Talk to us about drain cleaning and sewer cleaning anytime!

dreamstime_xxl_42462302I’d love to answer any questions you have about plumbing, plumbing systems, drain cleaning, sewer lines, heating systems, sewer cleaning, air systems and more. I know, if you were all that interested, you’d be a plumber, BUT, I get lots of questions when I’m out networking. I also get lots of stories.

I’d love to hear them! I’d love to share them!

Do you have a terrible tenant (or terrible landlord) story? Has a guest ever totally damaged something that required sewer cleaning? (I’m thinking like “Meet the Fockers” or “Christmas Vacation” style story)

Do you have a I-did-it-myself-and-you-wouldn’t-believe-what-happened story? Did you try something that absolutely failed or surprised you when it worked?

Do have a weird noise story? A story titled, “It fell into the toilet and.. ” or similar story?

Share your story with me and you could win a $25 gift card*!
E-mail your story within the body of the e-mail to: by Oct. 31, 2011.

*You don’t have to be local to participate. Winner will be chosen at random from questions and stories received. gift card will be for $25 to a store of the winner’s choosing as long as one is available within reason, determined at my discretion.

You can also follow me on facebook in order to learn even more.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Calm, On time, Clean Drain Cleaning

garvins_sitebg6_cartoonI LOVED this testimonial and had to share it:

“It is not my habit to write recommendation letters to companies I have hired. However, the helpful manner that you personally extended and the professional workmanship of the two employees that came to my home on July 7 should not go unrecognized.

All to often, when I have dealt with other plumbing companies in the past, I had the distinct feeling of being pressured to buy the most expensive solution and advised for the need to do it immediately or suffer dire circumstances. I so appreciated your calmly explaining what needed to be done, and just as important what didn’t need to be done, and then offering a number of alternatives for the repairs. As promised, you e-mailed me that afternoon the information and costs for the project. The invoice was specific and the billing was almost 20% less than previous bids.

The technicians arrived right on time, as you did, and both explained what they were going to do and worked quickly to complete the task. They were not only courteous and conversational but seemed to take pride in doing their job well. They left the areas undisturbed and clean.

I can assure you that not only will I use Garvin’s in the future but I am recommending your services to my friends and associates.

The time spent with your company was indeed a pleasant surprise.

Yours Truly,
John V., Lakewood”

Wanna see a few more of our testimonials about our drain cleaning?? Check them out here.

Why physical drain cleaning beats the chemicals


Firstly, we’ve found that physically get rid of the clog is so much better drain cleaning than chemicals. Because chemicals usually don’t work. Plus, you’ve got to keep them around your house.

My friend, Jason Carroll, with Keller Williams Commercial, sends me a lovely monthly newsletter. I felt this month the topics were spot on to what we talk about a lot here at Garvin’s and decided to share them with you. Enjoy!

Do not dump household liquids down storm drains or sewers or throw hazardous material into trash bins for collection. Many state and local governments ban the disposal of hazardous materials into standard household trash. Contact your local waste agency or visit to enter your zip code and learn about the specific disposal options and recycling locations near you.

American households produce over 4 million pounds of household hazardous waste every day. Source: University of Utah

What’s Hazardous in Your Household?

All Purpose Cleaners & Disinfectants

Drain Openers

Furniture Polish

Oven Cleaners

Paints, Varnishes, Solvents & Thinners


Fertilizers & Pesticides

Pool Chemicals

Nail Polish Removers w/ Acetone

Aerosol cans

Medical Waste & Drugs

Flammable Fuels

Cooking Oil



Tires &Antifreeze

Products with Mercury

Do you have any more tips on recycling? What has been your experience with recycling hazardous materials? Did anything on this list surprise you?


Chemical Free Drain Cleaning

drain_cta_revToday’s Soap Box is on liquid drain cleaners. If you’re unsure what I mean, I’m referring to products like LiquidPlumbr ™ and Drano ™.

One of my technicians suffered chemical burns as a direct result of cleaning a drain after a liquid product failed to clear a line. The homeowner also failed to tell us that they had treated the line with the “drain cleaning” product. Those are air quotes, because it didn’t end up cleaning anything.

The Drano ™ website states the following precautions:

Open carefully. Do not squeeze bottle. Avoid splashing. Clean up spills at once. Keep hands, face, and children away from drains while using Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover. Never use a plunger during or after use of Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover because Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover may still be present if drain did not clear…

Read product label for additional information and precautions. Source:

The bolded text above, is my emphasis — plunging, or otherwise trying to get through the line, may cause a splash into your eyes or on skin, and, the precautions warn against this.

Safer things you can do to unclog your drain:


1. Use a screen (and an additional screen if needed) to stop items from going down the drain. This is true for showers, tubs, sinks and kitchen sinks. Take the captured items and dispose of them in the trash.

2. Soap scum can develop in the lines. These are greasy substances and can be found in laundry lines as well as sinks and tubs or showers. To remove this greasy substance, use VINEGAR. Straight, undiluted vinegar can help keep the lines from building up too much soap scum. You can run a load of hot water and vinegar in your washing machine to help clear lines. This is not a drain cleaning solution, but rather preventative care.


  • Shower: remove the screen and see if there is hair attached to it- this is the most common problem. Remove the hair and throw it in the trash. If this is not the cause, the clog may be further down the line and you should call a professional. Traps under showers can cost a lot to replace and you don’t want to damage them by using corrosive materials or the wrong equipment.
  • Toilet: purchase a plunger and use it. It is a homeowner necessity. Most toilet clogs can be cleared this way. If this is a recurring problem, see my blog on Bad Toilet Paper. If a toy or other non-waste item falls into the toilet, you may call a professional as the toilet may need to be removed to retrieve the item. Do this before you need sewer cleaning.
  • Sink: pull up the stopper and check for a clump of hair or other debris, remove it and discard it in the trash. If this isn’t the problem, the clog could be further down the line. You may call a professional, or remove the p-trap under the sink and use a flashlight to see if you can locate a clog in the pipe. You may be able to use your hand or a snagging type tool (found at hardware stores) to grab and remove the blockage.
Here’s a video if you’d like a visual of what I’m recommending for small lines.
As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Rip off Plumbers: When Drain Cleaning Goes Bad

Dateline NBC ran a story yesterday that completely appalled us regarding rip-off plumbers! This is how we at Garvin’s feel about it.

Problem 1: The guy is a salesman!

Why would anyone send a salesman to look at a plumbing job? Because he isn’t a plumber, he’s a salesman. He could have just as easily quoted her a price over the phone for a new water heater. Honestly, his clean shirt is a giveaway. (Not that a plumber can’t be clean, but if he works for a living — as opposed to sells water heaters —he might be a little dirty on the knees, shoulder and/or brow.)

Problem 2: He literally doesn’t care about the customer.

Really? He walked in circles! And he lied about not only the water heater being broken, but created fear in her by giving her bad information. I’m SO angry when people use unethical fear-based “information” to scare people into buying what they have to sell. I could go on a soapbox rant just on this, but I will restrain myself.

Problem 3: He drives away in a brand new van with a vehicle wrap

It is pretty clear at this point how he was able to pay for that. That’s all I care to say about that.

Problem 4: What are the consequences?

Now what? He goes on to plumb another day. Meanwhile, he’s taking business from ethical, honest plumbers. He’s paying his bills with other people’s money. He’s giving the plumbing profession a bad name.

If you ever get ripped off, let the BBB know! Let the Chamber of Commerce in your area know! Tell someone who can address it whether you’ve been scammed regarding drain cleaning, sewer repair, or rooter service!


With Heated Emotion,


Average Joe ways to be a little greener, like not using chemical drain cleaning

dryerA good friend of mine has a deep fear of being labeled as a hippie.  I won’t tell you his age, but it’s older than me, and it probably has to do with his and his dad’s military background. Nonetheless, he recognizes the importance of treading lightly on the environment. Here are some non-hippie ways for Average Joe to do good in honor of Earth Day:

Laundry Room:

Keep your dryer filters clean. Clean the lint screen after every dryer cycle. Twice a year, check and clean the outside vent and vent hose from the dryer.

Avoid chlorine bleach. Bleach is poisonous and irritating. It is terrible for septic systems that rely on good bacteria to break down solids. When bleach is poured into plumbing, it forms toxic and cancer-causing organochlorines.


Don’t use harsh chemical drain cleaning solutions. These are toxic and corrosive and usually are not effective. If you can’t get it with a plunger, you might have to have a profession drain cleaner come and use a sewer snake (rooter service).

Sorry Ernie, but Rubber Ducky is not welcome here. Vinyl products, such as rubber duckies and other bath toys, as well as vinyl shower curtains, aren’t made in an environmentally safe way, plus they can add toxins to water when they get hot.


To kill weeds, use boiling water or vinegar.  Boiling water will kill any roots, so don’t put it on weeds that are near plants or flowers you’d like to keep. You can spot treat weeds also with undiluted vinegar. To keep pests away, cotton balls with vinegar can be placed around your garden, or you can spray them with a solution of equal parts water & vinegar.

Ok, Joe, I hope this helps you be a little greener with little effort, and no one would dare label you a hippie 🙂

With All kinds of Hippie Earth-day Love,


Girls Only: Drain Cleaning Tips for Women

drain_cta_revAre you an adventurous Do-it-Yourselfer? Or, are you a Happy-to-have-others-do-iter? Maybe some of both? I’m that way, depending on the project. I like to do anything crafty and creative, like making cards, painting and things involving glue. I don’t particularly care for projects that involve electricity, heights or gross things that smell. With that being said, I’m writing this article to help you with the latter, namely, gross things that smell.

Yes, I’m with Garvin’s Sewer Service, the daughter of a plumber. There’s no glamor in that. None. Thankfully, most of the gross stuff are things I only hear about while I’m safely hiding in my office. Nonetheless, I feel it is worth sharing some important plumbing tips that apply especially to women.

 I’m warning you now, this does involve gross things, but I will tread delicately.

  1. Hair. Ladies with long, beautiful hair, ladies who shave, ladies who like excessive bath products (ie. conditioner, bath salts, soap), take note: Make sure your drain has something to catch these things. When it does catch them, scoop that out and throw it in the trash- don’t force it down the drain (what’s the point in that, really?)
  2. Tampons. If you use tampons, it is important that you don’t flush them. I’m not talking about the applicator- I’m talking about the actual cotton tampon. When you remove it, wrap it in toilet paper and dispose of it in a sanitary can or your waste basket. THIS CHANGE ALONE will save you from hundreds of dollars in sewer line cleaning. Don’t think that just because you are a renter, it won’t effect you- we hear from landlords who hold their tenants responsible for this. Ok, yuck, done talking about that.
  3. Jewelry. Ladies who keep their jewelry next to the sink: STOP IT. Ladies who put their jewelry on over the sink: STOP IT. Please keep your jewelry away from drains. Remember when women had vanities where they sat and applied their jewelry & make-up at a mirrored table? Be fabulously retro and save your beautiful jewelry instead of sacrificing it to the sewer gods (they don’t care for it anyway). Note: the sewer gods get particularly greedy for your jewelry during the holiday months, especially when you are walking out the door for a party.

Follow these few tips and drain cleaning might not be in your immediate future!


As always, if you have questions, please ask me.

Kris “PlumbingGirl” Jordan

Our Declaration for Sewer and drain cleaning service

garvins_sitebg6_cartoonWe have set certain standards of service for our company before, during, and after our sewer and drain cleaning service. These are expectations that we try to set for our customers and our technicians. When we have our customers give feedback, we ask them to think of us in relation to this “Declaration of Service”.

I’d love your feedback on these. I’ve given the shortened version below, but you can see the entire Declaration HERE

  1. We quote our prices over the phone
  2. We give an estimated time of arrival (usually within 2 hours)
  3. You will receive a call when we are on our way
  4. The serviceman will be wearing a Garvin’s logo uniform
  5. The serviceman will use protective gear to keep your home as clean as possible
  6. He will run a “system check”
  7. He will present you with an invoice and a magnet and/or business card

Would you feel comfortable with this as a customer who is asking for someone into your home? What suggestions do you have to improve?


10 Weirdest Things That Required Professional Drain Cleaning

dreamstime_xxl_65815Working in the sewer and drain cleaning industry has lead to some interesting surprises. Why would people flush these things? Or did they just drop them in the toilet, didn’t want to retrieve them, and want to see if they’d go down the drain? Either way, they stuck around longer than they thought they would!


Our TOP Ten Weirdest things found clogging drains:

(true story)

1. Rutabagas

2. An Adult Toy

3. Cat Litter

4. Cardboard (in a disposal)

5. Squirrel

6. Very Large Undies

7. Dentures

8. Hairpiece

9. Rubber Gloves

10. Tropical Fish


Have you flushed something that didn’t want to go away? Give Garvin’s a call and we can take care of your drain cleaning.