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8 Easy Tips for Home Plumbing Maintenance

Hand with wrench fixing sink pipe close up view

Many of us don’t put much thought into our plumbing… unless there’s a problem. Then, it’s difficult to ignore. Fortunately, it’s not hard to avoid many of the most common issues, like leaks, clogs, or broken or rusted pipes. With these simple tips, you can keep your plumbing system in excellent condition and avoid inconvenient repairs!

Don’t Flush Anything That Shouldn’t Be Flushed

A clogged toilet can be a nightmare, but it’s very easy to avoid. The only things that should ever be flushed down your toilet are your own waste and toilet paper. Just because something can be flushed, doesn’t mean it should! Make sure you’re throwing sanitary products, hair, food, cotton swabs, and other disposable items in the garbage.

Spot Tank Leaks with Food Coloring

How can you tell if your toilet tank is leaking into the bowl? Put some red food coloring in the tank and wait for about an hour. Then, check your bowl; if you have a tank leak, the water will be red or tinged red. To fix the issue, you’ll need to replace the tank ball. Not only will this stop the leak, but you may even save some money on your water bill!

Quickly Stop Overflowing Toilets with the Flush Valve

Have you ever watched in horror as the water level slowly rises in the toilet bowl? If it looks like it might overflow, open the tank and push the flush valve down. This will stop the water from rising so you can address the clog.

Clear a Blocked Toilet with Hot Water and Soap

If you don’t have a plunger, you can clear a blockage by adding hot water and soap to the toilet bowl. Make sure the water is as hot as it comes out of the tap, then fill the bowl with it. Add as much hot water as you’re able; then add a good amount of liquid soap. Don’t worry about overdoing it—you can’t add too much. The hot water will help break down the clog, and the soap will allow everything to start moving again.

Soak Clogged Showerheads with Vinegar

Showerheads get clogged with mineral deposits over time, which can block water flow. To remove the mineral deposits, unscrew your showerhead and soak it in vinegar for 24 hours. If the showerhead is still clogged, it’s time for a new one.

Flush Your Water Heater Yearly

Mineral sediments can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater; if they build up too much, the sediment can cause the water heater’s bottom to rust out. To prevent this, you should flush your water heater once a year. If your water heater is making banging sounds, this is a sign that it really needs to be flushed. The noise you’re hearing comes from the water bubbling up through a thick layer of sediment at the bottom of the tank. Flushing your tank annually will help it last a lot longer.

Another thing that will help your water heater last longer is to change the anode rod every five years. This is a steel core wire wrapped with magnesium, aluminum, or zinc that protects the metal lining of your water heater from corrosion.

Use Mesh Drain Covers

Sink, bath, and shower drains can get clogged from hair, soap chips, and other types of debris. Using mesh drain covers over your drain can prevent these things from washing down—and save you the trouble of having your drains snaked.

Inspect Your Pipes for Leaks

Since leaky faucets and toilets can add hundreds of dollars to your water bills, it’s a good idea to stay diligent about repairing them. Many of the issues that cause plumbing leaks don’t happen overnight—like rusted or corroded pipes.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to do regular inspections of the exposed pipes in your home. If you see rust, warping, and drops of water on the outside of the pipes, it’s time for a plumber.

Plumbing Issues? Call PECO!

You rely on your plumbing daily, so keep it working its best with these simple maintenance tips! A little bit of care can go a long way in preventing issues like clogs, leaks, and water damage.

If you have a plumbing issue that requires more than a DIY fix, give us a call! PECO has an experienced team of plumbing experts who are ready to help with any installations, maintenance, or repairs you need. Have an issue in the middle of the night or weekend? Not a problem! We have a 24/7 answering service to assist you whenever plumbing issues strike. Our team proudly serves Anderson, Pickens, Greenville, and Oconee counties. Call us today at (864) 639-2424 or contact us online.

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Interested in a Gas Fireplace? Act Now!

You may not want to think about it, but cooler weather will be here before you know it. Though summer is still in full swing, it’s never too early to start planning for the future—or planning for the fall season. One of the best ways to stay comfortable (and warm!) during this change is with a gas fireplace. 

If this is something you’re interested in, the PECO professional team would love to assist you as soon as possible. We are a family-owned, Christian heating and cooling business with decades of experience. We care about our clients, which is why we’re going to give you a little tip: If you’re considering a gas fireplace—act now! 

Currently, our company is experiencing equipment shortages. It’s been challenging to get gas lines and gas logs for the fireplaces. Therefore, we can’t recommend being proactive enough. Specifically, before the winter rush, it’s best to schedule an appointment so our team can get the work completed for you now. 

Still on the fence about a gas fireplace?

Take a look at these benefits: 

  • Energy Saving: You can save up to 25 percent on your energy bill 
  • No Cleaning: You don’t have to worry about messy ash 
  • No Firewood: You don’t have to harm a tree or haul away firewood 
  • Constant Heat: You will experience constant heat without issue
  • User-Friendly: You can turn on and off the gas fireplace with a flip of the switch 
  • Environmentally Friendly: You are doing your part to save the environment by not releasing fumes into the air 
  • Stylish: You have different styles to choose from  
  • Safer: You won’t have to worry about flames or sparks
  • Good Investment: You will add value to your home
  • Installation is included with the price quoted

Are you interested in a gas fireplace now? If so, let’s start the process of getting you one! 

Contact PECO Today! 

As we said, when it comes to gas lines and gas logs for gas fireplaces, time is of the essence. It’s best to act now instead of missing your opportunity. If you’d liked to learn more about gas fireplaces or schedule service, contact the professional and friendly team at PECO today by calling (864) 639-2424. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Stops Working

air conditioning Clemson

It’s a hot summer day and your AC stops working. Don’t panic, PECO has created a basic troubleshooting guide on what to do for the three main problems facing air conditioners. It’s true that many problems need to be addressed by a professional HVAC technician, but there are some problems – like a tripped circuit breaker – that are easy and fast to fix yourself.

We have to point out that many common issues with air conditioning units can be caused by inadequate maintenance. In order to avoid future problems, we recommend our Planned Maintenance agreement, which can help ensure your AC stays running smoothly.

1. Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

A common problem is that the AC simply won’t turn on. The first thing to do is to go outside and see if the condenser is running. Look to see that the electrical disconnect is plugged in.

Next, ensure that the thermostat is set properly. Sometimes setting the thermostat 5-10° lower and making sure the thermostat is switched to “cool” is all it needs the AC needs to trigger on. You’ll also want to see if a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse is to blame, which would deprive the unit of energy.

If these simple tips don’t work, and especially if your coil is frozen, it’s time to contact the professionals. It may be a larger problem involving the compressor, coil, or motor.

2. The Air Conditioner isn’t Cooling the House Enough

Is your AC the little engine that could? It’s pumping out cold air but it’s simply not enough to cool the house as much as you want? Check the return filters – they should be changed monthly to allow proper airflow for the system.

It’s possible that your air conditioner is not adequate for your home’s square footage or the temperatures are unseasonably warm. AC units are built to cool certain square footage, so if you have a large and/or multistory home, the unit might not be appropriately sized for the space. AC systems are also sized also for average seasonal temperatures.

It’s important to remember that AC units are designed and installed with the expectation of cooling your home 20-25° on an average summer day. That means if it’s 100° outside, your unit is not designed to cool your house to 68°.

If it’s an average summer day and your unit is struggling to keep the house cool, it could be that you need a bigger unit or there’s a problem with your existing unit. If you see any icing on the unit, immediately shut it off and call PECO for a professional inspection.

3. The Air Conditioner is Not Blowing Cold Air

You’ve set the thermostat, and the AC is running, but the air coming out of the vents doesn’t feel too cold. First, go outside and check your unit. If the condenser is blocked by weeds and debris, it cannot properly work. Clear anything piled up around the system away. Is there ice on the copper line set or condenser? Contact PECO for repairs, there will be ice blocking the indoor coil and the system cooling must be set to off and the blower fan to on to deice the system. Your PECO technician needs the system free of ice to properly diagnose.

Then inspect your air filter to ensure it’s clean. Can you see through the filter? If not, it’s time to replace it. If the air filter is dirty, air cannot pass through easily, and when limited air gets to the evaporator coil, it can freeze. Do you run your AC a lot? Do you have pets? We recommend changing the standard pleat filters monthly, but you may have to replace them more often depending on your circumstances.

If your outdoor condenser and air filter are clean, it may be an issue with the refrigerant or the compressor.

Whatever the problem, your local air conditioning pros can help! PECO has an experienced team of HVAC experts who are ready to assist you in all maintenance and repairs of AC systems. We proudly serve Anderson, Pickens, Greeneville, and Oconee counties. Call (864) 639-2424 for service today – we make emergency calls, too!

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The Positive Side of Plumbing

Your gut reaction to plumbing might be “oh no!”. There are a lot of issues that can arise with plumbing – water heater leaks, pipe leaks, pipes freezing – but what about all the great things associated with plumbing? Imagine changing out your kitchen faucet to a sleek, touchless model that makes it easy to prepare dinner and bake cookies without having to fiddle with the faucet. Or upgrading to a tankless hot water heater that has a long life, lowers utility bills, and provides endless hot water. Or changing out the toilet in the restroom to a high-tech model with a seat warmer. The possibilities are endless!

PECO offers plumbing services for South Carolina residents of Central, Seneca, Clemson, Anderson, Six Mile, Sunset, and Salem. We provide 24/7 emergency service for urgent issues like water leaks and pipe bursts. We also offer regular service for upgrades, remodels, and maintenance. Plumbing doesn’t always have to be a problem. Sometimes, it can be fun!

Don’t leave plumbing just to emergencies – utilize PECO to increase your quality of life and enjoyment of your home with plumbing upgrades. We help homeowners modernize their kitchens and bathrooms by upgrading plumbing and life comforts. Have you been wishing for an instant hot faucet for tea? We have a team of experienced home professionals that can help.

How We Can Help

As a licensed contractor, we can handle home improvement and plumbing projects. Let us update your home! Here are just some ideas of what we can do:

Plumbing equipment on gray flat lay background with copy space.
  • Replace bathroom fixtures
  • Install new dishwasher
  • Install new garbage disposal
  • Install new faucets
  • Replace a toilet
  • Replace showerheads
  • Replace hot water heater with gas tankless water heater
  • Install instant hot in kitchen
  • Drain cleaning – small or large jobs

Do you have a plumbing idea for your home? We can bring your vision to life. Call PECO at (864) 639-2424 to schedule an appointment!

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What Are The Different Kinds Of Furnace HVAC Filters?

Not all filters are created equal. Did you know there are different types of filters for HVAC systems? Here are the most common types of furnace filters:

Flat-panel:
This is the type you might typically see in home improvement stores, where fibers (usually fiberglass) are stretched over a flat frame. It is usually the least expensive type of filter, but it tends to be lower quality and many particles can get through.

Closeup view on air filter. Filtration concept.

Pleated:
Pleated filters feature dense screens of plastic or cotton fibers. Just as flat-panel is named because the fibers are stretched flat, pleated filters are named because of their distinctive pleats. The greater surface area allows for better filtration, so these filters stop more particles.

Washable:
Reusable filters can be washed or vacuumed repeatedly to remove debris buildup. They come in pleated and flat-panel options, but they won’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced.

Electrostatic:
These filters are electrostatically charged to specifically capture more tiny particles from bacteria, smoke, pollen, and other environmental contaminants. These electrostatic filters can come disposable or washable, flat-panel or pleated.

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA):
You’ve heard a lot about this type of filter in the last year! The Energy Department supports the use of HEPA for any filter that reliably removes at least 99.97 percent of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns or larger. These are heavily used by hospitals and commercial facilities, although the COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in residential use as well.

There are many different types of filters for HVAC systems. For consistently clean air, regularly change your filter so that it can keep dust, mold spores, and other contaminants out of your home’s air.

A note regarding COVID-19

Due to shortages caused by the pandemic, the only filters available for standard 1″ filter grilles are pleated filters. These must be changed monthly as most systems that are 14 SEER and less struggle to pull air through them because the blower motors are not strong.

Lennox also offers Healthy Climate 11 filters. These are 5” filters with a deep pleat that captures more particles without making your system overwork or releasing ozone. These are designed for 15 SEER systems and up. They are mounted at the air handler or furnace and only have to be changed annually! If you’re interested in these filters that capture more and last longer, contact PECO at (864) 639-2424.

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Why Should I Hire A Professional To Unclog My Pipes or Drains?

Water draining at sink background. Water flowing drain in washbasin

Clogged plumbing is unfortunately a regular part of life. Almost everyone has experienced a backed-up drain or toilet. Some folks attempt to solve clogs themselves – however, there are dangers to the typical methods used by homeowners. Keep your drains clear safely by relying on professional help from PECO. We are going to go over 4 reasons a professional is needed for drain clogs.

1. Chemicals aren’t the answer.

The main problem with popular mass-market drain cleaning chemicals is that they are not effective at clearing clogs that are large, deep in your pipes, or created from materials resistant to chemical break down. Even if they temporarily break through the clog, they usually don’t entirely clear it out, which sets you up for another clog and using more chemicals.

There are further issues with safety surrounding chemical drain cleaners. You need to be very careful not to let the drain cleaner touch your skin or get near your eyes. These products can be especially dangerous for children and pets, so you need to be very careful about storing them safely away from anywhere they might be accidentally consumed.

Finally, chemicals can damage your pipes. Do not use any cleaning products that contain sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. These are strong acids that can affect a clog, but will also damage your sink, shower garbage disposal, toilet, pipes, and anything else they come into contact with.

2. Home Remedies are ineffective.

As plumbing professionals, we see people who have tried home remedies to clear clogs. Unfortunately, they are not effective and can even damage your pipes.

We’ve heard of folks using boiling water and dish soap. But this remedy could only work for grease clogs – dish soap will have no effect on food, hair, or other buildup. If your pipes are PCV, we strongly discourage you from purposefully pouring boiling water down the pipes. The PVC and glue used at the joints near the sink trap can be damaged by boiling water, so avoid it for the safety of your pipes!

Some people try to use a wire coat hanger to pull clogged hair out of shower drains. But a hanger is only so long – and very likely isn’t long enough to reach and clear the clog. This method may pull out some hair, but will leave the drain partially clogged and in danger of clogging again soon.

Baking soda and vinegar is a known chemical reaction. While making a volcano with kids is fun, the reaction isn’t powerful enough to really clear a stubborn clog.

3. Plumbers have the correct tools.

We’ve discussed some of the methods homeowners use to clear clogs and how they don’t work. Plumbers have the experience and proper tools to get the job done successfully. While a homeowner generally has a plunger in the bathroom and maybe a wrench, we have a wide assortment of tools that allow us to work on plumbing issues.

This includes various sized and shaped plungers to fit particular needs, such as a ball plunger for toilets that create better pressure. We have a sink auger, or drum auger, that is a specialized tool for plumbers to clear drains, along with a variety of snakes and even endoscopic snake cameras that help us see into pipes to discover the source of the clog.

Water jets can also be used to shoot high-pressure water through clogs to break them up. This method is used to clear large sewer line blockages. Professional plumbers can examine the clog, likely cause, area of the house, and type of pipes to determine the best tools for the job. Professional service means not only professional tools but expert knowledge as well.

4. Professional Insight

A homeowner might deal with a clogged pipe once every few years, but our experienced plumbers see them every day. That gives them insight into the likely cause of clog and how it should be treated, as well as the ability to rescue things like jewelry from the drain without damaging the pipe or pushing it further down.

We can also look at the clog and ascertain if there are larger plumbing issues. Some clogs are simply a hairball in a shower drain, while others are a serious sewer line clog that requires emergency service. If your sewer line is backing up, traditional home fixes like continuing to flush the toilet or adding chemical drain cleaner actually makes the problem worse. A sewer line clog is a serious issue that requires professional help ASAP.

When you have a clogged drain, you deserve effective, successful, professional service. Call PECO to help with your plumbing today!

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Lennox Pure Air

The past year has amplified how disease spreads in contained indoors. We all learned profoundly serious lessons in the importance of sanitizing commonly used surfaces, wearing masks, and the very air we breathe. 

For years PECO has recommended quality HVAC systems and regularly changing air filters to reduce contaminants in the air such as pollen, dust, mold spores, and pet dander. A high-functioning heating and cooling unit keeps your air cleaner and healthier, helping to reduce the impact of allergies and cut down the dust in your home. 

With the spread of COVID-19, the need to remove contaminants from the air has only intensified. That’s why we are so excited about the latest news from Lennox, a top-quality HVAC manufacturer, releasing the PureAir™ and PureAir™ S Air Purification Systems. When used with the Lennox Healthy Climate™ Carbon Clean 16® air filter, these heating and cooling units remove over 99% of the virus that causes COVID-19 from the air!

We have all missed spending time with family and friends. Make this summer fun and safe by investing in technology that scrubs the air. These PureAir™ systems are created for residential use, yet they have medical-grade filtration that removes 99% of virus particles such as the common cold, influenza, and the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Learn more about these new systems from Lennox >>> here. Want to discuss air filtration for your home or business? Let’s talk! 

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3 Reasons You Need to Change Your HVAC Filter

We recommend changing the filter in your HVAC system on a monthly basis. It’s good for your health, your wallet, and your system. Here are our top 3 reasons you need to change your filter:

  1. Pollen
    We have heard reports from many people that their allergies seem worse this year. Pollen season is getting longer and worse. If you suffer from itchy eyes, runny noses, hay fever, or other allergy symptoms, then you might want to look in an unlikely place for comfort: your HVAC system.

    The filter in your air conditioner collects dust and environmental debris as it runs. This pushes clean, cool air out into your home. However, the filter needs to be changed on a regular basis. Otherwise, it gets clogged full of what it has collected. This means it becomes less likely to strain out pollen, and old allergens stay in the system – which can bother you for months. We recommend changing your filter monthly to ensure you have a fresh filter to clear out pollen and keep your allergies at bay.
  1. Energy Bills
    You’ve probably heard tips to lower your energy bill that include raising the temp on the thermostat during summertime. However, did you know that a dirty filter causes your HVAC system to work harder? The fan has to blow harder to get air through the clogged filter, which increases your energy use and your bill. Replacing your filter regularly allows your system to work at optimal levels, which is better for the machine and for your bottom line.
  1. Short Cycling
    So what happens if you don’t change your filter regularly? As your filter becomes clogged, it becomes harder and harder for air to pass through it. The lack of airflow can cause the system to overheat. The limit switch will activate, and the HVAC system will shut down to protect the machinery. Without a new air filter, the HVAC system can continually shut down due to overheating when you turn it on. This is called short-cycling, which limits the performance of the system, puts wear and tear on the equipment, and can lead to costly repairs. If you notice your HVAC system turning on and off every few minutes, immediately switch the thermostat to off and call PECO. The faster you get your system seen by a professional, the better.
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How To Get Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer

Air conditioner inside the room

Welcome Spring! Now is the time to enjoy the blooming flowers, bask in the not-to-hot sunshine, and…prepare for summer! The first hot day of summer means turning on the AC. But will your air conditioner be ready? You haven’t been using the AC while the days have been chilly, but as it warms up, you’ll need to know to prep your unit for summer.

We recommend scheduling a maintenance visit with PECO, your local air conditioning professional, before the weather gets too hot. The last thing you want is to turn on the AC on the first hot day of summer and realize your unit isn’t working properly!

The Importance of Scheduled Maintenance

Why is it important to schedule maintenance with a professional? First and foremost, cleaning and maintaining your HVAC unit can be dangerous. We make sure to turn off the circuit breaker to the unit as well as check for 240-volt boxes near the unit outside. Making sure everything is powered down is a crucial step for safety.

Our experienced crew also is well trained in HVAC parts and mechanics. We ensure all safety protocols are observed to keep our employees and your unit safe. Unfortunately, an inexperienced person can hurt themselves and/or damage the unit. But with PECO, you never have to worry about HVAC maintenance!

Preparing your AC System

To prepare your AC system for summer, we can change the filter, clear the outdoor condenser of debris, clean the coils inside the unit, clear the drain at the base of the condenser, wipe the fan blades, and make sure there is no standing water inside the system. We also inspect the refrigerant tubes that run from your AC’s evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside. These tubes are generally covered with a foam coolant line insulation. We check out the lines, and if the insulation has deteriorated in any spot, replace it with new foam insulation sleeves or wrap with foam insulation tape.

Finally, we test out the unit! We make sure the unit is dry, clean, and powered on. We switch the thermostat to cool and make sure the unit is doing its job properly before leaving, ensuring you have a working AC. You can count on PECO for regular maintenance visits as well as repairs and new unit installations. When it comes to HVAC, call PECO.

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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.