Emergency Services

Cooper Mechanical Blog

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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Effective and Clean HVAC in Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities is Imperative

HVAC in hospital or healthcare facility in Myrtle Beach

Effective HVAC in Healthcare Facilities is Imperative

Effective heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning at medical and healthcare facilities isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity and requirement. In addition to creating a comfortable space for healthcare workers and their patients, efficient HVAC systems can help keep people healthy and safe. 

Cooper Mechanical Services uses customizable Clean & Service agreements to help our Myrtle Beach healthcare partners deliver quality service in properly cooled, heated, and ventilated workspaces.

Customizable Clean & Service Agreements

Not all HVAC systems are the same, nor are business needs the same. Cooper Mechanical Services works with healthcare facilities, medical offices, and hospitals of all sizes to create custom service agreements that start with biannual scheduled service, inspection and cleaning.

The scope and frequency of visits can be tailored to your needs, and we can help all clients make improvements for HVAC efficiency and cost savings. 

Clean & Service Includes Thorough Inspection Too

All scheduled visits include a comprehensive inspection of the indoor and outdoor components of the HVAC system and a deep chemical cleaning. During each visit a Cooper Mechanical Services professional will do the following:

  • Inspect indoor and outdoor HVAC components
  • Inspect electrical and wiring 
  • Chemically treat and clean all evaporator and condenser coils
  • Clean all drain pans and drain lines
  • Check thermostat operations
  • Test all safety controls

Regular cleaning and maintenance can extend the life expectancy of a healthcare facility’s HVAC system. They are also helpful in identifying problems or system failures early, before costly repairs or threatening conditions to vulnerable populations.

Sign Up for a Custom Service Agreement Today

Because Myrtle Beach is a large summer vacation destination, medical and healthcare facilities see rises in patients during the same months that we experience our hottest, most humid temperatures. 

An HVAC failure during the summer months is costly and potentially dangerous for those in hospitals. Cooper Mechanical Services technicians are happy to meet to discuss your unique situation to design a plan so you can continue to work in comfortable and safe indoor air environments.

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Whole Home or Business Dehumidifier in Myrtle Beach

Dehumidifier for whole home in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a humid area, and summers can be sweltering and long. The high temperatures in South Carolina are intensified by high humidity, which can make things feel even hotter, stickier and more miserable. Dehumidifiers are solutions for removing moisture from the air, making life and work more comfortable. They can also help protect your home from damaging mold and mildew, and save you from adverse health effects associated with excessive moisture. 

How Do I Know if I Have a Humidity Problem?

High humidity isn’t subtle. In addition to feel “sticky” and warmer inside, even with HVAC on, you’ll also notice some tell-tale signs of high humidity: Condensation on windows and glass Musty smells Wet marks on walls or ceilingsWarped wood—door jambs, floor boards, etc Mold or mildew If you don’t address the excess moisture problems in your home or workplace, you risk more than just discomfort and unsightly staining. Health problems associated with excessive moisture can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems, and mold can be dangerous, even fatal if untreated. You also risk permanent damage to wooden structural elements of your home or business or damage furniture and flooring, causing expensive repairs.

Dehumidifiers Remove Water Vapor from Your Whole House or Business

When most folks think of dehumidifiers, they picture the small, portable, one-room varieties that are available at most home improvement or big box stores. While these are suitable inexpensive solutions for humidity in a single space, they aren’t effective for reducing air moisture across a number of rooms or spaces. Portable dehumidifiers can also be inconvenient and unsightly. They take up space, must be emptied periodically, and may not project the image you want in your home or office space.

Residential and Commercial Dehumidifier Systems Integrate with HVAC Systems

Cooper Mechanical Services deals, installs, and services whole-house and commercial and industrial dehumidifying systems. These larger units integrate directly with a home or commercial space’s HVAC system. Whole-house systems can easily dehumidify 3,000 square feet and feature automatic sensors and discharge of excess moisture. Commercial and industrial options can serve any purpose from dehumidifying a hotel pool room to keeping a warehouse or storage facility at a specific humidity level.  Dehumidifier solutions for commercial or residential customers can be tailored to your individual needs. There are a variety of manufacturers and price points, from basic models to ones with sophisticated automatic “set it and forget it” sensor technologies. Cooper Mechanical Services offers turn-key service from initial meeting and consultation, through sales, installation, and service. Our dedicated and professional HVAC team is available for 24-hour emergency service.

Too Humid? Call Cooper

To speak to our team about your home or business humidity problem, give us a call or use the simple contact form on our website. Don’t suffer through a hot and sticky Myrtle Beach summer and fall—Call Cooper today.

Related Cooper Mechanical Services Articles: 

Why Does Humidity Feel Hotter, and How Does it Affect My AC? Controlling Humidity in Your Commercial Kitchen Simple Ways to Reduce Indoor Humidity Dry Air and Cracked Skin: Indoor Humidity and Comfort 
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A Myrtle Beach Electrical Contractor with a Trencher

A Trencher for Underground Electrical in Myrtle Beach

Specialty Construction and Electrical Equipment: The Trencher

The Cooper Mechanical Services electrical division handles electrical and power supply needs for residential and commercial customers of all sizes. To offer our Myrtle Beach customers fast, reliable, and affordable service, we invest in our team and equipment. Our certified, licensed, and bonded electricians use company-owned heavy machinery to ensure jobs are done right and in a timely manner. 

Recently on the blog we featured our bucket truck, which gives our team an aerial platform for lighting and electrical jobs in high places. Another piece of specialty equipment we use frequently for electrical jobs is a trencher, a piece of machinery that efficiently digs trenches for electrical line or piping.

A Machine for Digging Trenches

Trenchers come in a variety of types and sizes, from walk-behind portable models for landscapers to large wheel models for cutting through hard rock. The Cooper team uses a trencher for a single purpose: cutting deep and narrow trenches for burying electrical and telecommunications line. 

Many areas have underground cabling, which can have higher up-front costs but offer many benefits. Buried lines have longer life spans, decreased operational costs, and offer better protection against weather and other conditions that damage lines.

For residential and most light commercial operations, buried electrical lines should be at least 24 inches underground. A trencher lets the Cooper team quickly get a trench for lines that meets the required depth for code.

Owning the Equipment Saves Time and Money

Digging a trench without specialized machinery can be time-consuming and expensive. By investing in a trencher, the Cooper team can get right to work. There is no sub-contracting or time and costs spent acquiring one from a rental company.

Whether you are bringing power to new construction or expanding power to an existing structure, Cooper Mechanical Services is ready to help you with all aspects of electrical design, installation, inspection, readiness, and troubleshooting.

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Pole Lighting for Myrtle Beach Commercial and Public Spaces

Pole Lighting Myrtle Beach

The Cooper Mechanical Services team brings knowledge and experience to commercial lighting projects in Myrtle Beach. Not all lighting systems are equal. The right lighting can make your business more attractive, your parking area safer, and your power bills cheaper.

Light Poles and Posts

Pole and post lighting is used in many commercial and public spaces:

  • Parking lots and parking garages
  • Sidewalks and roadways
  • Public parks and outdoor public spaces
  • Athletic fields
  • Outside commercial businesses
  • Around hotel and community pools
  • HOA/Residential spaces

The right pole or post lighting option depends on your purpose and needs. Our bucket truck helps us light even the most challenging spaces, and the Cooper team always works with clients to find the right lighting solutions at the right budget and price point. 

Lighting for Safety

Sadly, there's no shortage of Myrtle Beach stories about muggings or crime occurring in parking garages and lots. When poorly lit, dark shadows are abundant and hiding from a potential victim is easy. 

Crime tends to avoid bright spaces, so lighting parking areas is critical for customer safety. It may also make your business, whether a store, restaurant, or hotel, more attractive to consumers. 

Additionally, proper lighting helps reduce accidents resulting from tripping, slipping, or falling. Walkways, stairways, and other paths of egress should be well lit, allowing walkers to see clearly between poles or posts.

Modern pole and post lighting solutions can use directional lighting, which is more efficient and can reduce unwanted glare from nearby glass.

Lighting for Beauty

Pole or post lighting doesn't need to be boring or feel "too industrial." Decorative poles, posts, and lamp heads can make your space more attractive and safer. With hundreds of styles and colors to choose from, you can transform a walkway or parking area and create an intentional mood and tone for users. 

From rustic and traditional, to sleek and modern, the Cooper Mechanical Services team can help you select the right style at the right price.

Lighting for Savings

LED lighting offers superior lighting and uses less energy than traditional halide or high-intensity discharge lamps. The great news is that you don't need to completely tear out old lighting to take advantage of modern LED pole lighting technology. Retrofit kits are an easy way to update your lighting infrastructure and see savings right away.

Call Cooper for Lighting Solutions

Cooper Mechanical Services is a South Carolina unlimited license electrical contractor. We work on customer lighting projects of all sizes. If you'd like to learn more about our lighting, electrical, HVAC, or refrigeration services, give us a call or use our contact form on our website.

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Important Tips to Keep Your Home HVAC Running

Fixing residential heating and air conditioning problems can get expensive. With South Carolina's heat and humidity, not having air conditioning for late spring and summer really isn't a pleasant option. Here are some key steps you can take to get the most out of your unit and to preserve the life of your AC system.

Sign Up for Cooper's Clean & Service Agreement

A Clean & Service agreement covers two scheduled visits where an HVAC professional with thoroughly inspect, test, and chemically clean your HVAC unit. You visit the dentist every 6 months and change your auto oil every 5,000 miles, why should HVAC be any different.

A Clean & Service includes chemical cleaning of all condenser coils, evaporator coils, and drain pans. Additionally, we'll test refrigerant pressures, thermostats, and inspect all electrical components. It's a great way to identify and solve problems early before they snowball into expensive repairs.

Change Air Filters Regularly

One easy way to extend the life of your HVAC system is to change air filters on a regular basis. Don't overwork your unit as the result of clogged air flow from dirty filters. Identifying which filter is right for your home (hint: we actually recommend the cheapest ones for most users) and setting a filter reminder notification on your phone or calendar is a good way to keep your HVAC happy. 

Learn to Recognize Warning Signs from Your HVAC

You can preserve the health of your HVAC unit simply by learning what sounds and sights are normal. Water or ice build up and loud noises can be signals that there's a problem. Inspect and call Cooper if you are concerned that something isn't right before issues escalate. 

Test Your System Before You Need It

Late winter and early spring is mild in Myrtle Beach, and you may find yourself needing neither heat nor air conditioning. This is a great time to set your thermostat and test your system to see how quickly and efficiently it responds. This is another way to identify possible problems early, which almost always can save you frustration and money. No one wants to discover a problem later in the spring when temperatures start to get hot.

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