How to Light a Water Heater Pilot Light


When you feel cold water coming out of your hot faucet tap for more than a minute or two, chances are good that your water heater pilot flame could have gone out. The good news is that this is one problem that can be easily solved as a DIY project or by calling your local plumber. However, don’t attempt this fix if you smell gas nearby; this could be a gas leak in the area. In that case, call 911 from outside the house for emergency assistance.

If your area is clear of the gas odor, try to find the label on your water heater that provides instructions specific to lighting the water heater model that you have. Absent that, grab your flashlight and a barbeque lighter and follow these steps:

  1. thermostatTurn off your gas regulator valve – This is a knob that can be found on the outside of the water heater where the gas pipe enters it. Once you have turned the knob to off, the excess gas should dissipate. Wait at least five minutes for this process to occur to be clear of gas flare-ups.
  1. Locate the heater’s pilot burner – This is underneath the heater. Remove its access cover.
  1. Turn the gas regulator valve to “Pilot” – Once set to “Pilot,” press on it and hold it down to start gas flowing to the pilot burner.
  1. For units with built-in pilot igniters – If your water heater has a built-in electric spark pilot igniter, you will find a red or black button labeled “Ignition” on the top or side of the gas valve. Push that to light the pilot.
    Lighting the pilot manually – If the pilot igniter is not built-in, use your barbeque lighter to apply a flame to the pilot burner. Then, press the regulator valve knob for at least a minute after the pilot is lit so the flame heats the thermocouple safety sensor that detects the live pilot flame.
  1. Slowly release the regulator valve – Turn the valve to “on” after you see that the pilot light is remaining lit.
  1. Make sure to replace the access covers that were removed during the process.

FloHawks Can Help

If you are having trouble with your water heater and are uncomfortable trying to fix it yourself, there is no reason you should feel the need to shower with cold water. FloHawks can help.

Give us a call today at (800) 356-4295 to schedule an appointment or use our online tool to schedule an appointment that best fits your schedule.

Secure Your Plumbing System From Freezing Pipes This Winter


With winter well on the way, it is important to prepare pipes for the cold weather ahead. Pipes that crack or burst when the water inside them freezes and expands can cause a flood of water in your home.

To avoid the mess, damage, and expense of pipes bursting in your home, take these steps to secure your plumbing system:

  • frozen2Turn off your main water valve – You will likely find this near your water meter.
  • Drain all extraneous water from your pipes – Attach a hose to your basement faucet or sillcock and drain the water so it flows outside your home. If you skip the step of pipe draining, the water trapped in them can still freeze and cause cracks or a burst pipe.
  • Prepare the inside plumbing – Open all of your faucets and flush all of your toilets. Then close all of the faucets inside your home.
  • Install an air compressor – Connect this to your basement faucet or to an open sillcock. Then blow air into your plumbing system at the rate of 70 pounds per square inch.
  • frozen3Revisit the inside plumbing – When completed, reopen all of your sink faucets to blow the water out. Run your dishwasher and run hot and cold water through your washing machine to clear its lines. Open each toilet’s water valve so that the compressed air blows out water, then shut the valve.
  • Propylene glycol application – Pour this into every sink and tub drain, then add a small bit to each of your toilet tanks. Make sure to drain any water from your boiler using a bucket for the excess and pump some propylene into the boiler via its pipes.

FloHawks Can Help

If you want to make certain that your pipes are properly prepared for the cold weather, contact us. Unless you want to risk burst pipes, preparing for the freezing and very cold temperatures and how this affects your pipes is not something you can skip. To have all of your pipe issues resolved, call FloHawks at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient Schedule Your Service tool, which allows you to set an appointment that fits your schedule.

How to Unclog a Bathtub


With all the soap, hair, shampoo, and debris that find their way down your bathtub drain, it isn’t surprising that it clogs every so often. When this happens, there are a few things you can try but if they don’t work, you may have no choice but to call a plumber to unclog your bathtub.

  1. bathtub2Remove the stopper
    Many tubs have a built-in drain stopper that you can remove and check for any visible obstructions. You will often find hair and accumulated debris at the drain opening that can be identified right away as the problem.
  2. Remove any material around the stopper and strainer
    After you remove this debris and scrub the strainer, check the water flow. If necessary, probe the drain with a wire coat hanger to try to remove debris blocking the water from flowing freely. If you find the drain is still blocked, use a wire coat hanger that has been straightened leaving a tiny hook left on the end that will catch and remove debris as you use it to probe the drain.
  3. Pour boiling water down the drain
    Once you have removed all the debris, you can pour boiling water down the drain to clear out the remainder. If this doesn’t work, cover the overflow drain in preparation to plunge it. Above the main drain for your bathtub, you likely will find an overflow drain that functions to allow excess water to flow into pipes rather than onto the bathroom floor in the event that the tub’s water level rises too high. Cover the overflow hole tightly with duct tape.
  4. Plunge the drain
    Press the plunger as tightly as possible over the drain and plunge quickly and firmly. This pressure and suction will hopefully break apart the clog. Only try this a few times. If you are unable to clear the drain, call a licensed plumber to make certain that you don’t damage your pipes or fixtures by plunging too much or with too much force.

FloHawks Can Help Unclog Your Bathtub

Still experiencing issues with a bathtub that won’t drain properly? The experienced team of professional plumbers at FloHawks are ready to jump in and save you the frustration of trying to unclog your bathtub yourself. Give us a call anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient Schedule Your Service tool which allows you to set an appointment that fits your schedule.

Common Causes for Clogged Drains During Holidays

Thanksgiving dinner with American-African family preparing dinnerAre you cooking during this holiday season and entertaining guests in your home? If so, you are more at risk than at any other time of the year for clogged kitchen drains, toilet back-ups, or clogged main sewer lines in addition to other plumbing issues. But, you can stack your odds to avoid the expense and inconvenience of these plumbing problems by following these “Do” and “Don’t Do” tips:

  • Start regularly pouring a mixture of dish detergent and lukewarm water down your drains.
    When you are finished cooking (or cleaning – as in the case of bathroom drains), pour about half a cup of dishwashing detergent down your drain. Then pour lukewarm water down the drain. This should help dissolve grease so it doesn’t build up in your drains.
  • Woman Washing Fork in Kitchen Sink

  • Don’t ever pour grease down your drains.
    As tempting as it is to do while you are busy cooking, don’t pour grease down any of your drains. Grease, fat, and oil congeal into a substance that absorbs anything you put down the drain and eventually causes a clog that blocks it. To avoid this, pour your cooking fats into a can that can be resealed and disposed of in the garbage.
  • Throw most food debris in the garbage – not down your garbage disposal.
    Many foods can clog your drains and immobilize your garbage disposal blades. These include potato peels, pasta, eggshells, corn husks, rice, bread, bones, fruit pits, fibrous fruits and vegetables, and coffee grinds. Always dispose of them in your garbage, not down your drains. That is not the intended purpose of a garbage disposal.
  • Don’t flush any paper or clay items down the toilet – even if they are labeled as being “flushable”.
    Items other than toilet paper flushed down your toilet cause clogs in the appliance – either immediately or over time. Many people make the mistake of flushing feminine hygiene products, hair, cotton balls, dental floss, paper towels, Q-tips, cat litter, and tissues. The result is often a clog in the drain connected to their toilets. This is an avoidable problem.
  • Kitchen waste recycle

  • Regularly clean your drains’ overflow openings.
    In many homes, these connect to “pop-up” assemblies that also need to be cleaned regularly. Pop-up assemblies are a system of drain stoppers that can be manually moved up and down to seal a sink bowl or bathtub; they get clogged with soap and hair on an ongoing basis. Cleaning the overflow openings that connect to them reduces the chances of this occurring. To do this, first close the pop-up system. Then, fill your sink or bathtub with water so that it is just above level with the overflow opening. Next, pour a cup of bleach into the water and allow your faucet to run for about 10 minutes.

FloHawks Can Help

We know that clogged drains and other plumbing problems during the holidays can often present a challenge and additional stress. These issues are often avoidable but when they occur, they should be handled quickly and professionally. Get back to enjoying your family and friends, call FloHawks and our team will take care of your plumbing issues this holiday season and all year long. Use our convenient online scheduling tool to schedule your appointment or call us today at (800) 356-4295.

Tips for your Septic System During Thanksgiving Gatherings


Whenever you have a number of guests in your home at the same time, plumbing issues may arise due to the capacity of your plumbing and septic system. This is because the system was designed to accommodate a certain number of people over a defined period of time. Problems can arise when you have more people using more water than the system can accommodate which can happen often during your Thanksgiving gathering. When this happens, it can definitely put a damper on your event in your home.

Here are some tips on how you can diagnose and fix some of the common problems that can occur:

  • Septic Tank Alarm Going Off
    This can happen when more water than usual is being used over a short period of time. Extra added water in the tank may cause the system’s float to rise and trigger the alarm. If your system is on a timer, push the silence button and then don’t use much water over the next 24 hours so that the system can reset and the alarm light will deactivate. The reset involves the system syncing again with the pump so it starts to filter effluent into the drain field again.
  • thanks2

  • Kitchen Sink is Clogged
    These backups often happen due to food preparation and dishwashing. If food and grease flow into your drain and build up, your pipes clog and the result is a backup in the sink. First, place a plunger over the sink’s drain and have a rag handy to help clean up any residual water. Move the plunger up and down multiple times but don’t lift it off the drain. If your sink is still clogged, your p-trap may be malfunctioning. The device should be clearing your line and allowing the water to flow out. Clear the device and your sink should unclog. If this doesn’t work, call a professional plumber. At FloHawks, we can remove and clean the traps. Our technicians can also cable the line with a snake to clear the pipes. Don’t use drain cleaner because it can be toxic to septic systems.
  • Toilet is Backed-up
    Use a plunger or toilet auger to clear the backup. If this doesn’t work, a professional plumber can simply remove your toilet and clear or remove anything that is causing the clog.

If these don’t work then FloHawks Can Help

We know that plumbing problems during family gatherings especially with Thanksgiving can present a challenge that should be handled quickly and professionally. If these DIY methods don’t do the trick, give us a call or schedule an appointment online. Our team of professional plumbers will be happy to help with any residential plumbing or septic system needs.