HVAC tagged posts

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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The Best HVAC System for a Multifamily Home

The Best HVAC System for a Multifamily Home

September 15, 2019

Deciding on the Best HVAC System for a Multifamily Home

Finding the best HVAC system for your multi-family home is a product of several factors you need to account for. The choice you make will affect your overall budget for the home as well as energy efficiency and the comfort of those who will be living in the building. To help you make the best possible choice, here’s a look at four factors that should play a part in your decision.

1. Ease of Maintenance

A regular maintenance plan for your multi-home HVAC system will guarantee that it runs seamlessly without costly repairs and energy leaks. The HVAC system will need to be designed and installed by an expert to provide ease of access to all components that will require regular upkeeping.

2. Separate Access to Comfort Controls

In multi-family homes, each living unit will need to have separate access to comfort controls. Proper design will guarantee that each occupant can get the most out of the HVAC system independently of what others prefer.

3. Accounting for Peak Energy Demand

The biggest challenge in planning your multi-family HVAC system is determining the peak energy demand. This differs from single-family homes because the energy demand can fluctuate greatly based on the various occupants’ needs. To account for your peak energy demand for your multi-family HVAC system, contact Bratcher today to set up an appointment with one of our NATE-certified technicians.

4. Centralized vs. Decentralized Units

Multi-family homes can take on different forms. Depending on the number of housing units comprising your building as well as the space that’s available for housing the central unit, you will have to choose between a centralized and decentralized installation.

Centralized systems tend to cost more but are ideal for larger complexes such as high-rises. A centralized unit is housed and powered from within the building. Decentralized units, on the other hand, are housed in a location separate from your main building and are better for smaller multi-family home complexes.

If you’re planning on buying or building a multi-family home in Peoria, IL, contact Bratcher today to arrange a consultation for your HVAC system. With over 30 years of service to our loyal customers, our NATE-certified experts will offer you the best advice and workmanship. We also offer commercial HVAC services and provide 24-hour emergency help for your home’s needs.

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Prominent Signs That an AC Needs Repair

Prominent Signs That an AC Needs Repair

May 23, 2019

Central air conditioning units, heat pumps, and mini-splits can all give off signs that they need repairs, and some of them are more conspicuous than others. The following are a few signs that any homeowner can detect without even checking the unit itself.

Abnormally High Utility Bills

The first thing homeowners in the Peoria area might notice is a sharp increase in their electricity bills. This may be because their unit is running inefficiently, and this may be due to a number of factors. The filters and vents may possibly be clogged with debris, thus putting wear on the blower unit as it struggles to circulate air. Both the blower unit and the compressor may be overheating. Homeowners won’t want to wait until these components break down to get repairs.

Uneven Cooling

High utility bills may go hand in hand with inconsistent performance. Some rooms in your house may be less cool than others because debris has obstructed the vents leading into them. The AC may not even blow out cool air, which is likely due to a buildup of dirt on the condenser coils. The condenser coils contain refrigerant, and when they can’t absorb all of the heat that the dirt creates, the air will come out lukewarm.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air isn’t always cleaner than outdoor air. The vents may have a leak and bring in pollen and other pollutants while old filters may be letting dirt, pet hair and dander, mildew, and germs float freely. This can lead to health problems and a worsening of allergies.

Squealing, Clanging, and Other Loud Noises

Loud clanging, banging, and clattering noises may signify a loose part in the unit, especially near the fan. Squealing may indicate a damaged fan belt.

Hire a Reliable Professional

Since 1983, Bratcher Heating and A/C has been providing high-quality AC repairs and maintenance in Peoria, IL. We’ve won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for eight years in a row, and we continue to be dedicated to customer satisfaction. Schedule a comprehensive AC inspection by calling us today. We can also help you with furnace repair, heat pumps, boilers, fireplaces, and more.

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Static Driving You Crazy? Here’s How To Control It

Static Driving You Crazy? Here’s How To Control It

May 2, 2019

Is your home plagued by static electricity problems in the winter? Clingy clothes, flyaway hair, and painful shocks are enough to drive anyone crazy. Instead of letting static rule your home this year, learn how you can take control of static electricity.

Understand the Problem

You may have noticed that your static problem is a lot worse in the winter than it is in the summer. There’s a good reason for that. Humidity is high in the summer because warm air holds onto moisture. Cold air doesn’t have that ability, so the air becomes quite dry.

In humid air, electrons move easily through the environment. However, in dry air, they’re more likely to cling to your skin, your clothing and your hair. Those charged electrons are the source of your static electricity troubles.

Find the Solution

Since dry air is the problem behind a buildup of static electricity, your best solution is to add moisture to the air. A humidifier is a device that’s designed just for that purpose.

You can improve the air quality in one room with a portable humidifier. However, if you want to raise the humidity level throughout your Peoria or Bloomington home, your best bet is to install a whole-house humidifier that can help you maintain an optimal 50-percent relative humidity level in all of your rooms.

As an added bonus, a humidifier can help resolve some of your other winter woes as well. You may notice that your hands aren’t as dry, your skin isn’t as irritated, and your throat doesn’t feel as scratchy.

Hire an Expert

Installing a whole-house humidifier is a job for the pros. An experienced air-quality company can help you select the right unit for the size of your home and ensure that it’s properly installed and set up for your needs.

At Bratcher Heating and A/C, we know what it takes to improve the humidity level in your living space in Illinois. We’re also experts in heating, cooling, duct cleaning, and geothermal systems. To learn more, call us today. We can answer all your inquiries and put your job on the schedule.

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Techniques to Check Your Home for Air Leaks

Techniques to Check Your Home for Air Leaks

March 1, 2019

Your home should be a secure setting that is comfortable in each season of the year. Many homeowners are unaware of air leaks that may be present. These can cause the HVAC system to work harder than necessary to keep the interior setting warm or cold. If you’re ready to seal your home, there are a few techniques and tips for discovering where the leaks are.

Look in the Right Places

Although leaks can be challenging to detect, there are still common places where they are most likely to be. These are the spots where you should begin your inspection. Cracks and holes commonly form on knee walls that support attic rafters. They also appear near plumbing vents, recessed lights, air ducts, plumbing vents, and wiring holes. Use a flashlight to perform a thorough visual inspection. You can have someone stand on the outside of the building at night to find cracks where the flashlight may be shining through the walls. During the test, use blue tape to mark areas that need to be sealed.

Use an Air Leak Detector

Air leak detectors are useful devices that offer a high level of accuracy in finding where leaks are present. Professional smoke pencils produce a fog that will allow you to check for where air may be entering the building.

Light a Candle

Close the doors, windows and chimney flue in your home to seal the house of air that may enter the building. Walk around the perimeter of each room with a candle while placing the flame close to areas where leaks may be present. Keep a close eye on the flame, which will begin to flicker or move horizontally if air is entering the building. To ensure you know the areas that need to be sealed, take note of places where the candle flickers. This will help reduce the demands put on your heating system.

Our technicians are qualified to provide you with tailored solutions to your specific heating and AC needs. Call us at Bratcher Heating and A/C today for more information. We perform heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair throughout Bloomington, Normal, Champaign, Urbana, Peoria and Morton.

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An Overview of HVAC Systems

An Overview of HVAC Systems

February 8, 2019

HVAC systems, also known as central air systems, are found in more than 90 percent of homes across the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although they’re so popular, few people understand what HVAC systems are or how they work. Here’s an overview of how HVAC systems operate.

What Is an HVAC System?

First off, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. An HVAC system is composed of one or more HVAC units, ducts to transport air, and filters that take nitty-gritty pieces of debris out of the air.

Most homes have heaters, air conditioners, and fans. If homes don’t have HVAC systems, they most likely have wall-mounted air conditioners or heaters, space heaters, and plug-in fans. HVAC systems are preferred by homeowners because they uniformly distribute heated and cooled air throughout a living space. Although they might be more expensive than their free-standing counterparts, central air systems are both more effective and efficient.

How Does an HVAC System Work?

To explain how an HVAC system works, we should break the explanation into three parts: heating, cooling, and ventilation. Keep in mind that ventilation is present throughout all three of these functions.

Ventilation

HVAC systems use electricity to power large rotary fans. Every HVAC unit has one fan located inside of it. These central air systems are sometimes used to push unconditioned air throughout homes; although, they’re most often utilized in conjunction with heating and cooling functions.

Heating

HVAC units blow air over red-hot elements to heat up cool air. These elements are powered by electricity, which is also true of the parts used in cooling and ventilation.

Cooling

A compressor pushes a specialized liquid known as Freon throughout a cooling element known as an evaporator coil. Freon causes the coil to become cold. After air is blown over the cold coil and pushed throughout the HVAC system, a fan facing outward blows hot air through an exhaust vent to prevent the heated air from going inside.

At Bratcher Heating and A/C in Normal, IL, our technicians know all about the ins and outs of HVAC systems. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in learning about why your home’s central air system isn’t working as well as it should.

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Does My Home Need a Humidifier in Winter?

Does My Home Need a Humidifier in Winter?

January 6, 2019

Bratcher Heating & A/C serves residential clients in Bloomington and the surrounding areas with all manner of heating solutions. Our services include maintenance, repairs, emergency repairs and installations. Many of our clients have a furnace, boiler or heat pump in their homes but not a humidifier. A common question we receive is whether a humidifier would make a home more comfortable and cost-effective in winter. What follows are a few facts about and benefits of humidifiers.

How a Humidifier Affects a Home in Winter

Humidity is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air. There’s a relationship between temperature and humidity. In a nutshell, the higher the relative humidity, the higher the temperature feels. This is why an 80-degree day can feel much worse when the humidity is high. This works to our benefit with colder temperatures, but humidity is lower in winter because cold air holds less moisture. A humidifier increases that moisture and thus allows your home to feel more comfortable at a lower temperature.

A regulated relative humidity can have a number of other benefits as well, including:

  • Easier breathing
  • Less-effective airborne viruses
  • No static electricity buildups
  • Better wood preservation

Lowered Heating Costs

Since a humidifier lets your family feel comfortable at a lower temperature, you can turn the thermostat down at least several degrees. That means that a humidifier can make a big difference over the course of a winter and, if you choose an efficient model, it can even pay for itself in the long run.

Room Humidifiers vs. Whole-Home Systems

When deciding on a humidifier, you have the choice between room models and whole-home systems. Whole-home solutions require a bigger initial investment but often prove to be more cost-effective over 15 years and beyond. Room models are relatively inexpensive and let you focus your humidification efforts on the rooms that you use most, such as the living room and bedrooms.

Considering a humidifier? Contact Bratcher Heating & A/C today to learn more about how we can help.

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The Wonderful Invention of Furnaces

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.

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What Does It Mean to be NATE Certified?

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.

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