Author: Service Lifter

Limescale Build-Up in the Toilet: How to Prevent It?

Undoubtedly, one of the most frustrating things about being a homeowner is having to deal with limescale. Limescale is a result of evaporating water rich in calcium and magnesium and can be an enormous problem in your toilet or any other room.

Homeowners fear limescale because it can increase maintenance costs, decrease heating efficiency, and impair the heating or plumbing components. That’s why homeowners devise a million plans on how to prevent limestone in toilet.

In this article, we’ll elaborate on what causes limescale in toilet and how to prevent limescale buildup in toilet cistern and bowls.

Let’s jump in!

What Causes Limescale in Toilet?

Limescale toilet buildup is a result of hard water flowing through the pipes and leaving behind deposits of magnesium and calcium that gradually build up into stains and scaling. You can spot these stains and scaling almost anywhere the hard water flows: around taps, pipes, and toilet bowls.

This substance can also harm your health and the health of your loved ones. Limescale – a base – is known as a neutralizer of stomach acids and a cause of indigestion. If the buildup is continuous, and excessive amounts of this calcium carbonate pile up in your toilet, it can act as a laxative, causing you diarrhea.

Homeowners use hundreds of bleachers or cleaners to remove limescale in their toilets. However, not all are equally effective in the battle against this unfriendly calcium carbonate. So, if you want to eliminate all the limescale and have everything looking squeaky clean, you’ll have to put your gloves on and get down to work!

Note: You can easily recognize limescale by the brownish, orange, or pinkish stains.

How to Prevent Limescale in Toilet?

The how to prevent limescale buildup in toilet dilemma should be the least of your worries! Nowadays, you’re free to choose between more traditional solutions and modern products to eliminate and prevent limescale buildup in your toilet. There’s no once-and-for-all solution to your problems.

Nonetheless, you can apply different products and tools to tackle limescale daily. For example, you can buy water softeners and descalers or clean the appliances more frequently.

Furthermore, you can choose what to do depending on the severity and area of the build-up. For instance, pouring vinegar into the tank or inside other components may be one solution. While in other cases, you’d have to consult with experts and higher professional services to handle your limescale problem.

Note: The prevention techniques and methods can vary between different components. For example, preventing and cleaning limescale in toilet cisterns is slightly different than in toilet bowls.

How to Prevent Limescale Build Up in Toilet Cistern?

The toilet cistern is one of the most sensitive components to calcium carbonate build-ups. This comes naturally because the toilet cistern is always full of hard water circulating through. Homeowners have found many methods to dissolve and prevent limescale in the toilet cistern. Nevertheless, nothing’s ever been more effective than white vinegar!

White Vinegar Solution

So, how to prevent limescale in toilet using this condiment? To prevent calcium carbonate from piling up into your cistern, pour a single cup of white vinegar into it. The mixture should be three parts white vinegar to one water. After you pour it into the cistern, mix it slowly and carefully until it’s evenly distributed. This way, you’ll be sure that the white vinegar covers all the areas affected by the limescale.

To ensure maximum effects, repeat this process each month by leaving the mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes before flushing it out. An alternative to the vinegar solution is lemon juice. It works on the same principle, and it’s equal parts effective.

Acidic Cleaners

Another solution for preventing the calcium carbonate from building up is acidic cleaners. You can order and purchase them online or at your local shop.

However, you should be very careful when using acidic cleaners. Higher concentrations of acids may sometimes damage the cistern materials and cause unpleasant vapors. That’s why you should first learn the materials your cistern is composed of and how they’d react to different acidic cleaners before you buy and apply one.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are great products in the fight against limescale build-up. Water softeners can significantly improve the water quality and decrease the concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium.

On the market, there are several types of water softeners. One of the most popular water softeners is the ion-exchange system. This product can improve the quality of your toilet water by using charged beads to remove minerals from your cistern.

Another type of water softener is the reverse osmosis system. This product can help you prevent calcium carbonates and magnesium buildups by forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane and leaving all the mineral deposits behind.

You can also use more natural water softeners with potassium chloride. These products use this substance instead of salt to naturally filter out calcium and magnesium and replace them with potassium chloride.

How to Prevent Limescale in Toilet Bowl?

How to prevent limescale in toilet bowl is one of the most frequent limescale-related questions homeowners ask themselves. The toilet bowls are the usual target for calcium and magnesium build-ups because of the constant water circulation.

The products and methods for preventing limescale deposits in the toilet bowl are almost the same as those used for toilet cisterns. You can choose between acidic cleaners, water softeners, descalers, and natural solutions. The reason for this is that the same water circulates in both the toilet cistern and bowl.

Descalers

You can use de-scalers to prevent minerals from piling up in your cistern or toilet bowl. In particular, an electronic water descaler is a product that can do miracles in the battle against limescale.

Electronic water de-scalers work on the principle of sending electronic pulses through the plumbing system. These pulses disrupt the calcium and magnesium and prevent them from turning into limescale. Electronic descalers are environmentally friendly because they don’t use chemicals or salt.

Also, the descalers are easy to install and maintain. There are some simple electronic descalers you can use by plugging them into an outlet and letting them do their job. They’re a natural and affordable way to protect your bowl from limescale build-ups.

Lemon Juice & Citric Acids

Similarly to the toilet cistern, you can use white vinegar or lemon juice to prevent minerals from building up in your toilet bowl. Nonetheless, lemon juice won’t only dissolve the minerals – it will also freshen up the water in your toilet bowl!

Do this monthly or weekly – whenever you like. Lemon juice will liven up your toilet and make you forget about the limescale.

On the other hand, if you want a more time-effective solution, you can always use citric acids to get rid of your limescale. The process is straightforward – dilute one to two tablespoons of citric acid in a liter of cold water, mix it evenly, and put it in your toilet bowl.

The citric acids have antibacterial, antifungal, and degreasing characteristics. What’s more, citric acid is a proven whitening substance. Do this every month, and you’ll prevent any mineral buildup within your toilet bowl while livening and freshening your toilet up!

Have Your Water Tested

Test your water – one of the best pieces of advice professionals can give you to prevent limescale problems. You can hire services to determine the hardness level of your toilet water and instruct you on what kind of products you should use to stop it.

You can also do this by yourself. On the market, there are test strips for determining the hardness of toilet water. Simply lower one into your cistern or bowl of water and leave it for a few seconds. Then, remove it and watch how it changes color depending on the different levels of water hardness. This way, you’ll know the severity and what kind of product to use.

Dealing with a Limescale-ridden Toilet

Dealing with a limescale-ridden toilet can be very challenging and exhausting. Still, the same products, tools, and techniques apply to almost all appliances and toilet elements. You can use water softeners, descalers, vinegar, lemon juice, acidic cleaners, and much more.

However, if you have major problems with mineral buildups, don’t hesitate to call us at Cummings Plumbing! We’ll get rid of all the limescale for you and provide you with the nitty gritty on how to prevent it in the future.

FAQ

Why does my toilet keep getting limescale?

Your toilet keeps getting limescale because of the so-called “hard water” rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium.

What dissolves toilet limescale?

Many products and tools can dissolve toilet mineral build-ups. For example, you can use water softeners, acidic cleaners, electronic water descalers, vinegar, lemon juice, citric acids, etc. Each product works differently, and you can combine them into a single prevention solution.

Is it OK to put vinegar in the toilet tank?

Yes, feel free to put vinegar in your toilet tank. Vinegar is a natural and chemical-free cleaning solution. You can leave it in the tank between 1 and 12 hours depending on the severity of the mineral buildups.

 

 

 

Improving AC Efficiency: The Best Ways to Do It

The air conditioner is our best friend during hot summer days and long winter nights when the temperatures rapidly change. It provides a pleasant atmosphere to help us survive high heat and extreme cold, but if not maintained adequately, it can be the reason our energy bills go through the rough.

According to some statistics, US homes are facing an increase in energy costs, and the AC has an immense contribution to these costs. Homeowners are always looking for ways to reduce costs and, at the same time, improve the performance of the AC.

There are many ways to improve AC efficiency and, in this article, we will discuss several. Some of these steps include easy adjustments you can do yourself, while others would require consulting a professional. We’ll give you tips on where to look for issues and what to do to reduce your energy bills.

How to Improve AC Efficiency?

Depending on the AC unit installation, you’ll need to look for ways how to improve air conditioner efficiency. Owners who enclose AC units because of their appearance should be careful not to enclose them fully. This will present a problem for the AC performance and the cleaning and maintenance of the unit. Blockages should also be prevented around vents to ensure proper air circulation.

Outdoor units can improve their performance by shading them during the summer. Installing the unit in a shaded place will not require it to work as hard as when exposed to the sun. If this is impossible, find another way to shade it and protect it from the sun. This also means protecting the outside unit from extreme cold. Find a suitable spot that will keep the unit from overheating or be exposed to ice and wind.

Other simple ways you can help improve efficiency and performance are buying a whole-house fan to draw in clean air from the outside and remove hot, stale air from your home. Add ceiling fans to move the cold air throughout your home, or cover your windows to prevent the heat from entering the house.

Dirty filters play a significant role in the AC’s performance, which is a reason to replace them regularly. In addition to lowering the air quality in your house, dirty filters may also restrict airflow, making your AC’s job more challenging. It is a simple and inexpensive method of avoiding issues with air conditioner performance.

How to Increase Home AC Efficiency?

There are many ways to boost the work of your AC. Investing in an energy-efficient central air conditioner, along with ongoing repairs, tune-ups, and upkeep, ensures performance boosts and reduction of costs. We’ve compiled a list of several strategies on how to increase home AC efficiency.

Keep Your Outdoor Units and Vents Clean

AC’s performance can significantly decrease due to clogs or debris found near the outdoor condenser. Check for possible blockages around the unit that may be causing reduced performance. Clear away any winter leaf piles, and trim tall grass, bushes, or plants that may have sprung near the structure.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the air conditioning system is recommended. This includes keeping the outdoor unit and vents unblocked and clean of dust and other debris to allow normal performance of the AC.

Improve the Attic and Walls’ Insulation

Insulation is an important component of every house to keep the heat inside, and it also keeps the cool air from escaping and prevents the summer heat from entering the house.

Lack of insulation in the walls and attic will cause the energy bills to increase, costing you lots of money. It also means that the air conditioning system will work harder than necessary to maintain the temperature in your home.

Clean the Drain Line

Air conditioning systems have drain lines that are usually located near the indoor cooling coil and are used to drain the moisture created from the indoor air. The drain line can clog up and create a blockage which can cause further damage.

Pay special attention during the days when the AC works 24/7, and a lot of moisture is created. Use a cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water to clean the drain line. This will ensure the drain line is clean and prevent any water-related damage.

Use Blinds And Curtains to Cover Your Windows

The heat from the sun can enter through the windows causing the temperature inside to rise rapidly. Establish a routine of drawing the curtains or closing the blinds as a way to block the heat from entering your home. This way, you’ll prevent your AC from working harder and increase its performance.

The Best Ways How to Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency

There are many ways how to increase AC efficiency, and one is to replace an old unit with a newer, more efficient model. However, before you go and spend your money on a new AC system, let’s look at how to improve AC efficiency of your current, fully functioning unit.

Fix All Possible Leaks

Leaky air systems can seriously reduce the AC’s performance and make it work harder than it should. Air easily leaks out through the attic, doors, and windows, costing you a lot of money. The AC will run longer than necessary to compensate for the lost air.

The right thing to do is check for leaks on doors, window frames, and the attic. If you notice any cracks, fix them to help the air conditioning system perform better and save you money.

Handle and Replace the Thermostat

Knowing how to handle the “brain” of the AC system will help you maintain a constant temperature in the space. New programmable thermostats will help adjust the temperature throughout the day to fit your busy schedule.

Another point to remember is to place it away from devices that produce heat, such as lamps, or even expose it to direct sunlight. It will misread the temperature making the AC work harder to decrease the temperature, hence increasing the cost.

If you notice that the thermostat keeps switching on and off repeatedly, it may be time to replace it with a new one. A malfunctioning thermostat will create high energy bills.

Maintaining the Temperature

Most people believe that keeping the same temperature level when they leave the house could lower their expenses because the system won’t have to work as hard to cool the home down again. This isn’t the case, though.

Turning up the thermostat during summer when you go out is the least expensive method to utilize your air conditioning. Air conditioning systems operate more effectively over extended periods at full speed. As a result, turning down the heat when you arrive home will save you more money than turning the air conditioner on and off while you are gone.

Check the AC Filter Regularly

The filters must be checked regularly and replaced if needed. Soiled filters reduce air quality and airflow, making the AC system work harder. Not addressing the issue with the filters may lead to more expensive repairs, so look at this as an affordable way of increasing AC efficiency.

Avoid Using Heat-Producing Devices

Avoid using heat-producing devices such as ovens and hair dryers on very hot days. This equipment generates heat, which the AC must dissipate in your home.

Running these devices in the middle of the day can put more strain on the AC when the temperature is high. Plan and operate these devices at night when it is cooler so the AC won’t have to work as much.

Plan Routine Maintenance to Increase Performance And Efficiency

While there are many things you can do to maintain your house energy-efficient, regular AC maintenance and repair performed by a professional like Cummings Plumbing is recommended. You won’t have to worry about cleaning the system and ensuring it functions properly. Additionally, they can aid in problem detection before they develop into larger ones, extending the life of the AC.

FAQ

Is it cheaper to leave the AC on all day?

Since ACs consume more energy when running continuously, operating the AC at full capacity when at home is more cost-effective than running it at a reduced capacity throughout the day. Your monthly utility costs will increase in direct proportion to the amount of power you utilize.

How can I reduce my AC bill?

Using a thermostat, you precisely control the temperature in your home. You can slightly change the temperature without affecting your enjoyment but with the possibility of using less energy. Programmable thermostats can be set to chill your area when you’re at home and increase the temperature when you’re gone, a straightforward adjustment that will ultimately save you a significant amount of energy.

What is the best AC temp to save money?

The optimal temperature of 78F allows you to be comfortable and reduce insanely high energy bills. Nevertheless, depending on the weather, you may need to change that setting. Your energy bill will increase if the inside and outside temperatures differ significantly.

The Clogged Toilet: Why Does It Happen & How to Prevent It?

Toilets are the part of our home that we don’t mind much–that is until they stop working! This is when panic and chaos set in. And while it’s common sense that we shouldn’t throw just about anything in the toilet, accidents can happen.

If clogging occurs frequently, you may be wondering “why does my toilet keep clogging, and how can I fix it?” In such circumstances, it’s best to contact a professional to check out the situation. Taking care of the matter incorrectly may lead to serious plumbing issues and expensive repairs.

Let’s see how toilets get clogged and why!

How Do Toilets Get Clogged?

So, how do toilets get clogged? There are numerous explanations for this. The main thing is to identify the major issue behind the blockage and eliminate it.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential reasons for toilet clogs:

The Trap Is Blocked

The trap is the curved channel behind the toilet that connects the drain pipes with the toilet. It is designed to prevent the horrific sewer gasses from passing back into the house through the toilet drain.

It is a useful part of the plumbing system, yet it is the place where many clogs occur. The clogs can often be fixed with a toilet plunger, but sometimes the intervention may be more serious and require a professional’s help.

The Plumbing Vent Is Obstructed

The house plumbing system consists of more than just pipes bringing in water and drainpipes removing wastewater. There are also ventilation pipes that run up and through the roof and keep the pressure stabilized to prevent water from siphoning out. They are responsible for increasing the toilet’s flushing power and allowing fresh air to enter.

The plumbing ventilation system may be clogged by leaves and debris at the outlet and can be cleaned by hand.

The Sewer Backed Up

A sewer backup is something we want to prevent under all circumstances. If there is a clog in the sewer system, wastewater doesn’t drain properly, backing up as a result. The blockage occurs in the connection between the main house sewer line and the municipal sanitary sewers. If you notice slow drains in the house, the sewer line might be an issue.

Why Does My Toilet Keep Clogging: The Most Common Culprits

Problems with your toilet and plumbing system usually point to issues like clogging. We need to learn how to keep toilet from clogging to protect against any further damage.

Take a look at some of the most common cause of clogs:

Excessive Flushing of Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is safe and intended to go through sewage pipelines. However, the use of excessive amounts of toilet paper can clog the pipes due to not being able to dissolve properly. What happens is that the excess paper sticks in the drain lines or the toilet and creates a clog.

There are many brands of toilet paper available on the market today. While some of them are comfortable to use, they may not dissolve well and create big problems.

Flushing Non-Flushable Items

Toilet paper and human waste are the only items that are meant to go down the toilet. Don’t be surprised that your toilet is clogged if you frequently flush down other paper and hygiene products.

Flushable wipes, cotton balls, and Q-tips cause the biggest problems. While you may think that it is safe for these items to go down the toilet, plumbers will disagree.

Using a Low-Flow Toilet

Sometimes, the problem is not what we flush down the toilet, but the toilet itself. Homes that have older low-flow models of toilets can also experience clogs. Because there isn’t enough water pressure to push the material through the system, it remains behind and creates clogs.

What Does It Mean When Your Toilet Keeps Clogging?

You are doing everything by the book, yet a clogged toilet is still a big issue. So what does it mean when your toilet keeps clogging? The reasons may be many and often related to a series of problems. In this case, turn tol a professional and let them inspect the system and identify the problem.

Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling have been offering solutions for clogs to customers since 1983. Whether you need toilet repair or installation, a drain replacement, repiping, drain cleaning, and more, we are here to help. Give us a call!

How to Prevent Toilet Clogs?

It is often better to prevent than to cure, so we need to learn how to prevent toilet clogs. Below are some tips on how to prevent clogs from occurring in the future.

Flush Less Toilet Paper

As we mentioned, toilet paper is designed to go through sewer pipes, but it can also be a silent enemy. Using a lot of it at once may lead to clogs. Try to conserve paper by using only as much as needed. If there is a need for more paper, flush frequently to allow the toilet to “do its job.”

Flush Cautiously

The only thing that should be found in a toilet is paper, water, and human waste. The trash can is the place for Q-tips, tampons, sanitary pads, cotton balls, and wipes. You can prevent clogs by placing these items where they belong.

Accidents happen and plumbers do find unimaginable items in toilets, like wallets, phones, coins, toys, toilet bowl fresheners, and more. So, be careful what you bring near your toilet!

Keep the Toilet Lid Closed

If you have shelves packed with items right above your toilet bowl, something may fall inside without you noticing. So, keep the lid closed and prevent this. It’s a very useful habit to have, especially if you have kids that tend to throw things in the toilet.

Watch the Tree Roots

If you are cautious about what goes down the toilet and it still gets clogged, the problem is likely unrelated to you. Having large trees in the yard whose roots grow into the pipes and clog them might be the problem. If this is the case, call a plumber to check and see how you can keep this under control.

FAQ

What do professional plumbers use to unclog drains?

Professional plumbers use diverse tools that aid in clearing clogs. Some of these tools include manual drain snakes, motorized drain snakes, high-definition cameras for drains and sewer lines, and hydro-jetting machines.

Manual drain snakes are used for simple toilet and drain clogs and clearing debris. The more sophisticated motorized snakes are used for the removal of tree root infiltration, but also for clearing sewage, food waste, and grease clogs.

The cameras are a technological advancement, allowing plumbers to look in the pipe interior and locate the cause. The most powerful tool is the hydro-jetting machine, which can remove old and persistent buildups of soap and grease.

Will a clogged toilet eventually dissolve?

It would be nice if a problem could go away after some time, but unfortunately, it will need attention. Most clog material is not soluble in water so it will not go away on its own. Diapers, tampons, flushable wipes, oils, and starches from foods will need to be removed.

There is a slight possibility that the clog may eventually go away on its own if it is caused by excess toilet paper or fecal matter. They may dissolve over time, but it is up to you whether you’d want to leave that clog without handling it.

How do you unclog a toilet when a plunger doesn’t work?

A plunger is always the number-one choice when unclogging a toilet, but there are situations where you don’t have access to one. One possibility is using dish soap to lubricate the clogged pipe so that the debris can slide through easily. If the dish soap trick doesn’t work, pour hot water from a higher level and hope that the force dislodges the clog.

Baking soda and vinegar can also be used as a replacement for dish soap. This combo is known to do wonders in cleaning and removing dirt and debris, so it is worth a try. Let it fizz for 30 minutes and use hot water to push out the clog.

If none of the above works and you are left with a more severe clog, you can try using a drain snake. If you don’t have one, a wire coat hanger will do the job.

Will bleach unclog a toilet?

Drain-clean chemicals have proven to be more effective in unclogging than bleach, which is also a chemical. Known for its cleaning properties and removing stains, it is an option to be considered in removing a clog from your toilet. High in chlorine, bleach is used to break up chemical bonds by releasing oxygen molecules. The same chemical process applies in unclogging the toilet, especially if the clog is made of organic materials or toilet paper.

Pour 2-3 cups of bleach into the toilet and give it 10-15 minutes to start working. Then flush the toilet and hope that it has managed to remove the clog. Be careful not to use the bleach in combination with other chemicals to avoid triggering an unwanted chemical reaction.

Cleaning the AC: How Should You Go About It?

There are two answers to how to clean AC unit – learn how to do it on your own or let a professional take care of it.

As with any electrical device, cleaning and maintenance are essential. And cleaning your AC is, in particular, necessary in locations with hot weather, which may indicate overuse of the home’s cooling system.

Maintaining your AC is a critical part of air conditioning maintenance, helping you save money, maintain efficiency and increase the life of your system.

Read this article to learn how to take care of your AC adequately.

Why Is Cleaning the AC a Good Idea?

Regularly cleaning your AC has many financial and health benefits. Cool air is just one of the benefits while making sure the air is safe for you and your entire family is a crucial element.

This is why cleaning the AC is important:

  • Improved Air Conditioner Efficiency: Clogged and dirty air filters interfere with normal airflow and disable the air conditioner from operating more efficiently, which is why regular AC maintenance can help it work better.
  • Lowering the Power Bill: Maintaining your AC by keeping it clean can reduce your monthly utility bills by up to 30%. Dirty coils mean the device is working more to cool or heat the air, as there is a dirtier surface spot for hot air to flow through.
  • Extends the AC Life Span: Air conditioners are expensive, and you don’t want to change them if you are not obligated. On-time maintenance by a certified HydroKleen technician keeps the unit running efficiently.
  • It helps you breathe cleaner and safer air in your home: After an extended usage period, the AC becomes full of mold, bacteria, pet dander, etc. Proper cleaning of the unit will remove these contaminants in an environmentally friendly manner.

The importance of cleaning your air conditioner properly offers numerous benefits. The above-listed advantages are some of the main reasons you should clean and maintain your AC.

How to Clean AC Unit?

If you wonder how to clean AU unit, filters and coils are the two key components to pay attention to. Filters are used to remove dirt from the air, but when they’re blocked, your AC has to work extra hard and consume more energy, which increases your expenses without doing any good.

Therefore, you need to ensure the coils are clean and free of dust and debris because they assist in moving the hot and cold air.

To thoroughly clean your air conditioner, you will require a few materials from your house. Before you begin, gather the necessary supplies: a screwdriver, cloth, soft brush, and spray bottle.

Make Sure the Power Is Off

Before working on an electrical device, it’s a good practice to unplug the cable and switch off the electricity for extra protection.

Remove Any Excess Rubble

After unplugging your AC, take off the front panel and filter. Use a vacuum to remove as much dirt as possible. Next, clean your filter with hot water and soap before drying it outside. It is advised to reinstall your AC unit when it has completely dried out.

Clean the External Cover

Use the water hose’s spray to remove dirt particles from the external component. The coil cleaner should be sprayed on the outdoor unit. Wait for the cleaner to foam and bond with the dirt on the coils for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the hose to wash the coil cleaner.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

How to clear air conditioner coils? First, turn off the air conditioner on the thermostat before doing anything. Combine warm water with a little detergent in a spray bottle or garden sprayer. Pour the mixture onto the evaporator coils, then wait a few minutes for it to absorb and remove any particles or dirt. Use a gentle brush or towel to remove any substance that has come free, then reapply as necessary.

Should You Clean or Change the Filter?

It all depends on the type of filter you have. When disposable filters get dirty or clogged, they should be thrown. Most of these filters are not very expensive, including cardboard framing. Have extra of each available so you can swap them out as needed.

Permanent filters are more expensive initially, but you may save money over time because you can clean them rather than replace them. Permanent air filters typically have fiberglass frameworks instead of cardboard ones.

How to Clean AC Filters?

You can find various types of air filters, many of which are disposable and cannot be washed. However, due to the rapid changes in technology and the efficiencies that come with them, air filters that can be cleaned are frequently used. If you have used disposable filters before, it’s time to upgrade.

Now let’s walk you through the steps of cleaning your AC filter:

  1. Turn off the power and locate the filter: To begin the process, switch off your HVAC unit to stop unfiltered air from circling through your household. See where the vent is, and open the unit using a screwdriver. Some systems have numerous vents, so make sure to clean all of them. Take out the filter and examine if there is any damage. Change filters if necessary. Otherwise, keep vacuuming.
  2. Vacuum the air filter: It is recommended to take the filter out to keep the dust out of the home. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the filter. Filter the brush and gently loosen any build-up deposits.
  3. Clean the filter with vinegar and water: To clean the filter more thoroughly, fill a sink with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. Soak the filter for about an hour. If you don’t have vinegar, dish soap can be used as a substitute. Finally, remove the filter and let it dry. Do not rinse it with water since it can negate the disinfecting effect of using vinegar.
  4. Reinstall The Filter: Once the filter has been cleaned and dried, put it back in place. Most filters have arrows that indicate which way they point, and this arrow should point in the direction of the airflow.

How to Clean Outside AC Unit?

One element that is frequently disregarded is the outside AC unit, and it affects the efficiency just as much as the indoor AC.

Follow our tips on how to clean outside AC unit:

  1. Turn off your AC: Make safety a priority by turning off the AC before cleaning it. Locate the power shut-off box close to the outside air conditioning unit and switch it off.
  2. Prepare for cleaning: The way to prepare for cleaning entails keeping the near area surrounding the outside AC clear. Trim the bushes back to a fair distance and remove any leaves and trash accumulated on or close to the unit.
  3. Get rid of dirt: AC that is blocked with particles might lose a lot of energy. Ensure to shut off the electricity at the breaker box before removing dirt from your outdoor air conditioning unit. Using a screwdriver or hammer, loosen the cage’s bolts so you may take it off the apparatus.
  4. Clean or replace: If your air filter is reusable, a strong spray from the garden hose will quickly wash it. If not, change it as needed to stop future accumulation.

Alternatively, you can reach us at Cummings Plumbing if you’d rather leave it to professionals.

Wrap-Up: How to Clean the Air Conditioning Unit?

Although these cleaning tips can help you maintain your AC, keep in mind that some maintenance tasks are best left to licensed HVAC specialists. They have all the equipment and cleaning techniques for central air conditioning units.

For example, an expensive engine failure could be caused by a slow refrigerant leakage in your air conditioner. You might not be equipped as a homeowner to monitor the refrigerant levels or guarantee optimum airflow. Therefore, even if you can perform rudimentary AC maintenance, you should still have a qualified expert check the system occasionally.

Our group of qualified Tucson plumbers, sewer, and HVAC specialists at Cummings Plumbing can identify the source of your HVAC issues. We offer reasonably priced options adapted to your particular needs and aim to resolve the issue as fast as possible.

FAQ

How often does an AC unit need to be cleaned?

Each month or two, wash or change the filter in your AC throughout the cold period. It may need frequent cleaning if the air conditioner is used more often, is exposed to dirty circumstances, or you have furry pets in the house.

How do I know if my AC unit needs cleaning?

When the air conditioner is operating and you can detect mold on the exterior vents, it’s time to start cleaning. When the AC is not cooling the room as it is expected, the AC usually requires cleaning. Finally, look for any strong smell or unusual noise, as the AC can worsen if not resolved on time.

Is it OK to spray water on your air conditioner?

Yes, you can spray water on your AC to clean it. Your air conditioner’s condenser will operate more effectively if sprayed with water. The reality is that your condenser has to be spritzed frequently to continue working effectively.

How long should AC dry after cleaning?

It is recommended to wait around 30 to 60 minutes before using the AC after washing the coils.

All You Need to Know about Tankless Water Heaters

There are several factors to think about when purchasing your first tankless water heater. Such include the proper way to operate a tankless water heater, ensuring it works effectively, and how the cost can change the quality of the tankless water heater you get.

But, how do tankless water heaters work and what is there to know about them? In this guide, we’ll share all information concerning tankless water heaters. From definition to using them right and the benefits at hand, read on to learn more.

What are Tankless Water Heaters?

Tankless water heaters have gained a lot of popularity due to their small size and energy efficiency. Also known as on-demand water heaters, tankless water heaters heat up and distribute hot water where needed.

Unlike conventional tank-style water heaters, tankless systems aren’t constrained by the size of their tank because they can produce hot water on demand. This enables a tankless water heater to produce a stream of hot water that seems never to end.

How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

With tank water heaters, a source of energy, such as natural gas, electricity, or propane, heats the water in the tank until a thermostat switches off the energy source after reaching a certain temperature. As the tank cools, the thermostat reactivates the energy source, warming and bringing the water to temperature even though no hot water has been drawn from the faucets.

The energy wasted compensating for heat loss from tank-style heaters, known as standby energy loss, is the primary factor in tankless water heaters’ superior efficiency over tank-style heaters.

Tank heaters may be simple, but they are also very large and take up a lot of floor space. The average tank heater has a diameter of more than two feet and a towering, top-to-bottom height. Tankless water heaters are tank free, which makes them all the more compact. As opposed to average tank heaters, tankless heaters heat the water instantly – and on demand, by turning on a hot water faucet in your house. As water flows through the heater, internal sensors detect it and light propane or natural gas so as to heat the water quickly.

The minute a hot water tap is shut down, the heater’s flame also goes out. For instance, when you fill a sink to clean your dishes, the tankless water heater will only heat the one or two liters of water you actually need.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

What are the advantages of tankless water heaters? For starters, you will be supplied with unlimited hot water and total freedom from standby energy losses. Also, these units are very small and compact to manage.

The volume needed for a basic 60-gallon water heater might be 72 cubic feet, whereas a tankless water heater model will take approximately 2 cubic feet of space. In comparison to a standard natural gas tank heater, a tankless water heater will produce almost 300 percent more heat.
The person who installs tankless water heaters plays an important role, too. These units are so small it is possible to place them closer to the faucets and taps you use the most. This means you will waste less time as well as less water.

What are the Costs of Installing a Tankless Water Heater?

How much do tankless water heaters cost? Before answering this question, we have to make a point of the fact that tankless water heaters are more expensive than their tank-style counterparts.

The overall cost of your new tankless water heating system is impacted by the size of the heater you purchase. For example, a low-performance, single-point, electric tankless water heater should roughly cost around $150.

At the same time, you should budget about $1,500 for a gas-fired tankless water heater, especially if you plan to install a whole-house water heating system. The costlier option is to go with a solar panel water heater which includes a tank and can cost between $2,000 and $6,000.

It is also worth mentioning that factors like the location of your residence can change the tankless water heater installment costs. There are other factors that may also influence the cost, such as the natural rise and fall of the average cost and the area where you live – whether rural or urban.

FAQ About Tankless Water Heaters

Can you run out of hot water with a tankless water heater?

The answer is no. The biggest benefit that tankless water heaters provide is endless hot water. Compared to regular water tanks with designated water volumes, there is no limit to the amount of water that can be extracted from the tank.

What are the most common problems with tankless water heaters?

First, there’s the issue of affordability. Although tankless water heaters save energy and space, they are definitely not a bottom-drawer technology and cost more than tank-style water heaters. Although not everyone can afford the initial investment, the investment is set to pay off in the long run.

Then, there’s water chemistry, another key factor to be considered as potentially problematic. This concern may arise with some tankless units which run on exceptionally hard water or have unusual PH values. These can impair the ideal water chemistry, and though rare, it’s best to consult your dealer about present water chemicals.

The lack of a standing pilot is another potential issue. In tankless water heaters, there is no standing pilot. This means that if the power goes down or is unplugged, you will get no hot water. So, if there is a storm, a burnout, or another factor able to turn off the power supply to your house, the tankless water heater is not going to produce hot water anymore.

Can you take a long shower with a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters address a common problem many face in their homes – running out of hot water. With regular tanks, when two people are taking a shower simultaneously, the water might turn cold. This occurs because conventional water heaters contain a finite amount of hot water – anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons. When hot water taps are turned on in the house, hot water runs out of the tank and is replaced by cold water, which gradually fills the tank.

Tankless water heaters help solve this issue. When taking a shower, the water heater will heat a few gallons of water per minute – up to 120 degrees or hotter – and for however long you decide to stay under the stream. All in all, water heaters with no tanks never run out of hot water.

Will a tankless water heater fill a tub?

Because tankless water heaters can continuously produce hot water, they can supply enough hot water to fill a bathtub. Consider if the size of the water heater you need is large enough to fill a bathtub. In other words, take into account how quickly the heater can deliver the desired water temperature. This is actually quite easy to determine. The water heater tank needs to be roughly two-thirds the size of the bathtub.

Is it worth getting a tankless water heater?

Yes. Getting a tankless water heater is definitely worth it if you can afford to make the initial investment of installing it worthwhile in the long term. This is a good idea because you will no longer have to wait for the cold tank to reheat and will constantly have access to hot water. Plus, the tankless water heater will only heat what you use and prevent standby energy losses. It’s a wise investment that will yield savings ranging from $25 to $107 every year.

How long do tankless water heaters last?

Although many might be hesitant to opt for a tankless water heater, due to its steeper cost, the investment will give you years of usage. Typically, a standard water heater tank will last between 8 to 12 years if taken care of properly. In comparison, however, a tankless water heater is expected to last for up to 25 years, a staggering longevity for the cost you pay.

Cummings Plumbing: The Best Tucson Water Heater Repair and Replacement Service

Given the cost, pros, cons, and features of tankless water heaters, they make a fabulous option for those who want to part ways with their traditional tank. In case your tankless water heater requires some repair or replacement, you can always find designated service providers.

At Cummings Plumbing, we offer the most refined tankless water heater service. From repairs to replacements and day-to-day assessments, we offer a team of professionals able to keep your tankless water heater in perfect shape.

Our Tucson-based services expand further than tankless water heaters and include plumbing services, toilet cleaning, repairs, gas line repairs, and more. To check the viability of your tankless water heater, get in touch with our professionals and schedule a free estimate today!

How to Clean Your Sink Drains Properly

You may be proud about keeping your house clean and sparkling – but what about sink drains? Although responsible for the plaque of numerous bacteria, we don’t always give drains the attention they need and deserve.

It may not cross our mind, but the bathroom and kitchen sink drains do see a lot of action – washing down soap, removing food waste, disposing of hair and dirt, etc. After some time, sinks can build up and create a problem in the form of a clogged drain. So the troubles you may be facing with sink water not draining might be due to blocked sink drains.

So, how to clean the sink drain? Preventing blockages in drains is actually not that difficult. And lucky you, we have just the guide to keep your sink sanitary and clean – with a DIY solution or by relying on a professional service.

How to Clean Sink Drain in the Bathroom?

Waking up to greasy water in your bathroom sink is not something to look forward to in the morning. Don’t blame your family for this occurrence because the causes can be many.

Hair, for example, is known to be the common cause of a stuck sink drain and the same is true of soap scum, which leaves a thin film in your pipes. If such issues are not addressed on time, your sink drain might be subject to blockage.

There are two options for how to clean the bathroom sink drain. One is by using home remedies and the other is by using drain cleaning products.

Unclog Drains with Home Remedies

Chemicals are no friends to the plumbing system and can cause quite a damage to the sink and pipes. Try to avoid them as much as possible and use them only when absolutely necessary. Here are some of the DIY natural unclogging techniques you can try.

The Winning Combo of Baking Soda and Vinegar

The fantastic duo is used in just about any household affair that has to do with cleaning. To clean your sink drain, add 1 cup baking soda directly to the sink and add 1 cup vinegar thereafter.

The fizzing sound you hear means that the two ingredients have bound and are working on unclogging the drain. Allow them to react for about 30 minutes and then pour plenty of boiling water down the drain. Repeat the method several times until the drain unclogs.

A Combination of Salt and Hot Water

If your drain is blocked by fat or soap scum, salt and hot water are the answer. Simply pour ½ a cup of any type of salt into the drain and flush it with lots of boiling water. What happens here is, the hot water melts the grease and oil while the salt is used as a natural scouring agent to clear the debris.

Use a Plunger

Everyone has a plunger lying around and it can be used to unclog drains. Simply fill the sink with water and use the plunger to cover the drain. Press and pull for some time until the water begins to drain. Repeat this once more and then rinse the drain with boiling water.

Drain Cleaning Products

If none of the above works, you can turn to other options. Use products that come in the form of thick gel or powder, intended to create a chemical reaction that can help unclog drains. You can buy one that specifically addresses hair clogs or grease clogs, too.

Using a drain snake is also a possibility. It is a flexible cleaning tool that is inserted inside the drain and can remove hair and other objects blocking it. Be careful, the drain snake is prone to breaking and can partially get stuck inside the drain thus causing further issues.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink Drain?

The kitchen sink is also easily blocked because of the grease and food waste that goes down the drain. When you learn how to clean kitchen sink drain you will be able to reduce such buildups and prevent the growth of germs and bacteria.

The winning combo of baking soda and vinegar does wonder for kitchen pipes. As described above, using baking soda and white vinegar is a handy trick to help keep your sink drain clean. Pour a mix of the ingredients until you hear a fizzing sound to indicate the cleaning process has begun. Wait for around 30 minutes to allow them time to do the job and rinse the drain with boiling water to clear up any leftover plaque.

If you have never cleaned your kitchen drain, you may need to use some drain cleaners. Use vinegar and baking soda to regularly clean and maintain the drain.

Clean the Garbage Disposal

You can clean sink drains all you want, but getting rid of lingering odors and germs coming from the garbage disposal will still be an issue. So, you should clean the garbage disposal regularly to reduce the chances of nasty buildup.

First, unplug the garbage disposal to prevent it from turning on. To remove debris, scrub the baffle folds and underside, and the top of the grinding chamber with soap and a sponge. Pour some baking soda into the disposal to absorb odors. Allow it to work for five minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly. Rinse all parts before reassembling and turning on the garbage disposal.

How to Deal with Stinky Drains?

Noticing a lot of lingering odors coming from the kitchen sink? Here are some helpful tips on how to clean a stinky drain.

Using lemon, salt and ice is a good method for the prevention of odors and bacteria. Simply add 2 tablespoons of salt, sliced lemon, and two cups of ice to the garbage disposal. Turn it on and the cold water, odors, and bacteria will be scrubbed away.

Some of the other things you can try to keep drains from stinking:

  • Scrape food waste from plates into the bin so that it doesn’t go into the drain. Do the same if you are using a dishwasher because the food waste will clog those pipes as well.
  • Avoid pouring grease and fat down the sink. Cold fat will solidify and clog the drain.
  • After washing the dishes, let the hot water run for a full minute to flush the drain.

Cummings Plumbing: Keeping Tucson Drains Clean for 35 Years

The reason behind clogged drains are many and so are the home remedies available. In learning how to clean sink drain, you might find that using a DIY fix may not always help resolve a serious problem. This is where you turn to professionals for help.

Cummings Plumbing is a professional company offering the best service technicians to help you keep your drains clean and functional. Our service area includes Tucson, Vail, Marina, Green Valley, Sahuarita, and Pro Valley. Our professionals will ensure your sink drains are clean, safe to use, and functioning optimally – be it in your kitchen or bathroom.

To learn more about our tailored services, schedule a free estimate today.

FAQ

How do you clear a slow-draining sink?

There are many available options to clear a slow-draining sink. One is by using a plunger or use of drain cleaning products. You can also use natural products for regular cleaning and maintenance. Pour baking soda and white vinegar for 30 minutes and rinse with boiling water. For more serious sink drain clogs, contact a professional.

Why do my drains smell like sewer?

If you notice lingering and unbearable odors coming from your drains, this means that bacteria are feeding on the pipe debris. This is a result of everything that goes down the drain, like food waste in the kitchen sink. To avoid this you need to regularly clean your drains with DIY methods, use drain cleaning products, or get the help of a professional.

Can you pour bleach down a smelly drain?

Bleach is not recommended for cleaning and dealing with smelly drains. When used to tackle pungent odors from the drain, this might cause a chlorine odor that can be harmful. Chlorine is especially not recommended for homes with septic tanks. Bleach is known to kill bacteria that break down septic waste and can permanently damage the septic system. If solids in your septic tank don’t break down, they fail to drain the tank properly and cause the waste system to clog.

What breaks down hair in a drain?

Human hair is an alarming problem for pipes and clogged drains. One of the most common natural remedies used for breaking down hair is a mix of baking soda and white vinegar.
A cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar is enough to pour down the drain so it‘s clean. The fizzing sound points to a successful chemical reaction between the two ingredients. Leave the mix for about half an hour, until the fizzing stops, and pour a large quantity of boiling water to rinse the drain. Repeat this several times for more persistent clogs.

 

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