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

How Duct Cleaning Helps Allergy Sufferers

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Poor indoor air quality can be hard on everyone, but it can be especially difficult for those who suffer from allergies. This is because many HVAC systems are forced air systems that circulate air around and around, and also because much of our year is spent indoors with closed doors and windows, trapping this air inside. One way to help the allergy sufferers in your home is to start at what can often be the source of allergy problems: dirty . And one of the best ways to manage dirty air ducts is with a professional duct cleaning for your Jacksonville home. The trained experts at Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., have been serving customers in the Jacksonville area for 15 years, and we can help you have clean, refreshed air ducts that will help improve your home’s indoor air quality. Just call us today!

Allergens That Can Linger in Ductwork

Your ducts provides a hiding place for a great many things, many of which people can be allergic to:

Dust

Your HVAC system comes with a standard air filter, but dust can still get into your system and create a layer that coats the inside of your air ducts. If left to accumulate over time, this layer can become thick, and the dust will blow directly into your living space.

Mold/Mildew

If enough moisture gets into your duct system, it can spawn mold and mildew growth; when your HVAC system cycles with mold or mildew internally, the spores get blown directly into your living spaces. Mold and mildew spores are highly allergic organic material, and can cause allergy sufferers a great deal of agitation.

Pet Dander and Fur

Pets can be great additions to many families, but their dander and fur aren’t so great for your ducts. Not only does the fur and dander become easily lodged in your ducts, they mix easily with other contaminants like dust, creating a whopper of a mix for the allergy sufferers in your home.

When you hire a Touchstone Heating and Air Inc., expert to clean your ducts, you aren’t scheduling a simple vacuum of your system.

The cleaning is thorough and reaches every inch in order to remove any build-up. Think a duct cleaning in Jacksonville might help your allergy sufferers? Call us today!

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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

Digital

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.

Programmable

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.

Smart

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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How Does a Zone Heating System Improve Efficiency?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Heating efficiency is a priority in most homes, and there are a number of tools and upgrades homeowners can utilize to achieve better energy efficiency through the winter. One such upgrade is a zone heating system. Zone heating systems are easy to use but relatively complex to install, so if a zone heating installation in Jacksonville seems like a great idea for your home, call the people who can install the system quickly, correctly and efficiently: Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc.

How Does a Zone Control System Work?

The first step with the installation of any zone control system is to designate the zones. Zones can be a single room, a group of rooms, a floor or wing of your home – the decision is yours. Once the zones are designated, the technician installs motorized dampers into the supply ducts of your ductwork; these dampers are connected to a main control panel. Each zone is outfitted with its own thermostat that also connects to the main control panel. The main control panel controls the opening and closing of the dampers to maintain the temperature set in each zone.

How Can a Zone Control System Help Heating Efficiency?

With a zone control system, you use only the heating you need. For instance, with a zone control system, you can turn off heating to the areas of your home that are unused or unoccupied; you can’t do this with regular ductwork. By reducing the amount of heating you use, you use less energy, making your home more energy efficient.

A second way a zone control system can help with heating efficiency is by reducing operational time. Being able to customize your heat means you use less heat; this means your system doesn’t need to generate as much heat, and as such, it operates for less time. Less operation means more energy savings for you. 

If you are interested in seeing what a zone heating installation in Jacksonville can do for you and your home, call Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., today.

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Only Allow Specialists to Service Your Commercial AC System

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Because of Florida’s warm climate, you will rely on the air conditioning system in your commercial space almost every month of the year. Keeping the AC in prime working order so that it is always ready to provide you with crisp and relaxing cool air without excess energy waste is important to keep a business running smoothly and its employees, customers, and/or clients happy. To make sure that the air conditioner in your commercial space can live up to your expectations, arrange for prompt repairs when necessary and regular maintenance once a year.

But when it comes to scheduling these services, you can’t simply turn to any HVAC contractor. A commercial AC must have commercial experts to install, maintain, and repair it. For your light commercial air conditioning in Jacksonville, FL (25 tons and under), look to the dependable name of Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. We have served North Central Florida businesses with quality comfort since 1998.

Why commercial HVAC specialists are essential for your business

It is easy to think of light commercial air conditioners as nothing more than larger siblings to the ones found in homes. But this is rarely the case. Even if it were, a larger system is already more complex to work on for someone inexperienced with it. The amount of cooling that commercial ACs must provide makes them difficult to service for anyone who has not received special training. Just the horsepower required to run the fan motors makes them significantly different than anything seen in the largest system used for homes.

In general, the design of commercial air conditioners is dissimilar to residential ones. Most home ACs are “split systems” that consist of an indoor cabinet and an outdoor cabinet that connect through refrigerant and power lines. Most commercial air conditioners, on the other hand, are “packaged units” that place all the components, including both the evaporator and condenser coil, into one cabinet that is customarily housed on the roof. These systems require special training to repair and maintain.

Commercial air conditioners must provide comfort for a large number of people; even smaller businesses must worry about keeping a larger number of people comfortable than in a home. Specialists in commercial HVAC technology know exactly how to service air conditioners so they will take care of everyone in a commercial space; this is not work that you can expect from a technician only familiar with home ACs.

With all the strain that your commercial air conditioning in Jacksonville, FL will experience each year, you will eventually need to schedule service for it.

Call Touchstone Heating and Air Inc. today and talk to our light commercial HVAC technicians to arrange for whatever work you need done.

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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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3 Common Heat Pump Repair Needs

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Heat pumps are very energy efficient and have a long life span – usually 15-20 years when they are well-maintained – but they will still require repair at some point during your ownership. While many parts of a heat pump are similar to the outdoor unit of a traditional air conditioning system, there are some heat pumps repairs in Jacksonville that are different from traditional systems. It is important to hire professionals who have experience repairing heat pumps, which is why you want to call a company like Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., for all your heat pump repair needs.

Common Heat Pump Repairs

Following are three common heat pump repairs our technicians see frequently:

  • Issues with the reversing valve – heat pumps can heat and cool because they are equipped with a valve, known as a reversing valve, which allows you to switch between heating and cooling. This valve can become stuck in 3 different positions: heating, cooling, or in between. In certain instances, the valve can be repaired, but sometimes replacement of the valve is required.
  • Low and high pressure – among the major causes for heat pump problems with low head pressure are defective compressor and evaporator issues. When it comes to high head pressure, it is usually due to contaminated condenser and overfeeding of refrigerant in the unit.
  • Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant leaks affect how the cooling and heating process in your system works. Leaks can occur anywhere in the system, and can be difficult to locate. In addition, a person needs to be certified to handle refrigerant, so it’s important to call a professional to handle any issues you may experience with refrigerant.

Heat pumps are great options for homeowners, especially those looking for a single device to provide both heating and cooling. Because heat pumps run year-round, it is important to have reliable, qualified help when problems occur.

Take care of your heat pump repairs in Jacksonville, FL with a company you can trust: Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc. Call us today.

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Why You Need to Eliminate Mold from Your Ductwork

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Your ductwork can become the perfect place for mold growth if not cleaned and maintained. Mold thrives in areas that are cool, dark and moist, and it only takes a single spore and a little bit of moisture to develop a mold problem. Mold is a biological organism, so simply cleaning it off may not completely remove the spores; to truly eradicate mold, it needs to be destroyed. UV germicidal lights can be great weapons against mold growth in Jacksonville, and Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., can help you with professional installation. Mold can cause a number of health hazards and greatly decrease your indoor air quality, so it’s important to remove it as soon as possible.

Health Issues That Can Develop from Mold Growth

Mold can be tremendously inflammatory for a lot of people, causing discomfort and potential health problems. Here are just a few issues that can be caused by mold growth:

  • Aggravation of allergies – mold spores irritate a wide range of people, particularly those who have allergies. Sneezing, coughing and wheezing are all typical allergic reactions to mold.
  • Asthma attacks – mold spores can bring on asthmatic reactions, resulting in attacks.
  • Exposure to mycotoxins – mycotoxins are harmful metabolites produced by mold spores. There are a wide range of reactions people can have to mycotoxins, including skin rashes, respiratory issues, vision impairment, neurological issues, fatigue, circulatory problems and others.

How UV Germicidal Lighting Helps with Mold

UV germicidal lighting uses UV-C lights rays to destroy the DNA of biological pollutants like mold. The radiation from the UV-C rays kinks a cell’s DNA, while also destroying the life-sustaining proteins the cell needs to survive. As such, UV lights not only destroy living cells: they ensure that these cells cannot replicate, thereby eradicating further growth and infestation. UV lights are over 99% effective in destroying biological contaminants. Typical placement for UV lights is in ductwork and over the evaporator coils in your indoor unit.

Smelling Something Musty? It May Be Time For UV Lighting

The most common sign of mold growth in ductwork is a musty, stale odor that you’ll smell when your air conditioner cycles on. If you are smelling this odor coming from your vents, it may be time to consider the installation of UV germicidal lights in Jacksonville. Have questions?

To learn more about UV germicidal lights call Touchstone Heating and Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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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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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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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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