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Considering a Vent-Free Fireplace? Here’s What You Should Know

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Is there anything cozier than enjoying a warm, crackling fire on a cold winter day? If you’ve been considering installing a new fireplace or updating an existing one, you’ll find that most fireplaces these days are fueled by gas, which is great news for those who dread cleaning up messy soot and ashes. You’ll also discover that you have an option between a traditional vented fireplace or a “ventless” or vent-free gas fireplace. Although these fireplaces come with many benefits, there are also some downsides. To help you decide whether a vent-free fireplace is right for you, here are the most important things you should know. 

What is a Vent-Free Fireplace?

A vent-free fireplace is essentially what it sounds like: a fireplace that’s designed to burn without the need for a chimney or other types of ventilation. Traditional gas fireplaces, like wood-burning models, use an exhaust flue to remove harmful fumes from the home and bring combustion air into the sealed firebox. In contrast, a vent-free fireplace doesn’t use a flue—instead, it relies on the available oxygen in the room to provide combustion. 

Vent-free gas fireplaces have been around for about 40 years, but as their popularity has grown, they’ve seen more criticism in terms of their impact on indoor air quality. This has led to the state of California banning them completely and numerous municipalities putting restrictions on them. Although they’re permitted in the majority of the US, every county has different codes, so what’s permitted in one city may not apply to the next city over.

The Pros of Vent-Free Fireplaces

One of the biggest benefits of a vent-free fireplace is that they offer better efficiency compared to a vented fireplace. Without the need for a vent, 99% of the heat generated by a ventless fireplace stays inside the room, essentially allowing you to achieve complete combustion and optimal heat retention in your home. Complete combustion refers to achieving the perfect ratio of oxygen to fuel, which produces relatively harmless byproducts like heat, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen. And since a venting system isn’t needed, all the heat created from combustion stays inside the home, rather than being directed outdoors. 

Another benefit of vent-free fireplaces is that they’re low-cost and easy to install. Since they don’t require ventilation, you also have more flexibility in where they can be installed. This is particularly convenient for homes with a layout that would make a traditional gas or wood-burning fireplace challenging. Without the need to install or modify venting, there are also fewer materials needed—and of course, you’ll enjoy less mess than a traditional wood-burning fireplace! With their improved energy efficiency and lower installation costs, the savings on overall costs can be substantial over time. Not to mention, ventless fireplaces have a very modern, attractive appearance that adds a touch of sophistication to any room.

Both vent and ventless fireplaces can have an optional blower motor added.  This blower motor circulates the air through concealed chamber and blows it out into the room.  This adds additional heat to your space and when you couple it with a wireless thermostat/remote control this will keep the blower on until the temperature is reached where the remote is located.   This is a great way to control the fireplace flames as well from the comfort of your favorite couch.

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The Cons of Vent-Free Fireplaces

Now, let’s take a look at some of the cons. 

One of the benefits of a vent-free fireplace is complete combustion, but what if there’s an issue with the fireplace that causes incomplete combustion? Incomplete combustion occurs when there’s either too little or too much oxygen in the room’s air. When there’s not enough oxygen, the normal byproduct of combustion (carbon dioxide or CO2) becomes carbon monoxide (CO). If there’s too much oxygen, the byproduct becomes nitrogen oxide (NOx) instead of nitrogen (N).

Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous and highly toxic combustible gas. It’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable without the use of a carbon monoxide detector. Often, people don’t realize they’ve been exposed until they become ill—and even then, they may mistake the symptoms (like severe headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea) for the flu. Although the effects of carbon monoxide can vary based on the amount of CO, an individual is exposed to and the duration of exposure, it can lead to cell suffocation and death. 

Nitrogen oxide has a similar effect, but it’s not necessarily as dangerous as CO. NOx is an irritant gas that increases inflammation in the respiratory system. Small doses or being exposed for short periods of time can cause mild, temporary problems like coughing, while prolonged or high exposure can cause significant lung damage. Over time, it may lead to decreased lung function, increased risk of respiratory conditions, and increased allergen response. In extreme cases, NOx can also cause death. 

Why Choose an ANSI-Certified Ventless Fireplace?

Both CO and NOx byproducts carry valid and serious concerns, which is why vent-free fireplaces have seen bans and restrictions. However, if you’re considering a ventless fireplace for your home, choosing an ANSI-certified system will reduce the risks. 

An ANSI-certified vent-free fireplace includes an important safety feature: the oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). This sensor acts as a safeguard if the oxygen levels drop below a safe level. It’s designed to shut off the fuel if the oxygen level in the room drops from 20% (normal for room air) to below 18% or less. The reduction in oxygen triggers a thermocouple to close the gas valve, which will starve the the fireplace of gas and make it shut off automatically.  

In addition, all ANSI-certified fireplaces are rigorously tested to ensure they produce exceptionally low levels of these harmful byproducts. While the arguments against vent-free fireplaces are valid, ANSI-certified fireplaces are a safe way to enjoy the many benefits of a ventless system. To keep your system safe and functioning properly, you should also make sure to keep up with the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. 

Making the Choice for Your Home

When making the choice for your home, take some time to weigh the pros and cons of a vent-free fireplace. Although ventless systems do have some additional risks associated with them, choosing an ANSI-certified fireplace (and following the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions) will significantly reduce these risks. Keep in mind, also, that even vented systems aren’t entirely without risk! Having a high-quality carbon monoxide detector in your home will also provide additional peace of mind. If you’d like more information on vent-free fireplaces or you’d like to discuss an installation, PECO is happy to help! We want you to feel completely confident you’ve made the right choice for your home. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 or send us a message through our online form.

Specials and Rebates

How to Troubleshoot Your Furnace After a Power Outage

Have you ever had the power go out on a cold winter day, only to find that your furnace isn’t working after the power’s been restored? It’s fairly common to need to restart your furnace after an outage, even if the power was out for only a brief period of time. If hitting the reset button doesn’t do the trick, there are a few simple steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue before placing a service call. 

A Note on Safety

If you see standing water in your home, don’t attempt to examine or fix your furnace—or any other electrical problems. This could be a serious safety hazard! It’s also likely that you’ll need to have your furnace replaced. Give us a call, and our technicians will handle the issue. 

Furnaces that are over 20 years old can also be dangerous because they rely on manually controlled pilot lights. Even minor issues with older furnaces can cause dangerous carbon monoxide to build up in your home. Older furnaces can also cause house fires due to issues with the pilot light, gas line leaks, or poor ventilation. If your furnace is between 16-20 years old, don’t attempt to inspect or repair it yourself. 

Steps for Troubleshooting Your Furnace

Here are five steps to take when your furnace refuses to turn on after a power outage. Keep in mind that if the outage was caused by construction in your neighborhood, the gas or power lines may have been damaged. Those will need to be repaired by the utility company before your furnace will work properly. If the outage was caused by a lightning strike, the problem could be a blown fuse, which will need to be professionally repaired.  

  • Check the Control Panel

Check your furnace’s control panel. If it’s flashing an error message, it will need to be repaired. 

  • Check the Furnace Safety Lock

When you reset your furnace, make sure to hit the button only once. If you repeatedly hit the button in quick succession, it will engage the safety lock. The safety lock could also cause your furnace to lock up if you’ve had repeated power outages. 

  • Check Your Thermostat

If your thermostat is off, try turning it on and setting it to heat or the automatic fan setting. If the thermostat is already on, restart it. Make sure you’ve turned the temperature up high enough that it will start the furnace. 

If you have a newer thermostat and the power outage lasted more than five minutes, the thermostat may have automatically reset. If the power was out for a long time, the thermostat may have automatically reset to the factory default. If this is the case, you’ll need to consult your owner’s manual to reprogram it—or give us a call and we’ll handle it! 

  • Check Your Breaker Panel

Power outages can trip breakers, but they’re very easy to reset. All you need to do is turn the breaker off and then turn it back on. If your panel doesn’t have labels, most furnaces use a 15A circuit. Locate the breakers marked 15A and see if any of them are tripped. If you have a heat pump, you’ll need to check both the indoor and outdoor panels to reset the breakers. 

  • Check Your GFI Outlets

If your furnace has been installed over the past 10 years, it may be connected to a GFI outlet, especially if your basement is at risk of water damage. Power outages can cause these outlets to trip, so make sure to examine each one that’s near or attached to the furnace. If you find any that have been tripped, press the reset button on the GFI outlet.

If you’ve completed these steps and your furnace still doesn’t turn on, it’s time to contact the experts at PECO! Our 24/7 answering service is ready to take your calls whenever you need assistance with your HVAC system. Contact us at (864) 639-2424 or send us a message through our online form. 

Specials and Rebates

Take Advantage of Money-Saving Rebates from Duke Energy

Have you been considering a new HVAC system for your home? If so, there’s still time to take advantage of Duke Energy’s current rebates on SEER systems before they end! Save hundreds of dollars on a new system and improve the comfort of your home. After December 31, the rebates offered will be significantly less, so now is a perfect time to schedule your installation appointment. 

Current Duke Energy Rebates

The following rebate offers are valid now through 1/1/2022:

  • 15 and 16 SEER with ECM – up to $350 back 
  • ≥17 SEER with ECM – up to $450 back 

For rebate applications submitted after 12/31/2021:

Central Air Conditioner

  • SEER 15 and 16 – $100 rebate
  • SEER 17 and higher – $125 rebate

Heat Pumps

  • SEER 15 and 16 – $125 rebate
  • SEER 17 and higher – $250 rebate

Please note that the rebate program for new system installations has changed and rebates are now only available to Duke Energy residential customers in single-family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, or duplexes.  

If your current HVAC system is over 10 years old or isn’t working as efficiently as you like, a new system will help your home stay more comfortable, reduce your energy usage and carbon footprint, and save money on energy costs for years to come. Don’t wait to take advantage of these great savings! Schedule your installation with PECO today. Give us a call at (864) 639-2424 or book your appointment online. 

Specials and Rebates

Furnace Not Working? Here Are the Top 10 Most Common Reasons for Furnace Failure.

It’s a common theme in life: things often stop working when we need them the most. This is especially true of furnaces in the winter! Once cool weather hits, we receive numerous calls about furnace problems. Fortunately, many of the most common furnace issues are easy to troubleshoot yourself. 

Here’s a list of the top 10 most common reasons for furnace failure:

Your Thermostat is Malfunctioning

One of the first things to check when your furnace stops working is that the thermostat is working properly. First, check that the thermostat is on. Next, check the setting and make sure it’s switched to heat. Even though this seems obvious, many service calls could be avoided by performing this simple check! 

Check the Breaker Box

If the thermostat is working correctly, the next thing to check is if any of the fuses have been blown. If not, check the unit to make sure the power switch is on. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to check that the front panel door on the furnace is latched. Many furnaces won’t engage if the door isn’t shut all the way. Or your furnace may use a simple wall switch to turn on.

Ignition Failure

If you’ve gone through steps 1-2 and it hasn’t solved the issue, check to see if your furnace is failing to ignite. The furnace won’t light if it’s having issues with the pilot light or electrical systems. To check the pilot light, you’ll need to open the burner chamber door and locate the pilot light tube. If the pilot light is working correctly, you should see a small flame. 

Blower Motor

If the blower motor has stopped working, it will prevent the furnace from being able to move the heat it generates throughout your home. To check the blower motor, turn on the furnace and switch the thermostat to “fan only.” Wait for a few minutes and see if you can hear the fan turn on. If you can, the blower motor isn’t the issue. If the fan doesn’t start, it’s time to get your blower motor serviced or replaced. 

Dirty Air Filters

Is it time to change your air filters? Dirty or clogged filters are a very common reason for furnaces to stop working, especially if you have a large family or a lot of pets. Filters help to clean the air that heads into the furnace, as well as the heated air sent from the furnace to the house. Dirty filters reduce the airflow, which can cause heat and pressure to build up within the furnace. The furnace may still run but with less heat output and reduced efficiency. Many newer furnaces can detect this and will often shut down before the filter can cause an issue. 

Blocked Ducts or Vents

Like dirty air filters, a blocked ventilation or duct system can block airflow to and from the furnace. To check whether this is the issue, start by turning on the heat. When the fan beings to blow, check the vents in each room to see if there’s any airflow. If there’s a noticeable lack of air blowing from a specific vent, the duct will probably need to be cleaned. Having your vents cleaned regularly will improve air quality and energy efficiency—and keep your furnace running well!

Air Leaks

If you’ve gone through steps 1-6 and determined everything is working as it should, then you could have an air leak in your system. If this is the case, you may find that your home stays a bit cool because the warm air is heading outside. Or, if there’s a draft, cold air could be coming inside your home. Checking the ventilation areas inside and outside your home can help you determine whether you have an air leak. 

Fuel Supply

All furnaces need fuel, although the type of fuel can vary based on the model. Many furnaces run on natural gas, but there are also electric and gas furnaces. If you have a natural gas furnace, make sure that the lines are working by checking other gas appliances in your home and that the gas valve is turned on. 

Blocked Drainage Hose

High-efficiency furnaces tend to drain a lot of water during the winter. Check your furnace’s drainage hose to see if any sediment or mold is causing a blockage. If you’re able to remove the dirty hose, give it a good flush to help clear the blockage. 

Lack of Maintenance

With our busy lives, it’s easy for routine maintenance to be put on the back burner. Unfortunately, if your furnace isn’t being maintained, it could develop a variety of issues that aren’t as common—or easy to fix—as the ones listed above. One easy way to ensure your HVAC system stays maintained is by taking advantage of our planned maintenance agreement. We’ll come to your home twice a year and perform routine cleaning and maintenance on your system. You also receive a 10% discount on any repairs, no after-hours charges, and priority service!

Need Assistance with Your Furnace? Contact the Experts at PECO!

If troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the problem, or you’re noticing strange smells or noises around your home, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at PECO Heating & Cooling! We’re always happy to help, especially when it comes to your family’s comfort in the winter. Call our 24/7 answering service at (864) 639-2424!

Specials and Rebates

8 Easy Tips for Home Plumbing Maintenance

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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! 

Specials and Rebates

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:

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  • 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!