Heating & Air Conditioning

AC Repair in Summerville, SC

Your Reliable HVAC Contractor in Summerville

Your Reliable HVAC Contractor in Summerville, SC

If you’re like most residents living in the Lowcountry, your home is your happy place. It’s where you come to unwind, rest, and regroup for another day at work. But when your HVAC system fails, your peaceful property can turn into an uncomfortable, even unsafe environment. You need to get it fixed, and you need it fixed quickly.

As the most trusted HVAC company in Summerville, Burke HVAC Services, Inc. has the tools, experience, and technicians to help, whether you need a simple maintenance check or emergency HVAC repair. We truly care about your comfort and will do everything in our power to restore your home to the happy place that you love.

Our Service Areas

Our Service
Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc?

When we opened Burke HVAC Services, Inc. many years ago, we did so with one goal in mind: To exceed our customer’s expectations by ensuring that each of our clients received individualized service.

Since that time, we have grown and expanded into one of Summerville’s largest HVAC companies, but we still hold true to that goal. Despite our growth, we are proud to say that we continue to offer a boutique, personalized experience for all of our clients.

When you call our office, you will speak to a trained, knowledgeable customer service professional. When you make an appointment for an estimate, we will come to your residence rather than asking you to come to ours. When you need emergency service, you can rest easy knowing an HVAC tech is their way, no matter what time of day.

Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Summerville’s Most Trusted HVAC Business

At Burke HVAC Services, Inc., our customers keep coming back because we believe in hard work, timely service, and fair pricing. Honesty is the backbone of our business, and that will not be changing anytime soon.

Here are just a few more reasons why the Lowcountry leans on Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for their heating and cooling maintenance and repair:

Professional Staff

Professional Staff

Each of our HVAC experts is an EPA Certified Factory Trained Technician. When one of our HVAC techs comes to your home or business, you can rest assured that you will be working with the best of the best.

support

Friendly Customer Service

We know how important that helpful, personable customer service is for our customers. Unlike some heating & air companies, our customer service professionals are local, efficient, and ready to help with all your needs and questions.

Services

24/7 Services

Heating & cooling units tend to break down in the most inopportune times. It doesn’t matter if your HVAC system stops working at 2AM on a Saturday night. Our team is ready to work at the most inconvenient times so you can get back to enjoying your home in comfort.

Licensed & Insured

Licensed & Insured

Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is fully licensed and insured to protect your investment and maintain your peace of mind. If you are not 100% satisfied with our work, we will do everything possible to correct any mistake and make the situation right.

On-Site Estimates and Consultations

On-Site Estimates and Consultations

We won’t ever ask you to come to our offices for an estimate or consultation. Instead, we come to your home or business, so you don’t have to change your daily routine. We cater to your schedule, not the other way around. Call us today at (843) 568-7336 to learn more about our on-site estimates or to schedule a consultation.

Financing Available

Financing Available

To make life a little easier, we offer flexible financing to all of our customers. If you need to pay your bill one payment at a time, we are here to make your HVAC experience as convenient as possible.

When you and your family need the highest level of indoor comfort in South Carolina, Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is ready to get to work – 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Our unbeatable HVAC and air quality services include:

AC Repair in Summerville, SC

Having your AC go out during the hottest days of summer is no fun, but don’t sweat it; Burke HVAC Services is here to keep you cool!

We know that your home’s AC system needs to be fully operational to keep your family comfortable when summertime rolls around. Our skilled AC repair techs in Summerville are ready to help with any AC issue you are having, whether it be a quick fix or full system replacement.

We provide trustworthy AC maintenance services when you need them the most, so you can focus on more important things like your family or business. With the most comprehensive list of AC services in Summerville, we can get your air conditioning pump up to snuff so you can cool down no matter how hot it gets outside.

A few of our most common AC repair services in Summerville include:

  • Filter replacement
  • Broken fan replacement
  • Duct and airflow optimization
  • Motor replacement
  • Thermostat replacement
  • Fan belt replacement
  • Coil replacement and maintenance

Burke HVAC Services, Inc. also offers preventative maintenance and tune-up options for homeowners that would like year-round confidence in their air conditioning system. It doesn’t matter if you have a central heating system for your home or a wall-mounted AC unit for your office – we are just a phone call away from keeping summer heat at bay.

AC Repair in Summerville
AC Installation in Summerville

AC Installation in Summerville, SC

When properly maintained, a good air conditioning system can last for many years. However, if no amount of repairs or maintenance will fix your AC system, it’s probably time to send your old unit to the scrap yard. Before you call us for a replacement system, let us provide you with a thorough exam to make sure it is needed. If we discover that a replacement AC system is required, our skilled technicians would be happy to travel to your to complete the job.

At Burke HVAC Services, Inc., we understand how important it is for you and your family to stay cool during the hot summer months in South Carolina. That is why we are proud to install the highest-rated cooling systems available. When we come to your home or business to install an AC unit, we will take all the time needed to walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.

Any time we install a new air conditioner for a client, we strive to let them know what may be wrong with their original system. We’ll discuss what unit might be best for your home, budget, and cooling needs. Once we have a good understanding for what you need, we will get to work right away to minimize your time without air conditioning.

Our goal is to do the best job possible the first time out, with minimal interference in your life. That way, you can continue enjoying summertime while we work hard to give you a fast, effective AC solution.

Signs You Need AC Replacement in Summerville, SC

Did you know that a broken heat pump or air conditioner can lead to higher utility bills? Updated cooling systems, like the replacement systems installed by Burke HVAC Services, are more reliable and can help lower your utility costs over time.

But how do you know if your air conditioning system is on its last legs? Here are a few telltale signs that your AC unit might need to be replaced:

Signs You Need AC Replacement in Summerville
Warm Air Blowing from AC Unit

Warm Air Blowing from AC Unit

This is a sign that you might need a complicated repair or a replacement AC unit. Before you call Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for an estimate, you should check your air filter first. If it’s too dirty to allow airflow, clean or change the filter and check to see if cool air is flowing now.

Outdated AC Unit

Outdated AC Unit

AC systems typically last between 12 and 15 years. If your AC system has more than 15 years of regular use, it might be time for an AC replacement in Summerville.

Rise in Utility Bill

Rise in Utility Bill

AC units become less efficient over time. Old AC systems use more electricity, which will raise your energy bill. Unfortunately, this situation will only get worse until you replace the system with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Cost to Repair vs. Replace

Cost to Repair vs. Replace

If you find that it will cost you half or more of a new unit’s price to fix your old one, it might be time to consider a replacement AC system. Rather than spending money to fix a dying AC unit, you can purchase a new one that is more energy efficient, which will save you money over the long run.

If you are in need of a replacement cooling system for your home in Summerville, Burke HVAC Services, Inc., is here to help.

Give us a call Today, & and one of our skilled AC technicians will explain the best AC replacement options for your home and budget.

AC Installation in Summerville

Heating Repair in Summerville, SC

Few things are worse than having your heater go out in the middle of winter. Fixing your heater is of the utmost importance when it’s freezing outside, and Burke HVAC Services, Inc. has the tools and technicians to help. With our 24/7 emergency heating repair services, you won’t have to worry about being left out in the cold. Our talented HVAC contractors in Summerville are only a call away, whether you need a minor fix or a replacement heater.

Here are just a few common issues that Burke HVAC Services, Inc. heating technicians can help solve for you:

  • Overheating of your system
  • Faulty or broken heat exchangers
  • Damaged blower or motor
  • Dirty burners
  • Busted limit switches
  • Misconfigured blower belts

Before you start looking at replacement heaters, call Burke HVAC Services, Inc. first so that we can inspect your heating unit. Your issues might be resolved with a quick fix. If we discover that you need a replacement unit, our heating experts will offer guidance on choosing the best unit for your unique situation.

Signs You Need Heater Replacement in Summerville, SC

Signs You Need Heater Replacement in Summerville

If you notice any of the following signs from your furnace, contact Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for an inspection. Our fully-trained furnace repair technicians will detail what issues your furnace is experiencing and offer solutions tailored to your home and budget.

Pilot Light is Out

If your furnace runs on gas and its pilot light will not come on, it is important to address the issues as soon as possible.

Warming Your Home Takes a Long Time

There are many reasons why your furnace isn’t heating your home quickly. From duct cleaning to heating element replacement, our furnace repair technicians in Summerville are here to help.

Broken Thermostat

If your heater isn’t warming your home to the temperature you desire, your thermostat might be broken.

No Airflow

Little to no airflow throughout your home is usually a sign that your ducts or air vents are blocked. Move any furniture away from air vents. If that does not solve your problem, you should seek help from a professional heating repair company like Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Noisy Heater

While all heaters emanate noise, you should be concerned if you can hear loud noises coming from a different room or your basement. Be cognizant of how much noise your furnace is making. If it seems like a lot, it’s time for a thorough furnace inspection in Summerville.

Our Promise

“Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality HVAC services in Summerville. Our goal is to exceed your expectations consistently, from the moment you speak to our representatives to the time our HVAC contractor in Summerville leaves your home. “Remember that any company can make an honest mistake, but it is what they do about it that makes a difference. We will work to make things right by you; that is our promise.”

Larry H. Burke Jr. President

Our Promise

Latest News in Summerville

Charleston restaurant Poogan's Porch owners opening an Upstate location

This story has been updated to reflect new information from Pogan's Hospitality.A longstanding Charleston restaurant company is expanding to the Upstate.Poogan’s Southern Kitchen is coming to BridgeWay Station in Mauldin, according to a press release from Hughes Investments Inc., the company that closed the deal.The brand is a newer concept for Poogan's Hospitality, the restaurant ...

This story has been updated to reflect new information from Pogan's Hospitality.

A longstanding Charleston restaurant company is expanding to the Upstate.

Poogan’s Southern Kitchen is coming to BridgeWay Station in Mauldin, according to a press release from Hughes Investments Inc., the company that closed the deal.

The brand is a newer concept for Poogan's Hospitality, the restaurant group behind iconic Poogan’s Porch, the popular restaurant that opened in a 19th century home on Queen Street in downtown Charleston in 1976. It brings elements of the classic restaurant's menu but with an updated, and more approachable, touch.

Brad Ball, president of Poogan's Hospitality called the Upstate location "a natural progression" for the restaurant company, expressing admiration for the Hughes Investments team.

"What they are building, it’s really next level," Ball said, speaking by phone Thursday morning. "We're just excited to be part of a project like this."

Poogan's Hospitality developed the more moderately priced Poogan's Southern Kitchen (PSK) concept in 2018, and opened the first location in Summerville in 2020. Another location in Columbia is currently under construction.

Future plans call for new PSK locations both in South Carolina and outside the state, Ball said.

"We saw a hole," Ball said. "You have Cracker Barrel on one side, and then maybe a Poogan’s Porch or a Magnolia on the other side, and there wasn’t a lot in the middle."

Poogan’s Southern Kitchen will serve brunch and dinner with Poogan’s memorable quality stamped on every dish that leaves the kitchen. Expect classic Southern dishes like biscuits, buttermilk fried chicken and shrimp and grits in a comfortable, modern setting.

The new restaurant will occupy a 6,000-square-foot space that includes private indoor dining, bar seating, and a 500-square-foot (pet-friendly) outdoor dining area.

“We are extremely pleased to join with the remarkable leadership at Poogan’s Southern Kitchen to bring this distinguished group from Charleston to the Upstate,” Phil Hughes, President and Founder of Hughes Investments, Inc., said in a statement. “Their outstanding, long-term history combined with the quality and excitement they will bring to BridgeWay further expands our goal of providing the region with the highest quality and most fun places to eat, live, work and shop - and just have fun!"

The BridgeWay Station location will be the third Poogan’s Southern Kitchen in the Poogan’s Hospitality Group portfolio. The original Poogan’s Southern Kitchen concept was launched in Summerville, South Carolina, in fall of 2020. The second location, in Forest Acres, South Carolina, is expected to open in late spring of 2022. Poogan’s Hospitality Group also operates Poogan’s Porch (since 1976), Poogan’s Smokehouse (since 2015) and Poogan’s Courtyard (since 2019) in downtown Charleston.

BridgeWay Station is a multi-phase, mixed-use development actively under construction in Mauldin, SC. BridgeWay Station is located at the exit of Bridges Road off of I-385. Poogan’s Southern Kitchen joins Cohesive Coffee, Belladina’s Italian Market, and Dodge® Bearings and Power Transmission as other announced tenants coming to BridgeWay Station.

For more information follow Poogan's Southern Kitchen - Bridgeway on Facebook and Instagram, or visit the website www.pooganskitchen.com

Lillia Callum-Penso covers food for the Greenville News. She loves the stories recipes tell and finds inspiration in the people behind them. When she’s not exploring local food, she can be found running, both for pleasure and to keep up with her 6-year-old twins. Reach her at lpenso@greenvillenews.com, or at 864-478-5872, or on Facebook atfacebook.com/lillia.callumpenso.

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SC braces for potential of another winter COVID wave, this one dominated by omicron

Even as it seemed South Carolina was returning to some sense of normalcy after a third COVID wave claimed more than 4,000 lives across the state this summer and fall, many health experts are bracing for another significant winter surge dominated by the new omicron variant.Less than a month after the World Health Organization named omicron a variant of concern, three cases were identified in Charleston County. But three cases is probably a gross undercount. It’s more likely omicron has already covered the state.“It&r...

Even as it seemed South Carolina was returning to some sense of normalcy after a third COVID wave claimed more than 4,000 lives across the state this summer and fall, many health experts are bracing for another significant winter surge dominated by the new omicron variant.

Less than a month after the World Health Organization named omicron a variant of concern, three cases were identified in Charleston County. But three cases is probably a gross undercount. It’s more likely omicron has already covered the state.

“It’s here. It’s more transmissible. And it’s going to spread,” said Dr. Robert Oliverio, chief medical officer of ambulatory care and population health at Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

He referenced the recent outbreak of omicron cases at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. More than 1,000 students tested positive for COVID-19 in December even though 97 percent of the on-campus student body population is vaccinated.

“And we don’t have anywhere near the level of immunity that Cornell has,” Oliverio said. “We’re in the midst of the holiday season and I think January is going to be a son of a gun.”

Barely more than half of eligible South Carolinians are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. And while it does not appear that omicron is any more dangerous than other variants, experts say it may be nearly three times as contagious as previous variants and that it more easily infects people, including those who are vaccinated.

Michael Sweat, director of the division of global and community health at the Medical University of South Carolina, shares many of Oliverio’s concerns.

“Just looking at what’s happening in other places is concerning,” Sweat said, citing recent omicron outbreaks in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“It’s just exploding — and in Denmark, as well,” he said. “It’s a signal that this could really be a significant wave of infections.”

Not alarming yet

The detection of omicron in Charleston County is owed in large part to a drastic improvement in the number of COVID-19 samples undergoing genetic analysis. The process is an extension of regular COVID testing: After a patient tests positive, researchers sequence the virus’s genome, looking for subtle changes in its code.

For much of the pandemic, the U.S. sequenced relatively few virus samples, which let mutations fly under the radar. And South Carolina lagged even further behind.

But sequencing efforts have ramped up dramatically this year. Researchers analyzed over 3,700 virus samples from South Carolina in August alone. In the first 12 months of the pandemic, by comparison, they analyzed fewer than 2,400. That’s according to GISAID, a database where scientists around the world publish virus sequences.

DHEC and MUSC, for instance, are sequencing every COVID-positive sample that contains enough virus to produce reliable results. (Tests are sensitive enough that people who have already cleared an infection can still get a positive result, and those samples can produce misleading sequences.) MUSC typically analyzes about 40 percent of its positive tests, said Julie Hirschhorn, its director of molecular pathology.

Experts say sequencing 5 percent of all positive test results should give public health leaders a good idea of what variants are circulating. In 2020, South Carolina averaged 0.3 percent, according to a Post and Courier analysis of GISAID data. This year, the state is still not reaching that mark consistently, but it’s getting closer: From January to November, about 2.5 percent of positive samples have resulted in a published sequence. In October, the state was just shy of hitting it.

And even with high levels of sequencing, there’s a gap between when a new variant begins to spread and when it’s detected — often a week or more. MUSC, for instance, waits to analyze samples until it has a big enough batch because the process uses chemicals that are in short supply, Hirschhorn said.

The first omicron patient in South Carolina was swabbed on Dec. 4, according to the GISAID database; MUSC announced the results on Dec. 15. In its most recent round of sequencing, it found three of 97 samples contained omicron. DHEC said on Dec. 17 it has not yet found the omicron variant in the samples it has run.

Hirschhorn said her lab has a unique insight into oncoming COVID surges. As waves begin, a bigger share of tests come back positive, and people who test positive have higher levels of virus because they’re more likely to have active infections.

Those indicators are beginning to tick upward, but they aren’t yet alarming, Hirschhorn said.

That could begin to change as omicron gains a foothold. It’s unclear if that has already happened, but the three people infected with the new variant all live in different parts of Charleston County, Hirschhorn said.

The three individuals had mild symptoms, DHEC said; the patients were fully vaccinated but hadn’t gotten booster shots. All three were adults in their 30s, according to MUSC’s GISAID submissions.

‘Get a booster’

According to Sweat, research coming out of South Africa indicates COVID vaccines are 80 percent effective against the delta variant versus about 30 percent effective against omicron.

There may even be a silver lining in the aftermath of the omicron surge, Sweat said, if this variant proves to be much less severe than others. Because basically half the state remains unvaccinated, if large numbers of people contract the omicron virus, but don’t become seriously ill, that could go a long way in terms of providing natural immunity to a large segment of the population.

“It’s going to vaccinate the unvaccinated by proxy,” Sweat explained. “It would put a real downward pressure on cases going forward.”

Even so, while it appears omicron is less likely to result in severe illness or hospitalization, the sheer number of people who could potentially become sick may overwhelm hospitals nonetheless.

“It really could blow up quick,” he said. “Even if it’s much less severe and it all happens at once, you could still get so many people coming in to the hospital, it could stress the hospital system.”

That’s what hospital leaders are focused on for now.

“We are really early in this course. Most of the information is coming out of South Africa. They’re a great source of information, but what we’re hearing and what we’re thinking is there is going to be a lot of virus coming our way in short order,” said Oliverio, with Roper St. Francis.

DHEC’s message remains consistent: Get a vaccine. Get a booster. Wear a mask. Make smart decisions about social distancing and holiday travel.

“If you’re eligible for a booster, get a booster,” said Dr. Jane Kelly, DHEC’s assistant state epidemiologist. “That message does not change with omicron. In fact, that message becomes even stronger.”

Kelly said that DHEC, for its part, does not anticipate an omicron surge to be as severe as previous surges.

“We all anticipate an uptick in cases, but hopefully not a big uptick in hospitalizations and serious disease,” she said. “None of us know for sure what’s going to happen.”

Dorchester District 2 finalizes contract to start superintendent search

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – Dorchester School District Two board members discussed a variety of topics, such as the district’s health and safety protocols, a new middle school and finalized a contract to start its search for a new superintendent.During the full meeting on Monday, board members voted unanimously to finalize a contract with a firm to begin their search for Superintendent Joseph Pye’s replacement. Pye will be retiring at the end of the school year.“This is when things begin to happen,”...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – Dorchester School District Two board members discussed a variety of topics, such as the district’s health and safety protocols, a new middle school and finalized a contract to start its search for a new superintendent.

During the full meeting on Monday, board members voted unanimously to finalize a contract with a firm to begin their search for Superintendent Joseph Pye’s replacement. Pye will be retiring at the end of the school year.

“This is when things begin to happen,” Board Chairperson Gail Hughes said. “As I stated in our board meeting, you will see as early as tomorrow things will begin happening.”

The school district said they will be creating a survey to hear from parents as they start their search for a new superintendent.

During a workshop held before the full meeting on Monday, board members were brought up to speed on the state’s latest COVID guidelines regarding quarantine and isolation.

The district’s COVID-19 dashboard on Monday reported that 157 staff members were in isolation due to positive tests, as well as 431 students. The dashboard also reported that 1,995 students and 67 staff members have been quarantined as of Jan. 9.

Hughes said the district has no plans to hold classes virtually or mandate masks.

“We don’t know what the future is going to hold with this,” Hughes said, “but as it stands right now, we have, I have not even thought about going virtual nor have we considered the mask mandate.”

Ken Greenstreet is a parent of two DD2 high school students. He said he agrees with the district’s stance on COVID numbers and said masks can have an impact on his children.

“I am for vaccinations,” Greenstreet said. “I’m not necessarily a fan of masks just because if you talk to my sophomore daughter, it’s very difficult to make friends when you can’t see somebody’s smile.”

Board members also set meeting dates to draw attendance lines for the district’s middle schools because of a new middle school that will open in the fall in the Beech Hill area off U.S. Highway 61.

The meetings will be held on:

The final attendance lines for middle schools will be brought to the board on Feb. 14, according to the district.

The board did not name the new middle school during the meeting.

However, they will be holding a workshop before their next board meeting on Jan. 24 to discuss that name.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Minor Tremors Still Rumble Weeks After Larger SC Earthquake

Small earthquakes are still shaking the ground near South Carolina’s capital city, more than two weeks after a larger convulsion and outside the window geologists typically expect for aftershocks.Early Tuesday, a 1.7-magnitude quake struck just east of Elgin, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Columbia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was measured at a depth of 3.2 kilometers, officials said.About eight hours later, a slightly larger quake, 2.0, occurred just a few miles away, officials said.Th...

Small earthquakes are still shaking the ground near South Carolina’s capital city, more than two weeks after a larger convulsion and outside the window geologists typically expect for aftershocks.

Early Tuesday, a 1.7-magnitude quake struck just east of Elgin, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Columbia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was measured at a depth of 3.2 kilometers, officials said.

About eight hours later, a slightly larger quake, 2.0, occurred just a few miles away, officials said.

Those tremors were the 11th and 12th earthquakes in just a few square miles since December 27, when a 3.3-magnitude earthquake clattered glass windows and doors in their frames. The event, which lasted a matter of seconds, sounded like a heavy piece of construction equipment or concrete truck rumbling down the road. None of these quakes have caused significant damage, the agency said.

Since then, a total of 11 more earthquakes have been recorded nearby, ranging from 1.4 to 2.6. No injuries or damage have been reported, although experts have expressed consternation at the events.

Earthquakes happen in South Carolina every year, and sometimes there are clusters. The state typically averages up to 20 quakes annually, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Last year, six small earthquakes happened in just more than a week near Jenkinsville, about 38 miles (61 kilometers) west of the most recent group of tremors.

Elgin, a community of fewer than 2,000 residents near the border of Richland and Kershaw counties, lies along a large fault system that extends from Georgia through the Carolinas and into Virginia. Most of South Carolina’s earthquakes, however, tend to happen closer to the coast in the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone, about 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Charleston.

On January 5, as small quakes continued to erupt near Elgin, a 1.4-magnitude earthquake struck in that more southern zone, the state’s only geographic outlier among the recent tremors.

But the Charleston area is the one that traditionally comes to mind when thinking about South Carolina earthquakes. In 1886, that historic coastal city was home to the largest recorded earthquake in the history of the southeastern United States, according to seismic officials.

That quake, thought to have had a magnitude of at least 7, killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of buildings. In the days leading up to it, the area experienced a series of smaller tremors, although it was not known that the foreshocks were necessarily leading up to something more catastrophic until after the major quake.

In the current scenario, geologists are looking at South Carolina’s sequence as aftershocks emanating from the 3.3-magnitude earthquake on December 27, rather than as a portent of more serious seismic activity, although the window has extended longer than traditionally expected.

“It has certainly lasted longer than a typical mainshock-aftershock sequence,” Steven Jaume, a College of Charleston geology professor, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

With no known end in sight, Jaume said the tremors continue to fluster experts already accustomed to being baffled by the perplexing phenomena.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” Jaume said. “Earthquakes are one of the least predictable natural hazards.”

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Preparing for the next big earthquake is vital as SC sees uptick in seismic activity

Thirteen earthquakes have rattled parts of South Carolina since Christmas Day. And although none have been major earthquakes — defined as a 7.0 magnitude or higher — now presents an opportune time for the state’s residents to prepare for the next big tremor.Twelve of the most recent quakes were recorded in the Lugoff-Elgin area of the Midlands. They ranged from 1.4 to 3.3 magnitude.One earthquake, a magnitude 1.4, was recorded on Jan. 9 near Ladson in the Lowcountry. The two latest events were both reported in...

Thirteen earthquakes have rattled parts of South Carolina since Christmas Day. And although none have been major earthquakes — defined as a 7.0 magnitude or higher — now presents an opportune time for the state’s residents to prepare for the next big tremor.

Twelve of the most recent quakes were recorded in the Lugoff-Elgin area of the Midlands. They ranged from 1.4 to 3.3 magnitude.

One earthquake, a magnitude 1.4, was recorded on Jan. 9 near Ladson in the Lowcountry. The two latest events were both reported in the Lugoff-Elgin area on Jan. 11, according to state data.

Despite these recent reports, scientists are not alarmed by the uptick in seismic activity, and say it falls in line with historic trends.

The severity of an earthquake is unpredictable, just like the ability to determine when one will happen. So knowing what to do in the event the ground begins to move is vital.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare.

Earthquake insurance

Events like earthquakes are not covered by typical homeowners insurance policies. But a separate policy, specifically for earthquakes, can cover the structural and foundational damage that typically occurs to a home or building during major seismic activity.

Just like automobile or homeowners insurance, there are deductibles associated with earthquake policies. But they are generally higher, said Ray Farmer, director of the S.C. Department of Insurance, and can range from zero to 20 percent of the value of the property.

Property including a home, belongings and outside structures like detached garages may all have individual deductibles, according to the Insurance Department.

Coverage details and rates vary by location and company. People should ultimately pick the plan that works best for their budget and needs, while also considering the cost to replace possessions, the value of the home and where they would live if it becomes uninhabitable, said Mary Joseph, a State Farm agent in Charleston.

Joseph urges potential buyers to first check with their carrier to see if earthquake insurance is an option and under what conditions damage would be covered.

“There are different variables as far as what kind of deductible would I (the policy holder) have to shoulder before my coverage would take into place,” Joseph said.

And there could be stipulations on when earthquake coverage can be added on to an existing policy.

Insurance companies only sold $48.2 million in earthquake premiums in 2020, but $1.97 billion in homeowners’ insurance and $147.6 million in flood insurance premiums, Farmer said.

“I would encourage all of our citizens to take these gentle reminders and focus on what would happen to your property, to your home in the event that we have a major earthquake,” he said.

When an earthquakes shakes the ground

Earthquakes can happen any time of the day, and several of the latest ones felt in South Carolina occurred late at night or during the early hours of the morning.

Residents should be prepared no matter when the ground begins to shake.

The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages people to keep a pair of shoes and flashlight secured underneath their bed, but within reach, in case they wake up to the ground shaking.

If in bed, folks should stay there during the earthquake, turn onto their stomachs and cover the head and neck areas with a pillow. Stay that way until the shaking has stopped.

“Once the ground does stop shaking, you want to put on those shoes that you have secured to your bed just in case anything’s fallen to the ground and becomes a hazard,” said Brandon Lavorgna, a public information coordinator with the EMD.

Survey the area and assess anyone in the home using the flashlight.

Lavorgna said a lot of people want to run to the doorway or outside when the ground starts shaking, but “it’s the last thing you want to do.”

If it’s daytime when an earthquake occurs, quickly get down on the floor and underneath a sturdy desk or table.

“Cover your head. Hold on to that item, that piece of furniture with your other hand, and hold on until it stops shaking,” Lavorgna said.

People who are outside should also fall to the ground and cover their head and neck. If possible, stay away from trees, powerlines, signs and anything that could fall.

It is important to not leave a safe location, whether inside or outside, until the shaking has ended.

Secure property

Common earthquake hazards include picture frames, desktop computers, ceiling fans, bookcases and TVs.

EMD recommends securely fastening frames to walls and relocating heavy pictures and mirrors away for beds or areas where they could fall on people. Strap bookcases and shelves to walls to prevent them from tipping, and make sure computers are secured to the desk with double-sided Velcro or some other means.

TVs are less hazardous when fixed to a wall, table or other surface.

“If you haven’t had your ceiling fan checked out in a while, have someone come in and make sure it is properly installed and properly secured,” Lavorgna said.

Know where to find utilities like water heaters and how to shut them off. Appliances should have flexible connections.

It is not a bad idea to have chimneys checked out, too, especially in older-model brick homes. The goal is to make sure it is up to code, secure and won’t fall through the roof or on someone who is outside.

For more information

An S.C. Earthquake Guide can be found on EMD’s website and provides more safety tips, including what to put in a disaster supply kit.

The recent low-magnitude earthquakes in the Palmetto State haven’t caused reported damages or injuries, Lavorgna said, adding, “that’s all we can hope for when these happen because you can’t predict earthquakes.”

Damage does not usually occur unless an earthquake magnitude reaches somewhere above 4 or 5, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

Research has concluded that a magnitude 5 is the biggest earthquake to likely ever have been felt in the Midlands, according to state geologist C. Scott Howard.

“The faults just aren’t capable of anything bigger,” Howard said.

That could change, but more research and a better understanding of the eastern Piedmont fault system are needed to be sure.

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