Core Values

Garvin’s Sewer Service Core Values: Communication

At Garvin’s we created a Code of Conduct that includes 6 Core Values. Today we want to explain Communication and what it means to us.

We define Communication as:

Information is given and received with confirmation. We will accept responsibility for all communication we are involved with, from start to finish. We will give appropriate information and provide confirmation of receipt of information and instructions.

How Communication Looks for Us

In full transparency, communication is a value we work on developing each and every day. There is never a day where our team looks at each other and says, “Wow, we’ve finally perfected communication.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are days we do pretty well, but it is a conscious, ongoing process to keep communication healthy and active. This is true one-to-one and organizationally. With so many methods of communication these days: text, phone, chat, e-mail, meetings, Zoom, memos, handouts…. It can be easy to get a message lost.

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”

– Nat Turner

Consider for a moment the customer journey, which many of you have experienced, but may not know the workflow, or thought of it before:

A customer calls us, or emails us with a work order.

We gather all the needed information, including contact information and diagnosis of the problem so we can send the best technician for the job. The information we gather informs the dispatcher who to send when and informs the technician what they need to bring to the job and what they should expect.

Sometimes, the office needs to call the customer to confirm details, schedule, or get more information. Sometimes, the customer misses our call, has us blocked as spam, or makes an assumption about our arrival. These are all areas where communication can fail. We do our best to stay proactive.

The dispatcher assigns a technician to the service call.

We use technology that provides the job information to the technician. It is their responsibility then to call the customer with an estimated time of arrival and mark themselves on route to communicate to the dispatcher that the information was received and acted upon. When a technician doesn’t do either step, there is a hole in communication that can result in customer confusion and the . It can result in us running late for an appointment window and the dispatcher needing to make changes in order to meet customer expectations

To help close this hole, we are installing GPS units in our vans this year. We hope this will give us a clearer picture of where technicians are in their day, so we can better dispatch and get more customers taken care of. We understand technicians don’t always have cell service, especially when they are in basements and crawlspaces. They are also not able to always answer a phone, such as when they are running a drain cleaning machine, talking to a customer, or being walked through a building by a property manager.

The technician notifies us about the progress of their call.

Once the technician is onsite, they mark themselves as working. This is a safety protocol for our technicians and also alerts dispatch so they can queue up the next service call. When the technician completes their service call, they mark themselves done, which also notifies dispatch so they can be given their next call.

In their job summary they tell us:

  • What work was done
  • What the blockage was and how far (this helps customers understand why the problem occurred in the first place)
  • The access point used to clear the drain (this helps future techs know where to look, and let’s the customer know for ease in the future)
  • How long the work is guaranteed (typically 30 days on commercial lines and 90 days on residential lines, except for abuse or broken lines)
  • Any other remarks or notes, including pictures
  • How the customer paid (this helps accounting keep good records)

“Communication to a relationship is like oxygen is to life. Without it, it dies.”

– Tony A. Gaskins Jr.

Weekly, we run a report of all calls.

This report helps us generate statistics and more information that keeps our business running. It helps us to pay our technicians their flat rate per job, restock parts, issue materials and supplies needed for future work, invoice, pay payroll and bills, and address any concerns.

We all know that a major key to lifelong relationships starts with communication. It is part of every practice and procedure in business. All of us working together and communicating is what has kept us in business for over 80 years.

We hold regular meetings

Twice a month, we meet with our technicians to go over administrative announcements, a safety topic and a training topic. We also celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and answer questions. This year we are further expand on our core value of communication by offering weekly “virtual office hours” where technicians can bring questions, comments, and concerns to the management team.

The management team meets weekly to discuss a variety of topics to keep everyone in the loop. Because we are a small office, anything that comes up of an urgent need is addressed right away. We have an open door policy and rely on each other for sharing information and knowledge. I believe this is one of Garvin’s strengths.

Management training

Part of our management training includes focusing on communication. We’d have training on communication across the generations, understanding ourselves in the light of the DISC assessment, and we’ve had facilitator led brainstorming sessions to help foster more communication as a management team.

While we are a small, family-owned business, we aren’t a “mom & pop”. We have a lot of foundational habits that take the best practices of business plus human-focused considerations to build a strong company for years to come.

A few questions for you

If you are our customer, how have we done with communication? What could we do better?

As a business owner, how do you ensure communication with the right people, at the right time, happens consistently in your business?

How have you seen communication help or hinder a relationship? What advice do you have to help those of us who are continually improving communication?

Looking for a plumber who holds themselves to code of conduct that includes communication and organizational development? Garvin’s Sewer Service would like to earn your business.

What can go wrong with plumbing in a newer home

What can go wrong with plumbing in a newer home

You love the thought of a new home. New kitchen. Open floor plan. The office with a view. The yard with so much potential!

Perhaps you’re getting ready to leave your current home behind, or you’ve purchased a new house and you’re excited to settle in.

Once-upon-a-time we covered what can go wrong with plumbing in older homes. Unfortunately, even though a new home seems like a fairy tale dream come true, things can still go awry.

Here are 5 plumbing issues that can occur in new homes—even Camelot.

  1. Roots: You heard us. Even new builds can have root issues in pipes. Roots can enter your sewer line in two ways: through the normal, healthy joints or through or through a break in the line. While we hope there are no breaks in the sewer line of your new home, it’s possible that on a new build, the ground can adjust and cause a line to separate. If you have a sewer back up, we can clean and camera the line to make sure it is clear AND that there are no problems with the sewer line itself.In Colorado, our long periods of drought mean plants get powerfully thirsty. So, it doesn’t take much for new plants to seek out the available water in a home’s sewer lines. While we’re on the topic, some trees and shrubs have particularly aggressive roots, so it’s important to think about what types of trees and shrubs you will plant around your new home, if you have a choice. Poplars, elms, oaks and juniper shrubs can cause particular issues. Remember that a new tree will have a root system that extends 2-3 times farther than the crown of your tree. Think of what those roots will do to plumbing while planning your landscaping.
  1. Blocked drains: During construction, builders sometimes aren’t careful about ensuring construction debris stays away from plumbing. Building “leftovers” can make their way into your plumbing and partially or entirely block drains, creating headaches for future homeowners.
  1. Leaky faucets: When you move into a new home, check each sink, shower, tub and outdoor faucet to ensure they aren’t leaking. You may have broken fixtures or need new washers or fittings. Even tiny leaks can add up to big water loss over time.
  1. Running toilets: Toilets that make noise when you aren’t in the room are sad, unhealthy toilets. Wish you could test your toilets for leaks? You can! Do the blue dye test in as little as 15 minutes to see if your toilets need the help of a professional. We’ve put together a short video to show you how.
  1. Inspection protection: Want peace of mind? Be proactive. Ensure all of the afore-mentioned issues don’t become your issues when you move into a new home. Call a friendly, reputable company like Garvin’s to do a sewer inspection and a professional walkthrough. We can perform any needed maintenance and help ensure your new home is in great shape when you move in.

Whether you’re dreaming of moving into a castle with a five car garage, or downsizing to a townhome with a smaller yard, Garvin’s Sewer Service in Englewood can help you with all of your plumbing and sewer service needs. We proudly serve homeowners in the greater Denver and Boulder areas and are excited to be expanding more in the north, serving Brighton, Broomfield and Evans, Colorado. Our services are speedy and priced right and our technicians are top-notch. Call 303-571-5114 today, or contact us for a quote.

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.

The curse of the clogged sewer line

The curse of the clogged sewer line

Ghosts, zombies, bats and vampires! In October, all things frightening are bound to appear before month’s end. 

But there’s something scarier than Edgar Allen Poe read around the campfire.

Something more chilling than your favorite horror movie. Something guaranteed to strike fear in the bravest of hearts…

The hulking marauder that cares for no-one. That smelly destroyer from deep below: 

The Backed Up Sewer! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

Calm your racing heart. Fighting this beast is in our wheelhouse.

What causes a backup?

A sewer line gets clogged over many days or months. Think of your pipes as a potential Stephen King villain. If they get mistreated again and again, eventually you will receive epic payback.

Thankfully, your plumbing system will often warn you that something wicked your way comes:  Your bathtub may be slow to drain, your sink drains could get sluggish and your toilet or sink could gurgle. 

Worst of all, you could smell foul odors from a drain or appliance. Ick—time to get help! 

Five things that can cause sewer line backup are:

  1. Roots
  2. Oil and grease
  3. Foods like eggshells
  4. Pumpkin seeds or pumpkin parts (beware!)
  5. Flushable wipes, sanitary supplies, paper towel

ROOTS: As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, thirsty tree roots can break into your pipes and grow tiny hair-like threads that ball up and clog your main line. It’s best to get the roots cleaned out of your system at least once a year by a company like Garvin’s.

FOOD: Your kitchen garbage disposal should only be used to get rid of bits of leftover food when rinsing dishes. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not good to put eggshells down your disposal. Of course, never pour oil or grease down your sink drain. Coffee grounds and rice cause problems too, and even at Halloween, seeds, pumpkin guts, gourd and squash skins are a no-no. Put all of these in the trash, not through your pipes.

This includes the health smoothie your spouse makes you every morning! You hate it; you want to pour it down the shower drain in secret. But, it may contain pumpkin or carrots and all sorts of fiber. Trust us, it will COME UP AGAIN (true story) and create a plumbing disaster.

TRASH: In almost every restaurant bathroom, you see “be kind to our pipes, only flush toilet paper” signs. The same is true for your home. Don’t flush paper towel, sanitary products, wipes, toys, loser Halloween candy, or any trash besides human waste and toilet paper. No. Not even once!

What do you do during a backup?

Say that smoothie comes bubbling up in all its orange glory from the shower drain. Your toilet overflows in a disgusting tidal wave, or your basement drain backs up and foul water threatens your belongings. 

What do you do?

  1. Don’t panic. You will get through this.
  2. DO NOT flush toilets or do laundry. Limit your water usage.
  3. Remove any valuables that are threatened by the backup. (In fact, keep these items off the basement floor/out from under the sink always.)
  4. Call Garvin’s Emergency Drain and Sewer Service.
  5. Contact your homeowners insurance to see if sewer line back-ups/clean ups are part of your policy, if you think that is needed. (We have a few referrals in mind for restoration, carpet/floor, drywall, etc. who we have vetted if you need them – just ask.)

Why call Garvin’s?

We are a third-generation, family-owned company with over 80 innovative years of service history! For eight decades, Garvin’s of Englewood and Denver has cared for people just like you who need an ally in an emergency. 

We employ leading industry practices for drain cleaning. We use reliable products. Our service doesn’t hurt plants or wildlife or cause problems with metal or plastic plumbing. Our 30-member staff includes several of the best plumbers in the metro area. We’ve seen it all and know how to help. Contact us today.

The Miracle of Modern Plumbing

The Miracle of Modern Plumbing

We hope you had a restful Labor Day! Perhaps you even went camping? There’s nothing like a fun stint in the woods with family and friends to celebrate the holiday. 

Until you encounter a pit toilet or a “Luggable Loo” and then, suddenly, you really appreciate home and… plumbing. 

In honor of this time of year when we take a rest from toil, let’s quickly survey the history of one of our most incredible labor-saving systems—modern plumbing. 

Before we begin, if you play Scrabble, take notes. The story of plumbing is full of cool words that might just pump up your score.

Persia

Ancient Iranians or Persians built Qanats or Kariz to supply their communities with fresh water. Qanats were constructed of vertical channels dug from the surface of hillsides deep into the earth and connected to a horizontal channel engineered to carry water where it was most needed. The Persians connected the qanats to Ab Abnars or big, tower-like cisterns to hold water. Many quanats are still in use today.

Ancient Iranians understood that removing waste water from their communities helped their people to thrive. They conceived systems for sanitation in the city of Zabol which is on the border of modern Afghanistan.

China

The Chinese are known for inventing paper and noodles. But, few people know that the Chinese dug deep, complicated wells for drinking water up to 7000 years ago! 

The ancient Chinese not only knew how to establish long-lasting sources of water, they knew they needed to take care of them. The I-Ching, an important Chinese text written in 1000 BCE, advises readers how to maintain and protect sources of drinking water. Archaeologists found evidence of plumbing from the first imperial dynasty which dates to 221 BCE.

Pakistan and Northern India

Modern-day Pakistan and Northern India comprised the Indus Valley in ancient times. In the city of Lothal in the valley, people had their own indoor covered toilets which were routinely emptied and cleaned as early as 2350 BCE. Nearby cities contained bath houses which were emptied into pipes that flowed into common drains. 

In what is now Pakistan, houses drew water from wells and drained waste water into covered drains in the street.

Greece

Travel to Knossos today on the Island of Crete and you can still see the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilization. The paintings etched on the walls there look slightly Egyptian and their colors are still vivid.  Minoans were some of the first people to use underground clay pipes for carrying and eliminating waste water. Later, Cretans engineered some of the first flush toilets on Earth. 

A Greek inventor named Heron invented a system in 62 ACE to put water under pressure and use it to fight fires in Alexandria, Greece, a city of over 5 million people desperately in need of such ingenuity.

Rome

The ancient Romans built an incredible system for sanitation called the Cloaca Maxima which drained overflow water around Rome into the Tiber River. They built public toilets (from photos, they look like stone, open-air pit toilets) over the Cloaca Maxima and the sewage was carried away by the river. 

The Romans also developed a huge, intricate system of aqua ducts that carried water into the city from the nearby mountains. Parts of the aqua ducts and associated piping were constructed from clay, stone and lead. In fact, our modern word “plumbing” comes from the Latin word for “lead,” plumbum

Some historians theorized that the fall of the Roman Empire started after much of the city was retrofit with lead pipes. However recent scientists think that the Roman water was so full of calcium it formed a protective layer inside the pipes and the Roman water was never in full contact with lead.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, cleanliness rituals were often tied to religious or philosophical practices. In Nepal, constructing a drinking fountain for others to use was considered a virtuous act. The Nepalese built a drinking water system made of hiti, or stone fountains that funneled water from deep underground sources, as early as 550 ACE. 

As far back as the 7th century, Islamic purity practices required ritual washing and bathing which fostered an entire industry to build bath houses throughout nations that practiced Islam.

Europeans in the Middle Ages were not as concerned with cleanliness or hygiene. Waste water sometimes ran in open channels down the middle of streets. This lack of fastidiousness and poor sanitation led to the spread of the Black Plague. The first closed European sewer wasn’t constructed until 1370 ACE. 

In the 16th century, Sir John Harington of England invented his version of the flush toilet for Queen Elizabeth I and waste from the device sluiced into a cesspool. Lucky Sir John—many people in the English speaking world still refer to him when Mother Nature calls.

Modern Era

By the year 1535, politicians began to enact legislation in England to keep the central river in London, the Thames, free of waste. The legislation was ignored and construction of an actual sewer system didn’t begin until the mid-to late-1800’s, meanwhile cholera ravaged London in a series of epidemics.

By the end of the 19th century, many large cities in Europe and the U.S. established underground sewer systems. Studies in the UK and Germany led to an understanding that disease could be transmitted by contaminated water and eliminated by water treatment and filtration.

Today modern water and sewage pipes are made not from wood, stone and lead, but of steel, copper and plastic. The modern materials are more durable and easier to install than their ancient counterparts. 

Galvanized steel pipe can last up to 50 years though it can sometimes corrode. Copper pipe is clean and efficient, but extremely expensive today. Plastic piping comes in seven different varieties for various uses from PVC to PEX-AI-PEX which contains a layer of aluminum between layers of plastic. 

In the United States, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates sewer utilities and monitors the safety of drinking water. Our nation passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 which improved the treatment of waste and began to protect our natural water resources. We passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974 to monitor major contaminants in our drinking water. 

At Garvins, we care about you, your water and your sewer system. We do sewer cleaning, drain cleaning, sewer camera inspection and preventative maintenance. Contact us today for a Speedy Fast Quote or call us anytime.


Sources:

History of water supply and sanitation – Wikipedia
https://www.hydratelife.org/the-qanat-an-ancient-technology-still-delivering-water-today/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumbing
Water supply and sanitation in the United States – Wikipedia

 

 

Love your plumbing and your sewer line and they will love you back

Love your plumbing and your sewer line and they will love you back

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “M.”

Give us an “M,” give us an “A,” give us an “I”… ok this will take forever. M A I N T E N A N C E is today’s featured “M” word. Many of us MOAN about MAINTENANCE. It’s MIGHTY easy to put off. 

It can also be a bit MYSTERIOUS: What do you do, when and how often? We’ll talk about that.

Mainly, we’ll point out why regular plumbing maintenance is all about MAD LOVE. Read on! 

Think like a pipe

If you were a water pipe, you would be proud of your job. You would carry clean water to toilet tanks, provide showers, fill the spaghetti pot and keep the family pooch from getting parched. 

As a pipe you might get frustrated if all that water was wasted, making the toilet run, the washing machine leak or the exterior hose drip. 

Maintenance is all about making your pipes, fittings and connections happy. They’re unseen, but they work hard. How can you love your pipes?

  • Regularly test for leaking and running toilets.
  • Cozy up under your sink, tub or swamp cooler to observe the pipes there. 
  • Take a good look at your water heater. 
  • Examine outside connections and fittings.

Any drips or pooling water? You may need some help.

Stay alert for changes in water pressure too. Changing water pressure can be caused by leaks, malfunctioning valves and more.  

Caring for your pipes means caring for your family. We recommend you run plumbing spot checks each year or every other year depending on the age of your house. 

Garvin’s of Englewood can help you remember routine maintenance if you forget, or perform the maintenance for you. Cared for plumbing works well, serves you better and can protect your house from future damage.

Salute the swirl

Say you find yourself sleepily showering in the morning. Water collects around your ankles, but there isn’t a stopper holding the water there. You want to ignore the pool and simply go to work, letting the water slowly drain out over time. But, you really shouldn’t. Something is wrong. 

Your tub or shower drain should have a good, strong swirl when you shower or let the water out. Water shouldn’t sit, drain slowly, or back up. 

Likewise, if you brush your teeth in the bathroom sink and the toothpaste foam sits like an island on a sad sea that takes forever to drain, it’s not good

Neither is a dishwasher that smells like something died in it, a ring around the kitchen sink because the water won’t disappear,  or a toilet that burps or flushes itself (seriously, not good).

All of these things can be a sign of clogs, leaks, blocked vents and more. Problems with your pipes and drains can put enormous pressure on your plumbing as a whole. Stressed pipes can burst or fail, damaging flooring, ceilings and creating costly repairs from water or sewage.

You can maintain that healthy swirl by not putting items down your toilet or drain that create blockages. Place screens on your shower drains to prevent hair from blocking the drains. Don’t flush sanitary items or even “flushable wipes” down your toilets.

Though you might want to take care of unseen clogs quickly, think twice about using chemicals to clear your drains. Many solutions on the market can corrode your pipes and hurt the environment. Garvin’s of Englewood specializes in emergency drain cleaning and we can help. 

Plan your prevention

In addition to loving up your pipes, fittings and drains, you’ll need to apply the “M” word to regularly clearing the main line to your sewer. Why? Ahem…

A toilet haiku

Bubbling and brown
Help: that stuff just won’t go down!
Steel blades create peace

With a bladed machine, Garvin’s clears away roots that can enter your main line, ball up and create obstructions. Regularly clearing away roots can prevent costly, messy backups into your toilet, shower and basement.

How often you need to clear your main line depends on many factors:

  • How many trees grow into your line
  • How fast the roots grow
  • How many people are in your household
  • Weather conditions like drought

A Garvin’s of Englewood technician can examine your lines and recommend a cleaning schedule that fits your property. Most commonly, our customers clean their line every 6-12 months.

Set up a schedule

If you pay a little attention to your pipes, drains and main line, they’ll serve you well for years to come. At Garvin’s, we may not be incredible poets, but we are experts in our field of plumbing. Call us. Together, we can set up plumbing and sewer line maintenance schedules that will keep your plumbing systems running smoothly.

Does hot weather affect your plumbing?

Does hot weather affect your plumbing?

Oh, yes. It does.

Mother Nature’s frigid fingers can cause pipes to burst during our cold winter months in Colorado. But, did you know extreme heat can be a concern too?

Beat the UV

Most of us live at least 5,280 feet above sea level here in our beautiful Centennial State. We wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else, but the altitude and the views come with a price.

The strong UV rays that prompt many of us to slather on sunscreen, or at least slap on a sturdy ball cap to keep from burning to a crisp outside, can damage outdoor fixtures, pipes and fittings too.

What to do? Now that you’re aware, take a look at all of your exterior faucets (hose bibbs) and hoses. Do you see anything worn or leaking?

Maintain your exterior faucets by replacing washers and fittings or call us to do it for you. We can help you repair, maintain or replace your hose bibbs and keep everything in great shape. For more information on hose bibbs, read our last blog.

Replace garden hoses or repair them. Hose repair kits are available at many hardware or home improvement stores. Consider buying a reel or decorative container to store and protect your hose from the elements. Check out this fun blog for several ways to extend the life of your garden hose.

Prepare for guests

After so many months of isolation, it’s time to invite friends and family over for burgers and brats on the grill! A few out-of-town guests might want to stay as well: your sister and her husband, the three kids, Uncle Melvin, Grandma Esther and your best friend from Michigan…

You’re going to welcome them all with open arms, but your plumbing might groan in response!

Before you host a big summer gathering:

  • Replace exterior hoses and repair worn fixtures so that Slip N’ Slide fun doesn’t result in a leaking basement.
  • Call Garvin’s Sewer Service to snake your main line to prevent backups when lots of guests use your bathrooms.
  • Ensure your garbage disposal and dishwasher are working well to avoid backups after festive dinners. If you notice your dishwasher or sink is emptying slowly, call Garvin’s. We specialize in drain cleaning.

Anticipate the expansion

Cold causes pipes to expand, but heat is also an insidious beast. According to plumbing2point0.com, pressure can build up in clogged pipes which can then expand and crack or burst in extreme heat. And we know it gets hot here. The mercury rose to a record-busting 101 degrees Fahrenheit on June 15!

What are some signs that your pipes might already be in trouble?

  • Musty odors or foul smells,
  • Water marks on drywall or ceilings
  • Dripping or other unusual noises in your walls
  • Water that doesn’t smell right or is a weird color
  • Water pressure that goes up and down

If you have any of these issues, don’t ignore them. Call a professional to take a look.

Garvin’s plumbing contractors of Englewood and Denver can help you properly maintain your pipes to prevent leaks and bursting. Consult with us to tailor a plumbing maintenance schedule to safeguard your “Home-Sweet-Home.” Take care of your plumbing year-round to remove the worry that comes with seasonal temperature fluctuations.

Ask for help

We are grateful to have a loyal following. Recent customers say Garvin’s does “a great job for a very good price” and that our service people are “knowledgeable, polite, patient, kind and helpful.” We would love to get to know you and your plumbing. Contact us 24/7 for help with your routine and seasonal plumbing maintenance.

Don’t forget these outdoor plumbing tips as you tip-toe through the tulips

Don’t forget these outdoor plumbing tips as you tip-toe through the tulips

“Those were the best days of my life…” ~Bryan Adams
      Barbecues. Belly flops into the pool. Frisbee golf.

“My love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone.” ~Don Henly.
      Home runs, picnics, fireworks.

“In the summer time when the weather is high, you can reach right up and touch the sky.”  ~(Umm…) Mungo Jerry?
      I know that song! But who sang it? I have no idea… 

Summer brings great tunes and fun times to mind, but some things slip our noggins no matter what.

For instance, have you stopped to consider your pesky hose bibb connections this season? 

We didn’t think so. 

No worries. We’re here to help you recall forgotten rock artists and remember to give a little love to your outdoor plumbing this summer. Here are four handy, warm-weather tips to save you time and money before cold weather hits again:

Examine hose bibb connections

Your hose bibb (sometimes spelled with one “b”) is your outdoor faucet or spigot. Maybe you know that, but not everyone does. Chances are one or more of your bibbs could be leaking this season, and frankly that’s just embarrassing! 

Take a look at your side, back and front outdoor faucet connections to see if you’re wasting precious water or causing damage to your landscaping. A leaky hose bibb can also cause water to run into your basement or between your home’s walls, eroding your foundation. 

If you have an older home, you may have a hose bibb or two that is not frost-free. In Colorado, it’s a great idea to install or have frost-free hose bibs installed to help minimize freezing during our erratic weather. The frost-free bibbs have longer connectors that stay warmer because they are set deeper into your home’s exterior walls. These bibbs also have special valves and siphons that prevent water from backing up into your house and freezing. Check out this resource at familylifeshare to learn more than you ever wanted to know about hose bibbs.

Already know your drippy hose bibb needs repair? We’ve recorded a great do-it-yourself-video to show you how. Want the assurance of expert help? Call Garvin’s for friendly service 24/7.

Check all hoses

Once you’ve checked your outdoor faucets, take a look at your hoses. Did you leave the vegetable garden drip hose in the dirt over the winter? Ice and snow may not have been kind to it. Inspect each hose to ensure it doesn’t leak either at the faucet connection or along the length of the hose. Replace worn out or split hoses to improve efficiency and prevent water damage over the summer season. Examine any add-on garden timers and auxiliary sprinkler heads for wear and tear, and replace timer batteries as well.

Call for inspection

Your sewer line is incredibly attractive. Never been complimented on your sewer line before? We’re not trying to make you blush. It’s just true. Trees adore your sewer line. You see, the “fertilizer” you run through your line each day as well as the moisture from liquid “contributions” make your line incredibly attractive to trees seeking nutrients.

Delicate tree roots can infiltrate the porous concrete of main sewer lines. Once inside, they often create a web or ball that acts as a net to catch all the nifty stuff that runs through your sewer line. Over time that debris builds up and your sewer line can break. 

Summer is a great time to have your sewer line inspected for thirsty roots, obstructions and defects. Garvin’s can inspect your line with a camera on the end of a scope and record the inspection for you to watch in the comfort of your home. Read more about this service

Consider preventative maintenance

Garvin’s sewer service can clean out your lines regularly to prevent sewer line back-ups, breaks and expensive repairs. We clear obstructions by pulling them out of the line or pushing them through to the main city sewer line or septic system. 

We can help you take the worry out of remembering to do this by scheduling it for you. Consider starting planned maintenance this summer and repeating it every 6 to 12 months. Learn more about Garvin’s preventative maintenance service program.

Contact our team

Garvin’s sewer service of Denver and Englewood is here to help you with all of your seasonal plumbing needs. We’re available 24/7 and we don’t charge after-hours rates for our drain and sewer cleaning services. 

You have the right to expect fast, efficient service. Our service is performed by employees who are knowledgeable, polite and neat. We’ll treat you with respect because we treasure establishing long-term relationships with all of our customers. Over time, we hope you’ll feel comfortable relying on us for all of your plumbing needs. Call our friendly team for help or email us for information today.

 

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.