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Cooper Mechanical Blog

How to Get Your HVAC Ready for Winter

Winter is approaching, although with some days in the 70s around Myrtle Beach, you may not notice it. There are signs, though. The Grand Strand has seen some yo-yoing temps and even a first frost. In homes and businesses, HVAC units likely switched from AC to heat in a single day. But colder weather will arrive soon, and now is the perfect time to make sure your heat works effectively and efficiently. Here are some tips to get your heating unit ready for the winter season.

Sign Up for Clean & Service Contract

A Clean & Service agreement with Cooper Mechanical Services includes a full inspection of your heat pump, furnace, or heating system. Our service agreements cover full chemical cleaning, inspection and tests, and can be scheduled bi-annually before winter and summer. Scheduled service is the best way to get your heating and air conditioning system ready for the cold and hot seasons in South Carolina.

Replace Air Filters

Air intake and vent filters in your home serve two purposes. First, they keep dust and debris from entering your vents and HVAC unit. They also filter particulates from filtered air exiting vents. This is good for air quality and your health. A clean air filter heated air flow, allowing filtered air to pass easily, reducing the strain on your HVAC system. For most homeowners, Cooper Mechanical Services recommends the inexpensive fiberglass filters, as long as they are changed regularly.

Inspect Heating Vents

It’s a basic problem with a simple solution, but sometimes it is the obvious stuff we overlook. Walk around your home or office to check airflow from each vents. Make sure vents are fully opened and not blocked by furniture or other obstructions. Restricted airflow from block vents reduces heating effectiveness.

Conduct a Sensory Test

Simply put, turn on your heat, wait for it to kick on, and then look, listen, smell and feel. Observe your outdoor unit and listen for odd noises or anything out of the ordinary. Walk through your home and feel vents to make sure air is flowing. Take note of any unusual smells. A simply sensory test may alert you to a potential problem area early, which could save you money and headache should a breakdown occur in the heart of winter. 

Call Cooper

Cooper Mechanical Services provides 24/7 emergency service for heating, heat pump, and furnace repair. Our professional technicians are on call to make sure you are comfortable in all seasons, all year long. Check out our video overview to learn more about our Clean & Service agreements and how to keep your HVAC running efficiently.


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Giving Thanks for What Matters Most

Happy Thanksgiving HVAC Cooper Mechanical Services

This week, millions around our country will pause, take stock of their lives, share messages of gratitude, and enjoy time with family and friends. There are many traditions, some cultural and others familial, but in the end the holiday is one that celebrates our blessings, good fortunes, and relationships. In the chaos of our lives, it’s a helpful reminder to pause and acknowledge that which matters most.

As you go around the table, you’ll likely mention the intangibles: good health, family, and moments of celebration and joy. Comfort and safety are among the things for which many thankful.

At Cooper Mechanical Services, we’re thankful that our work helps keep families warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and safe year round. We are thankful for the many amazing residential and commercial customers we’ve gotten to know across the Grand Strand.

It is our sincere wish that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones this season.

A Note on Emergency Service: While many businesses close for the holiday, Cooper Mechanical Services recognizes that heating, cooling, or electrical issues won’t pause for the holidays. Our emergency service team is available 24/7 to keep the lights on, the turkey cooking, and the football on TV.



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Prepare for Cooler Temperatures and Heating Needs

Temperatures have dropped noticeably in Myrtle Beach as we move from October to November. Average lows are in the 40s this time of year, and colder weather is on the way. That means it's time to prepare your HVAC system and home or business for winter and increased heating use. Here's how to prepare so you won't be caught in a cold house this season:

Schedule a Clean & Service with Cooper Mechanical Services

Of course we're going to mention this as number one, but it's because it can save you some of the frustration and expense of an HVAC problem later, when heat is really needed. A clean and service visit will cover a full inspection of your heating equipment, a chemical cleaning, and a full system test. 

Most importantly, we'll make sure your heat pump is in operable condition and, if they exist, identify possible issues affecting performance early. This can extend the life of your heating unit and save you a considerable amount of money in the long-term.


Check and Set Your Thermostat for Comfort and Savings

Given Myrtle Beach's hot summer and early fall, you've likely checked your thermostat and adjusted it as needed. If you haven't testing your heat settings before cold weather arrives is a good idea. Make sure digital displays work properly and that the readings of indoor temperatures look and feel accurate. 

Additionally, if your thermostat allows for programmable settings, you can also set your thermostat to adjust heating settings automatically. Adjusting your thermostat by 7-10 degrees so you use less heat during the hours you are out of the house can save you upwards of 10% on your utility bills. Consider setting your thermostat at 68 or 70 degrees when home and awake, and lower when gone or asleep. 

Address the Little Things that Can Add Up or Create Big Problems Later

There are many small things you can do to prepare your home or office for colder temperatures and increased heating.
  • Clear debris around HVAC unit or heat pump
  • Prune large trees, especially if power lines are near
  • Check windows and doors for small air leaks and repair with weather stripping or caulk
  • Change air filters and check all vents for adequate air flow

Cooper Mechanical Services is Always Available

The holiday season is quickly approaching, so as you prepare for upcoming festivities, don't neglect your heating system. Contact Cooper Mechanical Services to schedule a Clean & Service visit, or contact our emergency number for 24/7 emergency repair.




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5 Lighting Changes Hotels Can Make to Save Big

energy efficient hotel lighting in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach hotels and motels are looking to save where they can. In terms of low-cost hotel upgrades to save money, improving lighting efficiency is up near the top for "bang for your buck." Unlike upgrades that require expensive infrastructure changes, updating and upgrading lighting solutions is an easy and affordable way to save energy and money. According to EnergyStar.gov, depending on a hotel or motel's current lighting and electricity needs, converting to "smart" lighting can save up to 50% in energy usage. That's a lot of money! Here's how to do it:

Energy Efficient Bulbs and Lighting Choices

This one seems like a no-brainer. If your hotel isn't currently using LED bulbs, then you should. While many upgraded when incandescent bulbs ceased to be produced, some hotels out there may be using the less-energy efficient CFL, or compact florescent lightbulb. LED, or light emitting diode, uses 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than the old-fashioned incandescent. A standard CFL, on the other hand, only uses 25-35% less energy than the incandescent. Even though LEDs are more expensive, they will last a lot longer, and save a lot more energy and money in the long run. LED is definitely the way to go right now.

Occupancy Sensors

Why spend money lighting a space when no one is in it? Before sensors, hotel guests were likely to leave in room lighting on all day. Motion sensors in hotel spaces detect movement and the lights turn on. When movement is not detected, the lights go off. This is not only useful in guest rooms, but also is conference areas, lobby restrooms, and other large spaces that use lots of energy for lighting. Sensors can compliment low-light or emergency lighting so spaces are safe but also energy efficient.

Scheduled Lighting and Lighting Timers

Timed or scheduled lighting can be a smart way to cut energy costs. Scheduling lighting only for when it is needed is easily done with today's smart timers. There are plenty of products at all price points for controlling indoor and outdoor lighting. One of the biggest savers is using timers in bathrooms where occupancy times are sporadic and lighting costs can be high. This ensures that expensive bathroom lighting is not accidentally left on when not in use. Small changes like these add up quickly when you have hundreds of rooms. 

Turn the Lights Off When Daylight Is Available

In Myrtle Beach, we get plenty of hot, sunny days. If spaces can be lit naturally with sunlight, turn the lights off. While this option won't work for all spaces, it is something to consider if you are planning a larger remodel or structural upgrade. Windows, skylights, and light tubes can brighten spaces with natural light and reduce future energy expenses as well. You can also use sensors to transition to your hotel lighting when daylight fades. 

Work With Staff to Create Light and Energy Saving Practices

Chances are no one knows more about a hotel's energy waste than the people working there day in and day out. Encourage staff to conserve energy and turn off unused or unneeded lighting. Challenge your team to develop energy-saving practices, or incentivize conservation with a special recognition or award. Getting the entire team on board is crucial to saving on energy costs.

Cooper Mechanical Services Cares About Efficiency and Savings

Lighting upgrades is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways that hotels can save money. Cooper Mechanical Services offers energy audits to hotels looking to curb their energy costs. Our electrical team can handle projects of all sizes and budgets. Please contact us if you are looking to get the most bang for your buck with smart lighting solutions.


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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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