Mark Pfeiffer, Author at PECO Heating & Cooling

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home

With the frigid temperatures, protecting your pipes from freezing is an essential part of winter home maintenance. Water expands as it freezes; this can cause pipes to crack or burst, resulting in serious flooding and water damage to your home and belongings. Damaged pipes can also make your home more susceptible to mold growth. The pipes that are the most at risk are the ones that run against exterior walls or are located in uninsulated or unheated areas, like an attic or basement. 

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Fortunately, there are several preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of burst pipes—and expensive property damage. If your pipes are already frozen, we’ll also provide some steps to take to thaw them out. 

  1. Disconnect Your Garden Hoses
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Once you’re done gardening for the season, disconnect all your garden hoses. Close off any shut-off valves and open the outdoor faucets so you can drain the line. Leave these open throughout the winter so there’s plenty of space for any water that may be trapped in the line to expand without damaging the pipes. Faucet covers, available at many hardware stores, are also a cost-effective way to give your pipes additional protection from the cold. If you have a sprinkler system, you’ll also want to drain the water from the supply lines.

  1. Add Insulation to Your Pipes
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Insulating your pipes is another cost-effective way to prevent them from bursting. Focus on insulating pipes in unheated areas, like garages, crawl spaces, attics, or basements. The pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks can also be vulnerable to damage when the temperatures drop low enough, so you may also want to consider applying foam insulation to them, too. Wrapping your pipes in thermostat-controlled heat cables or heat tape can also prevent them from freezing. 

  1. Seal Air Leaks

Take some time to look around your home for any openings or cracks that are letting in cold air, and seal them with caulk or insulation. Pay close attention to holes around electrical wiring, pipes in the interior or exterior walls, the sill plates, dryer vents and pipes, and where your home rests on its foundation. Also, make a point to keep your garage door closed, except when you’re going in or out. 

  1. Open the Cabinets and Doors in Your Home

Opening the cabinets and doors in your home will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes and keep the heat evenly distributed. If you have young children or pets, make sure to remove any household chemicals in your cabinets first.

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  1. Keep Your Faucets Dripping

Leaving a few faucets (preferably those fed by exposed pipes) dripping overnight helps relieve pressure on the pipes and prevent ice from forming. 

  1. Keep Your Home a Consistent Temperature

During other times of the year, it’s best to set your thermostat to be lower at night or when you’re away from home; during the winter, however, consistent temperature is the key to keeping your pipes damage-free. If you plan to be away from home, set your thermostat to at least 55°F. Although this might raise your energy bill slightly, it’s worth it to prevent potential water damage from a burst pipe. 

Steps to Take if Your Pipes Are Frozen

If you think your pipes are already frozen, turn on the faucet; if the water is only dripping or trickling out, the pipe is likely blocked by ice. Inspect the exposed pipe for breaks or cracks. If you see any signs that the pipe has burst, turn off your home’s main water supply and call PECO Heating & Cooling right away. Don’t attempt to thaw the pipe on your own, because this could cause flooding. If you’re having trouble finding the main water line, we can guide you. We have a 24/7 answering service, so there’s always someone available to assist you!

If the pipe looks good, turn on the faucet and let the flowing water melt the ice. Use a heating pad, hairdryer, warm damp towels, or a space heater to apply gentle heat to a frozen section of the pipe. Don’t use anything that has an open flame, like a lighter or blow torch to thaw the pipe because this can damage it (and it’s a fire hazard). If you can’t access the pipe or thaw it safely, give PECO a call at (864) 639-2424!

Program Your Thermostat in 4 Easy Steps

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Do the controls on your thermostat leave you feeling frustrated or confused? If so, you’re not alone! Whether you have a programmable model or a smart thermostat, setting a schedule isn’t always as clear as it should be—but it’s worth doing because it can help you save money on energy bills.  

Although some smart thermostats can “learn” and create a schedule by manually imputing a few days’ worths of temperature settings, most of them need you to program a schedule with your desired temperatures. This is usually done through a smartphone app rather than through the thermostat itself. Although it may feel like a daunting task, setting a schedule isn’t that difficult as long as you understand the programming process. 

How to Program Your Thermostat

  1. Know Your Thermostat’s Schedule

Before you start programming your thermostat, you’ll need to know what its scheduling allows. For example, does it allow you to schedule temperatures on a daily, weekly, and/or weekday and weekend basis?

If it lets you set a daily schedule, you can program a different schedule for each day of the week; a weekly schedule will allow you to set one schedule to use seven days a week. A weekday/weekend schedule will allow you to set one schedule for the weekdays and a separate one for the weekends. Nearly all programmable thermostats let you set daily schedules; many of them also offer weekday/weekend schedules. 

After you’ve figured out which type of scheduling your thermostat uses, make a note of the following for each day of the week:

  • When you and your family typically wake up 
  • When you leave home
  • When you return home
  • When you go to bed

This list will make it much easier to figure out scheduling when you’re ready to start programming your thermostat!

  1. Select Your Temperature Settings
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Next, you’ll want to jot down your preferred temperatures for different times of the day—generally, you’ll find these temperature settings listed as “home,” “away,” and “sleep” in your thermostat. To save the most money on heating and cooling costs, follow these guidelines from the Department of Energy:

  • Set your “away” and “sleep” temperatures at 4 to 6 degrees different from your “home” temperature; make sure to set this higher during the summer and lower in the winter. 
  • During the summer, set your air conditioning as high as is comfortable for when you’re home and higher when you’re gone. 
  • During the winter, set your “home” temperature to 68° F.
  • Make sure to update your schedule as the seasons change. 
  1. Create Your Schedule in the Thermostat

Once you have your family’s schedule and your preferred temperatures, you can start programming your thermostat. If you’re using a daily schedule, you’ll need to do the following process seven times; for weekly schedules, you’ll only need to do it once. For weekday and weekday schedules, you’ll need to do it two to three times, depending on your model. 

Start by checking your owner’s manual to find out how to access the scheduling feature. If you don’t have the manual anymore, you can often find a copy online by searching for the manufacturer and model number. 

  1. Select a day of the week and put in the time when you want the first period of the day to start and the temperature you’d like it to be during that period. 
  2. Set the next period and temperature; repeat until you’ve set a schedule for the entire day. Note: some models will let you copy the schedule you set and apply it to the following days. 

If you have a smart thermostat, it should have a scheduler builder feature in the app that will walk you through the steps. 

  1. Start the Schedule

After you’ve set up the schedule, you’ll need to activate it. Regardless of the type of thermostat you have, there should be a button to enable the schedule, or it will say “hold” on the display. Push the hold button, and your new schedule should be active. 

Setting a schedule for your thermostat according to the Department of Energy’s guidelines will keep you comfortable year-round and help you save up to 10% on your energy bills, if you select set points that are not too extreme.  

Turn your thermostat to 80 degrees in the summer when you are away at work, then set it to 72 when you get home. The effect of a high (or very low temp in the winter) is that every item in your living space; furniture, walls, floors and ceils will reach that temperature by the time you get home. This means everything in your living space will have to reach the desired “at home” temperature before you feel the effects.   

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To achieve this temperature your system will run constantly for about 4 hours or more depending upon the efficiency of the system.  Setting the thermostat closer to the 72 desired when you are at home….74/76 degrees, then it will run less overall, because of run time during the day. With the rising cost of energy, it can help you save a significant amount of money in the long run. 

PECO is Here to Help

Hopefully, this has made you feel more confident about programming your thermostat! However, if you can’t find the owner’s manual to get into the schedule settings, or you’re still having trouble getting your schedule set up, we’re always here to help! We can also assist you with troubleshooting issues with your thermostat, installing a new thermostat, and much more. Contact PECO Heating & Cooling today at 864-639-2424 or schedule a service appointment online!

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act: HVAC Federal Credit & Rebates Explained

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Have you been planning to upgrade your HVAC equipment? Great news—the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was signed into law in August, may be able to help you save some money. 

Investing $369 billion into the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is the largest federal legislation designed to include significant rebates and tax credits for homeowners who install new energy-efficient furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, and water heaters. Here’s a breakdown of each of these incentives.

The 25C Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Tax Credit

Although this tax credit has been available for a while, the IRA increased the value of the tax credit by 20%. Instead of being limited to 10% of your project costs, it’s now up to 30%—and it’s now possible to receive a benefit each year. 

The tax credit, which can only be used to offset tax liability, has an annual cap of $1,200, including:

  • Up to $600 for a qualified air conditioner or gas furnace
  • Up to $2,000 for gas and electric heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and boilers
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This incentive goes into effect in 2023, and if you’re eligible, can be claimed when you file taxes in 2024. There are no income requirements and it can’t be combined with other federal programs such as HEEHR or HOMES. However, the tax credit may be able to be combined with local or utility rebates. Homeowners who had eligible equipment installed on or after January 1, 2022, may also be eligible for retroactive tax credits under this program.

The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate (HEEHR) Program

This new $4.275 billion program covers 100% of electrification project costs for low-income households and up to 50% of project costs for moderate-income households—up to $14,000 for both income groups. Qualifying projects and maximum rebate values include:

  • $8,000 for electric heat pumps
  • $4,000 for an electric panel upgrade
  • $2,500 for electric wiring
  • $1750 for an electric heat pump water heater
  • $1,600 for home insulation

Project costs include both purchase costs and installation costs; rebates are given as point-of-sale discounts. 

The HOMES Rebate Program

Unlike the HEEHR program, the all-new $4.3 billion Home Energy Performance-Based Whole-House (HOMES) rebate program isn’t restricted by income levels; instead, they’re based on the performance of energy efficiency and electrification improvements installed in your home. For example, homeowners who install energy-efficient appliances that allow them to cut their energy usage by at least 35% can get up to $4,000 in rebates—and that amount is doubled for low- and middle-income households. 

It’s important to know that you can’t participate in both the HEEHR and HOMES programs, so you’ll need to decide which program is right for your project. If you would like help deciding which program would be best, we’re always happy to help!

Should You Get Home Upgrades Now or Wait Until 2023?

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Although these incentives can provide significant savings, there are several reasons why you may not want to wait until 2023 if you’ve been considering upgrading your home:

  • The current state and utility rebates you qualify for now may not be around in 2023—and depending on your income, the federal rebates may not be as much of an incentive. It’s not clear at this point how the federal rebates will work with existing state and utility programs; it’s possible the federal rebates will result in lower local rebates. 
  • Inflation will likely continue (and possibly worsen) in 2023; the rise in equipment prices may offset some of the savings you would receive from the rebate programs. 
  • Energy costs are rising, especially the cost of natural gas—and although costs are expected to stabilize, reducing your home’s energy use today is an excellent way to mitigate uncertainty about energy prices in the future. 
  • Due to the rebate programs, there will be a higher demand for work for HVAC contractors in the future, which could delay your project. Getting ahead of the demand will ensure you have your new equipment installed in a timely manner. 

In addition, you deserve comfort! If your existing equipment isn’t keeping your home comfortable, it’s not worth putting off the work for potential savings. 

Contact PECO to Learn More

Regardless of when you’d like to upgrade your home, PECO Heating & Cooling is here to help! We’re happy to work with you to find the best upgrades and rebate programs to help you save money and improve your home’s energy efficiency. 

If you’re interested in the 25C tax credit, all Dave Lennox Signature Collection products in the Ultimate Comfort System qualify; Lennox also offers an assortment of ENERGY STAR-certified products that are eligible for the rebate program, including the most efficient heat pump (SL25XPV), air conditioner (SL28XCV), and furnace (SLP99V) on the market. For more information on the IRA incentives contact your accountant or to schedule an installation, contact PECO today at 864-639-2424.

Changes in Efficiency Standards Coming to the HVAC Industry in 2023

The HVAC industry will be experiencing significant changes in efficiency standards starting in January, 2023. 


Every six years or so, the Department of Energy evaluates energy conservation standards for appliances with the goal of increasing standards to achieve national energy savings. As of January 1, there will be new minimum efficiency standards in effect for split-system air conditioners and split-system heat pumps; single-packaged ACs and heat pumps will not be affected. 

In addition, the procedure for testing the energy efficiency of appliances, called the M1 Standard, will change, affecting both split-system ACs, split-system heat pumps, and packaged units. The new efficiency rating metrics will be:

  • SEER & SEER2
  • EER & EER2
  • HSPF & HSPF2

The purpose of the new testing procedures is to better represent installed equipment in real-world applications; it will also correspond to a 1% increase in baseline efficiency. 

Here’s a closer look at what will change for our region:

Current standardsNew 2023 Standards(per the current test standard)New 2023 Standards (per new testing procedure/metrics)Enforcement
Split-system AC units (including heat pumps)14 SEER15 SEER up to 45K BTU, 14.5 SEER at/above 45k BTU14.3 SEER2 up to 45K BTU, 13.8 SEER2 at/above 45k BTUBeginning Jan. 1, 2023, any installation of a split system air conditioner not meeting the new standard will violate Department of Energy regulations

Split-system heat pumps (including mini-splits)14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF15 SEER, 8.8 HSPF14.3 SEER2, 7.5 HSPF2Units that don’t meet the new minimum efficiency standard and were manufactured before Jan. 1, 2023, may be installed indefinitely.

Single-packaged AC units14 SEERNo change13.4 SEER2Units that don’t have the new efficiency rating metric and were manufactured before Jan. 1, 2023, may be installed indefinitely.

Single-packaged heat pumps14 SEER, 8.0 HSPFNo change13.4 SEER2, 6.8 HSPF2Units that don’t have the new efficiency rating metric and were manufactured before Jan. 1, 2023, may be installed indefinitely.

What Does This Mean for You?

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All newly manufactured units will need to meet the updated standards, and older equipment will be phased out for installation as of the January 1 deadline. In addition, you can expect to see increases in equipment pricing as new energy regulations are implemented. If you’ve been considering replacing your split-system AC or split-system heat pump, now is a good time to do it. 

We’re currently offering $300 off new 14 SEER and 15 SEER split systems while supplies last. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact PECO Heating & Cooling today at (864) 639-2424!

Can a Heat Pump Save You Money?

Lennox Heat Pump

Have you been thinking about upgrading your heating and cooling system? If so, you should consider having an air source heat pump installed. Heat pumps act as both a heater and air conditioning unit—and they can help you save money without sacrificing your comfort!

How Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?

Most heating systems rely on burning fuel or converting electricity to generate heat. In contrast, heat pumps don’t generate heat—they move existing heat from the outdoors into your home. This allows them to provide more heat energy than the electrical energy heat pumps need to operate. 

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This works the same as a traditional air conditioner in cooling mode. Air source heat pumps consist of a compressor and two copper or aluminum coils. One of the coils is installed outdoors and the second one is indoors. In the wintertime, the outdoor coil uses liquid refrigerant to convert the absorbed heat from the air into a gas. The gas refrigerant releases the heat through the indoor coil and then reverts back to a liquid. 

You may be wondering how the heat pump can extract heat from the outside air when it’s cold outside. All outside air contains some heat until the temperatures drop to absolute zero (-459.67° F). 

In warm temperatures, the heat pump works in reverse to provide cooling; it essentially moves heat from the indoor air outside. 

How Can an Air Source Heat Pump Save Me Money?

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In the past, air source heat pumps were mainly used in moderate climates, but recent technological developments have made them an excellent option for even colder climates. 

A new 16-17 SEER heat pump can reduce energy consumption by an average of 20-30% with a single stage split system. The high-efficiency variable speed heat pumps also do a better job of dehumidifying than single stage central air conditioning or heat pump systems, so you can enjoy lower cooling costs in the summer and better comfort. 

Like a traditional HVAC, heat pumps should be serviced twice a year. If you can only get LP gas for a furnace system you can save money with a high efficiency heat pump by eliminating the need for LP Gas fuel delivery which is more money per BTU.  Natural gas furnaces are still the most efficient at lower temperatures for the dollars spent.   The best of both worlds is a dual fuel system – heat pump with natural gas furnace.  The heat pump is more efficient in heating down to 50 degrees, then the furnace will take over.

Yet another cost-saving benefit is that heat pumps can protect against inflation and the rising cost of energy. According to a report from January this year:

  • Households with natural gas heating systems can expect to spend 30% more this winter than they did in 2021 which is still lower than using a moderately efficient heat pump system
  • Households that heat their homes using electricity are expected to spend approximately 6% more this year than the previous year.
  • Households that heat their homes using propane or heating oil can expect to spend up to 54% and 43% more this year, respectively and these fuels are already more money per BTU. 

As the most effective electric heating system on the market, heat pumps are a great long-term investment. With a variable speed, variable capacity system you can get a return on your investment.

Ready to Install a Heat Pump? 

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It’s clear heat pumps have several advantages over traditional HVAC systems:

  • Heating and cooling capability in a single unit
  • Very efficient – comes in a variety of SEER efficiencies
  • Runs on electricity; lower energy costs

If you’re ready to switch to a heat pump system, PECO Heating & Cooling is here to help! We offer installations, maintenance, and repairs for heat pumps, heat pump split systems and dual fuel heat pump systems with gas furnaces. We’ll evaluate your space and heating needs and make recommendations on the best unit for your home. Although we primarily work with Lennox products, we offer service for all heat pump brands. 

To find out if a heat pump is the right choice for your home, call PECO today at (864) 639-2424 or contact us online.

Can Bad Ductwork Reduce the Efficiency of Your HVAC System?

When it comes to HVAC systems, most homeowners don’t put much thought into their ductwork. It’s not surprising—although it’s responsible for moving air throughout your home and keeping you comfortable, the ducts are hidden away in the walls, ceilings, floors, and crawlspaces. 

However, if you want your HVAC system to work as efficiently as possible, it’s important to put some attention on the “V”—for ventilation—in HVAC!

Damaged Ductwork

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If your ventilation system is old or it wasn’t installed properly, it may be damaged. Vibrations or improperly installed connections can cause your ductwork to become loose or even collapse, inhibiting the airflow. If the lining begins to pull away, this can create a more significant blockage and cause your HVAC system to work overtime. 

Over time, normal wear and tear can lead to cracks, leaks, and corrosion; damage can also be caused by renovations or pests. If left for too long, the damage will worsen and may eventually cause leaks and blockages. Defects in the ductwork, like sharp bends or dents in the material, can also cause airflow problems that reduce the overall efficiency of your system. 

The bottom line is that the harder your system has to work to compensate for blockages or air leaks, the less efficient it will be. It’s also likely using more energy to heat or cool the air—which also leads to higher energy bills. If your ductwork is over 10 years old, we recommend scheduling an inspection. 

Improperly Sized Ductwork

If your system has always been noisy or became noisy soon after installation, the ducts are likely improperly sized. When the ducts are too large, it causes low airflow. You may find that the temperatures throughout your house are uneven. Ducts that are too small will cause noise from restricted airflow. 

It’s common for ducts to make some noise as your system moves air through them and the temperatures fluctuate, but it shouldn’t be very noticeable. Like damaged ducts, improper ductwork size or installation can put a dent in your efficiency—and your wallet. Your HVAC system will struggle to keep your home comfortable and, as a result, add more wear and tear to the motors, and compressors. This can lead to a more frequent repair cycle or the need for a premature replacement. 

Dirty Ductwork 

Dirty, dusty, or moldy ductwork can cause the air filters to clog up more quickly, increasing airflow resistance and making the system work harder. It can also compromise some of the system’s internal components, resulting in breakdowns and repairs. Keeping the ducts clean will improve performance, efficiency, and longevity while also improving your indoor air quality. 

Is it Time to Schedule Service for Your Ductwork?

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Whether your ventilation system wasn’t installed correctly or it’s started to degrade over time, regular maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure your system is running at its most efficient while keeping energy and repair costs low. 

In addition to ductwork repairs and maintenance, we also offer air quality systems to keep your indoor air quality high, including air purification systems that can be added to any existing HVAC system, air filtration add-ons, and germicidal lights. Improve your comfort, reduce energy bills and the need for repairs, and improve the longevity of your system today by calling PECO Heating & Cooling at (864) 639-2424!

PECO’s Complete Heat Pump System Buying Guide

Have you been thinking about replacing your heat pump system or swapping a furnace split system for a heat pump system? Heat pumps are a lot like a furnace and air conditioner combined; they have the dual function of heating and cooling your home. They do this by absorbing and moving the ambient heat rather than burning fuel or using electrical resistance. Because of this, heat pumps are very energy-efficient and eco-friendly compared to other climate control systems. 

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Whether it’s time to replace aging equipment or you’re looking into a different type of heating system, we’ve designed this handy guide to help you find the right heat pump for your home. 

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Air-source heat pumps are the most common type of heat pump on the market. They work by absorbing heat from the air and moving it indoors (to heat a home) or outdoors (to cool a home)—just like an air conditioner. In fact, they look similar to air conditioners and use nearly all the same parts. The only difference is that they provide both heating and cooling.  Heat pumps are the most efficient at temperatures down to 50 degrees, then the heat pump uses heat strips in the air handler to overcome the cold air when the heat pump reverses the refrigerant cycle to defrost the outdoor unit.

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Although they run on electricity, they have a very high-efficiency rating, and many power companies, including Duke Energy, offer rebates and other incentives for homeowners to install them.  

Heat pumps can be used as the sole heating and cooling unit in a home, or they can be combined with an existing furnace system. This is called a dual fuel system and is one of the most efficient systems. The heat pump can be locked out at 50 degrees, and the furnace will provide more consistent heat because there is no defrost cycle at lower temperatures. 

If switching from a furnace system to a heat pump system, the electrical service and wiring in your home are a consideration. The air handler portion of a heat pump system uses heat strips at very cold temperatures; thus, a larger circuit/circuit breaker is necessary for this component.   

The Different Types of Heat Pumps

As mentioned above, air-source heat pumps are the most common type of heat pump used in the United States, especially the subset known as “air-to-air” heat pumps. The most common air-to-air heat pumps include:

Ducted Air-Source Heat Pumps
Ducted air-source heat pumps are the same as central AC units. They have an indoor and outdoor unit, as well as aluminum or copper fins and coils, refrigerant lines, and an outdoor compressor that compresses and recirculates the refrigerant. The indoor unit attaches to the ducts in your home and uses a blower to circulate the warm or cool air throughout your home. Although prices vary based on the manufacturer, the median price for these types of heat pumps at 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is $7,791. They come in 1.5 tons up to 5 tons for residential homes and are priced based upon difficultly of installation or accessories added to the system.

Variable speed air-sourced heat pumps are the new rivals to the other systems listed below. These variable speed, variable capacity systems have built-in compressor modulation to customize your heating and cooling on the fly. In essence, a 3-ton heat pump system can act like a 1-ton system when the temperatures are mild. These systems also have an added bonus of dehumidification features… to keep the air in your home cool and crisp in the summer months. The SEER ratings for these systems are from 16 to 28 SEER—depending upon the tonnage and pairing with an indoor component.

Ductless (Mini-Split) Air-Source Heat Pumps
Mini-splits heat and cool the air just like a ducted model does, but they don’t require ductwork to move the heated or cooled air through your home—and because they don’t use ducts, which can contribute to energy loss, they’re more energy-efficient than ducted heat pumps. Instead of ducts, the outdoor unit connects to indoor handlers or “heads” that are installed throughout the house. These can be installed high on the walls or inside the floor or ceiling. 

Mini-splits can range anywhere from $3,000 to $14,500, depending on the capacity needed and the number of zones in the home. These are designed for single room use only and rooms with a minimum size of 1500 cubic feet or 10×15 room with 10’ ceiling—¾ tons up to 5 tons. These are not recommended as the main home system as there is no central return duct to circulate the air in your home, thus leading to stale dead air in closed rooms.

Less Common Heat Pumps

In addition to the above heat pumps, here are a few less common types that work well for specific situations.

Ground-source or Geothermal Heat Pumps
These heat pumps work by absorbing and releasing heat underground, where the temperature stays consistently between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Since they aren’t compensating for large temperature fluctuations, they’re highly efficient. However, since they’re underground, they can be impractical for some homes, especially small lots or properties with certain types of landscaping or soil. 

Ground-source systems typically cost between $30,000 to $80,000, but the energy savings they offer, as well as government incentives, can potentially offset the cost within 10 years. Added complications are water pumps used to circulate water, digging trenches or deep holes for the in-ground water loop, and specialty contractors to work on them.

Water-source Heat Pumps 
Water-source heat pumps work the same as a ground-source system, but they’re installed at the bottom of a pond. These can be a great option if you have an appropriately sized pond on your property, as they’re easier and a little less expensive to install than ground-source.

Why Should You Consider Buying a Heat Pump?

  • You’re happy having a heat pump, but it’s time to replace your existing system. If your current unit is 10-15 years old, a newer system will be more efficient. 
  • You need to replace your central AC unit or would like to add a new unit. Since heat pumps work the same as an air conditioner on cooling mode (but with the ability to heat your home), too, you may want to consider installing a heat pump and using your existing furnace system as a backup for the coldest days of the year. This will allow you to enjoy your heat pump’s energy-saving benefits on milder days. 
  • You’d like to heat rooms that the main system doesn’t reach. Mini-split heat pumps are an ideal way to heat areas of your home that aren’t set up with ductwork, like attics, bonus rooms, garages, or home additions. 
  • You currently heat your home with delivered fuels, electric-resistance furnaces, or electric baseboard heaters. All of these systems are expensive ways to heat your home; even with the cost of installation, a heat pump will likely save you money over time. 
  • You can take advantage of heat pump subsidies and incentives. Although heat pumps tend to cost more than other heating appliances, state and utility-based subsidies can lower the costs significantly—sometimes to the point where they actually cost less. 
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When Are Heat Pumps an Impractical Choice?

Although heat pumps are an ideal solution for many homes, there are some scenarios where they might be too expensive, difficult, or even impossible to install. For example:

  • Your home has no ductwork. Ducts can be challenging and expensive to install in homes that don’t already have them. However, new duct systems with the proper design (like the way PECO installs them) will provide excellent airflow to every room and last for years to come.  
  • Your home is poorly insulated or has air leaks. Since heat pumps are essentially always working to keep your home heated, good insulation is extremely beneficial. If your insulation is poor or you have leaks throughout your home, you’ll likely notice drafts and cold spots with a heat pump than you would with a traditional heating system. If you’d still like a heat pump, it’s recommended to have your insulation upgraded and the leaks sealed.  
  • Your electrical service is underpowered. If you have an older home, it may only have a 100-amp (or even 60-amp) service. Even though you can technically run a smaller-capacity mini-split on low amperage, bigger heat pumps could cause you to trip the breaker. Getting the right heat pump for your heating needs might require upgrading your electrical system to the modern standard of 200 amps. PECO can perform this work as well. 

How to Select a Heat Pump

If you’ve decided to get a heat pump, here are some important factors to help you select the right one for your home.

  • Size/Capacity

A unit that’s too small will struggle to keep your home comfortable while an overly large system will cost more and (depending on the model) may cycle on and off more than it should. Your best bet is to install a heat pump that’s properly sized for your home. Our technicians will perform a load calculation to ensure you have the right size. If you’re planning to use a backup heating system, we can also help you figure out whether an undersized heat pump might be a good option.

  • Compressor Type

The heat pump compressor is the part that’s responsible for actually pumping the heat. A basic heat pump will have a single-speed compressor that is either on or off; this can make the temperature and humidity in your home fluctuate. Some compressors have two speeds; although this helps with the fluctuations, they’ll still be present. 

A variable-speed compressor, however, is designed to run continuously and adjust to deliver only as much heating and cooling as you need. They’re also better at keeping the relative humidity consistent. Another benefit of variable-speed compressors is that they’re also more energy-efficient than single or dual-speed compressors. 

  • Efficiency

Some heat pumps use less energy than others while delivering the same level of comfort. Heating and cooling efficiency is measured by heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) and seasonal energy-efficiency rating (SEER). Although the costs may be higher, higher HSPF or SEER-rated units will typically pay for themselves over time, and may even be eligible for better incentives or rebates than less efficient models. The most efficient heat pumps have a SEER rating of up to 28 or an HSPF of 11.2, depending on the tonnage and indoor component combination.

  • Noise

You can find noise ratings for heat pumps listed on the manufacturer’s website; they’ll typically include different decibel ratings based on outdoor temperatures and fan speeds. A lower rating is better, especially if your heat pump is installed near a bedroom window. The variable speed systems are extremely quiet, and on low speed, you wouldn’t hear it running.

A Note on Heat Pump Maintenance

Like furnaces and air conditioning units, heat pumps should receive regular maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. Once a year, you should have a technician perform the following:

  • Clean and flush the coils
  • Clear the condensate drainage system
  • Vacuum the blower compartments
  • Check that the system is properly charged with refrigerant and that there are no leaks
  • Check that all mechanical components are working properly

You can also perform some basic maintenance yourself, like cleaning the grilles, replacing the filters, and keeping weeds and other debris cleared out from around the base. Check the manufacturer’s directions for how often you need to change the filter; depending on the type, it could be anywhere between every 3 to 12 months. 

For no-hassle maintenance, consider signing up for our planned maintenance agreement!

Contact PECO to Find the Right Heat Pump for Your Needs

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when purchasing a heat pump! As with most heating and cooling systems, your best bet is to work with a professional. The margin of error for heat pumps is smaller than other heating systems, so it’s essential to install the right size for your home. If you’ve decided to switch to a heat pump—or replace an existing unit—the skilled technicians at PECO are ready to help! From helping you choose the right system to expert installation, maintenance, and repairs, we specialize in helping you maximize the comfort of your home. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 or schedule an appointment online

Maintenance Tips to Get Your Air Conditioning Summer-Ready

Few things are worse than discovering on the first sweltering hot day of summer that your air conditioner isn’t working! Unfortunately, this is often the case if your annual maintenance is overdue. However, spring is the perfect time to schedule a service call or perform some basic maintenance to ensure your AC is ready to keep you cool this summer. 

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So why does this happen? Central air conditioners use an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor. The condenser (which is the part of the unit that needs to be cleaned and maintained) is usually located outdoors. During the cold winter months, while your air conditioner has been sitting idle, it’s been collecting leaves and other types of debris. To get your AC into shape for the warm weather ahead, it’s important to clean the condenser, replace the filters, and perform some minor checks. 

How to Perform Basic Maintenance 

Although we recommend staying up-to-date with your annual maintenance service, we have several tips to help you get your AC ready to cool your home efficiently this summer.

  1. Shut off power to your AC unit and condenser

Safety always comes first! Before performing any maintenance, be sure to turn off the circuit breaker to your AC unit. You should also turn off the power to the condenser at the service panel. The condenser unit will look like a large metal box with a fan and grilles on the sides. Condensers usually have a 240-volt weatherproof disconnect box containing a lever, fuses, or a circuit breaker to shut off the condenser; this will be located near the unit and should be turned off as well. 

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  1. Clean or replace the AC filters

The filters should be cleaned or replaced whenever they start to look dirty and clogged with dust and debris. At the very least, make a point to clean or replace them twice a year. If the air filters are dirty, it will restrict airflow and affect how efficiently your AC runs. Dusty filters can also cause respiratory issues because they recirculate the dust into your home. 

  1. Clean your condenser coils.

It is not recommended you disassemble the outdoor or indoor units as there are electronic circuit boards, high and low voltage wires as well as delicate refrigerant lines.  

  • Gently hose down the outdoor coils with a hose.  High pressure can cause damage to the coils and splash on the electrical circuit boards.  Never use a pistol sprayer or high pressure washer to clean your coils.  
  • If it looks like you still can’t see through the coils after this or there is dirt matting them, call PECO and we can professionally clean them for you.
  1. Remove debris from the base

After you’ve cleaned the condenser coils, clear out all the leaves and debris that have accumulated at the base of the condenser. If your AC unit has a drain, you’ll also need to make sure it’s clear of any debris. 

  1. Check the coolant lines

The coolant lines are usually covered with foam insulation, and run from the AC’s evaporator on the air handler to the condenser. Check the insulation for any damage; if you see areas that are frayed or missing, replace them with new foam insulation sleeves. If you don’t have foam insulation sleeves, you can wrap the lines with foam insulation tape. 

  1. Test your AC unit
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Once you’ve finished cleaning the unit, it’s time to turn the power back on and test it using these steps:

  • Turn the thermostat in your home off.
  • Turn the power on at the disconnect box and the main panel. 
  • Switch your indoor thermostat to cool. 

If your AC is working as it should, great! If not, you’ll need to schedule a service call. Although basic maintenance can be DIY, repairs should always be handled by a skilled HVAC professional. 

PECO Will Help You Get Your AC in Gear for Summer!

If you feel uncomfortable performing maintenance yourself or your AC isn’t working right, PECO is here to help! We’ll check the entire system, including refrigerant levels, electrical connections, wiring, and other components, so you can be confident your system is in proper working order. Our expert technicians can quickly diagnose any issues and get your AC up and running in no time. Don’t put off your AC maintenance until the dog days of summer! Contact PECO today at (864) 639-2424 and enjoy comfortable indoor temperatures all summer long.

Why a New Furnace May Be the Most Cost-Effective & Energy-Efficient Option

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If you’ve noticed your energy bills rising, especially during the cooler months, you may have something wrong with your furnace. Although you might just need repairs, replacing an old system could be the most cost-effective choice in the long run. The cost of a new furnace may seem high, but newer systems are much more energy-efficient—some models can achieve as high as 98% efficiency! 

Not only can a new furnace help save money on energy bills, but you also won’t need to worry about it breaking down repeatedly like you would with an older system. If you’ve been scheduling repairs more than once a year for the last few years, it’s a sure sign your furnace is nearing the end. 

What to Consider Before Having a New Furnace Installed

Before you commit to a new furnace, there could be other issues going on that would make replacing your current heating system unnecessary. Here are a few things to check before making a decision:

  • Room air balance
    When your home’s doors and windows are closed, the air pressure should be identical in every room. If warm air is forced into a room and can’t escape when newly heated air is produced, it can cause inefficiency issues. It’s recommended to have your room air balance inspected before you decide to install a new furnace.  
  • A dirty heat exchanger
    The heat exchanger can be difficult to access and clean on your own, so it should be serviced by a professional. When the heat exchanger gets too dirty, it can make it work harder than it should, especially if you’ve had your furnace for 10 years or more. If you’re not sure when you purchased your current furnace, it’s best to schedule a service call
  • A dirty furnace filter
    A clogged or dirty furnace filter affects the airflow throughout your home and HVAC system; it can also cause the heat exchanger to become too warm and switch off. Although some furnaces have filters you can change out yourself, others have filters that can only be accessed by a professional. The filter should be changed regularly so your furnace can function as efficiently as possible. 
  • Air leakage
    Air leakage is a common issue with older heating systems that can cause hot or cold spots in a room and higher energy bills. The duct system should be checked and sealed if any leaks are found. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your system’s energy efficiency. 

3 Common Signs That It’s Time for a New Furnace

From the age of your system to uneven temperatures, there are several common signs that it’s time to replace your furnace. If you’ve noticed any of these signs, contact PECO to discuss the latest energy-efficient furnaces on the market. 

Your older furnace isn’t heating your home well anymore

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The average furnace is designed to operate for 15-30 years, but their heating output becomes more limited as they age. When this happens, the system isn’t able to distribute hot air evenly throughout your home, which can cause areas of hot and cold spots. 

If you have an older furnace, it may be time for a new one—but it’s possible that all you need is an air duct cleaning. If the air ducts are dirty or partially clogged, it can affect how efficiently your system can distribute heat. Dirty ducts also impact your air quality and cause respiratory issues. Call PECO, and we’d be happy to take a look at your furnace and duct system.  

Rising energy bills

If you’ve noticed a large spike in your energy bills, especially during the fall and winter months, your aging furnace may not be able to generate heat as efficiently as it used to. The first step to try is to have us perform a tune-up on your furnace to ensure it’s working optimally. 

However, you may want to consider replacing your older furnace because it could end up costing you more over time. Think about it this way: if you’re spending $100 extra per month during the cooler months, you could spend an extra $1000 if you wait two years to have your furnace replaced. You can see how these extra costs can quickly add up! Especially if you factor in frequent repairs on an older system. 

Your furnace needs repairs more often

If you’ve needed to have your furnace repaired one to two times per season, it’s time to start thinking about a new furnace. Frequent repairs can quickly add up and may meet or exceed the cost of a new furnace—not to mention, you’re also not getting the benefits of a new furnace, like increased energy efficiency or a manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re not sure whether it’s time for a new furnace, our knowledgeable technicians can help you determine how much life is left in it and whether it needs to be replaced. 

Gas or Electric? Which is the Best Furnace for Your Home?

If you’ve already decided it’s time for a new furnace, you might be wondering which type of furnace would be the best choice for your home. We’re happy to give your recommendations based on your heating needs, but here’s an overview of the differences between natural gas and electric furnaces. 

Natural furnaces

  • Generate heat for your home by igniting natural gas in a combustion chamber and then transferring the heat to the air through the heat exchanger
  • Relatively energy-efficient with a minimum efficiency of 78%, but some models offer near 93%-99% efficiency 
  • Many models need little electricity to operate, which means they can be run on a generator during power outages

Electric furnaces – most expensive – heat pump system is more efficient solution

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  • Work similar to a toaster; an electric current is run through the heating elements; cold air is then forced through the elements to heat the air before it’s pushed through the air ducts
  • Less efficient than gas, and costlier to run. 
  • There’s no need for a flue pipe to expel combustion gases, so all you need is the furnace and ductwork—which also means it can be installed in more places in your home
  • Since there’s no gas combustion, there’s no risk of a gas or carbon monoxide leak (keep in mind that these are relatively rare in gas furnaces)

Propane (LP) gas furnace

In addition to electric, there are also propane furnaces. These tend to be more expensive than natural gas to run because propane is higher in cost. However, they are less expensive than a straight electric furnace and don’t require additional power to work.

All gas furnaces can easily be converted from propane to natural gas with an inexpensive kit. So, if your neighborhood is getting natural gas installed, and you just splurged on a new furnace for propane…no worries. Call PECO, and we can install the new gas line if necessary and convert your new furnace to the new fuel.

Call PECO Heating & Cooling for All Your Furnace Needs

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No one wants to have their furnace fail in the middle of a snowstorm, so if your furnace is on its last legs, it’s best to have it replaced before winter arrives. If it’s between 15 and 20 years old, you run the risk of it failing altogether. Of course, reliable heating isn’t just about comfort; it’s also about costs. Frequent repairs and rising energy bills can add up, so this is something to keep in mind when you’re considering a replacement. A new furnace will be more efficient, and with regular maintenance, it won’t need repairs for many years. You may also be able to qualify for energy rebates! 

If you’re wondering what the best option is for your home, call PECO Heating & Cooling! We offer comprehensive services for all your home heating needs, including planned maintenance, repairs, and installations. With our planned maintenance agreement, you can look forward to having your furnace serviced twice a year, plus an extra 10% discount on any repairs, no after-hours charges, and priority service! We use flat rate book pricing, so you’ll always know exactly what the costs will be—no surprises. From recommendations to repairs, you can count on our experienced team to keep you comfortable year-round. Call PECO today at 864-639-2424 or schedule an appointment online.

How to Prevent Clogged Drains in Your Home

If you’ve ever had a clogged drain in your home, you know they can be inconvenient, expensive, time-consuming—and sometimes smelly. Clogs are common plumbing problems, especially in the warm summer months when many of us tend to take more showers. Although hair going down the drain is a common culprit, clogs can be caused several different things. Fortunately, by understanding what causes clogged drains and learning some simple steps to fix them, you can easily avoid the headache and keep your plumbing system in excellent shape. 

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Drain pipe auger with crank handle

Limit What You Put Down the Drain

One of the easiest ways to keep your drains clear is to limit what you put down them. Leftover food and coffee grounds should be composted or thrown in the trash, not the garbage disposal. Liquid grease, like bacon fat, should never go down the drain. Instead, pour used grease into a sealable container and take it to a recycling center, or throw it away. 

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Sink drain clogged with hair

As mentioned above, hair is a common clog culprit, especially for bathroom drains. Brushing your hair before showering or bathing will help remove any loose hair that could cause a clog. For even better clog protection, use mesh screens to cover bath or shower drains or a perforated shower drain hair catcher. Likewise, you could replace your shower or tub stopper with one that comes with a built-in screen. If you need to bathe your dog in the bathtub, place a washcloth over the drain, even if you have a shower drain hair catcher. 

When it comes to toilets, there are only three things you should flush: solid waste, liquid waste, and toilet paper. Things like dental floss, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, or even so-called “flushable” wipes should always go into the trash. 

7 Ways to Handle Clogs

Even by following these tips, you may still end up with a clog. Here are a few steps you can try before you make a service call:

  1. Check the drain stopper. If you see hair, a buildup of soap scum, or other types of debris, remove the stopper. Give it good cleaning and then reassemble it. 
  2. Use a plunger. Make sure the drain is completely covered by the plunger bell, so it creates a seal. Push in, then pull out; this will help force the water up and down in the pipes. If you’re dealing with a sink clog, run at least 2 inches of water down the drain before trying the plunger. 
  3. Use a plumbing snake. If your drain is still clogged, the next step is to try a plumbing snake (also known as an auger); these have a corkscrew-like tip that allows you to pull blockages out. Push the snake down the drain, and twist as you feel it move around the corners. 
  4. Use a wire coat hanger. If you have a shower clog, a wire coat hanger can help you remove the blockage. Bend the tip of the coat hanger to create a hook, then use a plunger to bring the clog closer to the surface so you can pull it out. If plunging doesn’t help, try the snake.
  5. Use baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the solution sit for a few minutes (it should start bubbling) and then pour a kettle of hot (not boiling) water down the drain. Let the mixture sit for a couple of 0hours; if the clog hasn’t cleared, repeat the process. 
  6. Remove the P-trap. The P-trap is the U-shaped drain pipe under your kitchen and bathroom sinks; it’s not easily accessible, so this step should be done as a last resort. Place a bucket under the trap to collect the water, then unfasten the P-trap with a wrench or pair of pliers. Once the P-trap is off, use a straightened wire clothes hanger or a bottle brush to clear out all the debris inside. 
  7. Remove the overflow plate and stopper. For bathtub clogs, remove the overflow plate and stopper from the tub drain. Cover the overflow plate with a damp sponge and plastic to seal it, then plunge the drain. If this doesn’t work, insert the snake through the overflow plate and work it down past the P-trap. 
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Plastic drain snake

If you’ve tried the above measures and still have a clog, it’s time to call in the pros!

How to Keep Your Drains Clean and Well-Maintained

A lot of things go down your drains daily, including grease and food particles from washing dishes, hair, soap, and waste. If you don’t clean your drains regularly, the buildup from these things can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system! Regular cleaning can increase the lifespan of your drains, improve drainage, reduce clogs and service calls, and even help get rid of unpleasant odors. Here are a few tips for keeping your drains clean and preventing troublesome clogs:


  • Clean sink drains. Pull out all drain stoppers and remove any debris you see; if you have stubborn debris, use a bent wire to remove it. Rinse the stoppers before reinserting them. 
  • Flush your bathroom drains. Fill your bathtub with hot water, and then let it drain. If you have a shower stall, run some hot water down the drain at the end of each shower. 


  • Deep clean the tub. Remove the overflow plate and raise the pop-up assembly to access the spring or rocker arm. Remove any hair or debris, then rinse the pop-up assembly and replace it. 
  • Use a bacterial drain cleaner. Bacterial or enzyme drain cleaners contain biodegradable and non-corrosive ingredients, so you won’t need to worry about damaging your plumbing. They use bacteria and enzymes to break down complex organic molecules into smaller molecules that can be eaten by the bacteria, so they can help break down any debris that was overlooked or hard to remove. 
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Chemical poured down drain to tackle clog

Still Have Plumbing Issues? Contact Your Home Service Heroes at PECO!

Plumbing is arguably one of the most important systems in your home; when it’s not working, it can be a real hassle! However, by being mindful of what you put down the drain and keeping up with some basic maintenance, it’s easy to prevent common issues. If you have a plumbing issue that can’t be resolved with these DIY tips, PECO is always here to help. With an experienced team of plumbing experts and a 24/7 answering service, we’re ready to assist you whenever plumbing issues strike. From maintenance and repairs to installations, you can rely on the home service heroes at PECO. Call us today at (864) 639-2424 or schedule an appointment online.