Archive for July, 2014

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

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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

Friday, 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!

Thursday, 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!