Your Tacoma Plumber: Plumbing Services for Homes

Plumbing Services for HomesFloHawks has been installing and maintaining residential plumbing systems in the greater Tacoma area since 1965. We know Tacoma and specialize in quality residential plumbing and septic services for your Puget Sound area home.

From clogged drains, water heater replacement and repair, jammed garbage disposals, to sewer and septic issues, we are here to serve the needs of our Tacoma residents.

Even though we are the largest plumbing professionals in the Tacoma area, we also take the time and attention to detail you deserve. We’ll work with you to ensure you understand the cause of your plumbing or septic issue, explain how we are going to fix it, and let you know how you can prevent it from happening again. Our FloHawks technicians consistently provide you with quality work done with respect and integrity.

Normally out of sight and out of mind, the network of pipes that delivers water to your washing machines, kitchen, and showers usually remains quiet behind the walls and under the floorboards in your home… until it doesn’t! As any homeowner will tell you, plumbing issues are usually best left in the hands of certified professionals.

We offer 24/7 emergency services and we’re always here when you need us most, including nights, weekends, and holidays.

You can be sure that your residential plumbing problem is handled promptly and efficiently. From North End to West Slope our experienced and knowledgeable technicians have you covered! The quality of our work is unrivaled and our services address any plumbing or septic concern you may have, including:

We hope you love the Puget Sound area as much as we do! Our professionally certified and licensed FloHawks plumbers in our Tacoma office are proud to provide quality service in a timely manner.

Let our 50 years of experience speak for itself. Schedule your service online or call 800-FLO-HAWK (800-356-4295).

Prevent Water Pipe Freezing: FloHawks Tips for Protecting Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter

Tips for Protecting Your Pipes from Freezing this WinterWashington residents know that our colder winter months make the pipes outside of our homes vulnerable to freezing. Once the temperature drops outside you’ve got to be prepared to prevent frozen pipes inside.

Water expands as it freezes, putting tremendous pressure, stress, and strain on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of your plumbing system, expanding water can cause pipes to crack, leak, or worse – break and burst.

Pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are those that are exposed to severe cold like outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and pipes in unheated areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.

The good news is that you can prevent freezing pipes, water damage, and the costly repairs that go with them! To prevent this from happening to you, FloHawks has a few tips to keep your water flowing this winter.

  1. Know Your System.
    Every residential plumbing system is different – knowing how yours is set up will save you headaches down the road. Do you know where your main water shutoff valve is located? If you experience burst pipes, shutoff the main water valve immediately to minimize the damage. Do you have pipes in an attic? Does your home have a crawl space? If so, you may need to take extra precautions to insulate your pipes from the cold.
  2. Keep Your Pipes Warm
    Subfreezing temps are widely unpleasant for almost everything, including your plumbing. Consider protecting them from the elements by wrapping or insulating your pipes, particularly those near outside walls, under the house, or in the attic. You can use a variety of items available at your local hardware store. Options include pipe sleeves, heat tape, heat reflector lamps, and heating cables. We would like to remind you to never use open flame devices such as a blowtorch, kerosene, or propane heater!
  3. Let the Heat In

    You can also let the heat in by opening up the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under your sinks to allow the warmer air in your home to circulate around the plumbing. Since these are areas commonly used for storage of cleaning products, FloHawks would like to remind you to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

  4. Turn your water off if going out of town

    If you are traveling for the holidays or will be away from home for a few days, you can avoid frozen pipes by shutting off the main water valve and draining the water in the pipes before you leave. While you are away, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to make sure all areas in your home are kept above freezing.

  5. Keep an Eye on the Water Pressure

    Inconsistent water pressure can be a sign of an existing plumbing problem and might mean that your pipes are more at risk to have freezing problems. Keep an eye on your water pressure to ensure that your pipes are safe and sound. When frozen pipes burst, there is a splashing, hissing, or a thumping noise. There may be an accompanying odor caused by the water damage. If you wake up after a cold night and nothing is coming out of your faucet, call a professional plumbing expert like FloHawks immediately.

  6. We are here for you 24/7 including nights and weekends. You can schedule your service online or call 800-FLO-HAWK (800-356-4295).

Signs It’s Time to Update Your Water Heater

technician repairing an hot-water heaterYour hot water heater may be the most underappreciated home appliance. Paying attention to the early warning signs may help you know when it’s time to start thinking about an update and save you headaches and disruption down the road. It might be time to look into a new water heater repair if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Old age. How long have you had that hot water heater? Generally, if your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s likely time to consider a replacement. Life cycles vary with the unit’s location and design, the quality of installation, your maintenance routine, and overall water quality of the area. Once your water heater reaches 10 years old, your already aged water heater’s efficiency begins to decline as internal parts are corroded or encased in a buildup of minerals.
  • Working erratically or not at all. A water heater that supplies no hot water, hot water that runs out quickly, or takes a long time to recharge should be considered for replacement. A hot water heater that fails to produce hot water consistently, or unable to maintain a constant water temperature has probably reached the end of its life. Warning signs include when your hot water becomes lukewarm, low pressure through hot water valves, and water that is extremely hot regardless of valve setting.
  • Making strange noises. While there will be normal sounds as the water heats, there is nothing worse than a hot water tank that cracks, pops, bangs, or knocks. These strange noises are caused when the tank’s heating element comes into contact with the sediment (scale and mineral deposits) that can build up inside the tank. A noisy hot water heater is likely near the end of its useful life.
  • Leaking. This is a clear-cut sign that you are in need of a new water heater. Discolored or odorous puddles found near the water heater, particularly around the base of the tank, are telltale signs that repair is no longer a long-term option and it’s time for a new water heater. If you notice standing water, call a professional right away – you will need to replace the tank as soon as possible to prevent flooding or other damage to your home.

There are many parts of a hot water heater that can severely injure someone who isn’t properly equipped or trained. Additionally, a poorly installed or repaired water heater can cause plumbing problems in your home and is a safety hazard. That’s why when it comes time to install your water heater, it should be done by a licensed and insured professional like FloHawks. Learn more about our professional Water Heater Installation & Repair here.

Our FloHawks technicians are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help you with your water heater or any other household plumbing or septic issue. Call us today at 1-800-356-4295 or contact us online here.

FloHawks’ Top Tips for Avoiding Common Thanksgiving Plumbing Problems

Top Tips for Avoiding Common Thanksgiving Plumbing ProblemsThanksgiving is a time of year to be grateful for things we may otherwise take for granted, like the modern conveniences of indoor plumbing. As you prepare to feast with friends and family, FloHawks reminds you to be kind to your plumbing.

Did you know the day after Thanksgiving is often the busiest day of the year for residential plumbers? Extra household guests and serious meal preparation can lead to a multitude of holiday plumbing disasters. FloHawks has a few tips to show your lines a little love and avoid a holiday emergency.

Take care of any plumbing concerns before Thanksgiving Day. Is there a slow drain or a minor clog that you’ve been meaning to deal with? Let FloHawks resolve any smaller issues before they become big ones. Plumbing issues have a tendency to become a major headache as soon as the guests arrive. Drains that may already be partially clogged can be easily overwhelmed with the high usage.

Do not pour fats, oils, and grease down the drain. They easily solidify in the pipes and can cause a major blockage. Things like turkey drippings, bones, extra gravy, celery, and potato peels should all be disposed of in the trash. If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it is running when you put food into it – don’t let it fill all the way up before running it.

Extra guests can mean extra strain on your plumbing system. Have guests wait at least 15 minutes when taking turns to use the shower. This not only allows the hot water to recharge but also allows enough time for drains to empty properly.

With extra guests, it’s also possible that somebody could flush unwanted items down the toilet. It’s best to follow a “toilet paper only” rule. To keep your drains clog-free, you can post a sign in your bathroom that reminds your guests to not flush things like paper towels, cotton balls, and feminine products.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy your holiday without worrying about your plumbing. If you do run into any unexpected plumbing issues, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-356-4295. From our family to yours, FloHawks wishes you and your family a wonderful and stress-free Thanksgiving holiday!

Does your shower, toilet, or bathtub keep getting clogged? Chances are it might be a clogged sewer line

Clogged SinkSince your home’s plumbing system is hidden behind walls, it’s easy to not pay it too much attention until it is clogged. A slow drain or gurgling noise are some of the first signs of a clogged line, which, if left untreated, can lead to a complete system backup. Clogs can start in any of the main or secondary sewer lines so take action if you hear strange noises coming from your bathtub, shower, or sink or if you see water backing up in places like your shower drain and toilet. If left untreated, sewage can back up into your home causing an expensive and unpleasant mess. The trained professionals at FloHawks can unclog and clean your pipes and provide maintenance tips for keeping your drains flowing freely.

Professional tools like drain augers, more commonly known as a plumber snake, can sometimes be enough to simply resolve the problem. However, for more challenging situations, other tools may be necessary. Tree roots can also clog sewer lines, especially in older homes but diagnosing and finding the ultimate cause of a problem pipe can be extremely difficult when you can’t see every inch. FloHawks eliminates the guesswork by using a high-definition video camera capable of passing through pipes to inspect lines of all shapes and sizes. Video pipe inspections can quickly and efficiently diagnose the problem and pinpoint the issue without breaking through walls as part of a guessing game. The camera attaches to a flexible rod so our experienced technicians are able to clearly view inside pipes in real time. We are always looking for ways to make our services more efficient including equipping our skilled technicians with the best tools available in the industry.

The best solution, however, is prevention. You can avoid clogged drains in your sink, bathtub, toilet, and floor drain by taking care of your drain lines. Be mindful of what goes down the drain. Commonly used items that should NOT be flushed include:

  • baby wipes
  • cat litter
  • cigarettes
  • coffee grounds
  • diapers
  • clumps of hair

These items do not decompose and can make your plumbing more susceptible to clogs. Fats, oils, and grease (bacon grease, for example) are also big offenders – they have a tendency to clump together, not break down in the septic tank, and will solidify (congeal) in the sewer line. You can prevent clogged lines by disposing of kitchen grease in the trash.

Another way to prevent drain clogs is to have a professional inspect your system every few years. These regular maintenance inspections will help ensure your system is functioning properly and identify any potential issues early on, saving you headaches and money down the road.

FloHawks has been unclogging drains across the Puget Sound area since 1965. We are here to meet your plumbing needs 24/7 including nights, weekends, holidays and for emergencies. Contact us online or call us today at 800-356-4295.