The curse of the clogged sewer line

The curse of the clogged sewer line

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

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

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

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

The Backed Up Sewer! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

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

What causes a backup?

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

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

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

Five things that can cause sewer line backup are:

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

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

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

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

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

What do you do during a backup?

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

What do you do?

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

Why call Garvin’s?

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

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

A Guide to Sewer Line Preventative Maintenance

A Guide to Sewer Line Preventative Maintenance

Your sewer lines may be hidden, but they are about as important as any individual aspect of a home. Imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t drain a sink or flush a toilet or run a shower without it backing up. It sounds awful, but these things happen all the time, and sometimes they get so bad that the homeowner can incur major repairs, including but not limited to a full sewer replacement.

How does one prevent having to undertake massive sewer line repairs? By taking care of a little preventative maintenance. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we want to help homeowners do the necessary things to prevent their pipes from clogging, hopefully in a way that keeps a complete sewer replacement from ever becoming necessary. The following is a look at ways we can help with drain and sewer line preventative maintenance:

#1 Clean Slow Drains

Many people attack a slow-moving drain with a bottle of liquid drain cleaner, but there are so many reasons why that just isn’t the best course of action. A sewer drain cleaning in Englewood often is the best way to clear a drain of any grease, hair, or other items that could be causing the backup. It is better for the environment and the integrity of your pipes to have this done by a professional.

#2 Check for Cracks

Professional plumbers also can check your sewer for cracks using tools that most homeowners don’t have on-hand. Bendable snake cameras allow plumbers with a trained eye to locate cracks in a sewer, which helps them understand exactly where bigger problems may arise in the future had they not been checked up on early.

#3 Remove Trees Near Sewer Lines

Tree roots are among the most notorious killers of functional sewer lines, so one approach to preventing invasive and pricy sewer line replacement is just to remove those trees in the first place. If not removing trees, at least planting new ones away from sewer lines is a smart approach, and a plumber can help you know exactly where in your yard that may be.

#4 Test Water Pressure

Professionals here at Garvin’s Sewer Service have access to special gauges that can check the quality of your water pressure, and if something doesn’t appear to be working quite right, they can give homeowners a sense of what to do get things back up to snuff. 

#5 Check Under Sinks for Warning Signs

Another bit of preventative maintenance plumbers do is just to have a check under sinks for any cracks or leaks in the pipes that reside there. Think of it the same way you would a multi-point inspection for your vehicle at the car dealership. If something’s wrong, we can fix it before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Contact the Denver Sewer Replacement & Maintenance Experts

The idea behind any sort of preventative maintenance is to be sure that everything works the way it should and that molehills don’t turn into mountains. If you’d like to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment with one of our professionals, contact the professionals at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can help ensure that your home’s plumbing continues working as it should.

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 Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

What Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

Plumbers have been around for as long as plumbing has existed, making it one of the oldest professions in the modern world. Despite that, plumbing has a come a long way, especially in the last few years as technological advancements have helped make it easier than ever to detect any issues in hard-to-see locations such as your sewer line. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we sometimes use sewer inspection cameras to locate sewer line problems, but only in certain situations.

If you’ve ever wondered in what contexts we may need to use these special cameras, the following explains how they work and what they can detect.

How Sewer Inspection Cameras Work

The device itself features a box with a screen attached a thin, snakelike hose that can be deposited into an open drain. Inside the hose are small lights and a fiber optic camera similar in size to those found in smartphones, and as the camera at the end of the cable extends down the pipe, images of what the camera sees shows up on the screen in real time. As the plumber threads the cable through the pipes, it observes any potential obstructions or leaks.

What These Cameras Can Show Us

Perhaps most importantly, these cameras have made it possible for us to detect problems that may be located in a sewer line, which is buried underground and often inaccessible for visual inspection from the outside. In a nutshell, these cameras can show our professionals most cracks, root damage, and corrosion, giving us an easy look at what needs to be fixed and how we could best approach fixing it.

For example, the camera could determine that root damage is what’s causing the issue, so we would know how to use the right kinds of tools to correct the issue. If there’s a clog, we know how to flush it out. There’s a good reason we use these so much at our jobs!

What Cameras Can’t Do

While a sewer camera inspection can catch many problems, there are some things it can’t do. With some old cast iron piping, the image can be hard to interpret sometimes, at which point we may have to use other diagnostic methods to figure out what’s going on.

At the end of the day, though, these cameras are very helpful in diagnosing what’s wrong with a sewer line. They help Garvin’s Sewer Service professionals do their job in a way that allows us to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. These types of modern plumbing tools are good for everybody involved, so don’t be surprised if you see one of our technicians using a sewer camera the next time you call them to your house to correct a sewer line issue.