Touchstone Heating & Air Inc Blog

The Parts That Make a Heat Pump Different From an AC

February 10th, 2020

air-conditioner-units-near-grassThe heat pump is common in some parts of the US, almost unknown in others. You don’t often find heat pumps at work in places with cold winters, but they’re increasingly popular in warmer climates like those on the West Coast, the Southwest, and right here in Florida.

But even with the popularity of heat pumps in Lake Butler, FL and elsewhere in North Central Florida, many homeowners are not sure how they do what they do. I.e. “How does something that looks like an air conditioner and acts like an air conditioner also provide heating when needed?”

Continue Reading

A Lowdown on Using an Electric Furnace

January 27th, 2020

heating-elementWhat’s the most common type of home heating system in the U.S.? The natural gas furnace by a wide margin. Gas furnaces produce large amounts of heat and can warm up a house faster than almost any other type of heater. The lower cost of natural gas makes them attractive as well.

Gas furnaces aren’t as common in Florida. Their heating power is often too intense for our mild winters, and the lower cost of natural gas often makes little difference when furnaces don’t run often. This makes electric furnaces a frequent alternative. For homeowners without any gas connection, electric furnaces may seem like the only central heating option. They’re not, but they’re still popular choices.

Continue Reading

How Furnaces Have Gotten Better and Better

January 13th, 2020

gas-burnersOnce upon a time, the most common furnace for a house was a ghastly monstrosity known as an “octopus furnace.” It sat in the basement of the home, burned coal, and distributed heat by letting it rise through large pipes that crawled up through the house. Inefficient, unreliable, costly, dangerous.

Obviously, furnaces have come a long way since then. We don’t have old octopus furnaces around in Florida (we rarely have basements!), but the changes in furnace technology over only the last two decades are impressive. If you have an older furnace (15 years or more), we recommend looking into the new models with their superior efficiency.

Continue Reading

Is Duct Sealing Really Beneficial?

December 30th, 2019

inside-corrugated-air-ductThe ductwork in the modern home is often substandard, as if the original builders of the house didn’t put much thought into the placement or materials of these important air channels. We’ve seen plenty of poor ductwork in the more than two decades we’ve worked on HVAC systems. This is why duct sealing in Gainesville, FL is one of the most important services we can provide for a ventilation system. Leaks are much more likely to occur in poorly designed and installed ducts. But even quality ductwork can develop leaks.

Professional duct sealing is the only way to effectively close air leaks along ductwork. A few leaks may not sound like it’s that big a deal, but we can assure you that duct sealing is highly beneficial, no matter the number of leaks.

Continue Reading

Changing the Air Filter Monthly Over Winter

December 16th, 2019

Wet Air FilterThe air filter for your HVAC system is a critical component for it to operate well. It isn’t there to clean your household air but to protect the interior of the cabinet from all the dust, lint, and other particles the blower fan draws in through the return air ducts.

Just as important as the job of the air filter is changing the filter regularly. The filter isn’t self-cleaning, so it has to be replaced with a new filter to prevent air blockage. Unfortunately, homeowners often forget to do this job, especially during the winter when the HVAC system won’t run as often in the mild Florida weather. But even during winter, regular filter changes are essential.

Continue Reading

Bettering Winter Indoor Air Quality

December 2nd, 2019

air-filterMaking it through winter in comfort here in North Central Florida is rarely a problem—at least when it comes to keeping warm. Low temperatures are rare, and heating systems don’t have to stretch hard to get the job done.

But there’s another aspect to comfort that can become trouble during our winters, and that’s the quality of the air in our homes. Because our houses are usually well-sealed against the outdoor air (making it easier to stay warm, even without the heater running), there’s little chance of fresh air currents to sweep out the stale indoor air and its pollutants. Your house may end up with stuffy air filled with dust, lint, germs, chemicals, and other unwelcome particles.

However, you have ways to improve your air quality during winter. Our technicians offer indoor air quality services that can make your air quality as pleasant as your indoor temperatures.

Continue Reading

Answering Your Questions About Ductless Cooling and Heating

November 18th, 2019

ductless-mini-split-on-the-wallWe’re advocates for ductless heating and cooling systems, also known as ductless mini split heat pumps, or just ductless mini splits. Homes that were built without ducts can enjoy excellent comfort with a ductless mini split, and new homes can be designed without having to hand over valuable space to ducts.

Ductless systems are new to many homeowners, so we receive plenty of questions about them. We’ve answered the major ones below.

Continue Reading

Yes, Your Heat Pump Needs Maintenance in Fall as Well

November 4th, 2019

air-conditioner-replacementWe often remind our customers that HVAC maintenance is important around the year. It’s easy to understand why air conditioning in Gainesville, FL needs a good tune-up and inspection in spring to prepare for another sweltering summer. And it’s easy to forget that heating systems must have the same service in fall to prepare a mild, but often surprising, winter. But it’s heat pumps that cause the most confusion among homeowners when it comes to maintenance.

If you have a heat pump to provide comfort for your house, you already know the benefit of how it works: great cooling for most of the year, but it becomes an efficient heater whenever those colder days come around. But because a heat pump is a single system, you might think it only needs to receive professional maintenance once a year. This isn’t true. Your heat pump requires two maintenance visits annually: one in spring, one in fall.

Continue Reading

Your Furnace Is Older Than 15: A Few Things to Know

October 21st, 2019

furnace-oldOne of the best ways to tell when a heating system is ready for a replacement is basic age. Each heater comes with a manufacturer’s estimated service life. Once the system is beyond that age, we advise you to think about replacing it, even if the unit still seems to function well. It doesn’t mean you should automatically replace it. But it’s time to ask yourself serious questions about the heater’s performance so you’ll know when to pull the trigger on a new system.

Since it’s now fall and you’re preparing for cooler weather, it’s the right point to address the furnace in your home. If you have a furnace that’s older than 15 years (the usual estimated service life for a gas furnace), there are a few important things for you to know.

Continue Reading

Is an Air Filter Enough for Healthier Air in My Home?

October 7th, 2019

air-fliter-cuIf you found your way to this blog, it’s probably because you know your house, like many houses in Florida, has poorer air quality than you would like. Homes today are often built so tightly that there is little chance for the circulation of fresh air, and even less chance in a warm climate like ours.

What’s the best solution to combat low indoor air quality? Air filtration systems are one of the basic solutions for removing the unwanted particles circulating through a house—but is an air filter enough for your house? Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading