Duct cleaning is a service provided by many HVAC companies. You'll often see persuasive marketing that cleaning your HVAC ducts will improve your family's health. In fact, some companies target parents of children with asthma and allergies, arguing that HVAC duct cleaning can help alleviate symptoms from both, as well as make your HVAC system more efficient, saving you money.
The truth is that there is little evidence to prove these claims. A 2019 Washington Post article reporting recent EPA study finds there is no evidence to back up promises of improved health or measurable HVAC efficiency.
It's true that dust and particulate debris settles inside the ducts of your HVAC system. Commonsense says that dust and debris can affect one's respiratory health, so cleaning the debris inside the ducts would result in cleaner air coming through the vents. While most probably aren't concerned, those with asthma may be persuaded by this common sense argument.
However, as the EPA study finds, the dust that settles in your ducts typically just sits there undisturbed. The study concluded that:
“Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g. dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. . . . Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.”
The real surprise of the finding is that a duct cleaning may actually make matters worse. Duct cleaning equipment stirs up that dust and debris, creating a bigger problem than the one it attempts to solve. The consensus from two separate, independent studies is that unless disturbed, duct dust is harmless to most and just simply sits there.
There are some cases where duct cleaning is important. Any type of water damage to HVAC ducts makes mold growth a dangerous possibility.
Additionally, birds, rodents and other animals often make homes in HVAC ducts, which can create larger problems. Removal and cleaning in these cases may be warranted.
As we've written about before, using the proper air filter for your needs and changing it regularly is the best way to keep your air quality high. For families with a member with asthma or a severe allergy, HEPA-filters that catch much smaller microscopic particulates are available.
The important thing is to remember to check and change your filter regularly. All homes are different, so some may clog a filter much more quickly than another. When debris blocks airflow, you'll a drop in HVAC efficiency and air circulation. Use a reminder on your smartphone, or sign up for an air filter subscription service to make sure that they are changed on a regular basis.
Cooper Mechanical Services is a family owned and operated business that's been serving the Myrtle Beach area since 1989. Our reputation is built on providing honest work. Before spending money on a duct cleaning, determine if it's necessary.
For honest solutions to your HVAC questions and issues, call Cooper Mechanical Services.
Condensation (water droplets) around the ductwork of your HVAC system is a sign that excessive moisture in your home is not being properly evacuated. In South Carolina, ducts can be found in the the attics and walls of homes on slabs, and even underneath homes that are raised for a crawl space. You may see some of the ductwork near your air handler in a place like a garage, but for the most part ducts are hidden. Since most homeowner's aren't regularly crawling in the attic and checking ducts, moisture and insulation problems are using manifested in other ways.
There are a number of ways you may come to learn that condensation is collecting around your HVAC ductwork.
Water drops and puddles around vents: Unevaporated moisture condenses to water droplets that may collect around vents or drip to form puddles below ceiling vents.
Wet Walls or Ceilings: Excessive moisture may also drip off ducts and collect in drywall. Your first sign of an HVAC moisture problem could be a water mark on a wall or ceiling.
Mold: In the right conditions, excessive condensation can prompt mold growth that you may see on walls, ceilings, and areas near ducts or vents.
Any of these signs should prompt you to either do a self-inspection of the ducts, or to call an HVAC professional.
Why is water collecting around my HVAC ducts in the first place? In order to solve the problem, you'll need to find the source of the excess moisture. Here are some common causes of condensation around ductwork.
Attic Ventilation: Condensation forms when there's a difference in temperature between the duct and the air around it. This is common in poorly ventilated areas like attics and crawl spaces. To keep these spaces from getting too hot and stuff, reduce indoor humidity and make sure there is proper venting to the outdoors.
Bad Duct Seals: Bad seals or leaks in ducts causes the warmer temperature around the duct to mix with the cooler air in the duct. Not only will this result in less efficiency from your HVAC as it works harder to maintain a cool indoor temperature, but it can also lead to condensation, which can drip from the bad seal.
Poor Duct Insulation: If your ductwork insulation is old and worn, exposed ductwork can be prone to condensation for the same reasons above: warm temperatures around the ducts meeting the cold ductwork. Duct insulation can be easily replaced.
If you see signs of water around your HVAC ducts, ignoring it may just compound what is generally an easy fix. In most cases, repairs are routine and fairly easy: repairing bad seals to replacing insulation. If left unchecked, dripping condensation can damage wood and drywall. It also creates an opportunity for indoor mold to grow, which can be bad for your family's health.
Have a question about your HVAC system's ducts? Call Cooper today.
Whether your converting a screened porch or 3-season room or extending an existing living space, you'll need to integrate heating and cooling for comfortable living. In South Carolina, sunrooms are popular additions and a great way to bring in more natural lighting to your home. If your roof extends over a screened-in porch as is the case in many Myrtle Beach neighborhoods, you're just a few walls away from increased year-round living space.
You'll need to consult and heating and cooling company to determine whether your existing HVAC can handle the additional space. Typically, HVAC units are rating for an ideal square footage. For example, if your unit is rated for 1800-2000 square feet and the addition still keeps you in that range, you're in luck.
An HVAC professional can extend your existing ductwork and add new vents in your sunroom. Ductwork is easily brought in from above or below, but floor, ceiling, or even wall vents can easily be added in places that help with the natural circulation of air in your home.
If the additional space puts you over your HVAC system's recommended square footage, you'll need to consider upgrading your condenser or adding an additional unit for zoned heating and cooling. Trying to heat and cool a space too large for your unit is costly, inefficient, and can easily damage your unit. You wouldn't put a 4 cylinder engine in an F-350, would you?
Spending a little extra for insulated and energy efficient building materials can save you money in the long run. It can also make heating and cooling your sunroom or addition easier, and as a result, make the space more comfortable.
Things like insulated windows and skylights or even UV-resistant blinds and shades can help you keep the heat in during winter and the cool air in during summer. Sunrooms tend to have a lot of glass, which can make a room hot and difficult to heat in the summer. Doing your research on building materials and working with a trusted builder will help you make sure you invest in a room that is comfortable year-round. Believe it or not, glass technology has come a long way.
Cooper has been helping residential and commercial customers with HVAC services since 1989. Let us help you with your next home improvement project so you and your HVAC unit will be comfortable. Call Cooper!
When we talk to customers, we mention that a full HVAC inspection involves all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Well, maybe not taste, but the point is that the paying attention to the senses can clue you in to potential issues before they snowball.
Many folks are familiar with a smell associated when the heat kicks on for the first time in a while. That burning, electric smell that lasts for a few moments and then dissipates reminds me of the baseboard heater of my childhood home. It was usually just the furnace burning off the dust that had accumulated during inactivity. It lasted for a moment and was gone. In this case, it was relatively harmless and normal. But when might a smell indicate a larger problem and warrant a professional inspection?
If the electrical odor persists, you should call a professional immediately. One possibility is faulty wiring, which if left unchecked, could lead to an electrical fire. It's also possible that the smell is coming from an overheating mechanical component in your HVAC system. It's best to turn everything off and call a trusted HVAC professional before an electrical hazard occurs or a part of your system burns out.
South Carolina has no shortage of heat and humidity. And with recent hurricanes and flooding, all the moisture has created the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold growth in HVAC ductwork requires professional cleaning. The good news is that your unit isn't at fault. The bad news is that circulating mold spores can be harmful to your health.
This is a serious one. A rotten egg smell usually means there is a natural gas leak. A gas leak could lead to an explosion, so get out of your house and call the fire department. An HVAC professional can identify the source of the leak and repair it, once cleared to do so by safety officials.
It's hard to describe this odor, but you'll notice it. HVAC ducts and vents can be cozy nesting areas for all types of rodents and birds. Animals can clog vents, which in turn makes your HVAC system work harder to maintain indoor room temperatures. If you have an animal decomposing in your HVAC system, you'll either need to remove it yourself or call a pest control company to handle it for you.
Don't ignore the strange smells coming from your HVAC system. They can be an early warning sign of bigger problems to come. Cooper Mechanical Services will inspect your system, diagnose the problem, and fix it quickly. Our family business has been serving the Myrtle Beach area's HVAC, refrigeration, and electrical needs since 1989. To speak with a member of our team, Call Cooper.
Wintertime in South Carolina can be unpredictable, but you should definitely count on a handful of cold snaps and freezing temperatures. As you take heavier blankets and warmer clothes out of your closets, there are also a some other things you can do around the house to keep warmer while you wait for spring. Try out some of the suggestions below to make heating your home easier.
Seal Leaks and Gaps: Use caulk and/or replace weather stripping to seal leaks around doors and windows. Don't let warm air escape or cold air in. By sealing things up, your HVAC system will work less and save you money.
Don't Heat Unused Spaces: If you have a guest room that is unoccupied most of the year, you can shut the vents and close the door. While the room will quickly become colder, you can be sure that most heat is distributed to spaces you actually use.
Insulate Water Heater and Crawl Space Pipes: Insulation sleeves and insulation covers can wrap your hot water heater and crawl space water pipes to help prevent heat loss.
Use Alternative Heat Sources: You can warm your home and save money by using a traditional fireplace, a gas fireplace with a blower, or a pellet stove to help heat your living room. Keeping the fan setting on your HVAC thermostat can help circulate warm air you generate from your fireplace or stove.
Change Air Filters: Keep your heat blowing freely by changing your air filters regularly. Clogged filters not only make heating more difficult, but they also make your HVAC system work harder to maintain a set temperature, which costs you more on your monthly power bill.
Check Vents: Make sure air returns are clear of obstructions. If you have floor vents, make sure furniture or curtains aren't blocking the warm air from reaching the room.
Consider a Maintenance Agreement: Scheduled service and cleaning is the best way to increase the life of your HVAC system. Cooper's Clean & Service agreements occur every six months, and they let you know the health of your system before the hottest and coldest days of the year.
While we talk a lot about the AC part of HVAC, Myrtle Beach does receive winter weather, and having a working heating system is critical for this time of the year. Cooper Mechanical Services has been serving the Grand Strand since 1989. To schedule a service call or to speak with a Cooper team member, contact us today.
Fall and winter in Myrtle Beach can be unpredictable. In the 50s one day and the 80s the next. Two days later and neighbors are reminding you to keep the sinks dripping because a deep freeze in on the way. Keeping the inside of your home or workplace comfortable is important. But using your thermostat wisely can also save you a lot of money in energy costs.
In order to maximize savings and keep your HVAC working effectively, it's important to take advantage of the various settings and features on your thermostat.
As we've mentioned before, using your thermostat's settings can lead to considerable savings. The reality is, many homeowner's see a digital display and don't want to bother messing with it. In actuality, most thermostats are simple to use and come with some pre-set modes that fit most people's needs.
Use the custom settings to select a mode that changes the temperature to a more economical setting for the hours that you and your family are out of the house.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy finds that setting your thermostat to adjust the temperature by 7-10 degrees during the hours your are out of the house leads to savings of up to 10% on power bills.
Take the time to click through the settings on your thermostat, and start seeing savings next month.
Keeping an eye on the forecast and making simple adjustments can also lead to energy savings. On colds days, open blinds and shades to take advantage of natural solar heating, and use heavy curtains or blackout shades on particularly warm days. Obvious adjustments like this can improve HVAC efficiency and save energy.
Hurricane Florence has left many individuals and businesses in South Carolina without shelter, electricity, or the ability to do business. At Cooper, we've worked tirelessly around-the-clock these last couple weeks to aid residential and commercial customers in need of HVAC, electrical, and generator services.
However, it seems the worst of Florence will be felt long after the storm has left. Record-setting flood waters threaten many areas outside of normal-risk flood zones. The unfortunate result will be a record number of Horry and Georgetown county residents and companies with flooded homes and businesses.
In this post we will highlight the process for recovery.
Thankfully, the federal response to Hurricane Florence has been swift. Within days, the White House authorized a Federal Major Disaster Declaration for South Carolina that brought resources to our region and commits federal funds through FEMA toward relief and recovery.
If you are a home or business owner, your first call should be to your insurance provider. Small business insurance policies vary, but you'll want to review our policy carefully to see what coverage is provided for natural disasters.
FEMA and other federal relief may still be available to you even if you have insurance, but it is important that all insurance benefits are exhausted before federal financial assistance to avoid duplication of benefits. Keep a record of your exchanges with your insurance agents and keep copies of claims to avoid potential problems.