Archive for February, 2015

3 Common Solar Repair Issues

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Solar technology is being implemented in homes across the country, as more and more homeowners embrace the free and renewable energy it provides. While solar panels are great for cutting down your electric bill, however, they still have their own set of repair issues that occasionally need to be dealt with. Let’s examine some of the repair needs that you need to be aware of when installing solar technology.

Weather Damage

Solar panels are left exposed to the elements by necessity, seeing as how they need to be out in the open to get as much sun as possible. This can become a bit of a problem if you live in areas with common inclement weather, like strong winds or hail. Solar panels are, of course, designed to resist these kinds of eventualities. However, no solar panel is going to fare well if it gets blown off the roof or gets pounded by baseball-sized hailstones throughout the night. Be sure to consult with a professional about the best place to install your solar panels, and what quality glass they’ll need to have to withstand the climate. If your solar panel does become cracked or otherwise damaged by weather, don’t worry. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may just need to have the glass replaced.

Damaged Wiring

Solar panels are pretty sturdy, owing mainly to their design and lack of moving parts. However, they still have vulnerable areas that should be inspected regularly. Wiring is one of those areas. The wires that connect the solar panel to the rest of your system can be exposed to moisture fairly easily, as well as becoming loose due to weather conditions like high winds. While the wires are insulated, any damage to that insulation make it possible for a short to occur in the system. Make a habit of checking your solar wiring regularly to make sure the wiring is in good condition.

Burn Out

Solar systems make use of a number of different parts beyond the panel itself. The solar inverter is responsible for converting solar energy into electricity that the home can use, while batteries store solar energy for use during periods of darkness or cloud cover. These systems are capable of burning out over time. Be sure to inspect them on a regular basis for signs of rust, corrosion, or other damage. If you notice any of these signs, you’ll probably need to have the part replaced.

If your solar module is experiencing problems, call Sound Heating to schedule an appointment. We provide professional solar services throughout Olympia.

Will a Tankless Water Heater Really Save Money?

Monday, February 16th, 2015

When it comes to water heaters, one of the biggest questions our Sound Heating specialists get asked is, “will a tankless unit really save me money?” The answer is yes, but it takes some explaining, which we will do below. You can also access direct help with any questions you may have about installing a tankless water heater in your home by making an appointment with one of the experts from Sound Heating.

How the Costs Breakdown

The initial costs of a tankless water heater are typically more expensive than that of a storage tank water heater, but this isn’t where the savings comes in anyway. Where the savings comes in is over time, in the form of less energy usage. Storage water heaters not only use a greater amount of energy, they also lose a greater amount of energy, something known as “standby heat loss”; this type of heat loss can account for up to 30% of the energy a storage tank water heater uses. So how do you determine how a tankless water heater can save you money? First, you take into consideration that a tankless water heater will save you about $100 per year in annual energy costs. Second, you look at the lifespans of a tank water heater versus a tankless water heater: tank water heaters have an average lifespan of 8-12 years while tankless ones have a lifespan of 20. When you multiply $100 by 20 years, that’s a total savings of $2,000. Of course, these numbers represent averages, but it stands to reason that you will save money over the lifespan of your tankless water heater’s life.

Other Tankless Benefits

Money savings is just one benefit a tankless water heater can offer you. Some other benefits include:

  • Endless hot water – because tankless systems provide hot water on demand, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of hot water.
  • Gas or electric options – tankless water heaters can use either gas or electricity for power.
  • Space-saving – tankless water heaters are considerably smaller than storage tank ones, which opens up a lot of room for your home.

If you’ve been looking for a way to save on your energy costs, and a tankless water heater sounds like it may be a fit for your home in Auburn, WA, call Sound Heating today!

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

 

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

 

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

 

Here’s wishing you and your loved one a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Passive vs. Active Solar Heating

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Solar energy has been used for hundreds of years, but better technology over the last few decades has allowed us to harness and use this energy more effectively. However, there are still two choices in how solar energy is harnessed: passive or active. It’s important to understand the difference between the two solar options before you decide to schedule a solar installation service.

Passive Solar

Passive solar is harnessing solar energy without the use of devices. Examples would be a greenhouse, sun-heated stones and solar water collectors. Correct design is critical to the success of passive solar use; things like southern exposure and consistent exposure to the sun are critical to capturing the solar energy. Thermal mass can also be a factor, depending on how you want to use your passive solar. For example, passive solar water collectors need to be placed on the sunny side or roof of any building; height is also necessary so that the heated water can use gravity to flow downward for use. The key to any passive solar use is convection, which is the main way heat moves with using passive solar. With the right attention to detail, passive solar can help cut energy costs in your home.

Active Solar

As you can probably guess, active solar heating involves mechanics. Solar panels, solar hot water tanks and solar electricity are all considered active solar because they need the help of pumps and a medium in order to work. The two mediums used with active solar are fluid (many times this is water) or air. Both mediums are used to facilitate the transfer of the solar energy (heat or electricity) into energy to be used in some capacity for your home. Typically those using air are referred to as “air collectors” and those using a fluid are called “hydronic collectors”. Once installed, active solar systems can reduce your energy usage significantly.

Finding a solar option that best suits your home is something that should be determined with the help of an expert. Since 1989, Sound Heating has been helping customers with energy decisions for their homes, and we can help you, too. If you need more information regarding your solar options in Sumner, WA, simply give us a call today!