How to Prevent Solar Repair Sessions

April 9th, 2014

Continual advances in solar technology have made the free power of the sun available to more and more homeowners. Solar power isn’t perfect, however. For all their major benefits, the photovalic cells of solar energy systems can sustain damage and require repairs or replacements. They need less repair work than systems with extensive mechanical parts, such as furnaces, but any problems they encounter need to be taken seriously with professional repair work.

We’ll show you some ways you can prevent needing to call for repairs for your solar energy system. But in the event that you do need solar repair service in Puyallup, WA, you can count on Sound Heating to come to your rescue. We have 24-hour emergency service available for your peace of mind.

How to keep your solar panels from needing repairs

The major concern with solar energy systems are the solar panels on the roof. Although built for durability (the cells contain no moving parts and most have an expected lifespan of more than 20 years according the U.S. Department of Energy), these panels can still suffer damage from weather conditions an aging. Heavy rain is a particular concern in the Puget Sound Area. The best way to make sure that the cells will not sustain water damage is with regular maintenance from solar energy professionals. It’s important to have a yearly inspection to discover places where cracking is occurring in the glass covering the cells (which can sometimes suffer damage due to hail or debris blown from high winds) that will allow rain water inside.

Maintenance will also look for dust and dirt that might interfere with the electrical relays from the panels. The Department of Energy estimates that solar energy systems for homes require about 16 hours per year of maintenance to keep them from breaking down. Although you could try some of the maintenance on your own, most of this will consist of basic cleaning of the glass surfaces. Have professionals take care of a good chunk of the time needed each year to keep the cells in their best shape and out of danger of needing serious repairs.

Maintenance is the key

You can’t do more to protect your solar cells that wouldn’t involve covering them up, which would destroy their effectiveness. To keep away repair needs, you should instead rely on regular professional maintenance. An annual maintenance job is not expensive, and it costs much less than the price of replacing damaged solar cells. You should still do some basic cleaning as well, but leave the rest to the experts.

Contact Sound Heating to schedule your annual visit for maintenance so you won’t need to later make an emergency call for solar repair in Puyallup, WA.

Reasons to go Solar in Puyallup

April 9th, 2014

We don’t usually think of solar technology as a viable option here in Washington. Cloud cover is a way of life, and in the past, that often meant that solar panels just weren’t viable as an energy source. But that’s not the case today. Technological advancements mean that local homeowners can take full advantage of the benefits offered by solar technology, and here in Puyallup, solar installation companies are standing by to help you. Here are a few great reasons to go solar in Puyallup.

Solar installation is one of the staples of our business, and we have the knowledge and experience to do the job right. Give us a call today to discuss your options and we’ll show you what we can do!

Why Go Solar?

  • Inexpensive electricity. Once installed, solar panels can generate power much more cheaply and efficiently than getting electricity off the grid. In fact, you may even be able to sell electricity back to the grid when you have a surplus, putting money back in your pocket. All of that can seriously help offset the cost of installation.
  • Fewer repairs. Because there are very few moving parts, solar panels rarely need repairs or upgrades. That helps set your mind at ease, as well as ensuring that your inexpensive electrical costs don’t take a sudden and unexpected hit.
  • Home resale value. Solar panels can significantly improve the resale value of your home. Should you ever decide to sell, it will help bump the price up a good deal.
  • Environmental impact. Solar panels require very few fossil fuels or other environmentally unfriendly sources of power: generating clean and reliable energy from a perpetually renewable source. They create no pollution and can reduce your carbon footprint to almost nothing depending on your usage.
  • Remote usage. Rural households may not be able to get connected to the electrical grid, requiring alternate means of power such as generator. Solar power is a safer and easier alternative to such options.

For more reasons to go solar in Puyallup, or to schedule an installation, the professionals at Sound Heating are standing by.

Maintenance Steps for Your Solar Panels

April 2nd, 2014

Solar panel installation could be one of the smartest things you ever do, decreasing your dependence on costly heating systems and helping create a greener environment in the process. But like anything else, solar panels require maintenance to function as they should. Before contacting a qualified service representative to install your new panel, you should talk about maintenance steps for your solar panels with them. Here in Olympia, solar repair services are available from the same company that installs your panels, but the more maintenance you can do for yourself, the better your system will function over time.

When the time comes to conduct repairs on your solar panels, we’ll be there with an eye on your complete satisfaction every step of the way. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do. You’ll be glad you did!

Here’s a quick rundown of maintenance steps

Most maintenance sessions should involve cleaning the panels off. You can buy a solar panel cleaning kit, though a car cleaning kit will do in a pinch if you need it to. Mix the soap in a bucket of warm water according to instructions and apply it gently to the solar panels using a hand-held brush, then “squeegee” the excess liquid off. You should do this every six months or so, ideally at the beginning and end of the summer. If you just need a touch-up or want to wash off a recent bit of dirt, you can use a simple garden hose, though be careful not to apply cold water to the panels on a hot day.

That, in essence, is the only maintenance step for your solar panels, since they have no moving parts and don’t require much attention. If you detect something wrong with your system, then you should call a repair service, of course, and you may wish to schedule professional maintenance if you don’t wish to scramble around on the roof yourself. In Olympia, solar repair services are provided by Sound Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., and we pride ourselves on doing the job right the first time, every time. We can explain any further maintenance steps for your solar panels, or perform them ourselves if you’d rather leave it to the experts.

3 Things to Think About with Solar Installation

April 1st, 2014

Solar panels make a lot of sense from a number of different perspectives. Even in cloudy towns like Olympia, solar installation has proven an effective and environmentally friendly way to provide electricity to your home. It can help you stay self-sufficient during a disaster and help helps pay for itself by letting you sell energy back to the grid. But like anything else, solar installation requires proper preparation and planning. Here are 3 things to think about with solar installation.

  • Think about sunlight exposure. Solar panels are strong enough to pick up plenty of sunlight even on cloudy days. (And we certainly have our share of hose.) But they don’t work as well when there’s a lot of tree cover, building cover and similar shadows falling over your home. In order for the panels to work as well as they should, you need them to be exposed to the open sky as much as possible during the day. This may require adjusting your home’s layout, trimming trees and taking a careful approach to where you place the panels.
  • Consider your rooftop. Solar panels are usually installed on the roof, though you can use yard space if your property is large enough. Rooftops come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them prove more difficult for solar panels than others. A good installation company should be able to install panels on most every roof, but you should expect some planning to go into it, especially if you have a sloping roof, Spanish tile or something similar.
  • Expect an up-front cost. Solar installation is not inexpensive and making the leap to solar energy will require an initial investment. You will start seeing returns on that investment over time as you reap considerable energy savings (and increase the resale value of your house to boot), but you need to expect a little patience and look for savings to accrue over time instead of arriving right away.

If you’re thinking about solar installation, call upon the experts at Sound Heating to help. We work in Olympia, solar installation is a specialty of ours, and we can prepare for the things to think about with solar installation before setting up your new system with courtesy and care. Call us today and let us show you what we can do!

Use Solar Heating to Warm Your Home

March 19th, 2014

Here is what’s great about solar energy: the power of the sun is free. Instead of paying for natural gas, electricity, oil, propane, etc., you won’t have to shell out a single cent for the energy that radiates from the star at the center of our solar system. Once you’ve paid for the installation of a solar-powered heating and cooling system, the only money you will need to pay to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter is for regular maintenance and occasional repairs. (And solar powered systems have few moving parts, so they rarely require extensive repairs.) And if you go solar, you’ll help the planet because you’ll be using a renewable energy source.

Solar power is still underutilized, but at Sound Heating we hope to change that. We want to help you benefit from solar in Puyallup, WA. Contact us today to talk about installation of a solar heating and cooling system for your home, as well as other solar-powered systems.

A few things to consider with solar heating

Solar power does tend to be more expensive to install than systems that use electricity or natural gas. However, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial costs. It only requires a few years for solar energy to pay back its installation price, and after that point you’ll save money every month that you have your system working.

Homeowners are often worried about the space requirements for solar panels. You should have a technician experienced with solar power take a look at your property so you know about the potential for your home to harness the sun’s energy. You don’t necessarily need an enormous amount of roof space, since panels can now be installed on posts in the yard.

Something else to keep in mind: If you feel a bit hesitant about hooking up a full solar-powered heat pump, you can start smaller with a solar-powered water heater, one of the easiest units to install. It’s not difficult from there to start to add on more solar panels as you expand your home’s use of the energy of the sun.

Find out more about solar power and your home

Contact Sound Heating and set up an appointment with our Puyallup, WA solar specialists. We can tell you about the options available for using solar power to heat and cool your home, and then arrange to look over your house and property and see where you can start saving money with sun power. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we hope that’ll you decide to invest in solar heating for your future and for the planet’s.

Signs Your Solar Panels Need Repair

March 5th, 2014

Our customers at Sound Heating are often looking for ways to reduce their energy bills as well their impact on the environment. The best way to do both is the choose to have a photovalic (PV) solar panel system installed on their roof or other part of their property to harness the free energy of the sun. Solar panels will soon pay back their installation cost through their highly energy-efficient performance.

A solar panel operating with repair needs, however, won’t give you the savings you want—or the power. But it can be difficult to tell when PV panels need repairs because they do not use mechanical parts and show no display outwardly that they are working at all. Here are some things to look for to tell that you may need solar repair service in Olympia, WA for your PV panels.

Watch for these signs that your solar panels need repairs

  • Broken glass casing: Solar panels are built to withstand most weather conditions, but can still sustain damage from debris, such as falling trees, stones hurled in the wind, and hail. If you notice any cracks in your solar panels, from small factures to a web of shattered glass, don’t ignore it or hesitate with calling for repairs. Water getting inside the panels can cause fogging and eventually other serious damage to the panels.
  • Power from the cells cuts in and out: An issue that can afflict solar panels is loose solder connections or other problems with the wiring such as corrosion and oxidation, which can lead to the panels cutting in and out when they are heating and cooling. If you rap your hand against the panels and their power cuts in or out, then you should call for repairs to fix the connections and locate any other panels that may have similar problems.
  • Drop in power production: You should keep close track on the power meter for your solar system to see how it performs on average (measured in killowatts per day) as compared to the manufacturer’s expected average. If drops occur that you cannot account for because of weather conditions such as clouds or rain, then the panels may be losing their capacity for some reason and will need repairs.  
  • Error message on the inverter: Check the inverter once a week to see that it is operating correctly or displaying an error message. The problem may actually be with the inverter itself, but it could also be a problem with the panels. Record the error code on the inverter and then call professionals to see what can be done.

Solar panels need precision repairs, and you can only get this through experts in solar power technology. Trust to the solar repair experts in Olympia, WA at Sound Heating to take care of your sun-powered needs.

3 Common Types of Hydronic Heating Repair

February 27th, 2014

Hydronic heating consists of a series of metal tubes planted beneath the floorboards of your home along with reflective tiling. Hot water is pumped through the tubes, which warm your home directly through the floors instead of relying on forced air like traditional systems do. Installation can be very involved, but once the system is set up, it’s very efficient and cost-friendly. There are no drafts or cold spots, and the system won’t spread dust or germs the way forced-air furnaces do. But like any other appliance, they suffer their share of problems and damage. Here in Tacoma, heating repair services are on call to handle any issues with your hydronic heating system. Here are 3 common types of hydronic heating repair:

  • Faulty pump. The pump is necessary to circulate the water through the system. Without it, the water won’t stay warm and the system won’t be able to effectively heat your home. The pump can become jammed or clogged, or the motor running it may suffer from some kind of short. Electrical problems can shut off power to the pump as well.
  • Air venting valves. Hydronic heating systems require air venting valves to release excess air from the system. When the valves malfunction, they either seal shut or stay wedged open, both of which will seriously compromise your system’s ability to function.
  • Leaks. Hydronic heating systems are designed to be water-tight, but over lengthy periods of time, leaks can develop in weak fittings or connections. A leak is a serious issue because it can damage the surrounding floor and other furnishings in your home. If you detect one, shut off the system and contact a repair technician immediately.

Heating repair services in Tacoma, WA can be performed by the experts at Sound Heating. We handle common types of hydronic heating repair as well as more unusual problems, and our trained staff has years of experience in dealing with hydronic systems. If you own a hydronic heating system and need it examined by the best, pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

Benefits of Wireless Thermostats to Your Heating System

February 17th, 2014

In Puyallup, heating systems still depend on thermostats to gauge the temperature and tell the heater to turn on and off. Most people still think of thermostats as wired models set in one specific point in the house, and indeed such models are quite popular. But they’re not the only type of thermostat on the market. Wireless thermostats get rid of the old models where thermostats were stuck to one part of your wall and needed to be powered by electrical wires. Wireless units offer a number of tangible advantages over other types of thermostats, though as always you as the homeowner need to decide if they’re right for you.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of wireless thermostats to your heating system:

  • More accurate readings. Wired thermostats run into big trouble when they’re poorly placed. Drafts, cold sports and similar hiccups in your interior temperature can wreak havoc on your ability to effectively condition the air. Wireless thermostats make that much easier to correct. If the thermostat can read the temperature where it is, just move to somewhere where you can.
  • Ease of installation. Along those lines, a wireless thermostat is very easy to install and doesn’t require the services of an electrician. You can put it together fairly easily and as long as is establishes a strong signal with the furnace, it should respond as effectively as a wired thermostat will. You
  • Tailored temperatures. If you have a centralized furnace, you’ve likely experienced some frustration at your thermostat’s “one size fits all” approach to heating. If you’re too warm and someone elsewhere in the household is too col, the portable thermostat makes for an easy fix. Simply move it into the parts of the house that you’re using at the time and the temperature should work the way you need it to.

The benefits of wireless thermostats to your heating system often trump the extra cost involved, and with a reliable technician in your corner, you can set on up to function with maximum reliability. The Puyallup heating systems specialists like the ones at Sound Heating can help. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 14th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at Sound Heating hope you have a happy February 14th.

3 Options for Hydronic Installation

February 6th, 2014

Hydronic heating is a form of radiant heating, warming the space by transferring energy directly rather than depending upon blown air the way traditional gas furnaces do.  In the case of hydronic system they use heated water to do it, which makes for a very effective and efficient form of heat. In Washington towns like Puyallup, heating installation services can set up a hydronic system very easily, and considering the challenges our wet climate makes for keeping homes cozy and warm, a good hydronic system could be the perfect fit for your home. But not all hydronic systems are alike, and you should have some idea of which types are available so as to make the most informed decision.

Here are 3 options for hydronic installation in Puyallup, WA:

  • Underfloor tubing. This type of system installs a series of tubes directly beneath the floorboards of the room, along with a series of heat-conducting panels. They warm the room directly through the furnishings (and feet) in the room. Installation tends to be quite complex, but when it’s complete, the resulting system is hidden from sight and takes up very little space The thorough coverage provided by the system means that heating is very even as well.
  • Baseboard heaters. Baseboard heaters are easier to install than underfloor tubing. They involve baseboards placed along the base of the wall, pulling in cool air from the room and heating it via a series of pipes and tubes circulating hot water. The downside is that they’re more obtrusive and don’t quite heat the room as evenly as underfloor tubing. But they’re easy to maintain and don’t cost as much to install.
  • Hydronic boilers. Boilers are the oldest and most familiar form of hydronic heater, using a centralized boiler to heat the water, which then circulates to radiators and similar components via pipes. They’re simpler to install than other types of hydronic system, though they can still be quite obtrusive and aren’t always as efficient as heating the home.

Regardless of the options for hydronic installation you choose, the experts at Sound Heating can help. We operate in Puyallup, heating installation includes hydronic systems, and we’re dedicated to you complete satisfaction at every turn. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!