How Long Should a Furnace Last?

How Long Should a Furnace Last?

February 20, 2020

Whether you want to buy a new furnace or wish to keep your old one, you may feel concern about how long a furnace will last. Regarding an old furnace, providing a specific answer to this question is next to impossible without a qualified, in-person inspection. New ones, however, do come with reasonable estimates of life expectancy.

The Law of Averages

In general, expect a gas furnace to last in the range of 15 to 30 years. An electric heater may last for around 30 years, too. Make sure to perform consumer research on particular brands and models. Read up on which ones last the longest and what models cause disappointments. Buying the best could lead to purchasing something that lasts a long time.

Lifespan Starts With Installation

A proper installation job factors into how long the furnace can survive. When the contractor doesn’t install a furnace the right way, safety and other issues arise. Besides poor efficiency, an improperly installed furnace could suffer unnecessary mechanical problems. The furnace’s lifespan could then degrade due to these avoidable issues.

Proper Maintenance and Care

Homeowners should never ignore the proper care and maintenance of their furnaces. Routine cleanings and inspections are necessary to keep troubles from becoming worse. Putting off repairs is rarely a good idea and can reduce your furnace’s lifespan. Worn or faulty parts strain a system’s operation. The same may be true of dirty filters and other components suffering from a buildup of dust and debris. Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning performs many routine maintenance requests on heating and cooling systems in Bloomington, Peoria and Champaign.

Beware of Calamities

Of course, you want your furnace to last as long as possible, but a calamity might cut its life short. A flood or other natural disaster can wreck a furnace. Looking into insurance protection may be worthwhile to ensure that you can conveniently replace this vital piece of equipment. You never know what could happen.

Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning offers 24/7 heating and cooling services, including installation, repair and maintenance. Other options such as duct cleaning, fireplace installation and indoor air quality services are also available. Call one of our offices today in Peoria, Normal or Champaign to discuss how we can help you.

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How Does a Thermostat Work?

How Does a Thermostat Work?

February 1, 2020

We take a lot of things for granted in our modern lives, and having a comfortable home is at the top of the list. Since the weather changes throughout the year, being able to heat or cool your home is key in terms of keeping everyone happy. Thermostats are used to maintain set temperatures. Read on to learn more about a few different types of thermostats being used today.

Non-Digital Thermostats

Most traditional thermostats have thin metallic strips inside of them. Those strips can either expand or contract, depending on whether they’re getting hotter or colder, since metal is pretty responsive to changes in temperature. Depending on whether the strips are in a more coiled position or fully extended, the electrical circuit inside the thermostat is opened or closed. This determines whether your heating or cooling system will turn on or off. The temperature at which the system turns on/off is determined by how you set your thermostat.

Other thermostats use wax or gas-filled bellows. Wax and gas are similar to metal in that they physically change depending on how cold or hot it is. This physical change allows them to turn switches on or off.

Digital Thermostats

In a world where everything is becoming digital, it makes sense that thermostats are following suit. Digital thermostats can instantly turn your heater or AC on or off. Many thermostats can be programmed to turn on only at certain times. This lets you save money because you won’t be heating or cooling your home when you’re not there. Smart thermostats can take things a step further, allowing you to program your thermostat and make adjustments from a mobile device.

At Bratcher Heating and AC in East Peoria, IL, we find that many customers are looking for help with installing smart thermostats so they can cut down on their utility bills. Our business has been in the field since 1983. We have extensive experience with installing, repairing and servicing heating and cooling units. We also work with geothermal systems, indoor air quality systems, and fireplaces. Call us to schedule an appointment.


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Is It Bad to Run My Heating System 24/7?

Is It Bad to Run My Heating System 24/7?

January 25, 2020

During the chilly months, some people like to run their heater nonstop while others prefer to just turn it on for a couple of hours here and there. There are advantages to both of these methods, but certain types of heaters will work better when operated in the proper manner. Here is what you need to know about running your heater 24/7 when it is cold outside.

Leaving Your Fan Running Is Usually Good

Typically, when you leave your heater on, the heating component itself will not run nonstop. Instead, your thermostat will turn it on and off to keep the heat at your desired setting. Meanwhile, you can choose to run the fan constantly. Leaving the fan running is actually a good thing. It circulates air, so your indoor air quality remains high. Since most stress is put on the system when the fan kicks on and off, it can also cut back on wear and tear. Do keep in mind that constant operation can add a few dollars to your utility bill each month.

You Don’t Save Much Money Shutting Off Your System

If your goal is saving money, turning the heater off altogether is actually a bad idea. Having to raise the temperature several degrees each day when you get home from work can use up just as much energy as you saved by having it off. Instead, it may be better to just set a temperature you feel comfortable at and leave the heater on all the time. This is especially true if you have a geothermal heat pump since this style of heater is meant to run all the time.

At Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, we want to make sure your heating system is working as well as possible. Any time you have questions about care or maintenance, our technicians can help you out. We also assist with installations and repairs for home and commercial HVAC systems. Find out more by calling us now. We have offices in East Peoria, Normal and Champaign.

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What Are the Most Important Rooms to Have an Air Purifier in?

What Are the Most Important Rooms to Have an Air Purifier in?

January 16, 2020

The quality of the air you breathe when you spend time in your home is important. Pollutants, such as particulates or volatile organic compounds, can build up in an indoor space. This problem is especially pronounced during winter months when buildings tend to be sealed from the cold more often. Air purifiers are a great way to remove dangerous particles from the air in any type of situation.

Strategic Placement of Purifiers

The correct placement of an air purifier is important to ensure you have clean air to breathe. You’ll want to put units in the places where you and your family spend the most time. Many people could benefit from having an air purifier in each bedroom to ensure clean air while they’re sleeping. Other important areas for clean air are kitchens and living areas. Smaller houses can be serviced with a single unit, but larger homes need to have multiple purifiers to keep all of the air clean.

Whole-House Air Purifiers

If you have a large home that you want clean air in, a whole-house air purifier could be an efficient solution for you. Bratcher Heating and AC can help you choose the right unit for your East Peoria, IL, space and take care of the installation process.

A whole-house unit employs the existing ductwork system in your home to deliver clean air to each room. They are a great value for larger homes and will minimize the stress associated with having multiple units.

Experienced HVAC Professionals

Bratcher Heating and AC can take the stress out of any type of HVAC job in East Peoria. We offer heating and AC repair, installation, replacement, and maintenance services. Our NATE-certified technicians have the training to help with ductless mini-split systems, indoor air quality solutions, duct cleaning, fireplaces and geothermal systems.

With more than 30 years of experience, we can get each job done competently and professionally. Give Bratcher Heating and AC a call today to learn about our indoor air quality services in East Peoria.

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5 Common Boiler Problems

5 Common Boiler Problems

December 19, 2019

Your boiler is the center of your home’s heating system. A boiler problem is a major inconvenience, especially during winters in central Illinois. Here are five of the most common problems you may encounter.

1. Boiler Automatically Shuts Off

There are many possible reasons for your boiler to automatically turn off. They include:

  • Thermostat problems
  • A frozen condensate pipe
  • Low water pressure
  • Air in the system

Since these can be complicated to diagnose, have a technician inspect your system to determine what’s causing the problem.

2. Excessive Noise When Operating

Excessive noise, or “kettling,” is often caused by limescale that’s building up inside the heat exchanger. You may hear a gurgling, rumbling, or whistling sound that resembles a boiling kettle. A technician can flush your pipes to remove scale and trapped air from your boiler.

3. Radiators Not Heating

If your radiator is cold on top but hot on the bottom, you could have an issue with your pump or a faulty zone valve. You may also have a buildup of air in your boiler. Try bleeding your radiators, which will remove any air trapped inside your system. If bleeding the radiator doesn’t resolve the problem, it might require a power flush to clean out the pipes.

4. Leaks

A dripping or leaking boiler has several possible causes. Your system may have a loose connection or broken parts. The circulator or the pressure relief valve may need replacing. A leaking boiler will need to be repaired by a qualified technician.

5. Boiler Loses Pressure

If you have a pressurized heating system, you may find the boiler often loses pressure. This may be caused by a problem with the system’s expansion vessel. Loss of pressure is also a potential sign of a water leak. If your boiler is losing pressure, you’ll need help from a technician to resolve the problem.

For assistance with your boiler, contact Bratcher Heating and AC today to schedule an appointment. We provide heating and air conditioning services for customers in Champaign, East Peoria, and Normal.

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Home Comfort Resolutions for 2020

Home Comfort Resolutions for 2020

December 9, 2019

When people talk about New Year’s resolutions, they often strive to lose weight, take on a new hobby or save money. One New Year’s resolution that could benefit you and your entire family is striving for optimal in-home comfort. Consider it part of the “save money” category.

Your home’s heating and cooling system are pivotal in creating a comfortable environment. The following are some HVAC-related tasks you should aim to achieve in the coming year that will make your home a picture of comfort.

For assistance or expertise on any of these important jobs, consult with Bratcher Heating and Air Conditioning. With locations in Peoria, Normal and Champaign, we’re a trusted resource for HVAC services.

Find and Eliminate Air Leaks

Homes both old and new can suffer from drafts. When air leaks form in your home, it allows outside air to invade, making it tougher for your HVAC system to heat or cool the space. A comprehensive, professional air leak inspection can identify leaks both big and small, allowing you to address them and create a better-insulated home that’s more effectively controlled by your HVAC system.

Create an Even Climate Throughout Your House

You’ll find in many homes — perhaps even your own — that some rooms can be extremely hot during the summer months while the rest of the home is cool and comfortable. There are many different factors (i.e. poor insulation, poorly designed ductwork, underpowered HVAC system, etc.) that can lead to an uneven climate in your home.

Through professional air balancing, you’ll be able to identify the problems and find the appropriate fixes.

Strive for Optimal Air Quality

Poor air quality not only can cause odors and excessive dust in your home, but it can also be harmful to your health. With the right HVAC technicians in your corner, you can take a comprehensive approach to create high-quality air in your home. These professionals can test your air and recommend anything from changing your air filter and cleaning your ducts to installing an air purifier or other effective solutions.

We Have HVAC Experts to Help You Achieve Comfort

When it comes to home comfort, Bratcher Heating and Air Conditioning is a trusted name in Central Illinois. We offer heating, cooling, and geothermal services for residential and commercial clients. Connect our team to arrange a service appointment.

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5 Signs You Need a Furnace Replacement

5 Signs You Need a Furnace Replacement

November 20, 2019

A furnace is designed to heat your home or office and maintain its indoor air quality. If your furnace isn’t doing its job, it is time to install a new one. These 5 signs will let you know when it is time to replace your old furnace in Peoria.

1. Unusual Sounds

Efficient furnaces operate with minimal noise. As its components wear out, you may notice strange sounds coming from your furnace. Unusual sounds include banging, thumping and shrieking. If you hear any of these abnormal sounds, have your system checked out by one of our technicians at Bratcher Heating and AC.

2. Excess Moisture

Efficient heating systems regulate indoor moisture. When your system is inefficient, you will notice condensation on your glass doors and windows. Excess moisture attracts cockroaches, bacteria and dust mites in your home. Moisture can rot wood and weaken your home’s structural foundation. If there is excess moisture in your home, allow us to assess your furnace.

3. High Energy Bills

An older heating system has to work harder to heat your home or office. This extra output of energy can cause your heating bill to rise. An inefficient heating system is more expensive to run than an energy-efficient system.

4. Fluctuating Room Temperatures

The temperature throughout your home is supposed to be consistent. If you notice that some rooms are colder than others, your heating system may not be functioning properly.

5. Outdated Heating System

A heating system will typically last 15 years. With each year of operation, your furnace may become less efficient. Check the age of your system to determine if it is time to replace it.

You shouldn’t have to face harsh winters with an inefficient heating system. Our technicians at Bratcher Heating and AC can install a new heating system in your residential or commercial property. Our company works hard to be a trusted source for installation, repair and maintenance services. Our products include furnaces, heat pumps, thermostats, air conditioners and self-contained units. Schedule an appointment today.

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Are Furnace Tune-Ups Necessary?

Are Furnace Tune-Ups Necessary?

November 7, 2019

Are Furnace Tune-Ups Necessary?

At Bratcher Heating and AC in Normal, IL, we believe that maintenance is essential to keeping your system running at its best. However, we understand that customers might want to skip this service in hopes of saving some money. You might even make it through a season or two without any issues if the system is young. If you want to get the best value from your furnace, however, an annual tune-up is something you need.

High-Efficiency Heating

The first season with a new furnace should be simple. Our technicians leave the unit prepared for optimal performance. However, the wear and tear of operation will make your furnace less efficient over time.

Parts will wear down. The settings that were once perfect will drift to pretty good. During an annual tune-up, our technicians clean, lubricate and reset the unit, returning it to its former power and efficiency.

Uninterrupted Operation

Would you rather have a scheduled maintenance appointment or an emergency repair call? Skipping the annual tune-up may mean you have to deal with an unexpected breakdown. While we do provide 24-hour emergency service, it is better for everyone when we are handling small issues before they become larger problems.

Our technicians have a great deal of experience working with all sorts of furnaces. In many cases, they can see when a part is close to failure. When you enter the heating season with your furnace in top shape, you can have greater peace of mind knowing your furnace will make it through.

Longer System Life

We understand that a furnace is a major expense. You want your equipment to last as long as possible. Regular maintenance is the key to an extended unit life. Like any piece of complex machinery, your furnace needs professional attention to keep it running for many years.

Bratcher Heating and AC is committed to the care of the climate systems of our Illinois customers. We are ready to help you with your heating, cooling, geothermal and indoor air quality needs. If you want to keep your furnace or any other climate system equipment running at its best, contact us today for an appointment.

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7 Basic Furnace Safety Tips

7 Basic Furnace Safety Tips

October 22, 2019

For many homeowners, the arrival of autumn signals the need to turn on their furnace and hope nothing goes wrong. Don’t be a part of that crowd. Taking a few actionable steps to guarantee your comfort and safety is not too time-consuming and can really reduce your fuel expenditure.

1. Keep Flammables Away

Keeping flammables away from your furnace sounds intuitive, but sometimes you are pressed for space and may be tempted to use the furnace closet to store some of your items. You want to keep the area around your furnace clear of objects, especially ones that are flammable. You can always find some space for your boxes of stuff in a garage or attic.

2. Clean With a Vacuum

Use a vacuum to remove dust and other debris that may build up inside and around your furnace. It is recommended that you do this once a month to prevent these particles from accumulating and becoming a fire hazard. Certain types of furnaces may require cleaning inside the burner compartments, so don’t hesitate to call your local heating expert to ask for further details about your specific model.

3. Replace the Air Filter Regularly

Changing your air filter regularly will keep your furnace operating optimally so that you do not incur unnecessary fuel expenses. More importantly, replacing the air filter on a regular basis will reduce the chance of your furnace breaking down and requiring repair.

4. Inspect the Vent Pipe

This task only requires taking a few minutes to check your vent pipe for deterioration and obstructions. If you spot any blockages or loosening joints, let reliable heating professionals know and they will remedy the matter.

5. Check the Vents in Each Room

Leave vents open so as to facilitate the optimal operation of your heating system. Keeping too many vents closed can cause your furnace blower to break down. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, leave vents open even in rooms that you do not use.

6. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide poses a great danger in homes where combustion is taking place in a dirty and inefficient furnace. This harmful gas is undetectable by human senses and in large amounts can be fatal. The best way to guarantee the safety of your loved ones is to install a carbon monoxide detector.

7. Schedule Professional Maintenance

A competent HVAC technician will perform all the necessary safety checks and repairs required for your furnace to function optimally throughout the fall and winter. Homeowners in the Peoria, IL, area can contact Bratcher today to arrange a visit from one of our friendly and courteous, NATE-certified experts.

Our services include installation and replacement for AC units, boilers, and heat pumps. We also specialize in high-efficiency geothermal systems and fireplace installation.

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5 Benefits of a Heat Pump

5 Benefits of a Heat Pump

October 2, 2019

A heat pump can be an efficient system for a home in almost any climate. Read on to learn more about the benefits of heat pumps.

1. It Can Cool and Heat Your Home

A heat pump can do it all for your home. While you may think that the system can only warm up your home, these pumps can actually cool it down as well. The heat pump uses condenser and evaporator coils. When the refrigerant passes over the coils, the air cools down. With this type of pump, you don’t need to install two separate systems.

2. It Can Help Lower Heating Bills

If you are relying on electric heating, a heat pump can cut your costs in half. A heat pump will extract the outdoor air and use it to warm up your home. This transfer of heat requires less energy than traditional HVAC systems.

3. It Can Improve Air Quality

Heat pumps do not rely on combustion to create heat, and you don’t run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The air in your home will also feel less dry than with a standard HVAC system.

4. It Reduces Your Impact on the Environment

Heat pumps are beneficial to the environment as well. With a traditional HVAC system, you need combustion to create warm air. When that process takes place, more pollutants are added to the air. Electric heat is a cleaner source to warm up your home. At Bratcher Heating and AC, we can help you find the right heat pump for your home.

5. It Can Increase Your Home’s Comfort

These products offer you more control and comfort in your home. With a heat pump, you can avoid wild temperature swings. Heat pumps are also designed to last longer than a standard HVAC system.

At Bratcher Heating and AC, we’re proud to be one of the top heating, cooling, and geothermal contractors serving the Peoria area. Our technicians are experienced, and they’re committed to providing the best customer service to our clients. If you are thinking about a heat pump or need another service, call us at Bratcher Heating and AC. We have offices in East Peoria, Normal, and Champaign.

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