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

Some Options for Thermostat Replacement

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Energy efficiency is important, and one of the easier ways to achieve it is by replacing your old, outdated thermostat. Today’s thermostats are far more effective than the old mercury-based ones, and many have capabilities far beyond simply setting the temperature. Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., has the latest in thermostat products, and our trained and certified technicians can install your replacement thermostat in Jacksonville quickly and efficiently.

Types of Thermostats

There are few choices available for homeowners when it comes to updating your thermostat:

Digital

Digital thermostats have a clear, readable face and offer precise temperature setting, which can help with energy efficiency. The buttons on digital thermostats are intuitive and easy to use, making them easy to operate.

Programmable

A programmable thermostat is a digital thermostat that you can program. Programs can be  set in 7-day loops. The programs can be tailored for times when your home is and isn’t occupied, during vacation periods, weekends, even night and day. You can loop a 7-day program or change it weekly. Having a programmable thermostat gives you tremendous control over the heating and cooling in your home, which can help you save energy.

Wireless

A wireless thermostat is digital and can be programmable, but it offers two more benefits: the ability to be placed virtually anywhere in your home and be operated by remote control. The way a wireless system works is that a receiver replaces your wired thermostat. This receiver communicates with each of the wireless thermostats in your home, as well as your heating system. Many wireless thermostats can be programmed, so they offer convenience and energy efficiency.

Smart

Smart thermostats are the most advanced option. Using wi-fi technology, you can access your smart thermostat from just about anywhere – you just need to have a smart device and access to the internet. With a smart thermostat, you can program your thermostat and track energy usage, all by using a downloadable app.

Thermostats have come a long way. If you have an aging or outdated thermostat, it may be time to consider thermostat replacement in Jacksonville.

Call Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts regarding your thermostat options today.

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Why You Should Schedule Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Keeping your commercial property comfortable can improve the productivity of your employees and keep your clients and customers happy. If you own or manage a commercial property in Gainesville, you need a high-performance HVAC system to keep your property at a reasonable temperature. But when your commercial system needs maintenance, it can cause a lot of problems for your business. In order to avoid poor work conditions and costly repairs, the technicians at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. recommend scheduling commercial HVAC maintenance twice a year. Here are some of the reasons you should call for maintenance for your business today.

  • No Complaints: One of the most important reasons to schedule maintenance is to avoid complaints from your clients, customers, tenants, and employees. If even a small part of your HVAC system is not working as it should, such as a bent fan blade, it may take longer for your unit to cool or heat your property. Technicians check for problems like these and make sure your unit is in top shape.
  • Efficiency: Commercial systems use a lot of energy as it is, but repair needs and dirty components can cause your HVAC system to use more energy than it needs to. Cleaning and adjusting components may save you a lot of money every month.
  • Less Risk: A poorly maintained system has a much greater risk of breaking down. And a costly repair or replacement is a big deal in the middle of a busy work day. Stay informed about repair needs before a major breakdown by scheduling commercial HVAC maintenance.
  • Longer Lifespan: Maintenance can actually extend the lifespan of your system. If parts of your system are not working as they should, other components have to work harder, causing your system to wear down prematurely. Maintenance reduces wear and tear, keeping your system at its best so that it lasts as long as possible.

During maintenance, a technician will clean and adjust components of your system and let you know of any problems that need further repairs. Commercial units are complex, so be sure to only trust experienced technicians with such a big job.

For commercial HVAC maintenance in Gainesville, call the specialists at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. today. You’ll be glad you did!

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Can Geothermal Cooling Save Me Money?

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Geothermal cooling and heating has been around for decades, but it’s only been over the last few years that it has become a more popular choice for residential properties. Our Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., experts get a lot of questions about geothermal systems, and one of the more common ones regards the savings a geothermal system can offer. To understand how geothermal cooling in Lake City can help save you money, it’s important to first understand how the system works.

How Geothermal Systems Work

A geothermal system harnesses the Earth’s natural, steady temperature just below the frost line (between 55-61 degrees) to heat and cool. Using a ground loop and a heat pump, warmth is absorbed from the Earth during the winter months and transferred into your home via the ground loop; the heat pump then disperses the warm air into your home. In the summer months, the heat pump removes the heat and transfers it to the ground loop, where the heat is “sunk” into the ground. Geothermal systems do not use any fossil fuels and the heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to operate.

Ways Geothermal Systems Save Money

There are a few ways in which geothermal systems can save you money:

  • Lifespan of the equipment – geothermal systems have a long lifespan: the ground loop is made to last up to 50 years, and the lifespan of the heat pump is 20-25 years. With these kinds of numbers, it is possible to have a geothermal system last a full generation before needing to replace certain components. This can result in considerable savings.
  • Energy efficiency – the energy efficiency of a geothermal system averages between 300-400%; when you consider that the average combustible appliance can’t go any higher than 100%, you can gain a lot of efficiency with a geothermal system.
  • No fuel costs – with a geothermal system, you eliminate the need to pay for fossil fuels. Energy.gov estimates geothermal systems can you up to 70% in annual energy costs.

The one item to note about geothermal systems is that the upfront installation costs tend to be more expensive than those of standard air conditioning systems. But there are tax credits and grants that can help reduce the initial costs, and it takes only an average of 6 years to recoup the cost of installation via energy savings.

If you are considering geothermal cooling in Lake City, call the team of geothermal experts at Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., today!

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Reasons To Be Concerned About Increasing Your Indoor Air Quality

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Most people equate temperature with comfort levels, particularly indoors, but there are other things to consider when it comes to your indoor air; one of these things is your indoor air quality. Indoor air can carry 2-5 times more contaminants than the outside air, making it possible for your indoor air to be less healthy than the outdoor air.

If you are concerned about your indoor air quality in Lake City, Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., has a number of products and services that can help you and your family. Call today!

What Are the Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Here is a general overview of symptoms caused by poor indoor air quality:

Common Symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itch, watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

More Serious Symptoms:

  • Nose bleeds
  • Constant nose congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory attacks (asthma)
  • Rashes
  • Muscle pain (myalgia)

Products and Services That Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

There are a number of whole-home products and duct services that can help increase your indoor air quality:

Products

  • Mechanical air filters – mechanical air cleaners are framed filters in which filter media captures and retains particles in your indoor air. These filters typically fit into your indoor unit (though not always), and need to be changed every 3 months in order to stay effective.
  • Electronic air cleaners – electronic air cleaners use electricity to charge, trap and remove particles. There are two types of electronic air cleaners – ion generators and electronic precipitators – and while they are similar, they do work in slightly different ways.
  • UV germicidal lights – UV lights are used to destroy and eradicate biological contaminants. They do this by radiating cells with UV-C light.

Services

  • Duct cleaning – professionally cleaning your air ducts removes dust and dirt build-up, and growths such as mold and mildew, from your system. A professional duct cleaning can significantly reduce the amount of airborne particles in your living spaces.
  • Duct sealing – faulty ductwork not only loses air through holes and cracks, it lets in pollutants, including particles and fumes, which can reduce your indoor air quality. Sealing these ducts can eliminate this problem.
  • Duct repair/replacement – sometimes ductwork is so damaged and/or worn that it requires replacement. New ductwork is clean and free of wear and tear that can compromise air quality.

Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., has the products, services and professional specialists you need to help improve your indoor air quality in Lake City. Call us today and schedule an appointment.

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The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

Monday, September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

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