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Myth Busters: Your Energy Bill in the Summer

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Many of us want to know whether it’s true: if you set your thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer months when you leave your home, does it save you money?

People on one end of the argument have said that if you turn the temperature up a few degrees when you don’t need the house as cool (or down when in the winter months), then you’ll negate any savings when you turn the temperature back down (or up in the winter).

Although that logic might sound possible, it’s not true.

The Truth About Using a Programmable Thermostat

Instead, setting your thermostat to a warmer temperature while you are away in the summer, then decreasing the setting again when you need cooling, does save you money.

Just how much money could be saved using this strategy? According to the Department of Energy, if you set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees when you leave or go to sleep, it can save you 5 to 15 percent on your energy bill over a year. (See the article here.)

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking just a few minutes out of your day to set the thermostat.

Here’s another way of looking at it: if you set your thermostat to 76-78 degrees when you’re home, and off when you are not home, you will likely use 1-3 percent less energy per degree that the thermostat is set above 72. (Source: My Energy.)

While that estimated savings from setting your temperature back is greater for buildings or homes in milder climates, than for those in more severe climates, you can save money by taking advantage of your thermostats settings. For many of us, this is especially easy when you have a programmable thermostat (unless you have heat pumps—in certain cases) you can set and not worry about.

If you have heat pumps, electric resistance heating or steam heat, talk to us and we can help you implement a strategy that is the most cost-effective. If your digital thermostat is overly complicated, ask us for help to set up your system, which you can typically do on a daily and/or weekly programming schedule.

Here’s another scenario to consider: think about a normal temperature of a building or home to be around 68 degrees. When your house temperature drops below normal, it loses heat to the environment much more slowly than it does when the heat is at its normal temperature of 68. If you’re home is using less energy to heat, and then there is less heat lost to the environment, that means there is more savings for the homeowner!

Those savings are not negated when you turn the thermostat back up. With that said, avoid changing the thermostat to a colder setting than normal when you do return home and change the settings. You will not cool your home any faster, and this kind of action could result in greater energy expenses because you might excessively cool your home.

Set It & Save

If you are going on vacation, spend a lot of time away from the home, or you want to save a lot of money while you sleep, be sure to adjust your thermostat to take advantage of these cost savings.

Need help operating your thermostat for maximum energy savings? Let us know.

Sources

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Whole-Home Air Cleaners vs. Single-Room: Which is Right for Your Home?

cincinnati ac repair and air quality

You want a home that’s sealed so that you see the benefit of maximum energy efficiency, but at the same time, you want ventilation and the ability to properly filter out bacteria and air particles that can be damaging the health of your family.

You want a home that’s sealed so that you see the benefit of maximum energy efficiency, but at the same time, you want ventilation and the ability to properly filter out bacteria and air particles that can be damaging the health of your family.

Can you have both? The answer is yes, which is part of why home owners often ask us about two kinds of air cleaners: whole-home and single-room cleaners.

Single-Room vs. Whole-Home

Single-room air cleaners are what they sound like: cleaners that cover small areas within the home. In many cases single-room cleaners have a fan of some kind and an electronic component to charge the air to increase your filtration. Their benefits include the fact they are small and can be moved easily. Although they only cover a small range, they are effective in what they do for individual rooms.

One drawback to a single-room cleaner is that just because one room has air that is made more clean, doesn’t mean you are able to filter the air that exists in the rest of the house. While one or two rooms might have air that is healthier for your family in the short-term, the rest of the house can still have pollutants, dust mites, pet dander or other particles that can simply work back into the room you are working to clean.

The Benefits of Whole-Home Air Cleaners

Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are integrated into your heating & air conditioning system. They utilize your furnace or your air handler to clean the air throughout the home. This means that not just one room is fully cleaned: you can know that the entire home air that has been filtered through the system.

Disposable filters, washable filters, electrostatic filters, and even UV lights are a few of the variety of options you have to remove impurities in the air utilizing your heating & cooling system.

The other benefits include:

  • The ability to remove or deactivate up to 99 percent of capture particles including most dust, allergens and particles in the air throughout the entire home
  • Protection for your entire HVAC thanks to reduced airborne particles
  • Higher efficiency: maximum airflow without sacrificing overall efficiency for your system
  • Help eliminate or relieve allergy symptoms or asthma due to pollutant’s within the home
  • Minimal maintenance or upkeep, especially compared to filters that are not modern

Did we also mention they operate quietly? Most whole-home air cleaning systems can be incorporated into any existing heating and cooling system (new build or retrofit) and you have lots of options to get started.

Ask us today so we can find a solution that best fits your needs, now and in the future!

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Want Allergy Relief? Your Quick Guide to Air Purification

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When it comes to air purification and filtration, modern filtration systems work to purify your air. That’s both maintenance, and preventative in nature.

Air filtration also works to “undo” the fact that the average house has a build-up of contaminants.

That’s because we can have excess moisture in our homes, or we can have heating and cooling systems that end up circulating dust and bacteria in the home. Many of us have pets that contribute to poorer air quality, and smoking also adds toxins into the air we are breathing. When we open doors or even windows, pollen and other allergens are then introduced and “trapped” inside the home.

Ask any homeowner if they want clean and healthy air, and not surprisingly, you will hear, “Yes!” Here are 4 types of air purification to know about for your home.

1. Ionizing Purifiers

Ionizing purifiers use corona discharge to create molecules that are called ions. Molecules that pass through this electric field are ionized. When a particle in the air is charged, it will then attract to something of the opposite charge. The purifier then works to attract the particles, causing them to cluster together and settle out of the air.

2. Adsorbents

Adsorbent material can be found in many air purifiers; the process is what it sounds like, helping to get rid of fumes, chemicals or odors we have in the air. Adsorption, not to be confused with absorption, is where one substance is trapped on the surface of another. In this way, substances can be separated.

3. UV Light

UV light is a part of some air purifiers. The UV light makes certain microorganism sterile, eliminating certain airborne virus and bacteria in the process.

4. Filters

Air cleaners are filters that simply work by passing air through a filter to remove particles. This works to remove particles from the air and it also prevents damage or lack of efficiency in the furnace.

Just like there are many air purifiers, there are many subcategories of air filters. A catechin filter is a filter that many people are interested in, and it works to ensure the air in your home (or building) is just that: clean, fresh, and as healthy for you as possible. The upside to it all is that the catechin filter doesn’t require the maintenance that filters did in years past.

Catechin pre-filtration starts as a large pre-filter collects odors that exist in your home. What also comes during so-called pre-filtration is the inactivation of viruses and bacteria in your home. That’s where the word “catechin” comes from. The pre-filter contains catechin, which is an element found in green tea that acts as an antibacterial and also a deodorizer.

People like to call this filtering method natural air filtration. Not only is it natural, the filters are easy to remove and they are long-lasting.

Filters can actually be quite complex, and this is just one sub-category. Keep in mind there are also filters designed for odor removal, such as Platinum Deodorizing filters. Remember that maintenance of any filter is required, and an integral part in the process of working to get the cleanest and purest possible indoor air. 

Did you know that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks we have in the US? (Source: EPA.) Since most of us spend 90 percent of our time indoors, the good news is that we can do something about it thanks to air cleaners/purifiers and advanced filters we have available.

Ask us about air filtration or purification that can help you fight to minimize your allergies, no matter the season.

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What To Know About Your HVAC When Preparing to Sell Your Home

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Did you know nearly 7 in 10 home buyers are willing to pay much for a home with central air conditioning than a home without? For many, a heating & cooling system is an extremely influential factor when deciding to buy a home.

If you’re thinking about selling your home at any time in the future, here are some tips to keep top of mind as you continue to take care of your home.

Recognize how you are using your programmer

When ensuring your home is in its optimal condition for selling, you want to be sure you have a programmable thermostat that lets you keep the house at a higher temperature when you are not home–and then cooler again during the hours you are consistently home. For central units, this is something new home owners will want to see today.

Ask us about your insulation

One of the “easiest” ways you can make sure you are maintaining an efficient home is to examine the way air is being sealed and your current home insulation. Also keep in mind that sometimes old insulation can be a problem, and may need to be replaced (moisture over time, etc.).

Having signs of outdated or under-insulated areas of your home could be a negative signal to people looking at your home, even if it is easy to replace and/or remove. Time and time again we see improvements that can greatly improve your insulation in your home! Additionally, many times adding the right kind of insulation before replacing an AC unit means you can help that unit perform more efficiently, which means more cost savings passed along to you in the meantime.

Replace your filters consistently

Of course you want to find the optimal mix between filtration and energy costs associated with pull the air through your filters, and you also want to make sure you are replacing your air filters as consistently as possible before putting your house on the market.

Typically you want to install a new filter every month during the cooling season (but ask us if you have any questions on that general guideline.) Remember that your AC’s efficiency is highly dependent on your filters. You can see the MERV of your filter to see how well your air is being filtered at any given time.

Properly fix any leaks

It seems like an obvious one, but be sure not to neglect any airflow leaks in the home. Remember that AC units can be tricky to seal properly, but the difference it makes can be substantial. Ask us if you need help to examining the airflow in your home.

Consider making an upgrade or going ductless—if the ROI is there

A general rule of thumb is that homes that have more modern, efficient cooling and heating systems are going to be easier to sell, and people will pay more for a more modern system. As ductless systems continue to become more and more popular, people are becoming more aware of the health and comfort benefit of an efficient system.

We are here to help if you have any questions or you think that your home could benefit from an upgrade. We can help you weigh the benefits and the estimated costs you will be able to add-in when selling your home.

Sign up for a seasonal maintenance/tune-up program

Regular maintenance of your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is critical for its long life, and it will pay off when you sell your home. Yes, it can prevent breakdowns, but it can also save you money in the meantime.

Greater Comfort’s preventative maintenance program includes two inspections per year. Beyond changing your filters to ensure optimal efficiency, we take a look and record the following on our cooling inspections:

  • Refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant temperatures
  • Compressor amp draws
  • Condenser fan amp draws
  • Evaporator temperature drop
  • Evaporator fan moto amp draws
  • Mega OHM compressor windings
  • Verify proper thermostat operation & programming
  • Inspect contractors
  • Disconnects & wiring
  • Tightening of all electrical connections
  • Blowing out all condensate drains for debris and verifying proper operation

Not only will you make sure you are complying with your warranty, when applicable, but you won’t regret the effort you put into your home now as you prepare it for a future sale.

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Why Ductless Heating & Cooling Systems are Rising In Popularity

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Do you have a room in your home that seems to always be much hotter (or much cooler) than the rest of the rooms? Is it a room that isn’t often occupied, whether intentionally or unintentionally that way?

Maybe it’s a room that you also suspect is increasing your energy bill, even if it seems like a lost cause to try to evenly cool or heat the room to match the temperature of the rest of the house!

If you have one of these rooms in your house—whether it be a guest room or one you don’t even feel like you can fully utilize—it might be time to consider a ductless system.

What’s a ductless heating and cooling system?

Ductless systems are a great way to control the temperature of a single room, and they also allow you to reduce energy costs at the same time. A ductless cooling and heating system has an indoor unit that is mounted either on a wall or ceiling. It also has an outdoor unit that houses your condenser. Combined, the system is connected by a conduit—instead of any ductwork, and hence the name.

This means you are getting heating and cooling from one system, which is why you will hear that the systems are easier to install. That also plays a part into why they are more efficient than window ACs or space heaters, which people often turn to for those pesky single rooms that always are too hot or too cool. Another benefit is that they take up very little space being that they have no ductwork.

Besides better dealing with single-room solutions, what are the other conditions in which a ductless heating and cooling system might be a fit for your home?

1. You are looking for monthly savings.

Because ductless systems are very efficient, one of the major motivations for people is the monthly savings. Ask us more about your specific home and expected cost savings each month.

2. You are looking for cleaner and all around healthier air.

Not only do you get ideal comfort in all months of the year, but a ductless system means air purifying filters and works consistently to get rid of stale air, circulating fresh air in the process. Who wouldn’t want a multi-stage filtration that reduces dust, bacteria, pollen, allergens and more in the air?

3. You have electric heat currently.

Ready to replace your inefficient electric baseboard, wall and ceiling heat, electric furnace, or other space heaters? We thought so. We can also work with you to figure out what is best for you, which may mean supplementing your current setup.

4. You have had, or plan to have, a remodel or new addition to your home.

When you add to a building or your home, in many cases, adding to the existing ductwork or pipes in a home can be costly—or worse yet—it can be inefficient in the long-run. Ask us if a ductless system would be a more effective and less costly option for your add-on. If you are building a new home, there are even more possibilities.

It’s clear that ductless means even, year-round comfort in your home. Remember that one of the biggest reasons ductless cooling and heating systems have gotten so popular is due to how ductless systems take less power, meaning the efficiency is passed on to the homeowners as cost-savings.

If you are ready for quiet and even air in your home and want to talk more about ductless heating and cooling systems, as well as opportunities for tax credits and rebates if you install a ductless system, let us know today.

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The Dog Days of Summer: What Did People Do Before Air Conditioning?

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One of the major reasons we are able to spend so much time indoors is our A/C. Ask anyone used to living or working with air conditioning how uncomfortable it is to go without modern day cooling, and they will acknowledge it’s hard to imagine living or working without it.

But What Did People Do in the Hot Seasons Before We Had Invented Air Conditioning?

In part, people were a bit experimental. Throughout history, people commonly used hand fans to try to stay cool. Even back in second century China, an inventor named Ding Huan was working on a rotary fan made of 7 wheels.

In some areas, large ice slabs were actually used in order to cool buildings. They would take ice slabs from rivers and utilize them to cool the indoor temperatures. Even other areas used trees to try to block the sun as much as possible from exposure to a home or building.

One of the early concepts behind air conditioning was seen in ancient Egypt—a climate that is a dry desert. During this time, people would hang reeds in windows that had been moistened with water. It is believed that in Persia, people would take advantage of wind towers to cool building during the hot seasons. In ancient Rome, water from aqueducts would be circulated through walls in order to help cool homes. The Roman Emperor Elagabalus is said to have used snow from mountains and kept a stockpile outside his home.

Who Can We Thank for Modern Day Air Conditioning?

In the 19th century, a large-scale electrical air conditioning unit was invented. The year was 1902.

Willis Carrier was the inventor and he was looking for a solution that could help solve the humidity problem that was hurting the printing process where he worked.

When Willis got his designs patented he called it the “Apparatus for treating air.”

In what was considered a huge risk at the time, he reported on his early success during 1903, saying, “The cooling coils which we sold this company have given excellent results during the past summer.” Modern air conditioning had been born.

Even though he isn’t necessarily a household name today, his invention changed the world. Not only did it enable people to work more comfortably (for more hours), it also encouraged the migration of people to the Sub Belt in the United States.

Later, the term “air conditioning” was coined from a man named Stuart Cramer. It is believed that Cramer, an entrepreneur himself, saw the “condition” of work and life being improved.

A/C may not have been invented for residential use, but people in mass have benefited since its invention. Not only can productivity and the hours we stay awake be naturally extended, but the invention has paved the way for a few things we might not even have given much consideration to: things like homes with multiple levels and skyscraper buildings.

The Other Benefits of Air Conditioning Today

There are quite a few benefits of air conditioning we may take for granted today.

Reduction of diseases
Air conditioning has cut back on the ability to certain diseases to spread and thrive. This is especially true in areas especially prone to warmer and humid conditions.

Cooler and more comfortable traveling
It’s not just movies or theatre showings that are much more comfortable! Today’s travel via plane or car is made much more comfortable with air conditioning.

Learn more about our A/C replacement, maintenance and repair services today: you can save money and be as comfortable as possible.

Sources

Wills Carrier: history

Gizmodo: Before Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning

Mental Floss

Modern Air Conditioning

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11 Facts You Didn’t Know (But Should) About Indoor Air Quality

cincinnati indoor air ventilation and indoor air quality1.  Indoor air quality can be defined as how our inside air is affecting our comfort, our health and well-being, and our ability to work.

2. “Good” indoor air quality is an environment that has comfortable temperatures and humidity, adequate ventilation, adequate exposure to fresh outdoor air, and a lack of pollutants.

3. Indoor air quality can be as much as five times worse than outdoor air quality.

4. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to asthma, allergies, lung issues and cancer, heart problems, and skin irritation.

5. Steps to improve your indoor air quality include HVAC maintenance, air duct cleaning, proper ventilation, and mold or other dampness/sources of moisture remediation and prevention. Greater Comfort has many solutions that can work to manage and keep the air inside your home fresh, comfortable and clean.

6. The average person today spends as much as 90 percent of our time indoors, so the air quality is important.

7. We inhale about 15,000 quarts of air per day, showing you just how important it is to “breathe easy.”

8. 80 percent of households are using pesticides of some kind inside and outside their home, which can impact indoor air quality.

9. Polluted air can contain chemicals that age the skin.

10. Sources of indoor air pollution include combustion sources, building materials, chemical products, outdoor sources, and things such as pet dander, dust mites, mold or viruses. Surprising sources of indoor air pollutants also include certain paints, upholstered furniture, new carpet, certain electronics, glues and adhesives, and more.

11. Stale air can also be a problem that contributes to poor indoor air quality. While some people think the solution can be to open a window or a ceiling fan (and in many cases this is true), this also can waste energy and can also increase your utility bill when your heating or cooling system is on.

Ask us about a ventilation system that can improve air circulation and also reduce particle concentrations in your home.

Sources

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4 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill this Summer

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Summer brings family barbecues, trips to the pool, and rising temperatures.

Knowing the heat of summer is here, we uncover 4 ways you can be sure to beat the heat and avoid overpaying on your energy bill.

1. Start managing your windows.

You read that right: it is time to start managing your windows to take control of the summer heat. When possible, utilize energy-efficient window coverings that allow natural light to come in, but prevent solar heat gain in your home.

During the day, keep windows closed. If you then open them at night—that is, when it is a cool night—be sure to close them early in the morning. Last, place houseplants in front of your sunniest windows to help naturally absorb some of the sun’s rays coming in to your home.

2. Check your air conditioning & cooling system’s efficiency.

The Greater Comfort Heating & Cooling experts can help you consider and evaluate what it would mean to upgrade to a higher-efficiency unit. As much as 50 percent of people would be able to save money by switching to a high efficiency unit. 

We can also make sure you have installed and set up a programmable thermostat. This alone can save 10 percent on heating and cooling over the course of a year. Also, one of the fastest ways to save energy on home cooling is to clean and replace your cooling unit’s filters. In some cases, you need to change your filters as much as once every three months. 

3. Look at how you ventilate.

Ventilation is one of the least expensive ways to cool your home. Depending in your needs, natural ventilation, fans, and whole house fans are options. Natural ventilation will rely on wind to cool your home and is a fit for those who live in cooler climates. Fans, as you are aware, help you cool off in certain areas of your home.

Fans won’t cool your entire home by any means, but it is a great solution to help raise the thermostat but still let you be comfortable. Check to make sure that your fan is blowing wind downwards—not upwards, which wouldn’t do you any good! Last, whole house fans work to pull air in through your windows and exhaust it through the home’s attic and roof. Be sure to take advantage of your bathroom fans when you shower or when you cook. These help in removing the heat and humidity in your home.

4. Contact the Greater Comfort Heating & Cooling team. 

Common air conditioning problems include issues with your refrigerant, sensor, thermostat, drainage or even your filters—all of which we can identity and work to quickly fix. Ask us about how we can help your home performance in other ways, including:

  • Duct inspection & repair
  • Insulation upgrades
  • Vents you can close
  • Other thermostat-related issues you may be unaware of

Our maintenance program brings well-trained technicians to your home to find and fix any problems with your air conditioning system. It is our goal to work with you to fix any inefficiencies in your cooling system! We examine airflow, check for seal duct leakage in central systems, your coils, capacitors, compressor and refrigerant. As much as 5 to 15 percent of your efficiency can be lost if you do not maintain the A/C.

Sources

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Emergency Furnace Repairs In villa Hills Kentucky

emergency furnace repair in Villa Hills KentuckyNothing is worse than waking up to a heater that has quit working. I guess to be honest there is no good time for your furnace to quit. If you need emergency furnace repair in Villa Hills Kentucky, you can depend on Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning.

24-Hour Emergency Service – 7 Days a Week

No matter what time of day or night, we have furnace repair specialists available. They are factory trained to work on every major brand of heating system. When you need to get your house warm and you want a quick, professional job, you can trust our technicians. We can provide you with the quality service to get your system up and running as soon as possible. Remember we are only a phone call away and we are here to serve you 24/7.

Why Choose Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning?

When you call Greater Comfort, you are choosing a company that has a good reputation. We are one of the oldest heating and air companies in the Northern Kentucky area with over 60 years of dedicated service to our customers. We believe in providing each customer with quality service and individualized attention and care. When it comes to servicing your furnace in an emergency, we will take good care of you.

When To Call Your HVAC Repairman

When you notice your system isn’t running efficiently, you can assume your furnace or HVAC system needs attention. You may notice the rooms not heating as they should or that your furnace can’t keep up. You may also notice your utility bill is suddenly much higher than it should be. These are all indications there’s a problem. Greater Comfort can help you determine what’s wrong. We will provide a solution to your furnace issues that is economical. When you need emergency furnace repair in Villa Hills Kentucky, you can count on the fact that we will fix the underlining problem not just fix the symptom.

Emergency Furnace Repair in Villa Hills Kentucky

When you need the help of an HVAC company during an emergency, you can depend on the quality of service you receive at Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning. We also offer routine maintenance on your heating and cooling system to ensure you don’t need repairs as often. Call today and let Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning take care of your Villa Hills Kentucky Emergency furnace repairs.

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Emergency Heating Repair In Hebron Kentucky

emergency heating repair in Hebron KentuckyGreater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning is available to help keep you warm this winter. If you need emergency heating repair in Hebron Kentucky or the surrounding area, we are the company you can depend on.

Knowledgeable Repair Specialists

Our heating repair specialists are factory trained and dealer authorized to work on every major brand of heating system. We can get yours up and running quickly when you need it. Whether your system is not producing enough heat for your home or you notice an increase in the cost to operate your system, we can fix the problem. We work on most makes and models of heaters,broilers, furnaces, heat pumps and geothermal systems.

Emergency Heating Repairs in Hebron Kentucky

We offer 24-hour emergency heating repairs in Hebron Kentucky and all of the Northern Kentucky area. No matter what time of the day or the night, one of our highly trained service technicians is available to come to your home and help resolve any issue you may be experiencing with your HVAC system. You can depend on quality service and repairs when you call Greater Comfort. We have found that people usually experience heater problems requiring repairs during the most inconvenient times. It may be one of the coldest nights or while you have company over or your expecting a crowd. We also realize that your heater runs all day and night and so we are just a phone call away when your system is having trouble and you need help.

Advantage of Choosing Greater Comfort

Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning has a good reputation. You can find out for yourself why many people consider Greater Comfort their only HVAC company and the company they would call in an emergency. Greater Comfort is one of the oldest heating and cooling companies in the Northern Kentucky area. We have been providing HVAC service to the tri-state area for over 60 years and we are dedicated to offering you the best customer service and expert care around. When you need the help of an HVAC company during an emergency, you can depend on the quality of service you receive at Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning. We also offer routine maintenance on your heating and cooling system to ensure you don’t need repairs as often. Call today and let Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning take care of your Hebron Kentucky Emergency heating repairs.

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