Water Heaters 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. 

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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!

When Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

When Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Have you been wondering if it’s time to replace your water heater? If you’re like most people, you probably have had the same water heater since you moved into your home. Although water heaters can last many years with routine maintenance and prompt repairs, they aren’t built to last forever. Someday, the water heater will fail, and you’ll need to have it replaced. To help you know when it’s time for a new water heater, we’ve compiled some of the most common signs you should watch for. 

Keep in mind, however, that none of these signs are a definite indication that your water heater needs to be replaced. If you’ve noticed any of these issues, make sure to call us to inspect your unit. Our skilled technicians can tell you if the water heater can be repaired or if it would be more cost-effective to have a new unit installed. 

6 Common Signs Your Water Heater Might Need to Be Replaced

The Age of Your Water Heater

Most water heaters last anywhere between 15-20 years. If your unit is over 20 years old, it’s usually best to have a new system installed—even if the old one is still working properly. Generally, it’s only a matter of time before the water heater fails, so it’s best to be proactive. The good news is that the wide range of newer models are more durable and energy-efficient than your old water heater, so you might even find that you’re saving money on energy bills in the future!

Running Out of Hot Water

Do your showers get lukewarm quicker than they used to? This is a common sign your water heater is on the decline. However, if your family has grown, or you’ve added another bathroom, it may be that your current water heater isn’t adequate for your household’s needs. In this case, it may be time to consider a larger unit. 

Rising Energy Bills

Hot water makes up the majority of residential heating costs. So, if your water heater is beginning to fail, you may notice your energy bills are rising. 


Unless your water heater is extremely old, it shouldn’t have any corrosion. Corrosion can’t be repaired most of the time, so you’ll likely need to have a new unit installed. 

Discolored, Hazy, or Foul-Smelling Water

If the hot water from your tap is hazy, reddish, or smells like rotten eggs, it means that the rust and bacteria aren’t being eliminated by the built-in anode rod. Before you place a service call, though, check to make your water heater is the issue, rather than the actual water supply to your home. You can do this by filling a clear glass with cold water and another one with hot water, then comparing them. If both have murky water, you’re dealing with a water supply issue; if it’s just the hot water, you have a water heater issue. 

Frequent Repairs

Does it seem like your water heater always needs repairs? Keep a record of how often you’re having it repaired throughout the year. A well-functioning water heater shouldn’t need to be repaired more than twice yearly. If you’re having it repaired more frequently than that, installing a new unit will likely be the more cost-effective option. 

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Things to Consider if You Need a Replacement

Is your water heater showing any of these signs? Here are a couple of things to consider if you need to replace it:

  • Consider switching to a tankless system. While traditional tank water heaters heat the water continuously, tankless water heaters only heat as much water as needed, when needed. This “heat on demand” feature can reduce energy use significantly (approximately 24-34%) compared to traditional tank water heaters. Tankless units also tend to last longer than tank water heaters. 
  • Consider installing a smaller water heater with a tank booster, so you have enough hot water to fill up a bathtub. Only about 2/3 of a water heater’s capacity is useful water; a tank booster is a cost-effective way to nearly double your usable hot water capacity. 

Water Heater Issues? PECO is Here to Help!

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we want you to get the most out of your water heater. However, when the cost of repairs gets too high, your water heater isn’t adequate for your needs, or it’s causing your energy bills to skyrocket, it may be time to consider having a new unit installed. If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, have one of our technicians take a look. In some cases, we may be able to repair the issue; in others, you may need a replacement. 

Either way, we’ll evaluate the issue and provide you with the most cost-effective options to get your hot water flowing properly again. Need help with a different plumbing issue? Our team also offers drain cleaning, leak repairs, new appliance installations, and more. Schedule an appointment today by calling (864) 639-2424 or send us a message through our online form

Saving Energy While Heating Water With A Tankless Water Heater

Water Heating Can Be a Tankless Task

Traditional water heaters, even if they are running right, have built-in inefficiencies. You would never keep a pot of boiling water on the stove 24/7 to make your coffee or tea each morning. That’s sort of what’s happening in your water heater tank—whether you’re at work, or away for the weekend, your water heater is burning energy all day, every day to keep a big “pot” of water ready for the next time you want to use it. Going tankless addresses this wastefulness by only heating water on demand. It is also a much smaller unit, saving on space. This is a big deal since water heating is the second most expensive energy guzzler in most households.

How It Works

saving energy while heating water with a tankless water heater

When you turn the handle for hot water in a traditional system, pre-heated hot water travels through pipes to the tap. In a tankless system, cold water is carried to the unit and is circulated through a series of coils called a heat exchanger and sent directly to the faucet. The system only heats the water that you need—you save on your electric or gas bill and reduce your carbon footprint!

Gas Versus Electric

Electric on-demand tankless systems produce lower flow rates than gas-fired units due to lower BTU production. The most powerful home electric system produces 125,000 BTU, while outputs from gas systems range from 120,000 to 199,000 BTU.  Electric water heaters are more compact and can be complicated to install, requiring (3) 50 AMP double pole breakers and circuits run to supply the power. Your home’s electrical panel and service AMPs must be large enough to supply the additional 150A required to run the electric tankless water heater. Most homes only have 200A service. Gas tankless heaters are larger and will require installation of additional gas lines and PVC venting (exterior tankless only need gas and water lines). Gas water heaters are more efficient than electric, and the price to install is about the same.  There are more restrictions for installing electric tankless than gas; however, because electric tankless is limited to the power supplied to your home.

How Much Is Not Enough?

Typically, tankless units provide hot water at a rate of two to five gallons per minute, depending on the model and temperature of the groundwater. For simultaneous demand for showering, dishwashing and clothes washing, be sure that the new system you purchase will cover your needs. Tankless water heaters can cost significantly more to install compared to an electric tank water heater, but it will also produce energy savings that may result in the unit paying for itself in 10-12 years or less. Also, they will last longer—warranties for most tankless systems are for 20 years compared to 8-10 years for tank systems. For more information about installing a tankless water heater system in your home, call PECO, your home service heroes. We’re a family-owned business and take great pride in offering high-quality home repair with even higher quality attention to our customer’s needs. We’re available 24/7 and service  Oconee, Pickens, and North Anderson counties. As well as being licensed plumbing contractors, we also install, maintain and fix heating and cooling systems. We can fix or build anything that moves gas or water through your house and we even repair and remodel homes, including doors, minor drywall, and painting. If you’re thinking of going tankless, call the experts at PECO today at 864-639-2424 or request an appointment online.