Touchstone Heating & Air Inc Blog : Archive for January, 2014

Signs of a Heat Pump Refrigerant Leak

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Did you know that heat pumps operate according to the same principles that air conditioners do? They circulate refrigerant and take advantage of the temperature changes created when it shifts from a gaseous to a liquid state and back. When refrigerant leaks out of the system, it can cause problems with your heat pump, just like it can with your air conditioning system, that need to be corrected immediately.

Here are some ready signs of a heat pump refrigerant leak:

The biggest sign of a refrigerant leak is the formation of ice on the evaporator coils (either indoor or outdoor, depending on your heat pump’s current mode). Like air conditioning units, heat pumps need specific levels of refrigerant to work. When those levels drop, the cooling or heating process is compromised and ice forms, not only preventing your heat pump from working efficiently, but also insulating the remaining refrigerant from absorbing heat.

A more direct sign comes with your heat pump’s reduced ability to heat or cool the air. You may notice this simply by feeling the air being blown into your home, or in the fact that the heat pump runs longer than it usually does during the cooling or heating process. You might also notice it in your monthly bills, which go up dramatically despite the fact that you’re not running the heat pump any more often than normal.

Tracking down the leak can be difficult, since the refrigerant usually escapes in gas form and doesn’t betray any overt signs of removal. Trained technicians can detect the leak using specific equipment, then seal it up and recharge refrigerant levels to restore functionality to your system.

Heat pumps are very popular here in Florida, in part because they work best in places with mild winters like ours. If you live in Gainesville FL, heating repair companies like Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. can help you with refrigerant leaks. Once you spot signs of a heat pump refrigerant leak, give us a call to repair the damage. We have the experience to do the job right, and our technicians are dedicated to your complete satisfaction!

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Are Unusual Noises a Good Reason To Call For Furnace Repair?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

If you have a forced-air furnace, you’re used to it making noise when it turns on. The blower fan has a motor that makes some noise, and there is also the noise of the warm air circulating throughout your house. But what happens when those noises don’t sound normal? Are unusual noises a good reason to call for furnace repair? Usually, the answer is yes.  If you need Gainesville FL furnace repair services, call Call Touchstone Heating and Air Inc.

An unusual noise invariably suggests a problem that needs fixing, though the precise nature of the problem varies. The noise itself may provide a few clues. A rattling sound likely indicates something loose within the furnace, while a buzzing or humming suggests some kind of electrical problem. If the fan motor or some similar component runs into trouble, it’s apt to emit some kind of buzzing or grinding noise. Sputtering burners might also make unusual sounds and if the fan blades themselves are bent, they will make grinding noises as they rub up against their casing.

Whatever the exact sound, if you detect it, it means trouble. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is probably the worst thing you can do in this situation, since the problem causing the noise will likely get worse until your heater breaks down completely. Instead, take careful note of when the noise first arose – At the start of the heating cycle? When it shuts down? Have whatever information you can get ready for when you furnace technician arrives.

Call the experts at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. to pinpoint the problem and make repairs. We are available 24/7 for Gainesville, FL, furnace repair services.

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Leaking Refrigerant and Heat Pump Repair

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Heat pumps use refrigerant to absorb heat from the air, which is either transferred to the inside or outside of your home, depending upon whether its in heating or cooling mode. That allows the heat pump to warm your home in the winter when temperatures are low and cool it in the summer when things get hot and muggy. All of that depends on the right amount of refrigerant, however. When it leaks, it can cause some significant problems. Here’s a basic rundown on leaking refrigerant and heat pump repair.

Refrigerant can leak out of the system at any point, but often seep out from a breached line or an imperfect fitting between two components. It’s often undetectable to the naked eye, though trained service professionals have tools to accurately pinpoint the source of the leak. In any case, the breach invariably lowers the amount of refrigerant in the system, which depends on a very specific amount of gas to work.

The cooling process takes place in the evaporator coils, which receives a set amount of liquid refrigerant from the expansion valve. Once it enters the coils the liquid evaporates, drawing heat from the surrounding air in the process. If the refrigerant levels are too low, the pressure will be too low, and you can wind up with frozen coils that won’t be able to absorb heat from the air.

Repairing the issue means hunting down the source of the leak and sealing it before recharging refrigerant levels to their recommended levels. The experts at Touchstone Heating & Air can help. If you need heat pump repair in Gainesville, FL, give us a call!

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Why a Portable Generator Will Not Do the Job

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Here in Lake City, FL,  a generator is a great addition to any home. Hurricanes are a regular fact of life here, and while our civic electrical system does a great job, occasionally losing power is to be expected. A generator means keeping food cold and comfort levels high, as well as maintaining contact with the outside world through radio, television and the internet. Some residents opt to use portable generators for such circumstances, which allow them to take the generator with them when they move. This can be a mistake. Here’s a list of reasons why a portable generator in Lake City will not do the job.

  • Size. Portable generators are usually very small, which will do in pinch but will struggle to meet your power needs for an entire household. A permanent generator, on the other hand, can be properly sized to meet the needs of your entire household, ensuring that you always have power when you need it.
  • Hazards. Portable generators can create toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, which can be a health hazard if the generator is run inside. Every time you use your generator, its imperative that you ensure it is vented properly. A permanent generator, on the other hand, will have its own venting system set up when it is installed, keeping you and your family safe while still providing reliable power.
  • Resale value. If you move away from hurricane country, chances are your need for a generator will diminish significantly, eliminating one of the big benefits of a portable model. A permanent model, on the other hand, will improve the resale value of your house, helping to cover the costs of installation.

For more on why a whole house generator is better than a portable one,  contact the experts at Touchstone Heating & Air, Inc. We handle Lake City, FL generator issues of all varieties, and will install a permanent generator in your home that will make those hurricanes much easier to endure. We’re standing by to take your call, so don’t hesitate!

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