Creating A Jack O’Lantern For Your Home

At FloHawks, we decided to celebrate Halloween by carving a pumpkin using an image inspired by our company logo. Follow the steps below to create your own jack o’lantern masterpiece.

  1. Choose a pumpkin
    When you’re picking out your pumpkin, think about what shape might work best for your design. A pumpkin with a smooth front sometimes works best for carving in larger artwork. The shape of the pumpkin may even help influence the design you want to make.
  2. jack2Prepare Your Pumpkin
    With a sharp knife, cut a circle around the stem at an angle to the center. This will be the lid. After that, use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds from inside the pumpkin. We suggest putting down a drop cloth or newspaper for this step to make cleanup easier.
  3. jack3Trace Your Design
    The easiest way to transfer your design to the pumpkin is to print out your design on paper and then tape it on. Follow the design lines with a rotary tracing wheel or use an awl or thin screwdriver to make holes along the design lines about 1/8-inch apart. Remove the stencil pattern when you’re all done tracing it. If you would rather freehand your design, we suggest using a washable marker so you can wash off your lines once you’ve made your cuts.
  4. jack4Start Carving
    There are several different types of tools you can use to carve your pumpkin. We recommend using a pumpkin carving kit that you can get at a store. The tools in the kit are specially designed to cut and shape your pumpkin. They are safer to use than kitchen knives as well.
  5. jack5Get Creative
    After you carve the shape of your design into your pumpkin, try getting a little creative by just removing the pumpkin skin on some parts of the design. This will add depth and variation in color.
  6. jackLight It Up
    Depending on where you plan on displaying your freshly carved pumpkin, you can either light it up with a candle up using a tea light OR a battery powered LED light. Then, step back and enjoy your new piece of pumpkin art!

Tips to Prevent Clogged Drains

Kitchen sink
Because clogged drains are such a common problem, it’s generally not a surprise when they happen – usually at the most inconvenient moments. What may be surprising is that there are a number of things you can do to avoid having clogged drains in your home that can lead to more serious plumbing problems. These tips apply to homes connected to a sewer system.

Take Proper Care of Your Garbage Disposal
Although it may seem that you should be able to put any kind of food down your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal without causing a problem, that’s not actually the case. Any sort of fibrous foods, including celery, asparagus, artichokes, chard, kale, lettuce, potato peelings, and onion skins should be kept out of your garbage disposal, as well as meat, poultry and fish bones. In addition, don’t put coffee, bread, eggshells or uncooked pasta or rice in the disposal. The damage these foods can do includes jamming blades and causing pipe blockages.

You can also help preserve your disposal by making certain that you set your faucet for cold water and keep a steady amount flowing into the disposal while it is in use. Cold water flushes out any debris that is in the disposal and carries it out efficiently through the pipes.

Maintain Your Drains
If you don’t have a garbage disposal, never put food, grease, or oil down the kitchen sink drain. All of these substances will almost certainly cause clogs immediately or over time. To clear out any food that finds its way to your drain, pour boiling water down it once a week.

For all your home’s drains, consider using drain screens. They prevent large amounts of food, soap, hair and other materials that easily cause clogs from entering your pipes while still allowing water to flow through properly.

clogged-drain2Wash Pets Outside
Whenever possible, wash pets outside to avoid excessive hair and dirt from clogging bathtub drains. If you need to wash them inside, use a large bin for them to stand in while they are in the tub to trap hair and other debris and make sure that you have a stopper in the drain during the process.

clogged-drain3Only Flush Toilet Paper
Although many products such as paper towels, cat litter, baby wipes, diapers, and feminine hygiene supplies are labeled as safe to flush down the toilet, the truth is that they can cause unwanted buildup and clogs when flushed down the toilet. Because these products do not disintegrate like toilet paper, they should not be flushed into your sewer system. To avoid plumbing issues, we recommend that the only paper product that should ever be flushed down your toilet is toilet paper.

FloHawks Can Help

We know that clogged drains present an immediate challenge that must be handled quickly and professionally. Our experienced technicians are ready to assist you with any issues related to your clogged drains.

Call FloHawks anytime at (800) 356-4295 or use our convenient scheduling tool which allows you to set an appointment that fits your schedule.

Tips to Minimize Sewer Line Backups

sink

Most of us never think about the many things we do every day that affect our sewer system. But, the reality is, our sewer lines are hard at work with every flush of the toilet, each time we turn the faucet on, use the dishwasher, or start the washing machine. So, all it takes is one clog in the line to create a plumbing crisis that could cost thousands of dollars to solve.

For this reason, learning to prevent sewer line backups is very important. Here are some tips that can help homeowners avoid sewer line obstructions.

  • Most flushable products are not really flushable
    Although many products such as paper towels and baby wipes are labeled as safe to flush down the toilet, the truth is that they can cause buildup and clogs when they are disposed of that way. This goes for diapers and feminine hygiene products as well because none of these products disintegrate like toilet paper. Therefore, they should not be flushed into your sewer system. Ever. The only paper product that you should flush down your toilet is toilet paper.
  • sink2Avoid kitchen drain strain
    Many people are surprised to learn that numerous foods and liquids should not be poured down our kitchen sinks. Do not pour any kind of grease, cooking oil or sauce down your drain. Even vegetables like celery and lettuce can cause clogging, as well as onion peels, potatoes, pasta and rice – because they do not dissolve easily. Coffee grounds and egg shells also should be thrown in the trash or used as garden fertilizer – not put down the kitchen sink.
  • Does the grass in your yard have wet spots?
    Check your yard regularly to make sure that it does not have soft soil or soggy spots. If they appear when it has not been raining, check your water line for leaks.
  • Replace old pipes
    Like any other pipe system, main sewer lines can deteriorate, crack or collapse over time. However, the clay and metal sewer lines that were used in building homes years ago are especially at risk of being infiltrated by tree roots and rocks as well. Consider replacing them with updated plastic products or PVC piping.
  • Have a backwater prevention valve installed
    A plumbing professional can install this into a sewer line in the basement of your home to help prevent backups. The valve works to send sewage out of your home and does not allow it to flow back into it – this avoids a very messy situation.

FloHawks Can Help

We know that a damaged or obstructed sewer line can quickly spiral out of control, leaving you scrambling for help. Call FloHawks at (800) 356-4295 to schedule a visit from one of our experienced and certified plumbing teams or schedule an appointment online. We promise your sewer or other plumbing issue will be handled promptly and efficiently.

 

Are You a Pet Owner? Read These Plumbing Tips

Happy family playing outdoorsFor many of us, having pets at home is part of the joy of living. But, this can easily translate into problems with our plumbing. Below are some tips for keeping your pets and your plumbing safer.

Cats and Sinks

It’s a thing – for real, and not just on the Cat Playing In SinkInternet. Make sure to use a cover, stopper, or strainer in your sink so you can wipe out the resulting shedded hair before it goes down the pipes and clogs the drains. Also, make sure that your sink’s faucet doesn’t leak – cats love drinking water from sink faucets but can be poisoned by any residue left behind from cleaning chemicals if they lick them. We suggest using environmentally friendly cleaners. Not only are they safer for pets, but they are also better for septic systems.

A Better Bath Time

When bathing your pet, make sure your drain Bathroom to a dog chow chowhas a cover, stopper, or strainer that prevents hair from entering the drain. Hair shedding is at its worst during a bath and clumps of it can easily clog your drain and/or cause water to flow much more slowly through it over time.

Also, install pressure balancing valves to remove the risk of faucets gushing either hot water that could injure your pet or cold water that could abruptly end bath time and send you running through the house to recapture a cold, soapy animal that bolted from the tub in shock.

Cover All Your Drains

While sinks and tubs are most subject to clogs from pet hair, the low-lying drains in places like basements and showers capture stray hair as well. It’s wise to cover those also when they are not in use.

Toilet Tactics

As long as we have toilets, our pets will Dog on the toilet - Jack Russell Terrierwant to drink from them – even if they have fresh water in their bowls. So, close the lids on all of your toilets to make sure that your pets aren’t drinking water that could be contaminated from debris and/or poisonous cleaning chemicals.

Also, resist the temptation to dump even the smallest bit of cat litter in your toilet. It’s not meant to be flushed down any pipe or drain and will most certainly cause a nasty clog either immediately or over time.

Dogs Can Dig It

It may surprise you to know that water Golden Retriever dog digging holeand sewer pipes are often subject to damage from dogs that love to dig holes. If your dog digs holes, make sure it’s in an area free of pipes that are just beneath the surface.

FloHawks Can Fix Any Pet Related Plumbing Problem

We understand that damaged or leaking pipes can quickly spiral out of control and that your pets are important members of your family so we want you to know that you can count on us to help keep your pipes working as they should and your pets safe. Give us a call at (800) 356-4295 or conveniently schedule your service online and select a day and time that fits your schedule.

Sewer Line Inspection Before Buying a Home

Countryside real estate. Old big house with large front yard

Although many home buyers are careful to inspect the roof and appliances of the residence they hope to buy, most do not consider inspecting the home’s sewer line to be necessary. Depending on where you live in the state, it may be the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the side sewer line on their property up until the point where it attaches to the main city line.

Inspecting the home’s entire sewer line is usually done by a professional plumber who uses a small video camera attached to a long snake tool, which is inserted into the pipes. The plumber is then able to view the camera’s monitor to see the progress of the snake through the pipes and identify any problems. In the process, the plumber aims to determine the condition of the sewer line’s material, any breaks in it, and any repairs that have previously been done to it.

Here are several issues that we have found in the sewer pipelines of homes of varying ages:

Faulty Pipe Installation – Like any other type of building installation, there is a right way and a wrong way to install sewer piping in a home. Your inspection will be able to determine if the pipes in the home being inspected have been properly installed.

Pipe Setting – When sewer lines are improperly placed in trenches that cannot support them, they sink. This common problem causes sludge to slowly build up, ultimately resulting in a blocked line.

Pipes Made of Clay or Concrete – Homes in older neighborhoods tend to have sewer lines manufactured from these materials, which make them vulnerable to a variety of underground conditions.

Damage from Roots – Roots often grow into the cracks of faulty pipes because they are attracted to moisture. As they grow, they cause the pipe cracks to expand. Over time, the roots fill the pipeline which stops it from functioning. This becomes an expensive but necessary problem to fix.

Damage from Shifting Dirt – Storms, droughts or other unusual weather patterns can cause the earth around sewer pipes to shift. This can cause breakage, which results in sediment entering the pipe. Eventually, roots can grow into the pipe, clogging it.

Pipes Past Their Life Expectancy – Sewer pipelines typically have a 50-year lifespan. With many homes in Seattle quickly approaching that benchmark, they will likely have pipe issues that any prospective home buyer would need to consider.

Once you know the reality of the condition of the sewer pipes in the home you are considering purchasing, you will know if you need to negotiate any repairs into the purchase price or look elsewhere. And if the inspections yield good news, you have the comfort of knowing that you are moving into a home with a secure sewer line system.

FloHawks Can Help

FloHawks plumbing professionals 6e00accc-9a4d-11e8-9b3e-364708627bf3can conduct your essential sewer line inspection with ease. We are experienced at inspecting sewer pipes and our technicians are equipped with the latest plumbing equipment including high-definition video cameras perfect for pipe inspections. We can handle pipe maintenance services for commercial and residential customers and our services are scheduled at your convenience.

If you have any questions or are looking to purchase a home and need an inspection of your sewer pipes, schedule service online or call 800-356-4295 to speak to one of our team members today.