Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: The Presidential Turkey Pardon

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving began in 1621, but didn’t become a national holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it in hopes of bringing a divided nation together. We have many Thanksgiving traditions in this country, from turkey at the meal to the annual Cowboys and Lions games on television. But one of the most beloved is the annual Presidential turkey pardon, in which the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey to life in a petting zoo rather than ending up as someone’s main course. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the history of this fascinating tradition.

Farmers have sent turkeys to the White House as far back as the 1800s, hoping to have the honor of providing the President’s annual meal. There have been scattered stories of individual turkeys being “pardoned” throughout that time, including one in which President Lincoln’s son Tad successfully convinced the president to spare a bird intended for the family’s Christmas dinner.

Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation became the official supplier of the President’s Thanksgiving birds. The White House arranged for an annual photo op that year with the President receiving the turkey in the Rose Garden. Sadly, there was no pardon as yet; those birds all ended up on the Presidential table.

The push for an official pardon picked up steam in 1963, when President Kennedy ask that the bird be spared just a few days before his assassination. President Nixon opted to send each of the birds he received to a nearby petting zoo after the photo op, though there was no formal pardon attached.

But it wasn’t until 1989 that the pardon became official. On November 14 of that year, President George H. W. Bush made the announcement, and sent the bird to a Virginia game preserve to live the rest of its life out in cranberry-and-stuffing-free bliss. Since then, every President has held an annual pardoning ceremony, with the lucky turkey spared the axe and sent off to live in peace. Since 2005, the pardoned birds have gone to Disneyland in Anaheim, California where they have lived as part of a petting zoo exhibit in Frontierland.

No matter what traditions you enjoy this holiday, or who you enjoy them with, all of us here wish you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Why a Hydronic Floor System Might be Right for Your Home

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

A hydronic floor system is a form of radiant floor heating, using technology installed in the floor of your home to keep the temperature warm and cozy. Here in Tacoma, heating options can include this kind of technology, which costs more to install than forced air furnaces, but can make up for it with reduced monthly heating costs. If you’re considering upgrading your existing heating system or installing a new one, you might want to consider a system like this one. Here’s why a hydronic floor system might be right for your home.

The system itself runs a series of tubes or pipes through the floors of your home, then runs hot water through the pipes. The resulting radiant heat comes up through the floorboards and warms furniture, fixtures and people directly. The benefits of this are subtle but undeniable. Radiant heating doesn’t entail any draft, cold spots or unpleasant breezes, delivering the heat directly where it needs to go instead of giving it to you diffusely through the air. As we stated before, that efficiency also means lowered heating costs: saving you money while still delivering very comfortable temperatures to your home. Because it doesn’t rely on a fan, it’s a very quiet system, and because the system doesn’t rely on a lot of moving parts, maintenance concerns are much lower than they would be for a forced-air system.

The main downside of a hydronic floor systems is the installation costs, as well as the difficulty of adding the system to existing floors. You need to be prepared to move some furnishings around and have your home disrupted during the installation procedure. On the plus side, a good technician can explain all of the steps involved beforehand, making sure you understand everything about it before beginning. When completed, the hydronic system will likely add resale value to your home, helping to recoup the costs of installation. For more information, contact Sound Heating for advice and service. We can discuss why a hydronic floor system might be right for your home, then install the system with professionalism and care. We handle Tacoma heating issues of all varieties, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

What Types of Different Heat Pumps Are There?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Although heat pumps have existed for decades, over the last twenty years they have rocketed to the top of the list of HVAC systems people want installed in their homes. It’s easy to see why they have achieved such popularity: they take care of air conditioning and heating in a single unit.

As with any heating system, heat pumps come in a variety of models and types. To help you navigate the options available, we’ll run over the main types to consider. Get in touch with Sound Heating if you want more information about heating service in Puyallup, WA.

Air source heat pumps

The most common type of heat pump uses air as the medium of heat exchange. When acting as an air conditioner, they draw heat from your indoor air and remove it to the air outdoors. For heating, they reverse the process, drawing heat from the outdoor air and placing it indoors. Although these heat pumps have high energy efficiency (a family of four can see savings of 30%-40% on their heating bills if they switch from a furnace), they can struggle with providing effective heat during temperatures that drop freezing.

Ground source heat pumps

These are also called geothermal systems, since they use the earth itself as the medium for heat exchange. Through coils buried in the ground around a home, they draw heat to move indoors—and can reverse the direction to put heat back into the ground. Because the temperature of the earth remains fairly steady at a level of 10 feet below the surface, these pumps rarely encounter trouble from heavy cold weather. They also provide even greater energy savings. However, they do not work for all homes and can cost much more to install than other systems.

Mini split heat pumps

These heat pumps—usually air-source—do not use ducts to distribute heated or cooled air. Instead, the outdoor unit hooks up to various individual blower units mounted in different rooms (or “regions”) throughout your home. These blowers send the conditioned air directly into your living spaces. Mini split systems are ideal for new homes that do not have any ductwork installed.

The kind of heat pump you need for your house will depend on many factors, and it requires the work of an HVAC expert to balance all of them and come up with an answer to the question: “What heat pump will provide me the best performance and energy-efficiency?” You will also need experts to handle the installation (ground-source heat pumps in particular involve extensive work) so that your new system will operate as it should with few repair needs in the future.

Trust your heating in Puyallup, WA to Sound Heating. We’ve served the Greater Puget Sound area since 1989.

How to Choose a New Heating System for Your Home

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Winter is crawling toward us, and will strike before we know it. You will need  an efficient and dependable heater working in your home to keep you warm and safe until spring. If you have considered getting a new heating system installed (perhaps your old one is dying, or you have just built a new home), now is the best time to act. You will need professional assistance for this job, and HVAC technicians have less crowded schedules during the fall.

The reason you need to have experts helping from the start, and not just during installation, is that the many choices of heating systems available can feel overwhelming. You want to make a correct choice for installation so you can have many worry-free years of warmth. Our Tacoma, WA heating installation specialists at Sound Heating have some advice about how to go about choosing your new heating system, and they are ready to answer any other questions you may have.

One of the first things to consider when it comes to getting a new heater is your available fuel supply. Do you have a hook-up to natural gas? Did your last heater run from propane or oil? Is electricity your sole power supply option? Your home’s available fuel will help you narrow down your choices.

Next, think about the heating requirements of your house. How large is it, and how many people live there? Do you have adequate insulation? Did your last heater wear down fast because it had trouble getting the whole house warm? These are tough questions to answer yourself—or least in a way that will seem meaningful when picking a heater on your own. HVAC professionals can perform a heat load calculation, a complex equation that balances a multitude of factors about your home, to arrive at the size of heater you’ll need and what kind will work best for you.

Third, consider your budget goals. Some heating models cost less to install, but may require a greater number of repairs and lead to higher energy bills in the future. Some expensive models will end up saving you money with great efficiency levels. This will tie into the information from the heat load calculation so you can zero in on the heater that will give you the most value for your money.

Sound Heating installs furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, zone systems, and ground source heat pumps. With this variety available, we can locate the system that will provide your home with the best warmth this winter. Call on us for heating installation service in Tacoma, WA, and we’ll get you started along the road toward a cozy season.