Plumbing Archives | 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. 

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home 1

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!

8 Easy Tips for Home Plumbing Maintenance

Hand with wrench fixing sink pipe close up view

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

Don’t Flush Anything That Shouldn’t Be Flushed

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

Spot Tank Leaks with Food Coloring

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

Quickly Stop Overflowing Toilets with the Flush Valve

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

Clear a Blocked Toilet with Hot Water and Soap

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

Soak Clogged Showerheads with Vinegar

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

Flush Your Water Heater Yearly

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

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

Use Mesh Drain Covers

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

Inspect Your Pipes for Leaks

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

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

Plumbing Issues? Call PECO!

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

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

The Positive Side of Plumbing

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

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

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

How We Can Help

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

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

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

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!

Our Top Picks for Smart Water Leak Devices

Clean water has become scarce and expensive throughout the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately one trillion gallons of water is wasted yearly from household leaks. To put this number into perspective, this is the approximate amount of water used by more than eleven million homes annually!

Leaks are a problem for several reasons. Not only do they cause waste and drive up the cost of your water bill, but water damage can be expensive to repair. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak as much as 250 gallons of water in a single day. The average cost of drying out your property – with no further damage or restoration needed – averages around $2,700 nationally. If you need to repair drywall or carpeting, this can cost up to $7,500. Not to mention, leaks can also cause fires if they come in contact with electrical outlets, encourage the growth of mold and mildew, and can cause wood or other organic materials to rot.

Our Top Picks | Smart Water Leak Devices

Given this, it’s recommended that every home have a reliable system to detect leaks as soon as they happen. Traditionally, leak detection relied on an alarm system. Leak detectors would be placed in areas of the home that were most likely to experience leaks, like underneath sinks or behind toilets. The problem with this system is that a leak can occur anywhere in the plumbing system, not just where the water sensor was placed.

Today, the best way to catch leaks is by using a smart leak detector. These smart devices monitor the flow of water in the home, catching leaks as they start. Here are a few of our favorite smart water devices we’ve installed:

Phyn Plus

When you flush a toilet or run the dishwasher, the pressure in your plumbing changes. The Phyn Plus monitors your plumbing system for microscopic water pressure changes 240 times a second to create individual profiles of your water fixtures and a baseline of your overall usage. This allows it to learn when you’re using a faucet or watering the lawn versus when there’s a leak. Once the Phyn learns your personal plumbing profile, it will enable an auto-shutoff feature that allows you to turn your water off directly from your phone. In addition, it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.

The Phyn gives you insights about your water usage, allowing you to spot trends about how much water you’re using. On average, most people can save approximately 10% on their water bills using this system. It also comes with a “Plumbing Check” diagnostic feature, which looks for tiny leaks within your plumbing system when you’re not likely to be using water. The Phyn will alert you to any type of leak – from pinhole leaks behind walls to frozen pipes in your attic. As a bonus, some insurance companies offer policy discounts for having the Phyn in your home.

Moen FLO

The Moen Flo works similarly to the Phyn Plus. The Flo is installed in-line on your main water supply line, which allows it to monitor all the water going into your home. The Smart Water Shutoff uses three sensors and a series of algorithms to actively monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature. The MicroLeak™ feature runs daily proactive tests to identify and notify you of any leaks in your plumbing system. The Flo can detect leaks as small as a drop per minute, which might be unnoticeable until you discover mold growth or water damage.

Your smartphone acts as your interface, allowing you to get alerts, remotely shut off your water, view water consumption, or contact your plumber directly for repairs. If you don’t have your phone with you, the Flo will automatically shut off the main water line. The Flo conveniently integrates with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, and comes with a 1-year limited warranty covering manufacturer’s defects. Moen also offers an optional subscription call FloProtect, which provides an insurance deductible guarantee. If the Flo device fails to protect the home from catastrophic water damage, FloProtect will reimburse up to $2,500 of the insurance deductible.

StreamLabs Smart Home Water Monitor

StreamLabs Smart Home Water Monitor uses ultrasonic technology for 24/7 real-time leak monitoring. The device doesn’t require pipe cutting or tools – it conveniently zip ties directly to the pipe on your main water line, automatically detecting the size and type of your pipe. StreamLabs works by sending soundwaves directly into your water line, then recording the time delay to measure the water flow. It monitors everything from usage to leaky pipes, appliance failure, freezing conditions, and running toilets. StreamLabs also includes an “away” setting for when you’re not at home. This is useful for vacations or weekends away, as it will monitor and notify you if there is any water flow for longer than 15 seconds.

StreamLabs allows you to monitor your system from your smartphone and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Nest. Unlike the Flo or Phyn, you can’t turn your water off remotely, however, you’ll have access to live and historical water usage stats, a leak alert history, freeze alerts, and comparative usage chart. The app also remembers your settings, so you can use it even if WiFi isn’t available. StreamLabs comes with a 2-year full product warranty and 3 months free of StreamPlus, a subscription that gives you access to a range of additional features, including the ability to monitor and control more than two locations and an extended 5-year warranty.

Smart water leak detectors are an easy and affordable way to protect your home from water damage and expensive repairs. They’re also a great way to be more eco-friendly and reduce your water bills! At PECO, we regularly install these devices and can help you select the best one for your needs. Give us a call at 864-639-2424 or schedule your appointment online.

How to Find Good Plumbing Services Near Me

Having a lot of trouble finding good pluming services near you in your area? You’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to narrow down the massive list of service providers to find a plumber that works well for them and meets their needs, while remaining affordable and making you feel respected. Too often, a service provider doesn’t get the job done well, or you require a repeat visit or second opinion on an issue. How do you find a good plumbing service that gives you everything you need the first time? Here are a few tips from us to help you during the selection process.

How to Find Good Plumbing Services Near Me

1) Ask friends and family for recommendations. One of the very best ways to get a solid recommendation for a service professional is to ask people you already trust who don’t have an investment on “selling” you a particular service. If you know someone who’s had to have plumbing work done on their own home, ask them who they went with and whether or not they liked them. The horror stories can tell you just as much about a company as the positive experiences!

2) Make a list and contact several companies before you choose. You can always open Google, run a search, and go with whichever company paid for a sponsored post at the top of the page. However, it’s in your best interests to do some research before you make a hire. Call around, talk to people on the phone, ask for estimates, and get a general feel for the business before you make your decision.

3) Check out online reviews, but don’t bet the farm on them. Online reviews are a very handy way to learn about the highs and lows of a business. They should give you a general idea of who you’ll be dealing with, but bear in mind that people who post online reviews tend to post only about exemplary experiences or horrible ones. There isn’t much in the way of middle ground there, and it’s fairly easy to throw a one-star review at a business because the reviewer was having a bad day and was already irritable. Use reviews to your advantage, but don’t make them your only avenue for a decision.

4) Meet with plumbing contractors if you can. You can learn a lot on a phone call with someone, but if you’re having major work done, you really should request a walk-through and estimate so you can meet the person who will be working on your home. Seeing how a plumber works in person will tell you more than speaking on the phone ever could.

5) Consider local independent companies whenever possible. Especially companies with longevity in the area. Finding plumbing services near me is easier when you look for local companies that exist in town, and if they’re independently operated, it makes it more likely that they’ll work hard to keep your business. Competition is high and independent businesses can give you an extra touch and may even offer special deals for first-time customers or people near their offices.


If you’re dealing with a plumbing emergency, you may not have time to go through all these steps, so we recommend doing this research up front so you have someone ready to go if the need arises. PECO Heating & Cooling provides plumbing services for South Carolina residents and we’d be happy to speak to you about our service.