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.

What Are My Home’s Requirements for Installing a Solar System?

June 12th, 2014

Solar systems have come a long way in a very short time, and here in Olympia, solar installation services no longer need to worry about the excessive cloud cover of the Pacific Northwest. When properly installed, such a system can save you a great deal of money over the years, as well as increasing your home’s self-sufficiency and reducing your carbon footprint. But before you sign up for an installation session, you need to make sure your home is right for solar installation. “What are my home’s requirements for installing a solar system?” you ask. Read on for the answers.

  • Square footage. Most solar panels are installed on rooftops, though they can also be installed on the ground if you have the space. Regardless, you need a certain amount of square footage so that solar panels will produce enough power. Your installer can perform the calculations, which involve the amount of energy you use at peak periods throughout the year and the amount of power a given solar panel collects. With the square footage in mind, you can then plan for the ideal area, taking into account such aspects as rooftop tiles and chimney position.
  • Shading. Solar panels these days can overcome cloud cover, but they still need an unobstructed view of the sky in order to function as they should. You need to keep the amount of trees and similar types of shading in mind, and then determine how many hours of unobstructed sunlight your panels will receive.
  • Tilting. Here in Washington, solar panels should ideally face due south (receiving the most amount of sunlight) and have a tilt of about 30 degrees. If your roof can’t provide this, your installation technician can discuss other options and ensure that the tilt of the panels remains the best it can be for the circumstances.

For more on your home’s requirements for installing a solar system, or to plan for an Olympia solar installation, the experts at Sound Heating are standing by. We’ll answer all your questions before performing an installation with courtesy and care, so give us a call today!

 

3 Factors Necessary for Solar Panels in Your Home

June 5th, 2014

Solar panel technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past few years, and here in Kent, WA, solar installation has become an increasingly popular option for powering your home. You may be considering a solar panel array for your own home, but before you pull the trigger, you need to know the sorts of issues your home and property may present. That will help you make an informed decision and ensure that your solar panels do their job as they should.

Here are 3 factors necessary for solar panels in your home

  • Square footage. Solar panels need a fair bit of space to function, the exact amount of which depends on the power you wish to generate. In most cases, you can fit them on your roof. Otherwise, you’ll need to place them in your yard or some other outdoor location. In either case, you need a technician to determine just how many square feet of solar panels is required. Otherwise, your home won’t receive enough power from the system and the whole point of installing solar panels will be lost.
  • Sunlight exposure. Modern solar panels don’t need to worry about cloudy days (a good thing here in overcast Washington). They do still require an unobstructed view of the sky, however, with an eye on maximum exposure during the day. If you have tall trees or similar obstructions, talk to an installation technician about your options, and whether some new landscaping is in order.
  • Maintenance factors. Solar panels don’t have moving parts, so maintaining them isn’t difficult. They do require cleaning from time to time, however, and occasionally repairs must be conducted. If you have a sloped roof or intend to place your panels in some other tricky locale, make sure you can access them safely.

As you may suspect, the advice of a trained professional can help when pondering the factors necessary for solar panels in your home.  In Kent, WA, solar installation can be performed by the experts at Sound Heating. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment!

Signs That Air Conditioning Systems Have Low Refrigerant

May 23rd, 2014

Your air conditioner relies on refrigerant to do its job: running through a theoretically closed system that first converts it to a liquid (releasing heat into the outside air) then shifts it back into a gas (pulling heat from the nearby air which can then be blown into your home). The cycle depends on specific amounts of refrigerant (the exact figure depends upon the make and model of your air conditioner), and when leaks spring up, it can create a number of difficulties. There are plenty of services that can fix air conditioning systems in Olympia, and knowledgeable technicians can usually seal the leak before recharging the refrigerant to its proper levels.

Here Are Some Signs That Air Conditioning Systems Have Low Refrigerant

  • Ice on the coils. The biggest sign you can detect is the formation of ice on your evaporator coils. The ice represents lost cooling potential that should be going into your home, as well as forming an insulating layer between the remaining refrigerant and the air it’s supposed to cool. Don’t ever scrape the ice off: it won’t do any good and you could damage the coils in the process. Instead, shut off the system and call in a technician to treat the issue.
  • Reduced cooling power. Along those lines, if you notice that the air conditioner isn’t providing cool air like it used to – if the air blows warmer or is flat-out hot – then there could be problems with the refrigerant.
  • Water puddles. Condensation forms on you air conditioner as it cools the air, and a certain amount is normal. When refrigerant levels run low, however, the system will generate more condensation than it should, resulting in puddles of water around the base of your system.

If you spot the signs that air conditioning systems have low refrigerant, call the professionals at Sound Heating to correct the problem immediately. We handle all kinds of repairs for air conditioning systems in Olympia, and we’ll treat the source of the problem rather than just the symptoms. Summer months are too hot to go without an efficient AC system. Give us a call today and let us keep yours in top shape!

Measuring Space for Your New Solar Panels

May 23rd, 2014

You may be surprised to learn how viable solar panels have become in our neck of the woods. Recent advances make it possible to generate copious amounts of solar energy no matter how cloudy the day itself is. In towns like Auburn, WA solar energy has exploded in the last few years, and homeowners have eagerly embraced the technology as a means of producing clean, efficient energy for a very low cost. Besides the initial cost of investment and solar panel installation, all you need is sufficient space on your property to hold the panels. In some cases, this means setting it up in your yard, but most people want the panels on their roof, where they can get the most sunlight exposure as well as staying out of the way. Here’s a few tips for measuring space for your new solar panels.

First you need to determine how large the panels need to be in order to power your home. A trained professional can provide precise calculations, but generally speaking, you need to:

  • Determine the average kilowatt hours you use every year. (You can check your electric bills over the course of a year to get an exact figure.)
  • Determine the number of hours your home gets sunlight exposure. Cloud cover rarely matters, but you do need to know how many hours the sun is in the sky each day, and factor in the changes in season as well. (You’ll probably see a lot more sunshine each day in June that you will in January.)
  • Divide the kilowatt hours you receive each year by 365 (the number of days in a year). Then divide that number by the average number of hours your home receives sunlight, and divide that number by .75 (to include an efficiency constant, and ensure that the system doesn’t get overloaded).

The result is the number of kilowatts your array will need. As a general rule, you’ll need about 80 square feet for every kilowatt required by your system. From there, you can measure the amount of space required in your roof or yard. The experts at Sound Heating can help you with measuring space for your new solar panels.

If you live in Auburn, WA, solar panel installation experts don’t come with better qualifications. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!