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.

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Differences Between Residential and Commercial HVAC Systems

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are an essential component of modern buildings. Homes and commercial structures alike rely on HVAC networks to facilitate the healthy movement of air through buildings, and ensure a comfortable, even interior temperature throughout the day and year.

While there are clear similarities between residential and commercial HVAC systems, and the basic functions performed by each are essentially the same, there are a few key differences that set these two types of systems apart. That’s why many HVAC contractors specialize exclusively in residential or exclusively in commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA.

If you’re in need of commercial air conditioning repair in Visalia, CA, it’s important to work with a qualified company that’s capable of servicing commercial HVAC systems. Because of the size and scope differences that set commercial systems apart from residential systems, the skills necessary to work on commercial versus residential HVAC networks aren’t always cross-applicable.

Here are just some of the things that separate residential and commercial HVAC systems:

  • Size and power: Because commercial HVAC systems need to ventilate larger spaces and cool or heat greater numbers of people, they are obviously much larger, and subsequently more powerful, than traditional residential HVAC networks. It’s important for HVAC installers to accurately gauge the heating, cooling and ventilation needs of a given space when installing or servicing a commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA.
  • Kept in different locations: Most commercial buildings house their HVAC systems on the roof, thanks to their exceptionally large size. Working on roofs requires an extra level of experience and training—most HVAC contractors that exclusively work on residential systems don’t possess the knowledge and skills necessary to safely work on an HVAC system that’s mounted on a roof.
  • Packaged units vs. splits: Almost all commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA is a packaged unit. This means that both the evaporating and compressing actions take place in the same housing, which is usually mounted to the roof. Residential HVAC systems are almost always splits—with splits, the heating action occurs indoors, while the exterior unit handles compression.
  • Standalones vs. modular: With most commercial HVAC models, it’s possible to add and remove modules that affect capacity and energy consumption. This allows companies to change their HVAC systems according to their needs at the time. Most residential HVAC systems don’t possess this capability, and are permanently fixed as single standalone units.

Since 1981, McGee Refrigeration has been one of the premier providers of commercial air conditioning repair in Visalia, CA. We also offer comprehensive residential HVAC system maintenance, repair and installation. You can rely on us to provide you with dependable, high-quality HVAC system services that will keep your home or business running smoothly and comfortable. Our skilled team members are also capable of maintaining and servicing commercial refrigeration and restaurant equipment. We’re proud to provide each and every one of our clients with a robust range of services. Contact one of our friendly representatives today to learn more about what we can offer you.

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A Commercial HVAC Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Maintaining your HVAC system in your commercial property is just like taking care of your own health or your car. If you don’t take the important steps of preventative maintenance, you are only setting yourself up for costly repairs and procedures down the line. It is crucial for commercial HVAC systems in Visalia, CA to be maintained at least twice a year by an HVAC maintenance expert. Use the checklist below to guide your HVAC maintenance in Visalia, CA.

A Customized Plan

Every property is different. Each HVAC system is unique. The checklist that you and your HVAC professional will actually use will depend on many factors. This will depend on the size of your property, how you use your property and the type of system you own. How old is your HVAC system? Does your system include a heat pump? A cooling tower? Perhaps you are using a VRF system. The maintenance of these systems can vary greatly. The checklist below is a very general one.

Fall and Winter Checklist

Preparing for winter means making sure that all the heating elements are inspected and functioning at intended levels:

  • The furnace ignition and burner assembly need to be professionally inspected to ensure they are operating correctly.
  • The electrical connections in the furnace need to be checked.
  • The fan and blower motor need to be checked. If either is not functioning properly, it will need to be adjusted.
  • The thermostats and any other electronic controls need to be checked to see if they’re operating correctly.
  • The heat exchanges need to be inspected and any debris should be removed.
  • All motors, bearings and other moving parts in the furnace are to be lubricated.
  • All belts and pulleys in the furnace need to be inspected and replaced if needed.
  • The drain lines and pans need to be cleared of any debris.
  • All filters on the heating equipment need to be replaced.

Spring and Summer Checklist

To prepare for the hot Visalia summer, the air conditioning unit must be thoroughly inspected for the long, hard-working season ahead:

  • The condenser and evaporator coils on the air conditioning system must be carefully cleaned. The coils should be carefully inspected for leaks.
  • The refrigerant charge should be checked and filled if low.
  • A check for adequate airflow throughout the building is needed. A repositioning of the dampers may be needed if the airflow is uneven.
  • The electrical connections in the air conditioning unit need to be checked.
  • All belts and pulleys in the air conditioner need to be inspected and replaced if needed.
  • The thermostats and any other electronic controls need to be checked to see if they’re operating correctly.
  • All motors, bearings and other moving parts in the air conditioning unit are to be lubricated.
  • The fan and blower motor need to be checked. If either is not functioning properly, it will need to be adjusted.
  • The drain lines and pans need to be cleared of any debris.
  • All filters on the air conditioning unit need to be replaced.

Choosing a HVAC Maintenance Professional in Visalia, CA

Consider establishing an annual service agreement with a trusted professional that will meet these maintenance guidelines. For HVAC Maintenance in Visalia, CA, the best choice is McGee Refrigeration. We are locally owned and operated and have been in operation since 1981. Contact us today to see how we can help keep your commercial HVAC system in Visalia, CA in top condition.

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Common Issues with Commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA

Commercial real estate can be a great investment. However, it only pays when the tenants are happy. One of the best ways to keep tenants productive, healthy and happy is to keep the commercial HVAC system operating smoothly. Since commercial air conditioning repair in Visalia, CA can be as costly as uncomfortable tenants, it is important to identify these common commercial HVAC issues before they become major problems.

Improper Air Balance

Every property is different. Each room is unique. Some rooms cool down quicker than others due to the size and position of the room. A professional should have designed and installed an HVAC system with this in mind for your property, but that is not always the case. One way to help regulate the airflow throughout the building is to use dampers. Dampers can help control the improper air balance in the building by reducing airflow in one series of vents and allowing the conditioned air to flow to others. Having a professional check these dampers and align them appropriately ensures proper air balance for your building.

Thermostat Malfunctions

At times the issue is with the thermostat itself, rather than with the HVAC system. A malfunctioning thermostat could be regulating the temperature in a way that you do not want. The unit may be shorting out. There could be dust and debris inside the unit. Wonky wiring could cause a timing problem. Many commercial buildings wisely keep their thermostat locked up, so that it is not fiddled with by anyone other than authorized facility personnel.

Leaking Refrigerant

The refrigerant is the liquid that is contained in the coils in the air conditioning unit. The liquid refrigerant is the magic elixir that makes the air cool and removes humidity from the air. If the HVAC system is not cooling as it should, the culprit could be that there is not enough of this liquid refrigerant left in this system. There may be a leak. The issue needs to be resolved soon. The condenser is working overtime to compensate, which leads to very costly problems.

Dirty or Clogged Filters

One of the most common HVAC issues is that the air filters are dirty or worn. When the filters are not monitored and replaced regularly, the air conditioning unit is forced to work harder. Not only does this increase energy costs, but it also reduces the life of the system. The internal air quality of the building suffers as a result, since the filters are not keeping out air pollutants such as dust and allergens as intended. What could be remedied by simple maintenance activity is often ignored in many commercial units. This is a costly mistake.

Solutions for Commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA

The best way to maintain your commercial investment is to seek out a trusted commercial air conditioning repair specialist in Visalia, CA. An annual service agreement would get a professional in your building doing regular system maintenance and checking for these issues. For commercial HVAC in Visalia, CA, there is no one better to turn to than locally owned and operated McGee Refrigeration. Give us a call today to discuss an annual service agreement.

What’s the Best Temperature for Your Air Conditioner in the Summertime?

It can be surprisingly difficult to nail down the perfect temperature for your air conditioner to be set at to keep your entire family comfortable and cool. Trying to balance different temperature preferences for different family members while keeping your energy bills down is not an easy task, which is why your local AC service in Visalia, CA is here to help you with some information about the optimal temperatures for both the daytime and evening hours.

Daytime temperatures

On the summer days that you will be spending inside, keeping the temperature around 78 degrees will keep you comfortable if you dress seasonably. Utilizing a ceiling fan can create a wind chill effect that can cool the room off an additional four degrees so that it will actually feel like it is 74. On days that you will be out, turning your thermostat up to 85 degrees while you are gone can help you save between 5 and 15 percent on your cooling bills.

Nighttime temperatures

Because everyone has different temperature preferences when they sleep, pinning down the right nighttime range might not be as straightforward. If you are someone who has no problem sleeping in a warm room, it is recommended that you set your overnight temperature four degrees higher than your daytime temperature. For the most part, though, many prefer to sleep in a cooler room, which means that you will likely need to turn your thermostat down from its daytime setting before you go to bed. If the outdoor air cools off enough at night, you should open some windows when you go to sleep, and then close them in the morning to trap the cool air in the house before it warms up outside.

Install a programmable thermostat

Although it isn’t likely that your temperature range will vary that much throughout the day, installing a programmable thermostat will free you from the responsibility of having to remember to make the adjustments on your own. If you turn your temperatures up while you are out, programming your air conditioner to kick into your comfortable daytime temperature 30 minutes to an hour before you get home ensures that you will still be able to come home to a nice cool house each evening after work.

If you are one of those individuals who likes a cool night’s rest, zoning your home might also be helpful. Zoning will allow you to keep your bedroom temperature cooler without dropping the temperature throughout the entire house, which can go a long way toward keeping your energy bills down.

Since 1981, the AC service team at McGee Refrigeration has worked tirelessly to make sure that businesses and homeowners alike are getting the most out of their HVAC systems. It is our mission to provide you with the highest level of air conditioning service in Visalia, CA while also providing you with the best customer service around. If you do run into any issues with your system, we are ready to tend to any AC service needs you might have. Give us a call right away!

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Summer Energy Saving Tips for Your Air Conditioner

To contend with the summer heat, you are probably running your air conditioning system around the clock. While this does keep your family cool on the long, scorching hot days, this comfort also come with a hefty price tag. During the summer months your AC service typically represents 50 percent of your total energy bill, making finding ways to improve efficiency a top priority. Whether your system is new or on the older age, here are some tips from your local AC repair company in Visalia, CA on how you can help you keep your family cool and comfortable at an affordable price.

Monitor your thermostat

The addition of a programmable thermostat is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to monitor your energy use. While it is vital that the temperatures remain comfortable while you are at home, programming your thermostat to rest at a higher temperature while you are away can actually save you a substantial amount of money. For example, programming your thermostat to stay between 80 and 85 degrees every day while no one is in the home can save you between 10 and 15 percent on your normal cooling costs.

Also, you should make sure that your thermostat is set to auto mode. If left in the on position, your fan motor will continue to blow even if cooling is not actively taking place. In auto mode, the motor will remain off when your system is not cooling. This simple measure can actually end up saving you up to $25 on your monthly energy costs.

Improve your home’s overall energy efficiency

In order for your air conditioning to reach optimal efficiency, your system will need some help so that it doesn’t have to work as hard every day. If you are able to cut down on the amount of heat that is entering your house in the first place, your system will require less energy to cool off your home. One way you can do this is by utilizing window coverings. Whether it is with tint or film, shutters or blinds, keeping your windows covered from the sun during the day can save upwards of 25 percent more than windows without shades.

Also be mindful that certain electrical appliances within your home give off heat during operation, such as the oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer. To avoid any added strain on your system during the day, try completing your household activities that use these appliances either early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures aren’t as hot.

The key to maintaining your air conditioning system so that your energy bills remain under control is routine AC service in Visalia, CA. With regular preventative maintenance, our team at McGee Refrigeration can make sure that your system is ready to keep your home cool for another summer. If anything goes awry, we can make the necessary AC repair in Visalia, CA before your energy bills begin to skyrocket. Give us a call for an estimate today so that both you and your wallet remain comfortable this summer!

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The Effects of a Hot Summer Day on Your AC Unit

An air conditioner works harder the hotter it is outside, and on humid days, the workload gets even heavier. Keeping the air conditioner working efficiently as it takes a heavier burden is important. Calling ahead of time for an AC tune-up in Visalia CA can help keep the unit from overworking despite the hot summer workload.

Heat vs. cold

An air conditioner cools the air it pulls from the outside while expelling the hot air from inside the house. This means the hotter it is outside, the harder the AC works, because there is more heat coming into the home and the outdoor air is even hotter. It also means the AC works harder when it starts up. In the simplest terms, the hotter it is outside, the more work the AC has to do. This is obvious, but the wear and tear on the unit may not be. An AC is made to cool homes during hot days, but keeping your air conditioner in working condition means understanding the degradation happening to the unit. Hotter weather means more work for the AC, so after a heat wave, checking the unit or getting an AC tune-up in Visalia, CA may be a smart idea to keep the unit from breaking down.

Humidity is not your friend

It’s not just heat that affects the AC’s workload. High humidity also increases the amount of effort the AC has to put in to cool the home. Air conditioners have to remove the excess moisture when they’re cooling the air. Some air conditioners may not have the cooling capacity to handle the high humidity. This means the home won’t be as cool. Even if it doesn’t feel hot outside, the AC may be working harder than it seems because of humidity. So in addition to getting an AC tune-up in Visalia, CA after a heat wave, your AC should also be checked after especially humid weather.

Maintain the AC

An air conditioner is made to take the wear and tear of hot days, but it requires regular maintenance to do so. Without proper maintenance, the AC can wear down quicker. Like all mechanical equipment, the longer a unit goes without an AC tune-up in Visalia, CA, the higher the chance of a breakdown. An experienced air conditioning service in Visalia, CA can help explain how to properly clean and maintain an AC. An AC tune-up in Visalia, CA can also keep the unit in tip-top shape to efficiently cool your home.

McGee Refrigeration is a family-owned business that specializes in heating and air conditioning service. We’ve been in business for more than 30 years and are an experienced air conditioning service in Visalia, CA. We can offer free estimates and service agreement discounts. Our excellent staff is always ready and willing to answer any and all questions you may have. If you give us a call, we’ll help you out with all your air conditioning needs. Get in touch today to learn more or schedule a visit!

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Maximizing Your AC Performance During the Summertime

During the summer heat, air conditioners can be a huge relief, but they also carry a heavy burden. They tend to work hard for a long time during the hot days to keep you cool. One of the best ways to keep your AC working in tip-top shape is to keep it well maintained. A well-respected AC service in Visalia, CA like McGee Refrigeration can help. Here are some of the other ways you can keep your AC running efficiently:

  • Lighten the burden: If you’re not home, you’re not benefiting from the air conditioner, but it’s still working. Keeping it running at full blast while you’re not there can lead to more wear and tear, leading to necessary AC repair in Visalia, CA. You don’t have to turn it off, but while you’re at work or outside, raise the thermostat a couple of degrees. Doing so will ease the stress on your AC and lower your energy bill.
  • Closed environment: You’re not cooling off the outdoors, so remember to keep windows and doors closed when the AC is running. Open windows and doors means cool air will escape and warm air will get in. Good insulation and closed windows and doors will keep the cold air inside. This will also lessen the burden on your AC, which will mean less breakdowns requiring emergency AC repair in Visalia, CA this summer.
  • Vent it all: Check all your vents. They should be open and clear of debris. Most air conditioners are designed to cool a specific square footage. If you have vents closed, your AC may not be efficiently cooling your entire home. If something is blocked, it could mean your AC is working harder than it needs to for a smaller payoff.
  • Keep the air filter clean: Your air conditioner works hard during hot weather, and problems with the AC means it will work even harder. One way to avoid this is to keep the air filter cleaned. A dirty one means the system has to work even harder, resulting in a higher chance of breaking down. An AC service in Visalia, CA can provide the proper supplies to clean and/or change your air filter. Make sure to check it once a month.
  • Keep the sun out: The sunlight that gets into your home can raise the temperature inside. By closing drapes and blinds during the day, you can keep even more heat out of your house. This simple step is just another way to keep your air conditioner from having to work harder than it has to. Less heat inside the home means less strain on the AC to cool the space.

Whether it’s these simple ways to keep your AC working efficiently or necessary maintenance, a well-respected AC service in Visalia, CA like McGee Refrigeration can assist you. We have been in business for more than 35 years and are happy to help. We’re a family-owned business and offer free estimates. Give us a call and our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Common Summertime Issues with AC Service

As warm weather hits, HVAC units start working overtime. Property owners try desperately to keep cool, and their AC tries desperately to keep up. Throughout this season, it is common for issues to pop up that require AC repair in Visalia, CA. What can you expect this summer? Hopefully, your hot season will come and go without issue, but you shouldn’t be too surprised if you experience one or more of the following air conditioning problems.

Too Much

How often does your air conditioning unit run throughout the day? If your AC runs constantly, this is an issue. While warmer temperatures warrant more frequent cycles, your air conditioner should not run constantly. If you notice your unit never cycles off, check for common issues. First, make sure all doors and windows are closed. This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how many people forget to close all the bedroom windows before they turn on their AC.

Second, check your filter. Is it dirty? If so, change it. A dirty filter is the fastest way to ruin your HVAC system. Change this regularly to avoid the need for AC repair in Visalia, CA. When the filter is clear, your unit works more efficiently. Lastly, check your thermostat. Is it set at a reasonable temperature? Keep in mind, most units are designed to adjust for temperature fluctuations of up to 25 degrees. If it’s 98 degrees outside, don’t try to make your unit maintain a temperature of 65 degrees inside.

If you complete all of these checks and find nothing amiss, it is time to call for AC service in Visalia, CA. An expert technician can determine the cause of your overworked unit and make appropriate adjustments to avoid damage to your air conditioner.

Too Loud

While no AC unit is silent, the noises coming from the condenser and fan should be predictable and steady. If you hear new noises, such as screeching, rattling, thumping, clanking or banging, you need AC repair in Visalia, CA. Your unit probably has a loose or worn belt, loose hardware, low oil or a failing part. If you hear strange noises coming from your unit, don’t hesitate to call a technician. Waiting can cause further damage or cause your unit to fail entirely.

Too Warm

Is your unit running, but it’s still too warm in your home? First, complete the troubleshooting steps from the “Too Much” section above. Then, check all your vents and registers. Are any pieces of furniture, rugs or drapery blocking your vents? Rearrange things so that all vents are clear. Also check your exterior unit. This should be clear of all debris as well. Remove any growth around the unit and clean off the unit. If none of these tasks improves your cooling, contact a technician for AC repair in Visalia, CA. You might have a refrigerant problem, which requires professional assistance.

Too Easy

If you experience any of these issues this season, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at McGee Refrigeration for AC repair in Visalia, CA. Our experienced technicians make your repairs easy and smooth to keep you cool all summer long.