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How Does an HVAC System Work?

Most modern homes and buildings have efficient heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems that keep people comfortable at various times of the year. It’s probably something you take for granted, but there may come a time when you want to know a little more about how these systems work. The most essential step for understanding an HVAC system is to learn about its anatomy. There are six main parts to the system:

  • Thermostat
  • Furnace
  • Evaporator coil
  • Condensing unit
  • Refrigerant lines
  • Vents

The thermostat is the control panel where you adjust your desired temperature. It measures the air temperature and it can automatically adjust the heating or air conditioning to emit either cool or warm air as needed.

Furnaces produce heat that is blown through the ductwork to heat the building. They can use a variety of different methods to produce heat such as combustion, electric resistance and solar energy.

The Evaporator coil’s purpose is to cool the air. The process of evaporation transfers heat from the air into the liquid compound inside the metal coils, which causes the air around the coils to become cooler.

The condensing unit is filled with a refrigerant in a gas state that is cooled to a liquid state, then pumped into the evaporator coils. This serves to release heat energy that was absorbed by the evaporator coil.

The Refrigerant lines carry a chemical compound in a gas state from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil where the gas is turned back into a liquid and heat is expelled from the system.

The vents are the points where warm or cool air are released into the living or working spaces of the building. They’re rectangular openings with metal slats, and they’re usually located on or near the ceiling.

Three types of HVAC systems

There are many different types of systems to control air temperature, but these are three of the most common types.

  • Split systems
  • Duct-free systems
  • Zoned systems

Split systems have components on the inside and outside of the building. They usually have a furnace, an air conditioner and ductwork to carry air throughout the building.

Duct-free systems circulate air throughout the home or building without duct work by using pipes and fans, and zoned systems allow you to set different temperatures for specific areas or rooms in the building.

If you would like to learn how HVAC systems can provide greater comfort in your building or home, don’t hesitate to call us at 408-295-2182.

What Are 5 Aspects Of Your Building That Can Be Improved Through Building Automation?

Building automation has remarkably transformed real estate investment beyond unprecedented levels. While most investors considered it to be an expensive affair especially for small and mid-size construction projects, the inception of IoT technology has drastically alleviated the financial burden regardless of your building’s size. With this type of innovative technology, entrepreneurs and investors need to get acquainted with how it works and its substantial benefits.

At its core, building automation serves an innovative management system that allows remote monitoring and optimization of an apartment’s systems with a precise focus on plumbing, lighting and HVAC systems. As a real estate developer, here are a few aspects of your building that can be optimized through building automation.

5 Aspects of Your Building That Can Be Improved Through Building Automation

Reduced Energy Costs

Installing a building automation system has the unique benefit of substantially reducing your energy costs. For starters, you can pre-program your heating and cooling setting to begin operations at your designated time. This feature promotes an enhanced level of comfort by ensuring that the prevailing temperatures do not affect your daily chores. Not only that, you will be in complete control of your building’s lighting system meaning that you can shut it off any time. It’s a no-brainer that building automation systems save on energy costs compared to the conventional means.

Unrivaled Comfort

It’s every homeowner’s dream to experience unrivaled comfort when living in their new home. With the building automation system, you can regulate temperatures and security features to your tailored tastes to attain the penultimate level of comfort in your apartment. By installing this innovative system, your tenants need not worry about experiencing nail-biting cold during winter. After all, the building’s heating system can be programmed to disseminate warm temperatures before they arrive home. This remarkable improvement significantly boosts productivity for hard-working employees and students.

Live Updates

Building automation systems are uniquely designed on cloud-based and wireless transmission. This means that you can monitor your building’s status and performance at any time from any location via the web. More importantly, this system allows prompt identification of leaking pipes and proposes swift recommendations to restore your plumbing to optimal efficiency.

Advanced Plug Control Features

Electrical outlets have become common features in modern buildings based on their extensive supply. While such outlets are designed to meet the high power needs of consumers. More often than not, these electrical outlets also consume substantial power when shut off but surprisingly plugged in the outlet. By installing a building automation system, you can identify plug loads and switch them off automatically.

Advanced Security

Building automation systems have drastically improved security by initiating prompt responses to alarms. The best part is that the building automation system can be programmed to notify your security personnel to react in time and apprehend perpetrators.

O.C. McDonald in Brief

At O.C. McDonald, we are privileged to have a seasoned team of professionals adept at installing building automation systems with precision. With their assistance, they can guide you on identifying an ideal brand tailored to your specific tastes. Feel free to contact us today at 408-295-2182 and let us help you to make an informed decision.

What Types Of Air Conditioning Will You Need If You Live In San Jose?

San Jose undoubtedly offers a unique living experience characterized by warm temperatures during summer and surprisingly cold temperatures in winter. Whether you are a seasoned or novice homeowner in San Jose, comprehending and thriving in both seasons can pay off in more ways than you can imagine with the aid of an ideal HVAC unit. From enjoying the sunny weather pursuing outdoor activities to braving the cold nights indoors doing productive work, the right HVAC unit can make the ultimate difference in your living experience in San Jose. Before dipping into your wallet and purchasing a specific model, here are a few pointers that you must consider.

Types of Air Conditioners That You Need To Know

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners offer a remarkable option to homeowners in need of experiencing the much-needed coolness in their homes. These models operate by emitting cool air through the duct vents in their home interiors. Unlike other types, central air conditioners are controlled by the main thermostat that regulates the ideal temperature within your home.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are essentially mobile units that barely need any predetermined installation points. Based on their compact nature, they have become popular models in homes characterized by adequate humidity levels. Portable air conditioners are mainly used as supplements to an existing central air conditioner.

Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners are often located by the window and supported by a metal board or piece of wood protruding from the window. With a simple plug to an existing electrical outlet in your house, your window air conditioner is operational from the onset.

Central air conditioners are predominantly the main form of air conditioning in corporate offices while window air conditioners are progressively becoming a household name. Central air conditioners aren’t just confined to corporate offices but also garnered substantial popularity in residential homes as well. With the real estate market booming beyond unprecedented levels, purchasing a home with an ideal air conditioner must be considered with the utmost priority.

If you are in the market for a condominium then you need to pay extra attention to the presence of built-in air conditioners. Most apartments barely install built-in air conditioners which definitely mean that purchasing one will become an urgent task. Before settling on any specific model, it’s imperative to consider a few guidelines crucial in helping you make an informed decision.

Your Home’s Size

Your home’s physical space plays an essential role in the choice of air conditioner purchased. If you are currently living in a modest home, then purchasing the window option would be the best option to optimize on the available space.

Utility Options

Centralized air conditioners provide sufficient heating and cooling services in the entire house regardless of the number of rooms used. This contributes to a negative effect by providing similar temperatures throughout your house regardless of its need. On the other hand, a window air conditioner can be switched off upon exiting the room.

O.C McDonald’s Profile

At O.C. McDonald, we have progressively cultivated an unrivaled reputation by offering a diverse range of air conditioning units tailored to meet the needs of San Jose residents. Feel free to contact us today at 408-295-2182 and let us help you make an informed decision on which unit to purchase.

What happens if you don’t replace your broken ac compressor?

You don’t think about them when they are working properly and cooling your home and business, keeping you comfortable on the hottest of summer days.

But, then it happens: Your unit breaks down and suddenly the interior temperature of your home or business rivals that of the outside, leaving you wondering exactly what’s going on with your air conditioner.

One of the most common causes of a malfunctioning air conditioner is a failing compressor. And this is something you simply can not afford to ignore or ride out until the return of cooler weather in the fall and winter, for both financial and health reasons.

What exactly is an ac compressor? It is the part of the air conditioning unit that transforms the refrigerant chemicals from liquid to gas and back to liquid in a never ending cycle that produces cold air.

Signs of a failing ac compressor

Never fear. Your air conditioner’s compressor will not fail on you without warning. Here are some signs of potential compressor failure:

Just before it fails, compressor will begin hard-starting or struggling to switch on. You may hear a chattering or rattling noise, which could be signaling a problem with the unit’s compressor.

If you notice a clicking sound when the unit turns on, that could mean that the compressor’s motor mounts have worn out. When that happens, the motor that cool air from inside the compressor has become loose and is moving round inside the seal case that encloses it.

Puddles or moisture around any part of your ac unit could also be a symptom of compressor failure. Refrigerant could be leaking out of the compressor and that could lead to potential health concerns such as coughs, headaches, irritated eyes and nausea. If all the refrigerant leaks out, it could cause the unit to overheat.

More subtle signs of ac compressor failure include reduced air coming from vents; warm air coming from vents; and a unit that is running virtually constantly. All of which will lead to an increased power bill if the compressor is not repaired.

The heart of your ac unit is the compressor, which contains both chemical and electrical components. When functioning properly, you won’t even notice that it is doing its job.

But if its not and you are ready to get it fixed, call us at 408-295-2182.

When Should You Call an AC Repair Service?

The best time to check your AC unit is before a breakdown. It is understandable that taking the time to do this might not be something you are comfortable doing. Things you can do yourself that might help save time and money later are included here. AC repair performed by a professional isn’t cheap, so do what you can to prevent a large repair bill by making sure to care for the basic things in your AC unit before calling for service.

If you find that your unit isn’t working, many symptoms can lead to a repair. Some symptoms result from not cleaning your filter, or by allowing vegetation to grow over and around your outside AC unit. Cleaning your filter and clearing the area around the AC unit is easy to do and could save you an unexpected repair bill.

Common Reasons AC Units Require Repair

Let’s inspect common reasons to call for AC repair service:

  • Perhaps the most obvious problem you’ll notice is your AC unit has ice built up around the copper lines. This is typical of a unit with poor air flow among other issues.
  • Inside the home, if you notice the air flowing from the ducts isn’t as cold as it once was, your AC might be low on Freon due to a leak. There are more reasons for a no-cool issue and means you must call for service.
  • Your AC unit cycles on and off as part of its normal operation. If it cycles frequently, look outside at the unit. Something there might show the problem.
  • In the event your unit stops running for no clear reason, check the breaker at your breaker box inside your house or at the unit to see if it’s tripped. When breakers get old, they sometimes trip for no reason. Reset the breaker regardless if it looks tripped or not. Confirm the breaker is at its full-on position (not half way). Check the unit to see if it runs now.
  • The air from your AC unit shouldn’t smell or give off a foul odor. If it does, please turn the unit off at the breaker and make that call for service. The problem might be in your duct work, or something inside the unit itself.

If you find that you need to call us, we’re here to help! Our number is: 408-295-2182

Keep in mind that other issues could cause the AC unit to either not cool or stop running. Use the tips provided here to help determine whether it’s time to call for service or to clean the filter or the vegetation around the unit outside. As a final tip, verify that your thermostat isn’t the cause of a failed system.

What Air Conditioner Repairs Require a Contractor or Other Repair Technician?

Having purchased an air conditioner unit, it’s every homeowner’s dream to experience unrivaled comfort in their home during the summer and winter season. The unique ability to regulate both warm and cool air undoubtedly promotes healthy living and creativity. Despite their substantial benefits, air conditioners tend to break down once in a while and fixing them can be a daunting task, especially to first time owners. The constant debate of whether to consult an air conditioner contractor or simply fixing it by yourself can ultimately push you over the edge. As a homeowner, you might want to get acquainted with several repairs that immediately demand the attention of a seasoned contractor or repair technician.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are critical problems that must be taken seriously to preserve the durability and efficiency of your air conditioner unit. Contrary to common perception, adding refrigerant to a leaking unit doesn’t necessarily fix your HVAC unit. Far from it, such a problem is a manifestation of deep-rooted issues. An air conditioner running on low refrigerant simply denotes that the unit was undercharged during installation. In such a situation, it’s in your best interest to hire a seasoned technician to not only fix the leak but also test the repairs and ascertain that the right levels of refrigerant have been topped up. After all, an air conditioner’s efficiency and performance are optimized when the refrigerant coincides with the manufacturer’s specification.

Broken Compressor Fan

Your air conditioner’s exterior extension consists of a fan, condenser coils, and a compressor. Such apparatuses work in unison to dispense warm air from your home and provide a cool indoor climate. When the outdoor fan is compromised, the heat transfer process is disrupted leading to a subsequent chain of problems. For starters, the air conditioner wouldn’t be in optimal condition to provide cool air while the system’s compressor runs the risk of overheating. With an overheated compressor, your air conditioner’s safety controls can frequently turn your HVAC unit off. By hiring a qualified contractor or repair technician, they shall diligently diagnose the problem and repair or replace your compressor fan if necessary.

Frozen Condenser Coils

When the air conditioner’s condenser coils freeze up, it’s a tell-tale sign that your heating and cooling system won’t run properly. Poor airflow within the cooling system can cause freezing on the coils. Commonly caused by obstructions such as blocked return air ducts and dirty air filters, such issues can be solved with the aid of a refrigerant charge. However, such repairs must be done by an experienced technician who can diagnose the specific problem behind the frozen coils, liquefy the ice and restore your unit’s cooling capacity.

At O.C. McDonald’s, we have cultivated a stellar reputation for identifying and fixing air conditioner problems with finesse. Over the years, we have amassed tons of experience providing exceptional services tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 408-295-2182 and let us restore your air conditioner to its former glory.

What’s the average cost for a central air compressor?

The four parts used in most central air systems are the compressor, evaporator, expansion valve, and a condenser. Of these parts, the compressor is responsible for circulating coolant through the unit. It does this by compressing freon into a high temperature gas that is then pushed through to the outdoor coil, where at this time the heat is radiated away. From here the coolant returns to liquid form to be pumped back through the interior coils to suck up heat and turn back into gas again. This process cycles over and over again to maintain a cool temperature inside your home or office.

Depending on the model and make of your unit, on average the cost of a replacement compressor can run from anywhere between $300 to $600. However, this is only the cost of the part itself, and hiring a technician will cost you about $1500 to $2000 on average. Seeing the difference in price, it may be incredibly tempting to make a repair job yourself. The caveat is that you need to have an HVAC license in most states to legally work on an air conditioning unit. So while it doesn’t hurt to do further research into what could be a small issue, if it’s something you can’t fix without opening up your air conditioning unit, the chances are that you’ll need to call someone.

Signs a Compressor Needs Replacing

Like many machines, there are several common signs that can tell you whether or not your compressor needs to be replaced by a certified technician. Below is a list of some common problems caused by a faulty compressor. These issues can be caused by wear and tear due to high usage, power surges burning out the circuits of the compressor, or excess moisture buildup causing chemical damage to the unit.

  • The number one sign a compressor needs to be replaced is that your unit no longer blows out cool air.
  • The fan is no longer audible when you turn on your air conditioning unit.
  • Loud noises are coming from the inside of your A/C.
  • The clutch of your air conditioning unit remains still and does not move.
  • Fluid leaks develop at the connectors of your compressor.
  • Dust and other material clogs the compressor’s fan and causes the motor to burn out.

If you happen to be experiencing issues with your HVAC system, give us a call so we can help! Call now at 408-295-2182

What type of air conditioner repairs can you do yourself?

Have you had your central air unit quit working on you? Have you noticed that it isn’t as cold as it should be? Something may be going on with your appliance that needs some tending to. Air conditioning units are great to have for staying cool on the warm weather days. However, like any other major appliance things can go wrong that will cause it not to work.

You can call in a repair person to diagnose the problem and get it fixed for you. But, if the repair is something minor, you might be able to handle it yourself. Thus, saving you a little money in the long run. Here are a few central air unit problems you could repair on your own, to get your unit working properly again:

  • Poor Air Flow
  • Unit Working Harder Than Normal
  • Blowing out Warm Air Instead of Cold

Air Conditioner Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Change filter- One of the easiest repairs you can do yourself is changing the filter. Filters will get dirty over time. Leaving them that way will cause your air conditioning unit to work harder. Sometimes, it won’t blow cool air at all, because of the dust blocking the filter. Changing it out periodically will keep your unit working efficiently and extend its working life. Check your manual to see which filter you will need and how to replace it.

Clean out condenser coils- Your air conditioning unit, often, will pull in leaves, dirt and other debris. These can stick to the coils, making it work harder. To get your unit working properly again, clean out your condenser coils. Each unit is different, but most can be cleaned out simply with a garden hose. Spray water at the coils to get the debris off, or use a special cleaner that attaches to your garden hose. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if there are any special instructions on how to clean it.

Check breaker or thermostat- If you’re experiencing problems with your air conditioning unit, one of the first things you can check is the breaker or the thermostat. It may sound strange, but more times than not, your breaker has tripped or your thermostat isn’t properly set. Check those items first before calling in a repair person. If something trips the breaker, you can un-trip it to get it going again. If the breaker trips again, then you must contact a repair person, because something else is going on that’s electrical in nature. A professional would be the best choice in that scenario.

Repairs to an air conditioning unit don’t always have to be done by a professional. You could do the above minor tips to save yourself a call to a repair person. For major repairs, though, contact a professional to avoid getting yourself hurt or accidentally breaking your coil unit. If you have questions, call us at 408-295-2182.

Can You Just Replace an AC Compressor Instead of The Whole Thing?

The HVAC system of your business is a critical component of your building and its function is vital to the overall health and ability of your business to function, whether you are running a small office building or a large industrial complex. Keeping the air temperatures regulated and airflow moving steadily can impact your bottom line.

Often, as the HVAC unit or units for your business age, they show symptoms of failure before complete breakdown. Symptoms such as failure to produce cool air can be tracked to a number of smaller issues, such as a coolant leak or a line blockage, but a thorough inspection by an HVAC professional may also uncover major issues such as a compressor failure.

In the case of a compressor failure, you need to decide whether your business will best be served by replacing the compressor or by replacing the entire AC unit.

Replace the Compressor or Replace the AC Unit?

  • Consider replacing just the compressor if the existing AC unit and component parts are still under warranty. In this instance, the new compressor should not cost you anything but you will still need to pay for the labor to do the job. Make sure to get a quote on the labor, time, and materials as replacing a compressor can be a challenging and time-intensive job.
  • Consider replacing the AC unit if the system is past warranty. While you could opt for replacing just the compressor in this case, bear in mind that the cost of a new compressor, as well as the cost for labor and materials, may be close in range to the cost of installing a new AC unit.
  • Consider as well that a new compressor may only come with a limited warranty, up to
    1-2 years, and that you may find yourself back in the same situation in a short amount of time, facing the same issue without the benefit and security of a warranty to offset the cost.

Dealing with the advanced and technical needs of your HVAC system can be daunting, especially if your business is impacted by changes in temperature and loss of cooling due to AC problems. Let us solve your AC problems so you can focus on what matters most: the success of your business. We can help, call now 408-295-2182

Can anyone change a thermostat?

As with many home repairs, changing a thermostat might seem like it requires a specialist. Whether adjusting your current aging thermostat has become a guessing game or you have a new smart thermostat, rest assured changing it is an easy process.

Let’s walk through the steps.

First, identify the type of heating and cooling controlled by the thermostat. Some people have unique systems which require a certain replacement. Examples include having separate heating and AC units, having designated high and low speeds, or having a direct current power source powering the thermostat.

To begin, turn off the power to your air conditioning and furnace units controlled by the thermostat. Do this by flipping the correct switch in your breaker box or by individually turning each of the units off at their source.

Check and make sure they are off by adjusting the temperature to a high or low temperature to see if anything turns on. From there, remove the face of the thermostat.

Make note of which wires will go where on your new thermostat. To accomplish this:

  • Draw the wire locations
  • Take a picture
  • Refer to the old or new thermostat manual

Next, begin disconnecting the wires. Depending on the design of the thermostat, this may require a tool, likely a screwdriver. With the wires disconnected, remove the mount of the old thermostat, which will also likely require a screwdriver.

Out with the old, in with the new (thermostat)

With the old thermostat out of the way, it’s time to put on the new mount. To save yourself time and trouble, make sure that you will be able to screw the new mount to the wall. This likely requires two drywall anchors being in the correct location. If it looks like it works, slide the wires through the hole in the mount.

Connect the wires to the new mount. Refer to the method you used from earlier for this, otherwise the letters on the mount correspond to the color of the wire. Newer thermostats no longer use screws, so refer the manual to confirm the wires are securely in place. Once wired, screw the mount to the wall.

Now attach your new thermostat face and turn the power back on. Depending on your thermostat, you can now configure it and adjust the settings to your preference.

Still need assistance or advice? Call us today at 408-295-2182