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3 Quick Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

For many people, fall is the best time of the year, in no small part because the temperature reaches a pleasant cool that lets people open their window and keep both their furnaces and air conditioners off for a month or more.

This period of crisp, natural air is good for your psyche and wallet alike. But as the days get shorter and leaves curl up and fall, it comes time to run your furnace yet again.

Problem is, it’s likely been around half a year since you’ve last run your furnace. After all that idle time, your furnace probably needs some attention before it’s ready to run at peak performance again.

Here are three ways you can make sure your furnace hits the ground running this winter.

Replace the Filter

Pound for pound, replacing your HVAC system’s air filter is the most efficient thing you could possibly do for it. In other words, there is nothing else you can do so quickly and cheaply that will have as big an impact as replacing your filter.

Replacing your filter is easy, and it’s probably the one HVAC maintenance task that you should perform without hiring a professional. The filter is almost always on the side of the furnace, and replacing it is a matter of pulling out the old filter and sliding the new one in. But the benefits are huge. You’ll:

  • Lower your energy consumption (by up to 30%)
  • Extend the lifespan of your HVAC system (dirty filters contribute to more HVAC failures than anything else according to Angie’sList)
  • Dramatically improve the cleanliness of the air in your house

Ideally, you should change the filter every month, but changing it every three months should be considered a minimum. And since your furnace will (hopefully) only be running a little bit in the early days of fall, that’s the perfect time to change it to make sure your furnace does a great job of heating your home all winter long.

Make sure the vents are open

Let’s make it clear: all the vents in your house should always be open, without exception.

There’s a running assumption that by closing vents in unused rooms of a house, your furnace won’t heat those rooms, and you’ll end up heating fewer square heat, lowering your heating bill. That assumption is only half right. Closing vents does keep those rooms from being heated, but it actually causes your furnace to use more energy, not less of it. Here’s what closing your vents does:

  • Causes the return vents to pull air into the furnace from the now-cold room, lowering the overall efficiency of the unit
  • Decreases the amount of air flowing through your entire home
  • Increases the likelihood of causing some sort of leak
  • Increases the likelihood of a blown compressor

All in all, closing your vents increases the amount you spend on heating. The same principles apply if your vents are blocked, say by furniture or rugs. So if your vents are closed or blocked, make sure to open them!

Instead of closing your vents, just close the doors of unused rooms. It’ll be better for both your furnace and your wallet.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Furnaces have gone from around 40% efficient to around 98% efficient over the past century, which marks a significant decrease in the amount of money and energy wasted by artificial heating. But with that increased efficiency comes an increased numbers of electronic and mechanical parts. Furnaces have a lot more parts that can break now, which is the reason furnaces went from lasting 50+ years to 30 years at maximum.

And 30 years is an extremely generous estimate. It’s far more common for furnaces to last between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. Shirk maintenance and you’re looking at lifespans closer to 10 (or fewer!) years.

When you schedule HVAC maintenance, a trained technician will come and perform all the tips and cleanings that you can’t do on your own, like:

  • Cleaning the pilot light and heat exchange
  • Making sure there are no fuel line (or duct) leaks
  • Cleaning and tightening the parts of the furnace that are easily broken
  • and much, much more

Not only will maintenance increase your furnace’s lifespan, but it will also ensure your furnace consistently runs at peak efficiency.

You should schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year. We also have maintenance plans that will automate the process.

Schedule Furnace Maintenance Today

Planning for maintenance is an important part of any home heating and cooling strategy. Without it, you might unknowingly void your manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re interested in a longer life for your furnace and cheaper heating bills, call Steve’s Heating for maintenance today.

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Why You Should Filter Your Air

Dirty air is a big problem. The World Health Organization estimates that over 6 million people die each year from the combined effects of household air pollution and ambient air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has been an issue for a long time, but people don’t tend to give as much thought to the quality of the air indoors. Indoor air is usually between 2-5 times dirtier than outdoor air, and that number is much higher if you use any sort of solid or liquid fuel to heat your home, like wood or oil. Indoor air is dirty because, for the most part, dust doesn’t have anywhere to go. In recent years, doors have become less drafty and windows have become less leaky. While this is great for electricity bills, all the dust particles that got carried outside by those drafts now remain inside the home. Even with constant washing and vacuuming (and we’re willing to wager that the average American doesn’t vacuum as often as they should), indoor air is still pretty dirty.

It’s counterintuitive, but the smaller the dust particle, the more dangerous it is. Big dust particles get stuck in the nose and throat and eventually get breathed out. Small particles escape these safeguards and end up going into your lungs, where they get absorbed into your blood. That’s bad for you whether the particle was toxic or not, and they sometimes are. What’s worse, a 2016 British study showed that air pollution is ubiquitously bad for everyone. Though unsurprising, that statistic only confirms what people had already suspected: they should be breathing cleaner air. The most effective way to achieve this is with an air filter. Steve’s Heating offers installation of Trane’s CleanEffects™ whole-home air filter. These are much more effective than standalone air filters or purifiers, which only clean the air directly around them. There’s an added bonus in that the Trane filter traps much, much smaller particles than HEPA filters, which are currently the gold standard for filtration. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons you should consider purifying your air at home:

Reason 1: you live with a smoker

The first thing you should know about cigarettes and air purifiers is that they do a great job of dealing with the smell of cigarette smoke. The second thing you should know is that air purifiers don’t make cigarette smoke any less dangerous, even though they deal with smoke odor. That’s because the dangerous parts of cigarette smoke are all gaseous pollutants, which air purifiers can’t do anything about—air purifiers can only clean particles from the air, which account for the smell of cigarette smoke. So, keep in mind that air purifiers will make living with a smoker much more pleasant, but they won’t make it healthier. The only way to do that is to make them quit.

Reason 2: You have pets

If you have pets, it’s likely that they are the biggest contributor of dust in your home. Pets not only ensure that your house will be dirtier and require more cleaning, but their dust can also be dangerous to people with asthma, young children, or people with respiratory problems. Even if you don’t have any people in your household who are put in danger by excess dust, it’s still an irritant that can cause a runny nose and scratchy throat.

Reason 3: You have allergies

Excess dust affects people regardless of whether or not they have allergies, but it can be a nightmare for people who do. Dust allergies are most commonly triggered by near-microscopic creatures called dust mites. They are so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye—just a third of a millimeter—and their waste and dead bodies often float around in the air until they get inhaled or settle into fabric. Many of the people who experience symptoms of allergies in dusty homes are actually allergic to dust mites. Luckily, dust mites are not so small that they can escape Trane’s air purifier, which can pick up particles as small as .3 microns. For scale, that’s .00003 mm.

Reason 4: You just like the idea of breathing healthier air

Maybe you don’t have allergies, a sick baby, or pets. Maybe you just like the idea of breathing cleaner air. And why shouldn’t you? Your home is the one place that is completely yours, so it should be as comfortable and healthy as it can be. Purifying your air will make you feel better and give you the peace of mind you need to be your best self.

By now, you probably know a thing or two about dirty air and why it’s a problem. If you decide you want to take the next step, give Steve’s Heating a call. We’ll even provide a free estimate for installing the filter. We even have a promotion running that will give you a special price on Trane’s CleanEffects whole home filtration system, so call now and mention the ad on our website for a discount.

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Why DIY HVAC Repair is a Bad Idea

With the internet, it’s easier than ever for the DIY enthusiast to learn about the intricacies of the equipment that he uses every day. And most of the time, that’s a great thing. People should want to know how the things around them work. It’s exciting, and it helps you appreciate what you have more.

But HVAC systems should under no circumstances be worked on by anybody other than a licensed professional. Here’s why:

You’ll Probably Break Something

There’s a reason that most states legally require HVAC technicians to go through special training and certification programs: HVAC systems are complicated. Your air conditioner is a complex contraption of gears, chemicals, parts, and electricity. For the unit to work properly as a whole, each piece has to function correctly. If you don’t know how all the components work together, it’s easy to mess something up without realizing it.

And since the whole point of a DIY fix is to save money on some sort of repair, it seems counterintuitive to us to pursue a DIY repair that’s more likely to fail than anything. And believe us: you’ll spend more to get a botched repair fixed than if you had just called a specialist in the first place.

It’s Dangerous

HVAC certifications aren’t just for show—they exist to protect the technicians and the people whose HVAC systems get worked on.

Air conditioners use various gasses as refrigerants, and furnaces typically burn either oil or natural gas. The coolants in air conditioners and natural gas in furnaces are both oxygen displacers, which means that in a small space, they’ll take the place of oxygen. This means if you get enough of either gas in your lungs, oxygen won’t be able to force it out, leading to loss of consciousness and even death. Not to mention, natural gas is explosive.

Even if you spring a link that doesn’t hurt you, it’ll still mean that your air conditioner won’t do any cooling, which, again, defeats the whole purpose of repairing it yourself in the first place.

Also, many air conditioners are high voltage. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since air conditioners are one of the highest-energy-using appliances there are. With this high voltage comes a very real risk of electrocution if you don’t know what you are doing. So leave it to the pros.

You’re Likely to Void the Warranty

If you aren’t concerned about your health, maybe this will sway you: by forgoing professional HVAC maintenance, you’re also forgoing your manufacturer’s warranty. If you have an owner’s manual for a Trane air conditioner or heating unit, you’ll notice this bit of text:

“The Products must be properly installed, operated, and maintained by a licensed HVAC service provider in accordance with the Product specifications or installation, operation, and maintenance instructions provided by Company with each Product. Failure to conform to such specifications and/or instructions shall void this limited warranty. Company may request written documentation showing the proper preventative maintenance.”

In other words, your HVAC unit’s warranty isn’t valid unless it was properly installed and maintained by a certified professional—and it’s on you to prove that.

A warranty is a company’s way of saying that they believe in their products. By offering a warranty, they’re telling you that their equipment is guaranteed to last a certain amount of time, and if it doesn’t, they’ll replace the part at no charge to you. But no HVAC unit can run for long without (proper) maintenance, just like your car couldn’t go 200,000 miles without an oil change. So hire an HVAC company for maintenance and spare your wallet the trouble.

By the way, Steve’s Heating has great warranties on both parts and labor.

Let Steve’s Heating & Cooling Handle Your Maintenance Needs

If it’s time that your furnace or air conditioner was maintained, give Steve’s Heating a call. We’ve been serving Florence, KY for over 30 years and pride ourselves on making the community a better place.

If you’re a member of our comfort club, you’ll get a yearly or bi-annual tuneup and professional cleaning. Not to mention a 10% discount on all repairs and no overtime charges! If you’re interested in becoming a comfort club member, give us a call today at 859-795-2172.

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Winter 24/7 Emergency HVAC Services

XXAs we all know, you can’t plan emergencies. The reality of this, of course, is universally true for every type of crisis, but it can be particularly poignant when your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter.

And while, unfortunately, you can’t reschedule a heating emergency for a more convenient time, you can have a plan ready for solving your heating problem and – ideally – have a plan for preventing your heating problems in the first place.

Winter is here in Northern Kentucky and, if you haven’t been properly maintaining your furnace with preventative maintenance throughout the year, your furnace is at risk of breaking down during the coldest nights of the year. You need a plan now before an emergency arises.

Don’t wait until your furnace starts acting up to start thinking about emergency HVAC services. Steve’s Heating has come to the rescue of hundreds of homeowners experiencing furnace problems. Far too often, we’ve seen these furnaces break down in the middle of winter when families need them the most.

Aside from the obvious discomfort of losing heat during freezing temperatures, a broken furnace will also impact your home, your finances, and – most importantly – the safety of you and your family. Here are three reasons to keep the phone number for a reputable HVAC company on hand this winter.

A Faulty Furnace Can Cause House Fires

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, faulty heating systems are the second leading cause of residential fires during winter, second only to cooking. Freezing weather, in particular, can lead to ignition problems which in turn puts you at greater risk of a more serious incident. But, aside from the risk provided by the time of year, there are already a number of problems that can arise at any time in the year even from something as simple as buildup in your furnaces heating ducts.

If you have a furnace in your home, you need routine maintenance for your heating system, even if it’s only an annual check-up before winter begins. However, if at any point you sense that you may have a problem, it’s important to call an HVAC professional immediately.

A Broken Furnace is Expensive

In general, the cost of replacing a furnace is greater than the cost of standard furnace repair and far greater than the cost of furnace maintenance to prevent your problem in the first place. Of course, similar to other home appliances, there will be instances when completely replacing a furnace is one of the best home investments you can make. If your need to replace your furnace is primarily due to a lack of proper maintenance, however, it can be a costly and otherwise avoidable expense.

An Unmaintained Furnace Creates Safety Hazards

It’s no surprise that homes are sealed tight during winter. And while keeping warm air in is often at the forefront of our minds during winter, there’s still a need to allow pollutants to escape.

Your furnace plays an important role in determining the quality of the air you and your family breathe for hours at a time. Even if a furnace is not “broken” in the traditional sense, a poorly maintained heating system can still lead to safety hazards in your home either by producing excess moisture that leads to mold or by releasing carbon into the air. Worst or all, the signs of a problem are not always overt. While smoke is an obvious cause for concern, mold can grow without detection and carbon won’t be detected at all without a working detector. These subtle signs make the need for regular maintenance even more crucial than they would otherwise be.

And while maintaining the air quality of your home can be easily achieved through routine furnace maintenance, a complete breakdown of your heating system during winter can leave you in conditions not meant for habitation.

Stay Warm and Have Peace of Mind this Winter

When you have a problem with your furnace or another component of your HVAC system, you need a solution now rather than later. And you need a professional that you can trust to do the job right.

When your home or business is experiencing a heating problem, Steve’s Heating can come to your rescue. We offer year-round 24/7 emergency furnace repair and other HVAC services to residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. Have peace of mind and reduce the time it takes to solve your problem by keeping our phone number on hand. Our trained HVAC technicians are always available and just a phone call away.

Along with emergency services, we also offer regular maintenance and replacement services for your heating and cooling systems. Learn more about all of our HVAC services or request an appointment today. Thank you for reading, and Steve’s Heating and Cooling looks forward to keeping you and your family comfortable and safe this winter.

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Spring AC Repair-HVAC Maintenance

Spring is officially here which means summer is right around the corner!  Spring has seemingly decided to be hot to this point, prompting people to use their AC.  We’ve already repaired a lot of AC units, and it’s early in the season.  If you don’t want your AC to break, consider now is the ideal time to make sure your home HVAC systems are working perfectly with proactive maintenance.

With spring, the weather can be very unpredictable, so it is important to have your systems working in order to keep your home comfortable at all times.  This will also make the transition into summer easier, which is important because we all know that the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky summers can get extremely hot.  Taking precautions to make sure you have AC the moment you need it will be well worth it when the time comes. When maintenance is a regular happening through the seasons, it is much more infrequent to experience problems.

You may be wondering, what is included in HVAC maintenance?  We check if dust is accumulating, dirt on coils, allergens or bacteria in duct systems, and much more.  This is just a small part of our maintenance program, the “comfort club.”  If something does happen unexpectedly we also offer repair services where we send our team out, examine the problem, and fix what we need to.  As we said before, with a maintenance program this is much more unlikely.

Maybe you want to gear up your AC for spring, or maybe you’d just like to be on top of thingswith your HVAC system. Steve’s Heating can fix, monitor, and replace your system.  If you’d like to join the comfort club, or have any questions, contact us!

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Trane

Getting the Most From Your Trane Furnace

When it comes to heating and cooling solutions, having more options is definitely preferable. Each structure has its own HVAC needs and so a wide range of appliances have been developed to allow people the maximum control over these essential systems. Making sense of the many options available to you will enable you to make the most informed decision. The Trane furnace system offers users many distinct advantages to homeowners in particular though some commercial spaces can benefit from it, as well.

Cut Down on Temperature Variation and Save Money

The Trane XC95m is the preferred heater of many homeowners. The XC95m is equipped with a special gas valve that is designed to regulate the temperature output with much greater precision than other gas furnaces. This valve modulates the flow of gas to prevent excess heat from being generated. Too much fuel causes temperature spikes and ends up increasing your monthly gas bill. Furnaces without this modulating valve feature burn excess fuel throughout their lifespan. Even if such a furnace is a bargain initially, it can end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

Protecting Your Trane Furnace

The cost-saving advantages inherent to the Trane design are only going to be realized if homeowners make the effort to arrange for regular maintenance. All furnaces and HVAC components require a little attention in order to perform correctly. Regular maintenance will:

  • Verify that all components are intact and working correctly
  • Remove dust, grit, and debris from the air intake vents
  • Ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency
  • Give homeowners the benefits of a reliable heating system

Considering a New Furnace?

The XC95m is an excellent furnace. It is a preferred furnace among many homeowners who value it for its quiet function, efficient operation, and money-saving design. We are pleased to offer this line of products to our customers considering a new furnace. Our customers can depend on us for the parts and services necessary to keep this valuable system working correctly.

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HVAC Maintenance

It Is That Time Again: HVAC Maintenance

Here at Steve’s Heating and Cooling, we are serious about helping you get the most out of your HVAC system. That is why we recommend bi-annual maintenance on your appliances. Just as you cannot expect your car to run well without its needed maintenance, you must maintain your HVAC system to get the life and quality performance you expect from it.

Why Do I Need Maintenance?

Maintaining your HVAC system is important whether you have top-of-the-line appliances, such as Trane, or something less reliable. The last thing you want is for your furnace or air conditioning unit to shut down unexpectedly, leaving your home at dangerously extreme temperatures.

Not only does maintenance lengthen the life of your entire HVAC system, but it also gets you better quality heating and cooling. Systems that are not well maintained reduce your indoor air quality by releasing allergens into your air every time they run. Some of the common indoor allergens that are worsened by a poorly-maintained HVAC system are:

  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Pet Dander

What Maintenance Do I Need?

We recommend you have your HVAC system serviced every spring and fall. When you call us for maintenance, our skilled technicians go through a lengthy checklist to make sure your appliances are functioning at their best. Just a few of the things you can expect our technicians to do are:

  • Lubricate and inspect the function of individual parts within your appliances
  • Replace any worn belts, wiring, and other parts
  • Clean out built up dust, dirt, and debris
  • Inspect for leaks and other serious hazards

We Want to Keep You Comfortable

When you stay on top of your bi-annual maintenance, you can expect your HVAC appliances to last longer, perform better, and reduce indoor allergens. Eventually, when your old appliances must be replaced, we can get you a great deal on one of our long-lasting Trane appliances. We are proud of our status as a premier Trane dealer because we know how trustworthy the products are. Let us help keep you comfortable all year long by giving us a call today to schedule your HVAC maintenance.

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Heat Pump Repair

If your heat pump has been giving you problems, don’t wait until the dead of winter to address them. We don’t realize how vital our heating systems are until we don’t have them anymore. Nothing is worse than trying to survive even one night in a freezing cold house.

We can help with all your heat pump repair needs! We offer 24-hour services as well — so you’ll never be left out in the cold. Since the inception of Steve’s Heating & Cooling in 1975, we have installed and repaired thousands of heating and cooling units throughout the Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky areas. You can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands. We specialize in trusted Trane products. Keep in mind that we can also install systems that are extremely energy efficient — why not start getting more bang for your buck?

Why you should choose Steve’s Heating and cooling as your heating and cooling expert:

  • We offer satisfaction guaranteed! Trust us to get the job done right or your money back.
  • We only hire highly trained and certified repair service professionals.
  • We offer professional, trusted services, and have been for the last 38 years.
Have any questions? Call us at 859-795-2172. If you want to schedule a new system replacement consultation, click here.
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Furnace Buying Checklist

Keep in mind that when buying a new furnace, you’re actually buying two items – the furnace and its installation. Use the items below as a “checklist” of sorts, to refer to before you invest in buying a new furnace.

1. Remember that the even the best furnaces – if they’re poorly installed – will not deliver what they should. Likewise, even the best installation won’t make a poorly designed furnace perform better than it can (and its limits). Choose wisely, and do your research.

2. Learn the important abbreviations associated with heating. For example, AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and is a rating that shows how well the furnace uses gas supplies. The bigger the number, the better it uses the supply.

3. Do some comparative online shopping, and always ask questions if you have them. Use online comparative shopping tools and find out what’s best for your home by going to the Trane “What’s best for my home?” page here.

4. Check Energy Star certifications at www.energystar.gov. We highly recommend only buying Energy Star certified products.

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Trane Dealer Q&A

Q: What does it mean to be a Trane dealer?

A: A Trane dealer is certified to sell and install Trane heating and cooling products. Steve’s Heating & Cooling has received Trane top dealer awards and is the leader in Trane XL and Clean Effect sales in the Northern Kentucky area. We are also the 3-time recipient of the S.O.A.R. award, which is only given to the top overall Trane dealer in our region. You can count on us to bring you only the best in Trane heating and cooling! You can even find us on the official Trane website!

Q: How do Trane products make my home more energy efficient?

A: Trane offers Energy Star qualified products, programmable thermostats (meaning, you set the temperature and when the air or heat will kick on), and Trane also has some of the most energy efficient units in the market today.

Q: How do I install my ComfortLink or ComfortLink II system?

A: The ComfortLink line of products can’t be installed without assistance unless you are an HVAC specialist. A certified Trane dealer can help you install the system – click here for more information. (or feel free to call us with any questions at 859.795.2172.

Q: If I have a ComfortLink system, can I control my home’s heating and cooling by using my smartphone or tablet?

A: Yes. You can connect your home with your smartphone or tablet and control its thermostat. Learn more about the Nexia Home Intelligence program here.

Q: What makes Trane products so good? Are they reliable?

A: If they weren’t reliable we wouldn’t back them up! Yes, they are extremely reliable. All Trane products are tested to extremes in labs using a SEET lab (Systems Extreme Environmental Test). The products are put to frigidly cold temperatures and blazing heat and then repeated in two-week sessions to see if they can withstand the extreme temperatures. If a product doesn’t make it through the tests, it doesn’t make the cut and doesn’t get made.