4 Reasons to Call an Emergency Plumber

Emergency plumber needed! That is never something we want to encounter, but it is part of homeownership at some point. While there is never a good time for a plumbing emergency, there are certain ones that need to be handled immediately. Letting a drip continue can lead to erosion, hidden and visual damages and even mold issues. Allowing sewage to sit can create a serious health hazard.

There are also plumbing issues many homeowners feel they can handle on their own, and some can. It is important to know, however, that many plumbing issues require higher education, permits and licensing and therefore should be handled by a plumbing professional.

Sewer Line Back Ups- Call an Emergency Plumber ASAP

While clearing a sewer line back up could be handled by a homeowner we don’t suggest it. Drain cleaning machines can be rented at some hardware stores but without proper training can be dangerous to the operator. Sharp blades and tightly wound cable can cause lacerations, bruising and muscle tears very easily. Any time a person is working with both water and electricity, precautions must be taken, and is best left to plumbing professionals.

With sewer lines, you will also be dealing with fecal matter and waste that could be dangerous if not handled properly. It is messy, stinky and doing it wrong is a disaster. Professional drain cleaners perform over 30 drain cleanings a week making them faster, more efficient, and more skilled than a homeowner with little to no training or experience.

Emergency Plumbing Issue 2: Sink Clogs

Again, homeowners do attempt to tackle sink clogs on their own. This is ok if done correctly. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners as they are extremely dangerous. Not only could they harm you, your children, and pets if handled incorrectly, if they don’t clear the drain and you or an emergency plumber attempts to use a machine, the splash back could cause eye and skin irritation requiring medical attention.

If you choose to clear a sink clog on your own, disassemble the p-trap and manually clear it with a grabbing tool. Be sure to properly re-assemble any pipes to prevent leaking and damage that would cause.

Emergency Plumber Concern 3: Leaks

If you are seeing visual water damage, it is very likely there is additional damage that is unseen. Water damage can cause a host of other problems, including mold, which can turn into a huge, expensive cleaning and restoration project if not handled quickly. Turn off your water to the area if possible. This video shows you how: https://youtu.be/TPWTjB6GvOs

Broken Lines/ Burst Pipes- Call an Emergency Plumber ASAP!

A leak will likely be a small issue that can become large, while a broken line is a big problem that can get out of control if not addressed immediately. Turn off any water supply to the area and dry up anything you can. Contact an emergency plumber right away. Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable with the plumber, or the price, you can get a second opinion. Even paying a small service charge fee is worth the additional money you can save from getting a second or even third bid.

Reputable plumbers will put the quote in writing. Clarify what is included and excluded in the bid and don’t be shy about asking questions.

 

Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver and Boulder’s Emergency Plumber needs since 1940. Call now- yes, 24/7/365 – any time, any day, if we can help you.

7 Tips to Reduce Clogs in Your Low Flush Toilet

Recently, in our blog titled: Your Low Flush Toilet Isn’t Really Saving Water. Here’s why”, we talked about the scientific reasons why low flush toilets clog more often than their water guzzling counterparts. Knowing this reason, however, doesn’t make those endless fights with your low flush toilet any less frustrating. So, we decided to offer up 7 tips to help you reduce clogs in your low flush toilet.toilet clogs

Say No to Ultra

While you may really enjoy the extra fluffy ultra-style toilet papers, they absorb more water than regular ones. This, combined with the limited water the low flush toilet is producing, means more likely clogs. Super absorbent tissue plus limited water means it is absorbing and sitting, rather than moving through as it should. Change your toilet paper, reduce clogs.

Run More Water

If your entire home is full of water saving devices, and your sewer line hasn’t been adjusted to deal with the appropriate float level, you will actually have to waste water sometimes in order to keep the system moving. I know, ironic. Run an empty load of laundry, or run the hose into a floor drain to allow more water into the system to get the “float level” back up to push debris through the drain lines.

Force a Flush

Another way to get more water into your drain system is to force a large flush. To do this, you can fill a large bucket with water and pour it into the toilet. This will cause the toilet to manually flush and push the water through the stub and trap under it to clear it of any resting debris. NOTE: DON’T do this if you suspect a clog, as it could cause the toilet to overflow. Use a plunger instead.

Flush More

Again, flushing more often seems like it defeats the point of a low flush toilet, but remember, it is a design flaw only in homes where the sewer line wasn’t set up to manage lower water levels. Because most homes were built to last a very long time, retrofitting new water saving devices onto older drain systems is a norm. New homes built with sustainability and water conservation in mind will likely have less issues. So, flush more frequently to reduce clogs.

Don’t Allow Extras

Anything extra absorbent, heavy, or that doesn’t break down easily, will become a culprit for causing clogs. Either they themselves will create a blockage, or they will collect debris and build into a clog. The most common problem items are: wipes, tampons, and paper towels. Don’t let your guests or your family flush these items if you have a low flush toilet. Use the trash can with a lid instead.

Conduct Preventative Cleanings

Scheduling a regular preventative maintenance sewer or drain cleaning can help reduce clogs by pushing additional debris through the line. Consider a cleaning every 6 months. Ask for discounts for regular service to keep your system from backing up due to clogs that keep building.

Keep a Plunger Handy

Whether you have a low flush toilet or not, we always recommend having a plunger in every bathroom. This will help prevent embarrassing guest issues, especially when they haven’t followed the above rules. A plunger should be designed to fit your toilet and create enough pressure to push through any clog.

Experiencing frequent toilet clogs? Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver area homeowner’s drain and sewer needs for over 75 years. Give us a call today and get unclogged.

Your Low Flush Toilet Isn’t Really Saving Water. Here’s why.

If you have a low flush toilet, whether at home or at work, you probably are frustrated by how often it seems to clog or cause back-ups. And there is actually a scientific reason why. I have two visual examples to help you understand. The first, I call The Drip.

The Drip

low flush toilet clog

Items needed: A straw with a wrapper and a glass of water.

Get a straw from a commercial establishment- the ones with a paper wrapper. Remove the paper wrapper and form it into a ball and set it on the table. Fill the straw with water, keeping your finger over one end to hold it in place. Hold the straw over the wrapper and let the water drip onto the wrapper. The paper wad will become wet, but likely won’t move.

Refill the straw with water and instead of letting it drip, let all the water go at once. The paper wad will likely move from the place it was sitting.

In this example, the wad of paper represents toilet paper in your sewer line. The dripping water represents a low flush toilet. The amount of water is just too low to move the paper. When the straw is fully emptied, then the paper is able to move. This brings us to metaphor two: The Ocean.

The Ocean

sewer float line

(c) National Geographic

Have you ever been to the ocean and watched the waves sneak up the shore? The water ebbs and flows. Have you noticed how the tide carries debris and deposits it on the sand? The items float in the water and then catch on the sand and are left behind. This is also true in your sewer line. When you flush your toilet, the debris rides the water down the drain and are deposited at the end of the tide.

Your sewer system is built somewhat like an ocean. It is made to allow water to flow out of your house using a “float level”. In a 2” pipe, the water carries out all the debris. It then opens into a 3” pipe and then a 4” pipe. This thins the water level, allowing debris to settle. Most residential sewer lines run from the house about 70-110’ out of your house to the main city sewer lines.

However, in a low flush toilet, this “tide” may only deposit the debris 20 feet out. This can cause serious problems because that deposit can now catch other debris and build up in the line, rather than being pushed through to the city sewer main. Sewer lines are designed for 5 gallon tanks, so with the new water conserving toilets and sinks, less water is going into the drain system. In most cases that means half the water is entering, but the outside sewer line wasn’t adjusted to allow for a proper float level. And, that is why your low flush toilet clogs or causes back-ups.

The great irony here is that in order to clear your line, you need a ton of water. But, we also have a few other tips you can implement to help you prevent your low flush toilet from clogging, in the blog titled: 7 Tips to Reduce Clogs in Your Low Flush Toilet.

 

Having a problem with toilet clogs? Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver area homeowner’s drain and sewer needs for over 75 years. Give us a call today and get unclogged.

What Is Limescale, And Does It Affect Plumbing?

fb-limeWant to see something really cool and really scary? Click this link.

Okay, are you back? That was limescale, and the scary part is it’s hard to tell where the pipe ends and the limescale beings. The limescale in that photo has built up over many years and, as you can probably guess, is seriously preventing the water from flowing as it should.

What is limescale? Does it affect plumbing in Denver? Can it really be that bad? Let’s take look.

What Is It?

Limescale is a solid deposit that is found when hard water evaporates, leaving behind the minerals. These naturally-occurring minerals and compounds are mostly calcium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and magnesium.

Is Denver’s Water Hard or Soft?

Rainwater is naturally soft and contains no minerals, so you might think that as close as we are to the source of the country’s water that our water would be naturally soft. But you also have to remember that our relatively shallow rivers are fast-moving; more of the water touches the rocks and wears it away. That means that Denver’s water tends toward the hard side; in fact, it’s slightly harder in winter. Because of this, Denver’s water tends to form limescale.

side-limeWhere Does It Cause the Biggest Problems?

Limescale can cover the inside of pipes, making it harder for water for pass through them. (Click on that link above again…the pipe is now half the size it once was.) It can also cause scale to form in toilets, which doesn’t cause problems but can be unsightly.

Another problem that limescale causes is in reducing the efficiency of hot water heaters. The water heater will bring in water, and the limescale settles to the bottom. After many years, a substantial part of the bottom of the hot water heater can become filled with this sediment.

And Yet It Can Be Beneficial

In our previous blog we told you all about the dangers of having lead service pipes heading into your home. Interestingly enough, a home with lead pipes can have its water tested and come up completely lead-free. How is this possible? Because over the decades limescale can actually coat the inside of the lead pipes, preventing any of the water from touching the lead! While this makes for less efficient pipes, it does prevent the homeowners from drinking contaminated water.

How Do You Get Rid of It

There are ways to remove limescale from just about any surface, including the inside of a hot water heater. These solutions are often incredibly acidic and harmful to human skin and eyes, so they should be used with caution and only by a professional. An example of such a limescale-destroying chemical is hydrochloric acid, which reduces the scale to carbon dioxide and salt.

The Denver area might not have the hardest water, but it is on the hard side. How much do you have to worry about limescale? Much of it has to do with the age of the pipes in your home. If you have concerns, contact your local plumber and we can take a look.

 

 

 

Should You Consider Having a Plumber Install A Home Water Filtration System?

fb-safepipesWith the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan, regarding the high levels of toxins in their water supply, more citizens have been paying closer attention to the water supply here in Denver and all along the front range. People have been asking plumbers if installing a permanent water filter in their homes is a good idea. Well, the answer comes down to a very definite maybe/maybe not! Let’s take a look at where the water around here comes from and what could make it less than desirable.

Where’s The Water Coming From?

A few months back we wrote a blog about where Denver’s water comes from, but we’ll let denverwater.org sum it up. “Denver Water’s drinking water sources are the South Platte River and its tributaries, the streams that feed Dillon Reservoir, and the creeks and canals above the Fraser River.” All of those rivers are fed by snowmelt and supplemented by mountain storms.

Is There Anything To Be Worried About?

In short, no, but keep reading. Denver’s water turns out to be naturally clean, and the public water service’s test for microbial, chemical, and metallic contaminants all fall within allowed ranges. You might have found a booklet in your mailbox detailing this information, but if you pitched it please enjoy this .pdf from denverwater.org. Click to page 7 and you’ll see that there are no violations in the safe levels of pathogens in the water.

When it comes to lead, our mountain water is lead-free and leaves the water treatment plant lead-free. It’s those last 30 feet that can be a problem…

What About The Pipes Leading to My House?

Flint, Michigan’s main contaminant was lead. During the early part of the 20th century, lead pipes (and pipes soldered together with lead) were used to transport water from the treatment plant and into people’s homes. Lead can leach out into the freshwater, and certain other contaminants can make it leach out even faster. While the idea of using lead pipes seems insane today, the dangers of lead weren’t known as well back then.

Up until the 1950s, lead was also used in some Denver water pipes. Though the city pipes have since been replaced, there’s no way of knowing which home building contractors were using them when they constructed new neighborhoods. If your house was built during the 1950s and before, there is a chance that you still have lead freshwater pipes. We’d recommend having your water tested if you live in an older house. The good news? You can get a free lead test from your Denver water supplier here.

What If I’m Not On A Public Source?

Things can certainly change for those who are not on public water supplies. If you are using well water, the amount of water quality variation can be considerable from well to well. This depends on depth of the well, proximity to farmland and the chemicals in use, and many other factors. In Colorado, in-house water filtration is most often used by those on well water systems; your local plumber will be more than happy to help you install a water filtration system.


side-safepipesSo, Should I Invest in Water Filtration?

After all that information, you have to ask the question: should I invest in water filtration? Like we said before, the answer is a definite “maybe.” Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons homeowners have a plumber install a permanent water filtration system.

If You Suspect Lead – If you suspect lead, click that link on the free lead test from above. Simply having your service lines replaced won’t do any good if the lines supplying your neighborhood aren’t also replaced. Doing so could take years; installing a water filtration system will help protect you from lead.

If You Get Your Water From A Well – Unless you grew up drinking well water, it probably tastes bad to you. It will be worth it even if the only benefit of the water filtration system is that it helps you drink more water. Of course, you’ll also have the added benefit of filtering out heavy metals and pesticides, so having a water filtration system installed is nearly always worth it.

Discoloration – Does your water ever take on weird colors, even temporarily? If so, you most certainly need a water filtration system. The discoloration you see could be any number of things, including rust. (While you need iron in your diet, you most certainly don’t need rust!) Get that out of there with water filtration.

Foul Smell Or Taste Similarly, your water shouldn’t smell or taste funny. We have excellent source water and a very good water treatment plant, so if there’s something wrong with your water, the problem is probably closer than you think.

If You’ll Only Accept the Absolute Cleanest Water Denver’s water is pretty clean, but is it 100% contaminant free? No. The chances of it hurting you are astronomically low, but just because it passes government muster doesn’t mean that there’s no chance. If you’re the type of person who buys pesticide-free, non-GMO food, then perhaps that one extra step of filtering your water will put your mind further at ease.

The fact is, Denver’s water is pretty clean. But there are certain times when households might want that extra level of water filtration. A local plumber can help you install one that will put your mind at ease. Contact Garvin’s and we can help!

Happy New Years! Make a Resolution To Take Care of Your Plumbing

side-image_sinks

On behalf of Garvin’s Sewer Service, we’d like to wish you a happy and healthy new year! 2017 will make the 77th year that Garvin’s has been serving the people of Denver and all along the Front Range. We started with rooter service back in the days of less-than-awesome public plumbing, continued with excellent drain cleaning, and then continued our growth with full plumbing services.

As we’ve done for the past seven decades, Garvin’s has resolved to take care of the people of the Front Range when it comes to their plumbing and sewer problems. But we’re also dedicated to helping our neighbors avoid problematic plumbing as much as possible. That’s where this blog comes in, helping you make the best decision when it comes to your freshwater and wastewater. Let’s take a look at some simple resolutions that can make your life easier in 2017.

Compost!

Strangely, composting is one of the most effective ways to take care of your drains and prevent the need for constant drain cleaning. The fact is, garbage disposals are best for incidental food particles that fall down the drain, but there are many food items that aren’t meant to be ground up. The most common offenders are potato peels, mango peels, and other fibrous materials that the disposal simply wasn’t designed to handle. (If you don’t believe us, read your manual. Most say that you shouldn’t try to grind these.)

What should you do with all of these peels? Compost them! Composting cuts down on what goes to the landfill, and it’s a great way to get nutrient-rich dirt for free. Trust us, it’s a great way to get rid of your peels, and if you have kids it makes a great learning experience.

side-thinsinkBe Aware of Warning Signs

If you’ve lived in your house for any length of time, you’ll probably notice when something starts to change. Years ago the water in the kitchen sink drained in a minutes, and now it takes three. Toilets never clogged before, but now you’re having to use the plunger three times a week. Cleaning hair from the first foot of the shower drain simply isn’t fixing the problem like it once did. When you notice that the efficiency of your fixtures is slowly going downhill, maybe it’s time to call a drain cleaning service and have them send everything on its way.

If you’ve just moved into a house, you might not be aware what to look for. After all, you might blame the clogged toilets on the toilet design; maybe you got one of those inefficient low-flow toilets from 1995. But if the house you just moved into is newer than that, it could be that the previous owners simply abused the drain systems more than they should have. And if your house is old and predates the use of PVC (before the 1960s) there’s a good chance that any house-wide problem mean that the iron pipes have given out. Give us a call and we can perform sewer cleaning as well as using a sewer camera to perform a sewer inspection.

Keep That Grease Out Of The Drains

Ah, c’mon, you knew this one was coming. We harp on it quite a bit, but that’s only because we want to deal with the sewer cleaning problems you can’t avoid. This is one you can deal with preventatively. Bacon grease is one of the most obvious offenders, and all you have to do is toss it into the trash instead. Oil is another, because, as slick as it is when it heads down the drain, it can solidify when it hits cold pipes. Do that enough times and you’ll need drain cleaning, or even more involved sewer cleaning. Most people swear they’ll change their habits in the future, but they fall away like so many New Year’s resolutions. Make this the year that you treat your drains better!

Give us a call when you’re having trouble with your sewer system, but we also want to help you prevent some problems that are easy to avoid. Make a New Year’s resolution to take better care of your plumbing, and at the same time you’re taking better care of your home as a whole.

 

 

 

What is PVC, and Why Is It So Amazing?

fb-pvcAbout a year ago we wrote a blog about the many materials that have been used over the years as sewer pipes. The most common types of materials that have been used through the ages are clay, concrete, Orangeburg (wood pulp and tar), transite (concrete and…gulp…asbestos), and cast iron. Each of these had their place in the world during the time they were used, and there’s no doubt that you’ll still see some of them in use for larger projects; we often drive by large-scale plumbing projects with huge concrete sewer pipes.

When it comes to home pipes, almost all wastewater plumbing pipes are made from plastic. And while plastics often get a bad reputation because of the amount that we use once and throw away (water bottles, for example), plastics have amazing properties that make them the ideal choice for certain applications in plumbing. PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is the third most widely used plastic in the world. You might touch it when you push on your home’s screen door, use it when you swipe your bank card, or cut through it when you destroy the packing on a new toy.

Why use PVC? Let’s take a look a the advantages of PVC pipes as it’s used in household plumbing.

It’s Flexible

The types of PVC used in sewer applications is often called RPVC, with the “r” meaning “rigid.” So when we say that PVC pipes are rigid, they are indeed solid and won’t bend when you pick one up. But they are somewhat flexible when they are underground. This is important when soil is placed above a sewer line, allowing the pipe to bend a little in circumstances where concrete pipes might break. It’s also important that they’re slightly flexible as the ground settles and shifts over the years, or as tree roots try to push them out of the way.

It’s Lightweight

Another great advantage of PVC pipe is how light it is. This means it takes fewer workers to install PVC pipes. A single worker can carry a long length of PVC pipe, while it might take many workers and heavy machinery to get steel or concrete pipes into place. There’s also less fuel used to transport lightweight PVC pipes when compared to other types of materials.

It Lasts

The fact that plastic sticks around for thousands of years can be bad for the world. After all, the future doesn’t need billions of straws to deal with. But when it comes to your plumbing, you want it to last as long as possible. Metal pipes will rust, concrete pipes can give out under shifting soils, and the less said about the longevity of Orangeburg, the better! PVC won’t rot or disintegrate, and even the most ardent environmentalist should be pretty happy that the PVC pipes stand up to the rigors of sewage so that the tree in their front yard doesn’t have to be ripped up during sewer pipe replacement!

side-pvcIt’s Watertight At Joints

What’s one thing you don’t want in your plumbing system? Leaks. Push two pieces of PVC together and they form a tight bond. Put some plastic cement at the point of contact and they become more watertight than any other type of pipe.

It’s Smooth Inside

You want your water to enter you house and leave your house as quickly as possible. You also want everything else you send down to have a fast trip out of your life…toilet paper and human waste, for example. PVC is the smoothest of pipes, allowing everything to move freely on its way. If a clog can’t get started, it can’t grab other detritus and cause the need for drain cleaning.

It’s Non-Toxic

PVC is the most researched plastic in the world, and is found to be non-toxic. And considering that it’s mostly used for wastewater that you have no contact with, it’s really not an issue anyway.

Making Joints Is Easier

If you’ve ever done any pipe fitting with metal, you know how difficult even the most simple joint can be. If you’re not a master with solder, it can lead to big messes and even injuries. PVC joints are considerably less labor intensive; it’s easy to cut and easy to join. Under-sink pipes are easier to assemble (and disassemble, in the case of drain cleaning) than ever before.

While it would be great if the world would use less of some types of plastic, it’s pretty obvious that some plastics serve a purpose that’s hard to rival. PVC has been used for sewer purposes for more than 50 years here in Denver, and Garvin’s Sewer Service has been cleaning them for just as long. While the problems are few, every sewer system is going to have the occasional hiccup. When this happens, give Garvin’s a call!

 

 

Some Common Questions We Get When Performing Drain Cleaning Services

fb-drainWhile we work with our hands all days long, we also work with people. That’s why we spend so much time hiring the right plumbers and training them on how to best enter a person’s home and interact with our wonderful customers.

One aspect of dealing with customers is answering their questions. While some people will often show us the sink that’s having problems and walk away, other will be asking questions all the time. While we do have to concentrate on the job at hand, we certainly don’t mind the occasional question. After all, it’s your home and your pipes; you have a right to know what’s wrong with them! Here are some common questions we get from customers.

Customer: “Could you wear booties?”

We understand that your home is important to you, and just because you’re having plumbing problems doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped caring about your carpet. Garvin’s trucks have a supply of slip-over covers that go over our boots, which are especially handy during the wet seasons like winter and spring.

Customer: “What do you need to know?”

Some customers won’t even wait for us to ask about the problem. They’ll get things started off with a question of their own, asking us if there’s anything that we should know. How do we answer them? With questions of our own.

  • When did the problem start?
  • Did anything cause the problem to start? For example, did something go down the drain that you weren’t expecting?
  • Did you already try to fix it yourself in any way?
  • Are there any drain cleaners that could still be lurking in the clogged drain?
  • Are all of these outlets working? (We may have to plug in the drain snake.)
  • When was the last time you had any plumbing services performed?

side-thindrainCustomer: “Are you licensed? Insured? Bonded?”

All of these are very good questions to ask plumbers. We’re happy to say that every plumber that Garvin’s employs is licensed, and each is insured and bonded through Garvin’s.

Customer: “How much is this going to cost me?”

Honesty, we don’t know yet. It might simply be the cost of a service call. It could be more if we have to perform drain cleaning. If the problem isn’t just a single drain running slow, it could be that your main sewer pipe is blocked. If it is, the cost is obviously going to cost more than if we are simply clearing out one stopped drain.

Customer: “How long do you think this will take?”

Once again, we’re not sure until we take a look at the problem. A simple drain cleaning for one fixture could take as little as 30 minutes, but that will increase if the problem is worse. During emergency plumbing services, such as a backed up sewer or burst pipe, it could take many hours. We certainly don’t want to rush things and miss a problem that we could take care of now. After all, paying for one service call is always better than paying for two!

Customer: “Can You Tell When It Punches Through?”

Many customers have already tried to fix the problem themselves and are unable to do so. Maybe they had a 20-foot manual sewer snake and weren’t able to dislodge the problem in their kitchen sink. So if they’ve already fought that drain dragon, they might imagine something as hard as stone blocking the passage of their water.

To tell the truth, the answer most often is “no, we can’t tell when the drain snake punches through.” For indoor drain cleaning, we’re most often using an electric power drain snake that is incredibly powerful. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it punches through the drain clog and keeps on going. While we might be able to feel the twists and turns in the pipes, it’s unlikely we can feel the break in the clog. After we send the snake down the proper distance, we’ll pull it back, hook everything back up, and send down a sinkful of water. Clog gone, problem solved! (Performing rooter service on the main sewer line can be a different story. As powerful as our electric snakes are, roots can be very tightly packed, and clogs filled with the weird stuff people flush can be very tough. Sometimes we can really feel the sewer snake working on those!)

Customer: “Can I help?”

Once you engage our help, your problem is now our problem. While we might have some questions for you, it’s best if you simply let us do our jobs. For insurance reasons, we’ll take it from here!

If we’re performing drain cleaning for you, we have no problem with you asking us what’s going on. We have no problems talking about our jobs. Do you have any questions about these questions? Contact Garvin’s right here!

 

 

 

How To Prevent Drain Cleaning On Thanksgiving

thanksgivingThanksgiving is here once again, and that means food, family, and friends. If you’re hosting, it also means a large number of people in your home that might not know the rules about how to treat your plumbing. That means there might be trouble in your future, and while we’re here to help if something goes wrong, we’d rather give you some advice so that the relaxing holiday isn’t ruined. Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make during Thanksgiving.

Pouring Oil Down the Drain

In the last five years deep frying a turkey has really taken off. We have to admit that it tastes great when done right, but it’s dangerous and it leaves a huge amount of oil that you need to discard. What do you do with that oil?

Some people pour it down the sink or toilet. Don’t be those people. The oil will cool in your drain (it is November, after all) and harden, causing problems that could show up immediately. This single act could cause you to need emergency drain cleaning. It’s also a huge problem for the public sewer system and the water treatment plant.

What should you do with it? A quick Google search reveals free drop off locations for the oil so that it can turned into biofuel. Easy as pie. Mmmm, pie.

Starchy and Fibrous Foods

Garbage disposals are something of a misnomer. While “garbage” might be in their name, you’re certainly not putting tissues, used markers, and Snickers wrappers into them, are you? But garbage disposals aren’t even meant for all foods. Truth be told, they should be called “Occasional Soft Food Scraps Disposals.”

Some of the biggest threats to garbage disposal are foods that are either fibrous, starchy, or both. These include celery, asparagus, and all forms of potato peels. At that point you garbage disposal might be broken, and your drain could be clogged. Time to call a plumber for professional drain cleaning.

Oh, and avoid putting anything from a pumpkin (that one you used to make pie. Mmmmm, pie.) down the drain or garbage disposal at all costs. Here’s an entire blog on why pumpkins are so bad on your plumbing.

Absorbent Foods

While you’re probably not making a whole lot of rice and pasta for Thanksgiving, there are still absorbent materials that you might want to avoid putting down the drain or disposal. Chances are you’re having stuffing, which can expand to twice its size when put down the drain. We’d suggest running the garbage disposal immediately after putting any bread product into it.

Bones

Bones are one of those iffy parts of owning a garbage disposal. Some disposals say they handle chicken bones, but is it really necessary? What are the largest of the turkey bones that it can handle this Thanksgiving? You kind of have to ask yourself if it’s worth the chance of breaking your garbage disposal and getting those hard bits stuck in your drain. Using the trash can makes the most sense.

We hope you have a great Thanksgiving and hope you have no need of an emergency plumber! But if something goes wrong, please give us a call. We’re there for you every day of the year.

 

Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running

An overlooked aspect of healthy plumbing and drains is your garbage disposal. When food and other miscellaneous items don’t pass through a garbage disposal properly, the entirety of your kitchen sink plumbing can go down the drain pretty quickly (we’re sorry). We have some tips to help you keep your garbage disposal in running order. garbage-disposal

Use Cold Water When Running the Disposal

Cold water, not hot, will help you when using your garbage disposal. Hot water has several negative effects on a disposal, which includes the potential of overheating or allowing things like grease to continue to spread throughout the inside of your disposal. Instead, cold water will help food items remain in a solid state so it can be broken up by the blades with minimal resistance.

Avoid Fibrous Foods

Corn husks, banana peels, celery and other fibrous foods are the things you should avoid putting down the drain. When these and similar stringy foods are placed in your disposal, they are shredded and instead of being pushed through, they wrap around the blades. This buildup will also cause the line to become clogged and make your drain nearly useless.

Use Ice Cubes to Sharpen the Blades

Just like a knife, the blades in your garbage disposal need to stay sharp in order to remain effective. There are numerous solutions for this out there, such using egg shells. However, the inner membrane of the egg shell can cause the same problem of wrapping around the blades as things like corn husks and other fibrous foods. Instead, grinding ice cubes and even a bit of rock salt in your disposal will help sharpen the edges and, because the ice will melt, there is no fear of it clogging the line and becoming counterproductive.

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent drain clogging, garbage disposal issues, and other plumbing problems in your home. If these things do arise, Garvin’s Sewer Service is here to help you with 75 years of plumbing and sewer expertise. Give us a call or fill out our free quote form today!