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Your Guide to 2018 HVAC Tax Credits

Tax Day is here! Have you already filed your return this year, or will you be scrambling at the last minute to make the deadline? Either way, don’t forget your heating and cooling system when considering any improvements you made in 2018. Taxpayers who upgraded their HVAC system or used renewable energy during the calendar year could be eligible for a tax credit that will offset some of the costs.

Read on to learn more about the HVAC tax credits homeowners could be eligible for when filing their 2018 taxes. Contact an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA to learn more!

HVAC tax credits

First, some bad news: the HVAC tax credits that could once be applied to many high-efficiency HVAC equipment have now expired. Previously, homeowners could get a $150 to $300 tax credit for installing a high efficiency furnace, air conditioner, boiler or air source heat pump. That credit expired at the end of 2017. However, homeowners can apply for HVAC tax credits for 2018 that focus on renewable energy systems, including geothermal heating and cooling equipment in addition to other alternative energy systems.

The following improvements are eligible:

  • Solar panels or photovoltaics used for generating electricity.
  • Solar-powered water heating equipment. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar.
  • Geothermal heat pumps that comply with federal Energy Star guidelines.
  • Fuel cells using renewable resources, such as hydrogen, to generate power. The equipment needs to generate a minimum of 0.5 kilowatts of power to qualify.

The improvements must be installed on a home you own and use as a residence. Second homes also qualify, but rental homes are not applicable. This credit is equal to up to 30 percent of the total cost of the purchase and installation of solar, wind and geothermal equipment. Fuel cell systems could be eligible for a credit of a maximum of $500 per half-kilowatt of power capacity. These tax credits will be available through 2021.

Your HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA can help you determine whether any previous installations are applicable and, if so, how much of the cost you can expect to recoup. Homeowners will then have to file IRS form 5695 if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Why invest in HVAC improvements?

Investing in any of these improvements can help you save significantly on your annual taxes. In addition, these heating and cooling methods are also safer for the environment. These HVAC systems reduce harmful emissions and greenhouse gases, which is crucial to protecting the ozone layer and the environment.

Ready to learn more about improving your home with any of these HVAC additions? Contact McGee Refrigeration today to speak to one of our expert technicians about upgrading to a renewable energy system. We’ll use our more than 35 years of experience in providing HVAC services in Visalia, CA to identify the best HVAC solutions for your home, lifestyle and budget. Give us a call today to get started!

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Is Getting an HVAC Tune-Up Worth It?

Just like your car or any major appliance in your house, your HVAC system will be susceptible to the normal wear and tear that comes with frequent use. If you allow your system to run year after year without paying attention to the maintenance that is needed, it is very likely that you will wind up with problems that could have been avoided with regular HVAC tune-up services in Visalia, CA. That is why your local HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA is here to tell you more about why these tune-ups are so vital.

The importance of HVAC tune-ups

A routine HVAC tune-up will not only take care of common issues that result from every day use, but will also give technicians the opportunity to take a deeper look at the operation of your overall system. If there are other troubles that exist, they can be taken care of before they progress and lead to an untimely breakdown. Neglecting routine tune-ups, on the other hand, could turn normal issues that might have been easily alleviated into major problems that will require extensive and costly repairs to fix.

In addition to helping prevent large-scale issues with your HVAC system, a tune-up can also help to improve its performance. A well-maintained system will operate more efficiently, which will in turn help to curb energy consumption. This means that, with regular tune-ups, your system will enjoy a longer lifespan and you’ll be able to save money on your monthly energy bills.

A tune-up checklist

As there are many moving parts that are responsible for the proper operation of your heating and cooling system, sufficient lubrication is a must. Additionally, all of the electrical connections should be secured in place correctly, and the wires will need to be in good condition to prevent fire hazards. It is just as important that your outdoor air conditioning unit receives any necessary attention as well, and making sure that the coils are clean and clear of debris and the fins are in good shape are top priorities.

One of the most important parts of routine maintenance that can often go overlooked is the changing of the air filter. While this is an exceedingly simple task, changing the air filter can help to improve performance and ensure that everyone in the house is breathing clean air that is free of pollutants.

While regular inspections may seem unnecessary when you haven’t had any trouble with your HVAC system, when compared to the accumulating costs of repairs and increasingly high energy bills, it is easy to see how much a simply tune-up is actually worth. To schedule your tune-up with a professional HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA, contact the experts at McGee Refrigeration. Our experienced team will make sure that your HVAC system has what it needs to run optimally for years to come with our comprehensive HVAC services in Visalia, CA. Investing in a tune-up now will immediately pay for itself and then some—give us a call today to schedule your appointment!

Renewable Energy and the Environmental Impact of HVAC

With air conditioning and heating systems accounting for as much as half of a home’s entire overall consumption, the push for renewable energy HVAC has never been higher. As a result, heating and cooling technology has evolved to provide efficient HVAC services in Visalia, CA in an ongoing effort to lessen the environmental impact of this high energy consumption. With this in mind, your local HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA is here to tell you about some of the systems that use renewable energy to condition the air in your home:

  • Geothermal heating and cooling: With the help of a geothermal heat pump, this system uses energy from the earth to cool and heat your home. When cooling a room, the heat pump extracts the warm air in the space and sends it below ground. When heating, a ground loop absorbs energy directly from the earth to generate the heat pump that warms the air. Geothermal cooling can save up to 50 percent more on your energy bills than a standard air conditioning unit, and the heating system can reduce costs by up to 60 percent.
  • Ice-powered air conditioning: Using renewable thermal batteries, your air conditioning system can create ice during non-peak times so that chilled air can be stored and utilized during peak cooling hours. This technology is so effective that peak cooling costs are reduced by upwards of 90 percent for up to six hours, leading to considerable savings.
  • Solar energy: With the aid of the sun’s clean, renewable energy, solar powered HVAC reduces the amount of gas and electricity that your system uses. The switch to solar energy doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem, as many newer HVAC systems are already solar-ready or can be easily modified to accommodate compatibility. Installing just three panels to reduce the amount of energy your system uses can cut your heating and cooling bills substantially. With a lifespan of 20-plus years, the solar panels themselves are extremely durable, and help to extend the longevity of your overall system. Additionally, because solar energy drastically reduces the environmental impact of an HVAC system, there are often tax credits available as an added bonus for those who make the switch.

In addition to helping you save a significant amount of money each year, these renewable energy heating and cooling methods are also much safer for the environment. These HVAC systems cut down on harmful emissions and greenhouse gases, protecting the ozone layer and creating a healthier ecosystem for everyone. To learn how you can upgrade to a renewable energy HVAC system, contact the experts at McGee Refrigeration. With over 35 years of experience with all kinds of HVAC services in Visalia, CA, you can trust us to help you find the best fit for your home, your needs and your budget. To schedule a consultation with one of the premier HVAC contractors in Visalia, CA, make sure you give us a call today. We look forward to working with you soon!

It’s Never Too Early to Prep Your Restaurant’s HVAC for the Summer Heat

Sure, we’re still in the late winter/early spring stage of 2019. But as you probably know, the months between spring and summer can easily fly by, and before we know it we’ll be entering the hottest days of the year. With that in mind, we suggest that it’s never too early to prep your HVAC system for the summer heat—especially if you operate a restaurant!

A restaurant kitchen can easily get overheated on a normal day, and the situation only gets worse on a sticky, sweaty summer day. But as long as your HVAC system is properly maintained and in good shape, you won’t have to worry as the temperature climbs.

So, how do you make sure your HVAC system is ready to take on the summer heat? Well, as a HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA, we have plenty of tips! Here’s an overview from your source for HVAC services in Visalia, CA.

Basic checklist

First, here is a quick rundown of different small things you can do yourself to prep your HVAC system for the summer heat.

You’ll want to clean the HVAC’s coils, and check for mold. If there is mold, have a professional take over the situation.

Next, switch out those dirty filters for new ones, and make sure your thermostat is in proper working condition. Test each individual component of your HVAC system to make sure it is working as well.

Then, you can lubricate all moving parts inside your system, and clean your ducts and airways. Also check to make sure that there aren’t any refrigerant leaks, and that the refrigerant is at its proper level.

Tighten any loose connectors or hoses, make sure there’s no foliage blocking the outdoor airflow and check your blowers and blades.

Congratulations—you’ve just performed a routine HVAC maintenance check! It’s a good idea to go through this list once every season.

Above and beyond

Of course, there are things you can do beyond the basics to ensure your HVAC system stays in good working order all season. For example, hiring a licensed HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA to look at your HVAC system will ensure that you don’t miss any underlying potential trouble sources.

You can also have your cooling tower inspected, replace that cooling tower if necessary and clean that tower regularly. Especially in the summertime, a properly functioning cooling tower is a necessity in any restaurant!

Ask the experts

Now you have a basic understanding of how to care for your HVAC system, so that your restaurant stays nice and cool in the summer. But if you still have questions about HVAC maintenance and HVAC services in Visalia, CA, then we suggest you ask an expert.

For years, McGee Refrigeration has proudly provided the region with a wide range of helpful HVAC services. We are fully licensed and trained, and we have plenty of experience working with restaurant HVAC systems. Please get in touch today for more information—we look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Checking for Refrigerant Leaks and Other Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips

The flowers are starting to bloom, the temperature is starting to climb and you start to hear the sound of lawn mowers outside your window. We are finally starting to transition from winter to spring—how exciting! The arrival of spring means many different things for different people, but for those of us who own HVAC systems, there is one thing we have to do as winter turns to spring: make sure our HVAC systems are in good shape.

That means checking for refrigerant leaks, which can be very dangerous if left unchecked. It also means checking the belts, replacing your filter and other commonsense HVAC maintenance tasks. Of course, if you aren’t sure how to care for your HVAC as we enter into warmer weather, you might want to call an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA for help.

Here is an overview of the different things you’ll need to do to ensure your HVAC system is ready for spring, from your friendly source for HVAC services in Visalia, CA:

  • AC checks: Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare your HVAC system for spring is to check your air conditioner for refrigerant leaks, as well as duct leakage. Other AC maintenance checklist items include blowing out the lines, replacing the filters and checking safety controls.
  • Make a path: It is important that your HVAC unit has a clear outside perimeter, so that it isn’t obstructed by branches, bushes or any other foliage. At least once or twice a year, trim back the growth in your yard so that there’s a three-foot clearance around your HVAC unit.
  • Replace the filter: Replacing any filters in your HVAC system is the most cost effective, easy and helpful thing you can do to keep it running smoothly. If you fail to do this, the filters will become dirty and clogged, so that the air coming out of your HVAC system won’t be as high quality as it ought to be. This could cause big problems for anyone in your household with allergies or asthma.
  • Check your belts: Your HVAC system’s belts connect the blower to the motor. They can easily become cracked, worn and ineffective over time, so it’s a good idea to check them during seasonal maintenance. They may need to be repaired or replaced, in which case you should call an expert in HVAC services in Visalia, CA.
  • Check the safety components: Finally, you’ll want to check the safety components on your HVAC. This will ensure that the temperature, output level, voltage and other metrics of the HVAC system will stay in a safe range. This is another simple step that is very important to remember for seasonal maintenance.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what you’ll need to do to prepare your HVAC system for spring, you can more confidently look forward to the new season. If you still have questions, please feel free to call McGee Refrigeration for tips! We are proud to be your trusted HVAC contractors in Visalia, CA.

Tips to Avoid Heating System Breakdowns This Winter

Imagine this scenario: It’s the coldest day of the winter, and your furnace stops working. Of course, it’s also the middle of the night. No one wants to find themselves in this position. You’ll be scrambling to stay warm and to contact an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA to make repairs as quickly as possible.

How can you avoid this situation? Take a few simple steps to keep your system well maintained. Use the following tips:

  • Whiff: Keep your nose tuned to strange smells during the winter. If you notice a rotten egg smell, the aroma of smoke or electrical burning odors, your system needs immediate attention. Contact an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA right away to prevent further damage and avoid the risk of fire.
  • Inspection: The best way to avoid winter failure of your system is to inspect it annually. Each fall, have your HVAC cleaned, inspected and serviced by a professional technician. This is an important step to take, even if your system is operating without issue. The goal is to prevent future issues from arising.
  • New filter: Don’t neglect this simple but often-overlooked task. Replace your filter regularly to keep your system running efficiently. Clogged filters make your system work harder than it needs to and can lead to damage. How can you remember to do this? Make it a habit to check your filter when you pay your rent or mortgage each month and replace it if needed.
  • Technician: If you have any concerns about your HVAC system, don’t hesitate to contact a technician. Your HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA can answer any questions you have and help you troubleshoot any issues. Don’t miss out on this great resource that will help you avoid furnace breakdowns this winter.
  • Escape: Are you trapping hot air inside the HVAC system? Make sure all your vents are open so the air can properly escape into your home. You may be tempted to close off certain areas in an effort to direct more heat to other rooms. This is a mistake. These closed areas make your system cycle incorrectly and will shorten the unit’s lifespan. Ensure all vents are open and arrange furniture so nothing is obstructing airflow.
  • Replacement: Don’t forget to replace the batteries in your thermostat. Working batteries are essential to a properly functioning thermostat and HVAC system. Without them, the system will shut down. Replace these each spring and fall to avoid system failures during the winter. To remember to do this, complete this task whenever your HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA visits for your system inspection in the fall and spring.

Get More Tips

Would you like additional tips on heating systems? Contact the experts at McGee Refrigeration. With over three decades of experience, we are your go-to source for heating and air conditioning service. We specialize in maintenance and repairs for residential and commercial systems, as well as restaurant equipment repair. Contact us today to learn more about properly maintaining your heating system. Ask about our free estimates and service agreement discounts!

The Dangers of Winter Refrigerant Leaks

When you think of refrigerant for your HVAC in Visalia, CA, you probably think of summertime. The refrigerant in your system allows your AC to keep your indoor spaces cool and comfortable for the summer. But did you know this is an important part of your heating system, too?

In fact, refrigerant leaks in the winter can cause serious problems. Following are a few of the top issues and how you can identify and prevent them:

  • Malfunction: If your HVAC in Visalia, CA loses refrigerant during the winter, it will not function properly. You will be unable to comfortably heat your home or business. This can cause anything from slightly chilly surroundings to a dangerously cold environment.
  • Damage: When the heat pump leaks refrigerant, it cannot maintain the appropriate level of refrigerant for optimal functioning. As refrigerant levels drop, the system can suffer damage. The lack of coolant can cause freezing issues in the pump. Your compressor may overheat. If the leak is not repaired right away, it can cause extensive damage to your HVAC in Visalia, CA.
  • Shutdown: If enough damage occurs to your HVAC in Visalia, CA, the system may fail entirely. You will then be without heat for the winter and, if the unit is not replaced, you’ll have to suffer through spring and summer weather without air conditioning.

Warning Signs

To avoid this damage and ultimate failure of your system, be on the lookout for warning signs that your HVAC in Visalia, CA is experiencing refrigerant leaks. Watch for the following red flags:

  • Reduced output: If your system seems to be producing less heat than it normally does, this could be due to a leak.
  • Cool surroundings: Is your system struggling to keep up with heating your home or business? If you can’t keep your indoor surroundings comfortable, you might have a leak.
  • Hissing: Listen for a hissing sound coming from the heat pump. This noise is due to refrigerant leakage.
  • Ice: Check the heat pump’s coils. If there is ice here, it’s probably because the unit is leaking refrigerant.

Prevention

Of course, these red flags can also indicate other issues with your HVAC in Visalia, CA. If your system is not performing at top level, consult with an HVAC contractor to determine the problem and make the necessary repairs. Having your unit checked right away will help prevent additional damage and future issues.

Regular service of your unit is the best way to tackle this issue of refrigerant leaks. An inspection and service of your system each spring and fall will help detect issues while they are small and prevent further problems down the road.

Stop Leaks Before They Start

For expert care of your HVAC in Visalia, CA, contact the professionals at McGee Refrigeration. Family-owned and locally operated, we’ve been serving clients throughout the area since 1981. We specialize in residential and commercial heating and air conditioning, as well as restaurant equipment repair. Our staff is ready to answer any questions you have about refrigerant leaks or other concerns. Call us today!

Tips from an HVAC Contractor in Visalia, CA to Help You Avoid Breakdowns of Your Heating System This Winter

Furnace breakdowns are always inconvenient, but especially when it’s the middle of the winter and you need your heat to maintain safe living conditions inside your home. You should always have the phone number of an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA handy in your phone, just in case you run into an emergency situation. But of course, there are some steps you can take to help avoid a breakdown entirely.

Here are some tips from our team that will help you keep your furnace running well all winter long:

  • Keep up with your maintenance: Sure, there’s a cost associated with having your furnace maintained, but getting annual maintenance done on your HVAC is the best way to avoid a potential failure. During your maintenance checkup, the technician who visits your home will clean, inspect and adjust all vital parts of your system. They’ll also uncover any small problems and fix them before they become large problems that might result in your system shutting down. Even if your furnace has been running well, you should still prioritize preventative maintenance.
  • Replace your air filters: Changing out your air filters doesn’t just ensure better air quality in your home—it also prevents the furnace from having to work in overdrive to deliver the same level of heat. Clogged filters make it harder for the system to function and more likely that it will break down after long-term usage.
  • Open up your vents: There is a misconception among homeowners that closing off vents can help you better direct heat where you want it in your home, and will prevent energy from being wasted on heating unused rooms. This isn’t true, though—in fact, it could actually result in damage to your furnace. Furnaces have been designed specifically to fit your home and to maximize their efficiency. When you close off sections of your home, you prevent the furnace from operating at its proper capacity, which could cause it to cycle improperly. Frequent short cycles can limit the lifespan of the furnace. Therefore, always keep all vents open and unobstructed in your home.
  • Listen to your nose: If you notice any odd smells emanating from your furnace, this could be a sign that you need to get some maintenance done right away. It’s not necessarily problematic if you notice a slight burning smell right after the first couple times you use your furnace for the season—this is probably some of the built-up dust burning off. But you should never smell odors that smell like sulfur, chemicals or smoke, as these are all smells indicative of larger problems in the system.
  • Change your thermostat batteries: Many furnace malfunctions are a result of thermostat malfunctions. Change out the batteries in the thermostat a couple times a year to make sure you’re able to maintain control over the furnace’s operation.

For more information about how you can keep your furnace in good condition all winter long, contact an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA at McGee Refrigeration today.

Tips for Keeping Your Walk-In Freezer Ready for Inspection

A walk-in freezer is a significant investment for your company, so it’s important to keep it in excellent condition, for a variety of reasons. For one, you don’t want the condition of the equipment to degrade to the point where you need to spend thousands of dollars to replace it earlier than necessary. In addition to this, you never know when you’re going to have a health inspector come into your facility to check out the state of your kitchen and your equipment.

Here are just a few tips to help you keep your walk-in freezer ready for inspection and in good condition at all times:

  • Clean parts: You should clean the condensing coil and evaporator twice a year, as a general rule. You’ll find dust and dirt will build up on these parts of the system more than any other parts, so it’s important to keep them cleaned off, especially if you have an outdoor walk-in cooler.
  • Clear drain lines: You should make it a point to clear out your drain lines at least once a year, as they can become clogged over time with regular use. A professional technician specializing in commercial refrigeration in Visalia, CA can assist you with this process.
  • Lubricate hinges: You should keep the hinges on the doors well lubricated to ensure they close properly, though there are some hinges that have self-lubricating features. Ensuring a proper seal is important, because a failure to do so could cause an air leak, meaning the food stored in the freezer thaws out and goes bad.
  • Use the correct chemicals: When cleaning your commercial walk-in freezer, you should make sure you use the proper chemicals. There are some types of commercial cleaners that are too harsh, and can damage the metal surfaces. You can typically get by with using a simple combination of soap and water for cleaning. These gentle solutions will provide safer results and still get your surfaces plenty clean for use. Make sure to stay on top of your cleanings to ensure the walk-in freezer remains sanitary for use.
  • Clean out door gaskets: The door gaskets can accumulate bacteria and mold over time, so cleaning them off with a simple mixture of soap and water is a good idea to ensure they continue to operate well and do not pose a health risk to anyone who might be using the equipment.
  • Take a look at electrical connections: It can be beneficial to have an electrician come in every now and then to look at electrical connections in the walk-in freezer. Loose or worn connections can result in energy loss and could, in some cases, represent a fire hazard that you’ll want to eliminate as soon as possible.
  • Check the door sweep: Your door sweep, like the hinges, helps to create a proper seal to prevent the cold air from leaking out. If it’s damaged or isn’t sealing properly, you should replace it as soon as possible.

For more tips about keeping your walk-in freezer in great condition, contact McGee Refrigeration to discuss this and other aspects of commercial refrigeration in Visalia, CA.

Getting Your Heating System Ready for Winter

The temperatures are beginning to drop in California as winter rolls in for the next few months. While our weather doesn’t get nearly as frigid as in other places, native Californians still like to turn on the furnace now and then to keep the chill away.

After a long summer of running your AC unit, you shouldn’t jump right into using your furnace without some preparation. Without some cleaning and precaution, you might go to turn on the heat, only to discover that your system isn’t working at all.

Follow these few simple steps to get your furnace winter-ready and to see if you’ll need last-minute furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

Test it well in advance

It isn’t smart to turn your furnace on for the first time this year when the temperatures reach absolutely chilly levels. You should test your furnace’s functionality before it gets too cold, so you’ll have time to address any issues that arise before you truly need the heat.

Call for maintenance

One of the most important parts of getting your furnace prepped for a long winter of regular use is to have it tuned up by an HVAC professional. During a furnace maintenance visit, a professional can visit your home, inspect your furnace for problems and signs of wear, replace broken parts, clean the system of dust and dirt and replace your air filter. All of these items are important for your furnace to run efficiently, or even run at all. Once maintenance is done, your furnace should be clean and ready to operate.

It’s a good idea to call for a maintenance appointment in advance, as well. These professionals tend to get busy nearer the winter months because lots of people begin calling for maintenance and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

When it’s time to turn the heat on

When you finally decide you want to kick on the heat (and after you’ve had your furnace looked over), make sure all the vents in your home are open. To achieve the best heating results, move all furniture and objects away from the vents for optimal airflow.

Then, flick your thermostat from “cool” to “heat” and set the temperature a little higher than the current temperature of your house. Within a few minutes, your furnace should kick on and you should hear it running. Check that warm air is blowing out of your vents.

When you run your furnace for the first time after summer, you should stick around and pay attention to it to make sure nothing is going wrong. Listen for any strange clicking or banging noises, and be cautious if you identify any strange smells.

Get furnace help when you need it

If you turn on your furnace this winter and it won’t start, or it sputters out after a few hours, call the heating experts at McGee Refrigeration. We can provide same-day and 24/7 emergency service for furnace repair in Visalia, CA to keep you and your family comfortable and safe this winter.