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Prep for Winter with a Furnace Tuneup

Prep for Winter with a Furnace Tuneup

During the winter season in Lexington, Kentucky, the temperature tends to drop substantially.  So homeowners must rely on their heating systems to stay warm and comfortable. It’s not too late to prepare your furnace for winter with a tuneup by a professional HVAC technician and enjoy the warmth all season long. 

Improved Efficiency

As your furnace runs, it pulls air through the heating chamber. Air is constantly moving through the ducts and vents to maintain a comfortable temperature inside of your home. That air contains dirt, dust, pet hair, dander, pollen, and other debris, which can settle on the furnace and inside the ducts.  Smaller particles can also move through the system and settle on the various components of the heating system. The filter within your furnace can help eliminate some of these contaminants, but if it’s clogged and dirty, it won’t be able to do its job.

When the components are dirty or dusty, they can’t operate as efficiently. Your system has to work harder to produce the same amount of warm air, which results in energy waste. With regular furnace maintenance, a technician performs a visual inspection and cleaning of all components, making sure that everything can work more efficiently.

Lower Monthly Bills

During the winter months, your utility bills increase as your furnace uses fuel to combat the cold outdoor temperatures, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep them under control. A furnace tuneup will improve the efficiency of the heating system, which means it will use less energy to produce the same amount of heated air. As a result, you can enjoy savings on energy bills throughout the winter.

Fewer Repairs

One of the most important reasons to schedule an annual furnace tuneup is to reduce the risk of components breaking and requiring repairs. Through normal use, parts within your furnace move, rub together and shift, but any abnormal movement or issue can cause damage to these components. It’s tough to know for sure when something isn’t working properly, so most people continue to run the furnace even with a damaged component. This can reduce efficiency and end up causing further damage, which will be more expensive to repair.

During a tuneup, the furnace technician will inspect all moving parts to make sure they’re in good condition and can continue to operate smoothly and efficiently. If anything is starting to wear out or break down, the technician can replace or repair it before it causes damage. With regular preventive maintenance, you’ll deal with fewer major repairs and enjoy a heating system that works consistently and efficiently. 

Reduced Risk of Breakdown

Regular maintenance on your heating system can also reduce the risk of it breaking down at the worst possible time. We’ve all heard the stories of people whose furnaces stopped working on the coldest day of the year or when they had house guests, resulting in the need for emergency service. Emergency calls can be more expensive, and if you’re rushing to get a furnace installed, you won’t have the time to research options and learn more about which unit will work best in your home.

Through annual tuneups, your technician can keep you informed about the status of your furnace and give you some warning as to when it might be time to upgrade the system. This gives you time to save money for the impending need to replace your furnace as well as to research the options available to find the right unit for your home.

Faster Service 

If you’re on a maintenance plan for your heating and cooling system, a possible benefit is that you’ll get faster service when you need assistance. For example, most customers on the maintenance plan will receive priority service for their furnace tuneups earlier than those who aren’t keeping up with regular maintenance. With this option, you can enjoy warm air and a functional furnace well before the temperatures dip below freezing. 

Schedule your routine heating system tuneup and take advantage of these benefits by calling us at Stivers HVAC Inc. at 859-286-6450.

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Why Stivers Should Be Your First Call for Professional HVAC Service

At Stivers HVAC, we work 24/7 to give you what you want and to ensure that you’re completely satisfied. It’s the foundation on which we’ve built our business. Other HVAC contractors might try to sell you on what they want, but we don’t work that way. Our goal is to provide you with as many top-notch heating and cooling options as possible and to implement the solution that best serves your needs.

Exceptional Indoor Comfort Solutions Since 1986

We have been serving up indoor comfort services to satisfied customers in Lexington, Kentucky, and the surrounding communities since 1986. Starting out with $400, a tool pouch and a strong belief in honesty and integrity, Rick Stivers launched a company that now has 50 employees and 22 service vehicles. Stivers HVAC has become one of the largest HVAC companies in Central Kentucky, so we must be doing something right.

Service Technicians With NATE Certification

At Stivers HVAC, we hand-pick talented people who have a proven track record of delivering high-quality services whether they’re in the field or in the office. The more talented our team, the better the services that we can offer you. Our sales people are informed professionals. Their job is to help you select energy-efficient products that give you what you want at a price that fits your budget.

Our service technicians are experienced industry experts with NATE certification. They’ve been rigorously trained and tested in their areas of expertise, and they stay well-informed about the latest product and service developments. Our HVAC installers understand the mechanics of precise of HVAC installation from the ground up.

Our repair technicians are experienced problem-solvers who have mastered the art of providing innovative solutions for HVAC issues. We excel at maintaining high-tech and low-tech comfort systems, and with our comprehensive seasonal equipment tuneups and value-added preventive maintenance plans, your HVAC will operate smoothly, optimally, efficiently and effectively.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

As a Trane Comfort Specialist, our indoor comfort systems are backed by the Trane warranty. Stivers HVAC is committed to the impeccable industry standards set forth by the best-selling Trane brand. We know we’re good at what we do, so we can confidently promise a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of the work we perform.

A Full Spectrum of HVAC Services

Our service roster includes everything HVAC. We perform residential and commercial heating and air conditioning repairs and installations, HVAC maintenance services and indoor air quality solutions. We’re on duty 24/7 because HVAC emergencies can occur at any time, and we offer free on-site consultations for customers who want to explore their heating and cooling upgrade options.

Ongoing Money-saving Specials

Our heating and cooling specials, installation rebates, financing programs and coupons for money-off on products and services are always available, and they change regularly. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re always likely to find a way to save money on our Specials Page.

Cutting-edge Trane Products

At Stivers HVAC, we’re honored to be a Trane Comfort Specialist. As such, we can offer you state-of-the-art Trane products that are fine-tuned, energy efficient and consistently outperform other products. Our indoor comfort system lineup includes air conditioners, furnaces, air handlers, packaged systems, thermostats, controls and heat pumps. For the ultimate in energy efficiency, we install and service eco-friendly geothermal systems that provide sustainable heating and cooling by tapping into the relatively stable temperatures just below the ground.

Programmable and Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, high-tech controls and cutting-edge home automation systems can save on energy costs while making the most of your heating and cooling equipment. If your home or business lacks ductwork, Trane ductless HVAC systems eliminate the need for it. For a healthier home, Trane air quality products can remove contaminants from your indoor air, and if you want to please everyone, a zoned heating and cooling system allows you to customize the climate in every room.

At Stivers HVAC, we continue to improve our product range and service delivery system to bring Lexington, Kentucky, homeowners and business owners efficient and professional indoor comfort services. Visit us online to learn more about us, or call us directly at (859) 286-6450 for personalized customer care.

Getting to Know Your Heating System

Getting to Know Your Heating System

We’ve already had some chilly nights in the Lexington, Kentucky, area this fall. Whether you’ve turned your heat on or not, it’s important to understand the basics of what it takes to stay warm. From heater type to fuel type to energy efficiency, heating systems can be complex.

Heating System Basics

Every heating system moves warm air to replace cold air. To do so, they need something that creates heat. In other words, they need fuel. Once the heat is generated, it’s transferred from the source to the air via a heat exchanger. A distribution system moves the heated air throughout the house. The unit produces heat based on the temperature set on the thermostat.

Heating Fuels

Heating costs money, and lots of it. A big chunk of winter utility costs comes from heating your home. Exactly how much depends on your heat source and how well your system functions.

Natural gas, propane, and heating oil provide heat sources for most furnaces. Electricity can fuel furnaces or electric baseboard units, but its increasing cost over recent years has caused many homeowners to shy away from electric-only systems.

Heat Distribution Systems

Heated Air

Warm air units fire when the thermostat calls for heat. The fuel combusts, heating the exchanger, and cool air moves over the heated exchanger when the blower comes on. The heated air travels through the house via the ductwork and registers. As the air cools, it returns to the furnace in the return duct. The process continues until the thermostat signals that the air is at the right temperature.

These kinds of heaters are very common. You can install indoor air quality products, such as purifiers and humidifiers, to make the air cleaner and more comfortable. Without good filtration, these units carry dust, dirt, and allergens throughout your house.

Hot Water

Hot water heating systems follow the same principle as heated air units, but they use water to circulate heat instead of air. Water gets heated in a tank and is pumped to radiators or baseboard heaters. Once cooled, it comes back to the boiler tank to get heated again. Rather than having a thermostat, these systems used an aquastat to measure water temperature.

Geothermal systems fall under the water heat category. But instead of the water being heated in a tank, it’s warmed by the earth.

These systems yield a consistent temperature and don’t stir up dust and allergens. They’re quiet, too. Radiators are old-fashioned and take up space, while baseboard heaters limit furniture and curtain options.

Improving Efficiency and Lowering Costs

Make sure your windows are locked for a better seal. You can cover windows and patio doors with plastic to help prevent drafts. Caulk around window and door frames and any outlet boxes on outside walls to reduce heat loss.

Make sure there’s no light between outer doors and their frames. If there is, fix the weatherstripping. Drafts at the bottom are easily remedied by adjusting the threshold. Just turn the screws in the bottom of the door frame counterclockwise until you can’t see light anymore.

Buy insulated curtains, especially for north-facing windows. Open drapes during the day for warmth from the sun, and close them at night to trap the warm air.

Close registers in rooms you don’t use regularly. Make sure working registers are clean, open, and unobstructed. Change your filters at least once a month. If you don’t have any allergy or asthma concerns, a simple fiberglass filter will do.

Don’t use your exhaust fans for long periods. They pull warm air out of your house quickly. Keep the door open when you shower so that heat travels through the house.

Have your furnace tuned up. Regular maintenance improves efficiency and provides you with peace of mind during the cold months. Small issues caught during a tuneup won’t turn into costly repairs later on.

At Stivers HVAC, we can help with any heating issues you have. Call us at 859-286-6450 if you need maintenance, repairs, or installation.

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What’s Included With an HVAC Tuneup?

What’s Included With an HVAC Tuneup?

Whether it’s your vehicle or your HVAC system, an annual tuneup is always a good idea if you want either item to operate efficiently and last longer than its expected life cycle. Although an upfront investment, a professional HVAC tuneup pays for itself and puts more savings in your pocket by lowering utility bills, reducing the need for repairs and helping avoid premature replacement costs. With that said, here’s what every professional HVAC tuneup for units in Lexington, Kentucky, should include.

Change the HVAC Filter

There are two HVAC maintenance tasks every homeowner can safely complete on their own without the help of a professional service technician, and the first is changing the HVAC filter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homeowners should check their filter monthly during the hottest and coldest months of year. If the filter looks dirty after a month, you should change it. And remember to never use a filter for longer than three months; otherwise, it’ll make your system work harder, waste energy and contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Check the Condensate Drain Line

The second HVAC maintenance task every homeowner can perform on their own is to check the condensate drain line, which is located near your outdoor unit. The purpose of the condensate line is to safely remove moisture from your AC system, which it has gathered while removing heat out of your home’s air. This is an especially important AC maintenance task, because a clogged line can lead to problems that can result in system repairs.

3 Common Issues Resulting From a Clogged Condensate Line

  • Frozen air conditioner. A clogged condensate line will trap water in your unit, and the evaporator coil will eventually freeze it. The moisture inside the drain line will also turn to ice.
  • Overflowing drain pan. The condensate drain pan sits under your AC’s evaporator coil. If the line clogs, the excess moisture will collect and the pan will eventually overflow. This promotes microbial growth and can lead to illness if you breathe any of the air that has passed over the contaminated pan.
  • Property damage. While a clogged condensate line damages your air conditioner, it can also damage your property. An overflowing drain pan can also cause leaks that damage drywall, flooring and electrical wiring.

If you notice that your condensate line is clogged, you can use a Shop-Vac to unclog it, and then pour diluted bleach down the pipe to eliminate mildew build-up. If you have trouble unclogging it, a professional service technician can help to avoid costly future repairs.

Contact an HVAC Contractor for the Following Tasks

Although the two aforementioned tasks are safe and simple enough for a homeowner to perform on their own, it’s always best to leave a comprehensive tuneup to a professional service technician who’s trained to work with HVAC equipment.

  • Check operating pressures and amperage draw
  • Clean and calibrate all controls in the unit
  • Inspect for refrigerant leaks and check the charge
  • Make minor electrical or mechanical adjustments
  • Lubricate motors and inspect all wiring

If you have questions about why preventive HVAC maintenance is so important, or if you’d like to schedule a tuneup today, check out our FAQ page or contact Stivers HVAC at (859) 286-6450. We look forward to helping homeowners in Lexington, Kentucky, optimize their HVAC system’s performance and make sure they’re saving as much as possible.

What’s the Latest in HVAC Technology?

What’s the Latest in HVAC Technology?

HVAC technology is constantly evolving to offer enhanced home comfort with improved energy efficiency. While you were once confined to only a handful of options for heating and cooling your home, you now have a wealth of choices for everything from central heating and cooling to integrated heat pump systems. Check out the latest innovations to keep your Lexington, Kentucky, home comfortable while trimming your utility expenses and going green with your appliances.

Variable Speed Motors

HVAC systems traditionally run on fixed-speed motors. With these, the blower is either on or off. There’s no middle ground, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature. A fixed speed motor leads to more inconsistencies in your home’s heating and cooling. Your system has to cycle on and off more frequently with this motor, decreasing your efficiency.

Multi-speed motors are the next step up. These allow the blower to operate at varying speeds, so the system can manage your comfort with more refinement. A multi-speed motors will improve your energy efficiency and home comfort significantly, but this still isn’t the top of the line.

Variable speed motors are the latest and greatest in HVAC technology. A variable speed blower motor can make incremental adjustments to your air flow. This allows for minute changes to the temperature in your home. While a fixed speed motor either blows at full force or turns off completely, a variable speed motor can subtly adjust your heating or cooling, so you always enjoy prime conditions in your home. Variable speed blower motors also give you more control over your humidity levels.

Two-Stage Compressors

Single stage compressors, like fixed speed blower motors, are simple systems that are either on or off. These are found in older heat pumps. A single stage compressor can only run at full speed, offering poor energy efficiency and temperature management.

A two-stage compressor is more refined. This offers two settings so the heat pump can make subtle adjustments to the home’s temperature. The low compressor speed is ideal for mild weather when you need only moderate heating and cooling in the home. With a two-stage compressor, your heat pump will offer better energy efficiency and enhanced comfort management. If you’re purchasing a new heat pump, look for one with this advanced technology. Though it has a higher initial price tag, a two-stage compressor will help pay for itself over time in lower utility costs.

Smart Thermostats

If your thermostat still requires manual adjustments, you’re wasting time, effort, and energy every day. The latest smart thermostat technology takes the guesswork out of home comfort and energy efficiency, handling all the essential details for you. A system like Trane’s ComfortLink II XL950 is Wi-Fi enabled so you can control it remotely using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can input varying settings that are appropriate for your weekday and weekend schedules, so you don’t waste energy heating or cooling an empty house.

These advanced thermostats offer a wealth of helpful information including a weather forecast, local radar images, and maintenance reminders. The beautiful 7-inch screen on the ComfortLink II XL950 even doubles as a digital picture frame, turning your HVAC technology into a decorative home addition.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps are the latest in eco-friendly home comfort. These heating and cooling systems utilize the Earth’s own natural temperatures to keep your home comfortable. Your HVAC technician installs an underground loop that circulates liquid beneath the Earth’s surface, where temperatures are stable year-round. In summer, the liquid dissipates heat underground. In winter, it absorbs the Earth’s warmth.

Geothermal heat pumps use less energy than traditional HVAC systems and offer integrated heating and cooling with one installation. If you’re looking for an intriguing way to make your home greener, this is a great place to start.

Are you ready to upgrade your home’s heating and cooling? Contact Stivers HVAC at (859) 286-6450 to learn more about the latest opportunities for enhanced home comfort and energy efficiency in your Lexington home.

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