What Exactly is a Mechanical Contractor?

There are times when many of the building trades seem like modern equivalents of the guild system of the Middle Ages. Which is to say that each individual trade is actually a highly-specialized field of endeavor with its own secret knowledge and ways of doing things. This is particularly so in the case of the mechanical contractors. Unlike the electricians and plumbers, whose functions are generally well-known, many people have never even heard of a mechanical contractor. If forced to take a guess, they might hazard the idea that is is someone responsible for oil changes and tire repairs.

Yet mechanical contractors are among the most highly-skilled and important workers on any jobsite. They are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the various life support functions such as the heating and air conditioning plants, as well as for the many site-specific ventilation systems that are such a critical part of any modern industrial plant.

Particularly when it comes to construction services for the high tech industry, mechanical contractors are also responsible for what is known as process piping inside the plant in addition to their other responsibilities. Process piping is generally a delivery system for either liquid or high pressure gas components onto the production floor of the plant. These are normally substances that are extremely dangerous to use except under the most carefully controlled conditions. There is no alternative to getting the process piping done correctly, and it is a tremendous mark of confidence in the abilities of any mechanical contractor to be selected for the honor of doing such exacting work.

The True Experts in Their Profession

Here at O. C. McDonald, we are proud to have been chosen to do these sorts of systems for clients such as Stanford University, Lockheed Martin, and the Santa Clara Medical Center. Yet we also provide the same level of expert craftsmanship and acute attention to detail for all of our residential customers as well. After all, we didn’t start building semiconductor factories when we got started in 1906. Instead, you might say we’ve worked our way up to the top of our profession over time.

So if you are in need of any sort of mechanical contracting, or of any plumbing services, for your residential or commercial property, we are the experts that you want to have working for you. Give us a call at (408) 295-2182 and let us show you how O. C. Mcdonald can do your project to the highest possible standard and still save you money.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed and Experienced Plumbing Company in San Jose

Keeping your plumbing in good condition at all times is vital. This helps to avoid having to pay dearly for any damage that may occur from leakages. It is good to have plumbing systems repaired and maintained by a qualified plumber as opposed to DIY. Here are benefits of picking an experienced and licensed contractor in San Jose.

Licensed contractors are a one-stop shop for your plumbing needs

An experienced contractor can work on a variety of plumbing issues at home. He or she will replace, repair and diagnose a variety of plumbing systems whether heating, drainage or water systems. He or she can also advise on ways to prevent future issues. Therefore, you do not have to hire multiple professionals to work in different areas.

Keeps the warranty

Electronic appliances such as water heaters come with a warranty. This warranty can be voided if you hire an unlicensed and inexperienced plumber or install it yourself. A licensed and experienced contractor knows how each plumbing fixture is installed in line with existing regulations and those of the manufacturer. This keeps the warranty intact for its entire period.

Helps you comply with local building code

A plumber who is licensed locally is informed about local building codes. Therefore, he or she will ensure that you have complied with the code. Failure to comply with the building code can lead to heavy penalties and fines if anything goes amiss. In addition, your house insurance may fail to compensate you if the house is damaged due to poor plumbing system installation.

Enhances your safety

A licensed and qualified plumber ensures that all the plumbing appliances are safe for use by the occupants of the house. For example, a tankless water heater can start a fire if not well installed. Water supply systems can also cause flooding if there are leakages. Avoid these situations by ensuring a professional installation.

There are several plumbers in San Jose. Take your time to get a reputable plumber for installation, periodic maintenance or repairs. It sometimes costs a little higher than hiring unlicensed plumbers. However, given the above benefits, it is worth the extra cash.

Let our experienced plumbers handle all your plumbing needs in San Jose. Contact us today on (408) 295-2182

How Much is Air Conditioner Repair?

Air conditioner repair costs will vary depending on the brand, size, and type of air conditioner. However, it is important to have an experienced HVAC technician come and evaluate your system before deciding whether or not to replace or repair your air conditioner.

So, what’s the problem? Is your air conditioner running but not cooling? Is it not cooling as well as it usually does? Is it making strange noises? These are all questions your technician will want the answers to.

 

Possible Problems With Your Air Conditioner

  • Not feeling as cool as usual. Check the filter and clean it if necessary. Also check around the unit and make sure there is nothing impeding airflow, like plants or curtains. If everything seems clear and you call for a repair, it could cost, according to Home Advisor, as little $200 and as much as $1600 to fix a refrigerant leak and around $200 to recharge the freon.
  • Not turning on, or staying on. If your air conditioner is not turning on or not staying on once it’s turned on, you may have an electrical issue, but you should have a professional check out the condenser, the evaporator unit, and the fan. They may just need to be cleaned, but could need repair. Condenser fan replacement can cost around $500 and an evaporator unit may cost as much as $1000. A circuit board, relays, or other electrical parts could cost as little as $15 or as much as $300.
  • Rattling or other noises coming from the unit? Call a pro and get a tune-up. You might need a few pieces lubed or other parts cleaned and looked at. This will cost in $75 to $150 range according to Home Advisor.
  • Use the 5,000 rule. Many HVAC technicians suggest using the 5,000 rule. Essentially, this means you take the age of the unit and multiply it by the cost of the repair. If the answer is more than $5,000, you should probably replace the unit. For example, if you’re air conditioner is 10 years old and the repair will be $250, you should repair that unit as the answer is only $2,500.

No matter what the problem, make sure you consult with your HVAC technician to make sure you are taking care of the unit properly. If the unit is aging and a repair might be costly, replacing might be your best option. Need help with your repair? Give us a call at (408) 295-2182

 

What Is a Design Build Contractor?

Do you have a building project? If yes, you should consider hiring a design-build contractor. In design-build, rather than the owner contracting with two separate individuals or teams, that is contractor and architect, he or she ties the architect contractually to the contractor. The owner then deals with one entity, that is, the Design-Build team.

How Does a General Contractor Differ from the Design-Build Contractor?

A general contractor is concerned with just the construction aspect of the project where they subcontract some of the work; another firm completes actual designs and plans for the project. As a result, the project may take time, and the process may not be continuous since the designing is done by someone who is outside the project but a design-build contractor does all the work including construction and designing of the project.

How Can You Benefit by Hiring a Design-Build Contractor?

  • Single source of accountability

The architect and builders are under one roof allowing you to work with one team throughout the project which as a result improves accountability.

  • Saves time

A design-build contractor will save you time during development and construction of your building since there will be no delays in communication between the architects and builders for they work as one team. Arising changes or problems are communicated quickly and effectively which apparently helps the design team finish the work on time.

  • Saves money

When drawing plans, the designer takes cost efficiency enabling you to save costs on construction. Hiring another team to do the construction work is expensive, but with build design, you can save these additional fees thereby lowering the project costs. Some design-build teams offer discounts if you use their full services making you save more.

  • Quality control

Use of design-build contractor removes the ambiguity that is likely to be seen in material and construction specifications. The designer, engineers, and builders are from the same team which makes them focus on protecting the client’s interest.

  • Budget management

To keep the project with a reasonable budget, you should discuss the budget during the design phase. Discussing the cost ensures that the owner is aware of the whole costs and plays a crucial role in arriving at the price of the entire project. The design-build contractor defines and controls the project costs once the scope of the work has been finalized.

If you combine design-build experience in one team, you will realize the benefits of “one-stop shopping” such as cost saving, saves money and budget management among other benefits. Do you have a project you want completed? Call us today at (408) 295-2182

Why HVAC Maintenance is Important for Facilities

It’s without a doubt that your HVAC equipment is one of the most precious and if anything, one of the expensive equipment in your facility. HVAC equipment are frequently used within a facility and they are helpful in improving the living and working conditions. This among many other reasons is why you need to ensure that your heat and air equipment is up and running always. Below are three reasons why you need to keep maintenance top of your priority list.

Helps you save money by reducing energy use

One of the main reasons why maintaining an your equipment is important to facilities is that it helps improve their efficiency. According to energy statistics, HVAC equipment single handedly contributes to over 40% percent of energy used in any property. With proper and regularly maintained equipment, facility owners are able to save about 15-20% of energy costs that would otherwise have been wasted on inefficient equipment.

Helps you improve the lifespan of your equipment

Just like any other equipment, HVAC units are vulnerable and prone to damages. It is this damages that reduces the durability of these equipment. According to manufacturer’s, they have a lifespan of up to 40 years whereas the air conditioners can last up to 15 years and the water heater up to 10 years. By regularly checking your equipment you will be able to fix and correct the simple errors on your HVAC before they develop into complex issues consequently helping your equipment live up to its lifespan.

Helps improve quality of air around your property

In addition to keeping your property warm or cold depending on the weather conditions of the day, HVAC equipment helps improve the air quality in the surroundings. Experts recommend that you schedule regular maintenance plans if you are to enjoy the benefits of your equipment. Some of the things you need to ensure you carry out include;

  • Inspect, clean and service your equipment regularly
  • Replace worn out parts or those that do not meet your specific needs
  • Regulate your system controls properly

Once the above factors are checked, you will be able to guarantee the safety of your employees and facility visitors and also the efficiency of your equipment.

The ultimate performance and efficiency of your HVAC equipment is determined by the care you offer it. Preventative approaches such as cleaning your equipment regularly, replacing worn out parts and strengthening movable parts will help you improve the efficiency of your equipment and save you money at the same time. The good news about this is that we can help you in all this, call us today and let us gladly help you with your equipment. Call (408) 295-2182

Is Your Air Conditioner System Still on R-22?

Many air conditioners manufactured before 2015 use a refrigerant called R-22, more commonly known by its brand name, Freon. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reclassified R-22 as a Class II ozone depleting substance, and all air conditioners manufactured after 2015 must use more environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R-410A. By 2020 new EPA regulations will prohibit manufacturing or importing R-22 for use in the United States.

It’s no surprise that because of the new regulations, the price of R-22 has been on the rise, making it quite a bit more expensive to repair and recharge air conditioners that use it. If you have an older unit and want to keep it working, you will have to act quickly. To find out if your air conditioner uses R-22 simply check the label on the outside compressor. Unless it is missing or faded, it should display the type of refrigerant being used. If the label is unreadable, try to get the model and or serial number and contact the manufacturer for more information.

 

What Are My Options?

The good news is that If your air conditioner uses R-22, there are still a few options available. The first is to contact an HVAC contractor immediately to check for any small leaks that might be occurring. These can be easily fixed and should prolong the life of your unit in the short term. This will preserve your refrigerant which soon will be nearly impossible to find.

You might have another choice if your unit is newer and has the right type of coils. Since 2005 many equipment manufacturers have been making coils that are compatible with both R-22 and R-410A. By 2010 all air conditioners being made in the US were made to use R410A only. If your current unit can handle the newer refrigerant, your contractor may be able to clean the coils and either replace or adjust its expansion device to make the upgrade.

Of course, the final option which you probably want to avoid is to replace your system. If it is over 20 years old, and your cooling costs have been on the rise, this is probably the best choice. A newer unit will likely be more efficient, and you will be able to say that you’ve done your bit to help save the environment.

Need help?  Call us today (408) 295-2182

Does Your Facility Have an Emergency Plan for When Systems Go Down?

Whatever your line of business is, you have a variety of systems that help keep things running smoothly: HVAC for cool air in the summer and heat in the winter, plumbing for the bathrooms, electrical systems for lighting, and perhaps even some audio systems for intercoms or music.

When all of these systems are running smoothly, you don’t generally even think about them. You flip switches, adjust temperatures, flush toilets, and go about your day. But what happens when one or more of these systems go down? What if one system has a minor failure, or what if they all have a catastrophic failure at once?

Do you have an emergency plan for that scenario? You should, because at some point, something will happen.

 

What should your emergency plan contain?

To be fully comprehensive, your emergency plan should be thorough. It should begin with what to do in the event of a minor system failure, detailing the specifics for each system. It should conclude with what to do in the event of catastrophic failure of all systems at once.

It should detail things such as:

  • Whether to send staff home or keep working
  • Who to call for repairs, including names and phone numbers
  • Steps to take to prevent further damage to the system while waiting for repairs
  • If your business has clients or customers, whether to close to the public until repairs are made

There are likely other steps that are specific to your particular company that would also need to be included.

This plan should be in writing, and there should be several copies in several different locations around the property, ensuring that all employees are able to access it and make use of it, in the event of such an emergency.

A critical part of the emergency plan is knowing who to call to get repairs made quickly. You don’t want to have to wait out the weekend, or even a single night, in an emergency.

O.C. McDonald offers emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Include our number in your emergency plan, and no matter the time of day or night, our 24-hour live operator can get you set up with one of our experienced technicians to get your system back up and running as quickly as possible.

Call us today (408) 295-2182

Are You Paying Too Much for Industrial Plumbing?

Industrial plumbing is complicated and requires the expertise of personnel who are highly experienced in this area of the trade. Strict regulations regarding this type of plumbing have been put into place for the safety of both employees and customers. This is especially true in the San Francisco – San Jose area where there is a heavy population.

At O.C. McDonald, we are proud of our reputation as a company that is well known for our excellent service and quality workmanship in all commercial or residential projects we undertake. Starting with the installation of the first air conditioning system in San Jose, in 1906, our family company has expanded to include plumbing, process piping and HVAC installation and service.

Plumbing for commercial customers requires special skills and a complete knowledge of the complexities involved. Not only must local and federal rules be followed but there are special installation concerns as well. When a plumbing systems are installed it is essential that it works correctly from the moment of installation. Whether a large-scale plumbing job or a small one, each receives the meticulous details that are required for a good job.

 

Types of Commercial Plumbing

We are happy to offer industrial and commercial plumbing for all types of businesses. This includes plumbing systems designs and installation. HVAC, fuel oil, natural gas, medical, oil and grease waste, acid, double contained waste, compressed air, sanitary waste and vent, storm damage and potable/non-potable water systems are just a few of the different projects that have been designed and installed with high-quality work.

Often these projects involve facilities that must handle hundreds of people, which means that plumbing systems undergo a great deal of wear and tear. This includes hospitals, malls, restaurants and many other busy locations. Not only do these properties require a good plumbing system installation but upkeep as well. At O.C. McDonald’s we are happy to offer qualified professionals who can make any repairs, or required maintenance, quickly and efficiently with very little interruption of business.

Commercial plumbing work requires special skills. It is important that the plumber know the difference between a natural gas system and a recycled water system. There are hundreds of different requirements regarding how systems are constructed, how they are installed and that they fulfill the system and the legal requirements involved.

When a job is contracted, the first step involves the design/build engineers. This requires the specific skill of the engineer involved. Regardless of whether the job involves a small project or a large one, the same finite details will be taken into consideration. It is not the size of the job but the quality that we are concerned with.

Quality work and satisfaction are our main concern when designing and installing any type of system. We will review your requirements and explain the steps required for an installation. The size of the building, or property, and the type of business will determine what type of system will best fit your needs. Whether it is a natural, medical, fuel oil, compressed air, waste or drainage system, you will receive a full explanation of what is involved.

We are happy to offer the following:

  • Certified plumber installers
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 emergency services
  • Top of the line materials

If you are in the market for a high quality business system, give us a call today at 408-295-2182 and speak to one of our operators.