Failure Symptoms: Mind the Signs!

Identifying a failing septic system can be exceedingly difficult for an untrained eye. If you think that your septic system might have some problems, it is recommended that you get it inspected by a licensed professional right away. Septic systems do not typically show signs of failure until they are in an advanced state of deterioration so time is of the essence.

If you notice any of the warning signs listed below, it may be an indication that your septic system is malfunctioning and that you need to enlist the help of a professional.

Tapwater running down the drain

  • A strong “rotten egg” odor inside or outside the house can be indicative of gases that are released during your septic tank’s decomposition processes
  • Gurgling sounds coming from the plumbing system
  • Soggy spots in your yard with bright, lush green grass
  • A rancid, slimy, black liquid in or around the drain field area
  • Slow draining sinks, toilets, showers and other backups
  • Standing water in the drain field area
  • Water that rises to the surface during heavy rain or whenever your water use is high, like when you are doing laundry
  • Sewage backing up into the toilets, bathtubs or floor drains

Even when you see some of these signs, it doesn’t always mean that you need a total septic system replacement, there may still be many repair options available. However, while it may be necessary to have the tank pumped during the repair process, pumping the tank alone will not correct a failing system.

If you think your system might be failing, give FloHawks a call today at 1.800.356.4295. We are Puget Sound’s premier septic system repair and installation professionals and take pride in properly identifying problems and providing individualized solutions.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including nights, weekends, holidays and for emergencies. FloHawks’ professionals are fully trained and licensed to provide the best in septic inspections and pumping as well as septic system installation, repair and maintenance.

Why Is My Water Pressure Low?

Low water pressure can be an annoying inconvenience – washing the dishes or taking a shower can sometimes take way too long when you are dealing with a low water flow situation.

Water pressure problems have a tendency to present themselves in different ways. So what causes low water pressure? There can be many culprits. Diagnosing the root cause is the first step to understanding why the water pressure in your home might be low.

Causes of Low Water Pressure

Low Water PressureIf only one fixture is affected, like a showerhead or kitchen faucet, a clogged aerator can likely cause low water pressure. To resolve the issue, you can unscrew the nozzle and look for signs of buildup. If it needs to be cleaned, soak the aerator in a mild solution of vinegar and water. If that doesn’t work you can easily buy an inexpensive replacement at your local home repair store.

Other common offenders of low water pressure include debris or mineral deposit buildup in the water, water main leaks, or overall low pressure to the house. Over time pipes can age and rust, pieces of which can break loose and clog aerators, valves, and pipes. If your local municipal water department performs maintenance or works on water lines, rust or gravel can get into your pipes as well. If a blockage caused by debris occurs within your lines, professional plumbers have specialized and efficient ways of checking to locate the blockage. System-wide issues like this can get complicated rather quickly and are better left to the professionals.

In addition to plumbing blockages, water leaks decrease water pressure too. You can test this by running both hot and cold water through all the faucets. If your water pressure is low only with hot water, the issue is likely with your water heater or its shut-off valve. If that doesn’t help, there may be an issue with the hot water heater itself. In this case, it is best to have a professional pin point the culprit.

Other water pressure issues may be caused by a water main leak. Water leaks like a leaky faucet are a very common source of low water pressure in a house. In many cases you can even hear a dripping sound. A water main leak is a major job best left to the professionals.

Professional plumbers like FloHawks can help you fix a water leak or mineral buildup in your water lines. FloHawks has been resolving plumbing issues like low water flow since 1965. We can appreciate how much frustration low water pressure can cause – that is why we are available 24/7 including nights, weekends, holidays, and for emergencies. Contact us online or call us today at 800-356-4295.

Let Freedom Flow. Unless it’s an Overflowing Toilet!

American Flags

Party time! You’ve lined up the beverages, warmed the appetizers, and are ready to celebrate Independence Day in your backyard complete with grilling, games, swimming, and more. There’s just one lingering issue… the bathroom. It’s clean, of course; but there’s a ton of people coming over tonight, and at some point in the evening they are going to need to use the bathroom.

Keeping your plumbing in good working order is the least you can do for your 4th of July guests. In short, you don’t want to run the risk of a clogged sink or an overflowing toilet, which can quickly turn even the best summer BBQ into a disaster.

Clearing your pipes

If you find yourself dealing with a plumbing emergency, a good quality plunger is a fairly simple yet effective way to clear a common clog from a tub or sink. But, be sure to exercise caution, exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture. So if you can’t clear a clog after a few attempts, be sure to call in a licensed professional.

Avoiding a clog

ToiletIf you notice a drain that is slow to empty, you likely have a moderate clog somewhere in the pipes. Taking care of a slow drain early can prevent a clogged drain later on. Leaving a clog unattended can also lead to increased pressure inside pipes, which can cause them to crack or burst. This is a messy and often expensive problem that can cause significant damage to both your plumbing and your home.

Summertime also means that children are out of school and they are now home during the day so your toilets get used more often. In addition to extra usage, children can often use too much toilet paper while they are taking care of business. Clogged toilets can quickly become more than an inconvenience; they can turn into a serious health issue. Avoid clogged toilets by teaching children how much toilet paper is appropriate to use. It’s also a good reminder for all of us to remember that items like wipes and paper towels should not be flushed but instead disposed of in the trashcan.

Lastly, be mindful of food disposal. Used cooking oils can also be damaging to your plumbing, so avoid pouring the dirty grease down the drain after grilling or frying up a batch of french fries or onion rings.

Don’t let a clogged drain interrupt your summer fun – call FloHawks.  We have been clearing drains since 1965. We will unclog your drain and provide maintenance tips for keeping your drains flowing freely.We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including nights, weekends, holidays and for emergencies, we’re here to help your summer festivities go off without a hitch. Contact us online or call us today at 800-356-4295.

FloHawks wishes you and your family a safe and happy summer!

What to do with That Clogged Drain

Plumber Cleaning Sink With PlungerAll plumbing systems develop clogs. There’s no way to avoid it. What to do? As the old saying goes… the best solution is prevention. You can easily avoid clogged drains in a kitchen sink, bathtub, toilet, and floor drain by not abusing your drain line and using caution when dumping things down the drain. Avoid pouring fats, oils, and greases (like bacon grease) down the drain as they have a tendency to clump together or solidify (congeal) and block your plumbing pipes.

Don’t ignore a slow drain. Take action at the first sign of a problem to prevent a complete clog or backup from happening. Start simple, then work your way up to fixes that require specialty tools, or a substantial investment of time and effort. Remove the excess hair and gunk that has built up at the surface of the drain. Cleaning strainers and pop-up stoppers frequently can easily clear a common bathroom clog.

If the blockage isn’t too far into the pipes, a plunger can likely clear a clog. Plungers are sold at any hardware store or home center. Those with larger rubber bells deliver more thrust. Be sure it has a sturdy handle so you can apply plenty of force. A plunger that has a cup with a flat bottom works well for sinks, tubs, and showers. Plunging can be quick and easy or it could quickly become a wet mess — be sure to have a bucket, rags, and a sponge close at hand.

Another way to prevent clogs, if you have a septic tank, is to have a professional inspect it every two to three years to ensure it is functioning properly. These regular maintenance inspections will help identify any potential issues early on and save you headaches down the road.

Time to call in the pros

Know when to say when – sometimes a Do-It-Yourself repair project can cause more harm to your plumbing than the clog itself. Exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture. If you can’t clear a clog after a few attempts, turn the job over to a licensed and insured professional plumber such as FloHawks. We have trained experts with professional tools like augers that can clear blockages deep in drain lines beyond your reach, or remove stuck objects in the pipes.

FloHawks has been clearing drains since 1965. We will unclog your drain and provide maintenance tips for keeping your drains flowing freely. We know how much of a headache a clogged drain can cause – that is why we are available 24/7 including nights, weekends, holidays and for emergencies. Contact us online or call us today at 800-356-4295.

Septic Tank Risers: Pros and Cons

Septic Tank RiserBecause septic tanks are buried underground, locating and accessing tank lids for inspection and pumping can be a potentially difficult, time-consuming, and costly endeavor. Fortunately, the simple addition of a septic tank riser provides an easy, cost-effective solution to this problem that will provide long-term savings.

What is a septic tank riser?

A septic tank riser is a concrete or plastic pipe that runs vertically from the pump-out openings or access ports at the top of a septic tank to about ground level. A simple and seemingly common sense concept, risers are often missing from standard septic tanks, particularly older models.

Risers are made from material that offers durability against weather and environmental conditions in regions such as the Northwest, where seasonal freezes may occasionally occur. Typically, risers are 8 to 24 inches in diameter. The length of the riser depends on how far below the ground your septic tank is positioned. A secure lid covers the opening of the riser. Because it extends directly from the surface of the lawn to the septic tank, the septic tank riser makes accessing the septic tank for pumping, other maintenance, and inspection much easier, allowing you or a professional technician to avoid searching for the septic tank and digging a hole in your lawn. Not having risers on your septic tank would be like wielding yhr hood of your car shut. You need easy access to your septic tank to service it.

Installation

Septic Tank Riser
Installing a riser is similar to any routine septic tank maintenance procedure. If you do not know where your tank is located, a septic tank technician can find the tank by probing the ground with a bar or using an electronic locating device. The ground around the access hole is then dug up. Next, the riser replaces the lid to the access hole. The ground is then re-filled around the pipe and a lid is placed at the top of the pipe.

Pros and Cons

While installing a septic tank riser has several benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering an installation.

  • Cost: Installing a septic tank riser involves a one-time cost for materials and labor. However, the riser will soon pay for itself through savings on subsequent maintenance and inspections. Septic tanks should be inspected at least once a year, and pump-outs should typically occur every three to five years for an average family of four. For septic tank professionals like FloHawks, tank accessibility is a primary factor in determining the cost of a septic tank’s maintenance procedures. There is no easier way to access a tank than through a riser, so having a riser will significantly reduce the cost of septic tank maintenance. The long-term savings will add up considerably.
  • Appearance: A riser that extends above or is flush with the surface of your lawn provides the most convenient access. However, a pipe or lid in the middle of a lawn may seem unsightly to some homeowners. A common solution to this problem is to situate the lid of the riser a few inches below the surface of the lawn. This way, grass and a thin layer of soil or another landscaping surface can cover the lid. With a riser lid just below the ground, the lawn can be maintained as usual, and accessing the port will require only minimal effort when it comes time to pump or inspect your tank.

As you can see, there are several good reasons to install a riser on your septic tank and just a few minor cons to keep in mind. If you are interested in having a septic tank riser installed and would like a free quote, call the professionals at FloHawks anytime at 1.800.356.4295 or Schedule Your Service online.