All posts by FloHawks

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.

Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter

Washington residents know that our colder winter months make the pipes outside of our homes vulnerable to freezing. As the temperature drops outside you need 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. insulationKeep 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 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. water-pipeTurn 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.

FloHawks Can Help

Give us a call today at (253) 446-8485 to schedule an appointment or use our online tool to schedule an appointment that best fits your schedule.

Septic Alarms Going Off and What to Do


Septic tanks typically come with alarms for a good reason. It is extremely important that you know if your septic system has a problem because the result could be pretty catastrophic. The septic alarms are meant to go off when the water level in your septic system’s pump tank is either too high or too low because either condition can cause damage to the system and should be prevented.

Why is the Alarm Going Off?

If the septic alarm goes off, there are generally several reasons why:

  • Power – Someone may have just turned off the power switch. Check to see if the power in on at the pump. The alarm may be on a separate power source.
  • Overuse – Do you have guests in your home who are adding to the extra water use? Maybe you are doing extra laundry or dishes after a big event? These may be the reasons for the alarm, especially if you have been properly maintaining the system.
  • heavy-rainHeavy Rain - Heavy rain causes groundwater seepage into your septic system. When it overflows, your alarm may go off.
  • Parts Problem - Your alarm will likely go off if one of your septic system’s components is faulty. It could be your pump, floats, your timer – or the alarm itself. If you haven’t had your system inspected by a professional, this is a good reason to have it done.

What to Do When Your Alarm Goes Off

First, locate the red button or switch on your septic alarm box and flip it to turn off the alarm. You will also see a red light and a green light on the box – check that the green light is on because that shows that the alarm has power. If you see that the red light is on, that means that the water level in your tank is getting too high.

FloHawks Can Help

When you have a problem with your septic system, FloHawks is prepared to handle it quickly and professionally. These are not DIY jobs. Septic system care and maintenance requires skills that our experienced team has accrued. Let’s get your septic system in tip-top shape – call FloHawks today to schedule a visit at (800) 356-4295. You can also schedule your appointment online.