How to Save Money on Heating Bills This Winter

December 19, 2018

When temperatures drop, your heating bill is likely to rise. To keep energy costs at a minimum, taking a few precautionary steps around your home can help. Here are some tips to consider in an attempt to keep the amount you need to pay for your heat as low as possible this winter.

Keep Tabs On Your Thermostat

Invest in a programmable thermostat. This allows for you to select the times you want to turn down your heat, such as when your family is at work or school, saving you money on heating costs as your furnace will not run as frequently during these times. Turn your thermostat down a degree or two lower than your normal heat setting when nighttime arrives and use extra blankets for warmth as well.

Pay Attention To Your Windows

The windows in your home will allow for some heat loss. The type of windows you have installed can make an impact on just how much, however. If your windows are older, single-pane styled, your heating bill will be higher than if you were using thick, double-paned models. Adding shrinkable wrap to panes and covering them with insulated draperies or curtains in cool weather can help keep your heating cost lower.

Get Your Furnace Checked Over

It is important to take the time to contact a heating service to conduct a routine maintenance session on your furnace each year so it works properly when it is needed. Failing to get your furnace checked could lead to a failure of the system at a time you require heat most. In addition, routine maintenance helps to keep your heating source running efficiently, saving you money as a result. Our service technicians are available to clean out your unit, check it for wear, and make part or entire unit replacements if necessary.

The Best Heating & AC Company in Central Illinois

If you live in central Illinois, contact Bratcher Comfort to handle your heating needs this winter. We provide fast and reliable heating repair service to ensure you will remain warm throughout the winter months. Contact us today!

Read More

The Wonderful Invention of Furnaces

December 13, 2018

The furnace is one of the most important home appliance inventions in history. The entire concept of central heating and cooling was started in 1919, and home comfort has never been the same since.

Inventing the Furnace

Alice Parker is credited with being the inventor of the first central heating system. After 1919, homeowners were able to regulate the environment around the entire home at once while heating it with greater efficiency. In 1935, Alice’s work led to even more efficient heating methods – the first electric fan-fueled by coal and the air wall furnace with distributed ductwork.

The Furnace vs. AC Units

If you have ever compared having a furnace to using individual room conditioning units, then you understand the huge difference that a furnace can make. Not only do you get more heating power for your money, but you also get a quicker response and more efficiency. You have lower heating bills and a more comfortable home life.

IAQ

You also get much better air quality when you use a furnace in your home instead of the alternative. The improvement in your life is instant when the air that you breathe is as clean as it can be. You also help to avoid things like allergens and bacteria that would otherwise make their way indoors from the outside. Having a furnace is especially important if you have young children or old people in the house. These people are much more susceptible to lower indoor air quality, and they need all the protection that you can give them.

Upgrading

If you do not currently have a furnace in your home, upgrading to centralized heating does not have to be as expensive as you think. As long as you have the right installation specialists, you can move into the world of furnaces in an inexpensive way.

The Best Heating Company in Central Illinois

For all of your heating needs in and around Peoria, the dedicated experts at Bratcher are here to help. Whether you need installation, maintenance or emergency repair, give Bratcher a call or an email today.

Read More

Heat Pump Vs. Furnace

November 29, 2018

There are lots of different challenges that come with owning a home and families often have trouble deciding which route to take. This is true for families wondering which type of heating system is right for their home. What might work well for one family may not work well for their neighbors across the street. All of these systems come with their pros and cons and it is important for families to understand the basics of how some of these systems works so that they can make the right decision for them and their family. Two of the common types include a furnace and a heat pump. What are some of the important points to keep in mind regarding these two systems?

A Conventional Furnace

A furnace is one of the most common types of heating systems that families might use. There are multiple types of furnaces and two of the most common include a gas furnace and an electric furnace. A gas furnace ignites a gas source to heat the air whereas an electric furnace employs a system of coils to heat the air. After this, the heated air is passed through the vents and into the home.

Heat Pump as an Alternative

An alternative to the furnace is the heat pump. A heat pump is a little bit different in that it doesn’t generate heat but instead it transfers heat from the outside world to inside of the home. This pump can also reverse the direction to cool a home as well. The benefit is that this pump is more efficient, keeping bills low. On the other hand, this pump also cannot generate its own heat. Therefore, in freezing weather, it may not be able to adequately heat a home.

Trust the Trained Professionals at Bratcher

It can be a challenge for families to decide what the right type of heating system is for their home. Options include a home furnace, a heat pump, and even a boiler. Sometimes, these systems can have issues. For families located in the Peoria, IL area, trust the professionals with Bratcher Comfort. Their trained and friendly professionals have been helping families in the greater Peoria area since day 1. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help because someone is always available. Call today to learn more!

Read More

How Do Furnaces Work?

November 9, 2018

The importance of keeping a home at the right temperature cannot be overstated. Particularly for families with people with chronic health problems, it is very important to make sure that the home is kept at the right temperature. The development of furnaces and air conditioners for this purpose is one of the most important technological advancements over the past few decades. What started as a simple fireplace has now progressed to an advanced heating system that can spread throughout the entire home. With this in mind, how exactly does a furnace heat a home?

Transmit Hot Air Through the Vent

The most straightforward way of describing how a furnace heats the home is to use describe the movement of hot air. The furnace generates heat in the belly of the furnace. Then, this heat leaves the vents of the furnace and enters the home. As a result, this hot air raises the temperature of the home. Eventually, the temperature of the home reaches a goal and the furnace shuts off. Furthermore, an air conditioning system actually works in a similar manner, just in the opposite direction. Where exactly does this hot air come from? How does the furnace generate this hot air?

Electric or Gas Ignition Heating Source

So, how exactly does a furnace generate heat? It depends on the type of furnace in question. Many furnaces are gas furnaces. This means that they use a gas source to heat the air before expelling it to the external environment. In most situations, this is propane. The propane is ignited and then the air is warmed. In other situations, homes could use electricity to heat the air. In this case, electric coils are used to heat the air as it passes over the coils. Then, the warmed air is transmitted up to the vent and expelled into the home.

Help from the Experienced Professionals

Families with concerns or questions about their furnace should reach out to the trained professionals at Bratcher Comfort. Located conveniently in the Peioria, IL area, their representatives can help with numerous heating and air conditioning issues, ranging from maintenance to repair and replacement. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! Call today to make an appointment! A helping hand is available!

Read More

Benefits of Routine Furnace Maintenance

October 25, 2018

A heating system is one of the most important and valuable investments within your home or business property. It keeps your home’s temperatures warm, and there is nothing as bad as having it malfunctioning on a freezing day. Your family is left exposed to uncomfortable living conditions; a situation that can be avoided by scheduling regular maintenance for your HVAC system.

1. Averts Costly Repairs Down the Road

When you have your furnace regularly checked by a professional, it makes it possible to spot looming problems early before they become emergencies. Emergencies are costly and come when you least expect them. Regular maintenance also ensures damaged or worn out parts are repaired or replaced before they cause damage to other components and hamper the operation of the system. Routine maintenance is like an ounce of prevention which is better than a pound of cure.

2. Ensures Optimal System Efficiency

With time, a heating system develops inefficiencies caused by clogged or dirty filters, worn out motors, or perforated ducts that make it perform below its optimal levels. If not cleaned regularly, the unit ends up working harder than usual to maintain temperatures at the required level. This causes it to draw more power and energy bills rise. Regular maintenance helps keep the unit at its optimal efficiency and prevents your utility bills from rocketing.

3. Prolongs Lifetime of Furnace

A furnace is a costly investment that you can’t afford to make now and then. Just like your vehicle, keeping your unit serviced often ensures it lasts longer and saves you the hassle of buying and installing a new one every few years.

4. Provides Greater Home Comfort

A smooth and efficiently running heating unit will not only give you peace of mind money-wise but also offer many benefits which are as a result of clean and better indoor air quality. Regular maintenance ensures components such as air filter screens are replaced, making them more efficient in air purification and hence improving the home’s comfort generally.

Certified Furnace Repair Contractor

Anyone who has endured even one Illinois winter knows the importance of keeping their furnace operating at its best to comfortably heat a home or business. Contact Bratcher today for your next furnace maintenance.

Read More

The Importance of Emergency HVAC Service

October 5, 2018

A heating or cooling emergency requires urgent attention to restore the function of your home’s HVAC system. If you have ever encountered a malfunctioning air conditioner in the midst of freezing winter months or scorching summer days, then you know the importance of having an emergency HVAC service. If you haven’t, it’s good to understand why it’s beneficial to have a professional emergency HVAC service provider on call at all times.

1. Ensures Quick Comfort Restoration

If your air conditioning unit or heating system were to malfunction during the freezing winter months, your family would suffer a great deal because of exposure to harsh-cold temperatures. They won’t be able to get a hot shower, have good indoor air quality, or enjoy warm indoor temperatures, leading to a decline in their living comfort. But with quick and efficient emergency HVAC service professionals on call, your system will be back up and running in no time.

2. Ensures Family’s Safety

An HVAC system breakdown, particularly in the coldest winter and hottest summer days could pose a significant danger to your family. Temperatures could go extremely high or low depending on the weather outside and endanger your family members especially kids. Plus, a malfunctioning AC could be experiencing electrical issues which could lead to a blackout or in extreme cases a fire. Emergency HVAC service can quickly identify the source of the problem and resolve it before it becomes a safety hazard to your family.

3. Prevents Further Damages

When your AC or heating furnace shows a sign of breaking down or starts malfunctioning, you need to have it checked immediately. One damaged part of the system can cause damage to other components if not repaired quickly. Emergency HVAC service ensures such problems are resolved on time and can save you thousands of dollars (money that would have been incurred to fix more damaged parts if you had decided to wait).

4. Guarantees Substantial Cost Savings

In addition to saving you massive repair costs, emergency HVAC service also ensures you do not incur expensive utility bills resulting from the performance inefficiencies of a malfunctioning AC. For example, each time a faulty unit tries to start, it draws more power and causes energy bills to skyrocket.

Your Central Illinois Heating Contractor

When your home or business’s heating system requires service, you should consider calling us at Bratcher. We offer comprehensive service for furnaces and boilers, as well as air conditioning units and geothermal systems. Give us a call today!

Read More

What Does It Mean to be NATE Certified?

September 30, 2018

NATEAt Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, we want to provide our Peoria and Champaign, Illinois clients with the best possible service. To aid in that, we employ a team of NATE-certified HVAC technicians. Yet many of our clients are not familiar with the benefits they receive when they work with technicians carrying NATE certification. Here’s a closer look at what our technicians must do to achieve this certification, and why NATE certification is important for your HVAC repair needs.

What NATE-Certification Means

When a technician has NATE-certification, it means they were certified by the North American Technician Excellence organization. This is the largest non-profit organization dedicated to certifying HVAC and refrigeration technicians. The organization is developed, owned and supported by the industry, and it has strict requirements for qualification.

No state requires technicians to be NATE certified. Participation is voluntary, but it shows that the technician is passionate about achieving a high level of skill in the industry.

How to Achieve NATE Certification

NATE certification requires a technician to pass a series of written tests that actual HVAC industry experts create. These tests require an understanding of all aspects of the HVAC industry, and they are quite rigorous. In order to pass, the technician must have a detailed knowledge of his or her craft.

Most certifications last for five years. To re-certify, a technician must complete continuing education hours or take a new NATE certification test. Either way, recertification requires the technician to stay current on changes in the industry and heating and cooling technology, ensuring that your system is properly serviced every time the technician visits.

Why NATE Certification Is Important

Why does Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning hire NATE certified repair technicians? When you need your air conditioning system or heating system fixed, you want to know that the technician who comes to your home will get the job done right the first time. With NATE-certification, our technicians have proven that they know the industry well and have the skill to get the job done right.

The Best AC & Heating Company in Peoria, IL

Don’t trust your home to anyone but the best. When you need heating and air conditioning help in Central Illinois, contact Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning for a free in-home consultation and estimate for your heating and cooling service.

Read More

Home Automation for Beginners

September 19, 2018

ThermostatIf you’re like many homeowners who are new to the wonderful world of home automation, you may be feeling slightly intimidated by the whole thing. You may have also considered the smart home lifestyle to be little more than a passing trend when it first emerged but have since realized that it’s here to stay and want more information.

Advantages of Home Automation

One of the main advantages of home automation is that it can be customized to suit the personal needs and preferences of individual homeowners. For instance, if your outdoor living space includes a large lawn and garden area, installing a smart irrigation system has the potential to save on your utility costs. If you have security concerns at your home or neighborhood, a smart security system will help keep your mind at ease. Following are several more things you might like to know about home automation.

Control Home Environments Remotely

Turning home thermostats down a bit while household residents are at work or school saves money on utility costs, but who likes coming home to a cold house? Using smart technology, you can program your home heating system to start producing more heat half an hour before you’re scheduled to arrive home, and you can also turn it up remotely before you get home if for some reason you’re returning outside of your normal time.

State-of-the-Art Smart HVAC Systems

Some state-of-the-art smart HVAC systems have intuitive capabilities enabling them to learn the habits of those in the household for the purpose of providing fine-tuned customization. For instance, your heating system may be able to turn itself down a little around the time the last household occupant goes to bed.

You can also turn lights, music, and televisions off and on from a remote location, which comes in really handy for those who are on vacation and want to create an impression on possible intruders that someone is inside the house. You can even connect your front doorbell to your smartphone and see who’s ringing the bell.

Getting Started With Home Automation

The best way to get started with home automation is to discern your most pressing needs. If you’ve just got a small yard with little or no lawn grass, for instance, a smart irrigation system probably isn’t something that tops your list of priorities. On the other hand, if household energy bills are high, perhaps you should begin by exploring some smart HVAC options.

Reliable Professional Heating & Cooling Services You Can Count On

For more information on home automation in Bloomington and other Central Illinois communities, please contact Bratcher Comfort at your earliest convenience. Our goal is to keep you comfortable year round!

Read More

3 Tips to Extend the Life Expectancy of Your AC

August 27, 2018

Lennox AC PumpCentral air conditioning systems are made to last for many years, but they do end up needing to be replaced at some point. No matter what the life expectancy of your AC is, you can take steps to extend it. This saves you from having to spend money on a replacement sooner than expected. Keep the following tips in mind for getting the most out of your current air conditioning system.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

It’s easy to forget about the air filter in your AC system, but it’s important to change it regularly. Your air filter is designed to catch debris, including dust and air pollutants, and prevent them from getting into your ducts. This means that your air filter ends up being covered in dirt and dust over time, which makes your AC less efficient. A clogged filter can also lead to more wear and tear on your AC, decreasing its life expectancy. Set reminders for yourself to check your air filters once a month and replace them when they’re dirty in order to help your AC last longer. Keeping a new filter on hand at all times can make this easier.

Set Up Routine Maintenance

Having maintenance done on your AC on an annual basis or as often as needed can help it reach a longer life expectancy. During maintenance, technicians check for early signs of problems that can damage your AC and get them repaired promptly. Maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the coils, also ensure that your AC remains in good condition and is able to run properly, which can help it last longer than expected.

Ensure Good Airflow

Air needs to be able to flow through your outdoor unit and your vents in order for your AC to run efficiently. Any obstructions to airflow can harm your AC and shorten its life expectancy. Make sure that there are no weeds or other vegetation growing around or near the outdoor unit, and trim shrubs and bushes away from it. Go through your home and check all of the air vents to ensure that nothing is blocking them. Keep in mind that you should avoid closing vents in your home, even in areas that don’t need as much air conditioning.

Making Your Home Comfortable Again

If you need to set up maintenance for your air conditioner, contact Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning today. We provide AC maintenance, as well as installations and repairs, for homeowners in central Illinois, including the East Peoria, Normal, and Champaign areas.

Read More

How Energy Efficient is Your Home’s Air Conditioner?

August 20, 2018

Lennox AC PumpDuring summer months in Peoria, home cooling bills can climb sharply. One of the most important seasonal preparations Illinois homeowners can make is having a home energy audit conducted in your house before the worst of summerf weather begins. Having a home energy audit is an easy and comparatively inexpensive way of resolving issues of energy waste and excessive heating and cooling bills.

NOTE: Keep in mind that winter is usually the busiest time for Illinois HVAC professionals. So, to avoid taking longer to get non-emergency service work, such as an energy audit done, it is recommended that you have your energy audit prior to the arrival of winter weather.

What Does an Energy Audit Involve?

A home energy evaluation locates areas of excessive AC loss throughout your house that can impact your family’s comfort during hot weather and result in excessive cooling bills. In an energy audit, every room is thoroughly examined to identify areas where air conditioning loss is occurring. Energy auditors usually use specialized equipment to identify heat variances and points of air loss.

Thermographic Scanning: Your auditor may use thermal scanning technology to locate heat variances across the wall expanses of your home’s outer envelope.

Blower Door Test: Special equipment may be used to measure your home’s degree of airtightness and pinpoint each air leak. Doors are pressure tested, as well as vents and various other openings, in order to determine actual quantities of air loss at locations throughout the house.

Glass and Wall Assessments: The auditor will probably take measurements of walls and window sizes and walls, and consider materials and other factors in determining the extent of air loss in various areas.

HVAC System Evaluation: Your energy evaluation will also include inspection of your HVAC system, ductwork, and insulation. The sufficiency of the mechanical and electrical operations of your equipment will be analyzed, and ductwork will be inspected, and insulation thickness, type, and R-values will be evaluated.

Usage Calculations: The auditor will probably review your energy bills, and factor in the family’s daily routines. For example, the daily number of hours that the house is actually occupied, the rooms that used or not used every day, temperature preferences, etc.

Your Home Energy Efficiency Report

Upon completing the energy evaluation, your auditor will present you with a detailed report of specific issues and recommended corrections to help increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your cooling costs. Many problems that can impact home cooling costs and compromise comfort are avoidable with simple and inexpensive corrections before temperatures start to drop.

Providing The Best Heating & Cooling Service in Central Illinois

Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning is one of the United States’ leading installers of GeoComfort geothermal systems. Our team of highly skilled and experienced professional team has proudly earned for Bratcher the prestigious designation of Lennox Premier Dealer. For more information about having a home energy audit, or to schedule an appointment for service, call Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning today!

Read More