Archive for August, 2014

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Sound Heating wishes your family a happy end of summer.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

We use hot water for a variety of tasks around the house, but we rarely think about where it comes from. If you’re a homeowner, you may be used to seeing storage tank water heaters, which use a large tank to heat water and store it so that it is available at any time. But tankless water heaters have grown in popularity over the years thanks to their ability to heat water quickly and efficiently. So how can a unit heat water instantly without the use of a tank?

A tankless water heater is a “green” alternative to storage tanks that can help you save money over the years and may last longer than conventional units. Curious about how they work? In order to understand tankless water heaters, let’s a take a look at how standard units heat and store hot water.

Storage tank water heaters store water in a large tank to use whenever it is needed. First, cold water enters through a tube that leads to the bottom of the tank. Then a heating mechanism—either a gas-powered burner or an electric-powered heating element—heats the water, which rises to the top of the tank since hot water naturally rises above the denser, colder water. A tube sits at the top of the tank to supply hot water to the home, and cold water continues to cycle in as a replacement.

The problem with storage tank water heaters is the standby energy loss associated with continuously heating standing water. With a tankless heater, water is heated instantly to eliminate this loss. Tankless water heaters simply work through the use of a heat exchange system. Electric coils or gas activate to generate heat as soon as a hot water tap is turned on in the house so that hot water can immediately reach the faucet. Tankless water heaters may not be able to handle multiple jobs at once, so some homes may have several tankless water heaters, each mounted near the tap that activates it.

Want to know if this system is right for your home? Call Sound Heating for more information about tankless water heaters in Gig Harbor!

Common Fan Problems

Friday, 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

Friday, 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.