Tag Archives: HVAC company

Lessons About Humidity You Should Know This Winter

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Have you ever wondered why humidity is lower in the winter? Recall that humidity is a measure of water vapor that’s in the air. Continue reading

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7 Questions to Ask an HVAC Contractor

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Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are the most complex parts of your house, and picking the right contractor may be the most important decision you make about your home. You want to choose a company that has experience, is professional, is reliable, and trustworthy.

Here are 7 of the top questions you can ask any contractor to find the one that is best for you. Continue reading

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Fall Home Maintenance Musts

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Are you excited that Fall is finally here? This summer has been humid and hot in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, but cooler temperatures have arrived.

We know that many people like to use Fall as a time to make improvements to the home. Here are 2 steps to consider when it comes to your home this Fall. Continue reading

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How Your HVAC Impacts Your Quality of Sleep

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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.

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Thermostat Issue? Here’s What to Know

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Our thermostats not only check the temperature, but they also serve to make sure the actual desired temperature is maintained in our home. We depend on our thermostat to detect the temperature – and then match the desired temperature we want in our home!

That means our thermostat plays an integral part in our family’s comfort in the home.

When our thermostats are operating as it should, all is well. But when they start acting weird and not operating properly, there are a couple of steps you can take to get to the root of the problem. Once your thermostat is working accurately again, you can have peace of mind and your family can go back to having ultimate comfort.

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Buying a Home? Here’s What to Look for to Ensure Ultimate Comfort

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We’ve talked about – both in the short-term, and the long-term – how to take care of your HVAC as you prepare your home to sell. But what about when you are on the opposite end, and you are looking to buy a home? What are the things to look for in a heating and cooling system when you’re considering buying a home?

Here we breakdown a list of some of the top things to look for, and steps to take as you look for a new home.

1. Find out the system’s warranty and/or protection plan.

Many leading brands offer warranties on their systems. First, you want to check that the homeowners have done all they can do so that this warranty is still valid. Second, eventually you want to see the details and some sort of proof of that protection plan or warranty so you know what kind of potential costs or what type of system plan you’re inheriting.

2. Ask for the system history.

While this might not always be available, many homeowners will keep track of their system’s history – in part because they know they may one day sell their home. (That tells you it might be a good idea, as a current homeowner, to keep an organized account of all the ongoing maintenance you perform on your system, assuming you one day intend to sell your home.)

While maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean you will avoid emergencies or costly repairs, it does tell you that certain necessary maintenance has been performed on your system – and that’s great for peace of mind.

Many homeowners will be happy to share with you the regular maintenance they have performed on their home and/or any repairs done on the system. They keep track of that because they want to show you the system has as much as value as possible; for you, as the potential home buyer, it’s good to see more information that helps you better value the current state of the system.

3. Take note if there are carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

A lack of carbon monoxide detectors does not impact your purchase decision – but it is something to look for. Keep in mind if these aren’t present in the home, you’ll likely want to add them.

4. Don’t forget your home inspection.

It’s hard to believe you would forget it, but be sure not to! Once you’re serious about potentially purchasing a home, you’ll want to do a home inspection – not just to take a look at the heating and cooling system, but to look at many of the other potential issues within the home. These experts are trained to look for things that the current home owner may not want to disclose, or that the current home owner may simply not even be aware of.

While more and more people see this is a critical part of the home purchase process, you still hear stories of people who neglected to have an expert inspect a home before purchasing it. While it’s mandatory for many people getting a loan, be sure not to forget this part of your home buying process.

When a certified technician takes a look at your potential furnace, they are able to tell you the condition of it, and they can give a better idea if long-term maintenance really has properly and consistently occurred. No matter what an owner tells you, an expert is there to tell you what they believe will happen in the future in terms of necessary repairs or even replacement.

If your home owner inspector tells you that you’ll need to repair the system in the very near future, you’ll want to take that into consideration before purchasing the home – or in the eventual purchase price of the home, it should be reflected. Most homeowners recognize the value of a furnace – just like how most home buyers recognize the value as well.

If your home inspector tells you that expensive repairs or that replacement is needed, give us a call so that we can help you be more informed and know more about your options. Even if you don’t anticipate buying a new furnace in the near future, any time you can plan ahead it makes the entire process easier.

Ensure Ultimate Comfort in Your Next Home

There are quite a few factors that go into the purchase of new home – the size, the location and other critical components of the property are just a few of the factors we tend to focus on. Don’t forget the importance of finding out key details that relate to your heating and cooling system, which can keep your family safe and comfortable in your new home.

If you consider these 4 tips you’ll have greater peace of mind, and greater comfort, in your next home. Give the experts at Greater Comfort a call today at 859-491-4915 if you need help finding out the potential costs of a new system.

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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.

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The Basics: What to Know About Your Furnace

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Any homeowner knows that you want your heating system to be working properly. In the winter months it can become a complete emergency if we have to go without heat due to a problem or breakdown with our furnace.

If you’ve been avoiding thinking about your furnace, or if you wish you knew more about the inner working of the heating component of your system, the time to learn more is now. Here we break down what you should know about your furnace.

How Your Heating System Works: Efficiency and Comfort in Your Home

Although every unique furnace model will vary, your HVAC system typically is made of 4 components: the indoor part of the system such as the furnace or air handler; the outdoor unit such as the air conditioner or heat pump; the thermostat; and the air quality component such as humidity control components or your air filtration.

Other factors to be aware of include:

  • Heating capacity: depending on your home’s unique needs, this refers to the overall capacity that your furnace has.
  • Ventilation: how your air is passed through the home and ventilated is
  • Exhaust: if it were to build-up without ever being cleaned, exhaust that is a byproduct of your furnace can pose a risk to your health and safety.
  • Electrical: not to be forgotten is the key that your electrical plays in keeping things running.

A single-stage furnace is one with one speed—meaning you have full heat (maximum speed) that provides you with warm air. In simple terms, your system will then “wait” for the air to cool down, which then triggers your furnace to turn on again. This is how conventional furnaces work to heat your home in the winter. You can see how this “off or on” furnace setup is not as efficient as furnaces that have adjustable and adaptable furnace capacity.

With a two stage furnace, you have greater control and consistency as you heat your home, versus an “off or on” setup. Having the ability to be more precise means you can control the heat output of your furnace on an ongoing basis, even as the temperature outside changes throughout the day.

With a variable speed furnace, the fan moves at various speeds in order to control the amount of heat that is dispersed throughout your home. An increase in airflow means you have a more comfortable home, including improved air quality.

In the end, single-stage furnaces will inevitably result in constant variation of temperature. Those homes with two stage or a variable speed furnace are more adaptable in real-time, and in most cases, they allow you to keep a more constant temperature in the home.

What Else Should I Know About My Furnace? 

As much as we try to keep things simple here, it is true that your heating system is a complex, complicated system—but also one of the most important parts of any home! Here is what else we can help you better understand:

Humidity in your home: you can benefit from a humidifier and dehumidifier in the home, as they help control your humidity level. Some systems are built into your system, but also we can help if you want to add a separate dehumidification or humidity system to your current setup.

The benefit of flexible solutions: conventional heat pumps would force heated air through ducts. Compare this to ductless systems, which work to deliver air directly into various zones of the home.

The reason ductless systems are popular today is because they can deliver this heat on a room-by-room basis. This is why you will hear people talking about the idea of zone-based heating—in this case, they are speaking of ductless systems. Many people choose this as an option for heating and cooling because of overall cost savings.

You have more, efficient options than ever: Ultimately, your HVAC deals with heating, cooling and ventilation. The US Department of Energy reports that modern heating systems can achieve efficiencies as high as 97 percent. That means higher efficiency, increased savings and greater comfort with a modern furnace that has the potential to covert nearly all that fuel to useful heat (1). In this post, we have covered the heating component. Stay tuned for more on what you should know about the rest of your system.

Call The Experts at Greater Comfort

Now that you know a bit more about your furnace, you are better equipped to make future decisions about your home’s air quality and heating/cooling. Give us a call today to learn more—especially if your furnace is not heating right, is louder than normal, only runs for a few minutes, or if the furnace blower is showing signs of not working consistently. Other signs you should give us a call can include excessive dust in the home or humidity-related issues.

If you’re doing research or considering new heating and cooling equipment, give us a call at 859-491-4915 to learn about your energy-efficient options that are best suited for your home.

Sources/References

  1. http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/mechanical-systems/types-of-hvac-systems
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What’s Actually Happening with a Two-Stage Furnace?

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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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Are Furnace Inspections Really Necessary?

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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
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