Archive for the ‘Solar’ Category

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.

What’s the Best Way to Get Started with Solar Installation?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Solar power is something that many people would like to have installed for their home… but which they never get around to actually installing. We understand: solar power promises fantastic savings through a clean, renewable energy source… but it also requires extensive installation and can consume a large amount of space. There’s also lurking in the back of most people’s minds this nagging thought: “What if it doesn’t work?”

We can assure that solar energy does work for homes. It won’t work for every home, but if you bring in a quality solar contractor to consult on your project, you will find out early on if your home will benefit from solar power or not.

There are some ways to “test the waters” (“test the sunlight?”) of solar power. Here are some of recommendations from our solar experts at Sound Heating for your first steps into the world of solar installation in Puyallup, WA.

Solar water heater

Using the power of the sun to heat your home’s water is both useful and one of the easier solar installations to arrange. Solar water heaters do not come with a high price tag, and only need a few photovoltaic cells on the roof to power them. They also have relatively few maintenance needs. If you find that a solar water heater is a cost-effective method of taking care of your hot water needs, then you should find it simple to expand to other solar power systems.

Solar-powered air conditioning

One of the advantages of having solar air conditioning (aside from cooling down your home for essentially no cost) is that the air conditioners themselves are not much different from standard central ACs, using indoor and outdoor units and ventilation shafts. The difference is the source of the electricity that runs them: the PV cells on the roof. Otherwise, the installation is similar.

Bring in a solar power expert

When you hire a solar expert to look over your home, you’ll learn much more about the possibilities for expanding your solar usage. An expert will point out places where you can start saving immediately with solar installation. Every home has different needs and different ways it can use the power of the Sun, and a professional will help you find the best way to set up a solar power system that will do the job you need at a price you can afford.

At Sound Heating, we recommend that everyone examine the possibilities of going solar in at least part of their home. The benefits for your budget are tremendous, and you also be helping the planet by reducing your home’s total energy consumption and the production of environmentally harmful emissions. Call us today for consultation on solar installation in Puyallup, WA.

3 Advantages to a Solar Panel Array

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Here in Puyallup, solar panel technology used to be the stuff of pipe dreams. Cloud cover and our generally gloomy weather meant that solar arrays couldn’t get enough sunlight to do the job, leaving them practical only in sunnier parts of the country to the south. Those days are long gone. Today, advancing technology makes solar panels a great option even here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for a new way to power your home, you would do well to consider installing a solar system.

Here are 3 advantages to a solar panel array that might help you make up your mind

  • Energy savings. The first and most obvious benefit to solar power is the huge amount of money you can save on your monthly electrical bills. For all practical purposes, solar power is renewable and endless, costing you almost nothing and providing enough power to run every appliance in your home. Over time, the money saved might offset the cost of installation, and your monthly savings can free up space in your budget for other things.
  • Environmentally friendly. Going hand in hand with that energy efficiency is a source of power about as green as you can get. It uses no fossil fuels and it doesn’t produce any toxic side effects, helping you lower your carbon footprint and give the planet a much-needed break.
  • Money back to you. In some cases, your solar array will generate more power than you need, which means you can sell the excess back to the grid. Similarly, solar panel arrays improve the resale value of your house, and can help further recoup the cost of investment when the time comes to sell.

The advantages to a solar panel array are considerable, but every home is unique and only you can make the final decision. For reliable advice and installation services, give the experts at Sound Heating a call. We have the skills and experience you need to address the issue properly; solar companies don’t come more qualified. Pick up the phone today to set up solar service in Puyallup. You’ll be glad you did!

What Are My Home’s Requirements for Installing a Solar System?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Solar systems have come a long way in a very short time, and here in Olympia, solar installation services no longer need to worry about the excessive cloud cover of the Pacific Northwest. When properly installed, such a system can save you a great deal of money over the years, as well as increasing your home’s self-sufficiency and reducing your carbon footprint. But before you sign up for an installation session, you need to make sure your home is right for solar installation. “What are my home’s requirements for installing a solar system?” you ask. Read on for the answers.

  • Square footage. Most solar panels are installed on rooftops, though they can also be installed on the ground if you have the space. Regardless, you need a certain amount of square footage so that solar panels will produce enough power. Your installer can perform the calculations, which involve the amount of energy you use at peak periods throughout the year and the amount of power a given solar panel collects. With the square footage in mind, you can then plan for the ideal area, taking into account such aspects as rooftop tiles and chimney position.
  • Shading. Solar panels these days can overcome cloud cover, but they still need an unobstructed view of the sky in order to function as they should. You need to keep the amount of trees and similar types of shading in mind, and then determine how many hours of unobstructed sunlight your panels will receive.
  • Tilting. Here in Washington, solar panels should ideally face due south (receiving the most amount of sunlight) and have a tilt of about 30 degrees. If your roof can’t provide this, your installation technician can discuss other options and ensure that the tilt of the panels remains the best it can be for the circumstances.

For more on your home’s requirements for installing a solar system, or to plan for an Olympia solar installation, the experts at Sound Heating are standing by. We’ll answer all your questions before performing an installation with courtesy and care, so give us a call today!


3 Factors Necessary for Solar Panels in Your Home

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Solar panel technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past few years, and here in Kent, WA, solar installation has become an increasingly popular option for powering your home. You may be considering a solar panel array for your own home, but before you pull the trigger, you need to know the sorts of issues your home and property may present. That will help you make an informed decision and ensure that your solar panels do their job as they should.

Here are 3 factors necessary for solar panels in your home

  • Square footage. Solar panels need a fair bit of space to function, the exact amount of which depends on the power you wish to generate. In most cases, you can fit them on your roof. Otherwise, you’ll need to place them in your yard or some other outdoor location. In either case, you need a technician to determine just how many square feet of solar panels is required. Otherwise, your home won’t receive enough power from the system and the whole point of installing solar panels will be lost.
  • Sunlight exposure. Modern solar panels don’t need to worry about cloudy days (a good thing here in overcast Washington). They do still require an unobstructed view of the sky, however, with an eye on maximum exposure during the day. If you have tall trees or similar obstructions, talk to an installation technician about your options, and whether some new landscaping is in order.
  • Maintenance factors. Solar panels don’t have moving parts, so maintaining them isn’t difficult. They do require cleaning from time to time, however, and occasionally repairs must be conducted. If you have a sloped roof or intend to place your panels in some other tricky locale, make sure you can access them safely.

As you may suspect, the advice of a trained professional can help when pondering the factors necessary for solar panels in your home.  In Kent, WA, solar installation can be performed by the experts at Sound Heating. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment!

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!

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.

How to Prevent Solar Repair Sessions

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Continual advances in solar technology have made the free power of the sun available to more and more homeowners. Solar power isn’t perfect, however. For all their major benefits, the photovalic cells of solar energy systems can sustain damage and require repairs or replacements. They need less repair work than systems with extensive mechanical parts, such as furnaces, but any problems they encounter need to be taken seriously with professional repair work.

We’ll show you some ways you can prevent needing to call for repairs for your solar energy system. But in the event that you do need solar repair service in Puyallup, WA, you can count on Sound Heating to come to your rescue. We have 24-hour emergency service available for your peace of mind.

How to keep your solar panels from needing repairs

The major concern with solar energy systems are the solar panels on the roof. Although built for durability (the cells contain no moving parts and most have an expected lifespan of more than 20 years according the U.S. Department of Energy), these panels can still suffer damage from weather conditions an aging. Heavy rain is a particular concern in the Puget Sound Area. The best way to make sure that the cells will not sustain water damage is with regular maintenance from solar energy professionals. It’s important to have a yearly inspection to discover places where cracking is occurring in the glass covering the cells (which can sometimes suffer damage due to hail or debris blown from high winds) that will allow rain water inside.

Maintenance will also look for dust and dirt that might interfere with the electrical relays from the panels. The Department of Energy estimates that solar energy systems for homes require about 16 hours per year of maintenance to keep them from breaking down. Although you could try some of the maintenance on your own, most of this will consist of basic cleaning of the glass surfaces. Have professionals take care of a good chunk of the time needed each year to keep the cells in their best shape and out of danger of needing serious repairs.

Maintenance is the key

You can’t do more to protect your solar cells that wouldn’t involve covering them up, which would destroy their effectiveness. To keep away repair needs, you should instead rely on regular professional maintenance. An annual maintenance job is not expensive, and it costs much less than the price of replacing damaged solar cells. You should still do some basic cleaning as well, but leave the rest to the experts.

Contact Sound Heating to schedule your annual visit for maintenance so you won’t need to later make an emergency call for solar repair in Puyallup, WA.