How Can You Fabricate Ductwork by Yourself?

Most homeowners hire professional technicians to repair their HVAC units. When you want to save money, you might wonder if you have what it takes to do your own ductwork.

Depending on how handy you are with a few simple tools, you could craft ductwork that might work well in your HVAC. You can fabricate your own ductwork by following these steps.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Before you make your own ductwork, you need to make sure you have the right materials and tools on hand. You should start by purchasing a piece of sheet metal that measures four by eight feet.

You also should make sure you have a table and work area that is large enough to accommodate the sheet metal. After you buy the metal and tools like a sheet metal hammer and steel ruler, you can start making ductwork for your HVAC.

Measure and Mark the Sheet Metal

Using the steel ruler, you can then start measuring and marking the metal before cutting and forming it. Place the steel ruler anywhere from 10 to 12 inches from the metal’s long edge. After lining up the ruler to the sheet metal, mark the metal at one inch in two places. Make sure the marks are two feet apart.

Then slide the ruler away from the metal’s edge until the edge of the ruler lines up at one of the one-inch marks. Locate the measurement on your ruler that corresponds with the width of the duct and then mark the metal at this point. Repeat this for one more inch.

Continue this process to measure for the height and length as well as one more measurement for the width of the duct. The last measurement should be marked at the ¼-inch mark. When you are finished marking the metal, you should have a pattern of:

  • One inch
  • Width of the duct
  • Height of the duct
  • Width of the duct
  • ¼-inch

When this pattern is in place, you are ready to put the ductwork together.

Bending the Metal

Bending and crafting the metal into ductwork requires you to use a lock former machine. Follow the measurements on the metal to bend it at each mark. You will have a ¼-inch lip on the duct when it is finished. Use a sheet metal hammer to clamp this down and lock the duct into place.

Ductwork does not have to cost you a lot of money. If you are handy with working with sheet metal, you could craft your own for your HVAC. Call us today at 408-295-2182 for more information.

What Is Industrial Air Handling and Why Is It Important?

Industrial air handlers are used to condition air so that it’s clean and help circulate it properly throughout the building. The devices are essential to keeping the environment cool or warm and maintaining the comfort of industrial workers. Their long-term health and safety depend on the efficiency of these systems. Learn more about the importance of using air handlers.

The Purpose of Air Handlers

Air handling units are designed to circulate air throughout a heating/cooling system. Industrial air handlers are designed for use in industrial settings like warehouses, factories and manufacturing plants. Some units are placed on rooftops, while others are designed to condition outdoor air only. Industrial systems are large, run for days or weeks at a time and must be maintained regularly.

Parts of the System

Most units contain the same components, such as fans, coils, filters and supply ducts, as residential air conditioners. The air filters are designed to clean the air that passes through, and the heating exchange coils are made to regulate the temperature.

An air handler contains a humidifier that improves the air quality. The efficiency of a humidifier is reduced when the air filter becomes clogged. So, maintaining an air handling unit regularly is important for it to run properly.

Some air handlers have mixing chambers that combine warm and cool air, which helps to regulate the temperature. Dampers are used to control the amount of air that enters or exits the building.

Mechanical fans or blowers are used to increase the airflow. In an industrial unit, multiple fans are seen that run at different speeds. In some buildings, heat recovery devices are used to recover heat loss and reduce the amounts of energy usage.

An air handler is managed using a wide range of controls. One control is designed to increase or decrease the rate of airflow. Another control is used to regulate the temperature or humidity levels. Some handlers are connected to automation systems that control the entire building.

Industrial air handling is necessary to run a clean, healthy plant or factory where heavy-duty manufacturing is taking place. During the manufacturing process, all types of fumes and debris are released into the air. Look for different selections of air handling units that vary by size, types of controls and setting. It’s important to find the right product that fits your specifications. Contact our company at 408-295-2182 to see how we can help you.

How are Sheet Metal Ducts Made?

There are basically two types of ductwork. The first type, which is also the most frequently used, is rigid and often made of galvanized sheet metal. The other type is flexible and is usually constructed with plastic. This blog will take a deeper look at the former type and how exactly this ducting is constructed.

When metal ductwork is installed in a building, it is custom fitted so that it fits exactly into the dimensions in the floor, ceiling or wall. There is a number of ducting parts that are commonly built that are then assembled and modified at the build site. It is kind of like putting together a kid’s construction set. A variety of pieces are provided and then pieced together to make a functioning air flow system. The common ducting shapes include:

  • Straight round pipe
  • Straight oval pipe
  • Half sheet rectangular pipe
  • 90 degree adjustable elbow
  • X, Y and Z connector pieces

Machinery Does the Fabricating Job

Sheet metal, the raw material for rigid ducting, can be cut and shaped by hand, but this is a difficult task. Automated machines do the work of cutting, folding and grooving to create all the different components needed to assemble a new ducting network.

Rectangular metal ducts are built by putting two pieces of bent sheeting together. The flat pieces of metal are first cut to the desired size with a cutting machine or plasma cutter. Then, another machine folds the sharp edges inward. Thirdly, the sheet is shaped into an L or a tube. Most rectangular ducting is made to standard sizes, but the machines can be adjusted to create the ducting in custom sizes.

Round metal duct, also known as spiral pipes, are made with a different process. At the start of the process, the sheet metal is put into a machine that coils it. The machine fuses the edges together to make the pipe air-tight. The pipe is then passed to the next processing step where it is cut to the desired length.

The ductwork in your building is a critical component for the safe and healthy use of the facility. Give us a call today at 408-295-2182 to learn more about the ventilation services that we provide.

What’s the Best Type of New AC Compressor?

When you need to replace the compressor in your air conditioner unit, you might wonder what kind you should choose. You want to select a compressor that will perform well and keep your building cool

However, you also may want it to lower your utility bills and not make a lot of noise while it functions. You can decide what type of air compressor is best for your building by learning about the available models.

Centrifugal Air Compressor

A centrifugal air compressor uses centrifugal force to move around refrigerant in the unit. It uses this force to pull in the coolant before rapidly spinning it with the impeller in order to compress it.

A centrifugal compressor is ideal for using in extra large HVAC systems. If your building uses a large air conditioner unit, you may decide that a centrifugal air compressor is right for your needs.

Rotary Air Compressor

A rotary air compressor can be the perfect choice if you are concerned about noise. When you want a quiet air compressor, the rotary model may suit you well because it:

  • Is small and quiet
  • Contains a shaft with several blades attached to it
  • Pushes coolant through the cylinder while compressing it at the same time


If you prefer your air conditioner function as quietly as possible, you could reduce the noise level without sacrificing the service of the unit by installing a rotary air compressor in it.

Screw Air Compressor

The screw air compressor has a reputation for being reliable and efficient. It is typically used in large buildings where substantial amounts of air need to be continuously cooled.

The screw air compressor has two large helical rotors that move the air in the unit from one end to the other. When the air moves through the compressor, the space gets smaller and the air gets compressed.

Reciprocating Air Compressor

The reciprocating air compressor is perhaps the most popular model available today. It has a piston that moves air up and down inside of the unit’s cylinder.

As it moves the air down, it creates a vacuum that sucks in refrigerant. As the air moves up, the gas compresses and moves into the condenser.

These models are the most common types of air compressors on the market. You can find out more about your choices by calling 408-295-2182 today.

How Big Of A Job Is It to Replace AC?

Replacing an air conditioner is one of the most complicated processes you’ll encounter as a homeowner. The project starts when you meet with one of our representatives to the final steps when we test the new system for optimal performance.

What’s Involved

The first step involves a thorough home assessment to find the best size for your system. The amount of insulation you have throughout makes a difference, as do the number, types and sizes of the windows. The floorplan layout and its total cubic footage are included in the analysis, which involves using software called Manual J to give us the right size for your new system.

If the system you select is too large, it will run in short cycles. Instead of saving energy, an oversized system actually uses more energy. It won’t run long enough to cool the parts of your home that are further from the air handler or thermostat and it will leave excessive humidity behind. An oversized system will also start more frequently, which uses a lot more electricity than the AC uses in mid-cycle.

Next Steps

Once the team has the size of the system, they move onto inspecting the ductwork to verify that it’s the right size, in good shape and free from air leaks. They use Manual J’s sister software called Manual D to size it. The team has testing equipment to identify where and how large any ductwork leaks are. As part of the inspection, they look for excessive dust inside the ducts and weaknesses.

Installation Day

At least one adult will need to be home during the installation that will probably take the greater part of the day. The first steps are to install the outdoor condenser and the indoor air handler. Next comes the wiring and attaching the air handler to the ductwork.

The technicians use their tools to verify that all the components are receiving the right amount of electricity and functioning as they should. They check the refrigerant pressure several times during the installation process. They’ll also use their tools to make sure that the air leakage rates through the ducts meet local and state guidelines.

Bottom Line

To learn more about an AC installation, contact O.C. McDonald at
408-295-2182, providing trusted HVAC, plumbing and electrical services for Bay Area and San Jose homeowners.

When Do You Need a Replacement AC Compressor Instead of a Repair?

A central air conditioner can be pricey to maintain and repair. Given the expense of keeping it in good condition, you may welcome the opportunity to replace faulty parts rather than have the entire unit serviced.

However, you might wonder in what cases you should buy a replacement compressor rather than have your air conditioner or its components fixed. You can make this decision confidently by learning when it is better to replace the air conditioner compressor instead of having it repaired.

Length of Warranty

Most parts in a central air conditioner are covered by warranties for finite amounts of time. The amount of time that a warranty covers a part varies. However, most warranties last for at least three years if not longer.

Before you decide whether or not to have your central air compressor replaced or fixed, you should find out if it is under warranty. If it is still covered by this protection, you could have it serviced at no cost. The company that extends the warranty to it may repair it for free.

Depending on the damage, the warranty may also cover a brand new replacement at no cost to you. The warranty on the new part would then begin anew once the compressor is installed in the central air conditioner.

Age of the Air Conditione

The age of the central air conditioner also should influence whether or not you have the compressor replaced or repaired. In many cases, there is no sense in having an aged part in an older model unit repaired. Both the unit and the part are prone to breaking down sooner or later, which essentially wastes your money.

However, if the air conditioner is younger than 10 years old, you could have the compressor repaired with a relative degree of confidence. The age of the air conditioner should not present a threat to the compressor. You could get a good amount of wear and tear out of both before you need to have them replaced.

Compressors between the age of three and 10 can be either replaced or repaired. You may opt for replacement if the compressor is leaking, however. A leak in the compressor is indicated by symptoms like:

  • Rattling in the outdoor unit
  • The AC unit tripping the circuit breaker
  • A scent of chloroform around the outdoor unit

Need to know more about replacing or repairing compressors? Call us today at 408-295-2182.

What Should You Know Before You Hire a Piping Contractor?

As a home or business owner, you may take for granted the extensive lines of pipes inside of your building. You may not realize how important these systems are until they break down and need to be serviced.

At that point, you may find yourself tasked with finding and hiring a piping contractor. You can hire the best contractor for the job by keeping these facts about piping in mind first.

Plumbers are Piping Contractors

You may not have realized it before, but plumbers are actually the most common and well-known piping contractors on the market. Many people fail to realize these professionals qualify as piping contractors because they associate piping within a building with a more delicate and intricate system.

However, plumbers are trained in piping design and engineering and know what it takes to move water in and out of a building. They also can lay entire new systems and replace even the most intricate parts in the plumbing in your home or business.

Fire Extinguishing Systems are Piping

When you need the fire sprinklers in your business serviced, you will need to call a piping contractor for the job. It is easy to assume that you should call a local fire department or fire marshal to have the system looked at and repaired. In reality, all you need is a skilled piping contractor who can repair and replace the pipes in the system.

This contractor not only knows how to get water moving inside and out of the fire extinguishing fixtures. He or she can also move other fire suppressant fluids in the system to put out a fire quickly as needed in your building.

Piping is Made from a Variety of Materials

As a lay person, you may not appreciate all of the materials from which piping can be made. Some of the more common choices for making piping today include:

  • Wood
  • Fiberglass
  • Steel
  • Plastic
  • Copper
  • Concrete

Modern piping can also have a variety of components like valves, fittings, and other devices in it. These components are responsible for sensing and controlling the pressure, flow rate, and temperature of the fluid transported in the pipes.

Piping contractors can service a number of systems inside of your building. You can find out more about piping systems and the contractors who repair and replace them by calling us today at 408-295-2182.

How Much Should I Pay For A New AC Compressor?

The air compressor is one of the four main parts found inside an air conditioning unit. It compresses refrigerant gas called Freon by exposing it to high temperatures and pressure. This heated and pressurized gas forces cooler air throughout your air conditioning system through ducts.

The leftover hot air is then transferred to the outside via coils and a fan. Without a functioning compressor component, an air conditioning unit will not work. There are many reasons why a compressor is no longer working.

Here are some of them:

  • If an HVAC system is poorly maintained, it will cause wear and tear to the AC components including the compressor
  • power surges can damage the compressor and cause it to burn out
  • too much moisture in the air can cause chemical reactions that will wear away the compressor
  • a compressor may stop working if it is defective, damaged during other repair work or past its lifespan

You can help prevent damage to the compressor and extend the life of your AC unit by doing basic maintenance. Annual AC tune-ups, changing your air filters on a regular basis, cleaning the HVAC system and controlling moisture levels can all prevent damage and wear to the compressor.

How Much Will It Cost To Replace A Compressor In An AC Unit?

Sometimes, an air compressor will stop working and need to be replaced. Since it is essential to the operation of the air conditioning system, you will have to replace the compressor or get an entirely new HVAC system. Often the most economical and smart decisions you can make is just to replace the compressor.

Generally, the larger your AC unit is, the more expensive the replacement compressor will cost. For example, a 2.5-ton capacity air conditioner unit will have a replacement cost of about $500-$980. A 5.0-ton capacity AC system will have an estimated cost of about $815-$1600 dollars.

Air compressors vary in quality. A cheaper compressor may save you money, but it will have a shorter warranty period and will not last as long as a more expensive one. Taking this into consideration is important when selecting a compressor.

Another important thing to factor in when shopping for a new air compressor is the installation cost. If you have staff on hand that can install new parts in an old air conditioner, then the additional installation cost will not apply to you. If you lack such staff on hand, then you can expect to pay an additional cost for installation. The installation cost should be around the same price as the compressor.

We will quickly determine what kind of compressor is required for your AC unit. Our team will also work with you to schedule a convenient installation time. Call us today at 408-295-2182, and we will get to work right away on getting your AC up and running.

What Can an Emergency Plumber in San Jose Help With?

Even the most bustling and successful businesses can be brought to a screeching halt when a plumbing emergency occurs. Leaks, blockages, and broken pipes are all problems that can impact a business’s ability to run smoothly. For over a century, many of Silicon Valley’s top businesses have trusted O.C. McDonald to serve their plumbing needs with superb craftsmanship and outstanding service.

Emergency Plumbing for Businesses and Corporations

Unlike the residential plumbing in your home, plumbing systems in large commercial buildings undergo the strain of being used by hundreds of people each day. This wear and tear can quickly result in leaks, blockages, or other emergency issues that a professional plumber should address before they worsen and cause serious damage.

In emergency scenarios, it is best to get the situation checked out sooner rather than later. A minor problem like a clogged pipe can quickly evolve into a full-on disaster if flooding or water damage takes place. Over time, unchecked plumbing issues can lead to mildew, mold, and even structural damage. This type of widespread damage impacts everything from safety to aesthetics and is often extremely costly to repair.

When Should You Call O.C. McDonald for Emergency Plumbing?

Give us a call right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Leaky faucets, toilets, or pipes
  • Slow or clogged drains
  • Burst or blocked pipes
  • Low water pressure
  • Luke-warm or cold water from hot water tap
  • Unusual sounds originating from pipes
  • Wet spots on the ceiling, walls, or floor
  • Bad odors, especially sulfur or sewage

24/7 Emergency Assistance from O.C. McDonald

We understand that emergencies do not always happen conveniently during business hours. Don’t panic! We offer 24/7 support so we can be there for you exactly when you need us most.

Give our 24/7 Live Operator a call and we’ll connect you with one of our experienced technicians ASAP.

Don’t Wait Until an Emergency to Reach Out!

O.C. McDonald has your back during a plumbing emergency, but we would also be thrilled to work with your company on routine, non-emergency projects as well. The key to successfully overcoming an emergency is through preparation, and by working with O.C. McDonald, you can expect the highest quality service from initial design and installation to maintenance and repair.

Ready to get started? Give us a call today at (408) 295-2182.

What Are the Different Types of Sheet Metal Duct Designs?

Sheet metal is an excellent choice for heating and cooling equipment because it enhances the performance of duct design components. Not only are sheet metal components easy to install, but they also provide energy efficiency, strength, and durability, as they can withstand high temperatures and environmental elements.

Materials Used in Sheet Metal

Galvanized Mild Steel

One of the most popular duct designs for buildings is based on galvanized mild steel with a rust-resistant zinc coating. This design is widely used because it can be easily customized and it provides sufficient protection against air loss, helping lower energy bills. The smooth quality of galvanized steel reduces the airflow compared with other duct materials. It also prevents the growth of mold and fungus.

Aluminum Duct-work

Due to its light weight and resistance to corrosion, aluminum has become a popular choice for duct-work. The material is reliable for both indoor and outdoor use in the following industries:

  • automotive
  • construction
  • printing
  • mining

Major advantages to aluminum are that it’s easy to install and can be easily bent to fit any shape.

Stainless Steel

Providing the same amount of strength as aluminum or galvanized steel, stainless steel is another effective type of sheet metal for budget-conscious building owners. It also resists corrosion and moisture, which is why it’s a top choice among food processing plants and sites with large industrialized construction. Swimming pools also work well with stainless steel applications, which add attractive aesthetics to a facility.

Custom Designs

An experienced fabrication shop has the tools and skills to create custom designs for clients with unique building layouts. Any type of duct can be designed with computer-aided design (CAD) software. The ideal duct system takes into account how much heating and cooling is needed in each room in terms of BTU per hour. You then need to determine the materials, the size of the system and select the right tools.

Like any HVAC equipment, the ducting system must be installed properly to avoid common maintenance problems. Keeping the duct clean and having it inspected by a professional every year are keys to extending its longevity.

Conclusion

Understanding the various types of sheet metal duct designs will help you determine the best solution for your needs. Make sure your design allows air distribution throughout a building while maintaining good air quality and energy efficiency. Call one of our counselors today at 408-295-2182.