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.

Drain cleaning services from Garvin's Sewer Service Englewood & Denver CO

Five Reasons Not to Try Do-It-Yourself Drain Cleaning

When a drain gets severely clogged, the first instinct should be to call a professional plumbing service to help clear up the issue, but we all know that isn’t necessarily where many people head first. No, some folks would rather try dealing with the clog themselves in an attempt to save money, but here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we have seen many nightmare scenarios that have resulted in much bigger and more expensive problems.

For a number of reasons, it is not always a good idea to take the DIY approach to cleaning out a clogged drain.

#1 Liquid Drain Cleaners Aren’t Always the Best Option

There are so many reasons that professional plumbers do not recommend the use of liquid drain cleaners, not the least of which is their overall toxicity, which is awful for the environment. From a more local viewpoint, however, these cleaners can actually cause damage to your plumbing pipes thanks to the corrosive acids that work to unblock those clogs. A professional plumber with professional tools won’t cause these same problems.

#2 The Problem Might Be Bigger Than You Think

And in terms of problems, a do-it-yourself enthusiast can’t possibly have any idea of the scope of the problem is lying beneath their sink. Without knowing the exact cause of the clog, it can be rather challenging to know how to approach fixing it. Grime buildup and solid masses are too much for a DIYer to do themselves, which is why bigger problems need careful consideration and professional help.

#3 You Could Risk Further Damage (and Cost!)

Without knowing the ins and outs of professional pipe maintenance and cleaning, there is a fair chance that you could actually cause even more harm to your pipes than the issue at hand. In an attempt to save money, you could actually create an even pricier problem that could have been avoided entirely had a pro been contacted in the first place.

#4 DIY Is a Big Time Investment

Calling a professional allows homeowners to carry on with their lives without having to invest the better part of a day (or longer) figuring out how to approach a do-it-yourself project that may or may not end the way they want it to. Since DIY is such a big time investment, why not just pay someone to do that work for you?

#5 Professional Techniques & Equipment Yield Professional Results

The professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service flat-out have access to professional tools and techniques that amateurs do not, which means we can do things the way they were meant to be done. Remember, it’s not just about finishing the project, but doing it in a way that holds up over time so other problems don’t follow at some random time in the future.

If you find yourself in need of a professional drain cleaning service, give us a call here Garvin’s Sewer Service. We will be happy to help clear up your plumbing issues in a way that is efficient, affordable, and backed by a professional guarantee. Pros are pros for a reason. Don’t take the risk of fixing a drain yourself when better trained people are happy to make sure the job gets done the right way.

The Most Common Spring Plumbing Issues, Garvin's Sewer Service, Denver, CO

The Most Common Spring Plumbing Issues

While winter brings more than its fair share of plumbing problems, the spring can be just as problematic, especially at the outset when warmer weather reveals the havoc winter wreaked, and occasional cold snips following a few warm days cause new problems of their own.

Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we want our customers to be aware of what could be going wrong with their plumbing once spring comes so they can recognize the problems quickly and get a professional to their property to get things back up and running the way they should.

The following are the most common spring plumbing problems:

#1 Clogged Outdoor Drains

Ideally, homeowners would have taken care of fallen leaves, sticks, and other blockages in their gutters and outdoor drains before winter ever hit in the first place, but if that wasn’t the case, all the winter precipitation may have packed all that organic debris even tighter, making for quite a headache come spring. These types of blockages can send water from spring rains into unexpected places, which can create significant drainage issues. Sometimes, the obstruction is so significant it requires the assistance of a professional to correct.

Garvin’s clears drainage issues with outdoor drains such as French drains, trench drains, sand traps and more (both commercial and residential).

#2 Leaky Pipes

It is possible for pipes to develop leaks over the course of winter that don’t necessarily show themselves until spring. Pipe materials shrink in freezing temperatures, creating cracks that can temporarily be filled by frozen water. When that ice melts, however, the leaks become apparent, perhaps causing water damage and affecting water pressure in your home. If you think this may be something you’re experiencing this spring, call Garvin’s Sewer Service to fix those leaky pipes.

#3 Line Obstructions

With spring comes new life, which usually is a good thing—except when plant roots split main and sewer lines, causing the sorts of obstructions that are frustrating for homeowners that need those lines clear to function properly. As trees leave their dormant stage, roots spread out and work themselves into vulnerable pipes, causing poor water pressure and slow drainage.

#4 Poor Drainage

That poor drainage can come as a result of an obstructed main line, but there are other reasons why your fixtures may be draining slowly by the time spring rolls around. Winter is a time filled with big holiday meals and visiting house guests, which can mean all sorts of extra foreign items going down your drains and causing clogs that aren’t common at other times of year. Because these types of obstructions often are out of reach for most customers, a professional with professional instruments is the best way to correct the problem.

Schedule a Service Appointment

If you experience any of these issues by the time spring rolls around, contact the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service to come have a look. Your plumbing repair service should be a quick and easy one, but even if the job is bigger, we can help make the required repairs to get you water running and behaving the way it did before winter cold and spring growth did their damage.

What to Do If You Have a Burst Pipe

What to Do If You Have a Burst Pipe

There are few nightmarish homeowner situations worse than a burst pipe. For starters, many people don’t have the first idea what to do when this happens, but the mess alone is about as frustrating as house damages can get. The professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service obviously can help, but there are a few things our customers can do while they wait for the professionals to arrive.

If you should experience a burst pipe, follow these tips to help get your home back in working (dry) order.

Step #1: Turn Off the Water

As is the case any time there is water behaving in ways it should not throughout your house, the first step always is to turn off the water. Whatever damage has been done, you can at least minimize any further problems by stopping the water from flowing. To do this, you’ll need to find your water main and turn the lever so it’s perpendicular to the pipe. Once it’s off, you’ll need to drain the pipes, and you can do that by running all the faucets in your house until they go dry. When there is no more running tap water, the leak should stop.

Step #2: Find the Source of the Damage

After you’ve shut off the water, you’ll want to find the source of the damage to assess exactly how big a problem you’ve got. A major water pipe, for example, is a much bigger problem than a single pipe under a sink.

Step #3: Call a Plumber

Your next step will be to make sure you get a professional to your house as soon as possible to begin the repair process. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we specialize in emergency drain cleaning service and ruptured pipes, so if you want to make sure the water is truly stopped and return function to your sinks, showers, and toilets, you’ll need to call us as soon as possible so we can fix the problem and get things functional again.

Step #4: Clean Up What You Can

While you wait for our professionals to show up, you can begin cleaning up whatever water you can. Sometimes, these jobs are too big for a single person to even know where to begin, but if you can use buckets, mops, and towels to clean up some of the mess, you absolutely should. Water damage can easily lead to mold, and the sooner you clean it up, the more likely you are to avoid the worst of that.

Step #5: Consider Hiring a Drying Crew

Sometimes, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional drying crew. They can minimize the formation of mold and get your furniture up on blocks so everything can dry. There may be other repairs in the future, including replacing flooring or drywall, but a drying service can salvage what they can before making those expensive decisions.

It is not ideal to have a pipe burst but remember that Garvin’s Sewer Service can help if this should happen. Never hesitate to call us if this problem arises. We even have a call line for off-hours emergencies should something like this happen in the middle of the night. Either way, we are the plumbing professionals that can help get your pipes fixed and your water working normally again.

Preventing Clogged Drains by Changing Daily Habits

Preventing Clogged Drains by Changing Daily Habits

Nobody likes a clogged drain, not only because they can be pretty disgusting to clean out but also because in the wrong situation, they can stop some of the primary functions of your home and put a lot of water on your floor. Knowing how much people dislike these types of clogs, then, it’s a wonder that more people do not change some of their daily habits when those very habits are the reason clogs are forming in the first place.

Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we are happy to unclog a drain or provide any sort of drain cleaning service, but we also encourage our customers to shift a few daily habits. Here’s what we suggest to keep your drains clearer moving forward:

#1 Avoid Letting Food Scraps Go Down the Drain

Obviously, garbage disposals can handle some food, but if your drain doesn’t have a disposal, do not force food scraps down drains they were not intended to accommodate. Dump your table scraps in the garbage whenever possible to avoid food-related clogs in your kitchen sink.

#2 Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

Another common mistake people make in their kitchens centers around grease. While it may be easier to just dump used cooking oil or old hamburger grease down the drain, this can cause major clogs and buildup over time. Instead, use an old jar or can to dump grease and throw it away in the trash.

#3 Clean Drain Stoppers in Bathroom

There really is no stopping hair and dirt from getting stuck inside of certain types of drain stoppers, so make it a habit to clean out those stoppers regularly. The more often you do it, the less likely it will be that the hair will build up so thick that it will clog your drain in a way that’s not so easy to clean out.

#4 Other Than Toilet Paper, Don’t Flush Paper Products

Put simply, don’t use your toilet as a trash can. Flushing toilet paper obviously is fine, but flushing other paper products, feminine products, or just trash, in general, can be the sort of thing that gets stuck in the toilet drain. Of all the back-ups that can occur, a clogged toilet may be the least pleasant to clean.

#5 Consider Using Drain Screens

One simple solution to a lot of these problems is to switch out the types of drains you’re using in the first place. Kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs all can integrate drain screens to capture debris long before it makes its way into your drains. Stopping the problem at the source is the best and easiest option.

Contact a Trusted Englewood, CO Plumber

If you and your family are able to change just these few habits, there is a very good chance that you will not deal with the same types of drain clogs that have been plaguing your home for years. Of course, if you ever do bump into a drain issue that you can’t take care of yourself, never hesitate to reach out to Garvin’s Sewer Service. We’ll get everything back up and running in no time.

Common Causes of Clogged Bathroom Drains

How do you know when you need to hire a professional plumber? In general, it’s when you notice that one of your drains doesn’t seem to be functioning like it should. While a clogged drain can be problematic in the kitchen or laundry room, things can be even worse in the bathroom given the nature of the activities that take place in a typical restroom.

What’s the key to avoiding clogged bathroom drains? It’s to know the common causes of clogged bathroom drains and to avoid them.

Stringy Stuff

If you’re like many people, flossing your teeth, shaving and brushing your hair are normal activities that you do in your bathroom every day. While many people do these things in their restrooms, they can pose a problem for your plumbing if you don’t dispose of your used dental floss and loose hairs properly and they end up in your bathroom drain.

Floss and string are not biodegradable and they, along with hair, can form clumps and knots in your bathroom drains. When this happens, they can clog your washroom drains and trap unpleasant odors that can be smelled from a considerable distance.

Toys

If you have children, you know that toys have a way of ending up in the most unusual places, sometimes including the toilet. If a flushed toy ends up making its way into your main sewer line, you’ll have to contend with more than a dysfunctional, possibly backed up toilet. You’ll likely end up having to pay for major repairs to your plumbing.

Kitty Litter

If you’re a cat owner and you keep your kitty’s litter box in or near the bathroom, you might be tempted to dump the used litter in your toilet and flush it away. If that’s the case, resist!

Kitty litter is designed to clump when it’s exposed to moisture. If you flush used litter down your toilet, it can cause major blockages and require you to hire a drain clean service provider to fix your plumbing.

Wipes and Towelettes

There are plenty of products out there that claim to be flushable but shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, including baby wipes and cosmetic towelettes. While many of these products say they’re flushable, the truth is that they won’t break down when they’re immersed in water the way toilet paper is made to do.

Even if these items make it through your drainage system, they can still cause big problems for your municipality’s sewage system if your home is connected to it. To prevent problems with your drainage system or your town’s system, throw used baby wipes and cosmetic towelettes in the garbage.

Feminine Hygiene Products

While the temptation to flush used feminine hygiene products is understandable, these items should never be flushed down the toilet. Flushing them is a sure-fire way to clog a bathroom drain and force you to call for professional assistance with your drainage system.

Use Our Drain Cleaning Services

If your bathroom drains are clogged for any reason and you’re located in the Denver-area, we can help. Read about our drain cleaning services now and contact Garvin’s Sewer Service to schedule an appointment today.