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.

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.

The Most Common Winter Plumbing Issues

When people agree to purchase a home, they also agree to assume all the expenses that come with such an investment, and it certainly does seem like more things go wrong in the dead of winter than at any other time of year, especially when it comes to plumbing. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we field a lot of phone calls during the colder months of the year, and we obviously are happy to help how we can. Still, considering how in-demand a plumbing repair service technician is from November through March, it is worth knowing what may be going wrong with your plumbing so you can keep an eye on it throughout winter.

The following are four of the most common winter plumbing issues our professionals deal with during the colder month:

Frozen Pipes

Far and away the most common problem in the winter months is frozen pipes, which obviously happens when the weather gets so cold that your pipes (and the water therein) freeze. The first thing to do if you feel like this may be the problem is turn off your water at the supply to keep any more water from clogging up and bursting the pipes. After that, it’s best to call a plumbing repair service right away so they can diagnose and correct the problem, which can be significant if left unattended.

Water Line Break

Another side effect of standing water in freezing pipes is the potential for a water line break. When water freezes inside a line, it can cause blockages that can grow and eventually cause major leaks that can be expensive to repair. There are pressure relief valves that can be installed in your water line in certain areas to help make sure these blockages don’t occur, but that typically requires professional help.

A Lack of Hot Water

We also get a lot of phone calls about water heater problems, which happen this time of year because the water being pulled in travels through very cold pipes, meaning it takes longer for that water to heat up. While this itself is more inconvenience than major problem, it is true that water heaters work harder in the winter and that people use more hot water when it’s cold outside, so more problems do occur with these this time of year.

Clogged Drains

Interestingly, we also get more calls for clogged drains during the holidays, likely because people are cooking and hosting parties so much more often than at other times in the year. With more cooking comes more sink and garbage disposal use, and with increased use comes the higher potential for something to go wrong. If and when that does happen, a professional plumber can help clear up the problem and get your drains unclogged for even more holiday cheer.

An Experienced Englewood, Co Plumber

If any of these issues rear their ugly heads in your home this winter, give us a call here at Garvin’s Sewer Service. Our skilled professionals will have you up and running in no time, even if Jack Frost makes it harder than ever to make those repairs!

Five Signs You Need to Call an Emergency Drain Cleaning Service

Plumbing emergencies are some of the most stressful  experiences that homeowners face, mostly because few things cause as much damage to a home as water. While there are plenty of plumbing issues that do not technically qualify as emergencies, sometimes it is worth calling during off hours and arranging for a professional to address an issue immediately.

The following are five signs that you may need to call Garvin’s Sewer Service to set up an emergency drain cleaning service:

#1 Water Backups

The most common reason to call an emergency drain cleaning service is a water backup that is causing water to spill forth from the source and isn’t stopping or slowing down. This often starts as slow drainage caused by a clog, but when the clog gets so bad that water can’t get through the pipes at all, big problems can arise. Whether the clog is caused by the buildup of minerals or waste doesn’t matter. If the clog forms completely, it gets even harder to remove and can lead to big problems in terms of water damage.

#2 Unusually Bad Smells

Another common problem associated with especially bad clogs is an unusually bad smell, which can be a result of sewer gas caused by water in drains evaporating when not used often. Rising sewer gas vapor can rise up through the drain and create a nasty smell. If hot water alone doesn’t flush out the odor, you may need to call someone here at Garvin’s Sewer Service to address the issue.

#3 Frozen Pipes

In the winter, when temperatures drop below freezing, frozen pipes can cause serious problems in terms of drainage and potential leaks. Visible frost on exposed pipes, odd clanking noises when the tap is turned on, and the complete stoppage of water anywhere in the home all could be signs of frozen pipes, and together they could shut down your water supply.

#4 Visible Water (Where It Shouldn’t Be Visible)

There are times when water should be visible, but if there’s water showing in places where it shouldn’t be, it could be the sort of problem that causes water damage in your home. Take, for example, water pooling around the base of a toilet, water dripping from the ceiling, or water seeping up from the floor. Each of these should mean an emergency call to your plumber immediately.

#5 Cloudy or Colored Water

If the water in your home is anything but clear, you could have a problem with drainage that needs correcting. Yellow or brown water, for example, could mean that you have to much iron in your water, signaling an issue with the water heater. Blue or green tinted water might mean your copper pipes are corroded. In both cases, using the colored or cloudy water could be unsafe, so calling emergency plumbing services may be the right decision.

If any of these signs rear their ugly heads, do no hesitate to reach out to someone here at Garvin’s Sewer Service. We’ll be happy to schedule an emergency drain cleaning service to get your water running (or rather, not running) exactly as it’s supposed to.

Do I Need an Emergency Plumber for a Hydro-Jet?

Earlier this week my roommate made a pan of chicken enchiladas, which happens to be one of my favorite foods. I carefully pulled the plastic container out of the fridge, put a generous serving of cheesy goodness into my bowl and put it in the microwave for one minute. Eager to devour, I plopped a dollop of sour cream on top, stirred my bowl and took a bite. Unfortunately, the microwave had created a hot spot in my meal and what should have been a delicious bite felt like a hot coal in my mouth. It resulted in me burning my mouth, significantly enough to leave a blister. My impatience caused a serious problem.

At this moment you may be asking yourself how this relates to an emergency plumber or a hydro-jet, so let me connect the dots: sometimes our impatience causes serious problems. If we have a sewer line back up, the first thing we want is for it to be resolved. It is not a pleasant experience- it can smell bad, stop the ability to use water, appliances, and the toilet. However, calling an emergency plumber with a hydro-jet to solve the problem isn’t always the answer. Well, let me rephrase: in the case of a sewer line back up you will want to call an emergency plumber, but you may not want a hydro-jet.

It’s Important to Use the Right Tool for the Job

First, it is important to know what a hydro-jet is best suited for and what it’s not. So many times we have homeowners call to have their sewer line cleaned and they request a hydro-jet. An emergency plumber will typically carry one of two types of sewer line clearing equipment- a rooter machine or a hydro-jet.

The truth is a hydro-jet (also sometimes called a jetter) is best suited for commercial use. The high PSI of truck mounted units was designed for commercial grade 6” and larger pipes. These pipes are found in commercial buildings and typically are responsible for taking all the waste from smaller lines and pushing them out to the city main.

In a residential home in Denver, pipes are typically 2-4” and aren’t designed to handle the amount of water or pressure from a hydro-jet and can result in flooding. Additionally, many Denver area residential sewer back-ups are caused by root growth in the line, which are better cleared with a rooter machine. This type of machine has sharp blades on the end of a tightly wound cable that cut roots out of a line, unlike a hydro-jet.

A mini-jet is the similar concept of a full size hydro-jet but, as the name suggests, is much smaller. It’s application for clearing grease out of a kitchen sink line makes it desirable, but a rooter machine can do just as well if not better.

Don’t Make It Worse

If flushing toilets, using appliances or running water makes a sewer back-up worse, know that an emergency plumber with a hydro-jet isn’t a good idea. Instead, look for a plumbing contractor who uses a rooter machine to clear the clog, causing the water to drain to the city main as it should, without the risk of flooding.


Looking for a Denver based emergency plumber? Call Garvin’s today for a quote and discover why over 4 generations of Denver families have trusted Garvin’s for their sewer and plumbing needs for over 75 years!

When To Call An Emergency Plumber

Have you ever been asleep at night and awaken because you hear the sound of running water? You climb out of bed and turn on the light to see a bubble of water resting in your ceiling…

You are not alone and it is times like this you don’t want to be searching for a plumber, afraid of the cost or quality of the person willing to show up in the middle of the night. In order to help you, we wanted to give you some facts about emergency plumbing services to help you make a better decision.

Fact or Myth? An Emergency Plumber Costs More Money


Emergency plumbing is almost always a temporary fix that will hold things over until the supply houses are open, which is usually standard business hours. Because the plumber is called outside these hours, one of a few options happen:

  1. They charge more for the convenience of assisting outside normal business hours. And while it is a service professionals job to help, there are real reasons for the increased price for an emergency plumber to come to your home.
  2. They charge more because they may have to call the supply house and have them open outside normal business hours and that incurs a fee, which the plumber passes to you.
  3. They come and provide a temporary fix, charging extra (see point 1 above), then come back the next day when the plumbing house is open and they can get needed parts.
  4. They come provide a true fix (as opposed to a temporary one) because they happen to have the needed parts on their truck. (With over 10,000 plumbing parts, this is unlikely).

To avoid this, know where your emergency water shut off valve is and mediate any damage the best you can and call the plumber in the morning.

Fact or Myth? A Sewer Line Back Up Requires an Emergency Plumber


Sewer line back-ups are unsanitary and can require expensive restoration services if not handled quickly. Our Englewood based Emergency Plumbers specialize in sewer line back-ups and we pride ourselves on arriving to your property within 4 hours, regardless of time of day, day of the week or even holiday.

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

If in doubt about the severity of your plumbing problem, call and talk to the emergency plumber who will share the most appropriate options with you. If you are unfamiliar with the company, consider these questions. It may even be a good time to call around today and find a reputable company before there is a problem, and put them in your phone. This will help you avoid a more costly repair that is reacted to out of urgency. Some questions to ask:

  • Do you charge an emergency fee and when does that apply?
  • What types of services do you perform during regular hours and during afterhours?
  • Do you have a service call charge?
  • Do you have a published price list?

Additionally, check out the company’s online reputation through resources such as the Better Business Bureau.

New to the area and looking for a reliable and reputable emergency plumber? Wanting a plumbing provider who doesn’t charge extra for nights, weekends or holidays? Garvin’s Sewer Service has been proving reliable, honest plumbing and sewer services for the Greater Denver and Boulder areas from their Englewood office since 1940. Give them a call with questions, for a quote or to learn more about preventative maintenance and repair services at 303-571-5114.

4 Reasons to Call an Emergency Plumber

Emergency plumber needed! That is never something we want to encounter, but it is part of homeownership at some point. While there is never a good time for a plumbing emergency, there are certain ones that need to be handled immediately. Letting a drip continue can lead to erosion, hidden and visual damages and even mold issues. Allowing sewage to sit can create a serious health hazard.

There are also plumbing issues many homeowners feel they can handle on their own, and some can. It is important to know, however, that many plumbing issues require higher education, permits and licensing and therefore should be handled by a plumbing professional.

Sewer Line Back Ups- Call an Emergency Plumber ASAP

While clearing a sewer line back up could be handled by a homeowner we don’t suggest it. Drain cleaning machines can be rented at some hardware stores but without proper training can be dangerous to the operator. Sharp blades and tightly wound cable can cause lacerations, bruising and muscle tears very easily. Any time a person is working with both water and electricity, precautions must be taken, and is best left to plumbing professionals.

With sewer lines, you will also be dealing with fecal matter and waste that could be dangerous if not handled properly. It is messy, stinky and doing it wrong is a disaster. Professional drain cleaners perform over 30 drain cleanings a week making them faster, more efficient, and more skilled than a homeowner with little to no training or experience.

Emergency Plumbing Issue 2: Sink Clogs

Again, homeowners do attempt to tackle sink clogs on their own. This is ok if done correctly. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners as they are extremely dangerous. Not only could they harm you, your children, and pets if handled incorrectly, if they don’t clear the drain and you or an emergency plumber attempts to use a machine, the splash back could cause eye and skin irritation requiring medical attention.

If you choose to clear a sink clog on your own, disassemble the p-trap and manually clear it with a grabbing tool. Be sure to properly re-assemble any pipes to prevent leaking and damage that would cause.

Emergency Plumber Concern 3: Leaks

If you are seeing visual water damage, it is very likely there is additional damage that is unseen. Water damage can cause a host of other problems, including mold, which can turn into a huge, expensive cleaning and restoration project if not handled quickly. Turn off your water to the area if possible. This video shows you how: https://youtu.be/TPWTjB6GvOs

Broken Lines/ Burst Pipes- Call an Emergency Plumber ASAP!

A leak will likely be a small issue that can become large, while a broken line is a big problem that can get out of control if not addressed immediately. Turn off any water supply to the area and dry up anything you can. Contact an emergency plumber right away. Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable with the plumber, or the price, you can get a second opinion. Even paying a small service charge fee is worth the additional money you can save from getting a second or even third bid.

Reputable plumbers will put the quote in writing. Clarify what is included and excluded in the bid and don’t be shy about asking questions.

Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver and Boulder’s Emergency Plumber needs since 1940.

© Can Stock Photo / Kurhan