Tag Archives: heating and cooling cincinnati

Fast Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

cincinnati HVAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try these quick and easy tips to start seeing energy and cost savings in the near future.

Make Your Landscape Work For You

Look outside the home to save money on costs inside the home. Radiant heat from the sun can be working directly against your air conditioner when your shades and blinds are raised. But if you plant a 6-8 foot deciduous tree near your home, it will start shading your windows as soon as the first year.

Depending on the type of tree and the height of your home, it could start shading your roof in as little as 5-10 years. That’s a quick return on investment, and creates a nice improvement to your landscaping.

Why deciduous? A deciduous tree blocks solar heat in the summer, but since it loses its leaves, will let sunlight and heat into the house during the winter months. Compare that to evergreens, which provide continuous shade, and won’t provide you with a benefit in the cooler months (1,2).

Make The Switch To LED

Have you switched to more energy efficient lighting? Making the switch to this modern option is one of the fastest ways to lowery our energy bill. For example, just by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures with Energy Star bulbs, you can save $75 per year.

LED bulbs save you the most money. You’ll save at least 75% by switching to this model compared to the traditional incandescent bulbs of the past that are no longer on the market. Even compared with halogen incandescents, LEDs use 25-30% less energy and last up to 25 times longer. For a small investment now, you can enjoy the cost savings on your energy bill for years to come (3).

Fix Air Leaks

For just a few dollars and an hour or two of your time, you could save 10% or more annually on your energy bill. Air leaks can waste energy and money quickly, both in summer months by letting hot air inside, and in winter months with resulting chilly drafts. Patching these leaks is one of the quickest and best money-saving tasks you can accomplish.

Your goal is to caulk, seal and weather strip any cracks or large openings that lead outside the home. When purchasing your caulk, keep in mind that you will likely need about one cartridge to complete the seal on two windows or doors. These tubes of window and door caulk range between $2 and $10.

Don’t forget to pick up a caulking gun to squeeze out the product and ensure proper application. This job will be done in just an hour or two, but you will enjoy the results immediately (1, 4).

Consider Storm Windows

Replacing old windows in your home with new, energy-efficient windows will provide the best return on investment, but will be a costly initial investment. A great alternative for a less expensive option is to use storm windows. Storm windows can still help you save a significant amount: approximately 12-33% on HVAC costs. They work by reducing the air movement into and out of existing windows (5).

Take Advantage Of The Weather

Did the weather man predict a cool night? Take advantage of “natural ventilation”. This type of ventilation relies on the chimney effect to keep a home cool. It works best if your evening forecast includes a cool night and a bit of a breeze. All you need for this quick energy saver is a good memory, the use of your windows and a cool summer night.

Turn off your cooling system and open your windows while you sleep, allowing the fresh, cool air to transfer into your house and giving your AC unit a break. Just don’t forget to shut the windows and blinds when you wake in the morning to capture the cool air inside the house (1,6).

Schedule A Professional Energy Audit

Before you write this off as another unnecessary expense, consider this: The goal of an energy audit from Greater Comfort is to provide an overview of how your home uses energy and find ways that you can reduce consumption without incurring large additional costs.

In other words, we want to help your system work more efficiently so that you can save money. We will determine if your home or building needs upgrades or other specific actions to improve efficiency. You will be given a list with specific action steps and can select those which make the most sense to you.

Call Us To Schedule Your Energy Audit Today

Call the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure you’re getting the most savings as quickly as possible: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://twitter.com/energysaver
  2. https://energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-landscaping
  3. https://energy.gov/energysaver/lighting-choices-save-you-money
  4. https://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-how-seal-air-leaks-caulk
  5. https://energy.gov/energysaver/storm-windows?utm_source=nrgsvr_fb&utm_medium=socialpost&utm_campaign=generalpost&utm_content=1
  6. https://energy.gov/energysaver/spring-and-summer-energy-saving-tips
Share

How Your HVAC Impacts Your Quality of Sleep

greater comfort HVAC newport kentucky

Let’s face it – a good night’s sleep is invaluable. And the last thing you want negatively impacting a good night’s sleep is an HVAC system that isn’t up to par. If your lack of sleep is related to your HVAC system, there is good news – there is a fix! Check out the ways a smoothly running HVAC will keep your slumber sound.

Continue reading

Share

2 Potential HVAC Issues & How Springtime Maintenance Solves Both

hvac maintenance in the spring newport kentucky

Did you know that right now is the best time of year to get your AC maintenance completed?

Before the heat really starts to hit us consistently, it’s a great idea to get your HVAC checked and maintained.

Many people incorrectly believe the best time is in the summer, but ideally, you get your tune-up now. We like to remind people just in case it’s not on the calendar.

Spring Time Tune-Up

You also don’t want to wait much longer because as our AC unit gets dirtier, it’s going to get much less efficient. If you’re already feeling as if you are having to adjust your thermostat more often than you’d like, this is an additional sign that temperatures in your home – and overall air comfort – is being affected by a system that is not running optimally.

A common analogy is changing the oil in your car: between your regular oil changes, things are operating efficiently, and your car is able to perform as it should. But once you are overdue for an oil change, your car is forced to “work harder,” it is less efficient, and you run greater risk of problems occurring.
It’s not the first time that AC maintenance and tune-ups have been compared to car maintenance—and that’s because both are “easy” preventative measures you can take to avoid issues.

Here are 2 HVAC issues you can fix – or prevent from becoming a problem – with your spring cooling tune-up.

1. Dirty coils.

Condenser coils are key in making sure your unit performs as it should—and also performs as efficiently as it can. As you may know, your compressor pulls the refrigerant liquid through your tubing in the evaporator coil, and then this refrigerant material passes through the expansion valve in the unit. At this point in the process, that relieves pressure from your refrigerant, in the process cooling it.

You can think of it in simple terms as the hot air that exists in your home is removed from the home via your condenser coilers, which highlights just how integral they are to getting rid of the hot air in your home.

If the condenser coil is not clean, you can see why this would add stress to and/or disrupt the entire process. As more and more air is transferred, the fan will be working much harder of your unit is not as clean as it should be. Your A/C tune-up will make sure your coils are dirt-free and debris-free.

2. A miscalibrated thermostat.

You already know the value of a thermostat that’s working as it should: you have proper temperatures and you can fine-tine the comfort and specific temperature you’re looking for (and paying for!) throughout your entire home. A calibrated thermostat is one huge component supporting total comfort in your home!

But sometimes our thermostat can slowly show signs of miscalibration. Even being off by just a few degrees can waste a lot of money and can greatly impact the comfort we experience.

A somewhat easy-to-spot sign is when you have uneven temperatures in your home, although it’s not always obvious that it’s a thermostat issue.

While that might be more obvious than other signs, be sure not to ignore if your AC unit is running too short, or longer than it should be. Other signs that could mean you need to recalibrate your thermostat include your AC turning on and off at the wrong time, or short cycling.

In the end, you don’t get the comfort you’re after and you end up putting more stress on your HVAC system. Since your HVAC using more power when it’s turning on, any kind of cycling is hard on the unit, and is obviously less efficient than it could be.

When you have your system checked during your spring tune-up, we can make sure the thermostat is working as it should be, and we can recalibrate the system as needed. It’s just one more reason to make sure your getting in your regular maintenance.

Call the Experts at Greater Comfort Today

While there is no guarantee that ongoing maintenance will prevent all HVAC issues, it certainly extends the life of your system, keeps your family safe, helps your system work much more efficiently, and helps catch any issues you do encounter, as early as possible. Call us today to set up your spring tune-up – at a convenient time that works for you and your family.

We will be glad to answer any questions you have so that you can be sure to have ultimate comfort this spring and summer. Read more about our preventive maintenance program here.

We are also on-call 24/7 for emergency repairs if you ever need them. Give us a call today at 859-491-4915.

Share

Are Furnace Inspections Really Necessary?

cincinnati northern kentucky hvac tune up before winter

If you find yourself asking this question, the answer is a big YES, you do need regular maintenance by a certified HVAC expert!

The benefits of getting regular maintenance include that you will extend the life of your system, you will save energy, you will keep your family as safe as possible and can you can reduce other health related-risks.

Recall that part of what a furnace inspection does is make sure you have no carbon monoxide leaks. Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it’s hard for homeowners to know or detect that these may exist in the home. These leaks lead to symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and headaches, but they can also lead to death.

Approximately 500 people die each year, and 15,000 people are taken to emergency rooms due to carbon monoxide exposure—even though this could have bee preventable in most cases. (Source.)

Also, many HVAC systems also require regular maintenance in order for the warranty to be valid. Despite how manufacturer’s insist that maintenance is necessary for our HVAC system, as much as 3 out of 4 service calls in the fall and winter months because of no heat were related to a lack of system maintenance, according to Angie’s List. That means that as much as 75 percent of those no-heat calls potentially could have been avoided with regular maintenance by qualified professionals.

HVAC Maintenance Program by Greater Comfort

Not only are you keeping your family safe and saving money when we make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible, we will check and record the following:

  • Check evaporator fan motor amp draws
  • Verify proper manifold gas pressure
  • Check induced draft motor amp draw
  • Verify all safety’s
  • 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

So Do I Really Need To Call my HVAC?

Again, if you want to make a small investment for the life of your HVAC system and to help ensure you don’t have an emergency situation when the cold temperatures hit, the right thing to do is to set up your maintenance with a qualified and trusted HVAC expert.

When you go to call your HVAC to get your tune-up, be sure that what you are getting is a comprehensive maintenance program. In other words, do a bit of research before you buy or agree to a contract/service visit. What you don’t want is to only receive service for one or a few items on the list you see above. Also be sure that you are contacting a qualified, trained technician.

In the end, it really isn’t just about safety—although that should be a compelling reason, too—but it is about preventative maintenance.

Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Southeastern Indiana Residents Turn to Greater Comfort

If you are looking for a reliable and trustworthy Heating & Air Conditioning Company, check out our exceptional reviews here, and give Greater Comfort a call today.

Source/Reference

  • http://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-you-have-furnace-inspection.htm
Share

The Ultimate Fall Maintenance Checklist

HVAC maintenance northern kentucky

Maintaining your heating and cooling system will help you combat unwanted costs and avoidable system failures. Of course calling for your fall tune-up is a vital step, where we come and check the gas or oil connections, your gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger, and much more, to make sure you stay comfortable year-round.

Change Your Filters

When your furnace is forced to “work harder” to pull the air through, the more it will cost you, so be sure to replace your furnace filters on a monthly basis (or as your qualified HVAC professional tells you to do, depending on the climate where you live and your system).

Check the Fireplace

Have a professional check your chimney, clean when needed, and make sure the fireplace is working as it should.

Take a Look at Your Furnace!

Make sure nothing is near the furnace that shouldn’t be, such as something that could be flammable. Give the furnace a dust if it looks like it needs one!

Ask us About Sealing & Insulating

With winter around the corner, ask us about our recommendatinos for how you can insulate and seal air leaks. Whether those air leaks be in the attic, basement, a crawlspace, or around your windows and doors, you will notice the difference with these spaces taken care of.

Check That Your Carbon Monoxide Detector is Working

When you go to change out your air filter, just add one more thing to your list—checking the CO Detector. Yes, your furnace inspection is important to make sure your heat exchanger is not leaking, and a CO Detector is not meant to replace a tune-up, but this is a safety precaution to consider.

Regular System Checkups

You knew this had to be on the list! Regular maintenance is what you must do to make sure your furnace will run optimally, and when you need it most. This will save you money due to reduced energy requirements, keep you comfortable, and keep your intake pipe clear.

Look Outside the Home

Depending in your system, you may need to look at the exhaust and intake pipes that are on the exterior part of your home. Ask us for more information, but you want to make sure the  area around these pipes are clean from debris.

When You Have a Programmable Thermostat…Use it!

Being able to control your energy means you can better control your bill each month, as well as have a better sense of the demands you are putting on your system over time. Ask us if you have more questions about how to find comfort using a programmable thermostat. During your tune-up, we will ensure your thermostat is working as it should.

Consider Your Shades

Do you close your curtains or shades during the night? Give it a try and then you can open them back up during the day.

Need more reasons to take care of your home this Fall as you prepare for winter?  Here’s just a few reasons:

  • You can work to reduce allergy-causing pollutants
  • Ensure you don’t have carbon monoxide or gas leaks
  • Ensure you don’t have any disconnected or leaky fuel lines or connections
  • Ensuring your air flow is what it should be

Do your best to prevent any surprises. Call Greater Comfort to schedule a visit at your convenience 859-491-4915.

Share

Myth Busters: Your Energy Bill in the Summer

cincinnati ohio AC repair newport KY

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

Share

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!

Share

Why Ductless Heating & Cooling Systems are Rising In Popularity

ductless cincinnati ohio heating and cooling

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.

Share

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

Share