Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heating’

What You Should Know about Heat Pumps

Monday, November 20th, 2017

First, you should know the number one thing about heat pumps: it’s heating and cooling in one. One unit, that looks a lot like a conventional central air conditioner, can bring heat into a home and take heat out. In Florida, where we provide AC services, it doesn’t make much sense to have a separate furnace that to provide heat, but there are the occasional cold spells, making a central heater a convenient system to have—especially when it works with your AC. So what else should you know about this versatile comfort system?

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Now is the Time for Heating Maintenance

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Floridians are lucky when it comes to winter; we don’t have to deal with cold weather until December at the earliest. However, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your home heating preparations until the last minute. Heating maintenance is a vital part of making sure that your system can handle the onslaught of winter. Read on to find out more about the benefits of heating maintenance, and why you should schedule it this fall.

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Should I Install a Geothermal System this Fall?

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Here in Florida we haven’t quite gotten to heating season yet, even though most of the rest of the country has. However, it’s never too early to prepare your home for the cold season. If you’re in the market for a new home heating system, why not take a look at geothermal heating. Let’s examine how geothermal heating operates, and why you might want to install one in your home.

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Get Your Ducts Sealed This Fall

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Fall is here, and while most of us probably won’t be turning on our heating systems for a couple more months, it’s still a good idea to prepare for winter. When you think about getting your home ready for the cold season, you probably think about things like heating maintenance. While it’s a good idea to make sure that your heater is in good condition, you should also make sure that your ducts are in good condition. Let’s take a look at why you should get your ducts sealed this fall.

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How Can a New Thermostat Contribute to Heating Efficiency?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

One of the easiest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your heating system is to upgrade your thermostat. This may seem like too simple a solution, but upgrading your thermostat has a number of benefits that you may not realize. There are 3 main choices when it comes to upgrading your thermostat, as we’ll outline below, and each offers a level of control you can’t get with an outdated thermostat. Professional installation ensures that your thermostat will work properly, so call the people you can count on: Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc.

Types of Thermostats


A digital thermostat has precise temperature-setting and intuitive and easy-to-use buttons. The face is more readable than a dial or slide thermostat, and there’s no need to calibrate a digital thermostat as you have to with a mercury-based thermostat. Digital thermostats can easily replace your existing one, and your technician will properly dispose of your outdated thermostat.


A programmable thermostat allows you to take the benefits of digital precision to the next level by creating a program for your heating. You can set up to 4 different temperature settings per day, and create a full program that lasts for 7 days. If your weekly program is consistent, you can loop your 7-day program so that it runs continuously. Programming allows you to accommodate for times when your home may be unoccupied during the work week, weekends, nighttime and vacation time. You can program your heating system to cycle up and down when needed without having to do it manually.


With a smart thermostat, you can program, monitor and track your energy usage from just about anywhere; all you need is a smart device and access to the internet. You can use your smart thermostat’s app to program your thermostat, make changes and even monitor your energy use.

How Does an Upgraded Thermostat Help with Energy Efficiency?

  • Precision – dial or slide thermostats give a range of degrees rather than allowing you to pinpoint an actual temperature; this can make a difference of 2-3 degrees per setting. Considering each degree higher can equal 3% of your energy costs, being able to set an exact temperature can go a long way toward reducing your energy usage.
  • Programmability – being able to program your thermostat allows you to reduce the amount of heating you use. This kind of control saves you energy and money.
  • Monitoring/energy tracking – if you use a smart thermostat, you can monitor and track your energy usage, which can help inform you as to when and how to further reduce your energy usage.

Today’s thermostats are far more advanced than the outdated mercury or slide type of thermostats.

If you are looking to increase the energy efficiency of your heating in Jacksonville, contact Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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Can My Heating Be Retro-Fit for Zone Control?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

People use many different systems to heat their homes in Gainesville FL, including ductless mini split systems which offer zone control. These kinds of systems space a series of individual indoor units throughout your home, each of which heats just a single room or section. That allows you to tailor the individual temperatures to each room – for example, by lowering the heat in the kitchen while you cook while raising it in the living room where another family member is reading. You can even turn off the heat in parts of the house you aren’t using, helping you save a great deal on monthly energy bills.  “That’s all fine and good if I’m installing a new system,” you say. “But I already have an existing ducted heating system. Can my heating be retro-fit for zone control?” In point of fact, it can.

For forced air systems, zone control means installing a series of dampers at key points throughout your duct system. They are all connected to a control panel, and each zone is controlled by its own thermostat. It allows you to exercise full control over the temperature in your house and even shut down the heat to one area while keeping another area fully heated. It can be designed to work with your existing system, helping you save energy without replacing your heater.

In order to set it up, however, you need a technician with the tools and experience to do the job right. This is true not just for the basic installation, but for those moments when repairs and maintenance are required. A skilled technician will always be here for you and ensure that your system functions exactly as it is supposed to. If you want to retro-fit your heating for zone control, the experts at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. are here to help. We’ve developed years of expertise on this subject, and our technicians know how to do the job right. For upgrades to your heating in Gainesville FL, you can’t do better. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment!

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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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Which Heating System is Best in a Warm Climate?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Here in Gainesville, FL, heating takes a bit of a back seat to air conditioning, which is more important during our long summer months. That may lead some homeowners to dismiss the need for a quality heater. This is a mistake. Heating systems play a vital role in keeping our homes comfortable, and just because we have fewer chilly nights than elsewhere in the country doesn’t mean that comfy heater isn’t welcome when the thermometer starts to drop. Florida does offer a rather unique climate, however, which can play a role when selecting a good heating system. Which heating system is best in a warm climate? It depends, but some of the more popular options are outlined below.

  • Gas furnaces. Gas furnaces rely on a centralized unit that distributes heat through a series of ducts. Furnaces can be very efficient, and they can heat your home very quickly.
  • Heat pumps. Heat pumps combine the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into a single unit, making them very effective in all climates. They work especially well in climates like ours, where the temperature rarely drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes them an excellent choice for our area.
  • Geothermal systems. Geothermal heat pumps rely on the ambient temperature of the ground itself, which never changes no matter what the weather’s like. It involves a series of pipes filled with a heat exchanging fluid buried under the ground, which means it usually needs a fair amount of land space to work. The installation process is also extensive. On the other hand, they don’t cost much to run, and they last a very long time with few maintenance needs. Like air source heat pumps, they can both heat and cool your home.

All three of these units run well in warm climates, but which one is best depends on your individual circumstances. In Gainesville FL, heating advice and installation can be provided by the experts at Touchstone Heating & Air. Call us today and let us help you make the most of your heating system!

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Why You Cannot Afford to Put Off Heating Repair

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

We concentrate on our air conditioning during our sultry Florida summers, and focus on heaters only when temperatures start to drop. That can entice some Gainesville, FL homeowners to put off heating repair for a time; for example, to limp through the winter and worry about repairs before the next heating season rolls around. In most cases, this is a mistake. Here’s why you cannot afford to put off heating repair in Gainesville, FL.

It boils down to stopping small problems before they get bigger, or to put another way, paying a little now to avoid paying a lot later. In many cases, a problem with your heater won’t necessarily shut it down; you’ll still be able to warm your home and “limp forward” until you can address the issue properly. The difficulty is that the faulty component – whatever it happens to be – invariably puts more stress and strain on the heater as a whole. That forces it to work harder to heat your home, which raises your monthly energy bills, as well as increasing the risk of another component suffering a breakdown as well.

It’s not hard to see how this scenario will go. You’re invariably paying more to heat your home as long as the problem remains in place, charging a “deferment tax” in exchange for not contacting a repair person immediately. Add to that the potential of a much larger repair bill, as well as a shortened lifespan for various components working under the strain, and waiting for repairs may end up costing you a great deal more than addressing the problem directly.

We all want to be frugal in these tough times, and that’s actually why you cannot afford to put off heating repair in Gainesville, FL. If you need to address a heating issue, call Touchstone Heating & Air to help you out. Don’t wait until next spring to handle your problems; pick up the phone and call us today, and save yourself money in the long run!

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