How to Check if Your Toilet Tank is Leaking

How to Check if Your Toilet Tank is Leaking

While Americans use a lot of water every day for drinking and watering flowers and taking showers, a little over a quarter (27 percent) of the water we use comes from our toilets. That sounds like a lot, but that number can rise even higher if there is a leak in your toilet tank that allows wasted water to run for hours at a time. Nobody wants to waste that kind of water, whether that be for environmental or budgetary reasons. How does one make sure they don’t have a leak in their toilet tank? There’s a simple test you can conduct to know whether you’ll need plumbing leak repair in Denver.

Performing the Leak Test

The first sign that something may be wrong with your toilet is the persistent turning on and off of the water in the toilet tank, even when you aren’t using the commode. But even if you don’t hear that water running, you still can perform this test to be sure a leak isn’t running up your water bill.

To get started, you will need a packet of toilet leak detection dye tablets. They are very quick and easy to use and are available through your plumbing contractor in Englewood or at your local hardware store. Here’s how you use them to test your toilet for a leak:

  1. Remove the toilet tank lid.
  2. Remove the blue dye tablets from the package and drop them into the toilet tank. You will immediately find that the water in your tank has turned blue.
  3. Put the lid back onto the tank and give the tablets time to completely dissolve. This usually takes approximately 10-to-15 minutes.
  4. After that time, come back and check the bowl of your toilet. If the water there has turned any shade of blue, it means that your toilet tank is leaking and wasting water.

What to Do If Your Toilet Tank is Leaking

Toilet tank leaks are usually caused by an ineffective flush valve system or a fill valve problem, either of which is something best left to a professional plumber. While you likely don’t need to call emergency plumbing in Denver to correct the problem, it is something you’ll want to have taken care of to ensure the leak is repaired so you can stop wasting water and lower your monthly water bill.

Every day a silent leak goes undetected in your home can amount to as much as 300 gallons of wasted water, which is about three times what the average American uses in an entire day. Not only is that incredibly wasteful, but it can lead to hundreds of dollars flushed away each year for literally no good reason. A quick call to Garvin’s Sewer Service will cost much less than what you’d pay in wasted water, and you’ll be doing the environment a favor by conserving water.

If you’ve run the toilet tank test and need Garvin’s Sewer Service to help you repair it, give us a call and we’ll stop that leaking toilet tank at our earliest convenience.

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.

Don’t Have Toilet Paper? Do THIS, not THAT

Don’t Have Toilet Paper? Do THIS, not THAT

Well, as the Center for Disease Control is asking people to wash their hands, and stay home if they are showing signs of sickness, it seems that correlates to hoarding toilet paper and masks. While POTUS Trump puts a travel ban on Europe, we see people stealing gloves, and hand sanitizer from hospitals.

While this doesn’t quite seem logical, it is our reality today, and in a measure to continue to offer the valuable advice you have come to expect from Garvin’s Sewer Service, we want to give alternates for toilet paper in a THIS not THAT fashion:

Bidet NOT Toilet Paper

Europeans have made bidets popular, but we are seeing more and more installed in the states, as well as urinals in private homes (previously they were reserved for commercial use.) However, homeowners are wanting convenience and less water (and paper use) associated with full flush toilets, especially when they are only urinating.

Reusable Cloths NOT Flushable Wipes

While hygiene wipes say they are flushable, we find them clogging sewer lines all the time. They just don’t break down like toilet paper does. While they are ok for occasional use, they shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.

If you want to be a true hippie, use fabric scraps similar to cloth diapers made from 100% cotton t-shirts or flannel. Keep them in a bin and wash them in hot water before reusing them.

Trash NOT Toilet

If you are really out of toilet paper, you can use napkins, paper towel or tissue, but unless you are doing a solid waste #2, throw these in the trash rather than the toilet to prevent clogs. Like wipes, stronger napkins, paper towels and even facial tissue isn’t designed to break down as quickly or easily as toilet paper, so should only be flushed in low quantities. 

Flush more often if you are using these products and consider a preventative maintenance sewer cleaning to help push through any clogs and cut any roots out of the line that could catch the debris and hold it in place. 

If we can help you prevent clogs, in your sewer or toilet, give us a call at 303-571-5114 for same day service.

Flushable not flushable

Why Only Flush Toilet Paper?

Like most women, you have been to a bathroom, whether private or public, and a sign has been prominently displayed in the stall that reads: “Please don’t flush anything but toilet paper”. While this seems straightforward, it is still confusing, especially because we are told certain products are “flushable”, including tampon cores, wipes, and paper towel. So, what’s the deal?

If you’ve ever owned a home, you have likely had the unpleasant experience of a sewer line back up. It may have started with a toilet gurgle, or may have just surprised you with a basement puddle of sewage. You likely contacted a sewer cleaning company and had them take care of the problem. Often, but not always, the sewer technician will let you know what caused the problem – tree root overgrowth, tampons, and too much paper tend to be the biggest culprits. Let’s talk more about each so you can understand why just because something says it’s flushable, it doesn’t mean it is wise to do so.

Tree Root Overgrowth

The trees in your yard, or even your neighbor’s yard, can grow into the porous material of your sewer line, especially at sewer line joints. These roots act as a strainer, capturing debris and usually letting water pass. Of course, water won’t be able to flow through once too much debris has collected. This is why what you flush matters – anything that doesn’t quickly and easily break down runs the risk of being grabbed and held onto including…

Toilet Paper

All toilet papers are designed to break down in sewer and septic systems. Plush and ultra types of toilet paper tend to take longer to disintegrate and often absorb water, turning them into globs of paper before they hit the city sewer main. Clumps of this toilet paper don’t pass as easily through your home’s pipes and sit in your line like spit wads on elementary school ceilings. Add sewer roots to the mix and you can see why the wrong toilet paper can be a problem.

Tampons

Tampons, not the applicators (which most women know are not flushable), but the cotton/rayon tampon itself, is not to be flushed. Yes, they are small enough to make it through the waste lines, but don’t dissolve or breakdown like paper products do. Instead, wrap them in toilet paper like you do feminine pads and dispose of them in the trash. Again, if roots are in the line, they will grab the tampons and cause a clog. Without roots, tampons can still sit in the line, catch other debris, and prevent water from passing through.

Other Items

Other items that say they are flushable, but really can cause problems in your sewer include wipes and paper towels. They are both made out of paper, so will dissolve, but they don’t do it quickly. Instead, they are more cloth like, creating large clogs.

Overall, if it can go in the trash, rather than down the drain, it’s better to throw it away. This includes items like dental floss, cotton balls/swabs and similar items.

Bottom Line

Whether or not is says it is flushable, do your best to limit toilet waste to septic friendly paper and human waste. Anything more can result in messy sewer line back-ups and unneeded frustrations. If you experience recurring clogs or back-ups, ask your sewer line technician what steps you can take to reduce them.

Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver and Boulder resident’s home and business plumbing drain cleaning needs for over 75 years! Give us a call today if we can help you with your sewer or plumbing needs at 303-571-5114.

 

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.