Is The American Way The Best Plumbing in the World? Let’s Look at the Toilet Again

You're not the only game in town, buddy...

You’re not the only game in town, buddy…

Here in America, we love our plumbing. We always like to have a bathroom at the ready, and whenever we’re out and about we like to be able to find a clean bathroom wherever we are. We loathe “bathroom is for paying customers only” signs. In fact, there’s even an app that will guide you to and give you access to some of the nicest toilets in cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.

But as much as we love our plumbing, have you ever considered that it’s not the only plumbing style around? This is especially true when it comes to toilet. In fact, our last blog was all about the invention of the flush toilet, but we stopped just when things were getting interesting, sometime around 1900. And once technology gets going, it’s difficult to stop it from evolving as it travels around the world.

So when you call a local plumber in other parts of the world, what problems are they stopping by to tackle?

The Raised Cistern

You’re probably familiar with the raised tanks that you might imagine in old English pubs. While nearly every toilet uses gravity to wash away and refill the water that’s already in the tank, these tanks have a reservoir that’s higher up in order to use the full force of gravity to its advantage. As plumbing has become more efficient, that extra force wasn’t necessary.

So Many Valves!

Thanks to advances in the basic toilet throughout many different countries (and the amount of water available to them), toilets have been through many incarnations of valves. Tank fill valve, flapper-flush valves, tank style with siphon-flush valve, dual flush valves, pressure-assist valve, high-pressure valves…no matter what kind you’ve got, you’re local plumber like Garvin’s can take care of it.

Squat Toilets

plumbing 1While sitting on a seat over a toilet bowl is the default in many Western countries, squat toilets are common in Asia, Africa, and Middle Eastern countries. Squat toilets involve no place to sit. Instead, you squat over the bowl, which is an indentation in the floor. Many homes in the areas mentioned above are being built with westernized toilets because they are seen as being more modern.

Still, there are advantages to the squatting position when using the toilet. First of all, there’s no skin contact with the toilet, which certainly seems more hygienic. Second, there’s the issue with the  puborectalis muscle, which becomes more crimped when people sit on a standard American toilet. The squatting position relaxes this muscle, and this discovery has led to the invention of the Squatty Potty and its, uh, colorful ads.

Bidets

We’re sure you know all about bidets, right? If you’re not familiar, they run a stream of water over your nether regions in order to cleanse you. The water might be room temperature, or it could be heated. Bidets can be separate stations, built into toilets, or attached to a toilet. Many people (and countries) swear by them.

There’s a good chance that, living in the Denver area and its not-exactly-ancient-water-works-system, you’ve got a pretty basic toilet. That’s just fine for the experts at Garvin’s, because we can be in and out in no time, whether you need the best plumbing for your freshwater or sewer cleaning for your blackwater. When your toilet isn’t working, we’ll be there quickly!

So Where Did The Flush Toilet Come From?

 

dreamstime_xxl_31666378In our last blog we went into detail — and let’s just admit it, too much detail — about the history of pre-flush toilets. Digging a hole, digging a latrine, feeding it to the…no, let’s not bring that back up (lest it bring up our last meal).

We’re proud of what we do as plumbing contractors, and we certainly enjoy the intricacies of the modern flush toilet that help us all live more sanitary lives. So where exactly did this marvel of modern engineering come from? Here’s a quick history.

A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax

What we think of as a modern flush toilet started in 1596, when Sir John Harington wrote A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax. We would have called it Poop B’ Gone: Baking It Be Gone, but Sir Harington didn’t ask us for our opinion.

With the publication of ANDOASSCTMOA, the basic idea of having water leave the bowl while an elevated tank full of water replaces it had been born. After his own home, the first person for whom he installed a toilet was Queen Elizabeth I. It’s unlikely that it was hooked up to any official sewer system.

The S-trap

Of course, when you do start using flush toilets with a sewer system, you need a way to prevent the smell from the sewer system from escaping back into the home or business. Alexander Cumming invented the s-trap in 1775, which collected water in an s-shaped pipe. This water then created a barrier to the gas, and such traps, whether they are S, U, J. or P, are still an integral part of your sewer service today.

Even More Advances

As cities grew and the need for a dedicated sewer system became more necessary, toilets started to become what we know today. Old homes were fitted with “water closets,” while new ones were built with dedicated bathrooms. Advancements were constantly being made to make toilets more efficient and less prone to clogging. By the late 1800’s, toilets were becoming more and more popular thanks to toilet barons such as Sir Thomas Crapper. Yes, that Crapper.

 

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When you think of a toilet, it really is an amazingly elegant design, using no electricity and only gravity to move your waste away from you. We hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip down toilet memory lane (that’s a Beatles song, right?) and, when you need drain or sewer cleaning to make your toilet work again, contact Garvin’s Sewer Service!

 

 

A Plumber’s Story: The History of the Toilet!

Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we deal with toilets every day. Sometimes it’s the incoming water that’s causing problems and we have to provide plumbing services. Other times it’s the blackwater we’re dealing with and have to deal with some drain cleaning. Still other times the toilet has seen better days (because it’s seen a lot of decades), and it’s time for it to be replaced by our plumbing company.

We deal with toilets a lot, and yet even we don’t think about the history much. After all, every one of us uses the toilet multiple times a day, and yet we don’t think about how wonderful it is and how bad it used to be. Are you ready to take a ride through history with Garvin’s and learn about the history of the toilet? Read on!

Toilet #1 — On Top Of The Ground

Why bury it? Humans were much more nomadic, so why get rid of your waste when all you have to do is walk away from it?

Fun Fact: Don’t try walking away from your waste in today’s world.

Toilet #2 — Bury It In The Ground

Okay, so humanity found agriculture, and we started sticking around in one place to take care of their plants. When you stay in one place, you want to get your waste away from you. This means digging a hole and burying it. After all, our waste smells displeasing to us because it contains the pathogens that our bodies wanted to get rid of. Burying it makes sure that it’s kept far away from us.

Fun Fact: Burying your poop helps that agriculture we were talking about up above!

Pit Latrine

A pit latrine came next, essentially a place where everyone could do their business (so that everyone knew where not to step). Pit latrines would eventually provide some sort of shelter, an over centuries became what we know as outhouses. The most important part of pit latrines is to keep them as far away your water sources as possible as not to contaminate the freshwater supply.

Fun Fact: To paraphrase a sign at the History Colorado Center in Denver, “An outhouse is located about 100 yards from the house. In winter it’s 100 yards too far, and in summer it’s a 100 yards too close.”

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The Pig Toilet


Here’s one that most of us in the modern world never knew. The Pig Toilet (and yes, we feel like capitalizing it) was a system in which the toilet would connect to a trough. The excretia would be fed to animals, usually pigs or fish. Knowing what we know today about disease (and having plumbing services and better ways to feed animals), we’ve seen this practice disappear. Except it hasn’t…

Fun Fact: Fish pond toilets are still in use today! All you have to do is visit rural areas in east-Asian countries such as Vietnam.

Like this, but utterly disgusting.

Like this, but utterly disgusting.

The end. But wait, that can’t be the end! Are we seriously going to leave you on The Pig Toilet?! We probably shouldn’t. Check back next week for a quick look at the modern toilet and where it came from. Until then, enjoy your flushing!

Where the Front Range’s Water Comes From

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Because we’re a plumbing company, we deal with water every day. Lots and lots of water. Maybe we’re performing basic plumbing services and fixing a leak in someone’s freshwater pipes, or perhaps we’re taking care of their drain cleaning so that the water can go on its merry way.

But where does all that water come from, and where does it go? Glad you asked.

Mountains, Rivers, and Reservoirs

Here in Denver we’re very fortunate to be very high up on the “water chain.” Snow falls on the mountains, and the snow melt becomes the South Platte River, Williams Fork River, and Blue River. Denver also gets it water from Ralston Creek, Bear Creek, and South Boulder Creek. Of course, the largest supplier of water for Denver is Dillon Reservoir, which provides 40 percent of the water used by the Denver area.

Consider Our Wastewater Treatment Facility

As we all know, water is a precious resource. That’s why it’s important that anything we send down the drain is able to be dealt with easily by Denver’s Wastewater Management. In a garvins 3perfect world, all they would have to deal with is human waste and toilet paper. Unfortunately, the water they receive is filled with drain cleaners, medicine, and oh-so-many unmentionables. (Tampons and condoms. We’re talking about tampons and condoms.) Making sure “what should go in the toilet” is the only stuff that actually does go in the toilet makes their job of cleaning and recycling the water that much easier. And it helps keep your sewer service bills lower if they have to treat it less.

Be Kind To Our Downstream Neighbors

So, since we’re so high up on the water chain, we can use all we want and do whatever we want with it, right? Well that’s not a very nice attitude to have, person with whom we’re having an imaginary argument! Keeping the water as clean as possible means that we can send that water down the South Platte, which joins the North Platte to become the Platter River, which joins the Missouri River, which joins the Mississippi, which ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. Keeping water clean here keeps it clean for tens of millions of people along the way, and keeps the entire world’s oceans cleaner.

Now that you know about where your water comes from and where it goes, we hope you’ll have a better understanding of why it’s so important to keep it as clean as possible. You can look for hidden leaks in your home by reading this blog, and you can always heed the advice of your local plumber by not sending anything down the toilet that you shouldn’t. And when you do and need sewer cleaning, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!

Saving You Money On Your Water Bill With Proper Plumbing Services

We’re locally-owned here at Garvin’s, and we like to think of you as our neighbors. Because of that, we want to give you the best possible advice when it comes to saving you money on your water bill. After all, we’re subject to the same water restrictions as you are during Denver droughts, and we want there to be as much water in the lakes and rivers as possible.

So in addition to giving you reasonably-priced plumbing services all along the front range, Garvin’s has some advice on how to save water and/or money in and around your home.

Find Those Leaks

One thing that a local plumbing service can do for you is to fix leaks that pop up. In fact, we wrote an entire blog on how to check for hidden leaks. If you have Garvins 1reason to suspect that there may be hidden leaks in your home, give Garvin’s a call. It can not only save you money on water, but also on the damage that leaks can cause to your ceilings, walls, and floors.

Shower Heads

No one expects you to have water pressure so low that you can’t get all the suds out of your hair, but the fact is that most shower heads in older homes deliver far too much water per minute. A lot of this water simply bounces off of you or misses you entirely, only to head down the drain without doing any good. A low-flow shower head can save you on your monthly water bills.

Low-Flow Toilets

Okay, this subject always opens a can of worms. The fact is, yes, low-flow toilets can make it necessary to flush more times in order to get the solid waste to go away. But when it comes to liquid waste, they’re saving you quite a bit of water. This one is up to you, but we won’t blame you if you don’t want to go with an “ultra-low flow” variety.

Sprinkler Heads

That must have been some sprinkler head...

That must have been some sprinkler head…

There are so many ways that a sprinkler system can waste money. First of all, people often have them set to go off far too often. This actually ends up hurting the grass, because the root system never works to grow deeper. Second, far too many people use the sprinklers during the day, when it’s so warm that most of the water evaporates before it can soak in, or, even worse, before it hits the ground. Set your sprinklers to go off between 4am and 6am. Third, broken sprinkler heads waste gallons of water during every watering, and you might not even know they’re broken if you’re sleeping when the sprinklers go off. Finally, sprinklers are very inefficient. Using a drip irrigation method is a much better choice, because they put the water exactly where it needs to be without sending so much into the air.

Water Heater

Turning down the temperature on your water heater won’t save you money on water, but it will save you money on your gas bill if you have a gas water heater. Getting a water heater cover will also help save money. Even better, it will save your skin from getting scalded if you ever turn the tap too far to the left.

Weekend and Night Plumber

Here’s the way to save money in an emergency: call Garvin’s. Garvin’s is your local plumber who won’t charge you extra for nights and weekends. That will save you a load of cash right there!

Saving water is good for all of us, and good to our neighbors who live downstream. Garvin’s can help you take care of replacing all of your old fixtures to save you more money than ever. Ready to start saving? Contact your local plumbing contractor today!

You Might Be Calling Your Local Plumber Sooner Than You Think

dreamstime_9421492There’s the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Grammatical problems aside, it’s a pretty good maxim. But when it comes to how you feel about your drain cleaning and plumbing situation, it can get you into hot water (or, in this case, up to your ankles in cold water).

Here are a few reasons you should contact your local plumber for preventive maintenance, or at the first sign of anything going wrong.

New Pipes Can Fail You

It doesn’t happen very often, but just because you moved into a new neighborhood doesn’t mean that your pipes are 100-percent reliable. Two main things can go wrong.

First of all, your freshwater pipes or sewer pipes might have been installed incorrectly. After all, unless you have a custom home built, the builders are moving pretty quickly and are on a tight schedule. The most likely scenario is that you’ll find a water leak in one of your freshwater pipes. If you find a leak, contact an emergency plumber before it gets worse.

Second, something could go wrong with your sewer pipes. When your neighborhood was built, the ground was leveled and compacted. If it wasn’t compacted properly under your sewer line it’s possible that the line could be affected by a sinkhole. While this was a bigger problem before the invention of PVC and ABS plastic pipe, there’s still the chance that a piece of heavy equipment rolling over your sewer line could snap it.

Just Because It Goes Down…


Many people believe that just because everything goes down the toilet that there are absolutely no problems. But just because your anti-bacterial wipes flushed doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. Non-degradable items sent down the toilet don’t always make their way into the public sewer system, stopped by roots or grease that’s just waiting to grab something that’s passing by. So garvins 2stop flushing stuff that shouldn’t go down the toilet, and if you’ve lived in a house for a long time it might be a good idea to have some preventive sewer and drain cleaning performed.

Just because you’re not in an emergency situation right now doesn’t mean you should ignore warnings that your freshwater or sewer pipes are about to cause problems. Contact Garvin’s at the first sign of trouble.

“Why Is My Toilet So Noisy?” Your Denver Plumber Has the Answers

"So, Bob, who's sewer line are you crawling up today?"

“So, Bob, whose sewer line are you crawling up today?”

Here at the Garvin’s blog we’ve answered all sorts of questions over the years. And in over 200 blogs about drain cleaning, sewer cleaning, plumbing services, and water heater repair, we’ve answered a lot of questions. But one we’ve never tackled is this: what is your toilet saying to you when it starts talking?

Now we’re not talking about the lid bouncing up and down like it might in a Super Bowl commercial, the voice of Steve Buscemi suggesting that it doesn’t want the plunger again (though we just had a really great idea for a Super Bowl ad). We’re talking about the strange sounds that can come from your toilet. Those sounds can take on a number of different “voices,” and strangely none of them are from a respected Hollywood actor.

Here are the most common “weird noises” that you can hear coming from your toilet.

Why is My Toilet Hissing Like a Snake?

A hissing toilet is one of the most common toilet problems, and it doesn’t mean that anything has crawled up your pipes (though, you know, open the lid slowly just to make sure). A hissing toilet almost always means that water is leaking from your tank and into the bowl. This hissing is often accompanied by the occasional whoosh of the toilet tank refilling for a second or two as the float (or similar piece of hardware) has registered that that tank is missing some of its water. This whoosh may occur once every hour or every ten seconds, depending on how bored the snake is how bad the leak is. If you’re not comfortable fixing   this problem, or if you have and the hissing keeps coming back, get it fixed right by your local plumber so that you’re no longer wasting money or water.

Why Is My Toilet Gurgling?

You probably know from experience why your toilet is gurgling. If you’ve ever filled the toilet with too much toilet paper and it just barely goes down, you’ll get the gurgle (or “the gurg” as we call it in the business) (that’s a lie, we don’t call it that. We’re cooler than that.) But that example tells you what’s happening if you do a clean flush, it goes down slow, and starts to gurgle: there’s a clog somewhere in your line. It might be that you need drain cleaning, or perhaps you simply need a full sewer cleaning of your main line. Give Garvin’s a call and we can take care of your problems with a sewer snake.

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Why Is My Toilet Making A Loud Banging Noise?

In a word? Hammertime! What you’re experiencing is called a water hammer. This occurs when your toilet’s valve opens to fill the tank and then shuts suddenly. It’s not the valve that’s causing the bang; instead it’s the water inside the pipes in the walls that stops suddenly and causes the sound. If it happens every so often you shouldn’t have to worry. If it’s happening all the time, joints in your freshwater pipes could loosen and cause leaks inside your walls. When you hear the the water hammer frequently, call your local plumber so that there’s no leaking in your future.

Why Is My Toilet Humming?

Because it doesn’t know the words. (We’re not proud of ourselves right now…)

If your toilet starts talking like Steve Buscemi, call a psychiatrist. But if it starts making any of the sounds above, simply contact your local plumbers at Garvin’s. We’ll make sure that it stops making those noises so that you stop worrying about it.

If You Have A Flooded Basement, Here’s What To Do Before Calling An Emergency Plumber

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A flooded basement is one of the most devastating home disasters that many of us will ever face. At the very least you’ll lose old books, Christmas decorations, and exercise equipment. At worst you’ll lose everything from the basement bedroom, your home theater, and family photos.

At Garvin’s, we want to make this trying time as easy as possible on you. That means letting you know what to do before we even get there.

  1. Identify the problem – If the entire neighborhood is flooded or if it’s been raining overnight, you probably have a pretty good idea where all of that water is coming from. But if it’s dry outside, it’s a good bet that you either have a leaky freshwater pipe or a backed up sewer. Trust us, your nose will tell you which one it is!
  2. Shut off the water (if you can) – If it’s a sewer backup, there’s obviously nothing to shut off. But if it’s a freshwater problem, shut off the main water to your home if you have easy access to it. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to do in many circumstances, considering that the main water shutoff valve is usually down in the flooded basement, and we’re about to tell you to not go down there…
  3. Don’t get in! – The biggest danger with a flooded basement is the chance of electric shock. If the water has risen to the height of the electrical sockets there’s a good chance that the water has become electrified. This could prove deadly, so if you have to go into the basement make sure that the electricity is shut off. Alternately, if the water is backed up sewage, the threat of bacteria should be enough to keep you from wading into the basement.
  4. Call an emergency plumber – No matter the time or day, call an emergency plumber. In fact, here’s our number: 303-571-5114, anywhere in the Denver area including Boulder and Longmont. A 24-hour plumber has seen all of this before and will be able to evaluate the problem and respond accordingly. Plumbers will have the right boots and equipment for all situations that will help to expedite the removal of the water.
  5. Call Your Insurance – It’s one of the sad facts of life…a basic homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. Most don’t cover sewer backups. Even if you don’t think your insurance doesn’t cover flooding, call anyway to inform them of what has happened. Take pictures of the damage, and keep receipts for emergency plumber services like you’ll get from Garvin’s. There’s a chance that the specific form of damage is indeed covered, depending on what caused it. It can’t hurt to ask.
  6. Find the right renovators –  When the water has been stopped and the flood has abated, it’s time to find a restoration company. You might be in a rush garvin 5when it comes to picking an emergency plumber (303-571-5114, in case you missed it), but you’ll at least have a little bit of time to research the right restoration experts. Don’t take too long, though, because you want to get them working before the mold sets in.

Basement flooding can be a horrible experience, and that’s why, as emergency plumbers, we try to make it as easy as possible during your time of need. Contact Garvin’s (where’s that number again?
Wait, here it is: 303-571-5114) whenever you need a 24-hour plumber.

Customer Feedback Regarding Our Plumbing Service and Drain Cleaning

dreamstime_xxl_18734088Every so often we like to take a look at our testimonials and see what our customers are saying about us. Actually, we do it all the time, because we’re always interested in what our customers have to say. But sometimes we like to take the time to respond to them in a public forum. Here are a few of our favorites.

“Bryan located and scoped our sewer line this morning. I want to commend him for an outstanding job. He was courteous, thorough, and professional. He discovered attributes of our sewer line that other sewer people were not able to determine. He responded quickly to every question and request that I made. I now have a far better understanding of our sewer line than I have ever had before after ten years of problems and discussions with other sewer professionals. Thank you Bryan!! I will be quick to recommend Bryan and the Garvin’s organization to anyone who asks.”

— Chuck S., Boulder

We’re so glad you’re happy with the sewer scope service that Bryan was able to deliver. You bring up an interesting point about how Garvin’s works: we like to educate our customers as much as possible. We know that if you’re informed that you’re more likely to understand why we’re recommending a service. We’re also your neighbors in Denver, so we want to do our best to help you avoid similar problems in the future.

“We had a water leak that we found at 4 am on a Sunday morning. Garvin’s Sewer Service came out immediately and walked us through the whole process. Their guys were excellent and helped us through everything. They are just a great company and I recommend them to everybody.”

— Linda W.

garvins 4Leaks are like smoke alarms…they always seem to pick the absolute worst time to happen! As a Denver emergency plumber, we understand that you didn’t pick the time that the leak happens, and you’d much rather be sleeping than giving us a call in the middle of the night. That’s why we’re ready at a moment’s notice to be your 24-hour plumber, no matter what day of the week or what holiday it might be. We’re not going to charge you extra, because we don’t want to add financial problems to the plumbing problems you’re already having. Speaking of dealing with unexpected problems…

“Great Service! I first used Garvin’s in January of 2009 and again in December of 2011. Both times they were prompt, courteous and fair priced. It’s never the right time for a sewer to back up; but Garvin’s kept the frustration to a minimum with their great customer service.”

— G. Pena, Englewood, CO

“There’s never a good time for a sewer to back up”; that’s certainly something that we can relate to! Sure, we’d like to work 8-5, but, like we said above, these things seem to happen at the worst times. When you’re in need of an emergency plumber, you want someone who can step into your home and take control of the situation, letting you know what’s happening and fixing the problem as quickly as possible in a safe, hygienic manner.

“I recently used Garvin’s Sewer Service for the first time. They installed a new hot water tank for me, and it’s top notch. They showed up on time, and conducted themselves in a professional manner. They also picked up after themselves, which I certainly appreciated. Additionally, I thought that they were fair in their pricing. They might not be the cheapest around, but given the quality they are worth what they do charge.”

— Sloan Waters

Thanks for your kind words regarding our installation of your water heater installation. We’d like to comment on something you said regarding our price, because we think you nailed it: we’re not always going to be the cheapest around. We are going to be fair, and we are going to do the best job around. When it comes to water heater repair and installation, you don’t want to go with the cheapest plumber around, what we’re dealing with — natural gas, electricity, boiling water — aren’t aspects that you want to leave up to an amateur or a plumber who advertises as being the cheapest.

“Never Knew a Technician Could Make My Day! I encountered a backed up sewer this last week and called upon one of Garvin’s competitors, using the “Done Right Directory” which states “guaranteed Home Improvements and Repair Pros”. The competitor was quick to respond, cleaned my drain out promptly, and reported back to me that the only thing he pulled in with the snake was a “worm”…which according to him was “not a good sign”. He offered a FREE scope of my sewer which of course I took him up on. The scope suggested…or should I say his interpretation of the scope portrayed a dire situation at hand. Such, that my sewer was nearly detached from the city main. Well of course I signed up for a new sewer! The proposal totaled $13,000.00. Thanks to a great neighbor who had worked with Garvins and his urging…I called Garvins seeking some direction. Garvins scoped the sewer for me the following day….and there was nothing spotted in the scope that suggested a need for a new sewer line. Garvins saved me $13,000.00 today and I can’t thank them enough. I will be singing their praises to all my neighbors and peers. Thanks Bryan and Mitch!!! See you next year!”

— Sheila S.

Unfortunately, we hear this all the time. Unscrupulous sewer repair companies will use any small problem in your sewer system to suggest the worst. You don’t need a new roof just because a single shingle came off, you don’t need a new car when a headlight goes out, and you don’t need a new sewer line just because there was a worm found. Sewer lines can have holes and work for many more decades. Because Garvin’s doesn’t offer sewer replacement services, we make a great third-party option for when you want a second opinion.

We love hearing from customers and hope to hear from you. Contact us with your Garvin’s questions, concerns, and praises, and maybe you’ll find yourself on our testimonials page before long!

5 Way To Clean Your Drain Yourself…That You’ll Seriously Regret

Here at Garvin’s, we’ve always been plumbers. After all, it’s a family-owned business and has been passed down through three generations now. We grew up knowing what will and won’t work on a simple drain clog, and since we have the professional equipment we’ve always been able to take care of our own home plumbing and sewer system.

That’s not true of our customers, and we do our best to understand when someone comes to us and tells us the wacky thing they’ve tried to do to clean out their pipes before we got there. Here are a few home remedies our customers have tried that turned out to cause more harm than good.

Coat Hangers

You wouldn’t take a coat hanger and start poking around under the hood of your car. You wouldn’t take one and ram it into your house’s electrical box. So why do some people think that it’s perfectly acceptable to try to get rid of a clog with one? When you use a piece of metal like a coat hanger that isn’t Garvins 3made for the job you’re more likely to damage your pipes and your sink’s plumbing. Not only that, but it probably won’t work, because what you’re dealing with isn’t a solid mass as you might imagine it, but a collection of grease, hair, and food particles that aren’t so easily dismissed with a pointy object like a hanger.

Garden Hose

Well this is a fun one. Some people, realizing that a professional drain cleaner sometimes uses a water jet to clean the pipes, have actually tried to use pressurized water to get rid of their clogs. Their first thought was to open the window, take off the screen, and pull the garden hose into the kitchen.

You can probably imagine that this is a bad idea. First of all, they couldn’t get a firm seal over the sink, and that leads to water being sprayed everywhere. And not only water, but whatever else was floating just above the clog, so it got gross fast. Plus, a garden hose just doesn’t have the PSI of water pressure that a professional unit has.

dreamstime_l_2667231It was even worse, though, when they did get a solid seal over the drain. The pressure would build for a fraction of a second, but the clog would hold. When that happens, the hose is going to fly off out of the sink and smack anyone standing near.

Drain Cleaners

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve railed against drain cleaners, so we figure it’s about time! We hate chemical drain cleaners. They seldom work, and even when they do they punch a very small hole in the clog and then drain away, leaving the remainder of the clog to repair itself in a short time. Drain cleaners are dangerous to keep in your home, and also dangerous to the next person who performs professional drain cleaning if they stick around. They’re harsh on your drain pipes, and they’re bad for the environment. Just say no to chemical drain cleaners!

Bleach

Bleach is pretty amazing, we’ll admit. After all, nothing in the world can ruin your clothes and blind you faster! The problem with bleach (much like the drain cleaners mentioned above) is that it’s very caustic when concentrated and ineffective when it’s not. So, much like drain cleaners, it’s just not going to work. Even more, it could damage your sink basin and metal components, and will be cause potential health hazards if it sticks around in your pipes for too long.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t give simple drain cleaning a try before calling us. After all, a simple sinks-only plunger can do wonders and save you a lot of money. But if that doesn’t work, you should probably give a professional plumber a call. Contact Garvin’s when your drains are clogged!