5 Toilet Troubles and Their Fixes

5 Toilet Troubles and Their Fixes

Last week we received a few calls about toilet troubles, and I wanted to address some of them here for all of you wondering why you are struggling with recurring issues. There are five toilet troubles, in general, and knowing the culprit will have you clearing up the issue quickly.

Toilet Problem 1: Water won’t go down

If when you flush the water just comes up and then slowly drains back down over some time, you may have a partial clog in the line. Try using a plunger, and if that doesn’t work, give a plumber a call to clear the line further down.

Toilet Problem 2: Toilet backs up frequently

If you notice that you are having to plunge your toilet often, or that the toilet gets clogged frequently, this may be an issue of too much toilet paper. Or, it could be caused by the toilet paper being too thick and not flushing or breaking down well enough to move through the system.

Try using a non-plush style of toilet paper. This is especially true if you also have a low flush toilet. You may also want to try flushing more frequently to help push paper and waste through the line.

Toilet Problem 3: The toilet doesn’t flush everything through/ has a weak flush

If the toilet doesn’t seem to be flushing strong enough to push everything through, it is possible that the inner toilet “guts” aren’t functioning properly. A plumber can come and test the toilet to see what the problem is and make suggestions on a repair or replacement.

Toilet Problem 4: Toilet is wobbling or sits funny

If when you sit down on the toilet, you notice it wobble or is misaligned, it is a fairly easy fix. A plumber or handyman can usually pull up the toilet, readjust it, add a wax ring to help the wobble. Sometimes, however, when the toilet is pulled up, the flooring underneath can have water damage or rot. This may require additional repairs – but it’s a good thing you caught it before it became too dangerous!

Toilet Problem 5: Toilet is leaking

If you notice extra moisture or even puddles of water around the toilet base or tank base, you will want to have that looked at by a plumber to determine where the leak is coming from. You could have a leak in one of the water supply lines, a tank gasket, or in the toilet stub where it connects to the floor. Your plumber can test for a leak and make the suggested repairs quick and easy.

Another note about toilet replacement or repair:

It isn’t necessarily a problem, so I didn’t want to include it in the above list, but sometimes there is a desire to update a toilet. It may be a color, age, or style that no longer has aesthetic appeal, or it could be that a taller, easier-to-use- toilet style is a better fit for an aging parent or person with disability. Plumbers can help make that change as well, so you can have a throne worthy of royalty.

Toilet troubles are never fun to deal with, but are usually a quick and easy fit that shouldn’t be put off. Give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call today to get scheduled for toilet repairs and reduce the chance of water damage.

What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

Plumbing has come a long way over the course of the last couple of decades, especially as it pertains to newer innovations like sewer camera inspections. It seems like a simple process—snaking a tiny camera down drains to search for damage—but there was a time not that long ago when the technology didn’t exist for such a thing. Now, thanks to these tiny and versatile cameras, the professionals here at Garvin’s Sewer Service can do a more effective job with every inspection and sewer line cleaning they perform.

How exactly do these inspections work? The following is a glimpse at what our professionals can (and cannot) accomplish using a sewer camera.

What Do Sewer Line Inspection Cameras Do?

A sewer line inspection camera looks like a long, robotic snake because that is effectively what it is. A tiny camera at the end of the snake allows plumbers to have a real-time look at what’s going on in your pipes, and the twisty, bendy qualities of the technology itself allows the camera to work its way through the curves and contours of any pipe or drain. In essence, they exist to help plumbers locate and diagnose problems that they could have only guessed at previously.

How Do Sewer Line Inspection Cameras Work?

The flexible rod holding the camera is inserted into the offending drain or pipe, and the high-definition video camera at the tip broadcasts everything to a little screen that the plumber uses during the inspection. Bright LED lights are attached to the rod, allowing the camera to see even in the darkest of places, and we record the entire thing so we can go back and locate the issue later when undergoing everything from minor repairs to a full sewer replacement in Englewood.

What Can a Sewer Inspection Camera Find?

While using these cameras, our professionals can spot the following problems:

  • Pipe issues – As homes settle, pipes can shift at odd angles, making them vulnerable to cracks, collapse, or misalignment.
  • Tree roots – Tree roots can grow into a sewer line, and can usually be cleaned. However, if the impact is too great, a major repair may be required. A correct diagnosis is critical, and the difference between thousands of dollars.
  • Corrosion – Modern pipes are made from PVC and are not likely to experience corrosion, but older metal pipes may be prone to it. Our cameras can find that issue if it exists in an older home.
  • Blockage – There are about a million different ways that a pipe can get blocked with something, and our cameras can find exactly where that blockage is to make it easier to remove.
  • Leaks – Our cameras also can find leaks in pipes, making repairs faster and easier to undertake.

If you would like to schedule a sewer line inspection using our high-definition cameras, give us a call here at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can get you on the schedule at your earliest convenience. Plumbing has come a long way in recent years thanks in large part to developments like these cameras, and we’re ready to put them to use in providing the Denver area with the best plumbing services available today!

9 Items That Should Never Go Down the Drain

9 Items That Should Never Go Down the Drain

Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we get calls from homeowners all the time because they have a clogged drain, and while there absolutely are times when this happens for reasons well beyond the homeowner’s control, there also are entirely too many times when that call to their commercial drain cleaning in Englewood could’ve been avoided. How? By simply knowing what can and cannot go down a drain.

Whether it’s the toilet, the kitchen sink, or a laundry room basin, the important thing to remember here is that your home’s plumbing system is designed to handle liquids and very few approved flushable solids like toilet paper.

Despite this rule of thumb, we often see certain types of solids dumped down the drain, and to help our customers avoid an emergency plumbing call in the future, we’ve assembled a list of those items here:

#1 Coffee Grounds

They seem small enough that they should just flush away like any liquid would, but they actually are one of the most common offenders of slow-building clogs in kitchen sinks.

#2 Eggshells

Ground-up eggshells can cause exactly the same type of problem. It’s just as easy to throw them away into the garbage can or to use them as compost if you’ve got a garden.

#3 Oil or Grease

Used oil or grease may seem liquid enough to dump down the drain when it’s still hot, but grease does eventually cool off and become more of a solid inside your pipes. Your best bet is to run this grease into an old jar or can, let it cool and harden, then throw it away in the trash.

#4 Produce Stickers

Even a little bit of adhesive on the backs of those stickers can add to drain clogs. They’re better off in the garbage, like all the other solid items on this list.

#5 Cotton Balls

Another big problem is when people flush solid items down the toilet, including cotton balls (and dental floss for that matter). They don’t dissolve like toilet paper does, which makes them more prone to cause clogs in your toilet.

#6 Paper Towels

Paper towels and wipes are the same way. They may look a lot like toilet paper, but they’re made to be thicker and more durable, which means they won’t disintegrate in your water like TP does.

#7 Condoms

Rubber is not biodegradable, which means these have no business being flushed town toilets. Keeping this type of garbage out of the water supply is important, so just throw them away instead.

#8 Feminine Hygiene Products

Flushing feminine hygiene products may feel like the fastest, most sanitary way to dispose of them, but like the other items listed above, they do not dissolve into the water, which makes them a prime candidate for causing issues with drains, even though they say they are flushable.

#9 Household Chemicals

Household cleaners, car fluids, and even paint are items that people often wash down drains, but we would caution against all of them. Toxic chemicals are never great for the water supply, so stick to all-natural cleaners or find safer ways to dispose of your household chemicals.

Call An Emergency Plumber

Whether you’ve flushed these items down your drain or not, it’s possible you’ll find yourself in need of a drain cleaning plumber in Englewood, and the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service are happy to help. Do your best to keep these items out of your drains, but if an emergency does ever arise, we’ll be here to help return your plumbing functionality back to normal.

Tips for Keeping Drains Clear at Hair Salons

Tips for Keeping Drains Clear at Hair Salons

In residential situations, hair clogs are among the most common issues that homeowners deal with in their sinks and shower drains. So, it’s not hard to imagine the sorts of plumbing nightmares that can occur at a hair salon, where hair of every length, size, and thickness can find its way into just about any corner of the building, including sinks and drains.

Knowing how much loose hair exists at a business like this, it seems like a reasonable thing to suggest some preventative measures to ensure that major plumbing issues don’t occur. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we’ve had more than our fair share of service calls to hair salons, so we recommend the following actions to cut down on how many of those calls are necessary over the course of a given year.

#1 Catch Hair Before it Reaches the Drain

On its own, hair can be the bane of any hair stylist’s existence, especially considering how much shampoo mixes with the loose hair that ultimately enters these drains. The best way to ensure those gunky clogs don’t form in your drains is to catch the hair before it gets there. That means investing in some sort of hair stopper, mesh screens or hair traps. Some sinks have stopper assemblies with screens built in. Catch all that soapy or gelled-up hair and clean the stoppers regularly to ensure those clogs never form in the first place.

#2 Be Smart About Troublesome Chemicals

Hair salons deal with a number of chemicals which are required for coloring or setting hair, and while much of those chemicals go down the drain, an existing clog can create big-time headaches for the salon owner. We don’t recommend using a liquid drain cleaner to unblock those clogs because the combination of chemicals can be very corrosive. Regular drain cleanings can help ensure this doesn’t happen.

#3 Flush Your Drains

One preventative approach is to regularly flush your sink with a full basin of hot water. To do this, simply fill up a five-gallon bucket with hot water and dump the whole thing down the drain. Sometimes the low-pressure water of everyday use isn’t enough to flush away minor clogs. A bigger flush may do the trick.

#4 Get Regular Drain Cleanings

One of the best things you can do to make sure you don’t end up with major clogs is to schedule regular drain cleanings with Garvin’s Sewer Service. Not only can we flush out whatever gunk may be building up in a drain long before it becomes problematic, but we also can do a quick check for other problems that may be lurking beneath the surface. It’s an affordable service that goes a long way toward ensuring all a salon’s sinks and drains continue working as expected.

If you are in need of commercial drain services in Englewood or any of the surrounding areas, contact us here at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can get you on the schedule and unclog any drain, no matter what the reason may be for its blockage. Even if you don’t need our services immediately, we suggest doing the aforementioned things in your hair salon to minimize the need for plumbing services. Just know that if you ever need us, we’re just a phone call away!

A Guide to Sewer Line Preventative Maintenance

A Guide to Sewer Line Preventative Maintenance

Your sewer lines may be hidden, but they are about as important as any individual aspect of a home. Imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t drain a sink or flush a toilet or run a shower without it backing up. It sounds awful, but these things happen all the time, and sometimes they get so bad that the homeowner can incur major repairs, including but not limited to a full sewer replacement.

How does one prevent having to undertake massive sewer line repairs? By taking care of a little preventative maintenance. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we want to help homeowners do the necessary things to prevent their pipes from clogging, hopefully in a way that keeps a complete sewer replacement from ever becoming necessary. The following is a look at ways we can help with drain and sewer line preventative maintenance:

#1 Clean Slow Drains

Many people attack a slow-moving drain with a bottle of liquid drain cleaner, but there are so many reasons why that just isn’t the best course of action. A sewer drain cleaning in Englewood often is the best way to clear a drain of any grease, hair, or other items that could be causing the backup. It is better for the environment and the integrity of your pipes to have this done by a professional.

#2 Check for Cracks

Professional plumbers also can check your sewer for cracks using tools that most homeowners don’t have on-hand. Bendable snake cameras allow plumbers with a trained eye to locate cracks in a sewer, which helps them understand exactly where bigger problems may arise in the future had they not been checked up on early.

#3 Remove Trees Near Sewer Lines

Tree roots are among the most notorious killers of functional sewer lines, so one approach to preventing invasive and pricy sewer line replacement is just to remove those trees in the first place. If not removing trees, at least planting new ones away from sewer lines is a smart approach, and a plumber can help you know exactly where in your yard that may be.

#4 Test Water Pressure

Professionals here at Garvin’s Sewer Service have access to special gauges that can check the quality of your water pressure, and if something doesn’t appear to be working quite right, they can give homeowners a sense of what to do get things back up to snuff. 

#5 Check Under Sinks for Warning Signs

Another bit of preventative maintenance plumbers do is just to have a check under sinks for any cracks or leaks in the pipes that reside there. Think of it the same way you would a multi-point inspection for your vehicle at the car dealership. If something’s wrong, we can fix it before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Contact the Denver Sewer Replacement & Maintenance Experts

The idea behind any sort of preventative maintenance is to be sure that everything works the way it should and that molehills don’t turn into mountains. If you’d like to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment with one of our professionals, contact the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can help ensure that your home’s plumbing continues working as it should.

Common Dishwasher Drain Issues

Common Dishwasher Drain Issues

It’s hard to remember a time when dishwashers weren’t in the majority of homes across the United States, but we can be reminded very quickly how essential they are to our lives should our dishwasher ever break down. Washing dishes by hand not only takes longer but uses more water, and adding those layers of inconvenience back into your life is a major wakeup call.

So we really notice when a dishwasher isn’t working the way it should. In some instances, it’s possible the dishwasher may require replacement, but in most cases it’s likely an issue with the dishwasher drain. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your dishwasher drain from backing up:

Rinse your dishes well

Most modern dishwashers are capable of washing dishes without rinsing them off first, but it’s a good idea to scrape off the excess food or solids before loading your dishes into the dishwasher. During the wash cycle, these solids get rinsed off the dishes but they need to go somewhere. Newer dishwashers may filter these solids before they hit the drain but the filter or drain basket can still clog and cause water to back up in the bottom of the dishwasher.

There is water in the bottom of my dishwasher

Sometimes the water comes in, but it won’t come out. This could mean you’ve got a clog in the dishwasher drain basket, the dishwasher drain, or a kink in the dishwasher drain hose. Here are a few tips you can try if you have water that isn’t draining.

Run your garbage disposal

The drain hose is the ribbed, plastic hose that’s connected from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal drain. If there is food in the disposal drain then it may prevent the dishwasher from draining. Turn the water on and run the garbage disposal for 15-20 seconds to help clear any potential blockage in the drain hose.

Check the drain hose for kinks

The drain hose may possibly have a kink, which can prevent the water from draining out of the dishwater. You may be able to see the hose under the dishwasher, but this repair may be better suited for a professional plumber.

Clean the drain basket regularly

Modern dishwashers have a filter or drain basket located inside the dishwasher that’s designed to catch solids and other food particles. This basket is meant to be removed and rinsed regularly. If you notice a buildup of food on the drain basket, then consider rinsing your dishes prior to loading, even if the manufacturer claims you don’t need to.

If your dishwasher drain is giving you issues then contact Garvin’s for a free estimate or to schedule an appointment. 

Why You Can’t Ignore Drainage Issues in Your Restaurant

Why You Can’t Ignore Drainage Issues in Your Restaurant

It’s one thing to experience drainage issues at home, when you have a good sense of where the problem may be located and who may have caused it, but if you’re the owner of a restaurant, that often goes straight out the window. There are so many moving parts in a restaurant business —and so many people who work there dine there—that it can be hard sometimes to determine who or what exactly caused the drainage problem.

Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we have seen our fair share of clogs and leaks in restaurants throughout the Denver area, and unfortunately, many of the most severe problems occur because the business owner, or GM, leaves them untended for too long. Put simply, restaurant owners cannot afford to ignore any drainage issues they have in their building, as the long-term impact can be enough to close down your restaurant business for a time while the fixes are underway.

In an ideal world, business owners would be able to identify what’s wrong with their drainage early enough to identify the problem and call a commercial drain cleaner to make sure everything works as it should. There are several things that could go wrong with a restaurant’s drainage, but the following are the most common:

Grease Clogs

The most dangerous of restaurant drainage issues is grease buildup. For places that sell burgers and fried foods, the grease will be worse, but all restaurants can see grease build up in their drains. The worse this gets, the bigger the drainage problems can be throughout the building. If you’re concerned grease is a problem for you, Garvin’s can help.

Sink Clogs

Grease isn’t the only thing that can get washed down a drain. With food prep comes a lot of food debris, and if employees are washing too much of that debris down the sink, they can clog up, too. Frankly, the sinks in customer restrooms can end up with foreign objects in the pipes, too.

Toilet Problems

Another problem that can come courtesy of customers is the toilets. The biggest difference in your home is that you control what goes into your toilets, yet you have no control over that at your restaurant. Customers can be a little absent-minded when it comes to this, so even if you have signs about where certain types of waste goes, you may still end up with overflowing toilets and clogged plumbing.

Sewer System Issues

Sometimes, the problem is under the surface and has to do with the sewer system as a whole. If you are operating in a new suburb, the sewer lines are likely fine, but restaurants in older buildings might see problems that can only be caused by years of use and can only be fixed by professionals like those at Garvin’s Sewer Service.

Contact an Experienced Plumber

Of course, no matter how well you take care of your kitchen and its drainage system, problems are almost sure to arise. When they do, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Garvin Sewer Service. We’ll make sure small problems don’t turn into bigger problems so your business can run the way it was intended without any unexpected major expenses or, worse, temporary business shutdowns.

What Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

What Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

Plumbers have been around for as long as plumbing has existed, making it one of the oldest professions in the modern world. Despite that, plumbing has a come a long way, especially in the last few years as technological advancements have helped make it easier than ever to detect any issues in hard-to-see locations such as your sewer line. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we sometimes use sewer inspection cameras to locate sewer line problems, but only in certain situations.

If you’ve ever wondered in what contexts we may need to use these special cameras, the following explains how they work and what they can detect.

How Sewer Inspection Cameras Work

The device itself features a box with a screen attached a thin, snakelike hose that can be deposited into an open drain. Inside the hose are small lights and a fiber optic camera similar in size to those found in smartphones, and as the camera at the end of the cable extends down the pipe, images of what the camera sees shows up on the screen in real time. As the plumber threads the cable through the pipes, it observes any potential obstructions or leaks.

What These Cameras Can Show Us

Perhaps most importantly, these cameras have made it possible for us to detect problems that may be located in a sewer line, which is buried underground and often inaccessible for visual inspection from the outside. In a nutshell, these cameras can show our professionals most cracks, root damage, and corrosion, giving us an easy look at what needs to be fixed and how we could best approach fixing it.

For example, the camera could determine that root damage is what’s causing the issue, so we would know how to use the right kinds of tools to correct the issue. If there’s a clog, we know how to flush it out. There’s a good reason we use these so much at our jobs!

What Cameras Can’t Do

While a sewer camera inspection can catch many problems, there are some things it can’t do. With some old cast iron piping, the image can be hard to interpret sometimes, at which point we may have to use other diagnostic methods to figure out what’s going on.

At the end of the day, though, these cameras are very helpful in diagnosing what’s wrong with a sewer line. They help Garvin’s Sewer Service professionals do their job in a way that allows us to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. These types of modern plumbing tools are good for everybody involved, so don’t be surprised if you see one of our technicians using a sewer camera the next time you call them to your house to correct a sewer line issue.

How Do You Know It’s Time for a Sewer Replacement?

Thankfully, modern sewage disposal systems are designed to ensure that we never have to deal with waste the way our ancestors did, but because we’ve grown so used to our sewage systems working flawlessly, the moment a system incurs any sort of damage, we notice it. And it isn’t fun.

There are a few things to look for if you suspect sewer damage, so if you notice any of the following occurring in your home, please contact Garvin’s Sewer Service at your earliest convenience. We will be able to diagnose the issue and undertake whatever sewer replacement or repair may be necessary.

#1 Sewage Backups or Blockages

If your toilets are experiencing clogs or backflow of any sort on a consistent basis, there is a chance that the problem is with the sewer or drain rather than the commode itself. The same could be true for your sinks or bathtubs, so keep an eye out for apparent blockages, and call your plumber to have a closer look.

#2 Slow Drain

One sign of a blockage is slow drains, which could admittedly indicate something much less serious than a sewer issue, but if it’s all the drains and toilets in a house that seems to be draining slowly, the chances of the problem being sewer-related rise exponentially.

#3 Unpleasant Odors

If your sewer system is performing the way it should, you should not smell anything foul in or around your home. If you notice the smell of anything even remotely like a sewer inside or even outside of your home, there’s a chance there’s a problem somewhere you can’t see.

#4 Standing Water in Your Lawn

Even without the odor, standing water in your lawn could indicate a leak in a sewer line somewhere underneath the grass in your yard. There should not be soggy or raised patches of earth in your lawn. If there is, it’s possible the sewer line is the issue.

#5 Extra Green Grass

By the same token, extra water and the extra nutrients found in the surprise “fertilizer” working its way into your soil can help grass grow fuller, greener, and more lush—but only in patches. If you notice these patches in your yard where they haven’t been in the past, it’s worth calling your plumber to have a look at your sewer line.

#6 Septic Pooling

The worst symptom of potential sewer problems is septic pooling, which means it’s not standing water in your yard, but standing septic waste. That means a broken main line or septic tank, and on top of being disgusting, it also means you’ve got a big problem somewhere underground that only a professional plumber can fix.

When It’s Time to Contact a Professional

Garvin’s will give an honest assessment of your sewer line, cleaning it first to determine the severity of the issue, offering a camera service to pinpoint the problem area, and offering sewer repair/replacement in the cases where that is the best solution. Unlike other companies, sewer replacement isn’t our first step – in fact, we have saved Denver homeowners tens of thousands of dollars a year by cleaning and maintaining their sewer lines rather than replacing them.

How to Clear a Basement Drain Without a Snake | Garvin's Sewer Service

How to Clear a Basement Drain Without a Snake

For as long as there has been modern plumbing, pipes and drains have gotten clogged, and it never stops being frustrating for the people and/or families dealing with the problem. Floor drains—especially those located in basements—are especially susceptible to blockages since all the other water and waste from the house is carried downward by gravity to septic tanks or public sewers. Knowing that, we see a lot of floor drain clogs here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, and while we would love to help those in need with these types of problems, there are a few approaches homeowners can try before contacting an emergency drain cleaning service.

The Causes of Floor Drain Clogs

Before attempting to unclog a floor drain on your own, it’s worth knowing why these clogs happen in the first place. The most common issue occurs when sediment or waste accumulates in the pipes over time and creates a clog large enough to slow down the flow of the water. Other possible causes include broken or damaged pipes, water flow issues, or even pipes that were installed incorrectly in the first place. Sometimes, torrential storms can leave dirt and other sediment in the system that also can cause problems.

Whatever the cause, it’s a headache that can lead to bigger problems if left unattended.

How to Unclog a Floor Drain

While using a plumbing snake is usually the easiest way to tackle this (and again, Garvin’s Sewer Service is happy to provide this service), there are a few other things homeowners can try.

Clean the Trap

The first step in getting your floor drain to work as it was intended is to clean out the trap. To do this, locate the backflow preventer in your basement, remove its cap, then get a chisel and drive it around the notches in the retaining ring. Loosen the ring and the backflow ball, and then use a shop vac to suck out all the nasty sediment in the trap, which likely is part of what’s causing the problem.

After cleaning the trap, remove the backflow preventer’s cleanout plug and connect strong wire or cable to a power drill so you can spin it into the pipe opening. This should clear the clog and get your water flowing again.

Try Baking Soda and Vinegar

Sometimes, baking soda and vinegar can unclog a drain if the blockage isn’t especially stubborn. Start by pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the drain, followed by ½ cup baking soda. Let that sit a few minutes, then pour a mixture of one cup of vinegar and one cup of very hot water on top of the baking soda. Let it sit for five to ten minutes, then flush it one last time with another pot of boiling water.

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

If that doesn’t work, it might be time to call someone here at Garvin’s Sewer Service to handle the clog for you. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners because they send toxic material into the sewers, and these chemicals can even corrode older plumbing systems. If chemicals are necessary, allow professionals to be the ones who use them.

When It’s Time to Call a Professional

If you have a basement drain blockage that won’t unclog, never hesitate to call Garvin’s Sewer Service. If you can’t do it safely yourself, we will get your basement drain unclogged and functioning properly again in no time.