The Best Ways to Heat and Cool Old Houses

Old houses can seem very fickle. Some rooms are seemingly always freezing, while others feel sweltering even in the dead of winter. Because of this, old houses are notoriously challenging to properly heat and cool. The structural differences, dated infrastructure and other antiquated features can make it difficult to find the right setting that’s suitable for the entire home. However, there are steps you can take to maintain a comfortable home throughout the year without paying an arm and a leg.

Follow these tips to effectively heat and cool your old house and avoid the need for expensive furnace or AC repair in Visalia, CA.


Many older houses were built before air conditioning was a standard feature. The infrastructure wasn’t changed in most homes when the HVAC was later added. Because of this, these homes often lack the necessary ductwork required to accommodate most modern forced air cooling systems. This means traditional central air conditioning systems usually aren’t the best option. Consider these alternatives:

  • High-velocity HVAC systems: A high-velocity HVAC system uses a dedicated HVAC unit that’s connected to a mini-duct system to provide heating and cooling. This system can be incorporated into older homes, as it’s smaller than standard ductwork. The ducts can easily be snaked over ceilings and through walls for installation without disrupting the appearance of the home.
  • Ductless mini-split HVAC: These units are the best solution in older homes where ducts aren’t an option. An exterior heat pump is connected to an interior air handling unit that then distributes the air to the living areas. Everything is connected by a line set containing wiring and refrigerant piping to a small hole in the exterior walls of the home. The air units are mounted on the wall and can easily be controlled with a remote.

Both of these cooling options should last for years with regular air conditioning service in Visalia, CA.


The two cooling systems mentioned above will also work to heat an old house. Another option is radiator heating. Many older homes are already equipped with radiator heating systems, as the method was commonly used in homes as early as the 1800s. Consider upgrading this dated heating method with new, high efficiency models to improve the heating throughout the entire home without having to alter the existing structure.

Your HVAC contractor will examine the existing components before determining if the system is suitable for an upgrade. If so, a new boiler will be installed to be used with the existing in-room radiator units. The new boilers will offer better efficiency and more even heating in comparison to the older home boilers. This should also help you cut down on energy costs, as it’s significantly more energy efficient than most older iterations.

Improve your old home with help from McGee Refrigeration

An expert technician with McGee Refrigeration can help you determine the best option for your home. We will inspect the current system before advising on the right choice to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. Call us today to learn more about our HVAC and air conditioning services in Visalia, CA.


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!


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!

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.

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!