Tips for Keeping Drains Clear at Hair Salons

Tips for Keeping Drains Clear at Hair Salons

In residential situations, hair clogs are among the most common issues that homeowners deal with in their sinks and shower drains. So, it’s not hard to imagine the sorts of plumbing nightmares that can occur at a hair salon, where hair of every length, size, and thickness can find its way into just about any corner of the building, including sinks and drains.

Knowing how much loose hair exists at a business like this, it seems like a reasonable thing to suggest some preventative measures to ensure that major plumbing issues don’t occur. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we’ve had more than our fair share of service calls to hair salons, so we recommend the following actions to cut down on how many of those calls are necessary over the course of a given year.

#1 Catch Hair Before it Reaches the Drain

On its own, hair can be the bane of any hair stylist’s existence, especially considering how much shampoo mixes with the loose hair that ultimately enters these drains. The best way to ensure those gunky clogs don’t form in your drains is to catch the hair before it gets there. That means investing in some sort of hair stopper, mesh screens or hair traps. Some sinks have stopper assemblies with screens built in. Catch all that soapy or gelled-up hair and clean the stoppers regularly to ensure those clogs never form in the first place.

#2 Be Smart About Troublesome Chemicals

Hair salons deal with a number of chemicals which are required for coloring or setting hair, and while much of those chemicals go down the drain, an existing clog can create big-time headaches for the salon owner. We don’t recommend using a liquid drain cleaner to unblock those clogs because the combination of chemicals can be very corrosive. Regular drain cleanings can help ensure this doesn’t happen.

#3 Flush Your Drains

One preventative approach is to regularly flush your sink with a full basin of hot water. To do this, simply fill up a five-gallon bucket with hot water and dump the whole thing down the drain. Sometimes the low-pressure water of everyday use isn’t enough to flush away minor clogs. A bigger flush may do the trick.

#4 Get Regular Drain Cleanings

One of the best things you can do to make sure you don’t end up with major clogs is to schedule regular drain cleanings with Garvin’s Sewer Service. Not only can we flush out whatever gunk may be building up in a drain long before it becomes problematic, but we also can do a quick check for other problems that may be lurking beneath the surface. It’s an affordable service that goes a long way toward ensuring all a salon’s sinks and drains continue working as expected.

If you are in need of commercial drain services in Englewood or any of the surrounding areas, contact us here at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can get you on the schedule and unclog any drain, no matter what the reason may be for its blockage. Even if you don’t need our services immediately, we suggest doing the aforementioned things in your hair salon to minimize the need for plumbing services. Just know that if you ever need us, we’re just a phone call away!

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.

Don’t Let Your Bathroom’s Leak Play Hide-and-Seek

Don’t Let Your Bathroom’s Leak Play Hide-and-Seek

When the original plumbing was installed in your home, fittings, pipes, and hardware were meant to work for decades, but anyone who has ever owned a home understands that at some point, a leak somewhere in that plumbing is inevitable. It isn’t the plumber’s fault; sometimes issues just develop slowly over time. And when they do, it’s important to contact a plumber to correct the issue as quickly as possible because little leaks can lead to significant damage if left unfixed.

While an emergency plumber in Denver can fix the leak quickly, it’s important for homeowners to know what to look for since it isn’t always as easy as a faucet dripping incessantly into a sink. The following are a few things to look for so you know whether to call Garvin’s Sewer Service for an immediate plumbing leak repair:

#1 A Musty Smell

If you’ve ever been in a basement that smells musty, like mildew, or vaguely earthy, you know the type of smell we’re talking about here. This type of smell means that water is getting into the house somehow, and tracking down the source of the smell could mean tracking down the source of the leak.

#2 Dark Spots on the Ceiling or Walls

Another clear way to tell that there is a leak somewhere in your home is through the appearance of dark spots on your ceiling or walls. Especially if you notice these stains appearing on a ceiling that lies directly beneath a bathroom, it could be an indication that something is leaking and causing those water spots to form.

#3 Bubbling or Warping

In more severe cases, leaks can compromise the integrity of those same surfaces. Water stains are one thing, but noticing bubbling or warping of the drywall or the flooring somewhere could mean a hidden leak is turning those surfaces spongy. This particular symptom warrants a call to an emergency plumber immediately.

#4 Visible Mold

The appearance of mold in certain areas like the shower isn’t necessarily an indication of a water leak, but when mold appears in places that are typically dry, that could indicate a problem. Any mold on non-shower walls, floors, or ceilings should be cause for concern regarding a potential leak.

#5 Unusually-High Water Bills

If you’ve lived in a home long enough to know what a standard water bill should look like, hopefully you’ll notice when a bill is significantly and unusually higher than normal. That higher bill could mean that water is leaking out in a way that is not only wasteful and expensive, but also potentially damaging to other aspects of your home.

Call the Professionals

If you notice any of these things in your home, contact your plumbing contractor in Denver, Garvin’s Sewer Service, so we can correct the issue and ensure that minor damage doesn’t quickly turn to major damage. We’re always happy to help, but it makes a big difference if our customers can recognize the signs of leaking water that may appear in their own homes. Contact us today for your Speedy Fast Quote.

Common Causes of Plumbing Leaks

Common Causes of Plumbing Leaks

It’s never a good thing to discover that you’ve got a leak somewhere in your home, and while the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service are always available to fix plumbing issues you may have, it doesn’t make the reality of those imminent repairs any easier to swallow. They can waste water, leave water damage on your floors and ceilings, and even lead to mold growth. In short, it’s something that should be fixed immediately.

Not knowing where those leaks are coming from can be equally frustrating, so the following is a look at the most common causes of plumbing leaks we see here at Garvin’s Sewer Service:

#1 Broken Seals

When you first buy and install appliances, there are various seals around all the water connections that ensure proper water pressure in the appliances themselves while also keeping drips and leaks from finding their way to your floor. If there’s a broken seal somewhere, you may notice condensation on the appliance or a small puddle near the seal.

#2 Clogs

Everybody has experienced a clog in their drain at some point, but in certain instances those clogs can lead to much bigger problems, such as overflowing or burst pipes. 

#3 Corrosion

The older your home gets, the older the pipes inside the walls are going to get, and sometimes, that could mean corrosion. If you notice discoloration or warping of any visible pipes, it’s possible they need replacement to repair the leaks that either are coming or may be on their way if you don’t correct the issue.

#4 Damaged Joints

The joints that connect pipes together are a common place for water to break through. If the seals in those joints fail, or excess water pressure puts too much stress on the joints, water can leak through.

#5 Extreme Changes in Temperature

There’s nothing any home or business owner can do about the weather, but it is worth knowing that extreme changes in temperature can lead to leaks. Your pipes can expand and contract with the rapid drop or rise in temperature, and in so doing they can experience the sort of damage that causes leaks.

#6 Tree Roots

This is sort of a worst-case scenario because it usually means the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service may have some digging to do, but tree roots can grow straight through your sewer line, causing standing water in your showers and other drains. If you notice any or all of these things, it’s important to get in touch with a plumber right away. They can clean the line to clear the roots, or even run a sewer scope through the line to discover what is causing the issues.

If you’ve got a leak in your home, Garvin’s Sewer Service offers plumbing leak repair and sewer scope services to ensure that the problem gets fixed immediately. Leaks left alone for too long can cause all sorts of damage to your home, so nipping the issue in the bud before it gets too bad is essential when these sorts of leaks appear. Call today for a Speedy Fast Quote: 303-571-5114.

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.

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.

 

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!

3 Plumbing Issues to Check Right Now

“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!”

Plumbing Issues to Check Right Now

Boy, have we received tons of rain this summer! As long as the rain doesn’t turn into hail, flooding or high winds, is great for our grass and plants. However, rain can also bring some unpleasant effects as well. And, with the amount of damage water can cause, and rather quickly, we want to bring up 5 plumbing issues to check out right now.

  1. Sump pumps

The Denver area hasn’t historically been known for humidity and water, but the last few years have changed that. We have experienced flooding- whether freak rain storms to burn scar run off- and this has caused us to consider installing sump pumps. Sump pumps are designed to pump excess water from an indoor space back outside. Many Denver homeowners are considering them to protect their basements from flooding.

  1. Sprinklers and hoses

Turn on your hoses and sprinklers and walk around to look for areas of water shooting, dripping or running where it shouldn’t be. Check your basement, crawlspace and around the hose bib. Cold weather may have damaged your exterior pipes and many factors could have contributed to broken sprinkler systems including sprinkler heads broken off. Be sure to detach your hose before the first frost comes, in Denver, usually around Halloween.

  1. Sewer line & drains

Heavy rains don’t just bring grass growth, they bring root growth as well. Consider a main sewer line cleaning to clear the line of any root growth. French drains, as well as gutters and downspouts can clog with mud, leaves and other debris and could cause water to dam, creating big problems. Be proactive and save money and hassle by performing preventative rather than emergency plumbing issues.


If you are in the Greater Denver area and are looking for a quality drain and sewer cleaning service, Garvin’s Sewer Service would love to earn your business. With over 75 years in the drain and sewer cleaning business, our knowledgeable staff is here to help you. Call today with questions, for pricing, or to learn more: 303- 571- 5114

What Is Limescale, And Does It Affect Plumbing?

fb-limeWant to see something really cool and really scary? Click this link.

Okay, are you back? That was limescale, and the scary part is it’s hard to tell where the pipe ends and the limescale beings. The limescale in that photo has built up over many years and, as you can probably guess, is seriously preventing the water from flowing as it should.

What is limescale? Does it affect plumbing in Denver? Can it really be that bad? Let’s take look.

What Is It?

Limescale is a solid deposit that is found when hard water evaporates, leaving behind the minerals. These naturally-occurring minerals and compounds are mostly calcium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and magnesium.

Is Denver’s Water Hard or Soft?

Rainwater is naturally soft and contains no minerals, so you might think that as close as we are to the source of the country’s water that our water would be naturally soft. But you also have to remember that our relatively shallow rivers are fast-moving; more of the water touches the rocks and wears it away. That means that Denver’s water tends toward the hard side; in fact, it’s slightly harder in winter. Because of this, Denver’s water tends to form limescale.

side-limeWhere Does It Cause the Biggest Problems?

Limescale can cover the inside of pipes, making it harder for water for pass through them. (Click on that link above again…the pipe is now half the size it once was.) It can also cause scale to form in toilets, which doesn’t cause problems but can be unsightly.

Another problem that limescale causes is in reducing the efficiency of hot water heaters. The water heater will bring in water, and the limescale settles to the bottom. After many years, a substantial part of the bottom of the hot water heater can become filled with this sediment.

And Yet It Can Be Beneficial

In our previous blog we told you all about the dangers of having lead service pipes heading into your home. Interestingly enough, a home with lead pipes can have its water tested and come up completely lead-free. How is this possible? Because over the decades limescale can actually coat the inside of the lead pipes, preventing any of the water from touching the lead! While this makes for less efficient pipes, it does prevent the homeowners from drinking contaminated water.

How Do You Get Rid of It

There are ways to remove limescale from just about any surface, including the inside of a hot water heater. These solutions are often incredibly acidic and harmful to human skin and eyes, so they should be used with caution and only by a professional. An example of such a limescale-destroying chemical is hydrochloric acid, which reduces the scale to carbon dioxide and salt.

The Denver area might not have the hardest water, but it is on the hard side. How much do you have to worry about limescale? Much of it has to do with the age of the pipes in your home. If you have concerns, contact your local plumber and we can take a look.

 

 

 

Should You Consider Having a Plumber Install A Home Water Filtration System?

fb-safepipesWith the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan, regarding the high levels of toxins in their water supply, more citizens have been paying closer attention to the water supply here in Denver and all along the front range. People have been asking plumbers if installing a permanent water filter in their homes is a good idea. Well, the answer comes down to a very definite maybe/maybe not! Let’s take a look at where the water around here comes from and what could make it less than desirable.

Where’s The Water Coming From?

A few months back we wrote a blog about where Denver’s water comes from, but we’ll let denverwater.org sum it up. “Denver Water’s drinking water sources are the South Platte River and its tributaries, the streams that feed Dillon Reservoir, and the creeks and canals above the Fraser River.” All of those rivers are fed by snowmelt and supplemented by mountain storms.

Is There Anything To Be Worried About?

In short, no, but keep reading. Denver’s water turns out to be naturally clean, and the public water service’s test for microbial, chemical, and metallic contaminants all fall within allowed ranges. You might have found a booklet in your mailbox detailing this information, but if you pitched it please enjoy this .pdf from denverwater.org. Click to page 7 and you’ll see that there are no violations in the safe levels of pathogens in the water.

When it comes to lead, our mountain water is lead-free and leaves the water treatment plant lead-free. It’s those last 30 feet that can be a problem…

What About The Pipes Leading to My House?

Flint, Michigan’s main contaminant was lead. During the early part of the 20th century, lead pipes (and pipes soldered together with lead) were used to transport water from the treatment plant and into people’s homes. Lead can leach out into the freshwater, and certain other contaminants can make it leach out even faster. While the idea of using lead pipes seems insane today, the dangers of lead weren’t known as well back then.

Up until the 1950s, lead was also used in some Denver water pipes. Though the city pipes have since been replaced, there’s no way of knowing which home building contractors were using them when they constructed new neighborhoods. If your house was built during the 1950s and before, there is a chance that you still have lead freshwater pipes. We’d recommend having your water tested if you live in an older house. The good news? You can get a free lead test from your Denver water supplier here.

What If I’m Not On A Public Source?

Things can certainly change for those who are not on public water supplies. If you are using well water, the amount of water quality variation can be considerable from well to well. This depends on depth of the well, proximity to farmland and the chemicals in use, and many other factors. In Colorado, in-house water filtration is most often used by those on well water systems; your local plumber will be more than happy to help you install a water filtration system.


side-safepipesSo, Should I Invest in Water Filtration?

After all that information, you have to ask the question: should I invest in water filtration? Like we said before, the answer is a definite “maybe.” Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons homeowners have a plumber install a permanent water filtration system.

If You Suspect Lead – If you suspect lead, click that link on the free lead test from above. Simply having your service lines replaced won’t do any good if the lines supplying your neighborhood aren’t also replaced. Doing so could take years; installing a water filtration system will help protect you from lead.

If You Get Your Water From A Well – Unless you grew up drinking well water, it probably tastes bad to you. It will be worth it even if the only benefit of the water filtration system is that it helps you drink more water. Of course, you’ll also have the added benefit of filtering out heavy metals and pesticides, so having a water filtration system installed is nearly always worth it.

Discoloration – Does your water ever take on weird colors, even temporarily? If so, you most certainly need a water filtration system. The discoloration you see could be any number of things, including rust. (While you need iron in your diet, you most certainly don’t need rust!) Get that out of there with water filtration.

Foul Smell Or Taste Similarly, your water shouldn’t smell or taste funny. We have excellent source water and a very good water treatment plant, so if there’s something wrong with your water, the problem is probably closer than you think.

If You’ll Only Accept the Absolute Cleanest Water Denver’s water is pretty clean, but is it 100% contaminant free? No. The chances of it hurting you are astronomically low, but just because it passes government muster doesn’t mean that there’s no chance. If you’re the type of person who buys pesticide-free, non-GMO food, then perhaps that one extra step of filtering your water will put your mind further at ease.

The fact is, Denver’s water is pretty clean. But there are certain times when households might want that extra level of water filtration. A local plumber can help you install one that will put your mind at ease. Contact Garvin’s and we can help!