Tag Archives: HVAC Maintenance Program

10 Surprising Furnace Facts


As the temperatures drop, most of us are ready to spend less time outdoors and more time inside where it’s cozy and warm. Thanks to our furnaces, we’re able to do just that.

Here are 10 facts you might not know about furnaces, including where the name “furnace” comes from. Continue reading


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.


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.


  1. http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/mechanical-systems/types-of-hvac-systems

What You Didn’t Know About Your Heating System Maintenance

furnace inspection and tune up northern kentucky

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

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

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

Furnace Issues You Might Not Have Considered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


It’s Time to Switch to Heat—But that Shouldn’t Mean You Sacrifice Comfort

greater comfort northern kentucky hvac

For all of us across Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, fall means switching to heat! Here’s what you need to know about staying comfortable during the winter.

Control Your Humidity & Temperature In Your Home

If you have a lack of moisture in the air in your home during the fall or winter, you can negatively impact your health, comfort and your home. Humidity—lack of, or too much—is one of the major factors that can affect our overall comfort in the home!

What are the signs that you are lacking humidity in your home?

If you feel you have abnormally dry skin, a scratchy throat, or you’ve noticed itchy eyes, or even a lower than normal immune function, the air in your home could be to blame! Not only does the drier air actually feel cooler, but it can actually increase our risk of contracting colds. Getting a humidifier is your solution for an effective, efficient and sustainable way to add vapor back into the air throughout your home.

On the flip side, too much moisture in the air can mean fungus, mold and dust mites will thrive in the home, which of course is bad for our health and worsens allergies and asthma.

Beyond controlling the amount of air in our home, furnaces help control the temperature throughout our home—another major factor in our day-to-day comfort. Gas furnaces will use burners to ignite fuel to give you steady heat, and conventional furnaces turn the gas flame off and on as the furnace cycles. More innovative systems can use special gas valves to incrementally adjust the flow of fuel, providing even greater control and consistent heat (and even energy savings).

Last, a programmable thermostat provides—when utilized—gives you complete control for you and your family, and some advanced models even tie-in humidity control. Ask us for more information if you ‘re looking to better control your heat and the level of moisture in your air.

Two-stage heating also gives more control. With two-stage heating, the furnace has high for cold winter days and then low for milder days. Usually the low setting meets household heating demands, meaning the furnace “starts” in the first stage, where the amount of heat required is lower.

A two-stage unit doesn’t give you that sudden blast of air, and it gives you very consistent comfort, more even heat distribution, and can regulate temperature very close to desired settings.

Control Your Air Quality

During winter, impurities in the air in our home can irritate our eyes, our nose and lungs. Part of the air quality picture is humidity control, and as described, having the right amount of moisture in the air means we can minimize the risk of pollutants and things like mold in our home.

A second component is air purification. Getting a filtration and air purification system attached to your furnace or air handler means you can remove and destroy air pollutants and contaminants. This is a critical way in order to better control the air in our home.

Not to be forgotten is the power of ventilation, which is powerful in getting fresh air into our home, and stale air out of the home. Especially when thinking about tightly sealed homes, we’re able to enhance indoor air quality because we’re able to remove those pollutants that we don’t want in the home. Consider how single-room air cleaners are focused on one room, as you would guess. These are small and are portable. Whole-home air cleaners are permanently integrated solutions that are typically tied to your HVAC.

Ready to get rid of dust, dirt, pet dander, pollen, mold, mildew, germs and the chemical vapors and odors that might be in your home?

Get greater control of the air in your home by taking advantage of the latest air cleaning technology. Give us a call today at 859-491-4915.


Top Winter Home (And Furnace) Myths That Still Persist

fall inspection HVAC covington kentucky

Are you ready for winter? Here are some of the top misconceptions about taking care of your home leading up to, and during, the winter months.

1. Insulated Windows Aren’t That Important.

False! While replacing windows may or may not save you a large amount of money, the idea that insulated windows are not important is untrue. That’s because insulated windows mean that you’re helping to prevent heat from escaping, and you’re also creating a warmer window surface on the inside. If you can work against heat transfer, while combating condensation issues, it’s a win-win for your home.

2. What to Do With Your Heat Pump in Case of a Power Outage.

If the power goes out, typically it is recommended to switch your thermostat to the emergency heat setting. If you have an electric heat pump, special care is needed when you turn your unit on after an extended period of time where the power has been out, in part due to how the lubricant in the refrigerant must warm-up. Although it may vary based on manufacturer, typically you also want the system to run for at least an hour after the power comes back on.

3. Your Home Will Heat Up Faster If You Set the Thermostat Extra High.

Consider how your furnace works: it’s just delivering air at a same rate, not a faster rate depending on how high (or low) that temperature is set to. That means setting your thermostat extra high will not help it heat up any faster if you come home to a cold house and want to warm-up more quickly. This is similar to the myth of setting your AC down to a temperature lower than the desired house temperature to try to get the house to cool down faster—it just does not work that way.

4. You Don’t Have to Winterize Water Lines Each Year.

You already know that water freezes and expands, so you probably value the idea of switching off your air conditioner’s water shut-off valve. You also don’t want to overlook draining the AC hoses and pipes so that any water inside the equipment won’t lead to any problems. Outside hoses must be drained and stored each year.

5. You Can Skip a Year When It Comes to Your Furnace Tune-Up.

Regular maintenance has to be just that: regular. You’ve heard the comparisons to visiting the dentist or changing your oil, but the truth of the matter is you do extend the life of your system, save energy, keep your family as safe as possible, and also reduce health risks by getting your system checked in the fall and in the spring.

Recall how as much as 3 out of 4 service calls in the fall and winter months because of no heat are tied back to a lack of system maintenance. That’s just one more reason to schedule an appointment with us today.

6. You Conserve Energy (or Save Money) When You Turn Off Your Heat During the Day.

Many of us are looking to maximize efficiency and save money where we can—but you don’t conserve energy when you turn off the heat in your home during the day while you are away. Turning off the heat and then letting the temperature drop is not only something that can be hard on your system, but it’s extra risky when you live in a place that has a high risk of frozen water pipes.

Said another way, letting the temperature drop by turning off your heat completely won’t save you the money you intended to save and it can increase your risk in damage due to water pipes bursting. Instead, simply use your programmable thermostat to drop in the day when you are away (rather than shut it off entirely), but then to rise again when you are back home.

Call us today at 859-491-4915 to schedule and ask us about our preventative maintenance agreement that can save you time and money.


Gear Up For Fall – New Heating Options

new heating optionsNew heating options are available to customers who are considering replacing their old heaters.  Older furnaces and boilers may not be as energy efficient as the new models.  If you are thinking about replacing your unit in 2014, now is the time to consider what your new heating options are.

Deciding What Type Heat You Need

Every home is different.  Our installation team can help you decide which system is best for your home.  It doesn’t matter if you have a traditional forced air gas furnace, a heat pump or a broiler that is 50 years old, we can help you design the best solution for your home and the existing duct work you might have.  Our aim is to provide you with the best system that offers the best energy efficiency to keep you comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside.

Dual Heating Systems

Heat pumps are a very energy efficient way to heat and cool a house.  They transfer the hot air out of a house in the summer and bring the hot air into the house in the winter.  Until recently, they were only used for air conditioning except in the warmer climates.  Today’s more efficient heat pumps work when the temperature is above 35 degrees.  As we all know, in the tri-state there are many colder days and days where the temperature is below freezing.  This is when a dual system will switch to the gas furnace and keep your house warm on colder days.  Having the option to heat the house both ways is an energy efficient way to heat and cool your house.

Rebates and Tax Credits

There may be rebates and tax credits if you purchase a new heating system.  Rebates are available through Lennox, Mitsubishi and York.  You may also get a rebate through Greater Comfort or your utility company.  Possible tax credits are available through your state or federal government.  Because these rebates are always changing and new rebates may become available, it is best to call Greater Comfort at the time of your purchase to see what is available.

Maintenance for Your New Heating Options

When you consider new heating options for your home, you should also consider an HVAC maintenance program.  You wouldn’t buy a car and not expect to put new tires on it or replace the oil or oil filters.  Your HVAC system is the same.  Periodic maintenance, lubrication and new filters will keep your system running smoothly for years to come.  Factory Trained technicians can help prevent maintenance issues and if ever you do need repair they can troubleshoot your system quickly and efficiently so that you always have your HVAC system keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Call Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning and let us help you choose from the new heating options available to you.


Labor Day Marks The End Of Summer

labor day Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the achievements of workers.   Labor Day Parades, speeches and gatherings are held as a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  Labor Day has a unique history but most people just enjoy getting a day off from their labor and kids enjoy their first three day weekend.

The Start of School

Most Americans think of Labor Day as the end of summer.  It wasn’t long ago that many schools started after Labor Day.  With the trend toward shorter summers and year round school, schools are starting earlier each year.  Today Labor Day is the 2nd or 3rd week of school and often the first three day weekend of the school year.  This is a great time to spend doing something fun in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky. Greater Comfort Heating and Air will also be celebrating Labor Day but rest assured if you have an emergency or need air conditioning repairs, we will be available to get your system up and running.

Sports and Labor Day

In Sports, many NCAA teams usually play their first games the weekend of Labor Day, and NFL traditionally plays their first game the following Thursday. Here is the football schedule.   NASCAR also has races on Labor Day as well as the National Hot Rod Association.  You may be able to catch a tennis tournament as well.  Spending time with your family on Labor Day whether that means watching a sports game like the Kentucky Wildcats or playing football in your backyard is a great way to build relationships and create memories.  Don’t let air conditioning repairs keep you from staying cool for the game.  If you are experiencing A/C problems, Greater Comfort is here to help.

Labor Day Marks the Last Days of Summer

Labor Day is a great time for outdoor parties and BBQ’s.  It won’t be long until the air will start cooling down and temperatures in the Tri-State area will begin to get colder.  This is a great opportunity to enjoy the weather and your friends and family outside.  This is also a great time to finish outdoor projects and maintenance at your house.  Having an extra day off can give you a needed break from your work schedule and give you time to spend working on your honey-do list.  Don’t forget now is also a good time to consider a HVAC Maintenance Program.  Summer is ending and fall is just around the corner.  You will soon be switching from the A/C to your heating system.  There is no better time to check you system and get ready for the new season.  If you have any questions about a HVAC Maintenance Program, please call Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning and let us keep you comfortable all year long.