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When it’s Time to Upgrade Your HVAC Unit

You may have an older HVAC unit that’s causing you some problems. Older heating/cooling appliances can be tricky when determining what’s wrong with them. Pinpointing the issue is one thing. Deciding if you should repair or just replace the unit is a little more difficult.

If you are wondering if you need to replace your appliance, then check out the following signs to determine if an upgrade is in order.

Signs Your HVAC Unit Needs Upgrading

Higher bills- If you notice your utility bills are higher than usual, your HVAC unit may be using up more energy than it really should. Older appliances tend to need more power to run as they start to wear out.

Too much maintenance- If the repair costs of the unit far exceed the price you paid for it, upgrade your appliance. A new one would end up saving you money in the long run.

Noises- You may notice some loud, scary sounds coming from the unit. Often, parts loosen up or wear out. In older appliances, it may be hard to find replacement parts, or they may be costly to swap out.

Runs longer or there’s no heat/ cold air- The unit runs a lot longer than normal to warm up or cool down your home. Or, you may notice that it’s not kicking out heat or cool air at all. Ineffective parts can cause the appliance to work harder to get the job done. Or, you may have parts that just aren’t working.

Bad Odors- You might start noticing unusual odors coming from your unit when it’s trying to run. Parts, like motors, often smell bad when they’re going out. That smell will only get worse.
Age- Older units are doomed to go out eventually. If you find that yours has been around for more than 15 years or so, it’s probably time to upgrade your HVAC unit. It’s best to swap it out before your older heating appliance goes out.

Upgrading your heating/cooling device will bring you far more benefits in the long run. You’ll see your bills, as well as your repair costs, go down. You’ll also improve the quality of the air you’re breathing in, while eliminating respiratory problems you might have. If you need more information about HVAC upgrades, or just want to get started having one installed, call and talk to a live person, 24/7, at (408) 295-2182

Why You Should Replace AC Ducts

When you are outside, you can breathe fresh air from all directions. In a building, you might receive the majority of your air from your air conditioning (AC) ducts. Learn why you should replace AC ducts.

Most air is a combination of many different elements, including oxygen. The dirtiest air is filled with germs, dust, smoke and other airborne contaminants. Some diseases are spread through the air.

When your workers have the freshest air with the highest percentages of oxygen, they are the most productive. They can concentrate and complete tasks faster. Here are some of the reasons for replacing AC duct work:

  • Fresh Air
  • Reduce Airborne Contaminants
  • Prevent Diseases
  • Indoor Air Quality

Do you know what is breeding in your air duct work?

Replace Air Ducts

When an athlete goes to the sideline, he gets oxygen to reinvigorate him. Fresh air can increase your workers’ productivity. They can process information faster and complete their tasks on time.

Do you want your workers to be coughing into their keyboards? This prevents them from completing their assignments. It also spreads germs and increases the chances that others will get sick too.

More sick time will lead to fewer productive hours. Airborne diseases can cause simple fatigue or lead to more serious lung problems. This is especially true during the flu season.

There are many other types of contaminants that simply make breathing more difficult. Dust can clog up the lungs. Coal mine workers eventually get “black lung” due to long periods of exposure to airborne contaminants. How do the lungs of your employees look?

As a building owner, you are not only responsible for your employees, but also guests and vendors. What do they say about your Indoor Air Quality behind your back? Do they rue visiting your establishment or leave with a hacking cough?

If you care about promoting an image of excellence, does this not extend to having superior Indoor Air Quality also? Rats, squirrels, bats and birds nest inside your air ducts. Vermin leave all sort of waste material that are then recycled into the air, you breathe.

Replacing your AC ducts can help all people breathe easier, avoid airborne diseases and work more productively. Are you convinced that your AC ducts need cleaning? If so, 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

Will New Ductwork Improve Efficiency in an HVAC Unit Of a Facility?

Heating and cooling are a big part of your energy bill, and HVAC ducts are a major source of energy loss through leaks and lack of insulation. As much as 20 percent of your energy loss can be recovered by improving the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Look at your monthly energy bill, and extrapolate 20 percent of that over the next 10 years. Can you afford not to have new ductwork?

If you’re fortunate, your HVAC ductwork may last up to 10 to 15 years before it starts to deteriorate. If your ductwork has never been replaced in the past 10 years, you shouldn’t be surprised if your energy bills start to rise unexpectedly. You may even experience problems in less than 10 years, depending on how reliable your previous installer was.

Poor HVAC ductwork not only reveals itself in your power bill, but also in poor air quality. If your facility’s air has begun to smell stale, the health of people who live and work there may be affected. By restoring your HVAC unit to its original air circulation parameters, you’ll improve health and morale. By delivering more oxygen, new ductwork can improve efficiency by improving your efficiency and the efficiency of those you share your environment with.

Ways to Determine if You Need New Ductwork

Here are simple tests you can make to see if your ductwork is beginning to deteriorate:

  • Physically trace the ductwork through crawl spaces, looking for holes, tears, or disconnected joints.
  • Feel if the air flow and temperature remains constant throughout the rooms; a variation means you’ve got a leak.
  • Contact a mechanical contractor who specializes in HVAC and have your ductwork tested with a duct blower.

These tests will identify leaks, but what about energy losses through poor insulation? If your HVAC ductwork has developed leaks, then it’s likely the insulation is beginning to degrade as well. Again, a mechanical contractor specializing in HVAC can help you determine if that is the case.

If you believe that you need new ductwork to improve efficiency in your facility’s HVAC unit or need someone qualified to check it out, try O.C. McDonald. Specializing in HVAC, we have been a trusted mechanical contractor located in San Jose and serving Silicon Valley for over a century. Contact us today (408) 295-2182

What Exactly is Custom Sheet Metal Used For?

Custom sheet metal fabrication involves cutting and bending a metal sheet that is typically less than ¼ inch thick. Custom sheet metal fabrication is needed when standard parts do not fit, or when the job has specific manufacturing challenges. The ability to do this helps solve problems that cannot be solved using off-the-shelf parts. The range of applications is nearly limitless.

Custom sheet metal fabrication has its use in restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, architectural applications, and supermarkets. It also has a place in production design such as for specialized hoppers and holding tanks. One of the most common uses is in specialized HVAC systems that must bend around existing structures or other building systems.

Why Choose Custom Components?

In some applications, the only choice is custom sheet metal fabrication because the exact component needed is not available or does not exist at all. Even when a standardized component or fitting does exist, there are reasons why custom sheet metal is preferable.

· More choices. With custom sheet metal fabrication you can choose different materials than those from which standardized parts are made. This means that you can use a heavier or lighter material, as the needs of your project dictate. It is possible to create a component that works better than the original and has better performance.

· Better quality. Custom fabrication provides better quality because the piece is expertly manufactured on an individual basis. It is not stamped or cut using a mass production process. This means that care is taken in each step of the process to make certain that it is within engineering tolerances.

· Exact fit. Sometimes standardized parts may not fit precisely. This can create problems such as leaks, movement, or component wear. When an exact fit is needed, custom sheet metal fabrication can provide better long-term results than a mass manufactured part.

There are many reasons why you may need custom sheet metal fabrication services. Whether you need a custom component, or want to upgrade or change an existing one, it is important to find a firm with experience in all types of projects. If it is new construction, or a retrofit, experience is the key to success. You also need a firm that has the latest in design and fabrication technology.

If you have a project that calls for custom sheet metal fabrication, be sure to call our experts for an estimate 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.

Avoiding High Costs For a Plumbing Company Even For After Hours Emergency Calls

Eventually you are probably going to be dealing with some sort of plumbing emergency, but you do not have to be overcharged. If you decide to go with a reputable company, you can feel confident that you will receive a competitive rate and not be ripped off. Experienced plumbers may charge a little more for their time, but you can feel confident that they will get the job done right the first time. Since plumbing problems can only get worse if they are not fixed properly, you can save time and money by choosing a qualified company that can work quickly to resolve your issues and prevent water damage from occurring if possible.

Look for a Plumbing Company That:

  • Offers reasonable prices
  • Is available at any hour
  • Has a good reputation
  • Offers reliable customer service
  • Has experience dealing with issues like you are facing

 

Look for a Plumbing Company You Can Count On

Even in an emergency situation, you want to make sure that you are hiring a qualified company to handle something as important as your plumbing needs. A subpar company can make you spend even more money in the future if they do not resolve your plumbing needs quickly and efficiently.

 

Look for a Plumbing Company With the Right Credentials

It is important to choose a company that hires skilled technicians who are well-trained and able to handle all sorts of plumbing emergencies. You also want to go with a company that is licensed and insured. You should never settle for a company that does not look honest. You want to know that you are dealing with professionals when you invite people into your home to help you in an emergency situation.

 

Search for a Company With Fast Response Times

It is necessary to find a company that will be able to arrive at your property as fast as possible. When your home is being flooded with water from a burst pipe or your bathroom flooring is being soaked from an overflowing toilet, quick workers are going to be the best choice. You can consider it in a good investment to choose a company that can help you when you need them the most.

If you are facing any type of plumbing emergency, we are here to help. Give us a call today at (408) 295-2182 for fast and reliable services.

What Size AC Unit Does Your Building Need?

There are many factors to consider when you are trying to figure out which AC unit will work best for your building. Professionals will take into consideration many details to make sure that you have what you need to keep your entire property cool. You do not want to purchase a unit that is too big because it will just waste electricity. If you purchase a unit that is too small, it will have to work harder to try and keep your property cool and use more energy than it should too. The right size unit will be energy efficient and reliable.

 

A/C Factors to Consider:

  • Look to see how many windows, skylights, and doors are in the property
  • Think about the type of roof you have
  • Find out exactly how big your property is

It is important to make sure that your property is properly sealed to keep the cool air inside of it. We will see how many windows you have, how many skylights, if your doors are sealed properly, and look for other ways air might escape. It is important to take all of these details into account before choosing an AC unit.

You may also want to think about the type of roof you have. Some roofs can actually help to insulate your property. This is a wonderful thing, and it can help you to save money on your cooling bill.

The most important thing to think about is the size of your building. You want to make sure that your AC unit is going to be the perfect size. Professionals will need to know the exact square footage of your building and how many different rooms you have to make sure that everything is set up to cool off your property properly.

 

Discover the Right Size Air Conditioner Unit

It is important to have professionals make sure that your unit is going to be able to cool off your entire building. Professionals can take of the duct work, insulation, and more to make sure that your property stays at a steady temperature.

If you are ready to find out exactly what size AC unit you need, we can help you. Give us a call today at (408) 295-2182 for reliable services you can count on.