Energy Efficiency tagged posts

Leaking Air and Losing Money?

July 18, 2019

Your HVAC system is an integral part of maintaining a comfortable, healthy home. Unfortunately, it’s not always cheap to ensure your home remains cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Nevertheless, the truth is that many people pay much more than they actually need to in order to achieve these goals. In fact, even something seemingly small like leaking air ducts could be costing you far more than you might imagine.

Leaky Ducts Equal Lost Air

Your home’s heating and cooling system are connected through a series of ducts, and these ducts are made up of individual pieces that are joined together to create a continuous, closed system. The problem is that the ducts will often develop small gaps, cracks, or holes due to age, improper installation, damage, etc. When this happens, the result is that much of the air in the system escapes into the walls, floors, ceilings, and attic instead of flowing out through your vents.

Lost Air Means Decreased Efficiency

The result of all that lost air is that your heater or air conditioner is then forced to work harder than it otherwise would. In some cases, you could be losing as much as 25 to 30 percent of the air through your leaky ducts, which equates to a similar reduction in the efficiency.

The Final Result: Higher Energy Costs

The less efficient your HVAC system is, the more often your heater or air conditioner has to run in order to achieve and to maintain your desired temperature. It really is quite simple. If your AC needs to work 30 percent more to make up for that lost efficiency, the result is that you’ll end up paying around 30 percent more to cool your house than you would if you weren’t losing all that air.

Seal Your Ducts and Save Some Cash

The good news is that air duct sealing is a relatively quick and inexpensive solution that allows you to ensure that leaking air ducts aren’t costing you more money. Of course, regular heater/air conditioner maintenance is also important since leaky ducts are far from the only thing that could hamper your HVAC system’s efficiency. At Bratcher Heating and A/C, our professional HVAC services are available for customers in Peoria, Champlain, and Bloomington. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you suspect that leaks are costing you.

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3 Ways to Save on Your Utility Bills

January 26, 2019

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half the energy you use in your home goes toward heating or cooling. Looking for ways to save money on your heating bills? These three tips could help you cut your monthly utility bills while staying comfortable.

1. Turn Your Thermostat Down Before You Turn In

Experts say that the ideal room temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 60° and 67° Fahrenheit. This is also good news for your wallet in the wintertime, as decreasing your thermostat by ten degrees may be able to help you save as much as 10 percent on your energy costs. It’s a good idea, too, to turn your thermostat down when you’re going off to work or leaving the house for any extended length of time.

2. Weatherize Your Windows

The Department of Energy estimates that as much as 30 percent of a home’s heating energy can literally go out the window if your windows are loose in their frames. The glazing putty that holds your old windows in place grows brittle with age and can shrink away from the glass beneath them. Additionally, wood sashes can actually shrink over time. Even newer aluminum window frames can let in drafts if their gaskets and weather-stripping are worn.

If you don’t want to caulk around your windows, tape clear plastic to the inside of your window frames during the colder months. A heavy-duty sheet of clear plastic will work well, too, as will window shades.

3. Seal Your Air Ducts

That system of air ducts that branches through your walls and ceiling is a vital part of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system and one of the main culprits when it comes to wasting energy. Examining your air ducts for leaks and sealing and insulating any leaky ducts you find is a reliable way to reduce heat loss.

Let a Qualified Expert Help

The most effective ways to save money on your heating bills is to make sure your furnace or heat pump is getting the maintenance services it needs to keep operating at top efficiency. Contact Bratcher Heating & A/C today to schedule maintenance service for your Peoria heating system.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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