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.


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.

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.


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?

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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.


Get Your Plumbing In Top Condition Before Your Summer Guests Arrive!

39032778 - drops of water and hand with wrench, plumbing repair symbol

The summer season is officially here! School is out for vacation, there are more RVs on the road, and the sun is shining.


This is the time of year when most families reserve their time together doing things like taking vacations, road trips to their favorite river or lake spot, and getting together with out-of-town guests.


Having a plumbing problem in your home while you are entertaining guests could be very embarrassing. Not to mention putting a big damper on your visit.


Thankfully, we have some advice for how to get your plumbing system in top working order before your guests arrive:


  • Make sure that your water heater has been serviced recently. It is important to have your water heater professionally checked at least every couple of years. If your water heater is more than eight years old, you should have it inspected every year. Having a water heater stop making hot water or having the tank burst while you have guests would be disastrous.
  • With all of the extra people using the bathroom facilities, you want to make sure that the plumbing system is up to the task. Think about having drain screen installed on all of the sinks, showers, and tubs. This is something that you can do yourself and will only take a minute. The screens can be purchased at your local hardware store and they simply lay over the top of the drains.
  • Grab a flashlight and look under all of your sinks to make sure there aren’t any leaks. The plumbing drains and hoses in the cabinets under your sinks can easily start leaking over time and the leak can get really out of hand if you don’t find it right away.


As your friends and family start calling to confirm their visits, make sure to take a few hours before they arrive to ensure that your plumbing system is ready. These visits only happen once a year so it is good to make sure they go off without a hitch!

Tips For Summer Season Plumbing Maintenance

40300682 - summer backgroundHooray for the summer vacation season! Now that the temperature has been teetering around the triple digits and the kids are out of school officially – we can now declare that the summer months are here and now is the time to put up the hammock and drag out the barbecue grill.


This is the best time of year – the weather is nice, people take vacations and spend time together as a family, and wonderful memories are made. This is also the time of year when most people like to take time away from their home and schedule their one big summer vacation trip for the year.


But, whether you are planning on staying around your house and enjoying the long summer nights in the backyard – or, you are headed out of town for some vacations and camping trips, it is important to know that your home and all of its systems will be reliable.


This is no truer for any system more than it is for your plumbing system. Your plumbing system is to one part of your home that you absolutely must have during the summer months in order for your vacation and time off to go right.


The first is to keep your plumbing system properly maintained, and that means treating it well when you use it. Here are some specific tips:


  • Don’t overuse your garbage disposal in the hopes of saving time so that you can get outside to that lawn chair. The garbage disposal is still just an appliance, and it needs to be treated properly. If you wouldn’t put it in your blender … don’t put it in your garbage disposal.
  • With the kids being in and out of the house in the grass, sand, and wood chips – make sure to install drain screens in your sinks and bathtub or shower drains. This is the cheapest and easiest way to avoid a major clog in your plumbing system.
  • Check your washing machine after each load to make sure there aren’t any solid pieces like small toys or even rocks. Especially if you are washing sleeping bags or beach towels.


Dealing with a summertime plumbing malfunction is the last thing you want to spend your R&R time doing. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to make sure that your plumbing system can be counted on and will not have a malfunction – follow these tips and have an awesome summer!


Do You Know These Dishwasher Rules?

4446199_sThere are many important appliances in your home, and they all play a big role in making sure you are able to get your household tasks done each day – efficiently.

This is especially helpful during the summer months, when you have a million things to do that are much more fun than clean the house. Not to mention the extra housework of having guests or hosting summertime events.

Many homeowners have a backyard that is well-manicured and conducive to having outdoor cookouts with friends and family over. These gatherings are a great way to spend time with people you may not have time to connect with during other times of the year – but, they also generate a lot of extra dishes.

Having a properly working dishwasher is essential to efficient clean-up of your kitchen after one of these events. And, it can make all the difference for you in spending time with your guests vs. being trapped in the kitchen with a sinkful of dishes.

But, your dishwasher must be properly maintained in order to work efficiently and not add more work to your day. Here are some tips:

Use quality soap and cleaning products in your dishwasher. And, when you can, make sure to use powdered soap instead of gel. The gel does not rinse as clean, and will leave behind a small layer of buildup. Over time, that buildup will begin to grow bacteria, and will wear down the gasket that seals the door of your dishwasher.

Never put items in your dishwasher that will break down during the wash cycle. Things like styrofoam, takeout containers, and plastic containers with paper labels will all break down while the dishwasher is running, and leave behind deposits in the mechanisms.

Resist the temptation to put items in the dishwasher that are still dirty. If your dishes have food particles on them, those food particles will get left behind in the dishwasher and will cause clogs in the washing mechanisms and filter. This will not only will this leave subsequent loads of dishes unclean but, it will cause your dishwasher to break down much faster.


3 Spring Plumbing Tips

27544058_sNow that the spring is upon us, it’s time to start moving away from those winter plumbing tips and adjust our action plan.

Each season has a different list of priorities for your plumbing system, because each season has a different kind of weather.

During the winter months, the fear for your plumbing system is that pipes will crack or break due to freezing. And, during the spring season, it is the perfect time to check on your plumbing system to see if any of those fears came to life.

As you are putting together your list of spring project to-dos, make sure you add the following spring plumbing tips:

  • Walk around the outside of your home and look for broken hose bibs that may have been caused by broken pipes. When your hose bib has water left in it and the water freezes, it will expand and crack open the pipe from the inside out. Once the spring season is upon us, the frozen water will thaw and start sputtering and spraying. So, it is important to check on these as soon as the sun pokes through the clouds.
  • Check the faucets outside of your home and replace all of the gaskets. During the winter months, the gaskets can get worn down and cracked so, replacing them gives your faucet a new lease for the spring and summer months. This is also a great way to eliminate any drips or leaks that could cause your water bill to go way off budget.
  • Check all of the faucets in and out of your home for mineral deposit build-up. The build-up can cause your water pressure to diminish making it much more difficult to efficiently water and bathe. To easily remove the mineral build-up, you can simply soak your faucets in a bowl of white vinegar and water. Or rubber band a bag of vinegar to the faucet and let it soak.

Spring time plumbing tips are very different than winter tips. Make sure that you are keeping your plumbing in good shape in accordance with the seasons and the weather. These tips should help!

5 Simple Water-Saving Tips

17923596_sSaving money each month is a priority for all of us. Anywhere that we can scrimp and save without going too far overboard – we do it.

This time of year, saving money can have a real impact because this is when most people start to plan their summer fun getaways. Things like camping trips, vacations, and weekend getaways are all favorite ways to celebrate the summer sun months.

The utility bills in your home can fluctuate quite a bit each month depending on use. For instance, your water heater can be blamed for 60% of your total power bill each month. So, the less hot water you use, the lower your power bill is going to be.

This is important math to be thinking about as you are taking showers, washing laundry, and filling up the dish sink.

Thankfully, there are many ways that you can reduce the amount of water – both hot and cold – that your household uses each month. Some of these tips are easily implemented, and others take a bit of finesse and coaxing:

  • Fill up the sink with water or a small bucket when shaving. Don’t shave in the shower or with the bathroom faucet running.
  • Plug the drain before you turn the water on to fill the tub. Allowing the cold water to run down the drain is just a waste. Instead the cold water that comes out first can mix with the hot water that comes out later to make the tub water warm.
  • Don’t defrost meat in water in the sink. Instead, use a meal plan so you know what you are fixing in advance, and then defrost the meat that you need in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Use a bowl to wash fruits and vegetables. Then, use the water in the plants or to water your pets.
  • Do not spray the driveway or walkway clean. Instead, use a broom to clean these areas.

Planning your trips now helps to make sure that you have everything that you need including supplies, luggage, and budget. One way that you can ensure your summer fun budget is plentiful is to save money on your monthly utility bills.