How Is a Business AC Unit Different from a Residential Unit?

Air conditioning is essential for both our homes and businesses, but did you know that the systems that cool each down have some interesting differences? If you want to know just how they differ, read on to learn more!

How Each System Works


The main difference between commercial and residential cooling is the power that is needed to do the job. Commercial spaces have to service more people than private homes, and they usually take up larger spaces. Because there are so many people in a commercial building at a given time, the units are usually stored on the roof to preserve space. Also, on the roof, the inevitable noise is also much less disruptive.

Why would the number of people inside the building matter as far as the amount of cooling power needed? It’s due to human bodies exuding heat. A commercial unit must overcompensate for this phenomenon. This consideration not only applies to employees but crowds of customers in applicable businesses, such as big box and grocery stores.


Central home systems are simply hooked up to ducts. The evaporator is stored indoors, usually in the basement or garage, and the condenser is outside. This is referred to as “split,” because the components are kept both inside and outside. Heat pump units are also split, and they the most common types of home units. They cool in the summer and heat in the winter.

Differences in Installation


There is a certain amount of technical skill needed to install a business unit. Their drainage systems are much more complicated with the multiple pans and drainage pipes that are needed to prevent overflow after the evaporation phase. While residential units need only one pan, the amount of water from the condensation formed by a commercial air conditioner will surely cause a flood without the additional protection.

Commercial air conditioner technicians also need to have experience sizing a unit to fit right. This is about more than just conserving space. The perfect fit ensures that the system will not short-cycle or drain the power while also providing the right amount of BTUs to cool the area.


Home cooling units, having indoor and outdoor components, must have both parts separately installed and maintained. It is also pertinent that both are linked perfectly in order to perform. If ductwork has not yet been installed, that, of course, is a must, unless the homeowner is opting for a ductless system.

Hire the Right Company for the Job

It takes an experienced crew to install both business and home units efficiently. At O. C. McDonald’s, we take pride in our proven track record as one of San Jose’s most trusted HVAC contractors. If you need our highly-skilled technicians to help you cool your home or business, give us a call at 408-295-2182 today.

How Do You Evaluate Your Business AC Unit Needs?

While most businesses don’t think to address their AC needs until there is an emergency, it pays to monitor one’s HVAC system to make sure it is functioning properly. With regular servicing, businesses will be able to make sure their AC units last as long as possible without experiencing any major issues.

Businesses should make it a point to evaluate their AC needs on a regular basis by closely monitoring their electricity bill. Typically, businesses should see a consistent average of energy use every month. If there is a spike in your electricity bill, this is an indication that there may be something wrong with your AC unit.

If the AC isn’t functioning as efficiently as it needs to, it’s likely using more energy than necessary to cool your building. Calling in a professional to inspect your AC unit and make any repairs will lower your electricity bill and make sure the office is being cooled properly.

In other situations, your business’ AC unit may be too old to work as efficiently as newer models. This is often the case with AC units that are over 10 years old. If there’s no way for this unit to be repaired, it’s best to invest in a newer model that is designed for energy efficiency. Be sure to double-check with the technician to determine the quality of your AC unit before deciding to go with a new model.

Addressing Additional AC Needs

When addressing business AC needs, be sure to keep your finger on the pulse of the temperature throughout the entire building. If a working AC unit isn’t a problem in the office, you may have another issue on your hands. It isn’t uncommon for employees to complain that their offices are freezing cold. While many employees try to shiver through the day with hot beverages and thick blankets, there’s a better way to address these AC problems.

When addressing these business AC needs, be sure to keep your finger on the pulse of the temperature throughout the entire building. Frequently checking in with employees will give you a good idea of how they feel about the temperature. If employees often report that it’s too cold or too hot in different areas of the office, you should address these issues of unreliable temperatures.

With the help of an AC technician, you’ll be able to fix any equipment malfunctions, poor thermostat calibration, duct issues, or similar problems that may be contributing to your indoor temperature situation. If you’re ready to get started, call us today at 408-295-2182.

How Soon Can a Commercial HVAC Mountain View Company Evaluate Your Building?

If you are looking for a professional Mountain View HVAC company to evaluate your building, you can find one that offers fast services. It is important to get in touch with a company that can help you right away so that your project can get started. There are a lot of details that go into a HVAC evaluation, and the right company can schedule an appointment with you as soon as you call them and tell them your needs.

An HVAC Evaluation Involves:
. Determining the right size unit or units for your building
. Making sure that ductwork can be run properly to ensure that every room of your building has adequate heating and cooling
. Determining your HVAC piping needs
. Providing a pricing estimate

Your Evaluation

Your HVAC evaluation should always be performed by knowledgeable and highly-skilled technicians who can provide you with the best services possible. It is important to work with a team of experienced professionals who can help you determine the right size unit or units for your building. A unit that is too tiny will be unable to heat or cool your entire building. A unit that is too large will use extra power and not be as efficient as it needs to be. Professionals will make sure that you have the best heating and cooling unit or units to meet your specific needs.

You can rely on a reputable company to figure out the best way to run your ductwork and metal piping. High-end materials will be used so that they will last for a long time to come. You want to be assured that your building’s work will be done right and that the company you hire can work around your schedule. You also want to make sure that the company you work with is can provide a pricing estimate upfront so that you know what to expect.

If you want to discover more information about getting an HVAC evaluation for your building, we are here to help you. Our team is standing by to provide you with fast and friendly services. If you want to get started, just call us at 408-295-2182 to discover more about all that we offer or to set up an appointment with us.

Are Mechanical Contractors Able to Handle Heating and Cooling Systems?

Mechanical contractors are an extremely versatile class of professional construction specialists. However, because a mechanical contractor can do so many things, many people don’t realize that they are the perfect solution to heating and cooling problems. This post will explain what mechanical contractors can do for you and why they’re the best option for HVAC work.

Understanding what a Mechanical Contractor Can Do For You

A mechanical contractor focuses on piping, heating, cooling, and sheet metal solutions for its clients. In addition to helping during building construction and renovation, many mechanical contractors offer on-going service and maintenance agreements.

This demonstrates one of the key benefits of using a mechanical contractor for your HVAC needs. When the same company installs equipment and maintains the equipment you get the greatest value. This arrangement minimizes confusion and potential problems that can lead to costly fixes in the future.

Another benefit of using mechanical contractors for your HVAC needs is that mechanical contractors have the skills and resources to perform custom work. That means your building will get the best care and consideration possible. It also means faster and easier construction, renovation, and repair. This is because highly skilled mechanical contractors don’t simply rely on factory-standard fixes. They tackle issues head-on with the best solutions to get your building running as it should in no time.

Key Mechanical Contractor Capabilities

• New Construction
• Rebuilds/Renovations
• Industrial, Commercial, and Residential HVAC
• Process Piping
• Gas Fitting
• Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication

As you can see, there’s a lot that a mechanical contractor can do for your building. These broad skill sets mean that a mechanical contractor can take care of all of your building’s needs. That saves you time and money because you don’t need to worry about seeking services from multiple contracting companies.

Additionally, a mechanical contractor’s vast experience and talent allow them to spot potential issues before they become problems. That means you can fix things in the easiest, cheapest way possible.

Call Today to Find Out How We Can Help You

Now that you’ve seen what a mechanical contractor can do for your organization and buildings, it’s time to take action. When you’re ready to get your project finished on time and under budget, give us a call at 408-295-2182. We’ll be happy to explain what we can do to make your next project a total success.

What Licenses Does a Mechanical Piping Contractor Have?

What Licenses Does a Mechanical Piping Contractor Have?

Mechanical piping contractors are usually required to obtain the same licensing that conventional HVAC professionals receive. The procedure associated with this licensing process varies from state to state, but most require going through an extensive application process paired with two different exams: mechanical then business and finance. These requirements are regulated by the Department of Public Health, along with the Division of Labor. The licenses can be issued to applicants as individual technicians, or to larger commercial entities.

The Initial Step in Mechanical Piping Contractor Licensing

The first thing any individual applicant or business entity should do is start the application process. Although these requirements differ in each state, most areas require you to prove that you have the following:

  • the appropriate application fee
  • a surety bond
  • recent credit reports
  • a list of education and experience
  • proof of insurance
  • any company or technician information

The application fee is often associated with registering as a mechanical piping contractor, and it is generally under $100 for each applicant. Depending on the region, the surety bond is several thousand dollars, and it used as a way to prove that the applicant is stable enough financially to take on a commercial license. A full credit report should also be provided that includes a recent FICO score to prove an even higher level of financial responsibility.

Applicants are also required to prove that they have the appropriate amount of experience and education to take on mechanical piping work. For instance, Florida requires that if a technician or business head does not have four years of education from an accredited university, then they must have enough experience as a foreman to make up for it. Someone who has only received three years of formal education in the construction field will be required to provide proof of working as a foreman for one year.

Testing Protocols: The Mechanical Exam and Business and Finance Exam

The mechanical exam is usually an all-day test that includes morning and afternoon exams. Most states provide applicants with 130 questions on subjects such as pre-installation, installation of HVAC systems, and maintenance services. There will also be sections quizzing the applicant’s knowledge on safety and equipment.

The business and finance exam is also quite lengthy, consisting of around 120 questions in most scenarios. Technicians and businesses will be tested on how to establish contracting businesses, as well as how to manage administrative responsibilities. They will also have to prove that they are knowledgeable in areas such as government regulations and human resources.

Each state has its own requirements in regard to the licensing of mechanical piping contractors, but these are the general procedures that are most often followed. It may seem like it comes with a demanding list of prerequisites, but these requirements are put in place to ensure that contractors provide reliable, quality work. Contact our licensed mechanical piping contractors at 408-295-2182 to see how we can help with your latest project.

How Does an Industrial Air Conditioner Price Vary?

There are many factors to consider when you are looking for a good Industrial air conditioning system. A professional company can help you to figure out exactly what type of unit will be best for your facility. You may need multiple units, extensive ductwork, ductless systems, or one of many other options to help your facility stay cool during the warm months of the year.

Some Factors to Consider:
. The size of the unit needed to cool off your facility
. The number of units you will need
. The type of system
. The company you hire

Pricing Considerations

There are many aspects to the pricing process. A good company will be able to give you a reasonable estimate that will match your unique needs. It is important for a professional to help you pick out the properly sized unit that you will need for your facility. You may need multiple units, or you may want to go with a ductless system. The right unit or units will be able to cool off your facility as energy-efficiently as possible. You do not want to get a unit that is too big for your facility since it will just use too much energy without giving your company any benefits. You also do not want to go with a unit that is too small. A unit that is too small will not be able to cool off your property as efficiently as it should, and it will wear down your unit faster than it should. By having a professional help you find the right size and type of system for your facility, you can have peace of mind that your entire property will be able to stay at a comfortable temperature year-round.

The company that you hire will also have a big impact on the pricing of your air conditioning system. You want to hire an experienced and reputable company that can provide reliable and efficient services to meet your unique needs. If you work with a trustworthy company, you can be sure that you will get the right type of unit for your facility at a reasonable price. When you are ready to learn more about the prices of industrial air conditioners, go ahead and give us a call at 408-295-2182.

Are HVAC Installations Time-Consuming?

The average replacement time associated with full HVAC systems is approximately three days, but this time frame is truly dependent on a few different variables. These variables include factors such as the type of system that is being installed, the size of the system itself, and how much ductwork needs to be replaced. When it comes to mainstream HVAC systems, there are four primary types that commercial and residential customers opt for:

  • hybrid systems
  • split systems
  • duct-free systems
  • packaged heating and air systems

Each of these systems is made up of different components and ventilation systems that come with their own suggested installation times.

The Modern HVAC Set Up: The Hybrid System

Since energy efficiency is becoming a priority in more American homes, hybrid systems are beginning to trend. A hybrid system works by choosing between two different energy sources for power. These power sources consist of natural gasoline engines or battery-powered options. How long these systems take to install relies on how much ductwork needs to be replaced. Since most property owners are looking for heightened efficiency with these systems, they typically choose to replace all of the ductwork for lower energy costs in the future. This will usually take approximately three to four days to complete.

Split Systems

Split systems are perhaps the most common HVAC systems installed in residential units, and they consist of exterior and interior cabinets that hold their important components. The exterior cabinet holds the condenser and compressor, while the interior cabinet holds the evaporator coil. These can usually be installed within one or two days, but like hybrid systems, this is dependent on how much ductwork needs to be done.

Duct-Free Systems

A duct-free system still utilizes a compressor, but the heat is sent outdoors through a high-powered air fan. There are two main forms of duct-free systems: mini-split and multi-split. Mini-splits can usually be installed within one to two days, but multi-split systems may require more time if several indoor air handlers need to be installed.

Packaged Heating and Air Systems

Investing in a packaged heating and air system will give you both air conditioning and gas heating from a singular unit through electricity and natural gas. The air conditioner is powered by a high-efficiency electrical unit, while the heating component is driven by natural gas or propane. Since these units are typically assembled at purchase, the amount of time needed for installation is solely dependent on ductwork. If very little ductwork needs replacing, then the setup time should only require one to two days.

Having a trusted team of professionals by your side throughout the installation process will ensure that you get it done in an effective yet timely manner. The contractors at O.C. McDonald in San Jose has the skills and tools necessary to make the HVAC installation process as quick and hassle-free as possible. Give us a call today at 408-295-2182 see how fast we can get your new HVAC system up and running!

How Can an HVAC Retrofit Benefit My Company?

The commercial HVAC system in your commercial property is probably your most significant investment purposed to serve you anywhere between 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, like any other machines and systems, it will demand expensive and time-consuming repairs and replacements once the breakdowns begin to become too prevalent. Luckily for you, today retrofitting commercial HVAC systems has been hailed as the most cost-effective treatment in upgrading the unit without having to replace the entire system. Here are some benefits:

Energy efficiency

Retrofitting heating and cooling equipment is one of the most effective ways to solve chronic issues that tag along with high energy consumption. These upgrades are capable of reducing energy consumption by 35% in average-sized offices and retail establishments.


Businesses are subject to constant change and alterations. Old tenants move out as new ones find space in your property. Interiors and their designs get re-arranged overtime. Your infrastructural needs within the property may change over time demanding restructures. Your building will take in many changes, but your heating and conditioning system is bound to remain constant. Retrofitting ensures flexibility with the ability to adapt to change without requiring costly alterations.

Quick returns of investments

One of the most significant strongholds with the retrofits is its rapid returns on investments. How so? Given the energy and service savings of a retrofitted unit, your returns on investments are achieved much quicker compared to an entire system replacement.

New technology

Retrofitted systems operate more under advanced systems and technology, making them more efficient and independent. These advanced systems are critical in reducing maintenance and running costs and also cut down service frequency to make the systems more dependable.

Enhanced comfort

You have probably complained of irregularities with your old AC system. Due to the complexity and bulkiness of the older systems, you may not have total control over temperature and humidity in your commercial premises. However, retrofitted units operate intending to improve comfort for occupants.


Opting to replace a defective part of your HVAC system gives it new life. You may also consider changing the entire equipment, but it would prove expensive in both short and long runs. Consider retrofitting your unit to increase the lifespan of your current system while still shielding your pockets.

The fact is all commercial heating and conditioning systems and equipment will need replacing at some point. Nonetheless, retrofitting equipment has the above-discussed benefits for long-term solutions. Are you considering this option? Call us today at 408-295-2182 for immediate HVAC attention.

What Are the Most Efficient Commercial Air Handler Options?

Choosing the right commercial air handler can make your business more comfortable, efficient and save you money. This device provides a key element of the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.

What is an air handler?
Air handlers, also referred to as air handling units (AHUs), circulate and regulate the air from an HVAC unit. The AHU forms the backbone of the HVAC system. Its large metal housing contains the blower, cooling and heating elements, fan, its filter chambers or racks, dampers and sound attenuators. It filters and circulates air throughout the building’s duct system.

Efficient Air Handlers

You’ll find three main types of commercial HVAC systems with air handlers. Depending on the size of your building, the following might be right for your needs:

  • single split system,
  • multi-split system,
  • VRF or VRV system.

Single Split System

A single split system provides an affordable system for small commercial buildings. It lets your heating and cooling individual areas or rooms. This makes it a typical solution for cafes, server rooms, small offices, and shops. While you can combine them since you need one outdoor unit for each indoor unit, it adds to the cost and you need space outdoors too for each unit. This can detract from the landscape.

The advantages of more than one single split though are its cheaper than a central system and since each self-contained unit ensures you still have HVAC if one unit breaks down.

Multi-Split System

A multi-split system functions similar to a single split with one key difference – some systems let you connect up to nine indoor units per outdoor unit. These prove popular with doctor’s offices, restaurants, shops, and large offices.

This choice lets you preserve the aesthetic of your building’s exterior while efficiently cooling and heating the interior. You can use more than one type of interior unit and you can combine wall- and ceiling-mounted air conditioning units. Their complexity does require more pipework than using several single splits which drives the cost up.


The two acronyms refer to the same technology. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) and variable refrigerant volume (VRV) share the same meaning. The VRF/VRV option provides the most efficient solution for medium to large structures such as hotels, mixed-use buildings, large offices and retail spaces.

These systems provide reliability and simple controls with shorter installation times. Two types exist: heat pump and heat recovery. The heat pump option works better in open plan areas to provide either cooling or heating to the structure. Heat recovery options let different areas of the building use heating and cooling simultaneously. This makes them ideal for large office buildings with many individual offices. These recovery systems provide the greatest efficiency since they recover waste heat and use it to heat both hot water and other rooms.

Contact O.C. McDonald today at 408-295-2182 to learn how we can help you choose the most efficient commercial air handler for your business. Ask us how a system with direct-drive fans, fan arrays, and energy recovery systems can help create further efficiency in your building.

How do I Determine Whether an HVAC Retrofit is Right for my Commercial Building?

Are you paying huge electricity bills every month for your business? If you have an older HVAC system that is driving your energy bills, you might be considering an upgrade. But what if your current financial status doesn’t allow you to install a new air conditioning unit? Does it mean that you will continue to foot large electricity bills for your commercial facility?

Also, regardless of how well you maintain your air conditioning unit, it will need to be a replacement at some point. Most of the HVAC systems have a life-span of 15-30 years. The functional life of these units is determined by the brand and style of the equipment. When your HVAC’s useful life ends, you will need to choose between replacing the entire system or retrofitting your HVAC unit.

What is HVAC retrofit?

HVAC retrofits allow you to utilize higher efficiency equipment and to add features to your existing HVAC unit to increase safety, comfort, durability, and efficiency. HVAC retrofitting helps to solve various air conditioning problems such as fluctuating temperatures, poor air movement, and changes in moisture levels. Sometimes, making small changes such as adding economizers can sealing ductwork in your air conditioning unit can change its performance significantly.

How do you know it’s time for HVAC retrofit?

Most of the HVAC retrofit projects arise from the need to increase efficiency, comfort, and safety of the air conditioning unit. Besides, you may need to retrofit your HVAC unit if:

• It is more than ten years old
• The electricity bills keep going up without any logical explanation
• You spend more money repairing your old HVAC system
• You experience changes in the indoor air quality

An old HVAC unit will require frequent repairs, lose efficiency, and also compromise comfort with time. When you get to this point, you may need to retrofit your air conditioning unit to restore its performance.

Common HVAC retrofit upgrades

There are various types of HVAC units, and they require different retrofit upgrades. Some of the equipment that are best candidates for retrofit upgrades include chillers, boilers, and package rooftop units. Retrofit upgrade services offered by certified HVAC contractors include:

• Sealing and replacement of ductwork
• Installation of airside economizer
• Replacing old compressors with new generation screw compressors
• Fitting carbon dioxide sensors
• Fitting supply fab speed controls
• Fitting smart temperature and humidity controls

Retrofitting your HVAC unit is an easy and inexpensive way of increasing efficiency, comfort, and safety to your building. The amount of money you save monthly on electricity bills is enough to fund your retrofit project. If you would like to learn more about retrofitting your HVAC unit, don’t hesitate to talk to us at 408-295-2182.