What Is The Difference Between Commercial AC Contractors and Residential?

While there are some similarities between commercial AC systems and residential, the truth is, there are as many differences.

Commercial air conditioning systems service larger buildings and more people, making them far more complicated and intricate.

Most commercial installations are custom to that business making the maintenance and repair needs more complex.

As such, it is crucial to understand the differences between commercial AC contractors and residential.

Hiring the right person for the job can ensure the proper function and longevity of your system.

Education & Training

Commercial AC systems tend to be more complicated and provide a wide variety of scenarios.

Everyone from the local coffee shop to the giant distribution center that spans millions of square feet has a commercial AC system.

A commercial AC contractor must be able to design and implement technically complicated solutions to be successful in their field.

Commercial AC contractors see a variety of systems and must draw on years of experience to create successful solutions for their clients.

Whereas a residential AC contractor generally sees the same or similar units and can draw from previous experiences to formulate their plan for repair or maintenance.

Working Conditions

Most commercial AC systems are located on the roof of the business so that employees are not interrupted during maintenance or repair.

Depending on how large of a building the system services, it can be across several rooftops.

A commercial AC contractor must be able to navigate the route easily from one system to another and from one rooftop to another.

No matter the weather conditions, whether it’s broiling sun or pouring rain, a commercial AC contractor must show up to do the job. And, most days, will spend all of his time outdoors.

You will find residential AC systems inside the home and usually very easy to access.

The residential contractor may need to wear protective gear while working. However, accessing the system is not typically a challenge.

Business to Business vs. Business to Consumer

Commercial AC contractors work with large businesses on a daily basis.

They interact with building supervisors, property managers, office managers, etc.

Whereas, residential AC contractors interact with homeowners throughout their day.

A family who can’t get their residential AC unit to cool off the house in the middle of summer would call a residential AC contractor.

However, a major corporation who needs maintenance for the LEED-certified installation would call a commercial AC contractor.

Whether you have a commercial or residential AC system, make sure to hire the right professional for the job.

Give us a call today for either commercial or residential AC service 408-295-2182

Reasons To Go Ahead And Call A Plumber Before Attempting DIY

You are having plumbing issues at one of your in town locations. You have been tossing around the idea of calling a plumber, but you tend to think that you can just do the work yourself. Some problems you have been having are:

  • Gurgling after flushing
  • The Water goes down the drain slowly
  • Dirt comes back up into a shower near the toilet

How difficult could it be to fix these issues yourself? It depends on how deep the problem runs into your building’s plumbing system. Additionally, doing something incorrect could easily lead to a more expensive plumbing repair job than you started out with facing. Do you really want to risk it? The following are a few reasons why you should go ahead and call a plumber instead of trying to do it yourself.

You Do Not Have the Safety Gear You Need

You have what appears to be a clog in one of your pipes, and you are imagining all it needs is a little drain cleaner. Before you start pumping chemicals into the line, did you know that you are supposed to be wearing safety goggles when using these products? Some of these products can even be harmful to certain types of materials that pipes are made out of, but that plumbing mess may not come about as an immediate response to the action you are thinking of taking. Plus, if it does not work, when you do call a plumber you might forget to tell them you put chemicals in the line. Not suspecting that to be the case, the plumber could get sprayed in the face with dangerous chemicals while fixing the problem. This could have all been avoided if you had let the professionals take care of the clog.

Pipes in the Walls and Floors

You have suspected for some time that there is a leak in your building’s pipes. Not sure where it is exactly, you have been imagining that you should go ahead and start breaking one of the walls down with a sledge hammer and chase the leak down yourself. If it is not there, then you might think about tearing into the floor to check those pipes too. The great thing about calling a plumber to help you figure this out is that they can scope the line and find the leak without breaking anything—especially those pipes in the wall you cannot see. If you break one of those pipes, the repair costs will be much greater.

Help Is on the Way

The plumbing inside your business is actually a pretty sophisticated network of pipes and junctions. Tampering with the wrong pipes and fittings could result in you flooding your office building. It is a good bet that is a situation you do not want to have to pay for to remedy. There is a much better solution. To speak with one of our friendly customer service representatives, call 408-295-2182 and let us help you get the job done the right way the first time around.

What is a Design and Build Contractor?

In the traditional design-bid-build model used in the construction industry, the owner hires a designer on one side and a contractor on the other. Once the design phase is complete, they will invite bids from contractors for the actual construction of the final design.

Design and build is another type of contract that has become popular of late. In this type of contract, the project design and construction is undertaken by the same entity. Instead of 3 parties (owner-designer-contractor), there are only 2 entities involved.

In many cases, a design and build contractor is a general contractor who also leads the project design with a professional architect or engineer. Some design and build firms have professionals from both sides – design and construction. Other general contractors employ architects or designers to provide design services in-house, so to speak. In some cases, a design firm may partner with a construction firm for a specific project or time frame. Many such contracts allow the owner to take the design plans and go elsewhere for actual construction.

Advantages of Hiring a Design and Build Contractor

  • There are quite a few benefits in using design-build contracts for projects: The owner has to deal with only a single contract and one firm. There is no back and forth between the owner, designer, and contractor to haggle over details, costs, and schedules.
  • It saves a lot of time. The contractor doesn’t have to wait for the architect to complete the design before starting construction. For a small project, design and construction can commence at the same time. A larger project can be divided into phases with the design and construction of each phase happening simultaneously.
  • It allows the contractor and specialty subcontractors to propose better solutions to specific elements during the design stage itself. They don’t have to wait until construction begins to make changes.

That’s not to say there are no drawbacks. Sometimes, the contractor may cut corners (design-wise) to complete the project on time or within budget. They may also make design decisions in areas they have no experience with. However, the pros outweigh the cons for the most part. It’s no surprise that the number of design and build contracts has been trending upward in the last few decades. They’re used in many countries as they reduce the risks for owners and completion time of projects. If you’re starting a new construction project or remodeling an existing building, call us at 408-295-2182 for an estimate.

Ways That HVAC Contractors Can Actually Help You Save Money

Although everyone wants to ensure their utility bills are low and save as much money as possible, most people still think that spending money on regular HVAC services isn’t wise. But, hiring a contractor should always be considered as an investment that will surely pay off. When you work with a knowledgeable and experienced HVAC contractor like O.C McDonald, you can save money. Are you wondering if this is possible? Read on to find out more.

Enhance the efficiency of your system

Your unit’s energy efficiency level will determine how much you will pay. Have your energy bills been increasing dramatically in the past recent months? Several factors may be causing this change but an HVAC specialist can easily pinpoint the issue and help you solve it. Perhaps you simply need to get the filter replaced or clean the fan. Alternatively, you may be required to install another energy efficient unit that may help you save money and improve your home’s value. Fortunately, an HVAC contractor can assist you to decide the best option.

Make sure the A/C operates optimally

If you have an HVAC unit that’s running at half capacity, you should realize that it’s expending more energy than usual thus will increasing your bills. Unless you call your contractor to come and service the system you may never know that this is happening. By contacting a professional, you will ensure your system runs smoothly and reduce expenses.

Prevent damages to your unit

Most expensive repairs result from a problem that has been neglected for a long time that simply worsens. For instance, you may realize that your HVAC unit is noisier than usual but choose to ignore the issue until it later causes serious damages to the entire unit. Although this mistake is simple, it is very costly. An HVAC expert can offer the help you require by tending to the problem and fixing it even before it becomes bigger and costlier. With correct maintenance, your unit will be an outstanding investment since its lifespan will be prolonged.

You should never ignore contacting your HVAC contractor even if you are thwarted by the service cost. Always remember that you are making an informed investment that will pay off. Would you like to service your unit to save cost? Contact us today at 408-295-2182

Tips For Keeping Your Residential Air Conditioning Running For A Long Time

With summer around the corner, it won’t be long before you turn on the AC. Heating and cooling costs are a major part of your monthly utility expenses. Improving the efficiency of your AC unit provides two benefits – it lowers your energy bills and keeps your AC running for a long time.

Much like your car, the HVAC unit in your home also needs regular maintenance and tune-ups. A properly maintained air-conditioning unit can last years longer than one which hasn’t been cleaned or repaired in a while. Here are a few tips that can help keep your PC running for a long time:

Replace Air Filters

Dust and debris will clog the filters as you use the AC over time. It blocks air flow, forcing the unit to work harder. A dirty filter will dust to enter the unit and coat inside parts, hindering their ability to function properly. Consult your manual to see how often your filters need replacement.

Clean the AC and Its Surroundings

Apart from replacing the filters, you should clean the unit itself. Make sure to power off the unit before taking it apart to clean. Most HVAC units are located outside the house with ducts or pipes to the inside. Keep the area around the unit clean and remove any leaves, foliage or other debris. Anything that blocks free airflow in and around the unit will lower efficiency. Make sure nothing is blocking vents inside the house as well. Stuffed toys, blankets, and other soft material can cover vents, blocking air flow.

Draw the Shades

Sunlight streaming in through the window on a cold winter day is cozy and comforting. The same sunlight will also heat up your house in summer, meaning the AC will have to power on more frequently to keep the temperature constant. Use curtains, shades, and other screens on windows and glass doors to block sunlight. If your AC unit is not in a shady spot outside, purchase a cover to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Schedule Annual Maintenance by a Professional

In addition to the things you can do yourself, annual maintenance will help you catch problems well in advance. A professional will be able to tell you if certain parts need replacing before they burn out or if something needs lubrication to continue working.

Have more question about your AC or need to upgrade your unit? We’re ready to help you! Call us at 408-295-2182

3 Things To Consider When Purchasing A New HVAC Unit

HVAC units play an important role in homes and offices. Most modern systems are responsible for circulating cool or hot air as the need arises, reducing humidity, and maintaining the indoor air quality. It is a key component in maximizing comfort for people living or working in the building.

The average life expectancy for HVAC units is between 10 and 20 years. Most homeowners and building managers will purchase a replacement unit at least once. If you’re in the market for a new HVAC unit, consider the following 3 things before purchase:

Size of the unit

The proper size for the unit depends on many factors including the size of the building, insulation, and even the location. After all, the weather in California will be very different than a summer in Arizona. The size of an AC unit is described in tons and it has nothing to do with the weight of the unit. It is a measurement of its cooling power. As a general rule of thumb, a bigger five ton unit will be more powerful than a 2 ton unit. But that doesn’t mean it is right for your needs.

Efficiency rating

The efficiency of an HVAC unit describes how much cooling power you get for each watt of electricity. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER is the standard in the US and federal regulations require a minimum of SEER 14 for new units. Obviously, units with higher ratings will lower your electricity bills in the long-term. However, very high energy efficient HVAC units will also be more expensive.

Maintenance

Price plays a major role in any purchase decision. HVAC units are no different. But while you might think to compare prices and installation costs, most people overlook long-term maintenance and repairs. An expensive AC unit might require more frequent maintenance and parts may be costly. The warranty on your unit may also be contingent on periodic service visits. Some vendors offer maintenance contracts for your peace of mind. Make sure to ask if your estimate includes service.

Selecting the Right Contractor

Perhaps the most important consideration when purchasing a new HVAC unit is selecting the right contractor. Get at least three bids from different vendors for comparison. Avoid anyone using high-pressure sales tactics as any decent contractor probably has a waiting list of jobs. Half the work is in choosing a good contractor. Ready to buy your new HVAC unit? Call us at 408-295-2182 today to get started.

What Is the First Thing You Should Look for In A Residential Plumbing Company?

Plumbers are crucial when it comes to water supplies and maintenance of drainage in residential homes. Residential plumbing companies incorporate plumbers that are highly skilled, qualified and with vast experience so that they are able to meet the demands of their clients. Residential plumbers should have a professional clients relation since they interact mostly with their valuable properties.

Here are some of the key elements to focus on before hiring a residential plumbing company.

Qualifications

Just like other career fields, skilled plumbers are required to undergo through various education system and some industry approvals before they can start the actual plumbing. With the advancement of the internet and technology, fraudulent activities have significantly increased. Thus, it is crucial to check with the necessary authorities if the plumbing company has been registered and whether their staff are licensed.
Never go for a unique individual due to the chances of fraudulent activities. Go for a popular and registered residential plumbing firm such that when there are any issues, you can easily access their premises.

Reputation and Customer Reviews

A company’s rating is dominantly determined by the nature of customer feedback and the industrial reputation. If the firm has a substantial number of positive feedback, it means the previous clients were satisfied. This translates that they provide quality services as they describe.
Currently, you are able to navigate the company’s website, review their feedback and see their ratings, thanks to the advancement in technology. It is crucial to examine customer reviews, reputation and the ratings of a residential plumbing firm before opting for any.

Experiences

The level of experience determines their skills and levels of competence. A firm that has been in existence for a long time cannot be compared with beginners. To begin with, they have worked with a couple of clients and have solved numerous water and sewerage problems. Thus, you will be comfortable they will handle your property in a professional and competent manner.

Cost

Always calculate your budget before opting for any residential plumbing company. Ensure they are flexible with your budget and can accommodate several means of payment.

Don’t go for those companies that underbid. They do so because they do not have experiences, competence and the required personnel to execute their work. Consider a firm with reasonable cost. Call us today 408-295-2182

Who To Call (And Why) For Water Pressure Issues On Your Commercial Property

When you’re the property manager of a single -story or multi-story commercial building in and around San Jose, it’s important to take water pressure problems seriously. Normal water pressure ranges from 40psi to 80psi. If you have a sudden drop in water pressure from the lower to the upper floors, your boost pumps could be broken or you could have numerous leaks in your plumbing system.

Why You Should Call a Plumber for Your Water Pressure Problems

While low water pressure may not seem like a big deal, it can be disastrous for your building, depending on the cause. Common causes of low water pressure include:

  • Boost pump failures
  • Incorrect pressure switch setting
  • Malfunctioning or old water fixtures
  • Numerous small water leaks
  • Pipe corrosion
  • Pressure regulator failure
  • Problems with water valves
  • Problems with the city water supply

While it is possible that your water pressure problems are due to low pressure within the city’s water supply system, it is unlikely. It is more likely that you have a problem with the water supply system in your building, and if the problem turns out to be leaks or corroded plumbing pipes, you could be headed for a pipe blowout, which can cause extensive water damage, including mold growth and the need to replace drywall, carpets, and fixtures. If you’ve noticed a drop in water pressure or received numerous complaints about low water pressure, it’s time to call a professional plumbing contractor to evaluate your system and make the appropriate repairs.

Get Your Water Pressure Problem Solved with Help From O.C. McDonald

At O.C. McDonald, we have the expertise to diagnose your low water pressure and recommend the appropriate solutions to restore the pressure in your water lines. We can test the water pressure in your potable water lines to determine if your pressure is low, and we can pressurize your lines to determine if there are any hidden leaks. Once we’ve diagnosed the causes of your low water pressure, we can recommend the appropriate repairs and make those repairs, including replacing old, corroded and leaking plumbing pipes and adding or replacing pressure regulators and boost pumps.

To get help with your plumbing system and to diagnose the causes of your low water pressure, call us today at 408-295-2182

How and Why Industrial Facilities Managers Rely On Emergency Plans

Whether it is earthquakes on the West Coast, tornadoes through the Midwest, or devastating floods in the Southeast, or fire emergencies anywhere in the country, Facility Managers with an Emergency Plan in place are critical to both recovering and restarting business operations following a disaster.

First and foremost is the safety of all personnel. By having an evacuation plan in place, combined with a team of trained and knowledgeable responders, you are ready.

With trained emergency captains and employees, along with locations for all evacuees to assemble, you can mitigate the risk of injury or worse to personnel.

Preserving the physical facilities by following appropriate shutdown and lockout procedures can save millions in restarting business functions following a disaster.

Disasters like hurricanes can inflict billions of dollars in damage on facilities as well as cause the tragic loss of life.

Few companies have a comprehensive emergency plan in place, and fewer still have the expertise to put a plan together.

But you don’t have to live in fear of a disaster bringing your business to its knees. With our help, you can rest easy that in the event of an emergency you will have a robust plan in place.

Emergency Planning Services

The basic elements of an emergency plan includes:

  • Executive Summary
  • Purpose
  • Policy
  • Responsibilities
  • Emergency Types
  • Operations Management

The body of the plan includes:

  • Direction/Control
  • Communications
  • Life Safety
  • Property Protection
  • Community Outreach
  • Recovery/Restoration
  • Administration/Logistics

With an emergency plan in place, you can conduct periodic safety evacuation drills. You have checklists that key personnel will cover on a regular schedule to ensure that the maximum safety measures are in place and working as required.

Emergency plans are like taking out life insurance on your loved-ones, or home and fire insurance on your property. You hope you will never need it, but you have the security of knowing it is there if a disaster does occur.

You have a great deal invested in your business, both economically and emotionally. Protect it with a comprehensive plan to respond to emergencies that might arise.

Ready to get your plan started? Call us today at: (408) 295-2182

Best Strategy in Choosing a Contractor

It is vital that you comprehend the best strategy of narrowing down on the most reliable contractor once you have a particular project that desires professional input. Choosing the best mechanical contractor can be a very difficult errand. It is our pleasure to provide some basic guidelines in selecting a contractor that will make the process easier.

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Next Project

Often, people selectively choose an item from a store based on unique qualities necessary for efficient use. The same rule applies when you are choosing a contractor. Selecting a professional contractual worker holds an equal emphasis as buying standard equipment. For a device to function optimally, it requires proper installation and routine upkeep. If you resort to poor mechanical contractor selection policies, you expose yourself to risk. Remember that not all contractors are great and have mastered their skills. Initiating thorough research may mean the difference between expert input and getting ripped off by a quack.

Tips You Must Know in Selecting a Contractor

The expense of repairing and maintaining an improperly installed HVAC system can create a massive negative impact on your company’s profits. Ascertain that your system is installed appropriately from the beginning. All contractors must possess a license that allows them to practice in their region. Accreditation from the relevant regulatory body ascertains that they have adhered to all the necessary legal statutes and professional qualifications. Expert contractors usually go through certifications processes that are approved, and it is only through a license that you can be confident that they have completed the course. One of the surest strategies in knowing if you are settling on the best is via contacting previous clients. Based on their first-hand data on services delivered, they are going to offer you great insight on whether or not to hire the contractor. Contractors charge differently based on industry experience and expertise. It is better to hire a costly contractor that has great experience rather than an amateur. Striking a good balance between quality of work and price ought to be your target.

Ensure that the contractor:

• Possesses knowledge of different systems from various manufacturers

• Have excellent customer care and respond well to your needs

• Don’t possess a lot of legal troubles

• Offer you a list of references

After you have considered these ideas, you can have a good clue of the contractor to select.  Get in touch with us to discuss any tasks that you might have that require the expertise of a mechanical contractor.  Call 408-295-2182