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Greater Comfort blog_Energy Saving Projects Around the Home

Quick Energy Saving Projects Around the Home

For many people, utility bills are typically one of their most costly expenses each month. Did you know that the average American household can rack up nearly $2,000 in energy bills annually? That’s a pretty big chunk of change!

With energy costs rising across the board–gas, oil, and electricity are a pricy (yet necessary) commodity for your home. We’re here to help you reduce your energy consumption without sacrificing the comfort of your family.

Here are a few quick, do-it-yourself projects that can save you a few bucks. Continue reading

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6 tips to make sure your home stays cozy greater comfort newport kentucky heating and cooling

6 Ways to Weatherize Your Home

Although we usually associate the cold and snow with the holidays, it sure doesn’t end after the holidays are over! In fact, last month, February, and March are typically the harshest winter months for the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area (1).

That’s why it’s important to gear up and weatherize your home this winter. Not sure where to get started? We’ve got you covered. Continue reading

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greater comfort cincinnati

Keys to Lower Your Heating Costs This Winter

Cold temperatures have hit the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area in full force. Here are some tips to shave dollars off your energy bill this winter, while still being able to keep the temperature of your home warm and cozy.

Take Advantage Of “Free” Heat

Having a warm and toasty house doesn’t mean you have to run the heating system around the clock. Open the curtains or blinds on your sun-facing windows during the day. This allows natural sunlight and heat to come into the home, and can create quite a large temperature difference on a sunny day. Continue reading

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what to know about natural ventilation in your home greater comfort cincinnati blog

10 Things to Know About Natural Ventilation in Your Home

As a homeowner, you want your home to be a safe, clean place. Part of maintaining a fresh space is paying attention to your indoor air quality.

What IS indoor air quality, you ask? It’s a measure of the health of our indoor air, taking into account certain pollutants that can be present. That can include chemical or physical contaminants, among others.

Examples most of us are familiar with include carbon monoxide tobacco, formaldehyde and even organic solvents!

But that’s why ventilation is so important!

Ventilation plays an enormous role in sustaining proper indoor air quality. In fact, without good ventilation, your home can trap in harmful pollutants that can cause damage to the interior of your house…and your health (1)!

Here’s a couple things that you should know about natural ventilation. Continue reading

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ways to reduce your environmental impact and stay warm this winter

Reduce Your Environmental Impact This Year

What about taking on a resolution this year that could benefit the greater good?

Reducing the impact that we have on the environment is easier than we think. And, if we all do our part, we can really make a difference. Here are a few ways that you can do good for the environment—at home and in the office! Continue reading

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best home improvements for every month of the year greater comfort

Best Home Improvements for Every Time of the Year

Owning a house is a wonderful and rewarding thing—especially during the holidays. Being able to comfortably gather with friends and family always reminds us that our house isn’t just a house, but a home.

That said, you know that it isn’t always a walk in the park to keep it in tip-top shape…or, sometimes you simply purchase a home knowing you want to make changes to it later on! (Doesn’t it seem like your list of desired improvements and renovations is always growing?)

Let’s chip away at that list! We’ve got some seasonal home improvement ideas in store for you—and we think you’re going to like them.

January through March

Get your paint brushes out. While you’re cooped up inside, it’s the perfect time to paint a room or two! You’d be surprised what a new coat of paint can do for the look of your home. Plus, the crisp winter air works well for curing paint, so be sure to crack a window open in the process (1).

Give your carpets and rugs a deep clean. As you probably already know, your flooring takes quite the hit in the winter. All of the mud, snow, and salt that you track in can really dirty up your carpet. Tackling these stains in the winter instead of waiting until the spring is a great idea (the longer you wait, the harder the stains are to get out!) (1)

April through June  

Clean out your gutters. Did you know that excess runoff from your gutters can cause serious issues for your home’s foundation? Clogged gutters are typically the culprit for this, being unable to redirect runoff away from the foundation of your home. Try to tackle this one early in the season before rain hits (1).

Add a patio, deck, or outdoor room. Once spring has sprung, it’s normal to want to wash away the winter blues with something new! This is a great time to spruce up your home with an outdoor addition. Because the ground is softer in the spring, it’s easier to build a deck which requires some digging. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the finished product in the summer months! (2)

July through September

Ready your home for winter..NOW! Maybe it’s the pipes or wires around the home. Or maybe it’s damage from humidity that you can tackle during these months. You also want to be sure that any problems on your roof are taken care of now, since the colder winter months are coming and those problems will only get worse!

Refurbish your home’s exterior. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside! Whether it be replacing the windows, buying new shudders, or painting the house exterior, you’ll be pleased with a fresh new look (1).

October through December  

Remodel the bathroom. Most contractors’ schedules tend to slow down during these months, so it’s the perfect time to hire one for a small project. Because they can tackle a bathroom remodel relatively quickly during this season, it’ll be all ready for the holidays! (1)

Swap out old appliances for new ones. The newest models of higher priced appliances like dishwashers and stoves tend to premier during this season, which means the older ones will go on sale. And sometimes, holiday sales will start early—so keep your eyes peeled! (1)

Greater Comfort: We’re Here to Help Your Have the Home of Your Dreams

Home improvement doesn’t end at the cosmetics. Ensure that your HVAC system is in great shape. We know you’re doing your regular tune-ups with us, but be sure to change out your air filters regularly, too!

Whether it be for install, repair or tune-up, give us a call today at 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://www.trulia.com/blog/refinish-hardwood-floors-home-improvement-projects-for-every-month/
  2. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/best-time-year-remodeling-projects.htm
  3. https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/home-renovation-project-timing/
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8 New Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Sacrifice Needed greater comfort blog

8 New Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Sacrifice Needed

As we dive into colder weather, we’re overwhelmed with lots of yummy baked treats, holiday decorations, and of course, the oh-so beautiful snow!

As beautiful as the winter season is, it does tend to bring freezing temperatures along with it. Cold temps mean that our heating systems have to work a little harder, which also means we usually have to dish out a little extra cash on our energy bills.

So, ‘tis the season to cut back on energy bills! We’ve got some new tips and tricks to help you save this year.

Let’s Get Started

  1. Use your fans. If you have fans, use them! Whether it be spring, summer, fall, or winter, promoting better airflow throughout your home will help you save a few extra bucks. Fans will help circulate your air to keep you more comfortable without tampering with the thermostat. But remember, they don’t alter the temperature, so be sure to turn them off when you’re not home (1).
  1. Do your laundry and dishes at night. Did you know that many power companies offer discounts for non-peak energy use? In other words, you could save a good chunk of change if you simply do your chores past 8pm! Call your utility company and inquire about off-peak discounts. If they offer one, ask about the details and what hours they’re offered—each company is usually different (1).
  1. Be sure that your HVAC vents are squeaky clean. In order for your HVAC system to run to its best ability, it needs to be clean! Make sure that you regularly clean vents and ducts, and replace air filters often. You’ll thank us later. (And we know you are keeping up with your tune-ups with us, too!) (3).
  1. Swap out all your light bulbs for LEDS. Fluorescent bulbs are so last year. In addition to providing better quality light, LED bulbs require 90% less energy than normal bulbs—AND they last longer. This one’s a no brainer (2, 3).
  1. Turn things off at night. This one might sound simple, but it can actually be a huge culprit for high energy bills! Don’t waste money while you sleep. Before you catch some Z’s, be sure to do a sweep-through of your home, turning off appliances, lights, fans, and electric devices (4).
  1. Strategically load your dishwasher. Unlike your washer and dryer where you can usually get away with throwing whatever you can inside, your dishwasher should be loaded efficiently. While you should place your plates facing inward on the bottom row of your dishwasher, it’s best to stack bowls and cups downward on the top row. This way, you can fit more dishes in each load and ensure that they get a good wash (1).
  1. Bump down the temp on your water heater. Did you know that 13% of the typical energy bill is attributed to heating water? That’s quite a bit. Most heaters are set to about 140 degrees (which is scalding!) Try setting your water heater to 120-130 degrees, it’ll still be plenty hot, and you’ll save a few extra bucks (2).
  1. Schedule regular HVAC maintenance. This one, we can help you with. Routine maintenance to your HVAC system will not only keep it squeaky clean, but also improve its efficiency (2).

Greater Comfort: Helping You Find Energy Savings

The other way to achieve energy savings is through upgrades to your heating and cooling system. Exploring adding green technology, such as solar heating or electricity, is a great place to start. We also offer green–friendly options including ductless mini split heat pumps with SEER ratings well over 20. These systems not only reduce the use of energy to cool your home, but also eliminate the need for fuel–based heating on all but the coldest nights of the winter.

When you work with an expert in energy saving, you will find that there are dozens of ways to reduce your energy bill, improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and keep your family comfortable without spending a fortune.

If you are ready to take action and discuss your heating and cooling needs with a tri–state area expert, now is the time to call. Contact the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your HVAC system is working as efficiently as possible this winter: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://lifehacker.com/5953039/how-to-reduce-your-energy-bill-with-no-cost-or-sacrifice
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/lower-your-electric-bill-1388743
  3. https://www.trulia.com/blog/6-places-in-your-home-you-arent-saving-energy-but-could/
  4. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/smart-spending/10-ways-to-save-money-on-your-utility-bill-1.aspx#slide=3
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What Do HVAC Energy Ratings Mean heres what to know

What Do HVAC Energy Ratings Mean?

It’s important to make smart choices when you’re looking to purchase a a new heating and cooling system for your home (or business).

You’ll see various different energy efficiency ratings when you’re browsing among units, and you shouldn’t bypass them. Because they help indicate how much the system will cost to buy and operate, they’re worth reviewing. You may want to consider higher-rated systems, as they will be more efficient in the long run (1).

Confused? We’ll Explain.

If you’re clueless about what these ratings mean, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered!

Let’s talk heat. What’s HSPF? This indicates the ‘Heating Seasonal Performance Factor’ for heat pumps, which is expressed through a ratio. HSPF simply compares the amount of heat produced to the electricity consumed. In simpler terms, it rates the unit’s efficiency over an entire season.

To put these terms into perspective, the minimum required HSPF for heat pumps manufactured after 2015 is 8, while the highest possible HSPF is 10 (1). The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.

Gas furnace? You’ll want to know about AFUE. The ratings for gas furnaces differ slightly from heat pumps. The AFUE, or ‘Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency’ ratio measures the percentage of heat generated for every dollar of fuel used. This is similar to the miles-per-gallon standard on your car—the higher your AFUE, the less you’ll dish out for heating costs (1, 4).

Efficiency Ratings: The Basics

First, what does SEER mean? This rating stands for ‘Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio’ and is the most widely used efficiency measurement among air conditioners.  Similar to HSPF, it compares the amount of electrical input needed to run the A/C over an entire season to how much cooling the unit provides (1,2). To put it simply, a higher SEER rating means higher efficiency. A 16-SEER unit is typically a viable choice for those looking for higher efficiency without breaking the bank (3).

Next up: EER. EER means ‘Energy Efficiency Ratio.” Unlike SEER, which assigns ratings based upon a lower operating temperature of 82 degrees, EER measures performance based on higher temperatures, typically above 95 degrees. This rating tests the unit based on how well it can perform under maximum cooling capacity, and also considers humidity removal (2).

So, which one should you keep an eye out for when it comes to A/C shopping? Well, both! It’s important not to bypass one efficiency rating for the other. Just because a particular unit has a high SEER rating, doesn’t mean that it will have a high EER rating—and vice versa.

Since most people will need an air conditioner than performs well in both circumstances (warm days, and hot, humid days), it will be helpful to investigate both ratings (2).

We’ll Help You Make the Best Choice

If you had to try to take away one thing from this article, remember that your system’s performance is measured by a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (your SEER) and energy efficiency ratio (your EER). Higher ratings usually translate to lower operating costs, but they also are going to be more to purchase (1).

Making the switch to a new HVAC system is an important decision—and we want to make sure that you’re making the right one! Have a question about which system might be best for you? Give us a call!

If you are ready to take action and discuss your heating and cooling needs with a Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky expert, now is the time to call. Contact the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your HVAC systems are in excellent shape this winter: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-do-hvac-energy-efficiency-ratings-mean.htm
  2. https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/publications/pubdocs/HeatingCoolingGuide%20FINAL_9-4-09.pdf
  3. https://asm-air.com/airconditioning/what-is-a-good-seer-rating/
  4. https://www.lennox.com/buyers-guide/guide-to-hvac/energy-ratings
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Be Energy Efficient in Your Kitchen This Season

Be Energy Efficient in Your Kitchen This Season: 15 Tips to Save You Money

From now until the New Year, it’s a time where we tend to spend more time in the kitchen. Whether it be Thanksgiving dinner, preparing for holiday parties, baking family recipes, cookie exchanges, or a Christmas feast, the time we spend in the kitchen really adds up this time of year!

Cooking accounts for 4.5 percent of total energy use in our homes. That doesn’t include the cost of refrigeration, hot water heating, and dishwashing (3).

Just by knowing a bit more about your cooking habits, you can save a lot of money in the kitchen! Here are some energy saving facts and tips to be aware of. Continue reading

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keep your home cozy and comfortable for guests with the help of greater comfort

How to Prep Your Home for Thanksgiving

Are you hosting the family this year for Thanksgiving? There’s so much that goes into preparing for (and even cleaning up!) when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving at your home.

It’s a festive time of year, and you should be able to enjoy the holiday, too. That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips to help you prepare the home for Thanksgiving. Continue reading

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