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 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!

Make Use of Grease and Cooking Oil and You Won’t Need Sewer Drain Cleaning Quite So Soon

dreamstime_xxl_15189984If you’ve been reading the Garvin’s Sewer Service Clog Blog for any amount of time, you know our disgust for grease. After all, grease that heads down the kitchen sink is one of the main reasons that people need sewer drain cleaning sooner than they normally would. (The oil that some people pour down their toilets during turkey fryer season doesn’t help things, either.)

While grease is obviously a pain for homeowners, you might think that we love grease. After all, grease gets us into people’s home for drain cleaning, and that makes us more money. But we’re not that kind of sewer service. While we’ll be your emergency plumber, we’re also your neighbors and have been for more than 75 years; we’re much more interested in helping you prevent those problems that we can and being there for you in your time of need for unpreventable problems.

But let’s get back to grease. If you’re not sending grease and oil down your drain, what are you doing with it? We’ve given some ideas before, such as waiting for it to cool in the pan and then wiping it off with a paper towel and into the trash. But there are so many uses for grease and oil — some you can do in the home, some industrial — that you might want to reconsider before throwing it away.

Cook With It

The simplest and most common use for kitchen grease is to cook with it. People have been cooking with grease for thousands of years, making foods tastier and finding a use for something that otherwise would have been thrown out.

The downside to cooking with grease is pretty obvious, though…health issues. There are good oils and there are bad oils, and grease is one of those bad oils that will clog up your arteries (and no, your local plumber can’t clean out your arteries with a sewer jetter like we can with your drain pipes). So while lard might liven up those deep-fried french fries every so often, it’s best to not cook with it much.

Recycle It

garvins 2One good thing to do with grease is to recycle it. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy a pouring it into your recycling bin (we repeat: do not do this!). In Boulder county you can drop off grease and cooking oil at the Eco-Cycle Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials at 6400 Arapahoe Rd. (303-444-6634). After Thanksgiving there are often cooking oil drop off locations around Denver.

What About Restaurants?

Restaurants use a lot of cooking oil, and it usually ends up in one of two places. The yellow grease is mostly oil and is captured before it heads down the drains. Grease and oil that does make it into the drain pipes is captured by grease traps, rots, and becomes brown grease. Brown grease is almost always headed directly to the landfill. Yellow grease, on the other hand…

What’s It Made Into?

Depending on the demand, restaurants can pay to have yellow grease taken away or have a company pay them for it. Back when diesel fuel prices were getting to be around $4.00 a gallon, the yellow grease was very valuable because of people making it into biodiesel and driving their cars on it. While that demand has leveled off somewhat, yellow grease is still commonly used in the production of rubber, detergents. soap, and makeup. It is also used to feed livestock.

Grease has many uses, and the last thing you want is to have it clogging up your pipes and causing a demand for premature drain cleaning. Still, no matter how vigilant you are with preventing oils and grease from going down the drain, there will always be a buildup over the years that causes you to call your local plumber. When that time comes, Garvin’s will be there!

Saving You Money On Your Water Bill With Proper Plumbing Services

We’re locally-owned here at Garvin’s, and we like to think of you as our neighbors. Because of that, we want to give you the best possible advice when it comes to saving you money on your water bill. After all, we’re subject to the same water restrictions as you are during Denver droughts, and we want there to be as much water in the lakes and rivers as possible.

So in addition to giving you reasonably-priced plumbing services all along the front range, Garvin’s has some advice on how to save water and/or money in and around your home.

Find Those Leaks

One thing that a local plumbing service can do for you is to fix leaks that pop up. In fact, we wrote an entire blog on how to check for hidden leaks. If you have Garvins 1reason to suspect that there may be hidden leaks in your home, give Garvin’s a call. It can not only save you money on water, but also on the damage that leaks can cause to your ceilings, walls, and floors.

Shower Heads

No one expects you to have water pressure so low that you can’t get all the suds out of your hair, but the fact is that most shower heads in older homes deliver far too much water per minute. A lot of this water simply bounces off of you or misses you entirely, only to head down the drain without doing any good. A low-flow shower head can save you on your monthly water bills.

Low-Flow Toilets

Okay, this subject always opens a can of worms. The fact is, yes, low-flow toilets can make it necessary to flush more times in order to get the solid waste to go away. But when it comes to liquid waste, they’re saving you quite a bit of water. This one is up to you, but we won’t blame you if you don’t want to go with an “ultra-low flow” variety.

Sprinkler Heads

That must have been some sprinkler head...

That must have been some sprinkler head…

There are so many ways that a sprinkler system can waste money. First of all, people often have them set to go off far too often. This actually ends up hurting the grass, because the root system never works to grow deeper. Second, far too many people use the sprinklers during the day, when it’s so warm that most of the water evaporates before it can soak in, or, even worse, before it hits the ground. Set your sprinklers to go off between 4am and 6am. Third, broken sprinkler heads waste gallons of water during every watering, and you might not even know they’re broken if you’re sleeping when the sprinklers go off. Finally, sprinklers are very inefficient. Using a drip irrigation method is a much better choice, because they put the water exactly where it needs to be without sending so much into the air.

Water Heater

Turning down the temperature on your water heater won’t save you money on water, but it will save you money on your gas bill if you have a gas water heater. Getting a water heater cover will also help save money. Even better, it will save your skin from getting scalded if you ever turn the tap too far to the left.

Weekend and Night Plumber

Here’s the way to save money in an emergency: call Garvin’s. Garvin’s is your local plumber who won’t charge you extra for nights and weekends. That will save you a load of cash right there!

Saving water is good for all of us, and good to our neighbors who live downstream. Garvin’s can help you take care of replacing all of your old fixtures to save you more money than ever. Ready to start saving? Contact your local plumbing contractor today!

3 Very Different Times Garvin's Can Be There For Your Plumbing Services Needs

dreamstime_xxl_22002514Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we are full-service plumbing contractors. As our name suggests, we can tackle your sewer cleaning needs with ease, because we have the equipment and the knowhow to tackle any clog you send our way.

But what about plumbing service? Sure, we handle the water going out, but what about all that water coming in? We’re happy to say that Garvin’s is there for you no matter what plumbing problems you’re having, and that doesn’t just mean when you’re having trouble. Here are three ways that Garvin’s can be involved with your home or business.


If you’re having a new home built, Garvin’s can ensure that all your pipes are properly installed. We say “properly” because it’s so incredibly important to make sure that absolutely every pipe is installed at the right angle, every gasket is secured properly, and ever joint is tight. If pipes aren’t properly installed, it can cause problems that show up weeks, months, or years later, well after the pipes are sealed in behind drywall and under flooring. Don’t take the risk of hiring a subpar plumber to take care of your plumbing services; give Garvin’s a call and know that you’ll be getting the best the first time.


Remodels can be tricky, and they often have to be done quickly. Unlike new construction, there’s often someone watching over your shoulder, wondering when you’re going to be done. “Quick, get the pipes in so that we can install the cabinets.” “Faster, we have to put in the countertop!” We completely understand that you have other contractors who are waiting on us during a remodel, so we will make sure to move quickly and efficiently. We’ll also make sure your old piping gets properly disposed of, considering sewer pipes are a bio-hazard.

Basic Repairs

Of course, Garvin’s is there for all of your plumbing repair needs. Basic plumbing services run the gamut from a simple garbage disposal fix to discovering why your water bill doubled last month. We can fix your incoming plumbing (white water) and your outgoing plumbing (black water). If you’re not getting the water pressure you need, it could be a problem with leaky pipes on your end. If you’ve got a clog, we can help determine if it’s in your pipes or if it’s the city’s problem.

Emergency Plumber Repairs

When you’re up to your ankles in water, Garvin’s can help you whether it’s fresh water or sewer water. (Either way, get your ankles out of the water before it rises to electrical outlet levels!) No matter the time of day, Garvins 1no matter the day of the week, no matter what holiday it is, we’re not going to charge you extra in your time of need. We’ll be your emergency plumber to get you stop the water and get it running properly again.

As you can see, Garvin’s is there for you with the sewer and plumbing service that will keep your home running for years to come. When you’re looking for the best, give us a call!

Why You Need A Sump Pump


Garvin's Sewer Service will handle whatever drain cleaning and rooter service you need.There are many people over the years who have thought they didn’t need a sump pump, and the next thing they know they’re throwing out their grandparents’ wedding photos because the paper has become ruined.

So the question becomes, do you need a sump pump? The fact is, more people should have a sump pump than currently do, but they’re simply unaware that a sump pump is a good idea. Here are a few tips on whether or not you might want to invest in a new sump pump, or get sump pump repair on the one you currently have.


If you live on a floodplain, you’ll want a sump pump. The problem is, flood planes don’t look like most people imagine. The words “floodplain” makes most people think about a house that sits right next to the river. Of course that house is going to flood!

But for many houses, it’s the entire neighborhood that’s in danger. There might be city blocks between your house and the river. In fact, there may be many city blocks between you and a small creek or drainage ditch and you’ll still be in the same danger! Too many people don’t even realize the possibility of flooding is there because of the almost non-existent amount of water flowing most of the time. But when a flash flood comes, floodplains are farther-reaching than most residents imagine.

Leaky Basement

If you have a history of a leaky basement, there’s a good chance that you already have a sump pump. But if there’s a dry spell and you don’t think to get your sump pump maintenance taken care of, you could be in big trouble next time there’s a leak in your basement.

Low Spot

Many people don’t realize that they even live in a low spot until the day that there’s water flooding the basement. For instance, if there’s any grade in your yard that’s leaning toward the house, your house is suddenly the low spot! At this point you might start getting water in your window light wells, and as soon as they fill up the basement windows are going to burst and you’re going to have a lot of water in your basement. Let’s hope you have a working sump pump to get the water back outside.


If you have a bathroom in your basement, there’s always the chance that you could get a bad leak or that someone will leave the sink going just before you head off on vacation. Basement bathrooms are nice, but they can lead to troubles if you don’t have a sump pump.


Sprinklers can end up being more trouble than you’d expect. First of all, if the sprinkler head or pipe near the basement light well bursts, it’s unlikely you’ll notice until it’s too late. Also, long term leaks with outdoor faucets can cause your foundation to wear away, causing the leaks into your basement that we mentioned above.

Have Insurance

Garvin’s provides expert sump pump repair. But some jobs are beyond the work of any sump pump, so it’s a good idea to get insurance. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover water-related disasters, so be sure to have a rider.

If you need new sump pump installation or sump pump repair, Garvin’s is ready to take care of it so that your house is protected. Contact us the moment you need help.

Digging Into The Reasons You Might Need Rooter Service in Denver


dreamstime_xxl_28600807While Denver isn’t really the oldest city in the country, it doesn’t exactly mean that our sewer pipes are exactly new. In fact, because the most reliable sewer pipes didn’t come along until around 30 or 40 years ago, Denver will suffer many of the same problems as any other city in the country.

So if you own a business or are renting a building in Denver, there are many reasons why you might need rooter service before you know it.

Old Pipes: Old pipes can be made from many materials, and we wrote an entire blog about the various types of pipe that were used from the lateral line from your business in the public sewers. Old pipes are more likely to leak and break, which could lead to needing more frequent sewer cleaning. If you suspect you might have a break, give us a call and we can send down the sewer camera to find out if you’ll need a replacement or if you simply need more frequent sewer service.

Growing Trees: Let’s say that you’re not in an old part of Denver but are in a relatively new building that has newer sewer pipes. The problem them stems from the rapidly growing trees that have been planted in the last 10 years. Those trees, often planted in sidewalk spaces that are two small for them, are sending their roots down and heading for your sewer lines. Rooter service is the answer when you want to get those roots out.

Excess Use: If you have a restroom that’s open to the public, you’re more likely to be calling us for drain cleaning service. Why? Take a guess! Your toilets will be used more often, people will be using more toilet paper, people will let pieces of paper towels go down the drain, all because they simply aren’t as careful when they’re out in a public place. The fact is, when people are in a public restroom they know that they can just walk away from a problem so they’re much less likely to be careful about what they send down the drain. All this mean more frequent drain cleaning service for you.

If You Own A Restaurant: If you own a restaurant, it’s pretty obvious that you’re going to need more frequent drain cleaning services. That’s because grease is constantly heading down the drain, and grease traps don’t help until after it’s already past your drains. If you have a backup because of having too much grease in your drains, business is going to stop until it’s fixed. The best thing to do is engage Garvin’s Sewer Service for some preventive drain cleaning. We’ll be back at the same time every month (or every two months or however you decided to set it up) so there’s a much less chance of a surprise backup.

Previous Tenants: If you’ve just opened up your new business, congratulations. And while the visible fixtures they left behind might look good, you have no idea of knowing what they sent down the drain when they were in charge of the building. The best thing to do is to play it safe and have Garvin’s stop by to clean out the drains so that nothing they sent down ever comes back up.

There are so many things up against you when you have a business; don’t let your drains be one of the. Contact Garvin’s today for the best sewer drain cleaning you can find.




What Else Are People Saying About Our Sewer and Drain Cleaning Service?

Some time ago we responded to a number of testimonials that we’d received from people in Denver and the surrounding areas. We’re always happy to respond to what people are saying about our drain cleaning service, so let’s take a look at what our customers are saying about Garvin’s.


“Because I know Garvin’s can be trusted to do good work and not try to sell me something that I don’t need, that is why I am a longtime customer.”

— Cindy P, Denver, CO

Thanks for noting that, Cindy. We have the no-frills reputation because the only drain cleaning services we’ll perform are the services that customer actually need! (Strange concept, we know). At the same time, we’re going to let you know if we notice a problem. If you’ve called us to clean out your kitchen sink drains for the second time in as many months and notice a willow tree in your front yard, we’re going to suggest you move beyond typical drain cleaning and invest in some rooter service to get rid of those willow roots (which are some of the worst roots to get in your sewer drain).


“Honest, friendly service each and every time. [W]e use your company for the last 10 years.”

— Joe S, Boulder, CO

After having been in the drain cleaning service business for over 75 years, we’re happy to say that Joe is one of our newer customers! We have customers who have been coming to us for 20, 30, 40, and even 50 years. We don’t always have the same technicians over the decades, but we always make sure to hire the best, most honest, and friendliest experts so that we can maintain our stellar reputation in the Denver area. And speaking of friendly workers…


“I recommend you to my friends! Romie was helpful, solved our problem and even came on a Sunday morning! Good job!”

— Tom A, Thornton, CO

It takes a certain kind of friendly technician to be that helpful on a Sunday morning, doesn’t it? Tom points out something that’s true of all businesses: how important work of mouth is to the survival of a company. So keep telling your friends, Tom!


“On a scale of 1-10, I give you a 10. You came when I called. You did a good job. You cleaned up your mess. Your techs are friendly and personable. Thanks!”

— Mrs. Straley, Denver, CO

Well, we can’t ask for much more than a 10, can we? We came when you called (which is why so many people name their dogs “Garvin’s Sewer Service”!). We did a good job (we’d be worried that she didn’t say “great job” but we already got the 10, so we’re good with good), we cleaned up (when dealing with sewer cleaning, it’s a must!). All that and we were personable and friendly. With so many people mentioning that part of their experience with us, it’s pretty obvious that we’re doing something right in the hiring process!

One more thing we’d like to point out: our clients aren’t just from Denver, but from all along the front range. We handle customers from Denver, sure, but also from Boulder, Longmont, Thornton, Westminster, Aurora, Arvada, and every other city and suburb around. We’ve been serving up the best in drain cleaning services for decades and look forward to serving the front range for many more to come. Contact us when you want the best sewer drain cleaning around!




5 Silly Things You Shouldn’t Do With Your Grease


"Mmmmm, catalyst for the requirement of unnecessary drain cleaning service." — Homer Simpson

“Mmmmm, catalyst for the requirement of unnecessary drain cleaning service.” — Homer Simpson

Okay, so you’ve just cooked a roast in the crockpot or cooked up a yummy batch of bacon. The bacon grease is pretty obvious, as it sloshes around the pan. The roast is a little bit less so, because you’re thinking “should I make gravy from it?” (Nobody ever makes gravy from bacon grease. And I’m thinking that’s a million dollar idea.)

So, what are you going to do with all that oil and grease? What would a drain cleaning company do with it? When it cools, are you going to throw it in the trash? That’s probably a good idea. Here are a few things you should not do with your grease.

Grease The Hinges: Got a squeaky door? Your bicycle gears not tripping properly? Well, the former will cause your hinges to starting stinking up the house as the grease goes rancid. The latter will cause you to be chased by every dog in the neighborhood because your gears smell so tasty!

Make A Grease Sculpture: It’s malleable. It’s easy to work with. It smells good while you’re using it. People use food for art all the time, just check Google for cheese sculptures! So why not use grease? Because it’s disgusting, that’s why!

Use It As a Hand Cream: Open up your typical hand cream (as opposed to a hand lotion) and most of it looks like cooking grease. In fact, a lot of it feels the same as well. So what’s wrong with using it as a hand cream? Well, it’s going to take forever to get off your hands, and in the meantime you’re going to be greasing up your books, computer mouse, faucet, car keys, and absolutely everything else you touch.

Use It As Perfume: Bacon perfume? This might not be such a bad idea, depending on what kind of person you’re trying to attract!

Pour It Down The Drain: Aw, c’mon, you knew this one was coming! Why else would a drain cleaning service write this blog other than to tell you that sending your grease down the drain is just as silly as the other reasons mentioned here. Not only is it silly, it can also be damaging to your sewer system and cause you to need premature sewer cleaning. So just don’t do it!

What Affects Sewer Line Replacement Costs?


sewer repair_ctaWe talked in our last blog about the different options you might have when you need sewer line replacement. If you can’t take advantage of a less invasive service such as sewer bursting or sewer lining, you might need sewer line replacement. Of course, the first step to finding out if you need sewer line replacement is to get a third-party opinion to verify that you need a replacement in the first place. Garvin’s will send down the sewer camera to give you our professional opinion so that you have the best options available to you.

Now you might wonder why Garvin’s Sewer Service is spending so much time talking about sewer line replacement, when what we really focus on is drain cleaning and sewer cleaning. Well, what it comes down to is our interest in the community; you’re our neighbors, and we don’t want you having to pay $15,000 when a $500 fix will do. We also don’t want your yard to go through a catastrophic event if it doesn’t need to. On top of that, we’re interested in helping our colleagues in the sewer line replacement business keep their industry’s good name as clean as possible, because less than reputable sewer line replacement companies have fooled too many people into getting new sewer lines they didn’t need.

Who You Go With: We recently replaced a door handle on one of our vans. The first bid came in at $268 dollars. It seemed a little steep, so we decided to try someone else. That one came in at $220. We could have stopped there, but we tried one more place. $110. We went with this last one, and because of some work they had originally bid for didn’t need to be done, the total bill was $96.

Now these were all reputable body shops in the area, according to internet research and Angie’s List. But different companies have different needs, suppliers, rent costs, and attitudes about how they want to be perceived in the community.

All this to say you might get wildly varying bids from sewer replacement companies. Check around, make sure they’re reputable, ask us…you might be surprised at the difference in bids.

Distance From the Street: If you live in a modern neighborhood, there’s a good chance that you have a small front yard and that the amount of sewer line you’re responsible for from your house to the public sewer line is a fairly short distance. If this isn’t the case and the distance is greater there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying more. A longer distance means more pipe, more trenching, and more time removing the old pipe.

Tree removal: In the unfortunate instance that you need a tree removed, you’ll incur that cost as well. It might be a service offered by the sewer replacement company or it might be something you’ll need to contact a landscaping company about. And speaking of a landscape company…

Lawn Repair: Sewer line replacement destroys your lawn, from the trenching and from the treads of the trencher itself compacting your dirt. Some people are content to just throw some grass seed on top of the trenching line, while others will want to match the grass color and texture exactly. Settling of the trenching line might give you a low spot, or a high spot might need to be flattened.

But the Biggest Determiner of Price Is…: whether you need sewer replacement at all! We’ll reiterate it: it’s important to get a third-party’s sewer camera down there to help you determine the best course of action. That’s where Garvin’s Sewer Service comes in.

Getting your sewer line replaced is a huge operation. But when it’s over you may never need sewer cleaning again. In fact, because the PVC and ABS pipe used today will last right next to forever, it’s (almost) certain you won’t need to have pipe replaced again (barring the biggest earthquake Colorado’s ever seen.)

We hope you don’t need a full sewer line replacement. If you think you do, give Garvin’s a call and our sewer scope can help you decide on our best option.