What to Do When You Clog Someone Else’s Toilet

What to Do When You Clog Someone Else’s Toilet

Horror hits hard the moment you realize you have clogged your host’s toilet, and awkward doesn’t even begin to describe how you’ll feel telling them about it. But there may be a way out of this embarrassing situation if you follow a few simple steps.

  1. Don’t Panic
    Panic never unclogged anyone’s toilet, so don’t waste time doing it. Inhale, exhale, and calmly address the problem.
  2. Stop Flushing
    Flushing a clogged toilet will not unclog it so stop trying to solve the problem this way. In fact, it could make the problem worse by causing the toilet water to overflow – and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
  3. Turn Off the Toilet’s Water Valve
    This is located at the bottom of the toilet. Turn it to the right.
  4. Check the Bathroom for a Plunger
    If you’re lucky, you will find one behind the toilet or under the sink.
  5. Apply the Plunger
    Apply the plunger to the bottom of the toilet bowl and make certain that it is sealed tight on it. Then begin forcefully plunging in an up and down motion, making sure not to loosen its seal on the bottom of the toilet bowl. Do this quickly and repetitively for about 30 seconds and check to see if water is beginning to drain out.
  6. Turn the Water Valve Back On
    If the water is beginning to drain, the clog has dissipated. Turn the valve to the left to turn the water back on, wait for the tank to fill, then flush, rinse off the plunger with clean water and put it back in its place.
  7. What to Do if There Isn’t a Plunger
    Now you can panic (just kidding). Take a deep breath and remember that everyone uses the bathroom and has likely had this happen to them. If you have your phone with you, try texting your host and asking for a plunger – then follow the steps above. If not, close the toilet lid and the bathroom door, locate your host and discreetly ask for a plunger so that you can fix the problem.

FloHawks Can Help

We know that clogged toilets can often present a challenge that should be handled quickly so as not to interrupt the celebrations. If these DIY tips don’t do the trick, or if you’re having ongoing issues with clogged toilets, don’t hesitate to call FloHawks at (800) 356-4295. Our experienced plumbers have seen it all and unclogged countless messy situations.

What is Water Hammer?

What is Water Hammer?

When you turn off a faucet and hear a thumping or pounding sound, that’s water hammer. It happens when water quickly changes the direction of its flow and the resulting momentum causes the pipes to experience waves of pressure. If the problem isn’t fixed, it may cause serious damage to your plumbing system’s pipes.

Why does water hammer happen?

There are several reasons why water hammer occurs:

  • Pipe Attachment Issues

    It may be that a loose pipe-mounting strip is causing your water hammer problem. These straps attach pipes to a framing to reduce your pipes’ movement when water flows through them. To fix the problem, use plumber’s tape or clips to secure the pipe.

  • Water Pressure is Too High

    If this is the case, you can install water pressure regulators to solve your water hammer problem. It should be installed at the place where the main water supply enters your home so you may only need one rather than several air chambers. This valve will also help protect all of your water-supplied appliances from the effects of high water pressure. When you install the water regulators, make sure to calibrate your water pressure to somewhere between 30 and 50 psi. Anything higher may cause damage to your equipment and void warranties.

  • What can be done to resolve water hammer?

    There are several ways to fix water hammer depending on the issue:

    • Consider Installing an Air Chamber

      This device solves water hammer by preventing water from creating the waves that cause waves of pressure in your pipes. Air chambers should be placed within the walls next to water valves. You can tell if your air chamber is working correctly by first turning off your main water valve. After opening your building’s highest water faucet, drain all of the water from your pipes by opening the water faucet at the lowest point in the building. After the water has drained from the lowest faucet, shut it off and open the main water valve. The resulting air should push out of the waterlines and stop the water hammer.

    • Clogged Air Chamber

      If your air chamber isn’t working correctly, this could cause water hammer. Clean it by removing its pipe’s cap and remove any debris in the chamber.

    • Consider Installing a Mechanical Water Arrestor

      If you want to reduce water hammer but installing an air chamber doesn’t work in a particular place, try installing a mechanical water arrestor. These sealed units absorb water movement and work particularly well for buildings that need high water pressure.

    FloHawks Can Help Solve Your Water Hammer Issues

    We know that water hammer is not only annoying but can cause serious and permanent damage to your pipes over time. Issues like this must be repaired quickly and professionally.

    Call FloHawks today or schedule an appointment online at a time that works well for you.

Environmentally Friendly Techniques for Removing Rust Stains from Sinks, Tubs, and Toilets

Environmentally Friendly Techniques for Removing Rust Stains

Rust stains can appear on your toilet, sink, and tub for several reasons. They can occur if you don’t regularly clean your bathroom appliances or if you have hard mineral deposits – perhaps due to the use of well water or water with a high iron content. The stains can also be the result of rusty water pipe leakage or other plumbing issues.

As unattractive as rust stains are, they can usually be removed if you use the correct products. These environmentally friendly methods are inexpensive and pretty simple. You may even find that you already have these items around your home and can begin the stain removal task right away.

Before you begin cleaning, make certain that you open the bathroom door and windows, if any, for ventilation purposes. Use rubber gloves and protective eyewear when cleaning to avoid direct contact with germs and cleansers. Also, make certain that others in the home know not to use the bathroom for a while.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning SolutionsBelow are some stain removers you may already have at home. Many people prefer these because they don’t have harsh chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

  • Lemon Juice and Borax Powder

    The combination of lemon juice and Borax powder, which is made from a natural mineral, generally removes rust stains. Combine a cup of Borax with half a cup of lemon juice and stir until the solution becomes a paste. Apply the paste onto the stain using a sponge and let it absorb into the porcelain for a few hours. Then remove and your stain should be gone.

  • White Vinegar and Water

    Make a half and half solution with white vinegar and water. Pour the solution on a cloth and rub the stains with the cloth. You can also use a sprayer bottle for the solution rather than a cloth. If you have stubborn stains, use more vinegar than water in your solution. Allow the solution to soak into the porcelain before rinsing.

  • White Vinegar and Baking Soda – Removing toilet rust stains

    Pour half a cup of baking soda into your toilet bowl and spray it with vinegar. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes and then scrub the toilet bowl with your toilet brush. If there are still stains after scrubbing, add a second half cup of baking soda with warm water and saturate the stubborn stains. Add a half teaspoon of tea tree oil to the solution for its antibacterial properties.

  • Pumice Stick

    Wet the pumice stick and rub it directly on the stains before rinsing and cleaning.

    If you find that the rust stains are recurring, you may want to have your pipes checked for leaks by an experienced plumber.

FloHawks Can Help

When you are seeing rust stains in your sinks, tubs, or toilets over and over again, you may be surprised to find that there is an underlying plumbing issue. For peace of mind, call FloHawks or schedule an appointment online and our team will gladly visit your home and inspect your pipes.

What is a P-Trap?

What is a P-Trap?

If you are planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation – or you smell a noxious odor emanating from your plumbing pipes – you will quickly become very familiar with a P-trap. P-traps can be made of either PVC or metal. This essential plumbing fixture is usually installed under bathroom and kitchen sinks to trap debris that has drained there and keep it from being able to clog your plumbing system. It can also trap gases and keep them from flowing back up into your home or business. This is particularly important because some types of sewer gases not only smell highly unpleasant but can be explosive or poisonous as well.

Because P-traps are inexpensive and relatively easy to install, many homeowners are tempted to make them a DIY project. The fixtures combine two 90-degree joints with a horizontal overflow pipe that forms a device in the shape of a “P”. One joint exits the sink’s drain and connects to the other, which has a water seal system allowing water to drain into the overflow pipe and not back toward the sink.

When choosing the type of P-trap you would like to install, make sure that it meets the standard of the building code of the state/city where your home or business is located. The code will also specify what type of P-trap is allowed on each plumbing section you would like to install one on.

Most codes usually don’t allow you to install more than three utility appliances onto one P-trap. They also typically require a tap primer to be applied to any P-trap that won’t be used frequently. This helps keep the P-trap’s seal in place which will prevent the flow of sewer gas. All P-traps should be tightly sealed when installed.

FloHawks Can Help

We can help you make certain that the P-traps you are using are compliant with the codes for your area and are installed properly keeping you and your plumbing safe. Give us a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient online tool, which allows you to schedule an appointment that fits your schedule.

Rain and Potential Impact on Your Drain Field

Once it appears that winter is giving way to spring in the Puget Sound area, we can expect plenty of rain. Although you may not realize it, this can damage your septic system. When a significant rainfall floods the ground surrounding your drain field, which is a soil absorption area, it becomes saturated. This makes it difficult for water to flow out of your septic system. The trapped water will then flow backward through your plumbing pipes, then your toilets and drains. When drain fields are flooded, untreated sewage can flow into the groundwater and nearby local waterways, potentially causing contamination.

To avoid this messy situation, FloHawks recommends taking several simple steps before, during, and after the rainy season.

Before Rainy Season

  • Only plant grass above your drain field. Do not plant trees or bushes in this area.
  • Check to make sure that your septic system is in good working order before the rainy For example, if the season begins and your tank has not been pumped, problems are bound to happen.
  • Be certain that water runoff is not directed toward your drain field or septic tank. Otherwise, the soil surrounding it will get soggy. You also need to clear debris from your rain gutters on a regular basis and make sure that the gutters don’t drain into the drain field area.
  • Avoid driving vehicles or other heavy equipment over your drain field. This causes compacted soil that reduces the drain field’s ability to treat wastewater. In fact, this should be avoided at all times of the year.

 During Rainy Season

  • There are several signs that your septic system is not working properly. If you see the following, relieve pressure on your system by reducing or eliminating water that flows down your drains until your drain field dries:
  • Until the drain field is dry, minimize the stress on your septic system by only flushing the toilet when necessary, take short showers if possible, and don’t run your dishwasher or do laundry, if possible. You can also reduce water usage by only running full loads of laundry instead of multiple smaller loads.
    • Toilets making strange noises or flushing slowly.
    • The drain field is flooded.
    • Drains clogging or draining slowly.

 After Rainy Season

  • Have your septic system inspected and serviced by a professional if you think there is a possibility that it is damaged. One sign that this has occurred is if the water over the drain field does not recede when the rain stops.
  • Wait until the water has receded from your drain field and then check your system for debris or silt. If they are present, have your system pumped as soon as possible.

FloHawks Can Help

Contact FloHawks to make sure that your septic system and drain field are ready for the rainy season. We can handle the challenge quickly and professionally. To have all of your plumbing or septic system issues resolved, give us a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or Schedule Your Service online, selecting the day and time that best suits your schedule.