Touchstone Heating & Air Inc Blog : Archive for August, 2013

Benefits of a Home Generator

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Electricity is the foundation of modern civilization, providing us with the power to run everything from our computers to our electric dishwashers. Most households get their electricity from the local power company, which in Gainesville, FL, likely means Gainesville Regional Utilities, which has served the city for over 100 years. However, you may wish to consider using a home generator to supplement your power needs. It can provide a number of benefits including (but not limited to) the following.

  • Emergency power: Gainesville is hurricane territory and when the rain starts falling you can’t always be assured that the lights will stay on. A home generator lets you power the your house during an emergency, keeping your house safe and comfortable.
  • Food storage: If your power goes out and the refrigerator isn’t running, you run the risk of losing your perishable food items. A generator will save you money by making sure that no matter how long the power is out, you won’t have to throw away all the food you have stored in the fridge.
  • Electrical appliances: Everything from your TV to your AC runs on electricity.  If you are in an area prone to power outages, a generator can keep them from disrupting your daily life. This is especially important if you have any medical equipment in the house that a family member relies on.

Hurricanes are no laughing matter and even during milder storms, the electricity can cut out at inopportune times. A home generator serves as important insurance against that happening, help to keep you home comfortable and safe when the weather takes a turn for the worst. If you live in Gainesville, FL, talk to the experts at Touchstone Heating & Air for advice on home generators. Not only can we find the right generator to fit your home and lifestyle, but we can set up a maintenance plan to ensure it’s always running at top efficiency when it’s needed. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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Air Conditioning Guide: 3 AC Components You May Not Know About

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Air conditioning units are complex pieces of machinery, requiring numerous components to function together if they’re going to work as they should. Most people are aware that refrigerant  is used, and you can hear fans and blowers run any time you turn the air conditioning system on. But other components play an important role in the process – especially in cities like Gainesville, FL, where AC units run constantly during the hot summer months – and non-experts may not be familiar with their purpose and function. Here are 3 AC components you may not know about and the roles they serve in the cooling process.

  • Condensate pan: The condensate pan collects condensation that forms on the evaporator coils, then moves it out of the system via a condensate drain. This prevents the condensate from infiltrating the rest of the system, possibly causing water damage.
  • Expansion valve: The expansion valve serves as a sort of “gateway” to the evaporator coils, where the actual cooling process takes place. Refrigerant arrives at the valve in liquid form and under a great deal of pressure. The valve acts in a manner similar to an aerosol can, releasing a set amount of the liquid into the coils. The liquid evaporates and pulls heat from the nearby air, which a fan then blows into your home.
  •  Condenser coils: The condenser coils put the refrigerant in a liquid state before it moves to the expansion valve. The refrigerant enters the coils as a gas, where it its then cooled to a liquid form. This heat dissipates off the coils, which is then blown out of the system by a fan. For this reason, condenser coils are a part of the outdoor unit.

If you experience problems with your air conditioning system, whether it stems from an unknown component or something more recognizable like the thermostat, it pays to contact a professional as soon as possible. The experts at Touchstone Heating & Air handle air conditioning issues throughout the Gainesville FL area. Call us today and make an appointment.

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Don’t Settle for Expensive Air Conditioning

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

When it comes to air conditioning systems, Gainesville, FL residents can’t be casual. The city’s constant warm temperatures and high humidity make cool, comfortable indoor temperatures an absolute must. But just as air conditioning systems are so necessary, so too do homeowners need to use them in such a way that keeps their monthly electric bills in check. Some people think they have to accept higher costs if they want to stay cool. That’s not necessarily the case. Don’t settle for expensive air conditioning costs when a little foresight and planning can save you a great deal.

Don’t Skimp on Installation or Maintenance

Saving money on air conditioning doesn’t mean “buy a cheap AC unit.” The less expensive the unit, the cheaper its component part are, and the more apt it will be to break down, Moreover, cheap AC units often lack the efficiency of higher-end models, costing you in monthly bills every month. Inexpensive labor, too, can cause problems, since an improperly installed air conditioning unit is more vulnerable to wear and tear, and may create serious problems far sooner than a unit installed by a trained expert.

Furthermore, an air conditioning unit that doesn’t receive routine upkeep and maintenance can drive those monthly bills higher. Components can get dirty, leaks can form from loose fittings, and the normal grind of wear-and-tear eventually takes its toll. When air filters get excessively dirty, they can impede the flow of cool air, while clogs of obstructions at various points will also slow down the flow of air. If your refrigerant leaks, your air conditioning unit will struggle to cool the air in your home. All of these can result not only in higher energy bills, but also more frequent repairs.

Maintenance Saves Money

You can help prevent those higher costs with a regular maintenance plan. A trained professional can come to your home and give your air conditioning system a thorough going over: cleaning dirty components, sealing leaks, recharging refrigerant and identifying faulty components in need of further repair. That process not only saves you money in deferred service calls, but it improves your unit’s overall efficiency, letting it do more with less energy and cutting down on your monthly bills.

For quality air conditioning installation and maintenance in Gainesville, FL, speak to the professionals at Touchstone Heating & Air. We can install your air conditioning unit right the first time, every time, and our maintenance program help you keep your system running at top capacity.

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What are Some Environmentally Friendly Air Conditioning Options?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Air conditioning installation can be a major operation, but the benefits are also considerable. Not only does it allow you to replace an older unit with a newer (and presumably more efficient) model, but it can increase your house’s resale value a well. If you’re looking to install a new air conditioning unit, you might want to think about an environmentally friendly option. Gainesville, FL has been moving in an environmentally friendly direction for years as evinced by the municipal government’s recent backing of solar power for homes and small businesses. You can contribute to an environmentally friendly city by looking into greener options for your air conditioning installation.

The biggest environmentally friendly decision you can make concerns the choice of air conditioning unit itself. Systems that are ENERGY STAR rated have a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings, and use less energy than their counterparts, which helps you save energy and money by keeping you AC energy costs low.

Depending upon your living situation, you may also wish to consider a geothermal system or a heat pump of a traditional AC unit. Geothermal systems use very little energy since they use the ambient temperature of the earth to heat and cool your home. Air source heat pumps are simpler to install than geothermal systems, and they are also a good choice if you want a single solution for both heating and cooling your home.

Two-stage compressors in your new air conditioning unit provide another environmentally friendly option. These units operate on one of two separate speeds. The low speed runs when temperatures are mild while the higher speed kicks in when the heat really rises. It uses less energy, since it can adjust its output to match the climate, and cuts down on the environmental impact.

If you’re looking for eco-friendly air conditioning options, call the experts at Touchstone Heating & Air. We provide a variety of green air conditioning options and have been providing Gainesville, FL air conditioning installation service for years. 

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