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Cooper Mechanical Blog

Restaurant HVAC/Mechanical Repair and Maintenance Services

Restaurant HVAC cleaning and repair

Cooper Mechanical Services Specializes in Restaurant Systems

We spend a lot of time on the blog writing about residential and business HVAC systems, but there's one sector that Cooper Mechanical Services knows well: the restaurant and food service industry. HVACR and ventilation systems in restaurants are more than just providers of comfort. Heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation are needed for safe working conditions, DHEC permits, and safety. Cooper Mechanical Services recognizes the fact that the Myrtle Beach service industry depends on reliable, efficient HVAC, refrigeration, and ventilation system to keep their doors open. Our team provides fast and reliable service to Myrtle Beach restaurants.

Protect Investments with a Clean & Service Agreement

Commercial HVAC, make-up air, and refrigeration systems can get expensive. The best way to maximize the life of your equipment is through regular cleaning, inspection, and testing. Cooper Mechanical Services offers restaurants customizable Clean & Service agreements based on your needs. 

For restaurant HVAC systems, a full cleaning will:

Chemically treat and clean all evaporator and condenser coils

Clean drain pans and drain lines

Check thermostat operations

Inspect electrical components

Test all safety controls

Additionally, we will inspect your exhaust and make-up air systems. These components remove dirty air, typically with particulates of grease and organic matter, and replace it with make-up air from outside the building. 

Cooper Mechanical Services will inspect to see that both aspects (ventilation and make-up) are working in tandem so pressurization issues don't arise. Often our techs will repair small problems like loose belts, possibly avoiding costlier, more serious repairs.

Refrigeration and Ice Machine Service

Cooper can chemically treat and treat refrigeration coils for walk-ins, case displays, and other common commercial refrigeration units. We also can clean and repair ice machines

To learn more about how Cooper Mechanical Services can help you keep your restaurant in clean, working order, contact us today.


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Humidity, Heat, and Air Conditioning

Hot and Humid in Myrtle Beach. Fix your Air Conditioning

The thermometer reads 88 but it feels like the inner ring of Dante's infernal circles out there. There's no doubt the Myrtle Beach's summer get hot, but it's our high humidity that really exacerbates the situation. The "heat index" is the perceived temperature we feel, and the number is a calculation that takes both temperature and humidity into consideration.

It's been an incredibly hot and humid summer so far. Our HVAC team has been all over the Grand Strand, troubleshooting air conditioning problems and bringing our customers cool relief.

Humidity and HVAC Systems

High humidity will make things feel hotter. That leads people to rely more on cold air conditioning for comfort. Modern HVAC systems in homes and workplaces cycle air over cold coils while also removing moisture from the air. This moisture exits your HVAC system by a small drain pipe, usually on the side of your home near the condenser unit.

If your system is ineffective and not sufficiently reducing indoor humidity, you probably won't feel that cool, dry relief. There are clear signs that your HVAC system isn't handling humidity well: condensation on windows, warm indoor temps despite thermostat (remember, humidity makes it feel warmer than it indicates), and damp or musty smells.

These are all clear signs that you'll want an HVAC professional to take a look at your unit.

Fixing Indoor Humidity

There are some things you can do to address an indoor humidity problem before calling a Cooper Mechanical Services tech.

If you're a DIY homeowner and want to do some troubleshooting, look for leaks where excess moisture may be escaping, change your filters to increase airflow, or add fans to add air circulation (especially in big homes or ones not properly zoned). Also, check to see if your thermostat has a "dry" setting.

Of course if your problem is more serious than a clogged filter, you'll want to trust Cooper Mechanical Services to diagnose and fix your problem. 

You may also want to explore a dehumidifier system that integrates with your existing HVAC ductwork.

Don't Sweat; Call Cooper

Cooper Mechanical Services has been providing the Myrtle Beach area with stellar HVAC, electrical, and mechanical services since 1989. Our reputation as a quality, family-owned business is built around honest, dependable work and affordable rates. 

Don't sweat it out for the rest of the summer. Call Cooper for a timely response and an accurate estimate.



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Lots of HVAC Repairs During SC Extreme Heat

HVAC Repair in South Carolina's Extreme Heat

It's HVAC Repair Season

Summer 2018 has been sweltering so far, and we're not even halfway through it. At Cooper, our HVAC team has been very busy with emergency HVAC repair. Our team has been working everyday to get folks' AC back up and running so they can live in comfort.

In fact, having air conditioning in this extreme heat is much more than a luxury or comfort--it's a necessity for safety and health. According to the CDC, more than 600 people in the United States die from extreme heat each year. We understand that seriousness of a hot house in the middle of an extremely hot South Carolina summer. The Cooper Mechanical Services team prides itself on fast, reliable service, and our team members keep customers updated with accurate arrival times so homeowners aren't waiting around all day on a service technician.

Keep the AC Running

If you haven't called for repair service, well, be thankful for that. To keep your units working efficiently, here are some simple things you can do:

Change Filters: dirty filters reduce air flow, which makes your AC less effective and can make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to, which may cause components to overheat or burn out. Find out which filters are best for your HVAC and change them regularly.

Close Shades and Blinds: hot sunlight on glass is working against your AC. Pull the curtains to keep your room as cool as possible. 

Close Leaks: insulating leaks around windows or doors will improve AC effectiveness during the hot summer. Replace weather-stripping or add caulking to seal gaps that let cold air out.

Consider Investing in a Clean & Service Agreement

A Clean & Service Agreement is scheduled cleaning and inspection of all HVAC components on a bi-annual basis. One advantage of scheduled service is that you can get a heads up on the health of your unit before summer when it will likely be working overtime. The Clean & Service Agreement can increase the life expectancy of your HVAC and save you money in costly repairs. Learn more about our Clean & Service Agreement here.

Don't sweat it this summer. The Cooper team is hard at work to keep you comfortable. Just Call Cooper!


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Storm Ready Your Home Electrical and HVAC Systems

Home HVAC and Electrical Prep for Myrtle Beach Hurricane Season

Hurricane season in Myrtle Beach is June 1st through November 30th with most notable storms coming in late summer and early Fall. Around this time of year folks will start to see lots of information about hurricane preparedness. For us at Cooper, we get a lot of calls before and after big hurricanes about residential HVAC and electrical systems. It's a topic we've covered on our blog in the past, so check out some of the links below for detailed information about what you can do so your home electrical and HVAC systems weather this year's hurricane season.

Pre-Storm Cleanup and Preparation

In addition to cleaning outdoor HVAC of debris, you may want to also check that your unit is properly secured to its base. Hurricane winds can get above 150mph which can easily move something heavy like an outdoor condenser unit. Make sure the unit is anchored, and if not, consider hurricane tie-downs. You might also want to cover your unit with a tarp and bungee cord. 

Prepare for Going Out

Many readers are likely aware of the list of things to have on hand should you experience a power outage: flashlights, batteries, water, non-perishable food, first aid, etc. But fewer are prepared for how to handle potential power surges. Protect yourself and your home appliances from power surges after full utility power is restores but making sure they are in their off positions while the power is out. The link above also covers some simple strategies for keeping your home cool while you wait to restore power.

Post-Storm Cleanup and Repair

Hurricanes at the beach bring lots of flash flooding which is dangerous and damaging in its own right. If your home has standing water, you may have a flood-damaged electrical system, and it's important that you don't enter your home until a licensed electrician or safety official says it's safe to do so. 

In addition to electrical damage, you might also need to contend with water damage and mold. Mold and mildew after a hurricane pose serious health risks, so always contact a licensed mold removal and remediation professional such as MasterTech of Myrtle Beach to handle it. It's not something you can let "air out" or spray a little bleach on.

A flooded electrical system will likely need some replacing, but it's important to request a full electrical inspection beforehand. Structural damage to your home from flooding or high winds can be overwhelming, but Myrtle Beach custom builders like Odom Design can work with existing salvaged structures and materials to renovate, repair and remodel.

Call Cooper for HVAC, Electrical, Mechanical, and Now Generator Services

We've been doing business in the Myrtle Beach area since 1989. We've weathered all the major hurricanes here and proud to help families and business at the beach keep their homes and workplaces safe, secure, and comfortable. 

If you are looking for extra preparation, call our sister company Cooper Electrical Services. CES specializes in commercial and residential generators that provide automatic, whole-house power in the event of an outage. Keep your HVAC, lights, appliances and everything else in your home on immediately and without the noise and extension cords that come with portable generators.

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Cooper Partners with SC Ride and Decide Program to Address Industry Crisis

The Skilled Trades Need Workers

Maybe you've heard it before, but the skilled trades like electrical, HVAC, and construction are struggling to find workers. It's said that for every 4 skilled workers retiring or leaving the industry, only 1 is entering. With competitive wages and high employability, it's a reliable career path, but trade industries struggle to recruit the next generation.

SC Ride and Decide

Enter the South Carolina Ride and Decide Program. Currently in its pilot program, SC Ride and Decide works to pair students and high schools with industry contractors in their region. The program lets students experience the trade during summer break, assisting in paid work activities. The Ride and Decide Program is a project of the South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning.

Cooper Mechanical Services Welcomes NMB's Mark Phillips

Senior year of high school can be a stressful time. In addition to finishing important coursework, teenagers are tasked with figuring out plans for life after high school. For some, college is the next step, but many are still unsure of what to study or pursue for a career path.

For Mark Phillips of North Myrtle Beach High School, the Ride and Decide program allowed him to work with Myrtle Beach's Cooper Mechanical Services, an unlimited license electrical and HVAC contractor. Phillips works part-time with the Cooper team in a variety of areas including business growth. For Phillips, the program provides him a well-paying part-time job and the ability to learn about specific jobs he may decide to pursue in the future. 

For Cooper Mechanical Services and many businesses like them, Phillips represents the future of the skilled tradesmen and women. "Having Mark on board is a wonderful," said Glenn Cooper, founder and president of CMS. "The relationships we are building with students and high school administrators is a great thing for our community and the industry."

Another Cooper employee is also praising the new program. "Finding quality HVAC people has been a challenge," remarks Mike Ruggieri, Cooper's HVAC Clean & Service Manager. "We hope that this program will let young people see that there are good jobs in HVAC here that pay well and let you work with new challenges everyday."

SC Ride and Decide Student Requirements

The Ride and Decide program is open to any South Carolina high school junior or senior meeting the following requirements:

To participate, student must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age before starting the program.

  • Have completed their sophomore year of high school.

  • Have at least a C average and excellent school attendance.

  • Have reliable transportation to and from work location.

  • Be recommended to the program by an educator, school administrator, or SCAHACC member.

  • Obtain parental permission with a Release for the SCAHACC and educational institution.

  • Adhere strictly to the attendance and employment regulations required by the employer and adhere strictly to the SC Child Labor Laws.

To learn more about the program, visit the SC Ride and Decide website or contact Cooper Mechanical Services.


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Is Adding an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier to My HVAC Worth It?

What is an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier?

Air cleaner and air purifier manufacturers make many claims about the benefits of their products. Some will claim that their product will kill cold and flu viruses or help minimize the effects of allergies. Installed in the ductwork of a home’s central HVAC system, air cleaning devices are intended to provide a more sophisticated way of trapping and eliminating indoor air pollutants as compared to your standard box or pleated air filter that you are probably used to buying and replacing for a couple dollars. Air cleaning devices may use high efficiency mechanical filters, UV light, and even electrostatic force to rid indoor air of microscopic particulates, allergens, and even unhealthy gaseous pollutants.

Who Benefits from an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier?

Air pollutants can cause some serious health issues. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is a top 5 health risk. Those with serious allergies or asthma can face life-threatening situations as a result of unwanted indoor air pollutants. For these populations, the very young and elderly are the most at risk. If your child or loved one has severe reactions to an indoor allergen or particulate, it makes sense that you’d want to seek out whatever means to eliminate the pollutant from your home.

Some air cleaners and purifiers also claim to come with “germicide” and special “germ killing” technology. If you are prone to bacterial viruses that are spread through the air, an air cleaner could be an additional line of defense. 

Air cleaners primarily trap small particulates that easily pass through a standard filter. Particulate matter includes the following:

  • dust mites
  • molds
  • bacteria
  • viruses

Some systems may also eliminate gaseous pollutants like tobacco smoke, but also

  • building materials
  • furnishings
  • the use of products such as
  •     adhesives
  •     paints
  •     varnishes
  •     cleaning products
  •     pesticides

What are the Types of Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers?

Air cleaners fall into two broad categories: filtration-based systems and other systems. Other systems include UV-light, and UV-light enhanced systems including ozone generators. The research on these other systems is very inconclusive about their effectiveness, and the EPA website is a recommended research for an impartial perspective. Below is a chart from the Indoor Air Quality EPA site looking at some of the differences and limitations to device category: 

Air cleaning devices chart

What is a MERV Rating?

If you are researching air cleaning and air purifying devices, you’ve likely seen the MERV rating number. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and this number corresponds to the effectiveness of the filter in trapping particles. Generally, the higher the MERV number, the smaller the particle the filter will catch.

Fiberglass Air Filters: 1-4 MERV rating. These are the cheap $1-2 filters you’ve likely seen before. They remove less than 10% of the air pollutants in your home. 

Pleated Air Filters: 10-13 MERV rating and can remove up to 45% of air pollutants.

High Efficiency Air Filters: 14-16 MERV rating and remove up to 85% of pollutants.

HEPA Filters: 17-20 MERV rating and removes up to 98% of air pollutants.

Mechanical air filter-based air cleaners, a common choice, typically combine high MERV rating filter cartridges with additional germicide for bacteria and virus particulates.

Is an Air Cleaner or Air Purifier Worth it?

Air cleaning devices, especially those that integrate to the duct of your HVAC system can be expensive. Your best option is to try to eliminate the source of the pollutant or allergen. Using your resources to get at the source of the problem is the most effective way to improve health and decrease the probability of adverse health effects from indoor air pollutant. Whether this is removing mold, doing deep cleaning, or removing other sources, the EPA recommends doing first, and then trying an air cleaner if removing pollutants is ineffective or not possible.

Of course, the EPA also concludes that, “While air cleaning devices may help to control the levels of airborne allergens, particles, or, in some cases, gaseous pollutants in a home, they may not decrease adverse health effects from indoor air pollutants.”

To learn more about air cleaners and indoor air purifiers, just Call Cooper.
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Investing in Safety: Boiler Room Emergency Shut Off Testing and Repair

Hotel Boiler Rooms Always Have an Emergency Shut Off

Myrtle Beach is a resort town. Our famed Grand Strand is lined with resorts, high rise buildings, and many other commercial spaces that cater to our region’s visitors. In order to remain open for business and to maintain a high standard of safety, all resorts must make sure that their mechanical and electrical equipment works properly and meets minimum code requirements. 

For hotels and motels, the boiler room, or more generally, the mechanical room is home to the boiler, water pump, water heater, air handlers, and other HVAC and mechanical or electrical equipment. One critical component to any boiler room is having an emergency shut off to immediately disconnect all mechanical equipment. Cooper Mechanical Services provides boiler room or mechanical room shut off testing and repair for commercial customers all along the Grand Strand.

A Boiler Room Emergency Shut Off is Required by Code

The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation oversees the ASME code requiring boiler rooms to possess an emergency shut off switch or button. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers CSD-1 (Controls and Safety Devices) provides the guidelines for the emergency shut off: 

“A manually operated remote shutdown switch or circuit breaker shall be located just outside the boiler room door and marked for easy identification. Consideration should be given to the type and location of the switch to safeguard against tampering. If the boiler room door is on the building exterior, the switch should be located just inside the door. If there is more than one door to the boiler room, there should be a switch located at each door. Activation of the emergency shutdown switch or circuit breaker shall immediately shut off the fuel or energy supply.”

The ASME code is also covered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code 85.

Periodic Testing and Repair is Crucial

If your emergency equipment doesn’t work when you need it, it’s too late. In an emergency situation like equipment failure, you may need to turn the boiler or other mechanical equipment off in a hurry. The emergency shut off is a safety precaution and it should be checked routinely so it works if it is ever needed.

Cooper Mechanical Services has been providing top-notch mechanical and electrical service to Myrtle Beach resorts for over 30 years. Our licensed electricians know the code. Our team can inspect, test, and repair boiler room emergency shut off switches so your building is ready in the event of an emergency. 

To learn more about our mechanical and electrical services and how we may be of service to your resort or hotel, please give us a call or email us through our online form. 

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Emergency Stop Buttons for Hotel and Community Pools and Spas

Emergency stop buttons are required for Myrtle Beach hotel pool and spa rooms

Do I Need an Emergency Stop Button for a Myrtle Beach Hotel Pool and Spa or Community Swimming Pool?

The short answer is yes, you need an emergency stop button for a swimming pool or spa intended for guest or public use. Emergency stop buttons and switches are easily identifiable safety devices intended for use by anyone in the event of an emergency. Their installation in hotel pool and spa rooms is a National Electrical Code (NEC) standard and a best practice in swimming pool and spa areas for Myrtle Beach residential communities like HOA pools.

What is an Emergency Stop Button?

An emergency stop button may also be called an e-stop button or switch, or simply a "kill-switch." It's purpose is to immediately disconnect power to electrical equipment. In a hotel pool or spa room, the emergency stop cuts power to all electrical components in the pool or spa area, namely the pumps and circulation equipment. 

The emergency stop button is always a bright red button that is clearly labeled and in view of the pool or spa. In an event of electric shock drowning, fire, or other emergency, the stop button will immediately disconnect power from the main supply.

The NEC requires the emergency stop buttons are installed in commercial installations (like Myrtle Beach hotels and motels) to stop recirculating pumps and jet pumps (NEC 680.41). This code is a minimum standard for safety in commercial spaces, although an emergency stop button may be installed in residential or non-commercial installations as a best practice safety measure.

We Know NEC Code and South Carolina Laws

Cooper Mechanical Services has been delivering first class electrical service to the Myrtle Beach area since 1989. Our master electricians possess the skills and expertise to make your commercial pool and spa room compliant with current codes and as safe as possible. 

To learn more about emergency stop buttons and other electrical services, Call Cooper today.

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Why HVAC Air Balance is Important for Myrtle Beach Restaurants

In order to understand what HVAC professionals mean when they mention "air balance" it is important to get a very general understanding of building pressure and how your Myrtle Beach restaurant or business cycles "dirty" and "clean" air through an HVAC system's exhaust and makeup or air intake components.

Stay Positive: What Building Pressure?

Building pressure is the relationship between the amount of makeup air coming into a building through the HVAC system and the amount of air exiting a system through ventilation or exhaust. As the heading suggests, it's important to ensure that the volume of "clean" makeup air coming in to the building is higher than the volume of "dirty" exhaust air leaving the building. This creates a slight positive pressure, which is ideal. 

Building pressure is especially important in Myrtle Beach restaurants where a combination of high heat and humidity outside, and large volumes of exhaust from hot kitchens can quickly create instances of negative building pressure. When negative pressure occurs, your building is "unbalanced" and you may notice a variety of negative signs and symptoms.

Consequences of Negative Building Pressure

When the volume of makeup air coming in to your restaurant or building is less than the air leaving through exhaust and ventilation, this is negative building pressure. Common problems associated with negative building pressure include the following:

  • Draft or Suction at Entryways / Stuck Doors
  • Indoor Condensation
  • Leakage from Units / Dripping Diffusers
  • Restaurant Hood Smoke Loss / Hot Kitchen
  • Hot and Cold Spots in Building

Most importantly, an unbalanced building from negative air pressure creates an environment that is uncomfortable for customers and employees. 

Common Causes of Unbalanced Air Pressure

How did my building change from positive pressure to negative pressure? The causes of unbalanced air are varied, but it signals that parts of your HVAC system is inefficient and ineffective. Common problems that create negative building pressure include problems with one or more of the following components of your HVAC system:

  • Exhaust fans
  • Supply ducts (leaks)
  • Dirty coils
  • Dirty filters / wrong sized filters
  • Worn or broken belts
  • And other issues related to your ventilation and makeup air components

Scheduling an Air Balance

Finally, we're back to air balance. The solution to negative building pressure is an air balance, sometimes referred to as "test and balance." Cooper Mechanical Services uses diagnostic tools to measure building pressure and test system components to identify areas that may affect pressure. Identifying the source of the problem and replacing, cleaning, or repairing the issue restores a building to the ideal slightly positive building pressure. 

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our services, get it touch. Remember: stay positive and Call Cooper!



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Restaurant HVAC Cleaning and Service in Myrtle Beach

Customizable Restaurant HVAC Clean & Service

Restaurants and commercial kitchens are a large part of Myrtle Beach's tourism and service sector. The draw of the Grand Strand's warm weather and sprawling beaches brings millions to our restaurants, hotels, and businesses. For those in the food and beverage industry, offering a quality product with exemplary service is essential, and restaurant owners and managers work hard to maintain a high level of customer and employee satisfaction. One part of achieving that goal is maintaining a safe and comfortable kitchen and dining area. 

Keeping your restaurants HVAC and refrigeration systems working in peak performance usually isn't a priority until something breaks and you are forced to close for repairs, losing money and frustrating both customers and employees. The best way to keep your Myrtle Beach restaurant's HVAC and refrigeration units in top shape is to schedule regular cleaning and service with Cooper Mechanical Services.

Keep Employees and Customers Comfortable

One way to keep diners and workers happy is to make sure your restaurant is properly cooled during the hot months and heated during the cold ones. Commercial HVAC systems have their work cut out for them in South Carolina summers. Do you know if your Myrtle Beach restaurant's HVAC units are in good health? Are they clean? If you don't know the answer, you will benefit from a Clean & Service contract with Cooper Mechanical Services. 

An HVAC Clean & Service includes the following:

  • Chemically treat and thoroughly clean all condenser and evaporator coils
  • Clean all drain lines and drain pans
  • Inspect all electrical components and HVAC wiring
  • Test thermostats
  • Inspect and test safety controls

One of the key benefits of scheduled services is knowing the state of your HVAC system and being able to identify potential issues before they occur. There is a clear cost-benefit in being able to fix small issues before they snowball into major system failures.

The 'V' in HVAC is for Ventilation

Ventilation is especially important in restaurants where kitchens and dining areas can become hot and humid from having a lot of people and hot kitchen equipment. In the back-of-the-house, the exhaust and makeup system removes hot, greasy, and steamy air through the hood and replaces that air with "makeup air" from outdoors. This cycling system improves air quality and keeps pressurization stable (you may have experienced exterior doors suction closed from imbalanced air). 

Myrtle Beach restaurant with clean HVAC and Refrigeration systems

During the ventilation portion of a restaurant Clean & Service visit, a Cooper technician will inspect exhaust and makeup air systems thoroughly to make sure they are working and will continue to work as they should. 

We Also Do Refrigeration, Ice Machines, and Air Cleaners

Depending on your restaurant's needs, we can also service and repair refrigerators, freezers, walk-ins, and ice machines. Our expertise with air purifiers can also help older restaurants looking to "clean up" a lingering stale smoke odor. 

Keep Your Restaurant Safe and Comfortable

Cooper Mechanical Services has nearly 30 decades of experience working with Myrtle Beach restaurants. Our HVAC and Refrigeration Clean & Service contracts are fully customizable to your needs and the frequency with which you need maintenance. 

If you're interested, let's chat. We can look at your restaurant's HVAC and refrigeration systems and create a service agreement that works for you. 





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