Tag Archives: HVAC system

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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Fast Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

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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
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VIDEO: See Greater Comfort’s Kohl’s HVAC Install

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What to Know About Home Automation

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We can now use technology in and around the home to simplify our lives, improve safety, and reduce energy costs.

Home automation can be personalized and used to whatever degree of involvement you, as the homeowner, desires.

Most commonly, these systems control things like lighting, home theater or entertainment systems, appliances, security systems, door locks, outdoor sprinkler systems as well as features to manage energy efficiency. Any piece of electronic equipment that can be controlled remotely or programmed to work automatically falls under the general concept of what’s now generally called “home automation” (1). 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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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

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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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Top Signs Your Air Conditioning System May Need Repair

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What are some of the top signs your AC is broken or may need a repair of some kind? Here we break down 5 things you shouldn’t ignore as we head into spring.

1. Your unit is cycling on and off.

Depending on the system, if your unit is always cycling on and off – especially if you can’t ever seem to see the thermostat showing you’re at the desired temperature for your home – it’s time to have a professional check your thermostat and your system. There’s a chance you may need the fan, condenser, or possibly the evaporator unit cleaned, and there could be another issue worth a look for an expert.

2. There’s water near your system.

If you see water near your HVAC or have reason to believe that water is leaking near your system, you could have a serious issue with the drain line, or another problem that is worth looking into.

While it might start off as a small leak, if you catch it early, you could avoid a big problem since some leaks can result in significant water damage to your home. While the source of the problem could be the drain line, an expert can help you see if its clogged, disconnected, if the issue is related to the condensate pump, a clogged air filter, low refrigerant, or a ductwork issue. As you can see, there’s quite a few reasons that mean you should take any signs of water leakage seriously.

3. Your utility bills have skyrocketed – with no reason known to you.

If you’re like many homeowners, you watch your utility bill, in part because you want to be able to ensure you are saving money when possible. Keeping a watch on your utility bill is also a great idea because any spike in your costs can be a sign that your system is operating inefficiently. Whether you forgot your spring tune-up or your condensing coil is having an issue, or something completely separate, we can find the reason your system isn’t working properly.

4. You’re hearing abnormal noises.

If you’re system is running as it should, sound should be minimal. In fact, in our newest models, many people are surprised just how quiet and efficient the models really are – during startup and throughout day-to-day operation. If your system is making noises—especially loud noises you’ve never heard before—there could be an issue. If you have disconnected parts or a motor that’s showing signs of wear, it could be reason to give us a call.

5. There seems to be a lack of fresh air or just a more uncomfortable home.

If you feel like you’re just not quite as comfortable as you once were, make note. When the temperature increases, so does the humidity in your home. That same humidity can cause damage to your furniture and encourage mold growth in your home. Altogether, increased temperatures and decreased air quality can be felt in the home if your system isn’t working like it should be. But year-to-year, even if there is a difference in how hot it gets outside, you should still have even, consistent airflow.

Remember that excess humidity wears on wood furniture in particular and can do damage to upholstery, especially on certain kinds of furniture, including vintage furniture, that has not been treated to handle it. Another major problem when the humidity rises is mold growth. Mold needs a moist environment to grow, and while humidity alone is not always enough, these conditions make it nearly impossible for bathrooms to properly dry.

If you feel like the air in your home is thicker than normal, or you see signs of mold growth, then you have more evidence your system isn’t working properly.

Get Ultimate Comfort with Greater Comfort

We install top-op-of-the line HVAC systems, dehumidifiers and we provide a full range of ongoing maintenance services. We are 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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