Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 1

Owning a home is a two-sided coin. There’s joy in having your own yard, being able to remodel every room to your liking and taking pride in cared-for landscaping. 

Your house isn’t just drywall and wood. It’s where your daughter lost her first tooth, and your cousin surprised everyone by proposing to his fiancée at halftime. It’s where your dad quietly repaired the front porch because he saw you trip on a step. Your home is your sanctuary. 

On the flip side, it takes elbow-grease to keep your domicile ordered and functioning. Roof shingles need repair. Paint cries out to be touched up. Windows always need washing. 

Over the years, we’ve seen it all in the plumbing sphere. We’d like to pass on the benefits of that experience. So, get settled, grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s go through plumbing tips that will keep your domestic kingdom royally ready for creating happy moments.

Test anxiety, not!

First, a pop quiz! Take a sip of your beverage. Now, answer the following questions. It’s ok to speak out loud. Nobody is watching. Except, maybe your cat. Cats are always judge-y; so, ignore the stare.

  1. Where is your main water shut off valve?
  2. Where is your toilet shut off valve?
  3. Do you know how to check your water heater?
  4. Where is your water meter and how do you access it?
  5. Do you know how to reset your garbage disposal?
  6. Where is your sewer clean-out or riser?

Did you know all the answers? 

Did you run and check so that you could answer smugly, “I know that!” That’s good. Knowledge is awesome.

If you didn’t know the answers, or a few were sketchy, read on! 

And, if you knew all, peruse the rest of the blog anyway. You might find some helpful info that will help you win Jeopardy someday.

How to shut it all off

Savvy homeowners schedule maintenance and pay attention to details to prevent bigger issues down the road. Despite best efforts, emergencies happen! 

There may come a time when you need to shut off the water to your house, or shut off water closer to the source because of a backup, pipe breakage or a leak. Let’s go over how. Better to be prepared than scared.

Getting to know your main shutoff valve

If you don’t know where that main water shut off to your house is, let’s find it! If you do, excellent; pat yourself on the back.

You can usually find the valve on the side of your house facing the street, likely in the corner of the basement near the pipes to your sprinkler or outside hose system. If you don’t have a basement, the main valve may be next to your water heater in a utility or laundry room. 

Many main water shut off valves have what is called a ball, or “knife valve.” While this name may conjure up horror-flick images in the more imaginative, it just means the handle is long and can be flipped either vertical (up or down) or horizontal (sideways). If you have this type, remember that vertical lets the water flow through, horizontal shuts the water off.

If your home is older, you may have a gate valve with a circular knob. If yours is this type, you will have to turn the knob clockwise several turns to shut off your water.

If you’ve never had to shut off your water, familiarize yourself with your valve now. While you are at it, inspect the area around the valve for any signs of dripping water or leaks.

Yes, put down the beverage and go look. We’ll wait…. Did you find it? Do you know what you have to do to shut off the water now? Woot! Gold star.

If you can’t find your main shutoff, or discovered evidence of leaky pipes in that area, call Garvin’s. We are here to help with all your plumbing leak repairs.

Going down to toilet town

Moving on, let’s say your plumbing problems aren’t big enough to shut the water to your entire house. Maybe you’ll have a fine day when you walk into the second-most frequented room in the house (after the kitchen, of course) and find the toilet leaking all over your costly ceramic tile.

You’ll want to locate your toilet flush handle, then look behind the toilet and down. You should see the pipes leading to your toilet and the shutoff valve to that pipe. 

For most toilets, you will need to turn the round knob on the shutoff valve a few turns clockwise to shut off the water. If it doesn’t budge, try squirting the valve with a WD40. Need help? 

While you’re down on the floor getting familiar with the toilet, notice if there’s any corrosion around your valve. Is there any water on the floor that didn’t come from your shower? You may need to replace the valve and/or repair your plumbing. Call Garvin’s for help.

While we are in toilet town, it’s a good idea to test your porcelain throne for tank leaks. To do this, perform the blue dye test. Blue dye tablets are available at any hardware store. We’ve written a nifty blog about how to perform the test, check it out.

And… we’d be remiss if we didn’t include our Toilet Health PSA: Please, flush ONLY toilet paper and human waste down your toilet. Nothing else. Nope: Whatever “but” you are thinking, it’s a, “nope.” No “flushable” wipes, no goldfish funerals, no leftover aspirin or cigarette ash. 

If you are still tempted, remember: if it’s something weird you’re flushing, what goes down will probably come back up. Do you really want to see it again, just older and way more disgusting?

Cozy up to your water heater

Next, we are going to visit the hardworking device that keeps everyone in your house super happy: The hot water heater. Hot showers, clean laundry, sparkling dishes: Your hot water heater toils away and you barely notice it’s there.

Well… maybe that should change. Pay your hot water heater a visit once-in-a-while to ensure all is well. 

First, there should be a valve at the top of your heater, similar to your main water shutoff valve. You can turn it off in an emergency. Locate the valve and ensure you are familiar with it (you’re good at this now). See our video for visual help.

Second, know the signs that your water heater may need to be replaced. Notice if the water heater is leaking. Are you getting off-colored water from your faucets? Do you hear noises from your water heater? Is your water heater over 10 years old? All of these factors may indicate replacement is in your near future.

Third, if you have a gas water heater, you should be able to check your pilot light if you run out of hot water and don’t know why. See our video: How to check your pilot light

Quiz an expert

Still have questions about your shutoff valves or water heater? We have quite a few answers! Let us help. Contact Garvin’s online or by phone.

We’ll continue next time with “Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 2.”  We’ll cover finding your water meter, improving the mood of a grouchy garbage disposal and different types of sewer pipe access. Join us!

Sources

How to Identify a Faulty Water Shut off Valve — Stop Water Damage Before It Destroys Your Home | Peril Protect

3 Ways to Turn Off the Water Supply to a Toilet – wikiHow

Why spring is the perfect time for sewer line maintenance

Why spring is the perfect time for sewer line maintenance

Trees look so gorgeous covered with snow in the winter, don’t they? In the autumn they appear to bed down and take nice, long naps. In the spring, they shelter smaller plants. They host birds in their branches.

Trees: Our peaceful manufacturers of oxygen.

Not so fast. Trees also have a less heroic side. 

Deep under the soil, roots grow expansively to help the trees survive. In the spring, some of those roots reach hungrily for water and nutrients like sightless, pale worms. The sneaky tendrils scavenge into cracks everywhere to ferret out liquid survival.

Roots are creeping towards your clay or concrete sewer pipes as you read this. Whispering through the dirt. Maybe some are already in your pipes spanning them and feeding on your household waste, just waiting to cause clogs in your sewer line.

That’s a bit dramatic. And… we do need trees! However, it’s a proven fact that roots can be destructive little buggers. We know this, yet so many of us just ignore them. We go about making pancakes or fitting our Labradoodles with red sweaters like the horror underground is not happening.

Why then are we so very surprised when our sewer lines back up into our showers or basements with tides of smelly yuck? 

An ounce of prevention…

Is worth… well, you know the old saying. Preventative sewer maintenance is worth its weight in platinum. Getting your sewer line routinely inspected and cleared of roots with a bladed cable just makes sense. 

Every spring, plumbing and sewer services in the Denver area get tons of calls about root problems and maintenance. So, now is the time to get ahead of the curve and get your main line cleared of those roots before they precipitate your own personal, foul-smelling drama. 

It won’t hurt the trees…

We promise. But getting your sewer line cleaned will most certainly help your household. Using a bladed cable to “roto-rooter” or cut through the roots in your main line and push the plant matter into your city sewer will get rid of not only the roots, but anything else that might have gotten tangled up in the roots over time. 

This method is more thorough and effective than “jetting” your sewer line with water.

Of course, you still won’t want to flush the following down your toilet:

  • Huge wads of TP
  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers
  • Paper towel

Getting your pipes bladed out isn’t a license to abuse your pipes. Take care of them by being prudent about what you flush and pour down the drain. Then, root maintenance will help keep your line clear and prevent standing ankle deep in who-knows-what one day. 

It’s best to schedule maintenance every 12 months or more often if you have a large family or a ton of trees. 

It seems like an endless cycle…

If you call Garvin’s we can help you determine what your best long-term preventative maintenance solutions might be. 

Most times, removing trees is costly, unsightly and mean to birds and squirrels.

Another option in reducing invasive root problems is using a non-toxic product like Root-X which foams into your main line to kill roots between main-line cleanings. Root-X is non-caustic and will not harm pipes, septic systems or vegetation above the ground. Other root eaters only sit on the bottom of the pipe, not reaching the top where the roots are growing in.

Confused or unsure about your options? Just ask. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help.

Our video shows we have a problem…

Perhaps another company came to examine or “scope” your sewer line recently and they’re recommending extensive repairs or pipe replacement. They may claim your pipes are broken and need to be excavated. Is replacing your entire sewer line or large portions of it necessary?

We would be happy to view your video and give you a second opinion. Many sewer and drain companies in the Denver Metro area are honest, but some are not. Some simply lack expertise.

We will tell you the truth. We will view your video, explain what we see and brainstorm solutions to your current sewer line issues. Sometimes we can even save you money. Read how we saved one family thousands of dollars in potential repairs by reviewing their scoping video.

Scope, blade, review and repair

At Garvin’s, we are truly sewer line specialists. We know our stuff and we’ll help you steer away from excrement in many forms. We’re here for you all year long to offer preventative maintenance or the right repairs at the right time. We’ll clean your drain, not your bank account. Call for an appointment today.

How to prepare your plumbing for the holidays

How to prepare your plumbing for the holidays

The last goblin has disappeared into the night and now the winter holidays are coming: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, to name a few. Are you planning to get together with friends or family?

We thought so. It’s time to get prepared! Unpack the good plates and holiday linen, make sure the fireplace works, dust off the table leaf, take the dog in for a bath and… get your pipes ready to handle all those people! 

Sinking feelings

Hungry this morning? Did you make a big egg scramble with hash browns and bacon? Remember all that yummy bacon grease that was left in the skillet? Were you a tiny bit tempted to pour some of it down your kitchen drain to save time? Even the littlest bit with hot water?

Please don’t do it! 

Putting oil and grease down your kitchen drain can create clogs and lead to a big old sewer back up in your future. That grease may liquify with hot water and go down your kitchen sink. But eventually, it will cool off on its journey through your pipes and solidify. After a bit, layer upon layer will build up in your pipes and then you’ll have a mess. Maybe right after candle lighting, dessert or opening gifts.

So always, always, let that grease cool off in a disposable container and put it in the trash, not down the sink.

Garbage in, garbage out

Your garbage disposal can be a great friend, grinding up bits of food to help flush them down to your main line. It can be a friend IF you treat it properly. The problem: Most folks want to quickly throw everything down their disposal. 

Truthfully, you just can’t. You see, your disposal is like a toothy amusement park ride for food. 

SAY WHAT? 

Have you ever been to a county fair or maybe Six Flags and climbed aboard one of those spinning rides that push you against the wall like a fly while the bottom drops away from your feet? 

Food in your disposal gets pushed against the sides of your disposal by that same spinning or centrifugal force as it grinds. If it’s the right kind of small food, your disposal will grind it up and cold water will wash it down your pipes and away.

If it’s the wrong kind of food, it will get slammed against the sides of your disposal and stick there, eventually making your whole sink smell nasty. Or, that food will wind up stuck just a little further down in your drain trap or pipes and cause a clog. 

Your disposal is meant to help you get rid of little bits of food as you rinse plates. It’s not meant to grind up big chunks or take care of clog culprits like these:

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee
  • Meat
  • Celery or fibrous foods
  • Potato skins or fruit pits
  • Grits or heavy grain foods
  • Grease and oil

Watch this video from Southern Living for a for an informative list of additional foods NOT to put down your disposal.

Tank toilet trauma

New towels, plenty of pillows, cleaned comforters: check, check, check. You want your friends and family to be comfortable staying at your house. Keeping them happy can extend to your toilet paper (T.P.), but did you know some kinds of T.P. can cause your pipes to clog more quickly?

Choose septic safe and highly biodegradable tissue to keep your plumbing in shape. Click here for a list of the fastest dissolving brands of T.P. (Yes, some of your favorite brands are on the list!) Many of these tissues are made from non-tree sources which is better for our environment too.

Just in case the unthinkable happens and your toilets back up this holiday season: Keep our number handy. Garvin’s of Englewood is available anytime to help you during an emergency.

Frozen – Let it go!

Prevent frozen pipes this season. Be sure to check your outside hose bibbs soon, disconnect all of your hoses from the outdoor spigots and let them drain. Where possible, turn off the water to your outside hoses for the winter.

According to Apollohome.com, leaving your hoses attached to your hose bibbs can retain the water in your faucets. The water can freeze and expand during cold spells, crack your bibbs or burst your pipes. You don’t want to have to shut off your water and deal with that mess during the holidays.

To keep pipes inside your home from freezing, keep your thermostat set to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maintenance makes merry

Want to be worry free? Consider getting your drains cleaned by Garvin’s to ensure your house is truly ready to receive extra guests this season. Our drain cleaning machine uses a tightly wound cable with sharp blades on the end. The blades spin at a high rate of speed through your drain line, cleaning the full circumference of the line to push out or destroy blockages.

We recommend you get your sewer line cleaned once per year to maintain your drains.

Reach out all year long

Garvin’s of Denver and Englewood serves the Denver metro area. We are family-run and trusted by many of your neighbors. Contact our sewer and drain cleaning team at 303-571-5114 and let us help you get ready for the holiday season. 

The Dangers of Drain Cleaning

The Dangers of Drain Cleaning

Every once in a while we have customers call us complaining that the drain cleaning service we provided broke their drain line. Because of this, I wanted to give more information about the dangers of drain cleaning to help homeowners, property managers and the like, better understand the process and impacts of drain cleaning.

How is Drain Cleaning Performed?

At Garvin’s Sewer Service, we use a Roto-Rooter(r) machine. This machine consists of a cable with blades on the end. When the machine is plugged into a power source, the technician uses a pedal to control the power as he guides the cable through the pipe.

A Little History of the Drain Cleaning Machine

The Roto-Rooter Franchise developed the machine used for drain-cleaning and it has been used for over 80 years. Garvin’s started as a franchisee of this organization and uses this type of machine still today. On average, we clean 40 drains per day, 365 days a year, and have for over 80 years. We aren’t the only one. Hundreds of thousands of drains are cleaned every year by thousands of drain-cleaning companies across the country.

In addition to this machine, often referred to as a snake or roto-rooter, there is something called a jetter or hyrdojet. This type of drain cleaning machine uses high powered water pressure to blast through clogs.

We believe blades and knives on a cable are the most effective against root intrusion in the sewer line. We also believe these snakes are best at clearing clogs – whether hair, food, scale or toilet paper. We use a jetter for jobs we think it is best for. In our experience, that is grease, core, mud, and sand.

How Does a Drain Line Break During Cleaning?

The blades on the end of the machine have a slight inward bend to them. They are sharp, and are often referred to as knives or blades and do exactly what you’d expect – they cut debris out of the line. These blades spin the circumference of the pipe, and should scrape the edges of the pipe clean.

On a main sewer line, a heavy duty machine is used with 4” blades, which matches the circumference of the sewer line. On inside lines, again the blades match the circumference of the line and range from 1 ½” to 3”. Typically, a smaller machine is used for these lines.

Because the knives spin through the circumference of a pipe, the only way they are able to break a line is:

  • The line is damaged already and the machine catches that bad spot and makes it worse
  • The line is damaged already and the machine scrapes off the buildup that is holding things together
  • The line is improperly plumbed causing the machine to turn back on itself or go the wrong direction

Can a Plumber Break a Drain Line?

Yes, a plumber can break a drain line, but it is not caused by the use of a drain cleaning machine. A sewer snake can get “stuck in a line”, and this can be due to an error by the drain technician.

Let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes and even the most experienced drain techs can get a cable stuck. This could happen if they give too much slack, have a old or weak cable, or misgauge the feel on the cable while running it. Remember, when a drain cleaner is running your line, he is doing it blind. He can’t see, he can only feel, smell, and look for clues based on how the water is draining and what he is pulling back.

Why Do Drain Lines Break?

Water is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. It built the Grand Canyon! Of course, the plumbing in your house isn’t thousands of years old, but that doesn’t mean water hasn’t caused corrosion on your pipes. Plus, water isn’t the only substance flowing through your drain lines.

Typically, we see drain lines fail when:

  • They have corroded from age
  • They have corroded from chemicals (use of chemical drain cleaners, water pH, etc.)
  • They have been impacted by root growth
  • They have been impacted by earth settling
  • They have been damaged by equipment such as from boring or trenching

Video sewer scope services from Garvin's Sewer Service

Who is Responsible for Broken Lines?

While there are times that a contractor is responsible for broken lines, you will find most have a Hold Harmless Clause for pre-existing conditions. Many homeowners simply don’t understand how drain cleaning or plumbing works, and therefore don’t understand the importance of preventive maintenance to reduce the chances of broken lines, either exposed through the drain cleaning process, or those that reveal themselves and require an emergency plumber.

Our Hold Harmless Clause states exclusions for our responsibility for damages caused because of pre-existing conditions and these include:

  • Leaking water pipes
  • Broken or damaged drain pipes
  • Plumbing code violations/outdated plumbing
  • Lead piping
  • Cast iron pipes
  • Galvanized pipes
  • Fixture damage such as cracks in toilets, tanks, supply lines or sinks
  • Hidden pipes such as bathtub p-traps and drum traps
  • Electrical lines and outlets – seen or unseen near plumbing

Other Dangers of Drain Cleaning

When a drain is cleaned, there is a chance that pre-existing conditions can be exposed, causing leaking and water damage. If a chemical drain cleaning product is used, such as those sold over the counter, like Drain-o or Liquid Plmbr, those can sit in the line and cause corrosion. High pressure water jetting can cause flooding if the lines are in poor condition.

However, the benefits of cleaning drains are significant. Left untreated, uncleaned drains can:

  • Cause sewage backups that negatively impact property and the health of the home’s occupants
  • The inability to use the plumbing including not having running water
  • Sewage and sanitary issues
  • Complete blockage of the sewer or drain line which requires emergency repairs – failure to do so can make the home uninhabitable

Preventative maintenance is the key!

Preventative maintenance not only keeps roots at bay to prevent bigger problems, but also allows a review of your current plumbing systems to support repairs rather than replacement.

Cleaning is ALWAYS less expensive than replacing the line and can be done in almost all cases of blockages/ clogs. How often preventative maintenance is performed will depend on your unique situation. How often roots get in your line, how many people live in your home, the length of your line, the material your sewer line is made of, the age of your home and plumbing… these all play a part in determining the frequency of cleaning.

For most people, an annual cleaning, or cleaning every other year is sufficient. Our drain techs are experienced in making a recommendation after cleaning your line about the frequency to consider.

Tips to keep your plumbing fixtures in top condition

Tips to keep your plumbing fixtures in top condition

Nobody likes a plumbing surprise. Surprise retirement or birthday celebrations with cake, yes, but grey water or sewer shocks aren’t fun. To help, we want to let you know what to look for to possibly prevent plumbing excitement.

Sneaky Leaks

Once in a while it’s good to take a peek beneath your sinks to see if moisture is harboring there. Look behind your washing machine and around the base of your dishwasher as well. Have you noticed a slow running or clogged drain? Is there unexplained wetness near a pipe in your basement? That’s not normal. You shouldn’t ignore any of these signs. They mean your sinks, dishwasher or bathtub may be crying out for some tender loving care. Garvin’s can help you keep on top of routine maintenance so that small problems don’t get bigger.

Trembling Toilets

Does the toilet quake when you run the bath? That’s not a good thing. Does your commode make noise and start to run when left by itself? Yeah, that’s not great either. Your noisy toilet might have a slow leak inside or outside that needs attention. You may be wasting precious water and a larger leak could cause damage over time. Garvin’s plumbing contractors of Englewood specialize in complete solutions that can ease your mind and bring peace to your plumbing.

Dyspeptic Disposals

It comes as a great surprise to most people that garbage disposals aren’t really for garbage. Coffee grounds, rice and large quantities of food should not be put down your drain even if you have a disposal. The disposal can help your pipes handle small quantities of food as long as you run plenty of cold water with them. Anything more and your disposal can get indigestion and your pipes can become compacted with food residue over time. You may notice your disposal leaking from underneath your sink, detect an awful smell that won’t go away or observe your sink draining slowly—all signs of an ailing disposal. Get these issues tended to quickly to prevent mold growth or pipe breakage in the future.

Caustic Chemicals

Garvin’s Sewer Service has been handling the yuck of clogged drains since just before the start of World War II. When we started in 1940, Bing Crosby was popular, the average price of a new car was $850 and women wanted to wear nylon stockings! That was a LONG time ago. So, you can trust us when we say you shouldn’t use common harsh chemicals to unblock your clogged kitchen or bathroom sink. Such cleaners are bad for the environment, can harm plumbing and can be dangerous to people too. Instead, it’s better to clean the pipes beneath your sink. Don’t want to do it yourself? Let us remove the residue, built-up hair or grime for you. We have the tools, expertise and the stomachs to face down stubborn clogs, eliminate them and make your pipes run clear again.

Sewer Service Plus

Garvin’s might be best known for sewer service, but we’re also some of the most trusted plumbing contractors in the entire state. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a small leak in your toilet or you’re up to your ankles in water, Garvin’s is ready to take care of all of your plumbing repairs. Call us today: 303-571-5114.

Preparing for “Brown Friday” in Denver

Preparing for “Brown Friday” in Denver

The experienced team of local plumbers at Garvin’s Sewer Service in Englewood has no shortage of work to do around the Denver Metro area. This is especially true on “Brown Friday” – the day after Thanksgiving, when clogged sinks and jammed garbage disposals reach a yearly high. 

Defining Brown Friday

The term “Brown Friday” has become increasingly prevalent in the American social conscious, thanks to several studies showing that emergency plumbing house calls the day after Thanksgiving are the highest of any day of the year. This increase in calls for plumbing repair in Denver is connected to a pair of Turkey Day “phenomenon.” The first is that the huge amount of food consumed by families nationwide creates a record amount of waste — grease, bones, and lots of other stuff that goes from dishes directly into the garbage disposal. It then collects in the disposal’s basin before beginning its slow ooze through kitchen sink pipes. The more grease and scraps, the greater the likelihood of a clog developing. 

The second is that plumbers celebrate Thanksgiving too, and many families prefer to wait a day before calling for help. We’d like to think this is done out of the goodness of their hearts, and that’s mostly true. However, some of the thriftier households put it off to avoid paying a “holiday premium.” At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. At any rate, the result is that our local plumbers get two days’ worth of holiday calls on the same day. 

Tips for Avoiding Your Own Brown Friday

If you want to increase your odds of avoiding your own Brown Friday, check out the following tips. Share them with family and friends, and collectively you might just manage to avoid a brownout. 

  • Bones and fibrous foods (potato peels, corn husks, carrots, onion skins) shouldn’t be put in the garbage disposal. Bones can damage the disposal’s blades, while fibrous scraps tend to wrap around the blades, which can damage the motor. Toss these items in compost or trash instead.
  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into a cup/container and stick it in the freezer. Wait for the grease to solidify, and then throw it out (or reuse it). 
  • Keep the water running when feeding the disposal food scraps.
  • Wipe off greasy pans before washing them.
  • If multiple people are showering at your house over the holiday, use a mesh strainer to keep hair from clogging the drain.
  • Avoid flushing wipes, feminine products, and other non-dissolvable items down the toilet.

A quick word about grease, since it’s arguably the biggest contributor to drain clogs, (and it’s not just grease – it’s the combination of grease, liquefied fat, and oil.) Putting this goop down your drain will not only cause problems for your household plumbing, but it also creates problems for your city’s sewage system. So the more vigilant you are about keeping grease and its allies out of your disposal, the better. 

Brown Friday Blues? Contact Garvin’s Sewer Service

Black Friday may be the most popular day after Thanksgiving for deal shoppers, but in the plumbing community, it doesn’t hold a candle to Brown Friday. Try your best to follow the tips provided above, and if you still end up with drain clogs near Englewood this Thanksgiving, rest assured our experienced plumbers will supply a quick, budget-friendly solution. 

 

Tips For Keeping Your Restaurant Drains Fresh

Tips For Keeping Your Restaurant Drains Fresh

If you’re running a restaurant you know just how many things there are to keep track of. One thing that you may not be thinking of is your drains, but we’re here to tell you just how important proper drain care is. At Garvin’s Sewer Service, we offer commercial drain cleaning Englewood residents can rely on, and we can help you keep the drains at your restaurant clean too. Here are some tips that can help you take care of your drains and avoid health hazards.

Keep the Grease Traps Clean

This is one of the best ways to keep your drains in top shape. The grease traps are designed to stop certain materials from entering your plumbing system and gumming up the works. The main culprits here are oils and fats, both of which can cause plumbing problems if they’re allowed to progress past your grease traps. Knowing how often your grease traps to be pumped, and when the grease trap line needs to be cleaned is key. Both depend on how much grease you dispose of so find an interval that works well for you.

Use More Natural Solutions

If you do have a minor clog, don’t just reach for a chemical drain cleaner. While they can be effective, the harsh ingredients and compounds they use to break down clogs can end up causing other types of problems. We’re talking about potentially expensive damage here. Instead, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, which work together to tackle grime and grease. You can also try hot water and bleach to clear smells. And, the best of all, these solutions don’t damage the pipes.

Get Rid of Food Scraps

Even small food scraps can cause problems if they go down the drain. Have employees clean off plates thoroughly into a trash can so that you don’t have to worry about this waste causing clogs and drain issues. A little extra time spent on cleanup could save you a headache later.

Install a Drain Cover

A drain cover or grate can keep out large debris, ensuring that your pipes and grease traps stay cleaner. It doesn’t cost too much to install one and it could end up paying for itself over time if you can avoid costly plumbing problems with its assistance.

Run Some Hot Water

Here’s a simple trick. Even if you’re being careful, some oil or grease is likely to get down your drain. If you run hot water down your sink after using it, you can start to liquefy these materials and prevent them from causing a major clog.

Bring in a Pro

If you do encounter a major issue, don’t delay. Talk to the pros at Garvin’s Sewer Service right away! We even offer emergency drain cleaning services, so we can help you if a problem suddenly pops up and you need it fixed quickly. We can often get out to you less than two hours after you make the call, and we don’t even charge extra for emergency service! We’re here for you all day, every day!

The Commercial Drain Cleaner You Can Rely On in Englewood, CO

So if you’re in need of a reliable drain cleaner, we’re ready to help. Contact Garvin’s Sewer Service today and see how easy it can be to properly care for the plumbing at your restaurant, without breaking the bank.

Why are Plumbers Considered Essential Workforce?

Why are Plumbers Considered Essential Workforce?

There has been a lot of talk lately about what is considered “essential”, especially in regards to service providers. Pandemic or not, plumbers are considered essential for two main reasons, and several others (in our opinion). Here’s why:

Plumbers are Essential Reason 1: Uncontrolled Water Flow

When a pipe bursts or a fitting fails and water is gushing, it is a true emergency. Water can create significant damages to property and needs to be shut off as soon as possible to prevent flooding. Once shut off, repairs can be made so that water bills don’t skyrocket nor future flooding threatens the property.

Plumbers are Essential Reason 2: Sewer Back Ups

When a sewer line backs up into a home, it causes three major issues:

  • Flooding (if water continues to be ran)
  • Pooling sewage 
  • Inability to use water

Not having access to running water or the ability to use a toilet without creating flooding or additional waste backing up into the home creates a significant health concern. Bacteria, fecal matter and disease can all be present in the pooling sewage and needs to be flushed out of the home as soon as possible.

In both the cases of uncontrolled water flow and sewer back-ups, a restoration or cleaning service may be needed to restore or replace property damaged by the plumbing issue.

Other Reasons We Are Essential

Whether the government determines these as essential or not, doesn’t mean much to us, nor the customers who know just how important these additional issues can be:

Leaks. Minor leaks around the sink or toilet can cause significant damage if left in disrepair. Rotted wood floors, cabinets, subflooring, and mold growth can all happen when water gets into an area and can’t dry out. Often leaks are hidden, only to be discovered once other repairs are being made or when there is a remodel.

Visible leaks should be handled as soon as possible in order to limit or eliminate damages from where the water flows that may not be seen.

Convenience. Decades ago homeowners knew how to make do without certain appliances. In fact, there are still places in the world today who don’t have the convenience of running water, let alone refrigerator ice makers or water purifiers. However, as Americans we have the ability to choose convenience – whether that is a gas line to an in or outdoor grill, a water line to a smart fridge, a low flush or ADA toilet, or faucets that best fit our lifestyle.

While these fixtures may not be essential to everyone, their convenience, efficiency, and aesthetics improve our quality of life.

Maintenance. As homeowners and building managers know, maintenance is the most affordable way to stay on top of your property. Keeping water heaters, pipes and drains in the best shape consistently over time, saves time, money and stress over a huge repair in the future.

For example, getting a sewer line cleaned every 12-18 months can prevent a build up that results in a several thousand dollar repair. Not only is that financially difficult, there is also the mess of digging the yard up and not being able to use water while the repair is being done.

If you are experiencing a plumbing emergency, or are needing to make repairs or improvements, Garvin’s Sewer Service is here, and has been since 1940, to help you as part of America’s Essential Workforce. Call us today at 3030-571-5114 for more information or to get scheduled.

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.

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.