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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.

What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide Detectors

With winter weather starting to settle in, homeowners are going to start to fire up their heating systems to keep away the chill. One of the major dangers of furnaces is the potential for leaks, which can let a dangerous gas called carbon monoxide fill your home.

You probably have a smoke detector installed in your home, but do you have a carbon monoxide detector? If you do, are you sure that it works? Without functioning carbon monoxide detectors, you’ll have no way of knowing when you’re at risk of poisoning from this silent killer.

The dangers of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is deadly. It has the ability to replace the oxygen that our bodies and lungs need to function, poisoning us slowly. Carbon monoxide poisoning can sometimes lead to flu-like symptoms, like headaches and nausea, and exposure can be fatal.

Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because the gas is colorless, odorless and largely undetectable. This is why it is so important to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home.

One of the leading causes of carbon monoxide poisoning is from leaking furnaces or boilers. If you’re running your furnace and it has a leak, there’s a good chance you could be filling your home with carbon monoxide. It doesn’t take long for this deadly gas to reach all corners of the home.

Older furnaces are at the greatest risk of leaking carbon monoxide. Even if your furnace is relatively new, though, hoses can become disconnected, cracks can form and leaks can spring seemingly out of nowhere, potentially putting you and your family at risk.

Installing and testing alarms

If your home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, it’s critical that you purchase and install one. Carbon monoxide alarms emit loud noises like a fire alarm when they detect high levels of carbon monoxide in the area. You should have one alarm installed near your furnace, as well as one on every floor of your home. Make sure your alarm is at around knee height and is not obstructed by furniture or other items.

Change your carbon monoxide detector’s batteries twice a year when you change the batteries in your smoke alarm. Ideally, you should continue to test your carbon monoxide detector once a week to be sure it’s functioning.

Testing your carbon monoxide alarm should be one of the first things you do before turning your furnace on this winter. By making sure this alarm works, you’re ensuring that, should your furnace leak, you’ll be alerted to the problem right away.

Additionally, you should contact an HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA to have your furnace inspected before the winter season. This inspection helps make sure your furnace is in working condition and can be instrumental in spotting leaks before they become dangerous. If there is a leak, the professional can help fix it or install a new furnace to keep you safe.

McGee Refrigeration should be your go-to HVAC contractor in Visalia, CA. We offer a breadth of services, from residential AC and heating repair to commercial restaurant equipment maintenance. Call today for a free estimate!

It’s Time to Tune Up Your Furnace!

We’re getting deep into the fall, which means if you haven’t already scheduled a checkup for your furnace, it’s important for you to get that done as soon as possible. While we might not get the same level of chill out here in California as they do in, say, Wisconsin, you still want to make sure your furnace is in good working order so you’re not stuck without heat when the mercury dips.

Here are just a few reasons why it’s so important to get a fall furnace checkup each year from a team specializing in heater repair in Visalia, CA:

  • Long-term savings: Sure, there’s going to be an initial payment associated with your maintenance checkup, but consider this—these checkups keep your machine in good operational condition, preventing larger issues from developing. They also give the technician an opportunity to inspect your system and see if there are any small problems that could become big ones if you don’t correct them immediately. The financial benefits of staying on top of preventative maintenance are ultimately significantly greater than those of trying to save money by not bringing in the repair team.
  • Longer life: Just like keeping up with your regular preventative maintenance in your car will keep it on the road for longer, keeping up with your furnace’s preventative maintenance will help it stay in operation for years to come. While an average furnace will last for around 15 years, you can help extend that lifespan by keeping up with your maintenance.
  • Warranty reasons: If you recently purchased a new furnace, you might be required to get preventative maintenance checks done every year to keep your warranty active. This is crucial—if you suffer an expensive breakdown within the first couple years after a purchase, you’ll want to make sure your warranty covers the cost of repairs. Therefore, you shouldn’t do anything that would invalidate that warranty.
  • Proper airflow: Having your furnace checked and maintained will ensure proper airflow and air pressure. Without proper airflow, the warm air will not travel to where you need it in your home.
  • Stay safe: As furnaces get older, there starts to be a greater risk of cracks forming in the heat exchanger, which can result in carbon monoxide leaking into your home. Therefore, it’s important to have this annual tune-up done so you can be sure you’re staying safe and avoiding carbon monoxide or other issues, such as smoke or fires.
  • Cleaner operation: Even if your furnace is still performing perfectly, you probably are going to have a lot of dust inside the system at the start of each year that will burn off when you start using it. Remove some of this dust and debris from the furnace and it will operate more efficiently.

For more information about the various options you have available for your heater repair in Visalia, CA, or to schedule service, we encourage you to contact our team of technicians at McGee Refrigeration today.

Furnace or Heat Pump: Which Is Best?

When you think about the available heating solutions in an average home, the first thing you think of is likely to be a furnace. However, a furnace is not the only option you have available to you when it comes to heating systems. Heat pumps are another option, and depending on your home, they may be able to provide you with some significant energy savings.

Here is some information about these two options, from a company specializing in heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

Operational differences

The vast majority of homes you’ll find in North America are heated with a forced air furnace of some type, usually one that’s powered with gas or electricity. A gas furnace has a sealed-up combustion chamber that generates heat, and electric furnaces have heating elements similar to the ones you’d find in an electric space heater, just scaled up to accommodate a much larger space. In each of these circumstances, there will be a fan that provides circulation over the heating elements and pushes the air through a series of vents in the home to deliver that heat.

A forced air heat pump does not actually produce any heat, but instead pulls heat out of the outdoor air, even if it’s cold outside. The heat gets condensed and then pushed through a fan system and into the home.

Other types of heat pumps use geothermal energy rather than trying to take the warm air out of the outdoor air, but this isn’t typically an option in most parts of the country.

Making the right decision

So what factors do you need to take into account when deciding whether you’ll get a furnace or a heat pump?

The biggest factor is the climate in which you live. If you have a mild winter, you’ll benefit much more from a heat pump in terms of energy efficiency. This is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular alternative to furnaces here in California—even in the northern parts of the state, it never gets particularly frigid.

Compare this to seriously cold environments such as many parts of the Midwest, in which heat pumps will have to go into overdrive to have any chance of keeping up. While there may be an auxiliary heat source that will kick in when it gets really cold, this still is going to be less efficient than a furnace in this circumstance.

If you live in the right environment, it’s not just the energy efficiency that will give you a big benefit. Heat pumps can also be used in reverse to cool the home, pulling air from inside your house and pushing it outside. This means it can be an effective sort of air conditioning system as well, though you’ll have to do a better job of staying on top of maintenance since you’ll be using the same system all year long.

For more information about your options for home heating, contact McGee Refrigeration about heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

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What You Need to Know About Commercial HVAC Regulations

In early 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implemented one of the largest ever updates to its guidelines dictating energy efficiency. The DOE’s new rules are sure to change the way that companies of all sizes heat and cool their buildings using heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology.

Commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA is an ever-changing field. New technological advances, spurred on by increased governmental regulation and oversight, are encouraging companies to update their HVAC networks and invest in newer, more ecologically friendly and economically sound HVAC systems.

Here are just some of the ways that this year’s new regulations are affecting the commercial HVAC industry, and changing HVAC issues in Visalia, CA:

  • Broad applications: More than half of commercial real estate in the United States is heated and cooled by packaged HVAC systems. This means that most companies will have to fall into compliance with the new DOE rules in the near future. Consulting with an HVAC professional is the only way to know for sure if your existing HVAC system needs to be updated to meet federal standards.
  • Reduced emissions: The primary goal of the new DOE standards is to reduce the amount of emissions in the atmosphere. The DOE is mandating greater HVAC efficiency at commercial structures—this will drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed by commercial energy customers, reducing stress on the nation’s energy grid and lowering the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere for energy production purposes.
  • Lower energy expenses: By investing in more efficient HVAC systems, companies will experience long-term energy savings. It’s estimated that some business owners will save as much as $3,700 when they install new units that are in compliance with the federal standards. These savings will help to offset the costs of installation, and improve the bottom lines of countless business owners and operators across the country.
  • New units are coming: To accommodate the rigorous new standards established by the government, HVAC manufacturers are building more efficient and effective units. In the coming years, HVAC models may look and operate very differently from their predecessors. The new regulations, coupled with a desire to reduce overall energy consumption on the part of businesses, are driving manufacturers to innovate new technologies.

McGee Refrigeration is committed to staying on the cutting edge of HVAC maintenance, repair and installation. If you have any questions about the ways that the DOE’s new HVAC regulations may affect your business or commercial operation, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives. We’re proud to provide each our clients with dependable knowledge and workmanship. Regardless of your needs for commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA, you can rely on our highly skilled and talented professionals to provide you with the services you need.

We’re proud of our ability to serve our clients. If you’d like to educate yourself about HVAC issues in Visalia, CA or learn how to improve your building’s heating or cooling operations, contact one of our friendly representatives today.