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

How Do Technicians Install Zone Air Conditioning?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Zone-controlled air conditioning gives you a level of control over your cooling that you just can’t get with a single thermostat. This is because the dampers of the system are installed into your ductwork, where they can fully control the flow of air. So how does your Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc. technician install your zone air conditioning in Gainesville? We’ll describe the process below.

Main Components

There are several key components to a zone control system:

  • Motorized dampers – the motorized dampers are the parts that directly affect your air stream as they open and close according to the temperature.
  • Thermostats – each damper is connected to a thermostat that is wired into the main control panel for your system. These thermostats provide information to the main panel and tell the damper when to open and close.
  • Central control panel – the thermostat of each damper is wired into a central control panel, giving you complete control over each zone from a convenient single source.

Planning Your Zones

One of the benefits of zone air conditioning is that you get to create the zones. Zones can be separate rooms, a grouping of rooms, a wing of your home, or a floor of your home – whatever you need them to be. Most homeowners establish 2, 3 or 4 zones, focusing first on the rooms used most. Grouping your zones by the most utilized rooms helps you with energy efficiency.


A zone-control system can be installed into existing ductwork or as part of the installation of a new air conditioning system. The technician will start by installing the motorized dampers, then they will attach each damper’s thermostat. Once the ductwork is sealed, the thermostats will be connected to the main control panel and your air conditioning system; he/she may also install a thermostat into separate rooms, depending on the zone plan.

Always Use a Professional

The installation of a zone control system can be somewhat complex, which is why it’s important to use a professional rather than trying to install one yourself.

Think it’s time for zone air conditioning in your Gainesville home? Call Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts today.

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Signs That You Need Duct Replacement

Monday, July 21st, 2014

It’s the super-highway in your home you don’t see. It delivers cool air in summer and warm air in winter, and keeps you comfortable year-round. It is your ductwork, and like other parts of your air conditioning system, you may need duct replacement in Jacksonville at some point.

There are certain signs of faulty ductwork, and while some problems can be repaired, sometimes replacement is required. Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc. has helped customers in Jacksonville with their ductwork for over 15 years, including repair and installation. Here are some signs that can indicate it’s time to replace your ductwork:

  • Age – if your ductwork is 30+ years old, it’s time to see how effective it is. Old ductwork is more prone to holes, cracks and disconnections, and also may be poorly placed and lacking proper insulation. Intermittent cracks, holes and tears can probably be repaired by your technician, but if there are a great deal of them throughout your system, it may be better to replace the ductwork in its entirety.
  • Hot and cold spots – there are a few reasons why hot and cold spots can develop in a household, but if other things have been ruled out, it is time to look at how your ducts are performing.
  • Excess humidity – is the humidity level higher in your home? Excess moisture can enter your ductwork through cracks, holes and disconnections and become part of your airstream.
  • Mold – we all know that stale smell of mold – are you detecting it coming through your vents? Mold can be cleaned from metal ductwork, but can stay on plastic ductwork, even with a thorough professional cleaning. As such, it may need to be replaced.
  • Loud banging noises – sometimes loud banging noises from your ductwork are the expanding and contracting of the metal, but if you are hearing loud banging noises consistently, it can indicate collapsed ductwork.

Hire an Expert

Ductwork is an integral part of your air conditioning system and any repair or replacement work shouldn’t be handled by just anyone.

If your ductwork in Jacksonville needs replacing or just a general inspection, call the indoor air quality specialists you can trust: Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc.

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Key Aspects of Duct Sealing

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Your ductwork is an integral part of your air conditioning system. When there are cracks, broken seals, or detached sections in your ductwork, you can lose a lot of the air passing through the ducts. Duct cleaning can eliminate obstructions from dust and dirt, but to truly get your ductwork into the best shape possible, you may want to consider duct sealing in Lake City.

Potential Signs of Leaky Ductwork

The following can indicate that there are existing problems with your ductwork:

  • Higher than normal energy bills without big changes with the in-or outdoor temperature
  • Rooms that are difficult to cool
  • Stuffy rooms that are uncomfortable
  • Visible kinks in ductwork

The Benefits of Duct Sealing

There are multiple benefits to sealing your ductwork:

  • Saves Energy

Sealing ducts increases your energy efficiency tremendously by reducing and/or eliminating air loss in your ductwork. This, in turn, reduces your energy bill, which can help you save money.

Leaky ductwork can allow multiple types of particles into your HVAC system, including allergens, dust and dirt. By sealing the ductwork, you can effectively reduce the amount of particles entering your system.

  • Better Comfort

Leaky air ducts can contribute to the creation of hot and cold spots throughout a home. Reinstating a healthy, consistent flow of air to your home can help eliminate uneven cooling.

  • Improved Safety

Gas appliances, such as dryers, water heaters and furnaces can release combustion gases through their vent work that can get drawn into your ductwork from a problem known as backdrafting. Sealing your ductwork can greatly reduce the risk of backdrafting in your air conditioner’s system.

  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Sealing faulty ducts helps your system become more energy efficient; when you use less energy, you reduce your carbon footprint.

Duct Sealing Is Not a DIY Project – Call a Professional

Duct sealing involves a lot: a full inspection of your entire ductwork system, testing of the supply and return vents, checking for backdrafting, and of course, the sealing and repair work. It’s a lot of skilled work, and it is better left to someone with the training to do it.

If you think your air conditioning system in Lake City could benefit from duct sealing, call Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment.

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What’s Involved in Duct Replacement?

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The ventilation system in your home needs to maintain an airtight seal along its length, from each individual vent to the air conditioner and heater. Leaky ducts need repairs the seal them, or else the air pressure in your ventilation will start to drop, leading to decreased comfort and an overworked HVAC system.

Sometimes, duct sealing and basic repairs are not enough… you need to have the damaged and aging ducts replaced. If the ducts received improper installation in the first place and are causing you to lose energy, you should also have them replaced with skilled, professional work. If your ductwork has reached the point where repairs will no longer do the job, call Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. in Lake Butler, FL for duct replacement to take handle the work.

What to expect during duct replacement

When technicians come to your house for duct replacement, they will perform a number of tests to determine the extent of the damage to the ventilation system so they can pinpoint which duct section require replacement. They will also gauge your HVAC system to determine which kinds of ducts will work best for replacement.

Selecting the ductwork material is an important part of replacing the ducts. There are three standard materials for ductwork in homes: sheet metal, flexible plastic, and ductboard. The installers will balance out space needs, insulation ability, and cost to make sure that you have the right replacement material.

The replacement job will proceed with removing the existing ducts and setting in the new material, often using a newly constructed wooden frame for support. The installers will seal the new duct to the older sections using mastic sealant or metallic tape. During the process, they will make sure that the new ducts run straight and without any kinks or sags that could cause inefficient performance.

Once the new duct(s) are in place, the technicians will run the HVAC system and perform tests along the new stretch to make sure there are no leaks or heat loss/gain from poor connections. Professional technicians won’t leave your home until they are certain that the new ventilation additions are helping, not hurting, your home’s efficiency.

Although you can locate DIY guides on-line for how to handle duct repairs and replacements, this job is too important for you to allow amateur work to jeopardize it.

Call the skilled team at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. for duct replacement in Gainesville, FL. We will do the job fast and right the first time.

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The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

Friday, July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at Touchstone Heating & Air hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

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