Consumer Reports

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What You Didn’t Know About Your Heating System Maintenance

furnace inspection and tune up northern kentucky

Yes, your furnace is aging and will ultimately require replacement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ensure it lasts as long as possible. Four signs there could be issues with your furnace include:

  • Irregular monthly energy bills: if you compare your bills form year to year, and the energy cost is not explained by a seasonal/temperature change, it could be a sign your system isn’t working as efficiently as it used to.
  • Rattling or rocking noises: in some cases, if the heat exchanger is cracked, your system could be a vibrating or rattling noise
  • Yellow pilot light: if you try to adjust your burner light, and you still can’t get your pilot light to blue, then it could be an issue or even a sign of excess carbon dioxide.
  • Trouble with your thermostat: assuming you’ve checked your batteries, if you have excessive issues with your thermostat it could be a sign there is actually something wrong with your furnace.

Other irregular noises such as a “squealing” noise could signal an ignition issue, airflow issue or mechanical problem that needs to be looked into.

Furnace Issues You Might Not Have Considered

Whether or not furnace distress means you may be due for furnace replacement, as least know more about what it means to make the investment in regular tune-ups for your system.

One of the components we look at is the stack pipe, also called the flue vent connector or simply the flue pipe. In a normal situation, we’d see a coating of soot appearing on the interior of the pipe. Problems occur when there is too much soot—and it also means we’re spending more to heat our home or building.

With gas-fired and oil furnaces, soot can become a problem, and what’s more is that if you have a complete lack of coating, it can also be a signal of an issue such as debris causing blockage within your flue pipe.

When soot layers are too thick, it can cause heat to go up into the chimney instead of throughout the home. If a home has excessive soot, it can even become a fire hazard. A bit of oil burner soot can be normal and will build-up during service intervals. Also consider when a heating bolder is almost completely blocked with soot, it gets hotter and hotter—and with temperatures extremely high, materials or things need your system can catch fire (1).

If you see excessive soot, debris or even rust flakes in the flue vent connector or on the top of the equipment, make note: this could be a sign that you need your regular cleaning and/or service. Anytime you see soot that is coming from a gas fired heater, just be aware that you could also be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to call a professional!

But Don’t Forget What You Can Do For Your Furnace

You now recognize the value of a qualified expert to help you inspect and maintain your system, but also remember what you can do to support your furnace’s longevity. Here are three steps to take to make sure you are also doing your best to maintain your furnace:

  • Change your air filters regularly: unless you have an annual filter, that can be anywhere from 1-3 months. Ask us for more information specific to your home.
  • Schedule your regular furnace maintenance: keep energy costs low as you heat and cool and ensure you are not at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, among other health and safety risks.
  • Check the status of your pipes outside your home: make sure you remove any build-up such as ice or snow, insects, leaves or even bird nests. Again, ask us if you have more questions.

Think you may need a furnace installation, mechanical repair or tune-up? Give us a call today at 859-491-4915.

Sources

1. http://inspectapedia.com/heat/Sooty_Boilers_Furnaces_Heaters.php

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