Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Boilers’

What You Need to Know About Boiler Kettling

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Boilers are remarkably sturdy systems, much more so than furnaces and other forced air systems. This is because they have far fewer moving parts, which makes for fewer potential problems that they have to deal with. This does not make boilers invincible, however. There is a serious issue that afflicts quite a few boilers across the country: it’s called kettling. Read on to find out more about kettling, and the threat it poses to your boiler.

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Is It Time to Replace My Boiler?

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Boilers are incredibly sturdy systems, compared to other traditional heating system types. While a furnace may last 20 years with proper care and maintenance, a boiler could easily last twice as long. The reason that boilers last so long is because they have fewer moving parts, and thus fewer ways to develop problems or break down. Boilers don’t last forever, though. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to replace your boiler no matter how well you took care of it. You’ll want to do this before winter, so you don’t end up having your boiler break down on you when you need it the most. Read on for some of the signs that you should probably replace your boiler before winter.

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The Advantages of Installing a Boiler This Fall

Monday, October 12th, 2015

It is time to start preparing your home for the winter months, and that means giving consideration to your heating situation. If you are in the market for a new home heating system, then consider installing a boiler system this fall. Forced air systems are more popular than boilers, but boiler systems actually have quite a few advantages to recommend them. Let’s take a look at how boiler systems operate, and the benefits associated with them.

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Advantages You Can Garner from Hydronic Radiant Heating

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Radiant heating is not something that is often considered when homeowners are in the market for a new heating system. This is usually because the house is already set up to accommodate a forced-air heating system. The temptation to make the process easier by sticking with a similar type of heating system to the last one is also a factor. However, radiant hydronic heating actually has quite a bit to recommend it. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that you can garner from installing a hydronic radiant heating system in your home.

Energy Efficiency

Hydronic radiant heating is a boiler-based system that heats the house by distributing hot water through it. The water flows through a network of pipes installed in the walls or subfloors of each room. As the water flows through the pipes, it transmits heat through them and into the room. This style of heating is much more energy efficient than forced-air systems. For one thing, water is a much better thermal conductor than air is. It heats up faster, and retains that heat for longer. For another, forced-air systems have to deal with duct leaks.

The US Department of Energy has estimated that the average forced air system loses as much as 20-30% of its output to duct leaks. A radiant heating system doesn’t use ducts, which allows it to deliver much more of its heat to the intended destination.


When warm air is pumped into a room, it will immediately rise to the ceiling and then lower as it cools. This not only makes it take longer for a room to warm up, but creates an uneven heating effect. Hot and cold spots are quite common in rooms heated by forced-air systems. Radiant heating warms a room much more evenly, with most of the heat staying near the floor where it is of greater benefit to the occupants.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of hydronic radiant heating, call Sound Heating. We provide heating services throughout Tacoma, WA.

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How Does a Boiler Work?

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Boilers were one of the first whole-home heating systems. Today’s boilers are very energy efficient, and can distribute heat through radiators, baseboard heating and radiant heating. How does the system work? We’ll detail more of that below, but what is important is having a reliable heating company to call whenever you experience problems with your heating. For over 20 years, Sound Heating has provided expert heating service in Tacoma and we can help you with any problems you may be experiencing with your boiler. Call us today!

How a Boiler Works

Boilers work by heating water and distributing the heated water, or the steam created from the hot water, through outlets like radiators.  Fuel, such as natural gas or oil, is ignited in a combustion chamber, and this flame heats the water in the system in one of two ways:

  • Firetube – enclosed metal tubes are submerged in the water tank and heated by fire or hot flue gases; this heat transfers to the water.
  • Watertube – instead of gases, water is inside the tubes, and the water is heated via combustion flames that surround the outside of the tubes.

With steam systems, the steam produced is kept in a dome on the top of the water vessel until it is released into the system for heating; the hot water releases when it hits the correct temperature. The water or steam circulates around the system, and when it cools, the cooled water returns to the boiler’s vessel for the next cycle of heating.

Benefits of Boilers

There are a few benefits of boilers worth considering:

  • Energy efficient – boilers have an average energy efficiency of 89% and can go higher than 95%
  • Comfortable heat – the heat coming from a hydronic system (system that uses water) is gradual as it radiates, which can feel more comfortable than forced air
  • No dust – boilers are closed systems, and as such, do not circulate dust the way a forced air system can, which can be very good for allergy sufferers

Boilers are efficient, durable systems, and can be a great choice for heating. If you are in need of a new heating system in Tacoma, call the people you can trust: Sound Heating.

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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!


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Heating Installation Tip: Pros and Cons of Various Heating Systems

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

When it comes time to install a new heating system in your Tumwater home, there are a lot of options to consider. Many people get overwhelmed when confronted with all of the furnaces, boilers and heat pumps on the market these days. So, to help you get a handle on what each has to offer and which will offer you the best benefits, here is an overview of the modern heating system market.


Furnaces are the core of a forced air heating system and use gas, oil or electricity to heat air which is then circulated through your home by a blower in your air handler. Furnaces are among the most fuel efficient heating systems on the market today with options available at up to 95% AFUE (meaning it uses up to 95% of the fuel consumed to produce heat). They are also inexpensive to install and while they don’t last quite as long as boilers, they are highly efficient when well cared for.


Boilers use gas, oil or electricity to heat water or steam which is then circulated through your home into radiators or baseboard heaters. The heated water or steam releases heat into your home and heats it in turn. While not quite as energy efficient as a high efficiency furnace, boiler heat is perfect for homes with existing radiators and no room for vents and ductwork. It also has less of an impact on indoor air quality since there is no air movement and boilers tend to last a very long time when well maintained.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates where it rarely gets below 40 degrees F. A heat pump uses the same technology as an air conditioner to extract heat from outside using a compressor, evaporator coils, and condenser coils with refrigerant.

It is most efficient in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, but it uses much less energy than either a boiler or furnace and it can be used in the summer to cool your home. When properly maintained, a heat pump will last 10-20 years and save quite a bit of money, though it is recommended that you have an emergency heat source for days when the temperature outside gets below 40 degrees F.

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