Tips to Minimize Sewer Line Backups


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.

7 Signs It is Time to Replace your Main Water Line


Over time, your main water line experiences plenty of wear and tear as it delivers water to and from your home every day. Many types of weather, extreme usage, and age all play roles in how often you may need to replace this essential part of your plumbing system.

If you pay attention to the signs that signal a worn or compromised main water line requires replacement and replace the line when necessary, you can avoid some of the cost, mess, and inconvenience associated with a burst main water line. If not, you could easily face the destruction of your entire plumbing system and possibly a home flooded with raw sewage.

Here’s what to look for when assessing the strength of your main water line:

An Increase in Your Water Bill – Are your water bills suddenly running a lot higher than in the past without any change in your actual water usage that you have noticed? This could signal a problem in your main water line.

Water Pressure Issues – If you notice that your showers are of inconsistent water flow and temperature, you may be experiencing low water pressure. This could also be a sign of problems with your main water line.

stainWater Stains on Ceilings or Walls – These are red flags that there is a leaky pipe that needs replacement.

Pest Infestation – Are you noticing more insects, such as roaches and ants, in your home? Have you had a rat scare? These pests often appear in homes more frequently when they are able to enter through cracks and other types of openings in compromised main water lines.

Sounds in Your Walls – If you start to hear noises that appear to come from your walls when you turn your faucets on, there is very likely a problem with your main water line.

tapWater Quality Issues – Do you notice discoloration in the water that comes through your tap? Does it smell odd or appear to have dirt or debris floating in it? You definitely don’t want to drink that water or even bathe in it. These are clear signs that your main water line has been compromised in some way.

standing-waterStanding Water in Yard – If you see puddles that form and last in your yard on a regular basis, it is definitely time to have your main water line checked by a plumbing professional.

 FloHawks Can Help

Frozen, clogged, and leaking pipes are all common issues that can be easily fixed by your FloHawks plumbing technician. Using state-of-the-art tools like video pipe inspection, our technicians can quickly identify the cause of a problem and fix it, quickly stopping a leak before it can damage your home.

We know that a damaged or leaking pipe can quickly spiral out of control, leaving you scrambling for help. To have your peace of mind restored and your pipes repaired, give FloHawks a call at (800) 356-4295 or schedule your service online where you can set an appointment that fits your schedule.


How Often Should the Septic Tank Outlet Filter Be Cleaned?


A clogged drainfield is one of the most common (and expensive) causes of septic system failure. However, a septic tank outlet filter can be a simple solution to help you avoid clogged pipes in your drainfield. A septic tank outlet filter, also known as an effluent filter or grey water filter, protects your septic system by filtering effluent as it leaves the septic tank.

Screening Device

The screening device, made of slotted plastic, is installed in the outlet of a septic tank and helps prevent anything other than liquids from getting into (and potentially clogging) the drainfield. The slots are small enough that it allows the liquid to pass through while the larger solids will remain.

Why does the outlet filter become clogged?

cloggedA properly working septic tank outlet filter will become clogged as effluent is filtered and leaves the septic tank. As the solid materials accumulate over time, they progressively clog more and more of the filter, requiring maintenance. Your septic tank outlet filter needs maintenance just like the rest of your septic system. They should also be cleaned when you get the tank pumped and cleaned.

When should the outlet filter be cleaned?

Septic tanks need to be periodically pumped out to remove sludge and scum which do not break down quickly with the normal digestive processed in the tank. Under normal conditions, your effluent filter will function for several years before cleaning is necessary. At a minimum, the filter should be cleaned whenever the tank is pumped, at least every 3 to 5 years. Learn more about FloHawks’ recommended maintenance.

Septic tank maintenance is best left to trained FloHawks service technicians. The septic tank outlet filter should be removed from the septic tank and the solids need to be thoroughly removed. Once it’s clean, the outlet filter should be placed in the correct place and reinserted properly back into the septic tank.

What happens if the outlet filter isn’t cleaned?

Without regular maintenance of the outlet filter, sewage could back up into your home. Slow drains and gurgling noises coming from your plumbing system are indicators that your septic tank needs a good cleaning and some routine maintenance. It is best to contact a trained professional to install a new filter or clean or replace an existing one.

Do I really need an outlet filter?

filterSeptic tank filters are an affordable and cost-effective way to improve the efficiency of your septic tank system while protecting and extending the useful life of the drainfield. They can easily be installed into existing tanks and are designed to prevent solids from leaving the septic tank.

The professionals at FloHawks have experience in everything related to your septic tank system, including cleaning or replacing the septic tank filters. Regular maintenance of your septic system is one of the best investments a homeowner can make in their property. Routine maintenance will save you from the hassle and headaches of expensive emergency repairs. FloHawks has been maintaining septic tanks since 1968. Our trained professionals are ready to help with all of your septic tank needs. Schedule service online or call us today at (800) 356-4295.