Home Maintenance Archives | PECO Heating & Cooling

Is a Backup Generator Worth the Investment?

Is a Backup Generator Worth the Investment?

Are you having trouble justifying the expense of a backup generator? You’re not alone! Many homeowners shy away from purchasing a backup generator because they view it as an unnecessary expense. While it’s true that a backup generator can be a significant investment, the benefits far outweigh the cost. If you’re still on the fence, here are some compelling reasons you should consider investing in a backup generator. 

Whole-Home Backup Generators Vs. Portable Generators

Portable generators can be very convenient if you only want to power a few items, such as lights and small appliances, but they simply can’t provide enough power for essential systems, like electric heating, cooling, and water pumps. Permanent backup generators, however, are the ultimate solution for uninterrupted power to your entire home during an outage.

Portable generators also need to be set up before you can use them, which can be especially inconvenient if you’re away from home during a power outage. A backup generator is hard-wired to your home’s electrical system, so it’s always on standby and ready to take over once your main power goes out. 

Powering Essential Systems

Although some consider backup generators a luxury item, they can be lifesavers in many ways, from keeping you warm and comfortable during a brutal winter storm outage to powering medical devices that are critical for your health. Backup generators can also keep the essential systems in your home running, such as sump pumps, septic lift stations and water pumps—and prevent costly damage from occurring. 

Keeping You Connected and Powering Non-Essential Items

Picture this: a natural disaster strikes and the power goes out for days. Your phone’s battery is running out, the food in your fridge is spoiling, and the silence and darkness in your home are making you a little stir-crazy. This is where a backup generator comes in handy. 

A backup generator can also provide a connection to the outside world by powering your electronics. You can keep up with the news, communicate with loved ones, and even watch a movie. Plus, it can keep your home security system operational. Even though many of these systems have battery backups, battery power could run out during an extended power outage. 

Adding Value to Your Home

Not only will having a backup generator make your home more attractive to potential buyers, but it can also increase your property value. In fact, many real estate experts agree that homes with backup generators can sell for up to 5% more than similar homes without them—especially in areas that are prone to natural disasters like severe winter storms and hurricanes. 

But the benefits don’t stop there; insurance companies also recognize the value of backup generators. Many insurers offer discounts on premiums for homes that have backup generators due to the reduced risk of damage caused by power outages. 

Maintaining Your Quality of Life

When the power goes out, life can suddenly become challenging, especially for families with children, older adults, or individuals with medical conditions. However, with a backup generator, you can maintain your quality of life, whether it’s staying warm or cool, keeping your food fresh, or powering up medical equipment.

Backup generators can also help boost your morale and keep your spirits up during extended outages. You can listen to music, watch your favorite TV shows, or have enough light to play a board game with your family. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference in stressful situations!

Expert Backup Generator Installation and Maintenance

Investing in a backup generator is a wise decision that can give you peace of mind and help you and your loved ones stay safe and comfortable during power outages. At PECO Heating & Cooling, we understand the importance of keeping your home powered, which is why we offer reliable backup generation installation and maintenance services. Don’t wait for the next outage to strike—contact us today at (864) 639-2424 to learn more or schedule an appointment! 

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?

Many of us tend to think air pollution is only found outdoors. In fact, the air inside our homes can be as much as 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Although many people recognize the hazards posed by outdoor air pollution, there tends to be less concern over the health hazards caused by indoor air pollution—even though it often has the same effects. 

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air in and around buildings—specifically as it relates to human health and comfort. The primary sources of indoor air pollution are items in the home that release particles or gases into the environment. If there’s not enough ventilation to disperse these pollutants, they can build up and become concentrated in the home. High temperatures and humidity levels can also increase the concentration of some pollutants. 

Some of the most common sources of poor indoor air quality include:

  • Gas appliances
  • Tobacco products
  • Building materials and furnishings, such as asbestos-based insulation, carpet, pressed-wood cabinetry, and upholstery
  • Household cleaning products
  • Personal care products
  • Products used for hobbies, such as paint or glue
  • Excess moisture
  • Outdoor sources, such as pesticides
  • Dirty or poorly maintained furnaces or air conditioners
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Cooking

How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Health?

Indoor air pollutants may cause health issues shortly after exposure or years later. Immediate effects tend to be short-term and go away after treatment. Some immediate effects include:

  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Everyone’s reaction to indoor pollutants can vary depending on age, preexisting medical conditions, and individual sensitivity. Long-term health effects may show up years after exposure or after prolonged exposure to indoor air pollutants, including:

  • Respiratory conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Even if there are no noticeable symptoms, it’s still recommended to take steps to improve indoor air quality to prevent potential long-term effects. 

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate allergens and pollutants from your home, there are several simple changes you can make to reduce them and your exposure. 

  1. Clean your home regularly to reduce dust, dust mites, animal dander, and mold. Vacuum the carpets and rugs at least once or twice a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Clean up areas of clutter and wash bedding, drapes, and other items that attract tend to attract allergens. 
  2. Use sterile soil for indoor plants and only water them when the soil is dry to prevent mold growth. 
  3. If you have a forced air heating system, change the filters regularly and have the ducts cleaned periodically to remove trapped dust. 
  4. Invest in an air purifier to help capture indoor irritants. 
  5. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home to prevent mold growth. 
  6. Open your windows from time to time to allow fresh air to circulate. 
  7. Use fans while cooking to remove fumes from the kitchen. 

For the Best Air Quality Solutions, Contact PECO

Whether you need your HVAC filters replaced or would like to install an air purification system, PECO Heating & Cooling offers a number of air quality solutions to help you breathe easier. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 to discuss your needs. 

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
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home 2

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
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home 3

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.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home 4
  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!

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.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall Leaves

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

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

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

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

The Easiest Way to Get HVAC Filters

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

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

Other Benefits to Changing Your Air Filter

Replacing HVAC Filter

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

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