3 Signs That Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair

April 20th, 2015

Summer is almost here, and that means it’s time to start getting your air conditioning system ready for the hottest days of the year. Part of that preparation includes conducting any necessary repairs on your system before it has a chance to break down. It’s rather hard to recognize the need for repairs if you don’t know what symptoms to look for, though. With that in mind, have a look at 3 of the common signs that your air conditioner needs repair. Continue Reading

Air Purifiers That Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

April 13th, 2015

The air in your home may seem clean, fresh, and empty, but it almost certainly isn’t. The average home’s indoor air is teeming with microscopic contaminants. Dust, pollen, germs, mites, and mold spores are just a handful of the many different kinds of pollutants that you are probably breathing right now. These contaminants are responsible for allergy attacks, coughing, sneezing, and even illnesses like the flu. Fortunately, you don’t have to just accept that your home has low indoor air quality. By installing an air purifier, you can remove a lot of these contaminants and improve your health. Read on for a list of a few different air purifiers that can improve your indoor air quality. Continue Reading

Advantages You Can Garner from Hydronic Radiant Heating

April 6th, 2015

Radiant heating is not something that is often considered when homeowners are in the market for a new heating system. This is usually because the house is already set up to accommodate a forced-air heating system. The temptation to make the process easier by sticking with a similar type of heating system to the last one is also a factor. However, radiant hydronic heating actually has quite a bit to recommend it. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that you can garner from installing a hydronic radiant heating system in your home.

Energy Efficiency

Hydronic radiant heating is a boiler-based system that heats the house by distributing hot water through it. The water flows through a network of pipes installed in the walls or subfloors of each room. As the water flows through the pipes, it transmits heat through them and into the room. This style of heating is much more energy efficient than forced-air systems. For one thing, water is a much better thermal conductor than air is. It heats up faster, and retains that heat for longer. For another, forced-air systems have to deal with duct leaks.

The US Department of Energy has estimated that the average forced air system loses as much as 20-30% of its output to duct leaks. A radiant heating system doesn’t use ducts, which allows it to deliver much more of its heat to the intended destination.

Comfort

When warm air is pumped into a room, it will immediately rise to the ceiling and then lower as it cools. This not only makes it take longer for a room to warm up, but creates an uneven heating effect. Hot and cold spots are quite common in rooms heated by forced-air systems. Radiant heating warms a room much more evenly, with most of the heat staying near the floor where it is of greater benefit to the occupants.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of hydronic radiant heating, call Sound Heating. We provide heating services throughout Tacoma, WA.

Air Conditioning Repair Issues that You Should Watch for

April 3rd, 2015

Just like any other system, your air conditioner is likely to develop a few problems over the course of its lifetime. No matter how well you take care of it, you’re going to have to call for air conditioner repairs at some point. The important thing is recognizing when you need to call for those repairs, and doing so as quickly as possible. The faster you address repair issues, the better shape your air conditioner will be in. With that in mind, let’s examine some air conditioning repair issues that you should watch out for.

Frozen or Dirty Coils

Your air conditioner makes use of two units in order to operate, one installed inside and one outside. Each unit contains a coil, which is connected to the refrigerant line that runs between them. The inside unit is the evaporator coil, which evaporates refrigerant in order to absorb heat from the air. This causes condensation to form on the coil, which is then drained out of the system. The refrigerant gas then carries the heat to the condenser coil in the outside unit. There, the gas is condensed back into a liquid to release the heat into the outside air. This is how your air conditioner cools the air in your home. When the coils become dirty, however, there are some problems that can occur.

A dirty evaporator coil loses the ability to absorb heat from the air. It keeps evaporating refrigerant, however, which causes the condensation on the coil to freeze before it can drain away. The buildup of ice completely blocks the flow of air to the evaporator coil, and could actually damage it if not removed in time.

Short-Cycling

Short-cycling is a behavior in which a system will rapidly turn itself on and off every few minutes. This is an extremely damaging behavior, one that can increase the chance of a breakdown and drastically shorten the system’s lifespan. In air conditioners, this is often caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or compressor. The thermostat will turn the air conditioner on and off either because of a short, or because it cannot accurately read the temperature in the room. Meanwhile, a malfunctioning compressor will cause irregular pressure in the refrigerant line, resulting in an irregular cycle.

If you think your air conditioning system is in need of repair, call Sound Heating for our quality air conditioning repair service in Bellevue, WA.

Why Should I Invest in Solar Installation?

March 25th, 2015

Solar power has been the source of great debate since its inception. Arguments have raged from company board rooms all the way up to the floor of the senate about whether or not solar energy will be the technology that finally frees us of our reliance on fossil fuels. Though that debate is still going on, one thing is certain: solar energy can absolutely save money at the individual level. If you have never looked into installing solar technology in your home, now is the time to consider it. Let’s take a look at why you should invest in solar installation.

What is Solar Energy?

As you probably already know, solar technology involves harvesting the sun’s thermal energy and using it to power some of the home’s appliances. This is done through the installation of solar panels, either on the roof of the home or adjacent to it. The exact details of solar installation are dependent on the individual home, and will vary. What matters, though, is that solar panels themselves are incredibly resilient. They don’t need to be cleaned more than once every few months. They are built to be resistant to inclement weather, up to and including hail. These are devices that are meant to spend their lifespans outside, and their design reflects that.

How Much Can I Save?

This is usually the first question that people ask when they’re considering investing in solar energy. The answer is: it depends. How much money you save with solar energy will depend largely on the size of the system you install. If you are committed to solar energy, you could actually install a system large enough to cover your home’s entire energy bill. Once the system had paid itself off with savings from the monthly bills, any money it saved after that would go right into your pocket. Over the course of a decade or two, you could save tens of thousands of dollars by eliminating your monthly energy bill.

If you’d like to know more about why you should invest in solar installation, call Sound Heating. We provide professional solar installation throughout Kent, WA.

Common Tankless Water Heater Repairs

March 20th, 2015

Tankless water heaters have garnered quite a bit of popularity recently, mainly for their advantages over traditional storage tank water heaters. Compared to tank water heaters, tankless water heaters are more energy efficient and less likely to cause water damage to the surrounding area by rupturing. However, tankless water heaters are not immune to all problems. They still experience repair needs, of which you should be aware. Let’s take a look at the kinds of repairs tankless water heaters commonly need.

Gas or Electric Problems

Tankless water heaters rely on gas or electricity to heat the water they distribute. Even in gas water heaters, there are still electrical components. If your water heater seems to be having trouble starting, or distributing hot water, it is very often due to a problem with your gas or electrical supply. The specific repair is going to depend on the individual problem. If your gas pressure is too low, it may be because you have a blockage in the gas line or because your meter is maladjusted. If your electric tankless unit is malfunctioning, you could have a short or a burnout somewhere in the circuitry. Either way, you’ll want to contact a professional to have a look at your system.

Lime Scale

Lime scale is the result of hard water leaving mineral deposits on the inner walls of your pipes. In tankless water heaters, this tends to affect the heat exchanger more than anything else. Once the mineral deposits build to a certain point, they begin to restrict the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This can cause an increase in pressure and eventually rupture the pipe, though that is rare. Either way, you’ll want to have your tankless water heater inspected at least once a year to make sure that there isn’t lime scale building up inside it.

Most of the problems that tankless water heaters have to deal with are pretty tame, compared to other water heaters. However, that’s no reason to ignore them. If you suspect that your tankless water heater has a problem, call Sound Heating right away. We service tankless water heaters throughout Bellevue.

Why is there Ice on My Heat Pump?

March 11th, 2015

Finding ice on the outside of your heat pump is not uncommon, especially in cold environments. Most people tend to assume that this indicates a problem with the heat pump. This isn’t necessarily true, though there is a way to tell whether you need to call for heating repair for this. First, let’s take a look at why ice forms on a heat pump in the first place. Then, we’ll tell you how to identify if you need to call a professional or not.

The Cause of Heat Pump Ice

A heat pump works by evaporating refrigerant to absorb thermal energy from the surrounding outside air. It then sends that thermal energy inside to heat the home. There are two effects to evaporating refrigerant in this way. First, the temperature in the surrounding area drops as the thermal energy is siphoned out of the air. Second, condensation begins to form on the heat pump coil and the surrounding casing. The combination of those two effects causes ice to form on the heat pump.

When is Ice on My Heat Pump a Problem?

So, the question remains about when ice on the heat pump is a problem. Well, if left unchecked, the ice will continue to build up until it completely encases the heat pump. This is a problem because it cuts off the supply of thermal energy from the surrounding air, essentially preventing the heat pump from heating the home. Now, the heat pump is designed to address this problem by using a defrost cycle. Basically, the heat pump will periodically reverse the refrigerant flow in the system to melt the ice off the outside unit.

The problem you should be aware of is that the defrost cycle can sometimes malfunction. If this happens, there is nothing to prevent the ice from eventually covering the entire heat pump. So, the best way to tell if you should call a professional for this is to note the amount of ice on the pump. If there’s only a little ice, there’s no reason to worry. If there is a large amount of ice, or the ice is slowly growing over time, you should call a technician to check your defrost cycle.

If your heat pump needs repairs, call Sound Heating. We provide quality heating repair services in Tacoma, WA.

When is it Time for New Solar Panel Installation?

March 4th, 2015

The solar panels on your roof are some of the most extraordinary components of your home. Solar panels can generate enough electricity to power an entire home, yet they don’t have any mechanical parts and require very little maintenance. In some areas, solar panels benefit from a little bit of cleaning from time to time. But in our area, the rain often takes care of this for us. Solar panels are tough and durable, and should last for many years without any trouble.

But the truth is that some sort of trouble may still occur with your solar panels. Be sure to schedule our solar installation service in Lakewood, WA if you experience any trouble or if you suspect damages.

Some Reasons for New Solar Installation

There are only a couple of main reasons to install new solar panels. It’s possible that your panel is damaged to the point that it greatly affects your energy bills. Or perhaps you want new solar installation for even greater energy savings.

  • Panels are cracked or otherwise damaged: Sometimes, a professional may be able to solder a small crack in a panel before it becomes any worse. Actually, your damaged panel may still function just fine, but cracks leave your panel more susceptible to further damage, which is why repairs should be taken care of right away.
  • One broken panel affects them all: If there are multiple panels installed on your property, a single damaged panel may not necessarily have too much of an impact. If you have 5 solar panels, one damaged panel will still allow solar energy to operate at 80% of its original capacity, as long as an electrical current can still run through the rest of them. If one panel cuts off the current to the other interconnected panels, repairs become urgent.
  • You want more solar energy in your home: A final reason to install a new solar panel is if you want more from your solar energy system. Perhaps you already had one or two solar panels installed for your heating or AC system. If this has worked out well, you may consider adding additional panels to power the entire home.

The solar experts at Sound Heating can take care of all of your solar installation needs in Lakewood, WA. Call our trusted team today!

3 Common Solar Repair Issues

February 25th, 2015

Solar technology is being implemented in homes across the country, as more and more homeowners embrace the free and renewable energy it provides. While solar panels are great for cutting down your electric bill, however, they still have their own set of repair issues that occasionally need to be dealt with. Let’s examine some of the repair needs that you need to be aware of when installing solar technology.

Weather Damage

Solar panels are left exposed to the elements by necessity, seeing as how they need to be out in the open to get as much sun as possible. This can become a bit of a problem if you live in areas with common inclement weather, like strong winds or hail. Solar panels are, of course, designed to resist these kinds of eventualities. However, no solar panel is going to fare well if it gets blown off the roof or gets pounded by baseball-sized hailstones throughout the night. Be sure to consult with a professional about the best place to install your solar panels, and what quality glass they’ll need to have to withstand the climate. If your solar panel does become cracked or otherwise damaged by weather, don’t worry. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may just need to have the glass replaced.

Damaged Wiring

Solar panels are pretty sturdy, owing mainly to their design and lack of moving parts. However, they still have vulnerable areas that should be inspected regularly. Wiring is one of those areas. The wires that connect the solar panel to the rest of your system can be exposed to moisture fairly easily, as well as becoming loose due to weather conditions like high winds. While the wires are insulated, any damage to that insulation make it possible for a short to occur in the system. Make a habit of checking your solar wiring regularly to make sure the wiring is in good condition.

Burn Out

Solar systems make use of a number of different parts beyond the panel itself. The solar inverter is responsible for converting solar energy into electricity that the home can use, while batteries store solar energy for use during periods of darkness or cloud cover. These systems are capable of burning out over time. Be sure to inspect them on a regular basis for signs of rust, corrosion, or other damage. If you notice any of these signs, you’ll probably need to have the part replaced.

If your solar module is experiencing problems, call Sound Heating to schedule an appointment. We provide professional solar services throughout Olympia.

Will a Tankless Water Heater Really Save Money?

February 16th, 2015

When it comes to water heaters, one of the biggest questions our Sound Heating specialists get asked is, “will a tankless unit really save me money?” The answer is yes, but it takes some explaining, which we will do below. You can also access direct help with any questions you may have about installing a tankless water heater in your home by making an appointment with one of the experts from Sound Heating.

How the Costs Breakdown

The initial costs of a tankless water heater are typically more expensive than that of a storage tank water heater, but this isn’t where the savings comes in anyway. Where the savings comes in is over time, in the form of less energy usage. Storage water heaters not only use a greater amount of energy, they also lose a greater amount of energy, something known as “standby heat loss”; this type of heat loss can account for up to 30% of the energy a storage tank water heater uses. So how do you determine how a tankless water heater can save you money? First, you take into consideration that a tankless water heater will save you about $100 per year in annual energy costs. Second, you look at the lifespans of a tank water heater versus a tankless water heater: tank water heaters have an average lifespan of 8-12 years while tankless ones have a lifespan of 20. When you multiply $100 by 20 years, that’s a total savings of $2,000. Of course, these numbers represent averages, but it stands to reason that you will save money over the lifespan of your tankless water heater’s life.

Other Tankless Benefits

Money savings is just one benefit a tankless water heater can offer you. Some other benefits include:

  • Endless hot water – because tankless systems provide hot water on demand, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of hot water.
  • Gas or electric options – tankless water heaters can use either gas or electricity for power.
  • Space-saving – tankless water heaters are considerably smaller than storage tank ones, which opens up a lot of room for your home.

If you’ve been looking for a way to save on your energy costs, and a tankless water heater sounds like it may be a fit for your home in Auburn, WA, call Sound Heating today!