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

How Geothermal Cooling Systems Work

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Geothermal home comfort systems are growing more popular every year thanks to their highly efficient, reliable performance and nearly unmatched longevity. A well-installed geothermal system can last for more the 50 years, and no matter the outdoor temperature, they return a steady level of heating or cooling that uses far less power than standard air-source heat pumps.

Some homeowners, however, are not even aware that geothermal systems can provide both heating and cooling, the way that standard heat pumps can. Because geothermal power is associated with heat (“thermal” is right in the name), people often don’t consider that they can offer comfort through cooling every bit as effective as their comfort through heat.

We’ll offer you a short explanation for how a geothermal system cools down a home during summer.

For more information about geothermal cooling in Jacksonville, FL, call Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., where we’ve kept homes in North Central Florida comfortable since 1998.

The basics of geothermal cooling

Geothermal home comfort systems are heat pumps: they move heat from one location and place it in another through the circulation of refrigerant. An indoor coil serves as either the evaporator (removing heat from the interior air) or condenser (releasing heat to the interior air), while a series of ground loops buried at least 6 feet deep in the earth handle the other half of the heat exchange process. Unlike air-source heat pumps, geothermal systems use water rather than Freon as the refrigerant they circulate.

When a geothermal heat pump is in heating mode, the ground loops move heat from the ground and release it inside. Because the temperature of the earth at that depth remains steady around 55°F regardless of the surface conditions, the heat pump has a reliable source of heat. But it can reverse this process and use the earth as a place to deposit heat as well, making use of the same steady temperature. When the system switches to cooling mode, heat is taken from a home and placed into the earth. Thanks to the reliably cool underground temperature, a heat pump will never have trouble cooling down a house on a hot summer day.

Find out if geothermal is right for you

If there’s one drawback to geothermal heat pumps, it’s that they will not work for every property: a home needs sufficient space for the loops and the right kind of soil. However, you may be surprised to find out that most homes will permit geothermal heat pumps.

Call our heating and cooling specialists at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. today and schedule an appointment to find out if geothermal cooling in Jacksonville, FL is a great year round comfort solution for your household.

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3 Reasons to Schedule Generator Installation

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Hurricane season has arrived, and while Florida civic authorities go above and beyond to keep us all safe, it pays to have back-up ready at a moment’s notice. A generator for your home is a big step in the right direction, and when it comes to generator installation, Gainesville has services that can perform the job properly. Before they do so, however, you need to make the decision to install a generator in your home. Here are 3 reasons to do so, which you should carefully consider when making this decision.

  • Reliable power. Obviously, a generator exists to provide you with power in an emergency. As long as you keep it fueled and maintained, it will be there when you need it” providing power for light, heat, refrigeration and contact with the outside world. That’s important in every home, but especially important for those who have special needs, such as medical equipment and other devices that absolutely need power.
  • Safety. A generator that keeps your refrigerators and other key appliances going means that you won’t have to venture outside in search of necessities during an emergency. It keeps food cold, bathing water hot, and household lights running: meaning that you can stay safely indoors until the crisis has passed.
  • Versatility and resale value. If you have a portable generator, you can take it with you when you move, ensuring that you have reliable power no matter where you call home. If your generator isn’t portable, it will add resale value to your home: possibly enough to offset the cost of installation depending on the specifics. Either way, you’re not looking at a dead-end cost with a generator. You’re looking at an investment in your property that can give back for months and years to come.

For more reasons to schedule generator installation, Gainesville residents can call upon the experts at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc.

We have years of experience handling generator installation, and we can take you through all the steps before we begin. Your satisfaction is our primary concern, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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Is It Too Late for Air Conditioning Maintenance

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Air conditioning maintenance is a sort of tune-up session, designed to spot potential problems before they get out of hand and perform a lot of little things that help improve efficiency in your system. Most experts recommend having a maintenance session performed at least once a year, ideally in the spring before summer starts. But summer is here and with our heat and humidity rising, a maintenance session may force you to shut down your air conditioning system at a point when it’s needed almost every day. Is it too late for air conditioning maintenance in Jacksonville FL? Should you schedule a session now or wait until the fall when you don’t need your system as often?

In point of fact, it’s never too late – or too early – to schedule a session. While you should ideally get to it earlier in the spring, we all know how life has a way of prioritizing work and family issues. Just because the summer is here, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from immediate maintenance service. How? In two distinct ways:

1)      Lowering monthly bills. Maintenance sessions clean direct and dust off of the interior components, as well as recharging refrigerant and replacing used filters. All of that helps the air conditioner function more efficiently, and use less energy to cool your home. The longer you wait, the more you’ll feel the pinch on those monthly bills. A maintenance session will help cut into those bills, and scheduling in June means seeing the savings as early as July. With lots of summer left to go, the savings could help pay for the cost of the session itself.

2)      Preventing bigger repairs. More importantly, a maintenance session can help you stop big repairs before they get started, ensuring that you can rest a little easier during the remainder of the summer.

Give us a call today to make an appointment and lets us help you save money and energy this summer!

The experts at  Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. know that it’s never too late for air conditioning maintenance in Jacksonville, and we have the skills you ned to ensure that the job is done right.

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What Is Involved in Heat Pump Maintenance?

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Heat pumps may sometimes seem like miraculous machines: using the power of an air conditioner to shift heat from one place to another to provide for both heating and cooling, whatever you need for whatever time of the year. But heat pumps are still just electro-mechanical machines, and they will wear down over time and begin to work less efficiently. Although no heat pump will last forever, you can prolong the service life of the one that keeps your family comfortable through a regimen of annual maintenance from professionals like the team at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc.

We’ll look at what actually goes into an annual maintenance visit for a heat pump in Gainesville, FL. This is the level of service you can expect when you sign up for our Energy Saving Agreement.

Here’s what happens during heat pump maintenance:

  • Thermostat calibration. No matter what sort of heater or air conditioner you have in your home, a thermostat controls it, so a key part of maintenance is to see that the thermostat is sensing indoor temperatures accurately.
  • Cleaning the coils. Both the indoor and outdoor coil of the heat pump need to be detached and cleaned so they can carry out heat absorption and heat release effectively.
  • Clean the drip pan. Heat pumps have drip pans under their coils to catch water moisture from condensation. Cleaning the pan makes sure there are no drain obstructions that might lead to overfill and water damage.
  • Electric wiring checks. Faults with wiring in the electric system are among the most common reasons for repairs in a heat pump, so the technicians will take special care to see that all the wires are connected and none are frayed or near to breaking.
  • Refrigerant level check. The charge of the refrigerant should be at the factory-set level; if it isn’t, the technician will recharge it.
  • Inspect and change the filter. This reassures that the system is receiving a steady flow of air from the return vents.
  • Monitor the reversing valve. Should this valve fail, the heat pump will become stuck in one mode.
  • Check and oil the fans. The technician will make sure the two fans can move freely and the blades are tight and undamaged.
  • Examine the run capacitors. Key parts of the electrical system, the capacitors may need replacement if they are aged.
  • Ductwork inspection. The technician will make a visual check on the ventilation system to watch for breaks or gaps.

There are even more steps, but this will give you an idea of how thorough the inspections are: the technician will catch whatever might be wrong, and fine-tune every element of the heat pump.

With the Energy Saving Agreement at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., you’ll receive the above work, plus a 15% discount on repair services and priority scheduling. Call us today to start taking great care of your heat pump in Gainesville, FL.

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