Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog: Archive for May, 2014

Signs That Air Conditioning Systems Have Low Refrigerant

Friday, 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!

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Measuring Space for Your New Solar Panels

Friday, 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!

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3 Factors to Consider When Installing New Air Conditioning

Friday, May 16th, 2014

A new air conditioning system is a big investment, and before you pull the trigger, you want to have all of your ducks in a row. When it comes to air conditioning in Olympia, there are plenty of services to help make the big decisions with you, but you want a local HVAC company that will help you choose the right system, not just rush you into a purchase in hopes of a big payday.

Here are 3 factors to consider when installing new air conditioning, factors that a reputable service will discuss with you before installation begins.

  • Sizing. All air conditioners have a set power level, measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). You need an air conditioner whose power output is perfectly sized for your home. If it’s too small, it will run constantly without adequately cooling the household. If it’s too large, it will engage in “rapid cycling,” turning on and off too quickly. Air conditioners use much more energy turning on and off than they do simply running, which means that rapid cycling will cost you a great deal in unnecessary energy bills. You need a unit that is neither too large not too small, but just right.
  • Efficiency. Air conditioners measure their efficiency in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. SEER ratings can affect the sizing of your air conditioner, but generally speaking, you want to get the most efficient model within your price range. At the minimum, look for a unit with a higher SEER rating than the one it’s replacing.
  • Upgrades. A new air conditioner is a golden opportunity to add some new bells and whistles to the system. For instance, look into a zone control system that lets you alter the temperature in each room individually, or a new thermostat that lets you turn the air on and off remotely with an app from your phone.

Here at Sound Heating, we can explain all of the factors to consider when installing new air conditioning in Olympia, then perform the installation with courtesy and care. We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and we’ll ensure that your investment in a new air conditioner is well spent.  Contact us today to make an appointment!

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The Benefits of Going Solar in Bellevue

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Solar power used to run a home once existed only in science fiction. But the technology is here, today, and more accessible than you may believe. More homes have joined in the solar energy revolution and reaped the enormous benefits this power source provides.

To schedule solar installation in Bellevue, WA you only have to reach as far as the phone: call Sound Heating, where we take pride in the variety of solar power services we provide—from installation to maintenance to repair. We are committed to helping the environment and helping you reduce the amount you pay to power your home.

The Advantages of Using Solar Power In Your Home

  • Rock-bottom energy bills: Solar power systems change the radiant energy of the sun into electricity to power a home; the systems themselves use only a small amount of external electricity from the power company (and some use none at all). The energy of the sun itself is free, so aside from the minimal amount of electricity from the power grid, you won’t pay anything to run your home. Even though a solar energy set-up costs more to install for a home than standard electrical one, it soon pays for itself. Nothing beats free when it comes to energy.
  • Increase your home’s value: The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a study of homes using solar power and found that when a home adds a solar power system, it increases the home’s resale value by $5.50 per watt on average, and sometimes going as high as $6.40 per watt. This means that a home’s solar power system of 3.1kW can add $17,000 to the value of the house. Other studies have found that homes with solar energy induce buyers: homes sell 15% faster on average than homes with standard power systems.
  • Clean, renewable energy: Not only is the power from the sun free, you can never use it up. As long as the sun burns at the center of our solar system, we will have its power available to us. Solar power reduces our dependency on limited energy resources like fossil fuels. Solar power also reduces greenhouse gases. The average U.S. home generates 7.4 tons of carbon dioxide each year; solar power generates almost none.

If you don’t think you are ready for a major solar installation, you can start small with a less expensive and space-consuming appliance like a solar water heater. But we think that once you discover the benefits of a single solar power system, you will want to expand your use of the sun’s free energy.

Talk to our Bellevue, WA solar installation professionals at Sound Heating today. They will find the best way to hook up your home to harness the clean and efficient energy of the sun.

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