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

The Differences Between Air Filters and Air Purifiers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Air filtration can do a great deal to keep the spores and allergens of our humid climate in check, as well as making your Lake City, FL  home a more pleasant place to be in general. Air filters and air purifiers are both connected to your home HVAC system, and both concern themselves with the quality of your indoor air. Beyond their basic function, however, they’re very different pieces of equipment. Which one you use – and the reasons why – tie into the specific circumstances of your home. Here’s a brief rundown of the differences between air filters and air purifiers.

For starters, a certain type of air filter is a completely necessary part of your existing HVAC system. You could technically run it without them, but you certainly wouldn’t want to. Air passes through the filter when your system runs, trapping dust, dirt and other particles in the process. This helps keep the system clean and prevent dust from building up on its components. These air filters are designed to be replaced after a few months (though some of them are washable and can be reused after they are clean).  You can also add additional mechanical air filters to your HVAC system to improve your air quality. These come in different MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings depending on the size of particles you want removed, and trap the particles as the air in your ducts passes through them.

Air purifiers, on the other hand, are a little different. These are usually electrically powered and are designed to collect particles differently. Instead of trapping dust and debris in the filter, they use a charged ionization chamber to give pollutants an electrical charge, then the particles accumulate on collector plates with the opposite charge. Purifiers are not a standard part of most HVAC systems, but they can be installed in most existing systems as a way of further purifying your air.

The two are basically different levels of treating the same problem. You’ll always need at least one air filter, but if you want to augment it with the installation of an air purifier, that’s up to you. For more on the differences between air filters and air purifiers, or to schedule an installation session, call upon Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. We operate in Lake City, FL, air filtration is a part of our service, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction. Give us a call today!

Continue Reading

3 Upgrades That Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

Monday, February 17th, 2014

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, low indoor air quality is one of the major threats to health in the country today. Because modern homes are sealed to keep out heat in the summer and trap it during the winter, there is less proper ventilation of fresh outside air. Although it’s easy to open up the windows to allows in the air, that ceases to be an option when the weather becomes too warm or too cold.

There are upgrades to your home’s ventilation system that will help you improve your indoor air quality in Lake City, FL. Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. can assist you with finding which of these upgrades will benefit you.

3 upgrades we recommend for indoor air quality

  • UV germicidal lights: People do not like to consider the possibility of mold and other bacteria developing inside their ductwork. However, this is a frequent problem in humid Florida weather, and it needs to be dealt with because of the negative effects it can have on your air. The best way to safely remove microbacteria from your ventilation system without using sanitizers or sprays is with UV germicidal lights. The high-frequency rays from these fixtures destroy the cellular structure of bacteria and prevent them from returning—all without damaging your ducts or your air.
  • Air filters: Mechanical air filters, which trap contaminants in a dense bed of fibers, are a simple but very effective ways to keep your indoor air clean. The effectiveness of a filter is measured as MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value), with a higher number meaning greater efficiency at trapping contaminants. Air filters must be properly matched to an HVAC system; for this you should rely on professional installers.
  • Air purifiers: These devices go a step beyond the mechanical air filter and use electrical power to take an active approach to cleaning the air. These purifiers ionize particles in the air and attract them to collector plates. This method allows the air purifier to trap particles far smaller than what a standard mechanical filter can.

Find out what indoor air quality upgrades you need

Not every home needs the same air quality issues addressed, and any upgrades will need to be matched to your HVAC system. You should contact indoor air quality specialists to help you find the solutions you need to improve the air you breathe in your home every day.

Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. is serious about helping you have better indoor air quality in Lake City, FL. We can install a variety of filters and purifiers, as well as UV germicidal lights. Contact us today to find out what we can do to help your home health and comfort.

Continue Reading

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

Continue Reading

Why Heat Pumps Are Popular for Heating

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Many homes in our area use heat pumps to keep comfortable throughout the winter. The technology uses a refrigerant cycle similar to that seen in air conditioners to both cool and warm the house. During the summer, the heat pump absorbs the heat from your house and transfers it outside, and during the winter it absorbs heat from the air outside and brings it in.  It’s an effective system, which is just one reason why heat pumps are popular for heating in Gainesville, FL. A short list of additional reasons can be found below.

  • Energy efficient. Heat pumps don’t actually create heat. They simply transfer it from the refrigerant to the surrounding air. The process is very efficient, which means that heat pumps use less energy than other types of heating.
  • Warm-weather friendly. Heat pumps lose their efficiency when the weather drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, though most are equipped with electric resistance coils that can turn on for very cold days. Luckily, Florida weather only rarely dips down that far, making heat pumps a good fit for our balmy climate. Since they provide excellent air conditioning, you can take care of your year round comfort with just one system.
  • Cost savings: Since you only need a single heat pump for both heating and cooling, you can have a lower installation cost than installing a furnace and a central air conditioner separately.

Understanding why heat pumps are popular for heating in Gainesville, FL is just part of the equation. The other part comes with finding a reliance service to maintain and repair your heat pump. For issues with heating in Gainesville, FL, the experts at Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. are ready to help. Give us a call when your heat pump experiences problems, or you just need a little maintenance to keep it running at its peak!

Continue Reading