Keep your AC running smoothly

Redwood City California, furnace repair, heating system repair, furnace installation, furnace repair, heating system maintenance, furnace maintenance, heating contractor

With the hot weather and stay-in-place orders in San Mateo County, many households are installing A/C systems.

On hot days when your new AC runs constantly, there’s a chance its effectiveness could lower. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your newly installed air conditioner works smoothly throughout the summer.

Replace your AC filter frequently

The job of an AC filter is to filter the debris and dust from the house and blow clean air into the house. When the AC filter gets dirty, it gets harder for the AC to blow air through it. This makes the air conditioner work harder and use more energy.

When the A/C filter stays dirty for a long time, the effectiveness of the AC is reduced and it will no longer cool the house as effectively. Change your filter once a month especially if you use the AC a lot.

Run fewer appliances

When the temperature rises outside, your AC has to work harder to keep your home comfortable.

Burners, ovens, dishwashers and dryers produce heat and increase the temperature inside the house. Try to avoid using these appliances on really hot days when you will likely run the AC for a long time.

Hot days might be a great time to spare your air conditioner by taking your cooking outside and barbecue!

Keep other heat-producing equipment such as computers and lamps away from the A/C thermostat. This may influence the A/C thermostat reading and cause the A/C to work harder than necessary.

Use fans to cool your home

A/C is not the only way to cool your home. Install floor and ceiling fans to circulate air. This cools the air and reduces the need to run your A/C. Run A/C less reduces your energy costs and extends the life of your new A/C.

Keep your vents clean

Vents are places where over time dust can collect and obstruct airflow. Every summer check your air conditioning vents to make sure that the air blows through these vents unobstructed.

Furniture and window treatments can also obstruct airflow from your air conditioner. Make sure that 6″ of space next to the vent is clear.

Update your air conditioner

Every appliance starts to degrade in its efficacy at some point or stops working altogether. Having an air conditioner working smoothly is important to keep your home comfortable. And when you feel it is time or when your HVAC contractor recommends it, replace your old air conditioner for a new energy-efficient one.

RC Mechanical Can Help

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, has installed and replaced many air conditioniong systems for Redwood City homeowners. Whether you need help selecting the right air conditioner, installing a furnace, or conducting a home energy audit, you can count on RC Mechanical for superior and cost-effective service. RC Mechanical is a local veteran-owned business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs.

Call us today at (650) 575-3915 and we will respond within 24 hours.

Energy saving tips for winter

When the temperature goes down, the cost of operating your heating system goes up. Here are some ways you can lower the cost of keeping your home cozy.

Keep your furnace well-maintained

Regular maintenance to keep your furnace in good condition is important for both your furnace’s performance AND its energy efficiency. An additional benefit of good furnace maintenance is that it prolongs your heating system’s life.

The filter in your furnace is there to keep the air in your home clean. You should change the furnace filter at least every 6 months. This not only keeps the air in your home cleaner, but lowers your energy bill. This is because a dirty filter impedes air movement, causing the furnace to have to work harder and use more energy.

Don’t wait until the beginning of the cold season to call your furnace technician. Remember that everyone else will be wanting to get maintenance for their heating system at that same time!

Install a programmable thermostat

The easiest way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature is by installing a programmable thermostat with your furnace. You can program the thermostat to change temperatures throughout the course of 24 hours. Why run the furnace at night when everyone is under their covers, or during the workday when the house is empty? Instead, the furnace can be programmed to heat the house only when needed. Most thermostats also let you program different patterns for weekends versus weekdays.

Many people like to use a learning thermostat like Nest. Based on the way you adjust the thermostat during the day, it learns what temperatures you like at what times of day and programs itself to turn on your furnace accordingly.


Most of the heat loss in your house happens around windows and doors. There could be small gaps through which warm air can escape the house. These gaps can be closed with proper weatherstripping. Another way to address heat loss through your windows and doors is by installing insulating curtains and blinds.

If you have a fireplace, it can be another source of heat loss in your home. Warm air can rise through the chimney and draw in cold air from outside to replace it. Using weatherstripping around windows and doors helps to prevent this. In addition, you can install glass doors on the front of your fireplace to help keep your heated interior air from going up the chimney.

Add insulation to your walls and attic

Heat can be lost through walls and the attic. Since they make up most of the house’s structure, heat loss through them can be significant.

Installing insulation in your walls and attics can make a big difference. As an additional bonus, it will help keep your home cooler in the summer as well, reducing the energy consumption of your air conditioner.

Prevent heat loss from the water heater

Water in the water heater can lose its heat through its walls. And since water heaters are usually installed in an unheated garage, heat loss can be significant, especially during winter. This causes your water heater to use more energy to keep the water at the desired temperature. To help mitigate this, wrap the water heater in insulation.

You may also want to consider lowering the programmed temperature on your water heater. The average temperature setting for water heaters is 145 degrees. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees could save you money, and you may find that 120 degrees is warm enough to meet your needs.

Check ducts for leaks

According the US Department of Energy, 20-40% of the air loss in most houses leaks through the ductwork.

If your utility bills are higher than average, then get your ductwork examined by a professional HVAC technician to see if you have leaky ductwork.

RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, is a trusted local company that will quickly diagnose and resolve your furnace issues, and recommend repair or replacement. RC Mechanical is a local veteran-owned business and has provided expert furnace and air conditioning repair and installation to the Bay Area with integrity for over 20 years. Homeowners in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area count on us for all their heating and air conditioning needs. Call us today at (650) 575-3915 and we will respond within 24 hours.

Why does my air conditioner need maintenance?

Bay area peninsula can get really hot in the summer and fall. As the world gets warmer, the temperatures are getting higher earlier in the year.

The last thing you want is to have your AC not work on a hot day.

Regular maintenance work is key to keeping your investment (air conditioner) working at its peak. Here are a few reasons why doing maintenance on your AC is important.

Regular check-ups prevent breakdowns

Check-ups ensure that your AC is working well. During a check up, your technician would look inside the AC at the various coils, filters, etc. These parts could be broken, clogged, dirty or have simply stopped working. The technician would replace broken parts, clean dirty ones, and would ensure that AC now works like a well-oiled machine.

Yearly check-ups will prevent your AC from breaking down in the middle of summer when scheduling a technician can be hard.

Don’t take a chance with the AC breakdown

Air conditioner technicians are busy in the summer. The number of calls spikes during the summer for repairs and replacements of ACs. If your AC breaks down in the middle of summer, you may not be able to get a technician immediately. And a hot day without an AC can be miserable.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Get your AC serviced before summer so you have a well-functioning AC all summer long.

Lower your energy bill with check-ups

Any machine will work to its optimum when it has been serviced. Same is true of ACs.

Regular maintenance of your AC will keep all its parts working well. When the AC has been serviced, it uses less energy to run and you will see the result in lowered energy bills.

Increase the life of your AC

Just like an annual doctor visit can uncover potential problems before they become life-threatening, an AC check-up can identify small issues which can be fixed before they take down the whole AC.

Getting regular servicing on your AC helps increase its lifespan. Air conditioners are a big investment. Take care of the investment with regular check-ups. Here are a few articles that might help you with your air conditioner:

Things to leave to your HVAC professional
Why is my AC making noises
Why does AC installation cost so much?
Keep your AC running smoothly
Why is my air conditioner leaking condensation? Is it malfunctioning?

Get your AC serviced before the summer hits. Call us today at (650) 575-3915 to schedule an appointment.

Experiencing high PG&E bills?

If you are experiencing high PG&E bills, there could be a number of factors contributing to the increased cost of your energy usage. Here are some potential causes and solutions:

Increased energy usage

If you have been using more energy than usual, your bill will naturally be higher. Consider if there have been any changes in your household that may be contributing to higher energy usage, such as more people at home or changes in weather conditions.

Rate changes

PG&E offers different rate plans, and changes to these plans can affect your bill. Review your rate plan to ensure that you are on the most appropriate plan for your household’s energy usage.

Equipment issues

Faulty or outdated equipment, such as an inefficient HVAC system or leaky windows, can lead to increased energy usage and higher bills. Consider having a professional assess your equipment and make any necessary upgrades or repairs.

Peak hour usage

PG&E charges higher rate between 4 and 9pm every day. This is when there is highest demand for energy. Use your high energy demanding appliances, like dryers, outside of these hours.

You may benefit from PG&E’s Time-of-Use rate plan. Check out PG&E’s website for more information.

Billing errors

It is possible that your high PG&E bill is the result of an error in billing. Review your bill carefully to ensure that you have not been overcharged, and contact PG&E if you have any concerns or questions.

If you are still struggling to understand why your PG&E bills are high, consider reaching out to PG&E customer service or consulting with a professional energy auditor or contractor. They may be able to provide additional guidance and support.

There are many simple ways to reduce your energy usage and lower your PG&E bill. These can include turning off lights and electronics when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, and sealing any air leaks in your home.

Heat pump is fast becoming another energy-saving mechanism to lower your PG&E bills. Learn more.

How to lower your PG&E bill

Recently PG&E bills have been skyrocketing. As the cost of natural gas goes up, so does our bill.

There are several ways you can reduce your PG&E bills. Below is a list of energy-saving tips from PG&E website and others.

Appliances: Use energy efficient appliances

Replacing old, inefficient appliances with energy-efficient ones can significantly reduce your energy usage and lower your PG&E bills. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which indicates that they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines.

Unplug that 2nd refrigerator: Many homes now have more than one refrigerator. More appliances means more energy use and that increases your bill.

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature of your home based on your schedule, which can help you save on heating and cooling costs.

Lower the desired temperature in the winter and increase it in the summer. Ideally, health permitting, set your thermostat to 68°F in the winter and 78°F or higher in the summer.

Install efficient shower heads

Heating water accounts for a significant portion of residential energy use. By reducing the hot water consumption during showers, efficient shower heads can lead to substantial energy savings.

Take shorter showers

(From PG&E) The average American spends about 8 minutes taking a shower roughly once a day. Reducing average shower time by 1 minute can result in a 13% decrease in shower water use, which reduces the money you spend on water heating.

Run full loads on a dishwasher and washing machine

Run when the dishwasher is full. Instead of using the dishwasher’s feature of using heat to dry the dishes, air dry the dishes.

Insulate water heater

Insulating your water heater can reduce the standby heat losses by 25-45% and reduce water heating costs by 7-16%. (Source: PG&E)

Seal air leaks

Air leaks around doors, windows, and other areas of your home can cause your heating and cooling system to work harder than necessary, which can increase your energy bills. Sealing these leaks can help improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Use LED light bulbs

LED light bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer, making them a great investment for reducing your energy usage and PG&E bills.

Use motion detectors for outdoor lights

Outdoor lights that are left on all night can consume more electricity than most of your other light fixtures. Motion sensors used on these outdoor lights can significantly reduce their energy use.

Consider installing solar panels

If you own your home, installing solar panels can help you generate your own electricity and reduce your reliance on PG&E. There are also state and federal incentives available to help offset the cost of solar panel installation.

Participate in PG&E programs

PG&E offers several programs that can help you save on your energy bills, such as the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, which provides discounted rates for eligible low-income customers, and the Home Energy Analyzer, which provides personalized energy-saving tips based on your energy usage.

Is my AC bringing smoky air from outside into my house?

Smoke from Fire season

Fire is a part of the season in California. Fall is the fire season when hot weather, dry plant materials and gusty winds come together to create an atmosphere that is ripe for fire. During such burnings, the air fills with smoke and the sky takes on an apocalyptic hue. The smoke is filled with particulate matter that can get lodged deep in the lungs exacerbating asthma.

Our home is our refuge. We need to make sure that this smoke never gets into the house. Take the following steps to keep smoky air out of your house:

Seal openings with caulk

Sealing openings is the simplest way to keep smoke out of your house. You can use weather stripping, sealant caulk or door sweeps. Weather stripping is a thick tape that seals the gaps around openings of the doors and windows. Sealant caulk fills the gaps created at the time of installation of the doors and windows. These fill the small gaps around the installed area.

Door sweeps seal out the drafts from outside the house. These are installed under the doors.

Get an air purifier

The job of an air purifier is to cleanse the air that is inside your home getting rid of germs, dander, smoke, dust, etc.

Air purifiers use electrostatic filters to attract germs so they can neutralize them. It is important to buy an air filter that doesn’t product ozone as a by-product. They use filters to trap dander, smoke and dust.

Use HEPA filter

HEPA is an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air. This type of a filter removes allergens, like dander, dust, mold, etc. using multi-layered netting that is made of very fine fiberglass threads. These can capture 99.97% of all air matter that are 0.3 microns and up. These filters require regular replacement. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Use an IQ Air filter

IQ Filter is a brand of filter that is one of the best air filters and hence deserves special attention. These filters can remove particles that are as fine as 0.003 microns with 99.5% efficiency. These air filters give the cleanest air possible. When we installed it in one of our client’s home, our client exclaimed that they can now “taste the clean air”!!

Upgrade your HVAC system

If your HVAC is an old system and it requires maintenance or repair often, then it is time to replace your complete HVAC. Having an efficient system will not only improve your indoor air quality, you may also be sealing leaks in the duct system that push dirty air into the house.

Want to improve your indoor air quality? Give us a call at (650) 575-3915 and we’ll walk you through your various options.

Keep cool without an AC

Keep it cool when the weather gets hot

Bay area’s warm weather begins when the rest of the country moves into Fall. Most of our homes in the peninsula aren’t equipped with AC, making it hard to keep cool.

Here are a few ways to keep you cool when it gets hot.

Close your window shades.

If the sun’s rays reach your home’s floor or walls, you can bet that you’ll feel warmer and warmer. Keep your shades drawn, because the less sunlight that gets in, the cooler you can keep your house.

Install a fan.

A fan is very effective in cooling the room. You can choose to install one in every room. If that is too expensive, get a pedestal fan that you can take around with you, keeping you cool wherever you go.

Have a cool room.

When it gets to hot, having a room that is cooler than the others may be clutch, allowing you to beat the heat for some time. Basements and rooms facing east or north generally stay cooler than the rest of the home, and can be easily converted into a cool room.

Open your windows in the evenings.

Cooler evenings come with cooler breezes. Opening your windows then to let the cooler air come in can cool the house immediately and keep your house cooler to prepare for the next day.

Stay hydrated.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Hot weather can dehydrate you, causing you to feel the effects of the heat much more intensely. Plus, drinking cold water will cool your insides.

Don’t drink alcohol or coffee.

Keep away from alcohol and caffeine to avoid getting too hot. These are diuretics that drain water from your body. This is the opposite effect of drinking water, so be aware of their effects if you still choose to drink them.

Wear loose, light-colored cotton.

Wearing loose clothing that is made of cotton is one of the best clothes you can wear if you wish to stay cool. Wearing light colored clothing will reflect light, causing the summer heat not to stick to your body.

Take cold showers.

Showering in cooler water can help you beat the heat. This can lower your core body temperature and make you feel much cooler for some time after you step out of the shower.

Minimize the usage of kitchen stoves.

Don’t use the stove inside the house. It will generate more heat and make the house even warmer. Instead, make salads and refrigerate them. These will be refreshingly cool as dinner. Or cook outside on your grill. Better yet, get a takeout!

Turn off your lights

Turn off the lights, especially incandescent lights. These lights can generate a surprising amount of heat and warm up the room. If you need light, fluorescent bulbs will work better and give off much less heat.

It’s sprinkler time!

Children don’t realize when they start warming up. Let them play in the sprinklers. A wet towel around the neck can also do the trick on really hot days. Remember to keep them away from electronics. These produce a lot of heat.

Bring out the baby pool

Don’t forget your 4-legged friends when the weather heats up. Put a bowl of fresh clean water in the shade outside. There are vests available for dogs that keep them cool. With a baby pool, you can keep your kids and your animals cool.

What is the 20° rule and why is it important for my A/C?

As summer gets into full swing and temperatures across the country rise, many people with air conditioning systems in their homes consistently set their thermostat to about 70° Fahrenheit. While this allows for a comfortable space in which to take refuge from the heat, when the outside temperature is upwards of 90°, cooling the house to 70° can be quite a challenge for the AC.

Air conditioning working overtime

Most HVAC systems have two jobs: to cool and to maintain humidity levels. The standard humidity that most HVAC systems aim for is around 45-55%. However, when the temperature outside is high and the system is working hard to cool, it has less ability to regulate humidity. The result is that the system works overtime trying to maintain conditions inside the home, using a much larger amount of energy than normal and placing strain on the system that contributes to premature wear.

Setting your thermostat

In order to avoid this, it can be a good idea follow the 20° rule. The 20° rule is a rule of thumb that states that an AC system should not be set any lower than 20° lower than the outside temperature. For example, if it is
95° outside, then the thermostat should be set 75° or higher, but no lower than that. Therefore, the maximum amount of work the AC has to do is cooling 20°. By following the 20° rule, you keep your HVAC system in prime condition by not forcing it to work harder than it comfortably can. Of course, every HVAC system is different, so the 20° rule may vary based on your location, the model of AC you have, and the size of your home.

Problems with the 20° rule

The obvious problem with the 20° rule is that if it is exceedingly hot outside, it might not be cool enough inside. For example, if it’s 100° outside, then the inside temperature would be 80°, which is a higher temperature than most people would prefer. The solution to this issue while still keeping your HVAC system healthy is to take other measures to cool down your house, for example:

• Install a ceiling fan or multiple ceiling fans
• Hang drapes or blinds to reduce the heat that comes through windows
• Install heat insulation

Applying the 20° rule in your home

By following the 20° rule, you can greatly reduce the amount of energy you use and the amount of maintenance needed on your HVAC system, therefore lowering the overall cost of your air conditioning.

Since every situation is different, the 20° rule may vary based on your location, the model of AC you have, and the size of your home. Call RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor, and our a/c installation/repair technicians will use our state-of the-art software to make sure you are getting the right-sized air conditioning system for your home. Call us today at 650-575-3915!

Get your HVAC system ready for winter

As the season turns, chilly mornings and mild days might have you reaching for the thermostat to take the edge off. You count on your HVAC system to heat and cool your home on demand, but if you find that some rooms aren’t comfortable, you might consider taking a closer look at your furnace and air conditioning systems to make sure they are running efficiently. You could do a few things listed in our previous blog post to eliminate simple issues.

Heating and cooling your home is responsible for much of your energy bill, and energy use contributes to your carbon footprint. RC Mechanical owner Sal Contreras can recommend cost effective, energy efficient HVAC upgrades that will make your home more comfortable while reducing your carbon footprint.

How’s the Temperature?

Your HVAC system needs to be able to keep up with the demands of making your home comfortable year round. If the dining room is warm but the temperature in the bedroom causes you to grab a sweater, your system might not be the right size for your home. RC Mechanical HVAC professionals can perform a home energy audit to see whether your HVAC system might be insufficient for the space.

If some rooms are cold while some are hot, you might have leaks in the HVAC system ductwork. More complicated to trace depending on the size of your home and the design of installation, RC Mechanical specializes in ductwork repair and replacement and can recommend the best solution for your situation.

Choosing A Heating Replacement

If your HVAC professional recommends upgrading your furnace, consider switching to something more energy efficient. Choose a furnace with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). Appliances with the ENERGY STAR label meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Many furnaces run on fossil fuels such as natural gas. Going electric, especially if you have solar power, is a great option and moves you towards a zero carbon footprint.

Check Your Thermostats

Make sure the temperature settings aren’t overheating your home when you’re away. Try adjusting your thermostat just 2 degrees from what makes you comfortable. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to upgrade to a smart thermostat. Both programmable and WiFi controlled thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home remotely, and a smart thermostat has the added benefit of analyzing your energy consumption and offers tips to help you be energy savvy.

The Difference of a Ductless System

A compact ductless split heating and cooling system uses one or more independently mounted units that distribute hot or cold air in “zones,” targeting specific rooms rather than the whole house. Ductless systems are more energy efficient, saving money and helping reduce your total carbon output.

Learn more by contacting RC Mechanical, Redwood City’s best HVAC contractor. Call us today and we will diagnose your home’s indoor air quality and provide intelligent guidance to make your home comfortable and eco-friendly. (650) 575-3915.

AC/Furnace blows harder in some rooms

Redwood City HVAC repair maintenance

The air is supposed to flow through the ducts in a balanced way. This means that the pressure with which the air is forced into room should be the same.

If you have some rooms experiencing forceful air pressures and others not as much, you have what we in the industry call “An airflow problem”.

You will experience one of the following situations if you have an airflow problem:

  1. You hear whistling sounds
  2. Find that some areas of a room are drafty
  3. Have no air coming out of some registers or the airflow is weak
  4. You find the doors sometimes slamming by themselves
  5. There are spaces/rooms in your home that is hot or cold

Most airflow problems start as a simple issue and if left unattended, can morph into a problem that may make it necessary to replace the whole unit. ???

Airflow issue in its beginning stages is fairly easy and inexpensive to fix. So heed your airflows!

Here are some reasons for airflow issues and how to fix them:

  1. Damper is in closed position. Damper is used to balance the flow of air in the system. Damper controls the flow of air inside the duct work. If you aren’t getting air into the room, the damper could be closed, or there’s a crushed pipe or the pipe is too small for the size of the room. Call your HVAC to take care of this.
  2. Obstructed vents or registers. This happens when there are physical objects in front of the vent or register and obstructing the air from flowing into the room. The solution is simple: Clear all items from near the vent or the register. This would enable to air to move freely.
  3. Dirty filters. A standard filter is there to protect the equipment and not you. If you move into the higher-end filters, they will help you with the air quality inside the house. The filter’s job is to rid the air of dust and allergens and allow the air to be cleaned before it is blown into the house. This not only allows you to breathe clean air, it also keeps dust and debris from your heating/AC which helps your equipment to keep going for a long time. When this filter gets dirty or clogged, it not only takes more energy to push air through it, it also impedes the airflow. This also makes the system work harder which lowers its lifespan. A simple way to fix this issue is to replace your filter as recommended by the furnace manufacturer. During fire or allergy season, change it more frequently since the filters will be filtering a lot of gunk from the air.
  4. Leaky ducts. Ducts are the way the warm or cool air is distributed throughout the house. If there is a leak in the duct, then some air is escaping out of the duct leading to reduced pressure. This is not ideal because now the dust and other grime from the attic can enter the duct and be blown into the living area. You need a professional to run an inspection of your duct system.
  5. Fan not working. The HVAC system has fans that blow the air through the ducts and into your home. If those fans aren’t working, you can notice airflow problems. This could be a matter of simply cleaning the fans.

Unless it is the case of an obstructed vent or register, we highly recommend that you call your HVAC professional to diagnose and recommend solutions. Airflow issues tackled at the start of an issue are less expensive to fix than when they have grown into bigger problems.

We’d be happy to help you with any airflow issues. Call us at (650) 575-3915.