Blog - PECO Heating & Cooling

Can Your Heating and Cooling Ductwork Go Bad Over Time?

Every time South Carolina goes through a cold snap, you probably wonder what the heating bill will look like. You may worry about the bill going up and try to retain as much heat as possible in the house by sealing up drafty windows and doors and using rugs on hardwood floors. Sometimes, even with your best efforts, the bill still seems high. What can you do?

If your heating bill is high, one of the first places to look is your HVAC system. The easiest step is to check the filter. PECO recommends changing your filter every thirty days. If your filter is clogged with dust and debris, your system will be working hard to push air through it – and be pushing that dirt right back into your home!

Another factor to consider is your ductwork. Deteriorated ductwork can actually be leaking warm air, costing money and forcing your HVAC system to work harder than necessary, which can decrease the life of your system.

The Age of Your Ductwork

Old Ductwork

Do you know how old your ductwork is? Ductwork can start to deteriorate in as little as ten years if the original job wasn’t done correctly; the seams and seals can start to break down, letting air seep out. You may be able to see exposed duct work in the house and see signs of aging. Are the ducts cracking, sagging, or coming apart at the seams? Do you see any streaks of dust near seams?

Feel the airflow in different rooms of your house. When you turn on the air, can you feel it easily flowing through the vents in the living room, but feel just a trickle of air in the bedroom? Is there a distinct temperature difference between rooms? These could be signs that your ducts have deteriorated or there are heavy air leaks.

Duct systems today have an R8 insulation value and require all seams to be sealed with specialized tapes and adhesives. Our PECO team tapes, bands, and screws all the duct components together. This keeps seams sealed, as overtime, the tape can loosen as adhesives age.

Detriments of an Old System

Older duct systems had to meet lower energy standards than today’s duct systems. Some homes will have a grey plastic/fiberglass covering but are not sealed at the insulation seams. A few very old homes with original duct systems will not have any insulation at all!

If you have concerns about your ducts, the best thing to do is contact your local HVAC contractor. Existing duct systems where the insulation has come unwrapped in a few places can be repaired, however, if the entire system has become unwrapped it is best to replace everything.  Tapes don’t stick to old, dusty insulation and seal properly. PECO can fix or replace old ducts, which can have a big impact on your comfort level in your home by allowing air to freely flow and can help decrease the bill! Contact PECO today to make an appointment to inspect your ductwork.

Program a Thermostat

Wall Thermostat

Are you trying to program a thermostat? Sometimes it seems like you need a college degree just to work one! Don’t freeze or boil in your own home – make sure it is comfortable by properly programming the thermostat.

Old school thermostats can be a little confusing, but once you understand how they work, you can easily set a thermostat to make sure you have a consistently comfortable temperature in your home. This is a great resource to learn how to set some thermostats, though it is best to go to the manufacturer’s website for a specific manual for your thermostat.

Newer Thermostats

While newer thermostats are programmable so that you can efficiently manage your energy usage while keeping the house pleasantly heated/cooled – for example, setting the thermostat to drop to 67° overnight in the winter and warm to 70° during the day – not all older thermostats have this feature. If you are interested in upgrading to a newer thermostat, or even a smart thermostat like Lennox M30 Smart Thermostat, Ecobee Smart Thermostat, or Google Nest, PECO can quickly and easily complete the task.

The best way to program a thermostat that is a new model is by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Instructions came with the thermostat in the packaging and can be found directly on the manufacturer’s website. Smart thermostats can also be linked to your phone and accessed via an app, allowing you to control your HVAC system even when you’re not home. You can turn off the system to conserve energy when no one is home or turn on the system before arriving home to ensure the house is comfortable when you get there. If you have a smart thermostat, visit the manufacturer’s website directly for information on programming and tips.

Leave it to the Professionals

It is important to have a professional initially install these thermostats as they are designed for different types of equipment and it is easy to damage expensive electrical components in your system or choose the incorrect equipment on the initial set up. Any of these issues will cause the thermostat to work incorrectly.

Of course, whatever type of thermostat you have, PECO can help! We are experienced in the installation, repair, and maintenance of various types of heating and cooling systems. If you want to program a thermostat, upgrade to a smart thermostat, or have any questions about your HVAC, call us at (864)639-2424. We are a family-owned business based in Central, South Carolina, and serving the surrounding areas including Sunset, Six Mile, Clemson, Seneca, Salem, and beyond.

When Is It Time To Replace My Furnace?

Furnace

Maybe you purchased your home recently and aren’t sure the age of your heating and cooling systems. Maybe your furnace has some issues and you are wondering whether to repair or replace it. Or maybe you know your furnace is several years old and are planning for the future. Fortunately, your local expert is here to help!

PECO is a family-owned and operated business that focuses on making your home as comfortable as possible. To ensure that your furnace efficiently and thoroughly heats your home, we recommend replacing when:

  • The furnace is more than 15 years old. Some furnaces may encounter major issues prior to 15 years, but most modern furnaces will last this long. If it’s been over 15 years since you’ve replaced the unit, it’s time to install a new one.
  • Your energy bills keep going up. Over time, your furnace may become less efficient. Your old system has to work harder and harder to heat the same space. If you replace the system, you can see decreases in your energy bill – especially if you invest in a high-efficiency unit.
  • Your system isn’t adequately heating the house. Do you notice that some rooms are too cold and some are too hot? Inconsistent heating is a cause to call a professional for repairs. If you need frequent or major repairs to the system, it may be more cost-effective to replace the system entirely.
  • Your house is humid. Are you sweltering in the summer in a humid house? Is your home overly dry in the winter? These humidity problems can be a sign of leaky ductwork and inadequate equipment.
  • You hear clanging or other loud noises when you’re using the heater. A noisy system can be a sign of a bigger problem and is a reason to call a professional.
  • You notice that you’re dusting more often. Do you have excessive dust? This can be a sign that your HVAC system has leaky ducts that need to be sealed to keep dust from the basement, crawl space, or attic into your home. It could also be a sign that you need a new filter or a more powerful system.
  • You don’t have a programmable thermostat. In the modern age, you can start a car with your phone and have a family event from your laptop. Your thermostat needs to catch up! A programmable thermostat saves you energy and money by turning off or lowering the heat while you’re at work, away on vacation, or sleeping.

Call PECO if it’s time to replace your furnace!

How to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter in South Carolina

We are lucky in South Carolina to enjoy fairly mild winters. It’s far better to get a little frost than to spend winter in Maine! Even the Southeast doesn’t usually get lots of snow, it’s still smart to prepare for winter to make sure you – and your family – are comfortable inside. Here are some easy steps to follow to prepare your HVAC system for the coming months.

Change Your Air Filter

If it seems like we are always talking about air filters – it’s because changing your air filter is one of the simplest, most cost-effective, and important things you can do to maintain your furnace. When you change the air filter regularly, you are keeping contaminants from re-filtering through your home and you allow the HVAC system to work more efficiently as it doesn’t have to push air through a clogged filter. Operationally, it’s one of the most important parts of your system!

You can order filters online and have them delivered to your door. This way, you always have the right size filter and you never forget to change it!

Clean your HVAC Registers

Make a note to clean your registers (or grills) in the fall as you prepare for winter. You probably have HVAC registers on the floor or walls of your home. Over time, they can get clogged with dust, dirt, allergens, and other contaminants. Take the grate off, wipe it down, and wipe around the area to make sure your indoor air is clean.

Also, see if the registers open/close, and are not blocked by furniture. If you have a heavy couch or other furniture on top of your register, the air will not be able to flow freely through your home. This will lessen the effectiveness of your furnace.

Seal Drafts

Have you been sitting in your cozy living room and felt a draft from a nearby window? Brrrr. Drafts allow cold air to enter your home, which can be uncomfortable, makes your furnace work harder, and wastes energy! Save energy and money by sealing drafts before winter.

Look at replacing weatherstripping around doors, closing the fireplace flue, and sealing windows. This can have a big effect on your energy bill and the comfort of your home.

Clear Outdoor Units

Is your HVAC system outside? If so, it’s smart to check your unit for overgrown plants, damage, and any debris before winter. There may be plants growing into the system or leaves stuck to the grills. By clearing around the outdoor unit, you allow the system to work to optimal capacity.

Have Your Furnace Inspected by a Professional

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system helps ensure that it is running smoothly and efficiently. Call PECO for a maintenance inspection before you encounter issues with your furnace. You don’t want to try to turn on your heater one night and realize that it’s broken!

A trained HVAC professional can help inspect the various components of your system, clean the condenser coil, test the system, and provide tips on how to keep warm this winter. Contact PECO to schedule your appointment today!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall Leaves

It’s autumn! You know what that means: nature changing colors, cozy sweaters, bonfires, candy in all the stores, crunchy leaves. It also means it’s time to do a home maintenance check. There are always maintenance or repairs to do on any property. We recommend keeping to a schedule where you keep a checklist for every season. That way, you know that these tasks are completed at least once yearly when you consult your seasonal checklist. For example, perhaps you make sure the windows are cleaned every spring. 

There are optimal times to do different tasks. It makes sense to re-stain the deck in summer when it will dry quickly. Many fall maintenance tasks are getting ready for the winter ahead. Fall is the time you want to make sure your home is ready for winter so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when it turns cold. Here’s our recommended maintenance list: 

  1. Test your outdoor stairs and railings. The last thing you want is to be coming in from the cold, grab the porch railing, and fall.
  2. Store outdoor items for the winter. Many of us have deck furniture, umbrellas, BBQs, and other accessories. Clean these and put them away before they get damaged by rain or wind. 
  3. Walk around the outside of your home. Look for any cracks in the foundation or blistering in your siding. These problems should be fixed before cooling temps can damage the house further. 
  4. Carefully consider your roof. Do you know how old it is? Are there any signs of leaking? Repairing the roof before rain is always preferable to waiting until you have a flood of water in your home. 
  5. After leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters. Leaves and debris clog gutters, which can lead to water overflow and gutters falling because they are too heavy. 
  6. Weather-strip and/or insulate your garage door. These changes can make a big difference on the temperature inside your garage. The seal on the door also keeps out little critters who are looking for warmth. 
  7. Apply weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors. Air leaks around openings cause drafts and can significantly increase your heating bill. 
  8. If you have a humidifier, clean it at the beginning of the season before using it and make sure to regularly clean it. Humidifiers can harbor bacteria and spores if left uncleaned. 
  9. Change the direction of your ceiling fan. In the winter, you want your fan to create an upward draft, which will send the warm air by the ceiling down into the room. 
  10. Have your HVAC system checked by a professional before it gets cold. It’s better to make sure the system works before you get chilly!

If you need assistance with your home maintenance checklist, be sure to contact your local professionals at PECO. We would be happy to help!

Is Your HVAC System Ready For Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and can result in some of the strongest storms on the planet. Hurricanes unleash strong winds, storm surges and a deluge of rain that can ravage homes and communities.

While you know how to prepare your home and family when a hurricane threatens, you should also take precautions to protect your HVAC system. When you understand how to protect your HVAC system before the storm hits and what to do afterwards, you can minimize system damage and help safeguard your family.

Prepare Your HVAC System Before the Hurricane

If your community is in the path of a hurricane (you can sign up for emergency alerts by clicking here), follow these steps to keep your HVAC equipment as safe as possible:

  • Turn off the gas supply to gas furnaces
  • Turn off breakers to your AC or heat pump and indoor air handler or gas furnace
  • Protect outdoor equipment from flying debris
  • Secure your outdoor unit by ensuring bolts are secure and tight. Use hurricane straps when possible.
  • Talk to your dealer about elevating your HVAC system

Survive During the Storm

If you are sheltering at home amid high winds, move your family to a small, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor. In the event of flooding, ascend to your home’s highest level. However, never climb into a closed attic as you could become trapped by rising flood water. You can use a generator or battery-powered lamps and flashlights to have light even if you lose power.

To stay comfortable while your HVAC system is off, you can take several steps, such as placing a damp kitchen towel around your neck and pulling down the shades to block out sun and heat.

If you’re told to evacuate, don’t delay—evacuate immediately and be certain not to drive around barricades. Also be sure to avoid bridges over fast-moving water.

Stay Safe After the Hurricane

When the hurricane passes, you can safely assess how your home weathered the storm. If you discover water or other storm damage, you may need to replace some of your HVAC equipment. Your home’s insurance provider can help you file a claim.

It’s important that you don’t turn on your HVAC system right after the hurricane passes. Instead, contact your local Lennox® dealer to inspect your system first. An expert can determine which equipment requires repairs or needs to be replaced. 

When hurricane season hits, don’t overlook your home’s HVAC systems. Take the necessary steps to prepare before the storm and ensure your family’s safety after the storm.

The Easiest Way to Get HVAC Filters

Have you noticed that your house is excessively dusty? Are your allergies acting up, giving you itchy eyes or a runny nose? Does your air conditioning seem to be less efficient and not cool enough?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s time to check your air filter! When was the last time you changed the air filter for your heating and cooling system? If you can’t remember, then it’s definitely time. We recommend changing your filter on a monthly basis, which has several benefits. First, it keeps your HVAC system running at optimal efficiency. Instead of having to work harder to push air through a clogged filter, your system can run smoothly through a clean filter. This means your house is cooler when you want it cooler and you don’t have to keep fiddling with the thermostat to get the air conditioning to work harder.

Other Benefits to Changing Your Air Filter

Replacing HVAC Filter

Changing your air filter frequently also maintains the air quality in your home. Indoor air quality is greatly impacted by the air filter; a dirty filter can actually push dust back into your home and is unable to capture new dust. Meanwhile, ensuring that filters are replaced regularly means that the filter can clean the air of your home, helping with allergies and dust buildup

The best part? You don’t have to remember to buy a filter. All you have to do is enroll through PECO with Filter Fetch, a company that auto delivers filters monthly. In these difficult times, the last thing you want to worry about is remembering to change your filter or having to go to the store to buy a filter. Let Filter Fetch take care of it for you! PECO customers even get free shipping on filters by using code C8SV. Get your filters here!

Banish Dust from your Home

Do you HATE dusting? Even people that enjoy cleaning often bemoan the need to constantly dust their house. After dusting, then you have to clean the floors and walls and wherever the dust has spread. The worst part? The dust seems to come back immediately! 

If you hate dusting (does anyone like dusting?), it’s time to consider the culprit. While some accumulation of dust is normal, if it feels like you can’t ever get ahead of the grime, your HVAC filter may be to blame. A dirty filter in your air conditioning pushes dust out into your home and is unable to capture contaminants. It can’t pick up new dust because it’s already too choked with old dust. This not only makes your house dusty, but it also decreases air quality. Improve indoor air quality and cut your cleaning time by making sure to change HVAC filters regularly! 

Dust on the floor in vent

When you have clean filters, your HVAC system can actually help you clean. What!? My air conditioning can help me clean? It’s true! An efficient system with a clean filter can help remove particles from the air. Consider running your fan, especially after dusting, to help circulate air and catch large particles. This will help reduce dust and cut down the hours you need to spend time cleaning! Here are some other suggestions to reduce dust:

  • Keep outdoor areas like patios, driveways, and porches well-swept so you’re not tracking dirt in
  • Keep mats and rugs at entry points so that you can wipe your shoes at the door 
  • Use a filter with a higher MERV rating to capture finer particles 
  • Use a vacuum with HEPA filtration 
  • Consider reducing the upholstered items in your home (carpets, upholstered couches, drapes, pillows) in favor of hard services like hardwood that are easily cleaned and don’t harbor dust 

What are your best tips for beating dust?

PECO: Here for your Comfort and Safety

PECO here for your comfort and safety

When coronavirus first hit the United States, many people put their life on hold. We understand why some people took this pause. With the fear of the virus spreading, some people chose to stock up on groceries and stay at home to prevent catching and passing on the virus. Some may have put home repairs or maintenance on hold so that they wouldn’t come into contact with repairmen.

As the months have gone on, we have all had to adapt to our daily lives to get essential tasks while staying safe. If you do need assistance with your heating and cooling systems, electrical, generators, or other home repairs, please know that PECO can safely help you. 

How We’re Adapting to COVID-19

We want you to know that we take health – both yours and ours – very seriously! At PECO, we want to ensure that our customers and our service technicians stay healthy. There’s no need to live with hot temperatures because of a broken air conditioner or other home issues. Our team can fix the problem while following stringent health protocols! Remember that high temperatures can be dangerous, particularly for children, seniors, and pets. Keep everyone in your home comfortable and safe with a properly working HVAC system. You can count on PECO service technicians to wear proper PPE while on every service visit. Our regulations include:

  • Wearing gloves, facial mask, and shoe covers 
  • Sanitizing our hands before we put on gloves and enter a home 
  • Practicing social distancing 

If you have any questions about how we’re handling COVID-19, please feel free to call (864) 639-2424. The comfort and safety of our customers comes first!

Prepare Your Home for an Elderly Relative

Having an elderly friend or family member come to live with you can be a blessing. Oftentimes grandparents step in to watch children and help around the house in various ways. You get the benefit of spending more time with your friend or family member, and you don’t have to worry about how they are managing on their own. This can be a rich and rewarding experience for everyone involved. 

Of course, you have to move them in first! It’s not as simple as setting up the guest bedroom. You want to make sure that your home is safe and comfortable for your senior relative, and it can be tough to know where to start. 

Prepare Your Home For An Elderly Relative

PECO Heating and Cooling is a family-owned and operated business that knows about keeping relatives comfortable! We take it upon ourselves to make sure that your home is ready for an elderly occupant. First, consider your HVAC system. While extremely hot days can be miserable for many, they can be downright dangerous for older folks who can suffer ill effects. It’s important to have a fully operational air conditioning unit for warm summer days. We can inspect your unit, perform any necessary maintenance and repairs, or even install a new unit. You’ll enjoy the refreshing cool air as well!

Other Things To Consider

Just as hot days should be considered, so should cold ones. As we grow older, many people become less and less able to handle cold weather, which can increase joint and bone pain. We can make sure your furnace or heating unit is fully functioning so you’ll be ready for those cold winter nights. 

Having a properly working HVAC system is crucial to keeping your home within a range of comfortable temperatures. There are other considerations to think about as well, such as what bathroom will be used or how many stairs need to be navigated. Fortunately, PECO can help with many home repair and maintenance tasks around the house as well, such as fixing drywall and painting. 

If you have an elderly relative coming to live with you, PECO can help! Our experienced team will make sure that your home is safe and comfortable for the whole family.