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Cooper Mechanical Blog

Check Your HVAC Heating Before Fall

Clean & Service in Myrtle Beach before heating season

As Winter Approaches, Take Stock of Your Home's Heating System

There are always a handful of days between seasons that are wonderful in South Carolina. Neither too hot nor too cold, they are days we open the windows and relish the fresh air. These between season days are also a good time to inspect your HVAC system to identify issues that may need attention. Now that Fall and Winter are in sight, take a few minutes to inspect your thermostat, vents, and HVAC unit to see if you are prepared for days when home heating is required.

Check Air Filters Around the House

If you haven't run your HVAC in a while, take a moment to check and replace HVAC air filters around your house. As long as no one suffers from severe allergies, most homes are fine with a standard 1" pleated or non-pleated air filter. As long as they are changed when they are dirty, the standard air filter does a good job of separating impurities and particulates from the air you breeze. 

It is important to stress that filters should be changed regularly. The frequency really depends on your home, its occupants, and your lifestyle (whether you have pets, kids, etc). 

Check Heat Pump and Thermostat

Now that your air filters are checked, take a look at your thermostat. Test your heat by turning the setting from Auto to Heat. See if your outdoor unit turns on and then if you notice warm air from the vents. If nothing happens within 30 minutes or an hour, you may need to call a professional to take a look at your system. 

Around this time of year we get calls of a faint "burning smell." This can be a common experience when your heat is turned on after being unused for most of the year. Typically, this smell is just dust heating up after it has accumulated during the warmer months. The burning smell should go away. If it persists, or more importantly, if it smells like gas or oil, call a professional.

Take a Look At Your Condenser Unit

In Myrtle Beach, most residential HVAC condensers are located outside your home. Remove debris and dirt from around your HVAC unit. It's perfectly fine to use a hose to spray out anything lodged around the fan or housing. 

As your HVAC runs, inspect it with all of your senses. Listen for unusual sounds and rattlings, observe the fan and visible parts, and take note of any sensory details that just don't seem right.  These can provide clues to an HVAC professional and help them troubleshoot before they even arrive at your home.

Schedule Regular Clean and Service

Cooper Mechanical Services encourages homeowners to invest in their HVAC system with regular service and cleaning. Our Clean and Service agreements help homeowners avoid some of the large repair costs that can surprise homeowners in the middle of winter or summer. Regular maintenance also extends the life of your unit. 

To learn more about our Clean and Service agreements, or to schedule a residential visit, Call Cooper.

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Product Spotlight: iWave Air - Delivering the Latest in Home Health and Air Purification Technology

iWave for Premium Indoor Air Quality

If you suffer from allergies, respiratory conditions, or an autoimmune disease, then you know the importance of high indoor air quality. While a high efficiency HVAC system coupled with a quality filter can help reduce particulates in the air, there may be some instances when an air purifying system may be needed. 

Air purifying systems are installed within the duct of your HVAC system. The iWave is one such purification system that is able to eliminate particulates, pathogens, and allergens so you can breathe cleaner, fresher air.

Who is the iWave For?

If you are reading this post, you probably care about your indoor air quality. People that are susceptible to severe allergies, asthma, and virus-causing bacteria are those who benefit the most from an air purification system.

The iWave air system has made some headlines for what they claim is its ability to kill SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19. Independent testing lab ALG conducted the tests with COVID-19 and Human Coronavirus. In both simulations, the virus was exposed to an ionization process mimicking the iWave air purifier. In the tests, the iWave ionization process killed up to 99.4% of COVID-19 pathogens.

Though the tests have not been verified by the EPA or other governmental agency, the ALG survey appears promising.

How Does the iWave Work?

The iWave system attaches to your HVAC ductwork so all air must pass over it and a blast of positive and negatively-charged ions. When charged ions come in contact with pathogens, allergens and other particulates, they latch on and strip pollutants of the hydrogen the need to survive.

Lacking hydrogen, pathogens die, fall, and become trapped in your HVAC's filter.

Breath the Cleanest Air in Myrtle Beach

If you are interested in the iWave or an in-duct air purification system like it, let's chat. Cooper Mechanical Services provides the Myrtle Beach area with the best heating, cooling, and ventilation services.

If you are susceptible to airborne contaminants and pathogens, take this step to make your home a healthy and safe place.

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Stay Ice Cold with Ice Machine Sales, Installation, and Repair Services

Hot Temperatures and Cold Ice

Whether you like your tea sweetened or unsweetened, one thing is certain: South Carolinians want it ice cold and with plenty of ice in it. Ice machines, cold display cases, and other refrigeration appliances need to be able to beat the heat. For food service businesses in Myrtle Beach, this means standing up to some heavy use during a long and hot summer season. When your ice machine and refrigeration appliances need repair or replacement, Cooper Mechanical Services has your back.

Ice Machines for Customer Satisfaction and Safety

How about a warm beer? A glass of lemonade without ice? Some foods and beverages need to be served cold or they lose all enjoyment. Sure, you may be able to "get by" with an ice machine that isn't working at maximum effectiveness, but are your guest happy? You don't want lackluster service to be a point on your next Yelp review.

Additionally, a bad ice machine or cold display case can be a health and safety hazard. SCDHEC requires all businesses serving food and beverages to meet very specific holding temperature requirements. An old and broken display case may not be keeping foods at required temperatures. Not only do you risk a bad grade from the health department, but more importantly, you risk the health and safety of the public consuming your products.

One of the most common repair issues with refrigeration appliances like ice machines: leaks. Puddling and pooling water around your ice machine quickly turns your business into a liability. Taking care of refrigeration and cooling leaks is important to the health and safety of your customers and employees.

Lastly, a dirty ice machine can be a dangerous ice machine. Moist and damp places are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, which can pose significant health threats to workers and customers. A professional ice machine cleaning from Cooper Mechanical Services is one way to get your ice machine back in safe, working order.

Ice Machine and Refrigeration Services

Cooper Mechanical Services is Myrtle Beach's one-stop solution for HVAC, Refrigeration, Ice Machine, Electrical, and Power Generator sales, service, and repair.

The Cooper team has worked closely with Myrtle Beach restaurant, hotel, and service businesses since 1989. If you need ice machine, cold case, or refrigeration service, Call Cooper today.

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Replacing Your Electrical Panel

Electrical panel

Your Electrical Panel Won't Last Forever

Like everything else in your home, appliances and systems will experience wear and tear and will eventually need to be replaced. Your electrical panel, sometimes called a circuit or breaker box, is no different. Your electrical panel is the primary hub for receiving and distributing utility power throughout your home, so its health is vital. Moreover, an old or faulty electrical panel is dangerous. It can cause an electrical fire and electrocution. It's important to pay attention to the signs of wear and tear and call a licensed electrician for an inspection.

When to Call an Electrician to Inspect Your Electrical Panel

Unless you are an electrician or have real experience working with your electrical system, this is not something you want to do DIY. If you do decide to inspect on your own, please turn off your main breaker to shut off all power before you start inspecting. 

Below are some signs that there may be trouble with your electrical panel. If you experience any of the sign below, call a reputable electrical company like Cooper Mechanical Services in Myrtle Beach.

Burn Marks or Burn Smells: This is a clear warning that your electrical panel needs to be replaced or repaired. An electrician will examine your panel for frayed wiring or faulty connections. This sign shows that a home electrical fire is a real possibility, so don't delay.

Frequently Tripped Breakers: If one or more breakers is repeatedly tripping, it's a sign that your electricity needs are more than your box was designed to handle. An electrician will replace your electrical panel with one fit for your consumption needs.

Home Additions and Renovations: Any project that changes the size of functions of your home has the possibility of changing your home's electrical needs. An addition will most likely require a larger electrical panel capable of distributing more power to more space. Whether you need an entire new panel or a sub-panel, you'll want to call a licensed electrician for the job.

Flickering Lights: This sign means your lighting is either not receiving enough power or your panel is not equipped to handle the lights on top of large appliances in the room.

Call Cooper for Commercial and Residential Electrical Services

Many along the Grand Strand are familiar with our HVAC services, but Cooper Mechanical is a fully licensed electrical contractor providing complete commercial and residential electrical services. If you are concerned about the state of your electrical panel, Call Cooper.

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Feeling Sticky? Causes and Solutions for Indoor Humidity Problems

Humidity Makes Warm Weather Feel Hotter (and Stickier)

Humidity can definitely make a hot day feel more miserable. And Myrtle Beach is no stranger to heat and humidity. Even the humidity charts label half of the year in coastal South Carolina as "oppressive" and "miserable." Those "muggy" conditions happen when excess moisture remains in the air. Thankfully we live in an age where adequate cooling is the norm. It's not uncommon in Myrtle Beach to hang inside on the hottest, most humid days, and venture outside for some beach fun or exercise in the late afternoon and evening. 

Modern HVAC systems regulate indoor humidity, removing excess water from the air. This water leaves the house via a drain pipe. If your system is doing a good job removing moisture, cool air with feel drier inside, and you'll have that sweet relief from Myrtle Beach's muggy summer weather. If your AC isn't removing moisture well, it will first seem as though your HVAC system isn't cooling as well. You might also notice that it feels "stickier" and more humid in parts of your home. 

Indoor humidity problems in Myrtle Beach

Why Your HVAC May Not Be Removing Moisture and Lowering Humidity

There are a few reasons why your HVAC system may not be handling humidity control well. We'll break it down so you'll see the cause of the issue as well as the solution that your professional HVAC company will recommend.

Dirty, Clogged Coils: Your evaporator coil is responsible for for removing heat and humidity from the air. If your HVAC system isn't filtering particulates, dust, and debris, you'll end up with coils that are covered in grime. Dirty coils are less efficient in cooling and dehumidifying the air. The solution is a professional coil cleaning as well as regular change of all air filters. Keeping coils clean doesn't take a lot of work. A scheduled clean and service twice a year is more than enough to keep your system in shape for the heavy workout a South Carolina summer calls for.

Low Refrigerant Charge: Your AC system needs coolant, or refrigerant, to cool your air. The amount of refrigerant, or charge, is dependent upon HVAC system type, size, and ambient temperature. Too low a charge and your evaporator coil will be starved for coolant on those hot and humid days. Too much charge and you could find yourself with a flooded condenser should there be a sudden cold snap heading into fall. Chances are that an HVAC professional will check your refrigerant charge if there are complaints of indoor humidity. Adjusting the charge is a quick solution.

Incorrect Fan Speed: Higher fan speed is better, right? Not necessarily. If you move cool air into your home too quickly, you may not being getting your evaporator coil to remove enough moisture. Airflow at 400cfm (cubic feet per minute) may lower temperature indoors but not sufficiently tackle the humidity. Lowering the fan speed means airflow is slightly slower, giving the condenser adequate time to remove moisture.

Call Cooper for All Your HVAC Needs

Indoor humidity is no fun. Myrtle Beach is hot and sticky enough outside. You should be comfortable in your home. In addition to the causes of indoor humidity listed above, you might also experience poor humidity control if your system is improperly sized. While dehumidifying systems and other solutions exist, it's best to investigate first to see if the problem has a simpler solution.

If you think your HVAC isn't working as it should, give us a call. Cooper Mechanical Services has been helping Grand Strand homeowners and businesses since 1989. Let our family help keep your family comfortable. Call Cooper!

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AC Blowing Warm Air? Try This First

Myrtle Beach extreme heat

Summer in Myrtle Beach Without AC? No Way!

Myrtle Beach vacation companies love to market Myrtle Beach as a summer beach destination, but one thing that doesn't always translate in those photos of happy families outdoors: the oppressive heat and humidity. For us lucky to call the Grand Strand home, summer sometimes feels like we just shuffle from one air-conditioned space to another until the sun has set and temperatures drop. Even if you do venture outdoors for a bit, there's solace that you'll soon be back indoors, a little reprieve from the sun until the next adventure. 

Sometimes the AC isn't as refreshing as it should be though. You adjust the thermostat and stand close to a vent, but all you feel is warm air blowing on you. 

If your HVAC system is on and blowing warm air, it's a signal that something needs attention. A little troubleshooting can help homeowners better communicate their problem to HVAC professionals so you can get your AC back up and running.

Basic AC Troubleshooting Before You Call

1. Check Your Expectations: Okay, this one isn't a troubleshooting task, per se, but sometimes we have unrealistic expectations for how quickly an HVAC system should cool a room. Have you given your system enough time to warm up and lower temperatures? Do you have a lot of uncovered windows? Keeping shades and blinds shut can help expedite the cooling time, so just be mindful of elements that may make cooling your space more difficult for your system.

2. Check Your Filters: Clogged filters limit airflow and cause your AC system to work twice as hard to cool your home. If airflow is weak out of vents, change your filters and test it again. 

3. Check Your Thermostat: One simple solution to the warm air problem is checking the thermostat to make sure it is set to "Cool" or "Auto." If your thermostat is in "Fan" mode, it is just circulating air without cooling it. Additionally, it's possible that your thermostat could have slipped into a programmable pre-set that doesn't reach your comfort level or the times when you want AC.

4. Check Your Outdoor Condenser Unit: Do a visual and auditory inspection of your HVAC unit beside your home. Is it free of grass, leaves and debris? Clogged or dirty coils can impact performance. Does running unit sound normal? Note strange sounds and noises that are out of the ordinary.

Call Cooper for Emergency AC Services

If you've performed the tasks above and your HVAC system still isn't cooling, give us a call. You'll have done some basic troubleshooting, and your answers will help us with diagnosing the issue before we even get to your door.

Summer in Myrtle Beach without air-conditioning can be miserable. Cooper Mechanical Services provides 24/7 emergency HVAC service so you won't have to wait. Need help? Call Cooper!

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What Is Recovery Mode on My Thermostat?

recovery mode on smart thermostat

Increased Functionality with Smart Thermostats

A "smart thermostat" is a relatively new term to describe programmable thermostats in the internet age. These products gain their "smart" modifier through wifi capability and app-based controls. Wifi-enabled programmable thermostats offer increased functionality, simplified design, and energy saving controls. One setting that is new to these thermostats is "Recovery Mode." Recovery mode is an energy-saving preset that slowly transitions your HVAC unit from a standby mode to full-power heating or cooling.

Thermostat Recovery Mode Saves Energy and Money

Imagine being woken from sleep, jumping out of bed, and running to work at full-speed. This type of 0-to-60 is energy draining and taxing. The healthier option is a slower start and a gradual build-up to heavy exertion. This is what recovery mode does for your HVAC system. 

Recovery mode is best used for programmed settings when immediate cooling or heating isn't as important. If you walk into a hot and humid home, your impulse is to get the indoor air to a comfortable setting quickly. However, if you program your thermostat to keep your home at a more economical setting while you are at work or school and to resume your normal comfort level for your return, recovery mode is quite helpful.

Let's use air conditioning during our hot and humid Myrtle Beach summers. Using the app on a smartphone, you can raise the temperature from your cool 70° to 75° during the hours of 8AM to 4PM while all are out of the house. In order to cool your home by 5° for your return at 4PM, your smart thermostat will shift to recovery mode. It may take an hour to slowly drop your home's temperature, but it will use much less energy. If no one is there demanding immediate comfort, it makes sense to save energy and money.

Now if you see "Recovery Mode" on your thermostat or app, you'll know why!

Cooper Mechanical Services for Smart Savings

Advancements in HVAC technologies is better for the environment and your wallet. Cooper Mechanical Services is Myrtle Beach's solution for the latest in energy saving comfort. We can also help you take advantage of energy efficiency tax credits! If you are looking to upgrade or replace your home or businesses HVAC system, call Cooper today.

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Ductless AC for a Cool Garage Workshop

Ductless AC in Garage Workshop

Converting Non-traditional Spaces for Year-Round Comfort

A carpentry bench in your garage, a small gym in a backyard shed, a music practice space in an unfinished room above a garage. They go by different names: man caves, she-sheds, and garage workshops, but one thing is true: without air conditioning, they all become unbearably hot during our Myrtle Beach summers. Converted garages tend to be DIY affairs, practical solutions for homeowners to carve out a space for their hobbies or passion projects. 

A ductless cooling system like Carrier's Infinity High Wall ductless system can turn your hot garage or workspace into a cool and comfortable place to create.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

A ductless system is a room-specific, wall-mounted unit for cooling a single space. It's easy to cool a 500 square foot garage with a small mini-split ductless system.

But how do they work? Ductless systems work just like your central air, but without the ducts. Mini-splits suck warm air from your home, absorb moisture and heat from that air, and then blow cool air directly from the wall-mounted unit. 

The indoor mounted system houses an evaporator and blower. A conduit connects your ductless system to the ductless condenser outside your home.

It's like adding an extra like HVAC unit for a specific room without having to rework your home's ductwork.

Pros and Cons of a Ductless Mini-Split AC

Ductless systems are easy ways to cool non-traditional living spaces like your garage. If you want a quick and easy way to transform your garage into a place you want to spend time in, a ductless system will have you up and running in no time.

Additionally, adding ductless system will not affect the performance of your home's regular HVAC system. Expanding your current system is always a possibility, but often homeowners find that their current unit won't handle the extra square-footage that comes with adding ducts to a new room. Overtaxing an HVAC unit in this way is never a good idea.

The the one con of a ductless system may be the cost. Though they have come down in price over the years, it requires an initial investment. Additionally, some homeowners don't like the appearance of an indoor wall-mounted unit. That said, the Carrier Infinity ductless system is small, sleek, and can be mounted above eye-level.

Make Your Garage Your Next Project

Cooper Mechanical Services can help you decide which options are best for your needs and budget. Whether you want to expand a duct system or go with a new ductless option, CMS offers fast, reliable, and professional heating and cooling services.

To learn more, Call Cooper.

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Energy Efficiency Acronyms 101: EER, SEER, HSPF, AFUE, and COP

Energy efficiency ratings like EER, SEER, HSPF, AFUE, and COP and how they affect your heating and cooling bill

More consumers are paying attention to energy efficiency ratings. Energy efficient materials, appliances, and home systems like heating and cooling aren't just good for the planet. They can also lower monthly utility bills. However, use of acronyms and industry jargon can make it confusing for average consumers looking to compare HVAC systems on their own. In this blog post, we'll explain the most common energy efficiency ratings to help you understand what the numbers on the sticker tag means for you.

EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio

Your EER, or energy efficiency ratio, is this: the BTU per hour of cooling at 95°F divided by the watts used at 95°F (BTUs/hr at 95° ÷ W at 95°). The higher the number, the more efficient the cooling system. While SEER numbers will be prominently featured on HVAC systems, you may find EER values on AC window units and heat pumps, especially water-based and geothermal appliances.

SEER and HSPF: The Most Common Ratings on HVAC Systems

Even for those with limited knowledge, the SEER acronym means something. There are even billboards in Myrtle Beach for a national HVAC chain touting "SEER" ratings on units. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER is the ratio between the cooling system output (BTUs) and the amount of electric energy a unit consumes in a given period. The lower the number, the more electric energy a cooling system consumes. Conversely, the higher the number, the less energy a cooling system consumes. Since cooling is our primary focus for the Myrtle Beach area, SEER is a good indicator for comparing the efficiency of HVAC systems.

HSPF is the Heating Season Performance Measure. According to Energy.gov, the HSPF is the “total space heating required during the heating season, expressed in BTUs, divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the heat pump system during the same season, expressed in watt-hours.” Since Myrtle Beach has mild winters (and sometimes they are downright warm), this rating is much less relevant to consumers in this region. If you are living in Michigan and half the year is spent heating your home, HSPF is something you'd want to look at when shopping.

AFUE and COP: Energy Efficiency Values for Heat Pumps

COP stands for Coefficient of Performance. Similar to EER, the COP value is the BTU of Heat at 47°F divided by BTU of electricity used at 47°. This value measures heat pump efficiency, so the higher the COP number, the more efficient the heat pump.

Another performance measurement for heat pumps is AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. While most Myrtle Beach residents won't be too concerned with the AFUE rating, it's helpful to understand what it is and why it matters. Should South Carolina ever become a place where we turn on our heat for long parts of the year, AFUE would be helpful to know when looking to replace a furnace. AFUE measures the efficiency over an entire heating season. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE value of 85%, that means that for every BTU of fuel, the furnace will produce .85 BTU of heat. In other words, an 85% AFUE rating means that 15% of energy is lost on average over an entire year of heating.

Educated Consumers are Smart Consumers

There are plenty of companies that will try to dazzle you with industry-speak, acronyms, and efficiency numbers. Cooper Mechanical Services is not one of those companies. Our HVAC professionals explain HVAC ratings in terms that average homeowners and business owners can understand. We also realize that not ever energy efficiency rating is relevant in South Carolina. 

For honest and dependable heating, cooling, ventilation, and indoor air quality services, call Cooper.

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How to Fix Water Stains Around HVAC Vents

Call Cooper to get rid of water stains around your HVAC

I remember the first time I looked up at an HVAC vent in my living room and noticed a light brown stain. At first glance it looked like maybe it was a shadow or even some dust stuck to the ceiling. However, upon inspection it was a stain. More specifically, it was a water stain caused by poor insulation around the air ducts. 

In this post, we'll look at some of the main causes of water stains around your HVAC vents along with what you can do to fix the problem and remove the stain.

Main Causes of Water Stains Around HVAC Vents

As mentioned above, a water stain around your vent is an indication of escaped moisture. This is a direct result of a problem with insulation. The most common causes are air leaks and lack of insulation.

Condensation is a byproduct of all HVAC systems. Condensation is the result of the warm air in your home's attic mixing with the cool air traveling through your HVAC system's ducts. When properly insulated and maintained, excess water is removed from the air and exits your house through a drain line. 

Myrtle Beach summers are very hot and humid, so there is often a lot of condensation during months with high AC use. When there are gaps or leaks in duct insulation, water droplets drip from your attic to your ceiling. Over time, these drops will create stains and ruin drywall.

Stains that are around HVAC vents indicate an insulation problem around the part of the duct that attaches to the vent. This is commonly known as the "boot." Poor insulation and boot fitting create opportunities for condensation to escape. When water drips around the vent, you'll notice the dark stain on the ceiling near your AC vents. 

Fixing Water Stains Around HVAC Vents

Since the stain is a symptom of an insulation or vent fitting problem, it's wise to call an HVAC professional to fix the root issue. Adding insulation and refitting the duct boot is a relatively common service call. Once fixed, it's time to take care of the stain.

Get rid of water stains by applying a coat of Kilz primer and then a coat or two of paint to match your ceiling. 

For professional and affordable HVAC service, call Cooper Mechanical Services today. Our team is knowledgeable, courteous, and quick to solve problems with the latest technology include thermal imaging for hard-to-find leaks. To schedule a service call, simply Call Cooper.

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