Going Tankless: The Pros & Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

Thinking of upgrading your hot water heater? Whether you are building a new home or retrofitting an older one, there are benefits to considering a tankless water heater. Water heating is one of the largest ongoing expenses in most homes, accounting for about 25% of a home’s energy budget.

Conventional Water HeaterA conventional storage water heater is the most common type of water heater. It heats and stores water in a large cylindrical tank. It is always on and is continually heating the water in its tank, maintaining the set temperature at all times, regardless of whether it is being used or not. At some point, the hot water will run out, and you will have to wait while the unit recovers and heats more water.

Tankless Water HeaterTechnology has improved and tankless hot water heaters are becoming more popular in homes across the country. Instead of storing water in a tank, tankless water heaters heat the water as it flows through the unit on its way to a faucet or fixture. Tankless units heat the water whenever you need it, providing a continuous supply of hot water on demand.

For some, the choice is easy. For those with questions, here are some of the factors you may want to think about:

  • Initial Costs - Depending on models and retailers, the installed cost of a conventional tank water heater in your residence can range from $900 to $1,500. In general, the installed cost of a typical tankless unit can range from $2,300 to $4,500. Tankless water heaters cost more and can potentially be more complicated to install, so consider payback carefully.
  • Operating Costs - Since they only heat the water that you use, tankless options offer lower operating costs and lower utility bills over the life of the unit. On average, tankless water heaters are about 25-30% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.
  • Lifespan - Tankless hot water heaters are durable and have a life expectancy of 20 years or more – nearly double a conventional water heater’s life of about 12 years.
  • Storage and Space Requirements - Compact and able to be installed almost anywhere, tankless hot water heaters eliminate the need to store large quantities of water and the risks associated with leaks. Leaking conventional water heaters are one of the leading causes of residential property loss due to water damage. Not to mention, there is usually a closet or significant amount of space in a garage or basement required for a tank water heater.
  • Rebates and Tax Credits - Unlike conventional hot water heaters, federal, state, and local tax incentives and credits may be available for your tankless hot water heater. Also, many utility companies also offer incentives.

If you are not sure if a tankless unit will best fit your needs, FloHawks can guide you through the options and help you get the right system for your home’s lifestyle. No matter the type, make sure you have a professionally licensed and insured plumber like FloHawks install or repair your water heater system. A poorly installed water heater can cause some serious plumbing problems in your home. It could ultimately cost you more money in repairs, shorten the lifespan of the unit, and keep the water heater from living up to its promises.

Our licensed and insured FloHawks professional technicians are available 24/7 to help with your water heater or any other household plumbing or septic issue. Call us today at (800) 356-4295 or contact us online.

Having Guests Over? 3 ways to keep your plumbing and septic system unclogged this Thanksgiving

Multi-ethnic family cooks Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner in grandmother's home kitchen.
When inviting guests over, it is important to keep in mind that your home was specifically designed with a plumbing and septic system to accommodate only a certain amount of people. More people in the house means more water being used.

Over the years, we’ve seen quite a few common plumbing problems that occur during family gatherings and events. Here are some quick tips to fix these problems.
One issue we see is the septic tank alarm going off during or after the party. This may be the result of more water being used over a short period of time. The added water in the tank causes the float to rise and trigger the alarm. Your system may be on a timer and if you push the silence button and leave it without using much more water for the next 24 hours, the system may be able to catch up and the red light will turn off. Calling out a service provider may just be costly and not change the need to cut back on water until the system catches up with the pump and filters the effluent out into the drain field.

Backups in the kitchen sink are also a very common problem. Sink clogs often happen because of food prep and washing the dishes. Bits of food and grease can quickly build up and cause the pipes to clog and backup in the sink.

Try putting a plunger over the drain and put a rag in the sink next to it (if you have a double sink). Pump the plunger up and down several times without lifting it up off the drain. If the problem is in the p-trap, it should clear the line and let all the water out. If you are still not able to clear the sink after doing this, call FloHawks, and one of our service technicians can remove and clean the traps. They can also bring a snake to cable the line and completely clear the pipes. We do not recommend liquid drain cleaner as it can be toxic to septic systems. If you are on a sewer system and liquid cleaner does not work, it can be dangerous to the technician and ruin his equipment and cables. Please be sure to inform us if you have used liquid cleaners.

Toilets backing up are another common issue at gatherings. These clogs may be easily fixed with a plunger or toilet auger. Sometimes though, that is not enough and the toilet simply needs to be removed by one of our certified technicians to clear or remove the objects that may be blocking it.

With a little extra care and attention, you should be able to avoid major plumbing issues, even with extra guests in the house. If a problem does present itself in the form of a clogged toilet or backed up drain, don’t hesitate to call FloHawks. We are here for you 24/7.

Call FloHawks at (800) 444-2371.

Selling a Home? Get Your Septic Tank Inspected, Pumped, and Certified

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and HouseThere is a lot to consider when selling your home, including making sure your septic tank is inspected, pumped, and certified with the Health Department before the sale can go through. If you are looking to sell your home in King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, or Thurston Counties, FloHawks can help. We are familiar with the process needed by realtors and homeowners in each county. The process varies by location, depending what county your home is located in. As experienced professionals with all things septic related, FloHawks offers the following advice:

King County

Seattle and King County require all sellers of properties with an on-site septic system to have their onsite septic system inspected by a King County licensed On-Site System Maintainer (OSM) like FloHawks. The inspection must be completed by a licensed company and a King County form filled out and submitted to the County prior to property sale.

As part of completing the inspection properly, King County requires an as-built drawing to be kept on file. Most of the on-site sewage system (OSS) record drawings, also known as as-builts, dating from 1998 are available online. Find your as-builts here. If you don’t have an as-built, FloHawks may also try and locate a copy for you as part of the pumping and inspection process. If not, FloHawks, or another OSM, is required to prepare a drawing as part of the inspection.

In addition, before closing, the seller must record a Notice of On-site Sewage System Operation and Maintenance Requirements (OSSM) at the King County Recorder’s Office acknowledging the property is served by a septic system and describing the owner’s responsibilities for maintaining the system. Learn more about sales and transfers of properties with OSS here. FloHawks can help with the entire process from performing the work to completing the entire reporting process as required by the Health District.

Kitsap County

If your home has one of the approximately 58,000 septic systems in Kitsap County, the Kitsap County Health Department requires all property with an on-site septic system to have an inspection done of the entire septic system prior to transfer of property. The inspection must document how it is functioning prior to change of ownership. The inspection must be performed by a licensed company like FloHawks that will send a report to the county within 30 days. The Kitsap County Board of Health Ordinance 2008-01 Section 13.D details the process that must be completed prior to the close of a home sale transaction. The seller must:

  1. Specify the type of system.
  2. Deliver an Evaluation Report from the Health Officer of Kitsap County Health District. If the seller has no evaluation report, they must complete an application, inspection, and evaluation with the Health Department. The process is spelled out on the Kitsap County Health Department site here.
  3. Provide the Buyer with maintenance records, if available.

To view Health District records for a specific property you will need the address or the property tax account number. Health District records may include septic system and drinking water supply information. FloHawks may also locate a copy for you as part of the pumping and inspection process.

Mason County

Mason County Health Department requires all real property with an on-site septic system to have an inspection done prior to transfer of property. The inspection must be performed by a licensed company like FloHawks. This inspection of the entire septic system must document how it is functioning prior to change of ownership. The licensed company performing the work must send in a report within 30 days to the county. All pump reports for sales are reported on a private system and are not available to the public.  FloHawks may also try and locate a copy for you as part of the pumping and inspection process.

Pierce County

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) requires all real property with an on-site septic system to have a Report of System Status (RSS) inspection done prior to transfer of property. The RSS inspection of the entire septic system must be performed by a licensed company such as FloHawks and must document how the septic system is functioning prior to change of ownership. As part of the requirement, all septic vessels/tanks must be pumped as part of the inspection process. The licensed company performing the work must send a report within 30 days to the county and pay the county fee for pumping and inspection.

If you are served by a septic system in Pierce County, you need to get a RSS when you sell your home. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department prepares a RSS that indicates the current condition of your septic system. The report is for the buyer and lender.

  1. Get septic inspected and pumped.
  2. Submit RSS application with fee.
  3. Expect a visit from Health department staff to inspect OSS and to ensure your system complies with requirements.
  4. Get your Report of System Status (RSS) report.

TPCHD also requires a RSS report be completed and paid for by the property owner. You may find the RSS report here. FloHawks can help with the entire process from performing the work to completing the entire reporting process as required by the Health Department. FloHawks may also locate a copy for you as part of the pumping and inspection process.

Thurston County

Thurston County Health Department (TCHD) requires all property with an on-site septic system to have an inspection done prior to transfer of property. The inspection must be performed by a licensed company such as FloHawks.  The licensed company performing the work must send in a report within 30 days to the county and pay the county fee for inspection and pumping. If deficiencies are found on the septic system, it is recommended that they be fixed before a report is filed. If they are not fixed TCHD may hold its approval until repairs are completed and another report is filed.

Although the process can seem complex, the experienced professionals at FloHawks are here to help you throughout the process. Our website has resources listed by county. Call us today at 1-800-356-4295.

Waste Water Treatment Plant Cleaning: Digester Maintenance in Salem, OR

In June and July of 2017, FloHawks was contracted by the City of Salem, OR to clean out two city digesters. In all, it took five guys, three pump trucks, and four weeks to pump and screen almost one-million gallons of material. The city then land applied the pumped material on properties around the area to help the soil and environment.  We love this kind of work and we are very good at it. Businesses and local governments of all sizes rely on our expertise. Our list of satisfied industrial pumping customers is large. We come prepared and armed with the latest in pumping and septic equipment and our technicians are able to pump, clean, empty, and transport large quantities of matter they produce, no matter the size. We pump high volumes of water, sludge, and anything in between, faster and more efficiently than anyone else in the industry. This saves businesses and municipalities a considerable amount of money and operational downtime. To learn more about our extensive in pumping and cleaning services, please contact us at 1-800-FloHawk or visit our website at www.flohawks.com.

Waste Water Treatment

Waste Water Treatment

Waste Water Treatment

Waste Water Treatment

Keep Tree Roots Out of Your Septic System: Advice from FloHawks

How to Keep Tree Roots Out of Your Septic SystemTrees provide many aesthetic and economic benefits. They improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, and provide homes for wildlife. Planting trees in and around your home is great for reducing energy costs and providing much needed shade.

However, trees should never be planted near your septic system as the tree’s roots can become especially problematic. The areas in and around your septic tank and drain field have extra water, nutrients, and oxygen – all the essential life elements that trees and plants need to grow. Tree roots are especially good at seeking out what they need to thrive, and can eventually grow through small cracks or incompletely sealed joints into the lateral lines and/or other components of your septic system. Once inside, they can quickly grow large enough to restrict water flow. They can block or even break drainage and distribution pipes, and they can sometimes even penetrate the tank. Aside from sewer blockages and backups, tree roots growing inside sewer pipes are one of the most expensive septic maintenance items.

Here are some tips to prevent trees from uprooting your septic system:

Know where your septic tank and drain field are located. It is important to have a diagram of your system and where it is located on your property.  If you don’t have an “as-built” (a drawing of the septic system as it relates to your property), FloHawks can help. Be sure to keep accurate records of system maintenance and to keep these records in a safe place in your home.

Avoid planting in and around the area. Grass is the best cover for your septic system. Avoid planting flowers or other plant/tree arrangements too close to the drain pipe clean out or over the septic tank cover. They may be damaged or destroyed when you have to excavate to access the tank or cover.

Opt for slow-growing plants with less aggressive root systems. Before you plant a tree, find out about the nature of its root system. Slow-growing trees generally have less destructive roots than those that grow quickly. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to keep trees with spreading roots at least 30 feet away from water and sewer lines. If you plant anything, opt for wildflowers, smaller ornamental grasses, and non-woody perennials to plant over a septic system. These are plants with shallow roots, which will not invade the septic system’s piping.

Inspect your system once a year. No matter how well you care for your septic system, maintenance will be required. Regular septic inspections and maintenance can prevent root intrusion by discovering leaks early. The useful life of a system depends on a lot of factors including tree root intrusion and proper routine maintenance and pumping. Learn more septic care tips from FloHawks here.

Our professional FloHawks technicians are always available to help with your septic system or any other household plumbing issue. Call us today at 1-800-356-4295 or contact us online.