Common Fan Problems

August 15th, 2014

There are two fans in your air conditioner, a condenser fan in the outdoor unit and a blower in the evaporator. Each plays an important role in the heat release/cooling process; each also provides air flow in your system. When there is a malfunction with your fans, the effects can be felt system-wide. Many times, the problems can look like something other than fan issues, which is why it’s important to call the professionals at Sound Heating to repair your AC.

What Do the Fans Do?

Each fan helps equally with air flow, but plays different roles in the heat release/cooling process:

  • Condenser fan – the condenser fan is part of the outdoor unit. The condenser fan sucks up the heat that gets released by the refrigerant in the condenser coils and blows it out into the air. This helps cool the refrigerant in the condenser coils while also dissipating the heat.
  • Indoor blower – the indoor blower blows warm air from indoors over the chilled evaporator coils, and then sends the chilled air into the supply ducts for delivery into your home.

What Types of Problems Occur with Fans?

There are a few common problems we see frequently with fans:

  • Motor issues – fan motors can falter due to electrical issues, or burnout, and sometimes require replacement.
  • Problems with fan blades – fan blades can become bent or loose. One of the main problems with loose or bent fan blades is that they can bang into other parts of your system as they rotate, causing damage. If you hear banging or clunking noises coming from your fan, call a technician for repair.
  • Wiring issues – the wires in and around fan motors can fray, corrode and/or disconnect. This can cause uneven voltage to reach the motor, or a total loss of electricity, resulting in breakdown. The wiring in your fan motors can be complex, so it is best to have a trained professional repair any electrical issues you may experience.

Repair Your Fans Correctly with an Expert

The fans in your system are important to its overall operation, so while no one likes to call for repairs, it’s the smart thing to do. If you are experiencing issues with your fans or anything else, call Sound Heating today and schedule AC repairs in Tacoma with one of our trained technicians.

The Science of Solar Panels

August 8th, 2014

Humans have used the power emanating from the Sun for power since before the beginnings of civilization. But it was only with the invention of solar cells capable of collecting the Sun’s radiant energy and turning it into electricity that humanity has been capable of using solar power to provide for the needs of entire buildings and complexes. Today, you can have your whole house wired to run exclusively from solar collectors on the roof… or you can have a smaller installation to handle a single task, like heating your home’s water.

Solar energy come with enormous benefits: the Sun’s energy is free, renewable, and clean. If you haven’t considered solar installation in Bellevue, WA before, now is a great time to look into the possibilities. Call Sound Heating and speak to our solar experts today to learn more about the types of installations we can perform that will place the power of the Sun into your home.

How Modern Solar Energy Panels Work

You already know how the Sun provides energy directly: the warmth from its rays heats up exposed surfaces and raises their temperatures. But how do solar panels and solar cells work to change the Sun’s energy into electrical power?

The basic principle of solar cells is photovoltaics, which is a method of electrical power generation that changes solar radiation into electrical current. The photovoltaic effect was first observed in 1839 by French physicist A. E. Becquerel: certain material, when exposed to light, creates voltage or electric current. The exposure to light excites the electrons to generate electromotive force, converting some of the light into electrical power.

The material inside modern solar panels that exhibits the photovoltaic effect are semiconductors, which are arranged into groups of photovoltaic modules that make up the PV panels. The semiconductors generate electric voltage without using any moving parts (this is one of the reasons that solar energy systems require very little maintenance or repairs). The electricity created is direct current (DC). A power converter, also known as an inverter, changes the direct current to alternating current (AC) for use in a home. Many solar power systems will also contain a battery to retain voltage for later use and during times when the PV cells lose efficiency.

Solar power continues to advance, and the current technology of PV panels allows for the effective and efficient generation of enough electrical power to run an entire home. Solar panels are not ideal for every house, but you may be surprised to discover how flexible they are. Although solar installation is more expensive than more traditional power systems, the savings are immense (remember, the energy of the Sun is free) and the longevity and low maintenance and repair costs will increase your savings. Best of all, you’ll contribute to a greener future for the planet.

Sound Heating is proud to help people in the Greater Puget Sound Area find solar solutions for their homes. Contact us to learn how we can help you harness the Sun’s power for your household.

Does Solar Power Makes Sense in a Place Like Washington State?

July 31st, 2014

A large number of myths surround the use of solar power, and unfortunately many of them scare off homeowners who might have otherwise benefited from installing a solar power system. One of the most pervasive myths about solar power is that it will not work effectively in locations that are often cloudy or overcast. This is a concern that crops up often in a state like Washington, which is known for its heavy rain and cloud cover.

However, solar power can and does work in Washington State, and in many places that see even less direct sun. If you have resisted even touching the idea of providing your home in Puyallup, WA with solar energy, we hope this post will change your mind. Solar power is clean, renewable, and best of all, free. Contact our solar experts at Sound Heating today, and we can show you how practical a solar installation for your home can be.

Yes! Solar Power Makes Sense in Cloudy Weather

Here are a few facts to consider: the country with the largest output of solar energy is Germany. This nation produces five times the amount of solar energy as the U.S. And yet, Germany receives less sunshine per year than any of the 48 contiguous states! (Only Alaska receives less sun.) Within the U.S., Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts produce as much solar power as sunny California and Arizona. This should put to rest your fears about solar power systems working in Washington State.

To get more specific, the modern technology of solar cells (photovoltaic cells) is advanced enough that ambient light is sufficient for them to convert photons into electricity. (This is known as the “photovoltaic effect”) The solar panels only need UV light—any UV light, not just direct sunlight—to function. Snow can even help solar panels, since the reflectivity of the white surface will send more photons into the PV cells, and cold weather helps increase electricity conductivity from the panels.

You also do not need to worry about rain damage to solar panels during a rainy Washington fall and winter. These panels are built sturdily to resist most extreme weather conditions. Solar panels in Vermont have done well against very harsh winters. The frequent rain in Washington also means you won’t have to wash off your solar panels yourself.

We think you should give solar power for your home serious consideration. Our team at Sound Heating has done many solar installations in the Puget Sound Area, and we’ve seen firsthand how well it can work. Let us help you with solar installations in Puyallup, WA that will lower your bills and help you contribute to a cleaner energy future for the Earth.

3 Common Myths about Solar Power

July 24th, 2014

Although humans have found ways to use the Sun’s power since the dawn of civilization, only in the last few decades has solar power become a burgeoning energy resource. With the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels to capture the Sun’s power, you can run much of your home with an energy source that is free and reusable.

If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because a number of prevalent myths have made it seem that way. We want to dispel three of the bigger solar energy misconceptions that often prevent homeowners from exploring their options to go solar in Puyallup, WA.

At Sound Heating, we specialize in solar power solutions for homes. We have full solar installations of many sizes all across King, Pierce, and Thurston Counties. Let us help you find out the truth about what solar power can do for you.

Myth #1: Solar Power Won’t Work In Cloudy Climates

This is the biggest misunderstanding when it comes to solar power in the Pacific Northwest, where there are numerous overcast days. However, modern solar panels are efficient enough that they will gather energy from ambient light, and the difference in power output is minimal compared to direct sun. In fact, the leading country in the world today for solar power is Germany, which has climate equivalent to that of Washington State and gets even less sun exposure, yet produces 5 times the amount of solar energy as the U.S.

Myth #2: Solar Power Costs Are Too High To Ever Recoup

Solar panels provide essentially free energy from the sun, but people still hesitate about converting to solar power because they believe that the upfront costs are so high that they will never be able to recover the money through energy savings. But the truth is that solar installation will pay for itself in 7 to 14 years, and the panels will last far longer than that. Tax incentives can reduce the payback period to 2 to 4 years in some cases.

Myth #3: Solar Panels Require Too Much Maintenance

Actually, there are few power systems available that require less maintenance than solar power. The size of the panels and the roof space they take up give people the illusion that the panels must receive constant cleaning to work. However, you only need to hose off the panels once a year—and rain will do most of that work in a place like Washington. You’ll need professional assistance with repairs should one of the panels suffer damage, but otherwise your solar power system should require little attention to keep doing its best job.

There are many more misunderstandings about solar power we could deal with (they won’t cause your roof to collapse, they don’t require a tracking system for the sun, and they can look quite attractive), but the bottom line is that solar power is probably much more effective, and affordable, for your home than you ever imagined it was.

Call Sound Heating today and find out more about our extensive services for solar in Puyallup, WA. We will find the best way to get you started with solar power that will fit your budget.

3 Things to Consider Before Solar Installation

July 18th, 2014

The solar power industry in the U.S. grows every year, and advances in sustainable energy have dropped prices to the point that solar energy is now accessible to many homeowners. If you thought that a solar energy system for your home was out of reach, you might be surprised at the possibilities—and the advantages. Harnessing the power of the Sun is not only a good idea for the planet, since it is a clean and renewable source of energy, it is also a good idea for your budget, since the power of the Sun is free. Once you have the system installed, the no-cost energy will immediately start paying back your initial investment.

Sound Heating specializes in solar installation in Puyallup, WA, and we can assist you with finding solar solutions for your home that will match your budget. Contact us today to learn about the options available to you through the clean and sustainable power of the Sun.

Here Are 3 Things to Consider Before Solar Installation

  1. The systems you wish to run: How much of your home do you wish to convert over to solar power? If you are just getting started with solar energy, you may wish to test the waters with a simple system, such as a solar water heater. This requires only a few photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof and a smaller upfront installation cost. A solar-powered water heater will help you understand the benefits of solar power and how well it works for your home. Other ways you can start with solar power include solar air conditioning and solar pool heating. But you may wish to have full solar conversion. Consult with solar specialists about the possibilities and the costs involved.
  2. The available PV panel space: Photovoltaic panels are the vital element of a solar power system. These panels turn the radiant energy of the Sun into electrical energy through the photovoltaic effect. But how many panels will you need, and do you have sufficient roof space to hold them? After you have determined how much of your home you wish to convert to solar power, you can calculate (with the help of the installer) the number of panels necessary and how much roof space they will take up.
  3. Reduce your energy use: An important part of making the most of solar energy is to rely on it as little as possible. Before you have solar power installed, find the best ways to reduce the amount of power that you already use in your home. The smaller your energy load, the fewer solar panels you will need to power your home. Look into improving insulation and energy sealing on your home and investing in high-efficiency appliances to replace wasteful older systems. Make your home as ready as possible for the next stage.

We would love to help you discover the benefits of solar power, and we encourage all residents to investigate solar installation in Puyallup, WA. Talk to our solar experts today, and they will help get you started on the path toward a clean, sustainable energy solution for your home.

No Cool Air Coming from Your Air Conditioner

July 11th, 2014

On a hot day in Tacoma, you shouldn’t be stuck with an air conditioner that only blows warm air into your home. While there may be many reasons why your air conditioner fails to blow cool air, some of which are detailed below, a qualified technician can usually identify the issue and offer the repairs you need.

Thermostat Issues

The first place you should always look when your AC is not blowing cool air is the thermostat. Check to make sure the AC is turned on and try lowering the temperature a couple of degrees. There may be a calibration issue, or a sensor may not be able to accurately detect the temperature in your home.

Low Refrigerant

A constant level of refrigerant cycling throughout your system is necessary to keep your home cool. As the refrigerant changes from liquid to gas form, it absorbs the heat from your home, and as it condenses, it dissipates heat outdoors. The refrigerant itself is never supposed to leave your system; if you have low refrigerant levels, it is likely due to a leak somewhere in the refrigerant lines. Only AC technicians are qualified to handle and replace refrigerant, so you should always contact an air conditioning repair service if a leak causes your system to stop cooling.

Frozen or Dirty Coils

The indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil are both vital to the refrigeration cycle. The condenser coil is where refrigerant changes from gas to liquid form, giving off heat to the outside air in the process. The evaporator coil is where refrigerant evaporates into a gas, absorbing the heat from the air inside your home. Over time, these coils may become dirty, which can interfere with the cooling capacity of your system. This is why it is necessary to schedule regular maintenance to check for issues such as a dirty coil. Blocked airflow can also cause the evaporator coil to freeze, which could prevent your system from blowing cool air.

Don’t suffer without a working AC any longer than you have to this summer. Call Sound Heating to set up AC service in Tacoma and get your air conditioning system back to normal.

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

July 3rd, 2014

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Sound Heating hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

What’s the Best Way to Get Started with Solar Installation?

June 27th, 2014

Solar power is something that many people would like to have installed for their home… but which they never get around to actually installing. We understand: solar power promises fantastic savings through a clean, renewable energy source… but it also requires extensive installation and can consume a large amount of space. There’s also lurking in the back of most people’s minds this nagging thought: “What if it doesn’t work?”

We can assure that solar energy does work for homes. It won’t work for every home, but if you bring in a quality solar contractor to consult on your project, you will find out early on if your home will benefit from solar power or not.

There are some ways to “test the waters” (“test the sunlight?”) of solar power. Here are some of recommendations from our solar experts at Sound Heating for your first steps into the world of solar installation in Puyallup, WA.

Solar water heater

Using the power of the sun to heat your home’s water is both useful and one of the easier solar installations to arrange. Solar water heaters do not come with a high price tag, and only need a few photovoltaic cells on the roof to power them. They also have relatively few maintenance needs. If you find that a solar water heater is a cost-effective method of taking care of your hot water needs, then you should find it simple to expand to other solar power systems.

Solar-powered air conditioning

One of the advantages of having solar air conditioning (aside from cooling down your home for essentially no cost) is that the air conditioners themselves are not much different from standard central ACs, using indoor and outdoor units and ventilation shafts. The difference is the source of the electricity that runs them: the PV cells on the roof. Otherwise, the installation is similar.

Bring in a solar power expert

When you hire a solar expert to look over your home, you’ll learn much more about the possibilities for expanding your solar usage. An expert will point out places where you can start saving immediately with solar installation. Every home has different needs and different ways it can use the power of the Sun, and a professional will help you find the best way to set up a solar power system that will do the job you need at a price you can afford.

At Sound Heating, we recommend that everyone examine the possibilities of going solar in at least part of their home. The benefits for your budget are tremendous, and you also be helping the planet by reducing your home’s total energy consumption and the production of environmentally harmful emissions. Call us today for consultation on solar installation in Puyallup, WA.

3 Advantages to a Solar Panel Array

June 26th, 2014

Here in Puyallup, solar panel technology used to be the stuff of pipe dreams. Cloud cover and our generally gloomy weather meant that solar arrays couldn’t get enough sunlight to do the job, leaving them practical only in sunnier parts of the country to the south. Those days are long gone. Today, advancing technology makes solar panels a great option even here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for a new way to power your home, you would do well to consider installing a solar system.

Here are 3 advantages to a solar panel array that might help you make up your mind

  • Energy savings. The first and most obvious benefit to solar power is the huge amount of money you can save on your monthly electrical bills. For all practical purposes, solar power is renewable and endless, costing you almost nothing and providing enough power to run every appliance in your home. Over time, the money saved might offset the cost of installation, and your monthly savings can free up space in your budget for other things.
  • Environmentally friendly. Going hand in hand with that energy efficiency is a source of power about as green as you can get. It uses no fossil fuels and it doesn’t produce any toxic side effects, helping you lower your carbon footprint and give the planet a much-needed break.
  • Money back to you. In some cases, your solar array will generate more power than you need, which means you can sell the excess back to the grid. Similarly, solar panel arrays improve the resale value of your house, and can help further recoup the cost of investment when the time comes to sell.

The advantages to a solar panel array are considerable, but every home is unique and only you can make the final decision. For reliable advice and installation services, give the experts at Sound Heating a call. We have the skills and experience you need to address the issue properly; solar companies don’t come more qualified. Pick up the phone today to set up solar service in Puyallup. You’ll be glad you did!

What Are the Advantages of Installing a Tankless Water Heater?

June 20th, 2014

The old-fashioned style of water heater that uses a large tank of water to which heat from natural gas or electric heating elements is continually applied is so… old fashioned. There’s a new way to provide hot water for your home that removes the tank and gives you many advantages to take its place: the tankless water heater.

There are many reasons you should consider a tankless water heater in Kent, WA for your next installation. If you need more advice about going this route, talk to Sound Heating today. We install top-brand Rinnai tankless water heaters, which can fit a variety of household sizes and budgets. Call our specialists today to find out more about the tankless water heater edge.

The main advantages of a tankless water heater

  • Never run out of hot water: If someone going with a lukewarm or cold shower in the morning is a common occurrence in your household, then you should consider a tankless system. Because a tankless water heater only heats up water when it’s needed (a reason they are sometimes called “on-demand” water heaters), you never have to worry about running out of your supply of hot water. As soon as a tap turns, the heat exchanger in the system goes to work warming the water.
  • Save energy: A standard storage water heater must apply constant energy to the tank to maintain the necessary 120° –140° water temperature. It uses this energy whether you need the water or not. With a tankless system, you only use energy when you turn on a tap indicating that you need hot water. You’ll end up using only a fraction of the energy necessary for a storage system, and you can expect your heating bills to decrease by 20–35%.
  • Longer system lifespan: Less energy used to heat water also means a system with less wear and tear placed on it. Tankless systems can last many more years than a storage system, and that means you’ll have more years to earn savings on your initial investment.
  • Save space: Because storage systems need to use a large water tank, they take up far more space than a tankless system, which are often small enough to mount on a wall. Some can even go outside with and anti-freeze kit.

There are a few drawbacks to tankless systems: they cost more to install upfront than storage systems, and your level of savings will depend on the amount of water your household uses regularly. Consult with experts to find out if a tankless water heater in Kent, WA is the right choice for your home. Our team at Sound Heating is ready to help you, and we will install your new system so it works for many years.