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Cooper Mechanical Blog

Hotel Air Conditioner Comparison

Hotel AC PTAC Mini Split

Air conditioning is essential to guest comfort at any hotel or motel. In hot, humid Myrtle Beach, poor customer reviews about room AC can be damaging. Hotel owners and property managers must make sure that HVAC systems work properly at all times. If you are considering a major HVAC overhaul, replacement, or new installation, it's important to understand the two main system types. 

In short, hotels either employ PTAC, or Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners, or Mini-Split units. In the following post we will explain the defining features of each along with some of the pros and cons.

Hotel PTAC Units

Packaged Terminal AC, or PTAC, are the most common type of hotel air conditioner. PTAC units are self-contained HVAC system typically installed on the hotel window wall. These units can range from 7,000 to 17,000 BTUs, and usually use electricity to cool and heat a single room or living area. The condenser is built into the unit, essentially providing an all in one HVAC system in each room.

Pros: The biggest advantage with PTAC is cost. These units are less expensive to purchase and replace than any other commercial grade cooling system for hotels. Hotel managers may elect temperature limiting features to set minimum and maximum temperatures, and there are many energy efficiency system add-ons to tie into modern PTAC. 

Cons: You still need to cut a hole in the wall to install a PTAC system, so if you are a small motel, window units may be an easier option. The big disadvantage is that PTAC units are loud, and without some energy controls in place, they may use more power (and cost more money) than a traditional window unit.

Hotel Mini-Split Units

The mini-split system uses an outdoor HVAC condenser (usually on the roof or ground outside the building) with an in-room air-handler. The noisy compressor offers a quieter room experience, which some measure as up to 17 decibels quieter. Additionally split systems can deliver cooled and heated air in a number of ways: high wall-mounted units, ceiling cassette units, and even duct units. The mini-split system is also more energy efficient than PTAC systems, and similarly can be connected with other energy-saving system settings. 

Pros: Mini-splits are much quieter than PTACs and more energy efficient. Some find that the heating pumps through mini-splits are better. Additionally, split systems avoid a big, bulky unit taking up one side of the room. If heating is important, split systems are much more energy efficient in this than PTAC.

Cons: Split units are more expensive than PTAC systems as they require more installation with separate condensers mounted outside and handlers inside. 

Which Is Right For You? Call Cooper

Both PTAC and Split systems can do the job needed: provide guest comfort. Mini-split units may cost more, but the benefits in quietness and energy efficiency are factors that can please both guests and hotel owners in the long run. 

When you are ready to research and learn more about hotel or motel HVAC options, Cooper Mechanical Services is here for you. Our team has been serving hotels in Myrtle Beach since 1989, and we know that guest comfort, reliability, energy efficiency, and cost are all factors involved in this process. We strive to provide honest, dependable service to find the best HVAC solution for your needs.

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HVAC Needs for Hotel Indoor Pools

Myrtle Beach Hotel Indoor Pool

A hotel indoor pool can be a wonderful amenity to offer guests, especially in the Myrtle Beach off-season. Indoor pool design can be a challenge, but with a proper HVAC system and regular management, guests can enjoy the benefits of indoor swimming without the harsh smells and poor ventilation.

Poor HVAC at Indoor Pools Causes Problems

As a child, when we learned we would be staying in a hotel, our first inquiry was whether they had an indoor pool. Thinking back now, these environments were often visibly steamy and contained harsh chlorine smells. The increased humidity and resulting condensation created slippery green mildew in hard-to-reach corners. 

We can now see this as the effect of poor ventilation, water chemistry, and air stagnation. In order to offer hotel and motel guests a pleasurable and safe indoor pool experience, it's important that the HVAC is a separate system designed for this environment.

Exhaust Air and Exhaust System

Exhaust systems use fans to exit air from an indoor space. In the case of an indoor pool, the indoor air with high moisture and pool chemical particles will exit via an exhaust duct and fan system to the outdoors. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or simply AHSRAE provides guidelines for maintaining safe and effective air quality in spaces with indoor pools. When exhaust air leaves the space, a negative pressure is created. This is why all exhaust air must be replaced with outdoor or "make-up" air. ASHRAE recommends that the indoor pool system exits about 10% more air than "make-up" air returning. 

Also, it's important that exhaust grills are appropriately placed to remove excess water vapor. High vapor areas around indoor spas or hot tubs should have exhaust grills located overhead to capture water vapor immediately. If a grill is not conveniently placed, water vapor will settle and increase humidity as well as mold and mildew problems.

An experienced HVAC contractor can improve exhaust capability by making sure the placement of your system is designed for efficiency.

Ventilation with Outdoor Air

Next, a ventilation system must replaced exhausted air with outdoor air. The outdoor air will dilute the concentration of airborne contaminants from the pool and improve air quality.

One thing to keep in mind with ventilation is that since indoor pools are designed to be all-season, the indoor air may need to be conditioned (heated in winter, cooled in summer). This can require a lot of extra energy, so heating and cooling loads should be calculated and determined.

Like we mentioned with exhaust, ventilation intakes should be located properly. Intakes should be away from areas with airborne contaminants. 

For proper air balance and to avoid pressure issues, it is always recommended that you use a certified contractor.

Cooper Can Help with Hotel Indoor Pools

Cooper Mechanical Services is an HVACR and electrical contractor will decades of experience working with Myrtle Beach hotels and motels. Our professional team can design HVAC systems for indoor pool and high-moisture areas to reduce humidity and improve air quality. 

The indoor pool should be a safe place for your guests to enjoy, and an amenity you can market. Call Cooper to improve the ventilation and air quality at your indoor pool.

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Hotel and Motel Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality for hotel

Indoor air quality in hotels and motels is a comfort and safety issue that is overlooked by property executives and managers. It's a largely invisible problem when it is small, and unless air quality issues are noticed by guests, there is little a hotel or motel can market. We all know that new furniture and decor is much more likely to entice a potential guest than a new ventilation or air cleaning system.

Hotel and motel indoor air quality (sometimes called IAQ) is especially important in Myrtle Beach. While hotels everywhere run the risk of using volatile organic compounds that could be in any hotel's cleaning products, coastal South Carolina's climate can produce some unique air quality challenges.

Myrtle Beach's Climate Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

High heat and humidity, coupled with strong oceanfront breezes, can affect a hotel or motel's indoor air quality. South Carolina's heat and humidity create a perfect breeding ground for molds and other bacterias that can live in vents and ductwork. They may also come from dirty coils, uncleaned drop pans, and other HVAC equipment that needs routine service and cleaning. These contaminants can find refuge in a building, especially when hotels are not properly pressurized and a negative indoor air pressure cause hot, sticky, salty air to be sucked into the building without filtration.

Contaminants affecting indoor air quality can create what some call "sick building syndrome," as the organic compounds can causes headaches, nausea, and other symptoms. The musty or moldy smells could be a signal of dangerous issues whose sources should be identified addressed immediately. An air cleaner or ventilation improvement can lower the concentration of pollutants and improve air quality.

Conduct Indoor Air Quality Tests with a Professional

Conducting an indoor air quality test with a professional service company is the only way to see how your hotel or motel measures up. One thing a test will look for is how well a ventilation system is working. These tests will measure the presence of carbon dioxide in the air and the ventilation rate. You steady stream of "new air" should be cycling in to replace carbon dioxide. 

If poor air quality is detected, inspecting the hotel or motel for the source is essential. Air quality issues could from anything--furniture, carpeting, cleaning supplies, ineffective vent fans or filters, a leaking refrigerator, and the list goes on.

Call Cooper, Your Myrtle Beach Air Quality Professionals

Identifying the air quality issue source will determine the solution needed. Cooper Mechanical Services is here to help you improve your building's indoor air quality. Our team uses the most reliable equipment to test air quality and ventilation, and having served the Myrtle Beach hospitality sector since 1989, we know the most common causes of poor air quality. The most important thing you can do is to be proactive in testing and addressing air quality concerns. A hotel's reputation depends upon the comfort and safety of its guests.

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Restaurant Round-Up

HVAC and Refrigeration Needs in Myrtle Beach Restaurants

Cooper Mechanical Services is happy to service many Myrtle Beach restaurants with their HVAC, refrigeration, and electrical needs. One thing our clients value is the ability to work with one locally-owned and operated team for many different HVACR and electrical issues. Here are some relevant blog posts over the past year specific to Myrtle Beach restaurants all in one convenient place.

Restaurant HVAC Scheduled Care and Cleaning

Protect Your Investments with a Clean and Service Contract for Your Restaurant

Restaurant Comfort Problems and Solutions

How to Control the Humidity in Your Commercial Kitchen

Ventilation Systems for Myrtle Beach Restaurants

What is Demand Controlled Ventilation and Is It Right for You?

Refrigeration Problems and Solutions

One of the Biggest Drains on Refrigerator Efficiency is also the Easiest to Fix

3 Best Practices with Your Restaurant Refrigeration

How to Avoid Refrigeration Issues and a Failing DHEC Inspection

3 Tips for Fast Restaurant Refrigeration Repair

How Dangerous is a Dirty Refrigerator?

How to Select an Ice Machine for Your Restaurant

Electrical and Lighting Posts

GFCI Outlets and Breakers for Commercial Kitchens

Exterior Illumination for Businesses

From sales to installation to maintenance and repair, the Cooper team continues to assist restaurants with air conditioning, refrigerators/freezers, ice machines, and much, much more. We hope the blogs above help you better understand the workings of your HVACR and Electrical systems in your restaurant. 

If you have a specific restaurant-related question, Call Cooper!

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Tips and Tricks for Fast Restaurant Refrigeration Repair

Sorry we're closed sign at a restaurant

It's every restaurant's worst nightmare: emergency refrigeration issues. Refrigeration problems could spell doom if you don't have an HVACR specialist you know well on speed dial. Without working refrigerators and freezers to keep your food safe and fresh, you face unexpected temporary closure, profit loss, and upset customers and employees.

Fixing an emergency refrigeration unit at your restaurant may also prove difficult, especially during busy times for HVACR companies. The tourist season in Myrtle Beach is busy for everyone, and finding a refrigeration repair team for emergency service may be costly.

However, not all hope is lost. Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of receiving fast emergency service for your restaurant refrigerator or freezer.

Invest in a Maintenance Contract or Clean & Service Agreement

Having a team that routinely services your restaurant refrigeration equipment ensures that technicians are familiar with you and the state of your equipment which can speed up the repair process.

Almost all HVACR companies offer some kind of maintenance contract or plan for commercial businesses. At Cooper Mechanical Services, we offer customized Clean & Service agreements for restaurants that can cover air-conditioning, heating, ventilation and refrigeration systems. Our team also specializes in ice machines, a critical piece of equipment in our region.

These agreements cover scheduled cleaning and service to help you get the best efficiency and life out of your refrigeration systems. The Cooper Mechanical Services team works with many restaurants in Myrtle Beach and is familiar with many different refrigerator and freezer types and brands. 

Also, scheduling routine cleaning and service is a great way to identify possible issues before they escalate to bigger ones.

Use the Same Company for Multiple Services

Finding a company that can service HVAC, refrigeration, and electrical greatly improves your chances of a quick repair in an emergency. In addition to Clean & Service agreements, using one provider for multiple services is an easy way to ensure "preferred customer" status. With many companies, this is a listed benefit, and rightfully so.

At Cooper Mechanical Services, we customize agreements with businesses of all kinds and provide 24/7 emergency service. If your restaurant freezer or refrigerator has a problem after hours, calling Cooper Mechanical's emergency line ensures a prompt response. 

An added benefit of using the Cooper team for HVAC, refrigeration, and electrical is that it makes managing a restaurant much simpler. You have one team to contact and get to know and it results in less paperwork and sometimes expenses.

One Team for HVAC, Refrigeration, and Electrical

Cooper Mechanical Services know that working refrigerators and freezers essential to running a restaurant. Your livelihood depends upon it. Our teams deliver quality service for all restaurant refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, and electrical needs. 

We are eager to meet with your restaurant team to talk about ways that Cooper Mechanical Services can help you. If you'd like to know more about Clean & Service agreements, emergency repair, or bundled services, please contact us.

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Ventilation Systems for Myrtle Beach Restaurants

Restaurant kitchen with an overhead ventilation hood

Ventilation is Essential for the Myrtle Beach Restaurant

Myrtle Beach restaurants are home to some of the best southern cooking in the region. From fried chicken and Calabash-style flounder, to crispy hush puppies and golden french fries, Grand Strand restaurants (and Southern kitchens in general) run on plenty of hot grease. One of the downsides of this type of cooking is that the hot oil and grease particles in the air can make your kitchen ventilation work overtime. 

All restaurants are familiar with routine hood vent cleanings as this is the area that typically becomes dirtiest the fastest. But essential ventilation maintenance is more than just a hood cleaning, and a clean and properly maintained ventilation system can improve the overall effectiveness of heating and cooling as well.  

What Do Restaurant Ventilation Systems Do?

Improve air quality: ventilation systems in commercial kitchens improve air quality by removing particulates from the kitchen and exiting them to the outdoors. Smoke, grease and harmful gases from cooking can be health hazards, and ventilation improves working conditions by making the kitchen much more tolerable.

Reduce smells and odors: ventilation also helps to remove strong odors from the cooking area. Strong odors, if not exited to outdoors, may enter the dining room, mixing into an unpleasant environment for diners. Ventilation systems keep air moving, pushing bad air out and cycling new air in.

Keep kitchens cooler: ventilation systems help keep commercial kitchens cooler by expelling hot, contaminated air from areas around ovens, stovetops and grills. A ventilation system will remove hot air and help circulate cooler air, creating a more comfortable working environment.

Remove grease: Depending on how much grease is used in your kitchen, it’s important to use a ventilation system designed for removing the levels of grease present in your kitchen. Inefficient ventilation systems will leave greasy residues on surfaces and create an unpleasant work environment.

Restaurant Ventilation Equipment

Ventilation Hood: Installed over kitchen appliances, hoods exhaust heat and grease from the cooking area to the outdoors. This part of the system uses grease “traps” to capture and contain oil as the greasy air exits. 

Exhaust Fan: Exhaust fans help with air circulation and are installed in places needing strong air flow.

Make-Up Air System: All of the air exited the kitchen must be replaced with fresh “make-up” air. This part of your system delivers outdoor air to keep air pressure balanced. Without balanced air pressure, you’ll notice doors suctioning closed, back-venting, and poor indoor air quality.

Fire Suppression System: Fire suppression is important for preventing the spread of fire, particularly in multi-floor commercial buildings such as hotels. If your restaurant is in a space that requires fire suppression, Cooper ventilation experts can make sure your system meets all fire suppression requirements.

Call Cooper: The “V” is for Ventilation

Cooper Mechanical Services provides heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration expertise to Myrtle Beach restaurants. We also handle electrical contracts of all sizes, so if you are looking for a restaurant or food service upgrade or renovation, our teams are available to offer turn-key service for all HVACR and electrical systems.
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What is Demand Controlled Ventilation and Is It Right for You?

A crowded store needs increased ventilation through a DCV system

What is Demand-Controlled Ventilation?

Demand-Controlled Ventilation (DCV) is a ventilation system for commercial facilities such as large retail stores or restaurants. DCV fluctuates the rate of outside air ventilation by sensing the occupancy and need for ventilation. 

Think of it this way: a traditional Myrtle Beach restaurant or bar will see high outside temperatures, lots of people, and hot kitchens during peak hours of the day. There may be sometimes when the restaurant is slow, such as between rushes or on certain days of the week. Instead of continuously ventilating your restaurant through these slow times as the rate needed for when it is at full occupancy, a demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) system will automatically adjust air intake when it is needed.

The result is annual energy savings of up to $1 per square foot

How Do DCV Systems Work?

The difference between a DCV system and a more traditional air handler is that a DCV controls ventilation rates based on carbon dioxide concentrations. The more people inside a restaurant or retail store at a given time, the higher the CO2 concentration. The DCV senses this increase and automatically signals HVAC controls to increase ventilation and airflow. 

What are the Benefits of Demand-Controlled Ventilation

  • Reduce Energy Consumption: DCV systems can help reduce the need to heat and cool outside air. One study showed that DCV systems save from $.05 to $1 per square foot, which is significant when you consider that the average U.S. retailer spends $1.11 per square foot on HVAC costs.

  • Deliver Efficient Ventilation: DCV systems are efficient ways of ensuring your restaurant or store is compliant with proper ventilation codes. 

Is a DCV System Right for You?

Demand-controlled ventilation makes most sense for larger commercial spaces that see high variable occupancy. If the traffic in your restaurant or store is steady, a DCV may not make the most sense. Facilities that see wide and unpredictable swings in traffic are in the best position to save costs with a DCV system.

Additionally, DCV best serves businesses in moderate to extreme heating and cooling climates. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is an ideal location for DCV because a lot of energy (and cost) is required to cool spaces during much of the year. Restaurants, supermarkets, and industries with high refrigeration costs also stand to benefit from DCV.

Call Cooper to Learn More about DCV and Energy Savings

Cooper Mechanical Services always provides customers with the solutions that make the most sense for their unique situation. An energy audit and analysis helps us determine whether an upgrade such as a demand-controlled ventilation system makes sense for you. We provide professional and dependable service, and we are proud to have been serving the Grand Strand HVAC, refrigeration and ventilation needs since 1989.

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Prevent Electrocution: Hire an Experienced Electrician for Pool Lighting

Myrtle Beach pool safety

Underwater pool lighting solutions are required for commercial properties allowing night swimming, and they also make some spectacular settings to allure guests. Whether it's an underwater LED pulsating different colors, or fiber optics dazzling starlight across the water's surface, pool lighting has come a long way. 

Regardless of how simple or advanced the underwater lighting is, what's most important is that you have an experienced and trustworthy electrician do the work

Electrocution is a Hidden Danger

When you think of pool safety, most think of the preventative measures taken to prevent drowning or head trauma from shallow water diving. However, electrocution is a real possibility, even if it is less common. Between 1990 and 2003 there were 60 deaths from electrocution in a pool. If this number seems low, it's probably because of the strict codes and laws in place to ensure safe lighting.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the most common culprits of electrocution in a swimming pool are faulty lighting, aging electrical wiring, and the use of pool vacuuming and pumping equipment without GFCI grounding.

Tips for Preventing Pool and Poolside Shocks

Have an electrician with expertise in pools and spas install, inspect, and repair your pool lighting. Cooper Mechanical Services stay up-to-date with all electrical codes and are proud members of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. We look for faulty lighting and aging wires for pool safety.

Provide National Electrical Code (NEC) required GFCI for the following:

  • Underwater lighting circuits
  • Pumps and electrical equipment for pools and spas
  • All electrical circuits around the pool deck area within 20-feet of the water

Test GFCIs regularly and schedule inspections of pool lighting and electrical

Call an Electrician You Can Trust

Call Cooper Mechanical Services for your pool lighting and electrical needs. Our team of expert electricians has been servicing the Myrtle Beach area for nearly 30 years. We know code, and we know the need hotels and resorts have for safe and attractive pool and spa amenities. 

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Pool Lighting for Mood and Marketing

Hotel pool with effective pool lighting for mood

Underwater and pool deck lighting is an important safety measure and South Carolina DHEC requirement, one that hotel and Myrtle Beach rental property managers know well. But effective poolscape lighting can also create a seductive mood and improve your property's brand and image, attracting guests to your resort or rental property.

How Does Pool Lighting Lure Guests to Your Hotel?

You've likely seen images of a luxury hotel poolscape at night: a perfectly clean and empty pool, transluscent aqua blue water lit with LED and fiber-optics, surrounded by smart architectural lighting on the pool deck. It's a familiar shot, but one that works so well, in fact, that there are architectural photographers specializing exclusively in pool photography.

These types of lit-pool scenes are effective because they do more than showcase a feature of the hotel or property; they make a promise of luxury, tranquility, and relaxation. Lighting psychology (yes, this is a real field) examines how lighting stimuli affect our mood. It is especially important in hospitality, but it used effectively in any situation where you want to persuade and positively affect a subject. Pool lighting and strong photography and marketing can lead to higher conversion rates and greater guest satisfaction.

John Flynn, one of the pioneers or lighting psychology found that "architectural lighting plays a much more significant role in the human experience than simply as an enabler of task performance." Essentially, the pool lighting is much more important to guest satisfaction than allowing them to see where they are swimming and walk around the pool without tripping.

What Pool Lighting Options Are There?

Underwater and swimming pool architectural lighting options are available for all budgets, and new developments in LED and fiber optics have transformed what is possible. From in-deck fiber optics to color-lighted arched streams of water, modern lighting solutions are dynamic visual displays that can capture attention and transport guests to a state outside of the ordinary. In short, your pool lighting makes good on the promise to offer a true vacation from the commonplace of guests' everyday lives.

Additionally, modern pool lighting is fully customizable via smart lighting tools. Adjust brightness, color and display patterns remotely with fully wireless control. The daytime poolside can gradually change to a calming blue with dancing shadows ready for evening entertaining when your system's sensor detects decreasing ambient light levels.

Call Cooper for Pool Lighting Solutions

Cooper Mechanical Services has been serving Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand resorts and hotels since 1989. Our electrical team is licensed to bid on projects of all sizes, and our lighting experts are well-versed in the options available to commercial properties looking to enhance their brand with smart lighting solutions. We know how important lighting psychology is because we are just as captivated by elegant poolscape lighting as your guests and visitors.

Call Cooper to speak with our team

and learn more about what lighting options are available to you.

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Lighting Requirements for South Carolina Swimming Pools

Hotel pool at night with required underwater lighting

Pools Rule in South Carolina

It's been a scorcher of a week in Myrtle Beach, and Grand Strand hotels and rentals are packed with visitors. In 2016 our area had nearly 18 million visitors, a record high. While some predict less tourists this year due to recent violent incidents in the city, there is evidence that bookings in nearby Surfside Beach is increasing.

Given the extreme heat of our region, providing access to a recreational swimming pool is practically a necessity. Not only do hotels market their pools to help convert potential guests, but housing developments and local builders use neighborhood and community pools as desirable community amenities. From public swimming pools to indoor and outdoor waterparks, South Carolina requires you meet basic visibility and lighting standards

Pool Lighting for Safety

It is a South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) requirement that public pools open for dusk or night swimming have proper lighting. According to the document on pool regulations (Regulation 61-51), "Artificial lighting must be provided at all public swimming pools which are to be used at night or which do not have adequate natural lighting so that all portions of the pool, including the bottom, may be readily seen without glare."

This requirement is a safety feature. High visibility is important should a swimming hazard be present or recreational accident occur. The illumination requirement extends to both underwater and area lighting.

Underwater Lighting Requirements

SCDHEC provides some guidelines for the types of lighting to be used underwater. 

1. No less than 0.5 watts of incandescent or 8.35 lumens must be provided per square foot of pool.

2. Underwater lights must be positioned so all portions of the pool are clearly visible, including the bottom.

3. Fiber-optic lighting may be installed as a supplement to the lighting requirements above.

5. Colored lighting that does not meet the wattage or lumens minimum above cannot be used.

Area Lighting Requirements

Equally as important as underwater lighting is providing sufficient light to the area around the pool. There are many options in terms of lighting types and design, but again, SCDHEC has some basic guidelines for area lighting, including:

1. Uniform lighting for the deck area with at least 10 foot candles of intensity or not less than 0.6 watts of incandescence (or 10 lumens) per square foot.

2. Light fixtures within the pool area must be protected by a non-breakable lens.

Regulation 61-51 continues to provide rules for wiring, a topic best explored in another post.

Call Cooper for Lighting and Electrical Expertise

Cooper Mechanical Services has been working with hotels, condos, homeownership associations, and rental properties in the Myrtle Beach area for nearly 30 years. Our professional lighting and electrical team is well-equipped to make sure your swimming pool lighting is both attractive and up-to-code. Whether you are looking for replacement lighting, upgrades, or installing for the first time, we are ready to make your pool shine day and night.

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