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How To Verify A Legitimate Contractor In California

If you have spent any length of time in California, then chances are you will deal with an HVAC contractor sooner or later. Like everyone else, you are probably very concerned about avoiding getting scammed or ripped off. How do you verify a California contractor? That will be the scope of this article, and there are two good ways and one great way. Consider the following options:

•Word of mouth
•Internet reviews
•Licensure checking

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth would be one okay way to verify a legitimate contractor. However, it definitely has its limitations. Even if you know someone who has used the contractor in the past, the pool of people you can sample from is limited to how many you might know. Frankly, this method would probably only work effectively within a smaller community.

Internet Reviews

Internet reviews are, in some cases, a more effective way to verify a HVAC contractor. However, even and internet reviews, there is the potential for a smaller sample size. There are only a certain number of people that might take the trouble to go onto the website to leave a review. So, even though it might be better then word-of-mouth, the sample size might still be fairly low.

Licensure checks

Calling up the license your agency might be the best way to legitimately verify an HVAC contractor in California. This is because it is one great way to determine if there have been any complaints lodged against the individual, and to note the severity of any complaints that are present. The state license your boards keep meticulous records regarding each and every incident that one of their contractors is involved in. This means that if you call them you can have peace of mind that they do quality work if the licensure board reports no incidents against them.

Other Considerations

Besides the three mentioned above, there are other considerations that could come into play. The length of time the contractor has been in business could play a definite role. In that case, a combination of all three might be the best approach.

Conclusion

Would you like more information about finding the best HVAC contractor? If so, give us a call at 408-295-2182

Finding The Right Plumbers For In Depth Pipe Inspection

There is never a good time to experience a plumbing problem. In fact, most people experience a plumbing problem when they are least expecting it. Due to major strides made in the area of plumbing, an in-depth pipe inspection can be performed to detect and diagnose the source of the plumbing problem. Where plumbers once had to guess and devote a lot time to semi-productive troubleshooting, professional plumbers can now use video inspection to accurately resolve any plumbing problems.

What is an in-depth pipe inspection?

An in-depth pipe inspection involves the use of a camera line being used to video the internal plumbing lines within a home. The line inspection saves the plumber time in its ability to capture key information to make a solid determination about the problem. The line inspection also prevents money from being spent toward unnecessary repairs that will do little to solve the problem. The video is used to inspect the plumbing lines to identify any vulnerabilities with the plumbing.

Why do you need an in-depth pipe inspection?

An in-depth pipe inspection can identify more than just blockages. It can uncover structural issues with the lines. A cracked pipe or a problem with tree root invasion are only visible using a video camera pipe inspection. A pipe inspection can also help determine whether or not another problem affecting the sewer lines is imminent, giving the homeowner the opportunity to be proactive in addressing the matter. The process identifies both the problem and the root cause of the problem. When repairs are suggested by the plumber, the most accurate information is used to make recommendations.

What can be seen?

The video inspection can be revealing, uncovering a multitude of risks with the plumbing. Roots that have penetrated the pipe leading to drainage problems can be detected with video camera inspections. Improperly placed sewer lines are also detected during the process. The quality of the materials used in the piping can also be analyzed to gauge the life expectancy of the plumbing lines. Changes in the positioning of the pipes due to shifting may be the potential root cause for drainage problems, and this could be detected by video inspection. The workmanship of the installers can be evaluated during the inspection process.

A plumber can provide preliminary guidance on steps to take to resolve minor plumbing problems. Identifying the underlying root cause of any issue is something that can be uncovered through the use of in-depth video camera inspections. Inspections can identify the problem, extent of the problem, future risks, and structural issues that contribute to plumbing problems.

Call us for help today 408-295-2182

What To Look For In a New Construction Contractor

It’s a beautiful day and as you settle into your morning routine at the office, sipping on your second cup of java your office line rings. A pipe has burst in the lobby restroom and water is everywhere. The company’s largest client is coming by for a lunch presentation and time is of the essence. If you’re prepared, you’ll have your construction contractor on speed dial. If not, you’re going to have to move quickly to find a reliable and reputable firm that can handle the situation stat. Don’t put yourself or your business in that situation.

Identifying a new construction contractor doesn’t need to be daunting. Hopefully, you’ve not waited for a plumbing or HVAC crisis to look for a new construction company to work with. If you’re a large corporation or small to medium sized business, the same evaluation strategy applies.

Key Qualities to Look for in a New Construction Contractor

Company history. The length of time a company has been in business says a lot. There are construction contractors that come and go. Look for a business that has a solid history. Factor in how many years they’ve been in business and if they’re family owned, even better. A construction contracting company that has generations of experts behind it is a find.
Reputation. If the company has been in business for years, they must be doing something right. Take a look at their reputation. What are customers saying about their work? Do they get the job done in a professional manner? Are they dependable? If they’re keeping their clients happy and expanding their business, give them another positive check on your evaluation list.
Expertise. Your construction contractor should be well-versed in the basic mechanics of everything from piping, gas fittings, new and old construction, to HVAC and more. They should be able to handle it all. You want to use an expert firm. One that keeps up with proper licensing and training for all crew members and leads their industry when it comes to cutting edge technology.
Safety. Safety first should go without saying, but this needs to be taken into consideration. You want a new construction contractor that put this as a top responsibility.

Ready you ready to make your move? We can help, call us today at (408) 295-2182

How Much Should It Typically Cost To Repair an AC Unit?

Average repair costs for an AC unit would depend on the type of repair needed, and how complicated it may be to perform. Repairs can range from minor, quick fixes, to more difficult, time-consuming ones so that costs will vary.

For the smaller, quick fixes, you could expect it to cost anywhere from a few bucks to $100. This would include jobs like replacing simple parts or even regular maintenance on the unit itself. For repairing leaks, it could run around $200- $1,000 depending on what needs to be done to stop the leak and get the unit running smoothly again.

If you’re replacing refrigerant, it could cost you probably in the $200-$400 range. The cost would vary with the age and type of unit that’s being fixed. Older AC appliances require more work to fix. Sometimes the parts for them are more expensive and can be much harder to find.

A clogged condenser line can typically cost you around $100-$200, or less if it ends up being a simple and quick job for the repairman to do. It isn’t too difficult to repair, but some units could take more labor than others to fix.

Average costs for Complex Repair Jobs

For more complex repair jobs, the prices can get on the higher side quickly, due to parts being much more expensive to get, and the time it takes to perform the part replacement. Typical price ranges for some of the AC unit parts without the cost of labor:

  • Thermostat- $100-$300
  • Condensing Fan Motor- $300-$500
  • Condenser- $800-$1,000 and up

Of course, AC unit repair technicians will charge for labor, which could be anywhere from $50 an hour to $150 an hour. Every repairman charges differently, so you need to check before hiring one. Also, the cost of the parts is just a general price range. You may find some that are cheaper or some that are more expensive, depending on who you end up going with.

To eliminate the need for some of these expensive repair costs, you will need to keep your AC unit adequately maintained, so it stays running smoothly. The need for repairs will diminish significantly with annual maintenance with only a few repair fixes along the way. As your AC unit gets older, parts will start to break down, and they will need replacing. A new appliance may be the better investment in the long run if you’re not keen on spending the money just to replace some parts. Call us at 408-295-2182. We can help you with any questions you may have.

What Does Air Conditioning Repair in San Jose Cost?

When airflow seems less than optimal and performance starts to drag, it may be time to repair the unit. Repair costs vary depending on the type of unit and overall age of the system. If the system has been well-maintained over the life of the unit, repair costs may be lower. Costs for repairs in San Jose usually falls in the low hundreds.

Do I need air conditioning repair services?

Air conditioning repair services are necessary whenever there is the slightest change in performance. Delaying repairs for the smallest changes in the system can only lead to even more costly repairs. When there is no cooling when unit is on, the system may have a compressor problem. Low air flow is a sign that the duct work may need to be repaired. If the air isn’t circulating the way it needs to, the unit’s compressor may probably need to be checked. If your air conditioner turns off and on, the thermostat may be failing. Squealing and grinding noises could mean that the system has loose or missing pieces. If you notice a change in your utility bills, it might be time to consider getting your system checked and possibly upgraded. Older systems tend to have greater repair costs when compared to newer units. Repairs made during the hottest months tend to be much more expensive because of the increased demand for services.

Could I restore my AC with just a tune-up?

If you have just recently purchased a system in last few years, you may be able to get by with just a tune-up. AC tune-up costs about $150. If this is done annually, you will be able to control the cost of repairs and prevent them altogether. The maintenance extends the unit’s service life. A reputable HVAC professional can develop a service plan that will keep your system functioning well for years to come.

What are emergency repairs?

What’s considered an emergency is basically determined by you and the season. If the system suddenly stops working, then that could be considered an emergency. If the system happens to fail in the middle of the warmer months, then this, too, could also be considered an emergency.

AC units are complicated in nature. A small failure of a single part can ultimately lead to a complete system breakdown. As a general rule of thumb, if a system is older than 10 years, it may be time to replace the unit. AC units are only designed to last 15 years. Some problems may be resolved by a simple tune-up while others may require even more attention.

Call us today to schedule your tune up to avoid costly repairs:  (408) 295-2182

Is A Green HVAC System Right For Your Facility?

If you’re planning to upgrade your facility’s heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system, you should consider going green. Like other green technologies, green HVAC systems are designed with an emphasis on energy efficiency, making them a smart long-term investment.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 40 percent of a typical commercial building’s electricity goes towards heating and cooling. Depending on the size of the building, businesses can easily spend thousands of dollars on indoor climate control every year. The good news is that you don’t have to turn off your facility’s HVAC system just to reduce your business’s energy usage. Green HVAC systems consume less energy than traditional systems, allowing you to create a comfortable environment for your customers and employees without breaking the bank.

How to Choose a Green HVAC System

When choosing a green HVAC system for your facility, there are a few things to consider, beginning with efficiency. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating, while not perfect, provides a general overview of a system’s cooling efficiency. This metric reflects the system’s cooling power divided by the amount of energy it consumes. Generally speaking, the higher the SEER rating, the greater the system’s efficiency. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), on the other hand, reflects the system’s heating efficiency.

You should also consider the size of the green HVAC system. This doesn’t refer to the physical size of the system. Rather, a system’s size refers to its cooling and heating power. The size of a central air conditioner is typically measured in tonnage. A 1-ton unit can cool 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) in an hour.

Finally, consider the technology powering the system. Some of the most common types of green HVAC technologies include the following:

  • Geothermal Heat Pump: Also known as a ground source heat pump, it transfers heat from the facility to the ground during summer and vise-versa during winter.
  • Solar Power: This HVAC system is powered by solar panels that harvest and convert sunlight into usable electricity.
  • Dual-Fuel Heat Pump: Also known as a hybrid heat pump, it has a ground- or air-sourced heat pump with a gas or propane furnace.

Because they consume less energy than conventional models, green HVAC systems offer cost-savings benefits over time. So, even if it costs more up front, you’ll save money on your facility’s monthly power bills by investing in a green HVAC system.

To learn more green HVAC systems and whether they are right for your facility, call us today at 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

What Is Included In An HVAC Tuneup?

Are you wondering why your company is spending more money on electricity?

When you first install your heating and AC units, you will notice that your electric costs are fairly low. Modern technology has made our heating and cooling systems much more efficient than in past years. However, heating and cooling units degrade over time. Much like your car, heating and AC units are mechanical and need to be serviced in order to reach their full potential.

This is when an HVAC tune-up is needed.

What Happens During An HVAC Tune-Up?

An HVAC tune-up is an annual inspection and repair of your heating and ac units. A tune-up will keep your systems running at peak efficiency so that they will last longer and cost less money to use.

When the service professional arrives at your business, he will spend anywhere from one to two hours inspecting and performing maintenance on your units.

He will identify what parts of your units are not working at their peak efficiency.

What Happens During An AC Unit Tune-Up?

When tuning up your AC unit, the service professional will:

  • Adjust your thermostat
  • Clean your air filter
  • Repair exposed wires
  • Ensure that your fan is blowing
  • Measure the amperage of the compressor

There are many other smaller tasks that your professional will do such as inspecting your indoor coil and testing your capacitors.

If your AC unit frequently freezes, the inspector will look for blocked airflow, refrigerant leaks, and issues with internal coils. A frozen AC unit can be unpleasant during the warmer months. Frequent tune-ups can prevent the situation from happening.

What Happens During A Heating Unit Tune-Up?

When tuning up your heating unit, the service professional will:

  • Inspect the internal heating elements
  • Check the burners for proper ignition
  • Adjust the flame sensor
  • Test the carbon monoxide detector

During the inspection, the exterior will be analyzed for leaks, corrosion, and proper ventilation. This inspection and tune-up can help your heating unit last for many years and run at peak efficiency.

Would you like to have your AC and heating units tuned-up? Call us today at 408-295-2182

Getting Your HVAC Units Ready For The Winter Months in Silicon Valley

The central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that serves your facility is important to your operations in the summer months, but it can take on even more significance in the winter if your facility includes data-center infrastructure. This is because, during colder weather, both your indoor heating and cooling systems must work in concert to keep your equipment at the proper operating temperatures.

If you take proactive steps to prepare your main and server-room cooling equipment for impending cold weather, you can prevent weather-related damage, repair existing issues, and optimize the performance of your climate-control systems. Some critical elements of the main-facility HVAC winterization process include:

  • Energy Audits: This process involves an overall check of the energy-efficiency of your facility. By weighing your existing energy usage against established baselines, our auditors can detect inefficiencies and suggest ways of improving energy-usage.
  • Infrastructure Inspections: Your HVAC system likely includes a network of pipes, coils, ducts, fittings, and more. These vital components require regular maintenance checks, and especially so before major seasonal weather changes. Some common service items include refrigerant tests, pressure and leaks tests, and thermostat calibrations.
  • Temperature Zone Consistency Check: If your facility is large, it likely includes several temperature and environmental zones within its structure. Keeping the temperatures in each zone at the proper levels requires regular maintenance of related environmental control hardware and software.

Server-Room Cooling Systems

The soundness of your server-side cooling systems is just as essential to the health of your enterprise. These systems keep your servers and their surrounding environment within temperature and humidity ranges set by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) data-center guidelines. Common cooling system designs include:

  • Liquid Cooled Systems: These cooling designs use liquid-antifreeze to capture and remove server-generated heat. Checks of these components may involve antifreeze fluid level and chemical composition tests. In addition, structural integrity checks are often performed on piping.
  • Air-Cooled Systems: Air-cooled designs use chilled air to cool hot server racks and rooms. Maintenance checks for these types of systems often include duct, inlet, and outlet inspections. Technicians often use this opportunity to sample and adjust humidity levels.

Keeping your data-center cooling apparatus in good operating condition is key to the success of your enterprise. At our firm, we field teams of certified and experienced HVAC system maintenance specialists with experience in inspecting, repairing, maintaining, and installing a variety of server-room and facility cooling systems. To begin your HVAC system winterization process, contact us now for a conversation about the unique needs of your facility.  Call (408) 295-2182

When to Replace Your AC Unit

A new air conditioning unit can be a big expense for your home or business, but an old, inefficient unit incurs frequent repair costs and high utility bills. To save money on repairs and utility costs, replacing the entire unit may be worth it.

The biggest sign that you need to replace your AC unit is the age of your unit. Air conditioning units are not meant to last much more than 10 to 15 years. If your unit is over this range or close to it, it is better to replace it than to pay for repairs. An old unit can also cost you money by causing your utility bills to be much higher than other homes or companies in your area. Since cooling and heating often make up as much as 44 percent of your utility bill, this higher cost can add up quickly.

Besides not working as effectively, older AC units often use R22 refrigerant, a substance that is no longer being used in newer models because of its environmental hazards. Due to the expense and difficulty in replacing the type of refrigerant in your current unit, replacing the entire unit is the more efficient option. Another problem with older units is they often have a low SEER rating, which means it costs you more to run it. Newer models must have a SEER rating of at least 13, to ensure a higher efficiency.

Other Signs You Need to Replace Your AC Unit

Some other factors to consider when deciding if you need to replace your AC unit are extra dust in your home or business, and an inconsistency in the cooling and humidity levels.

If you have started to notice that your residence or business is constantly coated in dust, even after cleaning, this may be a sign that your air ducts are leaking. Not only do these leaks cause the excess dust, they also make your system less efficient which brings up the cost of using the unit. A lot of noise coming from your unit can also be a sign of inefficiency. The ductwork may not be large enough for the size of your home or business.

Another sign that it’s time to replace your AC unit is the comfort level of your home or business is inconsistent or hard to maintain. The air conditioner is meant to keep humidity levels low and consistent to make your home or business feel more comfortable. If this is not the case, or if the temperature fluctuates from room to room, it is probably time to get a new unit.

In some of these cases, a repair may be possible to fix the unit. However, if the cost of the repair is going to be almost as much as a replacement, and your unit is almost at the age limit, it is more effective for you to replace it rather than repair it.

If you any of the above describes your current situation, call us today at 408-295-2182 to get started on achieving a more efficient home or business.