Prevalent Thanksgiving Plumbing Emergencies and How To Avoid Them

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the bend, numerous homeowners in Bromall, Pennsylvania, are eager to gather with their friends and families to enjoy an assortment of traditional Thanksgiving staples. Whether you are the host or a guest this Thanksgiving, having a basic understanding of some of the most frequently occurring Thanksgiving plumbing issues can help you decrease the likelihood of a serious plumbing catastrophe interfering with your holiday plans.


Malfunctioning Garbage Disposals


The garage disposal will be operating continuously throughout Thanksgiving and during the entire holiday season, which means it will be particularly susceptible to being impacted by several plumbing problems. Some of the most common garbage disposal issues happen when a large quantity of scraps or food waste go down the drain, or when substances that the disposal can’t handle make their way accidentally into the sink.


A variety of food items and cooking ingredients that are part of the traditional Thanksgiving spread can seriously damage a garbage disposal, including corn husks, turkey bones, and egg shells. Even if you aren’t preparing the meal this Thanksgiving, take a look at the following list of items to keep out of the disposal. This can be the key to preventing unpleasant blockages and clogs this season:


  • Corn husks
  • Coffee grounds
  • Liquids such as oil, fats, grease
  • Bread, rice, pasta
  • Beans
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry and peach pits
  • Turkey bones
  • Potato peels
  • Mashed potatoes


Avoid throwing these items down your garbage disposal, and you should also refrain from discarding a large amount of food scraps down the disposal at one time.


Worn Out Appliances   


When your entire family comes together to celebrate the holidays, it’s not unusual for the number of people in a home to double, or even triple. As a result, the plumbing appliances are used more often, making them more susceptible to experiencing issues. While there is nothing you can do to avoid this, you can help everyone learn what can be flushed or put down the garbage disposal in order to decrease the chances of a large-scale plumbing accident ruining your Thanksgiving.

How To Clean Your Toilet Tank

Your toilet tank typically stays pretty clean. The dirty water is in the bowl only and stays out with the rubber stopper at the bottom of the tank. The tank can get dirty on its own though, making it important to clean it occasionally.

Empty the Tank

The first step to cleaning the tank is to empty it of all the water. You can do this by shutting off the water supply to the toilet. Turn the knob on the wall near the toilet a few times to close the water connection. Then flush the toilet a few times to get rid of the water in the tank.

Scrub the Inside of the Tank

Use a long-handled scrub brush or a scouring pad to scrub the surface of the tank. You’ll want to go easy with the brush or use a softer sponge on the key elements inside of the tank. Be careful not to damage the pieces with the scrub brush.

Use Vinegar for Mineral Deposits

If there are mineral deposits built up in the tank from hard water, soak them with vinegar. You can either fill up the entire tank with vinegar and let it soak, or just pour the vinegar on select areas. If you don’t like using vinegar, lemon juice may work, too. Skip this step if your home runs on a septic system. Dumping chemicals into the tank can cause a big problem for septic owners. Be sure not to use any ammonia-based cleaners, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide after flushing the tank with vinegar to avoid a bad chemical reaction.

Refill the Tank

Once you’ve completed your scrub of the tank, open the water knob and let the flow of water back into the tank. Flush the toilet a few times to get the extra cleaners out of the tank. Once this is complete, you are ready to continue using your toilet.

Clean the toilet tank twice a year to keep everything in working order. It is best to clean the tank by hand, avoiding the drop-in cleaner tablets. Those contain chemicals that can degrade the components of your toilet and can harm your septic system. For all your plumbing needs, call McCuen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.


How to Choose Your Plumber

Your plumber can play a role in determining the efficiency and longevity of your home’s systems. Finding the right plumber in Broomall, Pennsylvania, takes identifying your unique goals and needs, as well as a bit of research into the local options. Knowing the traits of top-tier plumbing companies can help you understand what to look for during your search. Look for the following things before hiring your plumber.


Skilled and Certified Technicians


A plumbing company is only as good as the people it sends to complete jobs. Partner with a company that keeps high standards for who it hires. Look for skilled, experienced, and friendly technicians. They should also have the education and certifications necessary for completing the type of job you need done. Explore an About Us page or ask the company outright about its technicians.


A Variety of Services


Once you find a reliable, trustworthy plumber, you don’t want to have to find another for different services. It’s beneficial to find a good plumber who offers a wide variety of plumbing, HVAC, sewer, and water services in Broomall. That way, you’ll only have to conduct your plumber research once. A variety of available services at one location can provide maximum convenience for home and business owners.


Friendly Representatives


The world of plumbing can be an enigma to homeowners. It’s a plumbing technician’s job not only to repair and maintain systems, but to explain things and answer questions as well. It’s important to find a plumbing company with friendly and caring representatives who listen to your concerns and work with you to find solutions tailored to your needs. Reading company reviews can give you a better idea of how the company treats clients.


Fast and Efficient Services


When you’re experiencing a plumbing emergency, you don’t have time for companies that send your call to voicemail or charge outrageous amounts to visit after hours. You need a plumber you can rely on to show up when and where you need services, at affordable rates. John McCuen, Inc. offers 24-hour emergency plumbing services in Broomall, along with coupons and discounts you can apply to reduce the price. We have everything you need in a plumber and more.



How to Plan a Cost-Effective Bathroom Upgrade This Summer

Having your bathroom appliances upgraded can break a budget quickly. To keep your upcoming summer bathroom renovation project affordable, you’ll need to understand how to avoid unnecessary costs. Look at the following list of ideas to help you plan a reasonably priced bathroom upgrade project this season.


Before planning your budget for your bathroom renovation project, commit to crafting a plan centered around these cost-saving considerations.


  • Select just one appliance, feature, or fixture to splurge on.

  • Be sure to make room in your budget to cover any unforeseen costs, such as having water damage repaired or renting a dumpster to remove debris after your project is complete.

  • Think about renovating your bathroom in phases to give you time to save up money in-between the upgrades.

  • Work with the space you have in your bathroom already, as expanding a room is generally an expensive and time-consuming job.


  • If you must have something replaced, make a point to conduct thorough research and shop around for the best prices. This will allow you to have a complete understanding of all your options before you commit to making a purchase.


Before starting your project, consider these helpful budgeting tips for each upgrade you think about having installed.


Countertops: If you are planning to install a new countertop in your bathroom, consider affordable material options such as tile countertops, granite, or Formica. A simple paint job can also make a major difference in the appearance of your counter, just be sure the paint you decide to purchase works with your countertop’s material.


Decorations: Rather than purchasing a new set of decorations, try revamping your bathroom with items you already have on-hand. Think about transforming your old mirror by having the frame replaced, or simply painting the frame to create an entirely new look. In addition, you can paint your shelving areas a new color instead of spending the money to have new ones installed. If you want to spruce up the room with artwork or additional decorations, take a look around your home for decorative baskets or plants you can use to enhance the style of your space.

Keep Your Home Cool and Your Energy Bill Reasonable This Summer

As the temperatures continue to climb, many homeowners will be looking for ways to keep cool while keeping their energy bills at affordable levels. Here is a list of five steps you can employ to save money on your energy bill without forfeiting the comfort of your home:

Upgrade Your Old Air-Conditioning Units

If you own an older A/C unit but haven’t been maintaining it, consider replacing it with an improved model. Energy Star-rated HVAC models use up to 50 percent less energy than other models, which can offset the replacement expenses by a large margin in the long run.

Purchase a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats enable you to manage your HVAC system when you aren’t physically inside of your home. You can establish thermostat settings in accordance to your specific schedule, so you can minimize energy use while you are away and still come home to a pleasant temperature. You can use programmable thermostats to set distinct temperature zones for rooms throughout your home to maximize your energy preservation efforts.

Check and Replace Air Filters

Dirty air filters can hinder airflow and reduce the effectiveness of your HVAC system. You should replace the unit’s air filters each month to keep your system functioning properly throughout the summer.

Shield Your Unit From Sun Exposure and Debris

A tree can help shade your HVAC unit and reduce the amount of energy it needs to consume when operating. While this can improve its overall functionality, remember that branches or particles can infiltrate your unit, disrupt its operation, and potentially cause lasting damage.

Keep Your Vents Uncovered and Clean

Vents in your home are prone to accidentally being closed or covered when cleaned. If you notice a particularly warm room or section of your home, double check that all the vents are open, so they can distribute cold air effectively.

Keeping your vents clean can also help prevent dust, dirt, and miscellaneous debris from circulating throughout your house. Check both the inside and outside of the house to make sure your vents and air filters are clean and can sustain a healthy airflow.


Preserve Water This Summer With These Seven Simple Plumbing Tips

You use water in many places in your house, which makes the idea of conserving it difficult for many homeowners. While it may appear difficult at first glance, there are numerous strategies you can employ to cut down on your water usage and save money on your bills this summer. Here are a few water-preservation strategies you can use to help you this season.

  1. Run your faucet only when necessary. Don’t have it running when you brush your teeth, flossing, or using mouthwash.
  2. Install water-sense plumbing accessories and appliances. New low-flow shower heads and sink faucets can make a large dent in your water usage without hindering water pressure levels.
  3. Take showers rather than baths. Filling your bathtub requires around 30 gallons of water, while a 10-minute shower only requires around 25. Better yet, upgrade your shower head to a low-flow version to reduce your water usage down to 20 gallons per shower.
  4. Examine your toilet for leaks. Toilets are known for developing leaks that are difficult for homeowners to notice. Unfortunately, undetected toilet leaks can waste a lot of water. To examine your toilet for leaks, put a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank and wait for about a half-hour without flushing the tank. If you see the coloring in your toilet bowl after 30 minutes, it probably has a leak.
  5. Use your dishwasher. Hand-washing your dishes instead of putting them in the dishwasher uses more water. Leave this task to the machine, but always make sure you have an entire load of dishes in prior to running the dishwasher.
  6. Upgrade to a water-smart dishwasher. If it’s almost time for you to start looking for a replacement dishwasher, choose a water-smart version that uses less water during its cycles. You may also want to choose an energy-efficient dishwasher to decrease energy usage.
  7. Dispose of garbage in the trash instead of your garbage disposal. While the garbage disposal comes in handy when you need to get rid of certain items quickly, you must use water for it to function correctly. If you can toss a product in the trash, save water and dispose of it manually.

Six Products to Keep Out of Your Dishwasher

With the potential to save us time and effort, the dishwasher has become a primary appliance in countless households across the nation. But even with its great benefits, there are certain items your dishwasher just can’t manage. To keep your dishes and dishwasher safe, consult the following list of items you should not place in your dishwasher:

  1. Dishes covered with leftover food. Upsettingly, your dishwasher does not have the ability to break down leftover pieces of food and cannot function as an effective garbage disposal. Even though the water jets might break down the remains of your meal to a certain degree, these food particles can still become lodged in your pipes and cause a severe issue. Be sure you and your family scrape your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to clear away leftover food and avoid needless blockages. You should also be careful not to put dishes layered with oil, grease, or fat in your dishwasher, as these elements can re-solidify when they get into your drain lines and result in clogs.
  2. Adhesive labels. People may forget to take off the sticky labels that come on new dishes or plasticware products. But when you put these in the dishwasher, they will likely lose their adhesive qualities and can get stuck in your dishwasher’s filter or drain. To avoid the chance of a clog, take time to be sure your new items don’t have sticky labels attached to them before you put them in your dishwasher.
  3. Hollow plastic items. Some types of plasticware contain hollow components, which can easily become filled with water and cultivate mold growth when put in the dishwasher.
  4. Insulated coffee mugs. Much like hollow plasticware and utensils, water can also get inside insulated coffee mugs and cause mold to develop.
  5. Wood products. Placing wooden kitchen products, such as cutting boards and large spoons, in your dishwasher can result in their deterioration. You should hand-wash wooden products and dry them immediately to prevent cracking or eroding.
  6. Fragile dishes and fine china. Every time your dishwasher does a cycle, the things inside may move around and alter their positions. Hand-wash your fine china and other fragile items to protect them from breaking due to the nature of your dishwasher.


Frequent Summertime Plumbing Dilemmas and How to Solve Them

Even though homeowners often think of wintertime hazards, such as frozen pipes or bursts, when they imagine plumbing problems, the fact is there are plenty of plumbing issues that happen in the summertime as well. While you may not have to be concerned with frozen pipes during the warmest period of the year, there are some additional issues you should be aware of to prepare for the summer months. Below is a list of the most prevalent summertime plumbing problems to further your awareness of prospective problems this season.

Blocked Drains

People love to spend time enjoying the outdoors in the summertime. Regardless of what outdoor activities you and your family prefer, more time outside tends to create an extra layer of dirt to clean off when the day is done. Keep in mind that your sinks and tubs weren’t made to handle large volumes of sand, dirt, wood chips, or other outdoor debris that people often track inside during the summer. These materials are prone to causing build-ups and blockages, so make a point to hose off before you hop in the shower or bath. This will help ensure your drains remain clog-free throughout the season.

In addition, summertime is shedding season for pets, so be sure to give your family pet a good brush before a bath to prevent excess hair from getting into your drains and leading to a clog.

Garbage Disposal Malfunctions

The summer comes hand and hand with a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables many families like to enjoy. However, there are several seasonal summer foods with the capacity to wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. High-fiber food waste like corn cobs, watermelon rinds, mango pits and banana peels can do major damage to your disposal and result in a steep repair bill. Protect your garbage disposal during your summertime barbecues and special events and ensure that people place these items in your trash bin instead of into your sink.

Like high-fiber foods, make sure your family and seasonal guests understand that they should not dump bones, grease, oil, and fats down the drain into your garbage disposal, because they can damage it. Taking these protective actions can keep your appliances functioning properly throughout the entire season.

4 Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

You’ve been putting it off for a while now. Your water heater is getting old, and you’re starting to hear strange noises when it heats. You’ve priced replacement units and you wonder if it might be better to have a tankless unit installed. Here are some of the benefits of going tankless.



It can be a challenge to schedule showers, especially if you have a large family. If four people need to clean up before bed, plus you want to do a load of laundry and wash supper dishes, you might not have enough hot water. With a tankless hot water heater, you have hot water on demand whenever you need it.

If your regular water heater develops a leak, it could flood the surrounding area. Tankless water heaters don’t hold water, so you never have to worry about coming home to water damage.


Save Space

Tankless water heaters take up much less room than traditional ones. If your current unit lives in a closet somewhere inside your home, installing a tankless unit would let you use that space for storage. If your water heater takes up a corner of the garage, you could repurpose that space for other use.


Lower Utilities

Regular water heaters usually store between 30 and 50 gallons in their tank. They keep that water hot and ready to use all the time, so they’re constantly using energy. If you only use hot water when you’re home in the evenings, the rest of the day that energy is wasted.

Tankless units only heat water as it is needed. They use less electricity, reducing both your utility bills and your impact on the environment.


Longer Life Span

Tankless water heaters cost more to install, but they almost always last twice as long as traditional units. Most include a warranty that covers the heat exchanger for several years.

If you’d like to know more about tankless water heaters, contact John McCuen Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning Inc. to schedule an appointment today.


Tankless Advantage

4 Reasons Your Furnace Might Not Work This Fall

If you’ve lived in Bromall, Pennsylvania, long, you know it’s a good idea to test your furnace well ahead of cold weather. The first time the temperature drops, everyone in town will switch on the heat. For some people who didn’t think ahead, the heat won’t come on. Heating and air conditioning companies will be swamped with calls, and there are only so many technicians available. Some families will be stuck shivering in the cold while they wait their turn for service. But what happens if you switch your thermostat to heat on the first fall day, and you find out you have a problem? Here are some reasons your furnace might not be working.

Electrical Issues

 Even if you have a gas furnace, it still requires power. If you switch on your thermostat and nothing happens, you might have loose or corroded wires in your unit or in the thermostat. Make sure your thermostat is set to heat, check your electrical box for a blown circuit breaker, and examine wiring leading to your furnace. If you see loose wires, contact an expert immediately.

Pilot Light Is Out

 If the blower goes on but all you get is cold air, check to see if you can see the blue flame of the pilot light. If you don’t see a flame, the furnace may simply need to be relit.

Dirty Filters

 Filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days. Dirty filters make your furnace work harder to push out warm air, which wears it out faster. If your furnace doesn’t seem to be putting out much heat, check the filters. If your furnace frequently switches between hot and cold, that also may indicate a clogged filter.

Mechanical Problems

 If your furnace thumps, bumps, or squeals, it may have mechanical issues. Call an expert right away so a mechanical issue doesn’t lead to system failure.

 Have your heating and air conditioning systems checked twice a year to prevent major issues. With regular maintenance, you’ll never have to wonder if your heater is ready for the cold weather ahead. Contact John McCuen, Inc. for plumbing, heating, and air conditioning in Bromall, PA, and throughout the area.