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.

 

Convenience

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.

Sources:

Tankless Advantage


https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-are-pros-and-cons-tankless-water-heaters.htm

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.

 

Sources:

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/furnace-troubleshooting-2/ 

 

7 Ways To Make Sure Your Plumbing Is Protected

plumber-1966497_1280Unfortunately, the holiday season is over but we still have several weeks left of the cold weather season. This is the time of year when many homeowners like to plan vacations and trips out of town to see loved ones.

Taking a vacation this time of the year is a great way to recover from the stress and Chaos of the holiday season as well as a time to get away from the cold weather and go somewhere that is warmer.  However, you do have to leave one thing behind and that is your home.

Many people are concerned about what condition their home will be in when they get back.  This is especially true during the winter time as a frozen and subsequently broken pipe is not unusual.

If you are planning a trip away from home this winter and you’re worried about a pipe freezing and bursting while you are gone – make sure to take these precautions:

  • There is a product called heat tape that can be installed and will warm pipes as needed during cold weather. While you could do this yourself, you may want to consult with an Indianapolis plumber to learn some best practices.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air into your home where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Prevent temperatures from dropping below 32 degrees in any areas of your home where water lines are located.
  • If you still have concerns about your system, call a licensed plumber and ask them to come to your home and advise you about how to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep a small drip of water coming out of your faucets to make sure that water doesn’t stand still and freeze
  • Keep your cupboards doors open to allow warm air to get inside and battle against the freezing temperatures
  • Keep the thermostat in your home set to 55 degrees to make sure that your pipes stay warm but your power bill doesn’t go off budget

Make sure to implement some of the precautions before you set off on your winter vacation. This will give your home some protection and will give you and your family some peace of mind.

 

6 Ways To Avoid A Plumbing Disaster This Winter

34463361_s (1)For most people, this is the time of year when spending time with friends and family is top of the to-do list.

Not only are there holidays to celebrate but the cold weather lends itself to staying indoors and spending quality time with loved ones.

Often, that quality time is spent sharing meals and enjoying each other’s company around the table. While the kitchen may be the heart of the home, it is also the part of the home that is the most vulnerable to plumbing disaster during the winter months.

Most specifically, a clogged garbage disposal is the number one reason that emergency plumbers are called to provide support to homeowners during the winter months.

Not only is there a lot more meal preparation and cleanup happening during the winter months but, there is also the fact that the foods that are prepared this time of the year are root vegetables and starchy foods with thick peels.

All of this leads to extra wear and tear on your garbage disposal and eventually, serious clogs. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to protect your plumbing system and garbage disposal from falling victim to a serious clog this winter:

 

  • Always run the water when using your garbage disposal. Running it dry could lead to clogs because the water helps to push all of the pulp and materials down the drain.
  • Keep in mind that your disposal, kitchen sink, and dishwasher all use the same drain. Be mindful of what you are putting into each of these sections of your plumbing system as the single drain could become overwhelmed easily
  • Make sure to always put vegetable peelings, meat bones and scraps, and oil or grease into the garbage can. Putting these items into the garbage disposal could quickly lead to a serious problem.
  • Pour a pot of boiling water into your garbage disposal drain at least one time per month as a preventative maintenance measure.
  • Use small pieces of citrus peels and ice cubes to keep your disposal clean and fresh
  • Consider starting a composting bucket for your home to get rid of the biodegradable items that are not able to go into your disposal drain

Your disposal is an important part of your winter weather comfort. Make sure you are using it properly and not putting anything at risk. Follow these simple tips for best practices.

Follow These Tips To Keep Your Plumbing System Working Great!

27544058 - plumbing sign with house, tap and spanner in frame

27544058 – plumbing sign with house, tap and spanner in frame

With the holiday season in full effect, many families are starting to spend more time indoors staying warm and comfortable.

This is the time of year when the outdoor activity starts to slow down in favor of things like eating meals together and having family game nights.

While this might not seem like something you should be concerned with, having a plumbing disaster definitely is. And, your plumbing system is at greater risk for a malfunction this time of year than any other time of year.

Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that your plumbing system doesn’t fall victim to a serious malfunction this winter and holiday season:

Protect your garbage disposal from serious clogs and damage by making sure that you put all food garbage into the garbage can and not down the garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal is a fragile piece of equipment that can easily become damaged and get clogged. You need to protect it during the high volume use time of winter by putting the food garbage in the trash can and not down the disposal drain

If your plumbing has been showing signs of malfunction or damage – make sure you talk with a professional plumber sooner than later. It is important not to risk your plumbing system by letting even small problems go unrepaired. The winter months and the cold weather is when you will really see small plumbing issues escalating to major problems.

During the winter months there really is no other alternative to cooking dinner than using the oven or stove. During the summer, you can throw some food on the BBQ grill and have an easy clean-up. But, during the winter, it is too cold to BBQ and you must bake or fry your food. This leave animal leftovers and you should never pour those down the kitchen sink drain.

Protect your home from serious plumbing disasters this winter by following these simple tips. Enjoy your holiday season and avoid a plumbing disruption!

4 Ways To Ensure Your Family Has A Properly Working Plumbing System This Winter

36778918_sThere are many things that homeowners can do during the fall to ensure that they home is ready for the winter weather.

The summer weather presents its own set of wear and tear risks for your home – but, the winter is especially harsh on the various systems used to make your house run.

While your heating system gets used a lot during the winter weather – your plumbing system is the one that is most at-risk from the cold weather.

Your plumbing system is both at-risk for reduced energy-efficiency and for plumbing disasters.

Much of your home’s plumbing system is buried in the ground outside of your home. This exposure to the outside temperatures and elements can make your plumbing system especially vulnerable to reduced energy efficiency.

In fact, if you do a study of your power bills, you will likely find that your plumbing system is the least energy-efficient during the winter months.

Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your plumbing system retains as much energy-efficiency as possible:

  • Wrap your water heater with an insulated blanket to buffer against the cold temperatures.
  • Make sure to have your septic or sewer system professional inspected and have any small issues repaired or addressed before they escalate to major problems.
  • Wrap heat tape or pipe sleeves around any exposed plumbing that is installed in an outside facing wall
  • Add hose bib covers on all of the outside hose spigots that are around your home

Use these tips to ensure that your home is protected from the cold temperatures and that the energy efficiency of your plumbing system is intact. Keep an eye on your monthly power and water bills and adjust your efficiency plan as necessary.

Is Your Septic System Ready For The Fall?

15284170 - helpful tips and tricks symbol

The summer season is a time for family vacations and fun in the sun. However, with August almost over, it is that time of year when most households slow down with the summer activities and switch to school year activities.

 

This is also the time of year when the linens, clothing, and outdoor items for summer are washed, boxed up, and stored away until next year.

 

As you are going through your end of summer activities to get your home ready for fall, don’t forget to be mindful of your plumbing system.

 

While your plumbing system takes a fair amount of use during the summer months – the fall season is when the heavy rains hit and it is important to make sure that all parts of your system are working properly.

 

Like most complex systems – your plumbing pipes, fixtures, and fittings all have to work together to protect your home from flooding during the fall weather.

 

Here are just a few tips for you to follow during these end of summer weeks to keep your plumbing system in top condition:

 

  • Your septic system should be inspected once per year and the tank should be pumped at least once every three years – if not more frequently. During an inspection, your drain field pipes will be checked for tree roots.
  • It’s easy to forget about these areas of your home if you don’t go into them. So, make sure to carve out some time to purposely check the other bathrooms in your home. Guest bathrooms are not a place where you probably visit very often, unless you are preparing to have guests. But, leaks can happen in there the same as the other rooms in your home.  
  • When it is cold outside, having hot water inside is important part of staying healthy and combating the weather. Make sure that your water heater is well-maintained so that you are getting hot water during the cold weather season.

 

Keep your home protected from damage this fall by checking these end of summer plumbing checks off of your list. This is the perfect time to do it while the weather is transitioning from hot to cold.