Posts Tagged ‘Auburn’

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!

Steps Involved with Solar Panel Installation

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Installing a solar panel is a great way to save money on your home’s energy costs from month to month. However, it also happens to involve a pretty complex series of steps in order to be installed correctly. This is definitely not something you want to be doing yourself, though there are some benefits to knowing what exactly is involved with the process. Let’s take a look at the steps involved with solar panel installation, and why you want a professional to take care of it for you.

Preparation

Before anything else, the site has to be properly prepared for the solar panel to be installed. Space has to be considered. Do you have enough room on your roof for the solar panel, or would it be best to install it elsewhere? Will it be easy to access the panels in case of a problem? If you are installing it on your house, is that area strong enough to support the added weight? What about sunlight exposure? Do is the location you’ve chosen exposed to enough sunlight throughout the day? If those seem like a lot of questions, they are. In fact, they’re just the tip of the iceberg as far as preparation goes. You do not want to be navigating this kind of stuff by yourself, especially if you don’t have any experience in the matter.

Installation

After everything has been laid out, and the proper calculations made, the actual installation starts. It begins with a rack, which the solar panels will sit on. Next, the panels have to be wired together and connected to the rest of the system. As with all electrical work, this can get dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. That’s one more reason to let a professional do it for you. After the panels are all properly wired, the whole thing has to be connected to the home’s electrical grid. The whole process involves dealing with a lot of electricity, and if done incorrectly can cause a whole host of problems. With a professional covering each step, however, the whole thing can be done safely and efficiently.

If you need a solar panel installed, call Sound Heating and make an appointment with us. We offer solar installation service throughout Auburn, WA.

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!

Heating Tip: What are the Benefits of Installing a Heat Pump

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Homeowners throughout the Auburn, WA area are always looking for ways to improve their energy efficiency. As we transition into a different season of the year that presents its own challenges to our indoor comfort, you may be in the market to replace your current heating system. While furnaces, boilers, and radiant heating all have their advantages, the heat pump remains one of the most comprehensive home comfort options available. Whatever type of system you choose, however, remember that the most important part of the process is its installation, which should be carried out by a certified technician. Speak to an Auburn WA heating professional at Sound Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about your options.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of installing a heat pump in your home:

  • Versatility. Most heating systems are only able to work during part of the year to keep your home comfortable. What makes the heat pump special is its versatility. It has an indoor and outdoor unit, and works a lot like an air conditioner. It harnesses the thermal energy of the outdoor air, even in low temperatures, to heat your home. But it can also cool your home during the summer by reversing the flow of coolant. This makes it into a comprehensive, year-round option for ensuring that your home is comfortable no matter what the outside temperature is.
  • Energy efficiency. While furnaces and boilers can use natural gas to heat your home, a heat pump uses electrical energy, making it one of the most energy efficient types of heating available today. For example, the York Affinity™ YZH is up to 60% more energy efficient thanks to its two-stage compressor technology.
  • Ground-source capability. A ground-source heat pump, also known as a geothermal system, uses the moderate temperature of the earth to heat and cool your home. An underground piping system is installed in a loop beneath the ground near your home, and a refrigerant circulates through it, transferring the cold air out of your home, and sending heated air throughout the ductwork.

For more information about heat pumps and how they might improve your home, call the Auburn, WA heating experts at Sound Heating & Air Conditioning. Call Sound Heating & Air Conditioning today!

What Type of Indoor Air Quality Equipment Can Be Installed with My Heater?

Monday, April 1st, 2013

A heating system that you can rely on during the coldest nights of the year is an important component of any home in Auburn, WA. Comfortable temperatures, though, while important, are not the only factor that you must consider when keeping your home comfortable. At Sound Heating we know that it is just as important that you are able maintain high indoor air quality in your home. There are many indoor air quality products that you can use in conjunction with your heating system to keep your home as comfortable as possible. Contact the Auburn heating technicians at Sound Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more.

One of the most basic ways to improve indoor air quality is through air filtration. While your heating system comes with a factory installed air filter that must be changed regularly, this filter cannot be relied upon to improve indoor air quality. It is not efficient enough to do so, but is rather designed to protect your heating system itself from dirt and debris. By installing a more efficient air filter you can remove dirt, dander and other pollutants from the air circulated throughout your home by the ductwork of your heating system. Keep your home warm and comfortable without worrying about what else is traveling throughout the system.

An energy recovery ventilator is another great indoor air quality product that can be used with our home heating system. It is natural, during the heating season, to want to seal up your home as tightly as possible. After all, you do not want the air you have paid to heat escaping to the outdoors. However, sealing your home up too tightly can cause air to go stale due to a lack of ventilation. By ventilating your home and recovering heat that would be lost in the process otherwise, an energy recovery ventilator allows you to keep your air quality high and fresh without sacrificing comfort or efficiency.

For more information about how to improve indoor air quality in your home, call Sound Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll make sure that you are able to enjoy high indoor air quality throughout the Auburn, WA heating season. Contact us today to learn more.

Heating FAQ: Can My Boiler Heat My Water Efficiently in the Summer?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

At Sound Heating & Air, our Auburn WA heating experts want to make sure you get the most efficient water heating system available. Deciding whether or not to use your boiler in the summer will depend on several factors. Here are some things to consider. You can always call us if you have further questions.

Typically, if you have a high-efficiency boiler system, it is more cost-effective to use the boiler to heat your water in the summer. Keep in mind that the boiler’s heating efficiency rating is not the same as how efficiently it can heat the water for your home.

Most heating experts agree that leaving the boiler on in the summer is better than shutting it down. It can create maintenance problems otherwise, especially for older models. You can also find combination boiler/hot water systems that are highly efficient at heating both your home and your hot water.

If you are not ready to upgrade to a new boiler, you have many other options for hot water systems, including immersion heaters, solar water heaters, and tankless systems. Overall, figuring out the hot water efficiency for a boiler is not an exact science because it can be difficult to separate out from the heating energy in the winter. However, finding the cost-effectiveness should factor in your overall water bill, which can be high in some areas.

Call the Auburn WA heating experts At Sound Heating & Air if you still aren’t sure how to calculate energy savings for heating your water with your boiler year-round, contact Sound Heating & Air today!

 

Heat Pump Tip: SEER vs. HSPF

Monday, August 20th, 2012

When it comes to Bellevue heat pumps, there are two different ratings you’ll often see – the SEER and the HSPF. So, what does each of them mean and which rating is more important when purchasing your new device? Here are a few things to consider:

 SEER

The acronym SEER is short for “seasonal energy efficiency rating” and is used most commonly to measure air conditioner efficiency or in this case, the cooling capacity of your heat pump.

 HSPF

The HSPF is short for “heating seasonal performance factor” and is a measurement of how efficient the heat pump is in producing heat during the cooler months of the year.

 The Difference Between the Two

Every heat pump will have both of these ratings, allowing you to see how efficient each is. This is important because you need to know for certain how well your heat pump will perform under certain situations – both in the winter and summer.

However, if you live in a colder climate where the summer rarely calls for air conditioner, your focus should be on the HSPF first. And if you live in a warmer climate where your heating needs are minimal, the SEER is most important. Another thing to consider is your supplemental heat. If the cost of your supplemental heating system is high, you’ll want an HSPF that is as low as possible to balance it out.

 Choosing an Efficient Heat Pump

Heat pump efficiency directly impacts the price of the device you purchase but is almost always worth the difference. The key is to find a device that provides what you need based on where you live. Keep in mind as well that, like most HVAC upgrades, you won’t immediately recoup the cost of the device in your energy savings, so if you plan on moving soon, you should purchase a more affordable device now and upgrade later.

Purchasing a new heat pump for your Bellevue home is an important step in making it more energy efficient. If you are unsure which rating you need or how to analyze their meanings, contact a professional to learn more.

Warning Signs of a Broken Furnace: A Guide From Renton

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

How do you know when your furnace in your Renton house is “on the fritz?” There are warning signs of a broken furnace and some are recognizable – but not all. A broken furnace not only deprives your home of heat and comfort, it also can be deadly, too.

Let’s look at some of the warning signs.

Each year, hundreds of people die and many more are injured from the most common household poison: carbon monoxide. This colorless and odorless poisonous gas comes from several sources and the furnace is the most common source of all; more precisely a broken or malfunctioning furnace. Carbon monoxide is a result of incomplete combustion of a fossil fuel, which is when a fuel does not burn correctly or completely. In a furnace, carbon monoxide gas comes from a poorly operating burner or a cracked heat exchanger. A properly tuned and maintained furnace greatly reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Since carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, it can go undetected. It can make people sleepy and create flu-like symptoms. Sometimes a person may fall asleep and never wake up. But there are warning signs. Drowsiness, vomiting, or flu-like symptoms are a warning sign. Regularly scheduled maintenance of your furnace by a qualified heating and cooling professional and installation of carbon monoxide detectors can reduce the risk of falling ill to carbon monoxide gas.

Another warning sign is a higher energy bill. Sometimes you can’t detect a problem right away because, like carbon monoxide, there may be no obvious signs. Higher utility bills can be a sure sign of a furnace that is working too hard and running more than usual. This may be a result of clogged or dirty air vents, or dirty filters. If your monthly bills are higher than those of the previous year, it may not just be because gas prices are higher.

There are other warning signs of a broken furnace, too. The most obvious is the failure of your furnace to bring your home up to the desired thermostat settings or to maintain an even temperature. Cold or uncomfortable houses are sure signs of a broken furnace. The furnace may cycle on or off, causing an uneven or inconsistent flow of heated air. This can be because of a poor blower or a clogged furnace filter. If you don’t feel any moving heated air or detect any unusual odors or smells coming from your heating vents, that’s a sure sign of a broken or malfunctioning furnace.

A broken or cracked gas line can emit odors and can cause a furnace to malfunction, too.

Don’t take a chance of losing heat and comfort this winter. At the first possible warning sign, call your local heating and professional for a heating system tune-up.

How to Handle an Overloaded AC: A Tip From Auburn

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The last thing you need on a hot summer day in Auburn is for your air conditioner to suddenly cut out. Without the cooling power it provides, your house will get uncomfortable quickly. Fortunately, once you know why this happens, there are several things you can do about it.

Why Air Conditioners Cut Out

The most common reason for air conditioner failure is an overabundance of pressure in the unit. This happens because the coil gets too hot, causing the pressure to rise in the entire device. As the pressure rises past a certain point, an automatic safety shutoff system is engaged. If you can stop the coil from heating up to this point, you can keep your air conditioner running.

How to Keep Them Running

Of course, this is easier said than done. Since your condenser unit with the coil inside is located outside in the heat, it’s only natural for it to get hot during the day – especially an extra hot day when you’re using your air conditioner a lot. You also need to be careful not to put anything over or up against your outdoor condenser unit.

While this may block the sunlight, it will also keep heat in the system and prevent the air conditioner from removing exhaust naturally. So in order to keep your air conditioner as cool as possible, make sure there is nothing up against the vents or impeding air flow in any way. Once you’ve done this, try and find a way to provide shade for you air conditioner without placing objects near the device. Blocking out direct sunlight is the best way to keep your air conditioner cool as long as you can do it without interfering with the system’s natural air flow.

Getting it Back On

If your unit does cut out on you, don’t despair. The best thing to do is to wait about a half hour to give your unit a chance to cool off on its own. Then, spray the coil and other overheated areas with a fine mist of cool water. This should lower the temperature enough that the system can come back on without any further complications.

If the problem persists despite the work you’ve done to keep it cool, you may want to call in a professional to take a look and make sure nothing is broken or worn inside to cause the overloads. Most of the time a little maintenance will take care of the problem, but if not, you’ll want to get repairs done quickly to avoid a full breakdown.

Cooling Your House Naturally in Sammamish

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In this day and age, it seems like no matter what type of problem you have, there’s a technological solution for it. But is that solution always the best? For instance, just because you can get a high-tech air conditioning system to keep your Sammamish home at the same temperature regardless of the weather outside, does that mean that you should rely solely on that system?

Of course, the choice is yours, but before you decide how best to keep your house comfortable during the warm summer months, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit more about what your other options might be.

  • Cross-Ventilation – One of the easiest ways to take the edge off when the temperature starts to rise inside is to open windows on both sides of the house. This allows the breeze to come in one side and pass out the other, taking the stale, warm indoor air with it in the process and cooling off your house naturally.
  • Stack-Ventilation – If you have a two-story home, you may want to try stack-ventilation. This variation on cross-ventilation involves opening the windows on the bottom floor on one side of your home and on the top floor on the other. The differences in pressure from one area to the next cause fresh outdoor air to be sucked in on the ground floor and pushed out on the top floor, thereby creating a strong air current throughout your home.
  • Blocking Out the Sun – The number one reason that the interior of your house gets hot in the summer is exposure to direct sunlight, so anything you can do to diminish the amount of sun that actually makes it into your home, the better off you’ll be. All you really have to do is close the blinds on those windows where sun can come in to keep the majority of that heat from impacting your indoor environment.
  • Stay Away from Dark Colors – The color of the outside of your home can also have an impact on how hot it gets indoors. Dark colors absorb the heat, while light colors reflect it. So if you want to keep the temperature down inside, stick to light colors on the exterior of your home.
  • The Importance of Shade – Any type of shade will also keep the sun’s heat out of your home. Trees are a great source of natural shade. Awnings can provide great cooling power too without blocking out your view.

If you need more information about how to keep you house cool, ask your HVAC contractor.