Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 2

Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 2

Welcome back! If you missed the first part of this blog, read it here. We promise, it’s worth it!

Let’s continue, without further ado, to our final three handy tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in fantastic shape.

Find Lovely Rita meter

We know the old Beatle’s song referenced a different type of meter. But, we’re going to ask you to go on a treasure hunt again and you’ll need a tune to hum as you look. Do you know where your water meter is? It could be inside your house, outside the perimeter, or in your front yard. 

If you have an outdoor water meter pit, you may need to remove a nut to loosen the lid on the cover and remove the cover to look at the meter. 

Once you’ve located your meter and can see the dial, consider running a water leak test to see if you have any slow leaks in your house. Read this blog for instructions. Call Garvin’s if you need help or have any kind of leak.

Push the red button

Someday you may flip the switch on your garbage disposal and nothing will happen. No grinding or usual disposal noises—you’ll hear… nothing instead. You may even have a nasty sink clog to go with it and wonder what to do. 

If that happens, you’ll have at least one trick up your sleeve. You’ll be able to press the reset button. To locate this tiny, red button, look on the bottom of your disposal unit. Once you find the button, pushing it will reset your disposal. See this video for a demo.

The button is like a circuit breaker. It pops out of your disposal unit to cut off the electricity and prevent the unit from overheating.

If you’re in luck and you just tripped overload protector, all could be well again with the reset. If not, your disposal could need fixing or replacing. Call Garvin’s if you need help.

Ditch the drain debris

Drain blockages happen all the time. Dirt, grease, waste and other debris gradually collect and block drains as sure as we all have to pay taxes every year. Blockages are annoying and can be disgusting. They may eventually cause your sewer to back up too.

If that happens, you can call Garvin’s, or you can be proactive and schedule routine sewer maintenance.

There are actually four ways to access your sewer line: An outside pipe (aka riser); a basement or crawlspace cleanout cap; a toilet, or a vent on your roof. Knowing where your access point is will help your technician to help you. Discover which one you have before you have an emergency.

Still not sure? Give us a call. Garvin’s Sewer Service has been the Denver-Metro area’s drain cleaning expert since 1940, the year color TV was invented! 

We clean drains with a blade-tipped cable. The blade spins through the drain line, quickly cleaning the full circumference of the line and pushing out and/or destroying the blockage.

Contact us online or by phone to schedule cleaning and set up routine sewer cleaning service.

Sewer service in Denver and Englewood

The professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service are fast, reliable and can respond to a wide variety of plumbing and sewer problems. Call today, or fill out our online form.

Sources

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/fix-garbage-disposal-reset-button-doesnt-work-68212.html

Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 1

Owning a home is a two-sided coin. There’s joy in having your own yard, being able to remodel every room to your liking and taking pride in cared-for landscaping. 

Your house isn’t just drywall and wood. It’s where your daughter lost her first tooth, and your cousin surprised everyone by proposing to his fiancée at halftime. It’s where your dad quietly repaired the front porch because he saw you trip on a step. Your home is your sanctuary. 

On the flip side, it takes elbow-grease to keep your domicile ordered and functioning. Roof shingles need repair. Paint cries out to be touched up. Windows always need washing. 

Over the years, we’ve seen it all in the plumbing sphere. We’d like to pass on the benefits of that experience. So, get settled, grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s go through plumbing tips that will keep your domestic kingdom royally ready for creating happy moments.

Test anxiety, not!

First, a pop quiz! Take a sip of your beverage. Now, answer the following questions. It’s ok to speak out loud. Nobody is watching. Except, maybe your cat. Cats are always judge-y; so, ignore the stare.

  1. Where is your main water shut off valve?
  2. Where is your toilet shut off valve?
  3. Do you know how to check your water heater?
  4. Where is your water meter and how do you access it?
  5. Do you know how to reset your garbage disposal?
  6. Where is your sewer clean-out or riser?

Did you know all the answers? 

Did you run and check so that you could answer smugly, “I know that!” That’s good. Knowledge is awesome.

If you didn’t know the answers, or a few were sketchy, read on! 

And, if you knew all, peruse the rest of the blog anyway. You might find some helpful info that will help you win Jeopardy someday.

How to shut it all off

Savvy homeowners schedule maintenance and pay attention to details to prevent bigger issues down the road. Despite best efforts, emergencies happen! 

There may come a time when you need to shut off the water to your house, or shut off water closer to the source because of a backup, pipe breakage or a leak. Let’s go over how. Better to be prepared than scared.

Getting to know your main shutoff valve

If you don’t know where that main water shut off to your house is, let’s find it! If you do, excellent; pat yourself on the back.

You can usually find the valve on the side of your house facing the street, likely in the corner of the basement near the pipes to your sprinkler or outside hose system. If you don’t have a basement, the main valve may be next to your water heater in a utility or laundry room. 

Many main water shut off valves have what is called a ball, or “knife valve.” While this name may conjure up horror-flick images in the more imaginative, it just means the handle is long and can be flipped either vertical (up or down) or horizontal (sideways). If you have this type, remember that vertical lets the water flow through, horizontal shuts the water off.

If your home is older, you may have a gate valve with a circular knob. If yours is this type, you will have to turn the knob clockwise several turns to shut off your water.

If you’ve never had to shut off your water, familiarize yourself with your valve now. While you are at it, inspect the area around the valve for any signs of dripping water or leaks.

Yes, put down the beverage and go look. We’ll wait…. Did you find it? Do you know what you have to do to shut off the water now? Woot! Gold star.

If you can’t find your main shutoff, or discovered evidence of leaky pipes in that area, call Garvin’s. We are here to help with all your plumbing leak repairs.

Going down to toilet town

Moving on, let’s say your plumbing problems aren’t big enough to shut the water to your entire house. Maybe you’ll have a fine day when you walk into the second-most frequented room in the house (after the kitchen, of course) and find the toilet leaking all over your costly ceramic tile.

You’ll want to locate your toilet flush handle, then look behind the toilet and down. You should see the pipes leading to your toilet and the shutoff valve to that pipe. 

For most toilets, you will need to turn the round knob on the shutoff valve a few turns clockwise to shut off the water. If it doesn’t budge, try squirting the valve with a WD40. Need help? 

While you’re down on the floor getting familiar with the toilet, notice if there’s any corrosion around your valve. Is there any water on the floor that didn’t come from your shower? You may need to replace the valve and/or repair your plumbing. Call Garvin’s for help.

While we are in toilet town, it’s a good idea to test your porcelain throne for tank leaks. To do this, perform the blue dye test. Blue dye tablets are available at any hardware store. We’ve written a nifty blog about how to perform the test, check it out.

And… we’d be remiss if we didn’t include our Toilet Health PSA: Please, flush ONLY toilet paper and human waste down your toilet. Nothing else. Nope: Whatever “but” you are thinking, it’s a, “nope.” No “flushable” wipes, no goldfish funerals, no leftover aspirin or cigarette ash. 

If you are still tempted, remember: if it’s something weird you’re flushing, what goes down will probably come back up. Do you really want to see it again, just older and way more disgusting?

Cozy up to your water heater

Next, we are going to visit the hardworking device that keeps everyone in your house super happy: The hot water heater. Hot showers, clean laundry, sparkling dishes: Your hot water heater toils away and you barely notice it’s there.

Well… maybe that should change. Pay your hot water heater a visit once-in-a-while to ensure all is well. 

First, there should be a valve at the top of your heater, similar to your main water shutoff valve. You can turn it off in an emergency. Locate the valve and ensure you are familiar with it (you’re good at this now). See our video for visual help.

Second, know the signs that your water heater may need to be replaced. Notice if the water heater is leaking. Are you getting off-colored water from your faucets? Do you hear noises from your water heater? Is your water heater over 10 years old? All of these factors may indicate replacement is in your near future.

Third, if you have a gas water heater, you should be able to check your pilot light if you run out of hot water and don’t know why. See our video: How to check your pilot light

Quiz an expert

Still have questions about your shutoff valves or water heater? We have quite a few answers! Let us help. Contact Garvin’s online or by phone.

We’ll continue next time with “Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know: Part 2.”  We’ll cover finding your water meter, improving the mood of a grouchy garbage disposal and different types of sewer pipe access. Join us!

Sources

How to Identify a Faulty Water Shut off Valve — Stop Water Damage Before It Destroys Your Home | Peril Protect

3 Ways to Turn Off the Water Supply to a Toilet – wikiHow

Spring tips to keep your plumbing humming

Spring tips to keep your plumbing humming

Spring in Colorado: What a tricky time. It will be sunny one day and cold the next. The wind will howl on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon the sky will be so blue you’ll swear it’s the start of summer. 

Spring, the time of new life and snow melt, is actually the perfect time to check up on the invisible workhorse that toils away for you night and day: your home’s plumbing. 

Let’s revisit five sure-fire spring preventative maintenance tasks to tackle that will keep your plumbing humming along all year.

Check toilets for leaks

Be honest. Have you noticed the water turning on and off in your toilet tank for a while now? Even when you aren’t using a particular bathroom? It’s time to discover why.

Perhaps you haven’t heard your tank making noises. That’s great. 

Leaks can be slow and small though, so you might want to perform the following test just the same. Toilet use accounts for as much as one quarter of the average family’s household water usage per year. If your toilet leaks, that’s a precious lot of water wasted every month. 

Plus, an astounding one in five toilets in the U.S. leaks! Perform this simple test for peace of mind:

  1. Purchase a package of toilet leak detection dye tablets. Garvin’s of Denver, Fredrick, Firestone, Dacono, Greeley and Evans can provide them for you, or you can get them at your local hardware store.
  2. Remove the toilet tank lid.
  3. Open the dye tablet package. Drop the tablets into your toilet tank. The water will turn blue.
  4. Replace the toilet tank lid. Let the tablets dissolve for 10 to 15 minutes. DO NOT FLUSH!
  5. When 10 to 15 minutes have passed, return to your bathroom and check the bowl of your toilet.
  6. Is the water in the bowl any shade of blue? If yes, it means your toilet tank is leaking and wasting water.
  7. Call a plumber for help resolving the leak.

Check outside pipes and hoses

Once the snow melts, it’s time to start thinking about yard maintenance again. The first thing you might want to do is turn on your hoses and give your lawn and bushes a nice drink. Do it slowly.

As you start to turn the water back on to your hose bibbs, notice if they are leaking on the exterior of your home. 

Take a careful look at the interior foundation walls of your house too. Are the walls and ceiling opposite your outside spigot wet? Is unexplained moisture dripping from the ceiling? If so, you may need the help of a plumber to avoid costly damage.

Examine your hoses and sprinklers. Have any heads broken off? Do auxiliary hoses have pin holes that are leaking and wasting water? Replace the heads and old hoses to prevent water waste.

Examine your sump pump

Your sump pump should be there for you when spring rains come and the water table swells. And because we live in Colorado, we can’t always predict when that’s going to be. 

According to freshwatersystems.com, here are a few things to keep in mind when inspecting your sump pump:

  1. The average sump pump needs to be replaced after about 10 years.
  2. Really loud noises from your sump pit aren’t good. Pumps will make some noise. However, if your pump is whining, grinding or protesting and you can hear it upstairs, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
  3. Constant running is a bad sign. Continual pumping could mean part of your pump, such as a float switch, has stopped functioning properly. If your pump runs day and night for no discernable reason, it could wear out quickly. Get it checked by a professional.

To learn more about sump pumps, read this article.

Check your water meter

If your water bill is high and you haven’t increased your water usage, you might have a leak. You can check for possible leakage by checking your water meter.

First, locate the meter. It could be inside your house, outside the perimeter of your house or in your front yard. Here’s how to check it:

  1. Prepare: Turn off all water-using appliances in your house. Wait 30 minutes and proceed with checking your meter. Remember to tell your family not to use any water inside or outside your house for 30 minutes.
    Collect things you might need for the test: a screwdriver (for prying), paper towel (for cleaning off the meter face) a flashlight (in case the light is low around your meter), light gloves (if you have a nice manicure), a notepad and pen.
  2. If you have an outdoor water meter pit, you may need to remove a nut to loosen the lid on the cover and remove the cover to look at the meter. 
  3. Look at the large dial on the meter. Is the dial moving? If not, you may still have a tiny secondary dial that is spinning. If you see either dial moving and everything (including the sprinkler system) that uses water in your home is shut off, you may have a leak. 
  4. Look at the numbers on your meter. Write them down on your notepad. Wait 30 minutes. 
  5. Return to the meter after 30 minutes and note the numbers on your meter. Is the number higher than the first number you wrote down in step 4? You may have a leak.

Even a tiny leak can add up to hundreds of gallons a month in waste. Contact your local plumbing professional for help.

Consider drain and sewer cleaning

Roots from trees in your or your neighbor’s yard begin to seek out water at this time of year. The roots can invade your sewer line and cause clogs over time. Be proactive and call a local sewer cleaning service for preventative maintenance to clear the roots out of your main line before they become a long-term problem that requires a sewer line replacement.

Regular cleaning can also stop those really disruptive sewer line back-ups no one likes. 

Establish a partnership

Garvin’s of Denver and Englewood provides sewer and drain cleaning, preventative maintenance and a full array of plumbing services. We can be your partners in establishing a plumbing maintenance routine as well as come to your aid when you need repairs. 

While we do basic drain cleaning and sewer service, we also employ half-a-dozen service plumbers who replace faucets and toilets, repair leaks, winterize homes, repair and replace water heaters, install gas lines and more. Call today for an appointment or fill out our online form for a quote.

Sources

https://www.sunrisespecialty.com/how-much-water-to-flush-toilet
https://www.freshwatersystems.com/blogs/blog/what-is-a-sump-pump-and-how-does-it-work

 

Why spring is the perfect time for sewer line maintenance

Why spring is the perfect time for sewer line maintenance

Trees look so gorgeous covered with snow in the winter, don’t they? In the autumn they appear to bed down and take nice, long naps. In the spring, they shelter smaller plants. They host birds in their branches.

Trees: Our peaceful manufacturers of oxygen.

Not so fast. Trees also have a less heroic side. 

Deep under the soil, roots grow expansively to help the trees survive. In the spring, some of those roots reach hungrily for water and nutrients like sightless, pale worms. The sneaky tendrils scavenge into cracks everywhere to ferret out liquid survival.

Roots are creeping towards your clay or concrete sewer pipes as you read this. Whispering through the dirt. Maybe some are already in your pipes spanning them and feeding on your household waste, just waiting to cause clogs in your sewer line.

That’s a bit dramatic. And… we do need trees! However, it’s a proven fact that roots can be destructive little buggers. We know this, yet so many of us just ignore them. We go about making pancakes or fitting our Labradoodles with red sweaters like the horror underground is not happening.

Why then are we so very surprised when our sewer lines back up into our showers or basements with tides of smelly yuck? 

An ounce of prevention…

Is worth… well, you know the old saying. Preventative sewer maintenance is worth its weight in platinum. Getting your sewer line routinely inspected and cleared of roots with a bladed cable just makes sense. 

Every spring, plumbing and sewer services in the Denver area get tons of calls about root problems and maintenance. So, now is the time to get ahead of the curve and get your main line cleared of those roots before they precipitate your own personal, foul-smelling drama. 

It won’t hurt the trees…

We promise. But getting your sewer line cleaned will most certainly help your household. Using a bladed cable to “roto-rooter” or cut through the roots in your main line and push the plant matter into your city sewer will get rid of not only the roots, but anything else that might have gotten tangled up in the roots over time. 

This method is more thorough and effective than “jetting” your sewer line with water.

Of course, you still won’t want to flush the following down your toilet:

  • Huge wads of TP
  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers
  • Paper towel

Getting your pipes bladed out isn’t a license to abuse your pipes. Take care of them by being prudent about what you flush and pour down the drain. Then, root maintenance will help keep your line clear and prevent standing ankle deep in who-knows-what one day. 

It’s best to schedule maintenance every 12 months or more often if you have a large family or a ton of trees. 

It seems like an endless cycle…

If you call Garvin’s we can help you determine what your best long-term preventative maintenance solutions might be. 

Most times, removing trees is costly, unsightly and mean to birds and squirrels.

Another option in reducing invasive root problems is using a non-toxic product like Root-X which foams into your main line to kill roots between main-line cleanings. Root-X is non-caustic and will not harm pipes, septic systems or vegetation above the ground. Other root eaters only sit on the bottom of the pipe, not reaching the top where the roots are growing in.

Confused or unsure about your options? Just ask. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help.

Our video shows we have a problem…

Perhaps another company came to examine or “scope” your sewer line recently and they’re recommending extensive repairs or pipe replacement. They may claim your pipes are broken and need to be excavated. Is replacing your entire sewer line or large portions of it necessary?

We would be happy to view your video and give you a second opinion. Many sewer and drain companies in the Denver Metro area are honest, but some are not. Some simply lack expertise.

We will tell you the truth. We will view your video, explain what we see and brainstorm solutions to your current sewer line issues. Sometimes we can even save you money. Read how we saved one family thousands of dollars in potential repairs by reviewing their scoping video.

Scope, blade, review and repair

At Garvin’s, we are truly sewer line specialists. We know our stuff and we’ll help you steer away from excrement in many forms. We’re here for you all year long to offer preventative maintenance or the right repairs at the right time. We’ll clean your drain, not your bank account. Call for an appointment today.

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. 

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.

 

What’s the Best Water Heater?

What’s the Best Water Heater?

Is it time to replace your old water heater? Or maybe you are doing research because you are ready to upgrade? Either way, it’s smart to learn more so you aren’t in a situation where you must make a high-pressure decision or face taking cold showers!

Consider this a Water Heater 101 as we answer some of our customer’s top questions about water heater replacement.

How long does a water heater last?

The quality of the water heater makes a difference in how long it will last. Your water purity also matters as hard water ages your water appliances faster than filtered water. That being said, you can expect your water heater to last 7-14 years. 

How old is my water heater?

To determine the age of your water heater, you will want to check the manufacturer label. This video will give you a clue about where to find it and determine the age.

However, if you notice that your water isn’t staying as hot as it used to, or you are hearing noises or the water smells, it may be time for a service call, regardless of the age of the unit.

What is the best water heater?

The best water heater depends on YOU. There are some brands who are well known because of their commercials. There are also brands that are high quality that you aren’t aware of because they are only available to those of us professionals in the industry.

Your best water heater is based on your budget, how long you plan to be in your house, the size of your household and your water demands. A good plumber will provide you with a few options or give you an estimate based on the needs you have shared with them.

How big of a water heater do I need?

To balance energy efficiency, cost benefits, and water supply needs, you should choose a water heater based on your household demand. If you find you are constantly running out of hot water, that’s a good sign you need a larger heater. (Or, your water heater needs to be serviced because it isn’t running efficiently.)

What about tankless water heaters?

Tankless water heaters are a great option for homeowners who have high demands for hot water on an ongoing basis. There are other considerations as well, such as space, venting, and current configurations, as these are likely to change. These changes can incur additional costs, but there are right times to do it, such as with a new build or remodel, or when the demand just makes sense.

What is an expansion tank?

An expansion tank is part of replacing a water heater that brings it up to current plumbing codes. When water heats up, it creates steam and expands, and when it cools, it reduces. This repetitive expansion and contraction can cause extra pressure on the pipes and fixtures, causing them to crack or explode.

An expansion tank is designed to hold the water that overflows so the additional pressure isn’t put on the system. This helps it last longer and keeps it safer for your family. 

It is cheaper to leave it off – and that’s how some companies “save” you money. In essence, they aren’t following current plumbing code and are leaving your home at risk for a rupture and resulting water damage. For pennies on the dollar, you are being preventative by installing a new expansion tank with your water heater.

Is there a benefit to electric versus gas?

There are different reasons for why someone would choose a gas water heater over an electric one. Efficiency, earth friendliness, and current energy configurations are the primary considerations. Talk to your plumber about your goals, and they can suggest the best water heater for your specific needs.

Can I install a water heater myself?

Technically, you can, but we don’t recommend it. As mentioned, safety is a top priority and given it’s likely been nearly a decade since the water heater was last installed, new plumbing codes are in place that make the unit safer and more efficient. Because we are up to date on this, and each water heater is a bit different, it isn’t the best DIY project. Plus, we handle delivery and disposal, so you don’t have to.

Water heater replacement is something most of our clients aren’t aware we do! Let Garvin’s Sewer Service take care of all your drain and plumbing needs, including water heater repairs and replacement. Give us a call today for a quote or more information and let our 80 years of service work for you in a new way!

Preparing for “Brown Friday” in Denver

Preparing for “Brown Friday” in Denver

The experienced team of local plumbers at Garvin’s Sewer Service in Englewood has no shortage of work to do around the Denver Metro area. This is especially true on “Brown Friday” – the day after Thanksgiving, when clogged sinks and jammed garbage disposals reach a yearly high. 

Defining Brown Friday

The term “Brown Friday” has become increasingly prevalent in the American social conscious, thanks to several studies showing that emergency plumbing house calls the day after Thanksgiving are the highest of any day of the year. This increase in calls for plumbing repair in Denver is connected to a pair of Turkey Day “phenomenon.” The first is that the huge amount of food consumed by families nationwide creates a record amount of waste — grease, bones, and lots of other stuff that goes from dishes directly into the garbage disposal. It then collects in the disposal’s basin before beginning its slow ooze through kitchen sink pipes. The more grease and scraps, the greater the likelihood of a clog developing. 

The second is that plumbers celebrate Thanksgiving too, and many families prefer to wait a day before calling for help. We’d like to think this is done out of the goodness of their hearts, and that’s mostly true. However, some of the thriftier households put it off to avoid paying a “holiday premium.” At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. At any rate, the result is that our local plumbers get two days’ worth of holiday calls on the same day. 

Tips for Avoiding Your Own Brown Friday

If you want to increase your odds of avoiding your own Brown Friday, check out the following tips. Share them with family and friends, and collectively you might just manage to avoid a brownout. 

  • Bones and fibrous foods (potato peels, corn husks, carrots, onion skins) shouldn’t be put in the garbage disposal. Bones can damage the disposal’s blades, while fibrous scraps tend to wrap around the blades, which can damage the motor. Toss these items in compost or trash instead.
  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into a cup/container and stick it in the freezer. Wait for the grease to solidify, and then throw it out (or reuse it). 
  • Keep the water running when feeding the disposal food scraps.
  • Wipe off greasy pans before washing them.
  • If multiple people are showering at your house over the holiday, use a mesh strainer to keep hair from clogging the drain.
  • Avoid flushing wipes, feminine products, and other non-dissolvable items down the toilet.

A quick word about grease, since it’s arguably the biggest contributor to drain clogs, (and it’s not just grease – it’s the combination of grease, liquefied fat, and oil.) Putting this goop down your drain will not only cause problems for your household plumbing, but it also creates problems for your city’s sewage system. So the more vigilant you are about keeping grease and its allies out of your disposal, the better. 

Brown Friday Blues? Contact Garvin’s Sewer Service

Black Friday may be the most popular day after Thanksgiving for deal shoppers, but in the plumbing community, it doesn’t hold a candle to Brown Friday. Try your best to follow the tips provided above, and if you still end up with drain clogs near Englewood this Thanksgiving, rest assured our experienced plumbers will supply a quick, budget-friendly solution.