admin, Author at PECO Heating & Cooling

Save Money with Right HVAC Unit

Who doesn’t love saving money? As one of the most critical and expensive components of household living, your HVAC system is also a place where you can save money if you make a few smart moves.

Is Bigger Better?

Because it will struggle to heat or cool your home, an inadequate HVAC unit can drive up cost. Conversely, a unit that is too large will constantly cycle on and off. This is hard on the unit as well as being inefficient. We recommend that, based on your square footage, you don’t go more than:

Saving Money With HVAC
  • 15% over your recommended BTU for air conditioning.
  • 40% over your recommended BTUs for heating.
  • 25% over your recommended combined BTUs for a heat pump.

The Right System

HVAC systems usually consist of a separate furnace and air conditioner, or a heat pump, which combines the two. A heat pump might be your only option if your home is all-electric. Lots of folks with available natural gas or propane still choose heat pumps because of their one-unit simplicity. Heat pumps may cost more per month to run since electricity is usually more expensive than other fuels. It can be even more expensive and inefficient to run a heat pump if you live in climate zones extreme winter or summer temperatures.

Manage That Thermostat

Keeping a consistent temperature throughout the year can bring big savings. For example, you can create 3% savings for every degree over 72 that you set your air conditioner. A smart thermostat can allow you to manage temperature from anywhere and set up automatic settings that are highly efficient.No matter what you buy, or what you already own, we also offer a Planned Maintenance Agreement (PMA) to keep your HVAC system running at peak efficiency. For a minimal investment, we can come to your home twice each year. We will clean filters and burners, check coils, motors, amperage, and all other components of your system. You gain peace of mind and lower energy bills. We also give PMA customers a 10% discount on repairs, priority status and never charge them overtime for nights and weekends. Don’t forget that we also offer a wide range of home maintenance and repairs, including home inspection repairs, plumbing, and electrical services! Call the pros at PECO at  864-639-2424 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today. 

Choosing the Most Energy Efficient Heating System

Energy Efficient Heating System

Heating your home in winter is one of your most expensive annual energy costs. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new furnace, it’s good to carefully look at your options to make a choice that saves resources and energy over the long haul.

We suggest you ask yourself five important questions before purchasing:

How cold is cold?

The farther north you are and the colder it gets and the more a high-efficiency system can reduce cost over time. If you live in the southern areas at low altitudes, perhaps smaller zoned systems will be enough even on the coldest days.

Forced or radiant? 

Radiant heating—warm water that flows through tubing under or within floors—is highly efficient and cozy way to keep your toes warm. There are no cold areas because heat rises from the entire floor. But the cost can be quite high, especially if you are trying install it in an existing building.

How much room do you have for your unit?

A larger furnace may seem like a good idea until you consider the space available to install it. Outdoor units, such as heat pumps require enough yard for the unit and clearances. It’s best to consult with us before purchasing equipment that may not fit your space.

Which fuel options are available? 

What energy sources do you have access to? Natural gas, heating oil, electricity, or propane? Availability and prices of these vary widely. It’s good to consider which energy source will be plentiful and stable over the life of the unit.

What energy-efficiency best fits your needs?

Furnaces are sold at varying levels of efficiency. An 80% efficient furnace is open combustion, meaning it sucks in air from the surrounding area. A 95% heater can’t do that—it uses seals combustion and requires air from the outside. That means in addition to the increased cost of the more efficient model, you may also need to create a pathway for the air to enter the unit. Based on your needs, it may take a long time for the higher-efficiency model to pay for itself. In fact, it might never do so.

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we’ll give you straight answers about all of the furnaces we offer. We’re also available 24/7 to make sure your furnace or HVAC system is running right. With our Planned Maintenance Agreement you can make sure your system remains in excellent working order. Twice each year, we’ll come to your house and perform maintenance that will give you the reliability you can count on. We also provide a wide range of home maintenance and repairs, including home inspection repairs, plumbing, and electrical services. Visit us online or call 864-639-2424 to schedule your appointment to stay warm all winter long!   

Frozen Heat Pump? Call PECO!

It’s normal for your heat pump to develop some frost or ice on its outdoor coils. It’s not normal for it to look like a snowman!

What’s going on? Why are you seeing Frosty instead of your heat pump?

Insufficient Airflow

A heat pump’s refrigerant temperature can fall below freezing. Without sufficient airflow through the unit, moisture in the air freezes on the evaporator or condenser coils. One measure you can safely take to ensure good airflow is to clear away any leaves, debris or snow drifts that may be blocking the coils. If this doesn’t help, give us a call ASAP so we make repairs before any damage occurs.

Cold Water

Freezing rain or water dripping from a leaking gutter can cause the top of the unit to freeze. The rest of the unit quickly follows. We suggest you check your gutters to stop any leaking. If this isn’t the cause and your heat pump doesn’t defrost itself after a day or if it defrosts then freezes again, call us for proper ice removal.

Settling

Most heat pumps rest on a concrete slab. This slab sometimes settles into the ground over time. Just a small amount of settling can block the drainage path for ice melt, impede airflow, and cause ice buildup. Call us about raising the unit.

As you can see, in almost all cases, it’s best to give us a call. We’ve seen a lot of damage when people try to handle a frozen heat pump themselves. When they try to chip the ice off, they sometimes hit the refrigerant line and all the refrigerant leaks out. Another misguided home remedy is to pour boiling water on the unit. The trouble is that the hot water often ruins perfectly good electrical components.

Don’t turn Frosty into the Abominable Snowman to come to life. Contact PECO when you need reliable, trustworthy HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair in Oconee, Pickens, and North Anderson counties. We’re a family-owned business and take great pride in offering high-quality home repair with even higher quality attention to our customer’s needs. As well as being licensed plumbing contractors, we also install, maintain and fix heating and cooling systems. We can fix or build anything that moves gas or water through your house. We even do minor drywall repair and painting when needed. For an HVAC company that maintains the utmost standards and integrity, call us at 864-639-2424 or request an appointment online today!

Common Signs Your Furnace May Be Failing

Have you noticed your furnace is acting strange or is unable to keep up with your home’s heating demands? If so, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Catching small issues before they have a chance to become bigger is the best way to prevent a major repair. Here are some common signs that your furnace may be starting to fail:

Your Furnace is Short Cycling

When your furnace is cycling on and off, it’s called short cycling. This can be really frustrating – especially in winter – but even worse, it can cause higher energy bills and lead to expensive repairs if left unaddressed. If your furnace has been short cycling, it’s a sign that there’s something within the system that is interrupting the heating cycle. This can be caused by a variety of things. You may have low airflow caused by dirty air filters, a dirty blower wheel, or block vents. It could be caused by a faulty thermostat, a dying blower motor, or even a corroded or dirty flame sensor.

The Burner Flame is Yellow

If you have a natural gas furnace, check the color of the flame the next time it starts up. Normally, the flame should be blue. If you see a yellow flame, this could be a sign that you have a dirty burner. A dirty burner is a problem because it means the natural gas and the surrounding air isn’t mixing correctly. Not only does this keep your furnace from running efficiently, but it also means that the carbon monoxide may not be vented properly. Carbon monoxide can leak into your home and be a serious health hazard, so if you notice an irregular flame color, you should have it looked at as soon as possible.

Your Flue is Rusted

A rusted flue is another sign that the carbon monoxide isn’t vented properly. Leaks from the roof or plumbing can cause your flue lines to rust and corrode, leaving holes or areas for carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Gas furnaces produce a dangerous level of carbon monoxide, so it’s critical to ensure that the gas can be properly vented outdoors. Flue maintenance is also important for helping your furnace burn more efficiently, which will help it last longer.

Moisture is Accumulating in Your Home

Moisture on the ceilings, walls, or windows can be a sign that you don’t have enough airflow in your home. This could indicate that you have a problem with your vents or even the furnace itself.

Your Utility Bills are Spiking

Have you noticed a spike in your utility bills as soon as you begin using your furnace? This is often a sign that it’s not running as efficiently as it should be. You could be dealing with one of the issues mentioned above, or it could be due to having an older, inefficient furnace. Depending on the age of your furnace, it may be more cost-effective and energy efficient to install a new furnace.

You See Water Around Your Furnace

Water is a natural byproduct of a gas furnace or air conditioner, but water should not be pooling around it. If you discover a puddle near your furnace, the first thing to check is where it’s coming from. If you only see a leak when you’re running your air conditioner, you most likely have a leak or clog in your water condensate line. If the water is coming from the heater itself, or you notice it during the heating cycle, there may be a more serious problem.

There Are Signs of Animal Activity

Rodents like mice and rats can do a lot of damage to your heating system. If you notice nesting material or droppings near your furnace, you should check for signs of chewed wires or clogged vents. Likewise, vent hoods on your roof should be examined for animal activity.

Your Furnace is Old

In general, most furnaces can last for about 20 years. If your furnace is approaching that age or older, it may be time to install a new unit. A new furnace will be far more energy-efficient, and it’s better to replace it proactively rather than needing an emergency replacement in the middle of winter.

You’re Constantly Adjusting Your Thermostat

If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to stay comfortable, your thermostat could be starting to fail. It’s also possible that your furnace needs servicing to help it keep up with your home’s heating demands.

Your Furnace Needs Constant Service Calls

All furnaces will need to be serviced at some point, but recurring problems can signal your furnace is starting to fail. If you have multiple issues in two years or less, it’s worth investigating – or, if it’s older, investing in a new furnace.

There Are Cold Areas Around Your Home

Uneven heat around your home is often a big indicator that your furnace isn’t working as it should. Your furnace may not be heating up enough to keep your whole house warm, or it’s not able to maintain the push and pull of the vent system to circulate warm air. You may have an inadequate ducting system or incorrectly sized ducting and pipes. Poor insulation can also be to blame, especially in older homes.

Your Furnace Makes Excessive Noise (or is Noticeably Silent)

Most furnaces make noise while they’re operating. If you notice an increase in noise, it could be a sign that some of your components have come loose and are shaking around. If you notice that your furnace seems to be having long periods of silence, this could indicate that it’s not functioning as it should.

You Feel Unwell

As you’ve seen, there can be a few issues that can cause the carbon monoxide to be improperly vented, allowing it to leak into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly. It causes a range of physical symptoms like an overall feeling of unease, hallucinations, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms. To prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s recommended that you keep up with your furnace maintenance and install a carbon monoxide detector.

My Furnace Has One of These Issues! Now What?

If you’ve noticed one of these issues or it’s been a while since your furnace was serviced, give your friendly Home Service Heroes at PECO a call! Our knowledgeable technicians will make sure your heating system is running safely and smoothly. We also offer planned maintenance to help you extend the life of your HVAC system and keep it in perfect working order. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 or schedule your appointment online.

Stinky Furnace? What Should You Do?

A stinky furnace aroma is unpleasant. It is also unnerving. Where is it coming from? More importantly, how to get rid of it? Here are four uncomfortable scents your heater might spew and what you can do about it:

Don’t Get All Musty on Me

You might notice a musty smell in autumn the first time you fire up your furnace for the season. This usually means you have some mold growing in your ductwork or on the air conditioner coil mounted above your furnace. You’re probably going to have to call a pro for this one. It’s time to get your equipment and ducts inspected!

When Something is Rotten in Denmark (SC)

Shakespeare was talking about a Norwegian kingdom, but he could have been talking about a rotten egg or sewer smell coming from your furnace right here in South Carolina. If it smells sour or like rotten eggs when your furnace kicks on, it can indicate a failed heat exchanger. This is especially true for a high-efficiency heater. This issue requires a reputable HVAC company because a bad heat exchanger can fill your home with carbon monoxide gas.

Just a Dust-Up

The first time you crank up your heater after summer, you might smell the scent of dust. This one is usually no problem. Dust accumulates during the year when you don’t turn your furnace on. When components get hot, the dust burns and creates that smell. It should burn off soon enough!

Plastic Smell? Shut It Down!

A plastic smell spells trouble. It means electrical components and/or wires are getting heated up. This is probably because of a short or other breakdown in the electrical system. This could be anything from a malfunctioning fan to needing a new furnace. Ignoring this is a safety hazard! Turn off your heater and call a professional immediately.If you live in Oconee, Pickens, and North Anderson counties, contact the experts at PECO. We’re a family-owned business and take great pride in offering high-quality home repair with even higher quality attention to our customer’s needs. As well as being licensed plumbing contractors, we also install, maintain and fix heating and cooling systems. We can fix or build anything that moves gas or water through your house and even do minor drywall repair and painting when needed. Want to get the funk out of your furnace? Call the experts at PECO today at 864-639-2424 or request an appointment online

Furnace Costs—Can We Talk?

Furnaces are more complex than ever. They have more new features, higher efficiencies, and, of course, higher costs. How do you know what is best for you instead of what is best for the company trying to sell it to you?

Here are some thoughts, warnings, advice, and lessons learned about furnace pricing and how to get the most warmth for your dollar!

Mid- or High-Efficiency? 

Furnace Costs

Mid-efficiency furnaces are rated at 80-89% and vents into masonry or a metal chimney. A high efficiency furnace, rated at 90-97%, costs roughly twice as much and requires more sophisticated venting. Higher efficiency models can be good choices if you live in a cold climate or will be staying in your house for 10 years or more. Local energy costs are also important. If you live in an area with higher energy costs, high-efficiency furnaces may be more attractive. There are also some possible rebates for high-efficiency units. 

Single-Stage or Two-Stage?

Think of it like a car. A single-stage furnace only has one burner rate, pedal to the metal. A two-stage furnace has two settings and burns at a lower rate unless more gas is needed. This gives your house more consistent temperatures and can increase the life of the unit. The unit is also quieter and more efficient.  

Standard, Two-Speed or a Variable-Speed Blower?

The new DOE standards for furnaces now include more efficient blower motors for basic furnaces (80% or 90%).  A standard two-speed blower has one blower speed for heating and one for cooling. It’s much cheaper than a variable-speed blower. It is also less complex, which can mean lower future repair costs. It is also noisier than a variable-speed blower and uses more energy. A variable-speed continually adjusts its speed to your home’s needs. It uses a fraction of the electricity of most standard motors, is quiet, and makes your home more comfortable. As stated above, higher initial cost and more expensive future repairs are factors when purchasing a more complex system.

Going with the lowest price isn’t always the best idea. This may mean that the contractor cuts corners or that the unit is of lesser quality. Reputable brands also come with better warranties—so be sure to research how long the equipment is under warranty. Does this warranty include labor?

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we will give you straight answers about the furnaces we offer. We are available 24/7 to make sure your furnace or HVAC system is running right. With our Planned Maintenance Agreement you can make sure that your system is in excellent working order every day. Twice each year, we’ll come to your house and perform maintenance that will give you the reliability you can count on. We also provide a wide range of home maintenance and repairs, including home inspection repairs, plumbing, and electrical services. To stay warm all winter long, visit us online or call 864-639-2424 to schedule your appointment!

How to Conduct a DIY Home Electrical Safety Check

Electrical issues are more than an inconvenience – they can be a serious hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 24,000 home fires are caused by electrical problems annually. Sadly, many electrical fires can be prevented by conducting occasional safety checks. Electrical safety checks are quick, easy, and can potentially save you from property damage or injury. In some cases, they may even save a life! Understanding the common causes of house fires, as well as warning signs of electrical trouble, can help prevent an electrical fire in your home.

Here’s a list of nine things homeowners should make a point to check each year:

The Breaker Panel

Inspect your breaker panel and the surrounding area. You should make sure that there are at least 3 feet of clear space around it. Open the panel and examine the breakers. Do you see any signs of rust, corrosion, or rodents? Flip each of the circuit breakers on and off, noting any that are sticking or not working properly. If you often experience tripped breakers, this could be an indication that your system is being overloaded.

GFCI Testing

All outlets that are at risk of being exposed to water (near a sink, for example) should be ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protected. These outlets can wear out after a while, so it’s essential to test them to make sure they’re still functioning properly. If you look at the face of a GFCI outlet, you’ll notice two rectangular buttons that say “Test” and “Reset.” To test your GFCI outlet, press the test button with your finger. You should hear a snapping sound that trips the outlet and cuts off power to the plug connections.

To confirm that the power is off, you can plug in a lamp or radio into the outlet. If the outlet is working as it should, the device you plugged in shouldn’t turn on. You can also check to see if the outlet is supplying voltage by using a voltage tester or multimeter. There are also GFCI outlet testers, which can alert you whether the outlet is wired correctly. Once you’ve confirmed that the safety function is working, you can press the reset button to restore power to the outlet.  

Test Your Outlets

Like your GFCI outlets, regular outlets should also be tested. One of the best ways to check them is by using a receptacle tester, which is also called a “cube” or “block” tester. This device plugs directly into the outlet and indicates whether it detects common wiring issues. These tools are handy and affordable, so we recommend them for any home toolkit!

Exposed Wiring

Many attics and basements have exposed wiring, which can become worn and cracked over time. You should inspect all visible wiring to make sure it’s free of cracks or splits. Rodents love to chew on wires, so you should also keep an eye out for areas of rodent damage. While you’re there, it’s also a good idea to check for other signs of rodents, such as nests or scat. Any damaged wiring should be replaced. If you’ve found evidence of rodents, this should also be dealt with as soon as possible.

Extension Cords

All extension cords should be checked for cuts, cracks, exposed wiring, or other types of damage that can occur during home projects. You should also check that any cords used for power tools are within their amperage rating.

Exterior Outlets

Exterior outlets are subject to the elements, so it’s important to make sure that they’re sealed and free from animal intrusion. All exterior outlets should be GFCI protected, so you’ll want to test them to make sure they’re working correctly. If something has been plugged into one of your exterior outlets for an extended period of time, check to make sure it’s not keeping the weather cover propped open. If you do use your outlet for an extended period, you should have an outlet with a cover that has access holes. This will allow the cover to completely close while you’re using it.

Test Your Outlets for Tightness

Outlets, like most things, can wear out over time. If you notice plugs sitting loosely in an outlet, or they slip out enough to expose the plug pin, the outlet should be replaced. If the outlet itself is loose in the electrical box, it can be quickly fixed using plastic outlet shims.

Voltage Testing

If you’ve noticed that your electrical devices seem to be working irregularly when plugged into a particular outlet, it’s a good idea to test the voltage. The issue could be caused by a loose wire, but a voltage test will help you determine if it’s a more extensive problem. Check the power to that outlet using a voltmeter or multimeter. Standard residential outlets should read between 110 and 130 volts. If you see readings outside of that range, it may be time to call in the professionals!

Use Your Other Senses

Beyond visual inspections, it’s also essential to take note of other things you notice using your sense of smell, sound, and touch. Place your hand on outlets and light switches. Do you notice excessive heat? It’s normal for dimmer switches to get warm when the lights are on, but they shouldn’t be uncomfortable to touch. Do you notice any acrid smells when you plug in a device or flip a switch? Do you hear popping or cracking noises near an outlet or switch? These are all signs that there’s something wrong with the switch or outlet. It could be that it’s defective or worn, or it could be a sign that there’s a problem with the wiring. In any case, it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible

I Found a Problem – Now What?

So, you’ve gone through your home and found some issues that need to be addressed. Now what? In some cases, you may need to replace a switch in the wall. In other cases, you may need to have areas of your home re-wired. At best, electrical work can be complicated. At worst, it can cause damage to your home or put you at risk for injury. Many times, electrical work is best left to the professionals. We offer a variety of electrical repair services, from minor outlet and switch replacements to major repairs and remodels. We hold both mechanical and electrical licensees and offer a 1-year parts and labor warranty on all repairs. If you’ve discovered an electrical issue or don’t feel comfortable conducting an electrical safety check on your own, contact us today at (864) 639-2424 to schedule a service call!

Generators: The Answer to Your Power Woes

You’re settled in at home during a stormy night, and suddenly, the power goes out. As you slowly make your way to where you’ve stashed a flashlight, you stub your toe on the corner of a chair. Then, as you finally drag your flashlight out of the drawer, you discover the batteries are dead…

At this point, you might be wishing you had a generator!

Power outages can last hours, days, and even weeks. An outage can force you to go into emergency mode, making it necessary to navigate your home in the dark and figure out creative ways to keep your home warm and your food from spoiling. If you rely on well water, your ability to have fresh, filtered water for drinking, bathing, or heating your house will also be affected. Beyond being inconvenient, power outages can be costly, as anyone who’s lost an entire refrigerator of food can tell you! It’s even worse when it affects your business. For those who rely on electricity to power critical medical equipment, like dialysis machines or oxygen, a power outage can be dangerous.

Having a generator will ensure that you’ll stay comfortable and safe when the power goes out. There are two popular types of generators, and each one has its benefits. When deciding between a portable or whole-home generator, it’s important to consider your power needs. Do you want to keep your entire house up and running? Or are you more concerned with keeping only a few vital electrical devices are powered?

Whole-Home Generators

A whole-home generator (also called a standby generator) is permanently installed on the outside of your home, like a central air conditioning unit. They’re powered by your existing gas or liquid propane fuel supply, so there’s never a need to refuel them manually. A whole-home generator acts like your own personal electrical power source, delivering power directly to your home’s electrical system 24/7. Within just a few seconds of a power outage, the generator will automatically start up and restore your power. This is especially convenient because you don’t have to be home to restore power to your house. Once the power returns, the generator will automatically shut itself off.

Whole-home generators can back up your entire home or only essential equipment. They can be operated safely during any weather conditions and protect your home from dangerous voltage fluctuations when the power is restored. Since this type of generator ties into your electrical system, it must be professionally installed. However, unlike a portable generator, you don’t have to worry about dragging a unit outside or running extension cords through your home. As a bonus, installing a whole-home generator adds value to your home.

We’ve installed many whole-home generators and have found Generac to be reliable, high-quality, and affordable generators that fully meet our customers’ energy needs. They offer generators starting at 7.5kW up to 150kW. All models come with Mobile Link Remote Monitoring, which allows you to monitor your generator from anywhere in the world through your mobile device. Generac engines were developed specifically for generators and are designed to provide approximately 3,000 hours of use. With typical use and maintenance, they can last over 15 years, so they’re a great investment. Once the generator is installed, there’s nothing for you to do except schedule yearly maintenance.

Portable Generators

Portable generators are intended as a backup power supply for power outages. They’re a self-contained unit that can be moved, which makes them a convenient option, particularly for people who are renting rather than owning a house. Portable generators cost less than whole-house generators, but they come with limitations. Unlike whole-home generators, they provide limited power and are best used to keep crucial electrical equipment powered, such as lights, refrigerators, or medical equipment.

Portable generators typically operate on gasoline or propane; some models operate on solar power. They must be manually refilled periodically to run and require you to have separate fuel storage. Since gas-powered generators produce carbon monoxide, they shouldn’t be operated in an enclosed area or near windows or doors. A rule of thumb is to keep your portable generator at least 15 feet away from your house. Some models are designed to provide power for up to eight hours, while others are designed to provide days of power. Despite this, it’s not a good idea to keep portable generators running continuously for an extended period of time.

Another consideration with portable generators is that you must be home to use it. So, if you leave for vacation and an extended power outage occurs, you may come home to some surprises – like a fridge full of spoiled food or a flooded basement from a failed sump pump. Portable generators can also be noisy, so depending on where you live, there may be limited hours you’ll be able to use it. They also should not be used in the rain, which could limit use.

Which to Choose?

As we mentioned, the type of generator you choose mainly comes down to use. If you’d like a no-hassle system that automatically turns on and off and can power your entire house, a whole-home generator is the best choice. If you only want to power a few things in your home for a period of time, then a portable generator would probably be sufficient.

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we know generators! With years of experience installing, repairing, and servicing generators, we can help you select one that will fully meet your energy needs. We can also keep it maintained so that it’s always in perfect working order. Contact your Home Service Heroes at PECO today by calling 864-639-2424 or fill out our online form.

Debunking Common Home Maintenance Myths

As any homeowner knows, keeping your house well-maintained is a lot of work! There’s always something that needs to be done around a home, but how do you know if you’re doing the task correctly or as often as you should? To make matters more confusing, home maintenance misconceptions abound through word of mouth. We’ve compiled – and debunked – some of the most common home maintenance myths you may have come across.

Myth: Cutting Your Grass Shorter Will Allow You to Mow Less Frequently

Mowing the lawn is many people’s least favorite chore. While it may be tempting to cut your grass short so that you don’t need to do it as often, this can have consequences on your lawn. Grass that’s cut too short is more susceptible to weeds, disease, heat damage, and drought. Each species of grass has an ideal mowing height that will keep it lush and strengthen the root system. Once you’ve identified your lawn’s perfect height, it’s best to follow the one-third rule. Set your mower blade to your grass species’ recommended height and mow it often enough that you cut off no more than the top third of the grass.

Myth: Turn Off Your AC When You’re Not Home to Save Energy

It seems like you would save energy by turning off your air conditioner when you’re away from home, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. An AC unit that has been turned off for hours has to work much harder to cool down your home. Any money or energy you may have saved during the day is negated by the extra energy it uses once it’s restarted. Also, your AC doesn’t just cool the air – it also dehumidifies it. Turning it off completely allows the humidity in your home to climb, which can lead to mold growth or insect infestations. Instead of turning your AC off entirely, it’s best to turn your thermostat down by 5 – 10 degrees.

Myth: Gutters Only Need to be Cleaned in the Fall

Gutters are incredibly important for directing the flow of rainwater away from your roof, walls, foundation, and landscape. While the fall season certainly brings an increase of leaves and tree branches, debris can accumulate in your gutters throughout the year. Your gutters can’t do their job when they’re clogged, which puts your home at risk for interior or exterior water damage. Clogged gutters can also attract uninvited guests, like rodents, insects, and mold. To keep your gutters clear and working properly, it’s best to clean them in the spring and fall.

Myth: More Insulation = a Better Insulated Home

At some point, many homeowners will need to add more insulation to their homes. While you may think more insulation will result in a better insulated home, you don’t want to go overboard with it. Too much insulation can cause more problems than it solves. For example, putting too many layers of insulation in your attic can cause it to compress, making it less effective. Excessive attic insulation can also block your home’s eaves or soffit vents, which can lead to heat and moisture buildup.

Myth: Test Your Smoke Alarm Using the Test Button

Ask most people how to test their smoke alarm, and their answer will probably be to push the test button. This is a potentially dangerous misconception. When you push the test button, you’re only testing whether the batteries and sound are working. While these are both important, it doesn’t let you know if your smoke detector is actually able to detect smoke. To test that, you can hole a freshly burned out match under it. If the smoke detector is working the way it should, the alarm should sound. As a safety precaution, you should check your smoke detectors twice a year. Since dead batteries account for most smoke alarm failures, it’s also a good idea to replace the batteries once or twice a year as well.

Myth: Your Carpet is Dry if it Feels Dry

Cleaning up water from leaks or flooding is never pleasant, but it becomes particularly troublesome when it involves carpeting. Wet carpet doesn’t always appear wet, and to make matters worse, water can seep down into the lower layers of your carpet and into the subfloor. Even if your carpet feels dry, your floor could be at risk for mold, rot, or other serious issues.

Myth: You Bathroom Exhaust Fan Doesn’t Need Maintenance

Cleaning out your bathroom’s exhaust fan may not sound like a thrilling chore, but it’s one that should be on everyone’s to-do list. All the heat and humidity that accumulates in bathrooms make them the perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold. Your bathroom fan prevents mold and mildew growth – but it can only do that when it’s working properly. Over time, your fan collects dust and grime, which can gunk up the motor. It’s best to clean the grille and vacuum out the mechanical parts every 6 – 12 months to keep it well-maintained.

Myth: Furnace Filters Only Need to Be Replaced Once a Season

Your furnace filter plays a vital role in preventing contaminants from reaching the living areas in your home. Indoor air contains a lot of pollutants – as many as five times as much as what you’d find outdoors. Some homeowners try to save money by only replacing their filters once a season, but in most cases, they should be replaced more often. If you live in an area that’s dry and dusty, have allergies, or own pets, it’s recommended that you replace them once a month. For homes that are in more humid, lush locations, you can generally get by with replacing them every three months. Wondering how you can tell it’s time to replace your filter? Hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light shining through, it’s time for a replacement!

Myth: You Can Add Chemicals to Your Pool Any Time of Day

If you have a pool, you may have heard that it doesn’t matter what time of day you add chemicals. Many pool chemicals, like chlorine, are sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. Adding chemicals during the day can reduce their effectiveness and even cause them to dissipate. For this reason, it’s best to add pool chemicals in the evening.

Myth: You Should Always Remove Asbestos from Your Home

If you live in a house that was built before 1980, there’s a good chance you have asbestos somewhere in your home. Asbestos was once a widely used building material because of its insulating and fire-resistant properties. It was banned in 1978 because the fibers were found to cause several health conditions. However, if you have asbestos in your home, there’s no need to panic or have it removed. According to the EPA, asbestos is only a health concern if it becomes “friable.” Friable means easily crumbled by hand, which releases the fibers into the air. If the asbestos in your home isn’t damaged and you don’t plan on disturbing it, there’s no need to worry about having it removed. The EPA recommends that any asbestos in good condition should be left alone.

Myth: Your Dishwasher is Self-cleaning

It may seem like your dishwasher gets a deep cleaning with every use, but that’s unfortunately not the case. Periodic cleanings are recommended to keep it running well and prevent odors from accumulating. Begin by removing any debris or the tub and filter, so that it can drain properly. Place a couple of cups of vinegar in a clean bowl near the center of the bottom rack and run your dishwasher on its normal cycle without detergent. This will clean and deodorize your washer. If there are leftover mineral deposits, you can use a dishwasher cleaner like Affresh to remove them.

Myth: I Have to Do My Home Maintenance Myself

Home maintenance often gets pushed on the wayside, but it’s essential to protecting your investment and preventing more expensive repairs down the road. If you don’t have the time, tools, or skill set to do your own home maintenance, never fear – call your Home Service Heroes at PECO! We’re a licensed home contractor offering high-quality home repair and maintenance. We’re fully insured and have decades of experience in everything from minor repairs to remodeling. Give us a call today at (864) 639-2424 or contact us online!

5 Tips to Keep Your AC System Running Right

Staying cool as outside temperatures rise doesn’t have to decrease your bank account! We urge you to consider these tips to increase the efficiency of your AC system. It will lower energy bills and make your system less prone to breaking down when you need it most!

Get the Right Machine

If you are getting a new AC unit, make sure that it is rated for the amount of space you are cooling. If it is not designed to cover the square footage of your home or business, it will have to work out too hard. An overworked system will wear out more quickly trying to meet the demands of the thermostat. On the other hand, if an AC unit is rated for more space than needed, it will constantly turn on and off—another way for it to wear out and become unreliable!

Clean Those Fins and Coils

The AC evaporators in your house and condensers outside require clean fins and coils to release heat. Dust and grime build up over time and cost you money and efficiency. We recommend checking it twice each year—our Planned Maintenance Agreement (PMA) allows you to keep your system running smooth. We will clean filters and burners, check coils, motors, amperage, and all other components of your system. We never charge PMA customers for overtime on emergency work, and they receive priority status and a 10% discount on all repairs!

Your Air Filter is your Friend! Treat your Friend Right!

Do you know what a good friend your air filter is? It removes pollen, dust mites, textile and carpet fibers, mold spores, dust, pet dander, bacteria, and smoke so you don’t have to breathe it into your lungs. You’re welcome! But your BFF does require some attention now and again. Every six months or so, you should replace your filter. You can improve energy use by up to 15 percent by changing it out. This helps out your entire system as well as your wallet!

Turning Down the Thermostat doesn’t Cool You Down Faster

There is a common misunderstanding floating around in the over-air-conditioned air out there! Some folks think that temporarily lowering their thermostat will make the temp drop faster. Wrong! Your AC works just as hard to lower the temperature one degree as it does 20 degrees. It is just running longer than you need it to and eventually gets your rooms to lower temperatures than necessary. If your thermostat is set at the right level, these are whispered words of wisdom: let it be!

Replace your Older System?

Is your current system more than 10 or 12 years old? Has it received regular maintenance? If your AC unit is showing signs of wear, it may be time to consider a replacement. Though it is a significant investment initially, a new unit can save you on monthly bills and possible large repair costs. We can let you know what kind of shape your system is in. You can trust us to give you the straight scoop. You need to know if your “mature” unit is still in good shape or if it might be time to consider upgrading.

We will make sure you stay cool all summer long! As the go-to HVAC experts for upstate South Carolina, we will also keep your furnace running right. In addition, we provide a wide range of other electrical and plumbing and home maintenance and repair services. Call PECO at 864-639-2424 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today!