What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

Plumbing has come a long way over the course of the last couple of decades, especially as it pertains to newer innovations like sewer camera inspections. It seems like a simple process—snaking a tiny camera down drains to search for damage—but there was a time not that long ago when the technology didn’t exist for such a thing. Now, thanks to these tiny and versatile cameras, the professionals here at Garvin’s Sewer Service can do a more effective job with every inspection and sewer line cleaning they perform.

How exactly do these inspections work? The following is a glimpse at what our professionals can (and cannot) accomplish using a sewer camera.

What Do Sewer Line Inspection Cameras Do?

A sewer line inspection camera looks like a long, robotic snake because that is effectively what it is. A tiny camera at the end of the snake allows plumbers to have a real-time look at what’s going on in your pipes, and the twisty, bendy qualities of the technology itself allows the camera to work its way through the curves and contours of any pipe or drain. In essence, they exist to help plumbers locate and diagnose problems that they could have only guessed at previously.

How Do Sewer Line Inspection Cameras Work?

The flexible rod holding the camera is inserted into the offending drain or pipe, and the high-definition video camera at the tip broadcasts everything to a little screen that the plumber uses during the inspection. Bright LED lights are attached to the rod, allowing the camera to see even in the darkest of places, and we record the entire thing so we can go back and locate the issue later when undergoing everything from minor repairs to a full sewer replacement in Englewood.

What Can a Sewer Inspection Camera Find?

While using these cameras, our professionals can spot the following problems:

  • Pipe issues – As homes settle, pipes can shift at odd angles, making them vulnerable to cracks, collapse, or misalignment.
  • Tree roots – Tree roots can grow into a sewer line, and can usually be cleaned. However, if the impact is too great, a major repair may be required. A correct diagnosis is critical, and the difference between thousands of dollars.
  • Corrosion – Modern pipes are made from PVC and are not likely to experience corrosion, but older metal pipes may be prone to it. Our cameras can find that issue if it exists in an older home.
  • Blockage – There are about a million different ways that a pipe can get blocked with something, and our cameras can find exactly where that blockage is to make it easier to remove.
  • Leaks – Our cameras also can find leaks in pipes, making repairs faster and easier to undertake.

If you would like to schedule a sewer line inspection using our high-definition cameras, give us a call here at Garvin’s Sewer Service so we can get you on the schedule at your earliest convenience. Plumbing has come a long way in recent years thanks in large part to developments like these cameras, and we’re ready to put them to use in providing the Denver area with the best plumbing services available 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.

How Do You Know It’s Time for a Sewer Replacement?

Thankfully, modern sewage disposal systems are designed to ensure that we never have to deal with waste the way our ancestors did, but because we’ve grown so used to our sewage systems working flawlessly, the moment a system incurs any sort of damage, we notice it. And it isn’t fun.

There are a few things to look for if you suspect sewer damage, so if you notice any of the following occurring in your home, please contact Garvin’s Sewer Service at your earliest convenience. We will be able to diagnose the issue and undertake whatever sewer replacement or repair may be necessary.

#1 Sewage Backups or Blockages

If your toilets are experiencing clogs or backflow of any sort on a consistent basis, there is a chance that the problem is with the sewer or drain rather than the commode itself. The same could be true for your sinks or bathtubs, so keep an eye out for apparent blockages, and call your plumber to have a closer look.

#2 Slow Drain

One sign of a blockage is slow drains, which could admittedly indicate something much less serious than a sewer issue, but if it’s all the drains and toilets in a house that seems to be draining slowly, the chances of the problem being sewer-related rise exponentially.

#3 Unpleasant Odors

If your sewer system is performing the way it should, you should not smell anything foul in or around your home. If you notice the smell of anything even remotely like a sewer inside or even outside of your home, there’s a chance there’s a problem somewhere you can’t see.

#4 Standing Water in Your Lawn

Even without the odor, standing water in your lawn could indicate a leak in a sewer line somewhere underneath the grass in your yard. There should not be soggy or raised patches of earth in your lawn. If there is, it’s possible the sewer line is the issue.

#5 Extra Green Grass

By the same token, extra water and the extra nutrients found in the surprise “fertilizer” working its way into your soil can help grass grow fuller, greener, and more lush—but only in patches. If you notice these patches in your yard where they haven’t been in the past, it’s worth calling your plumber to have a look at your sewer line.

#6 Septic Pooling

The worst symptom of potential sewer problems is septic pooling, which means it’s not standing water in your yard, but standing septic waste. That means a broken main line or septic tank, and on top of being disgusting, it also means you’ve got a big problem somewhere underground that only a professional plumber can fix.

When It’s Time to Contact a Professional

Garvin’s will give an honest assessment of your sewer line, cleaning it first to determine the severity of the issue, offering a camera service to pinpoint the problem area, and offering sewer repair/replacement in the cases where that is the best solution. Unlike other companies, sewer replacement isn’t our first step – in fact, we have saved Denver homeowners tens of thousands of dollars a year by cleaning and maintaining their sewer lines rather than replacing them.

Emergency Sewer Cleaning vs. Preventative Sewer Cleaning

We have several customers tell us that their sewer only backs-up on major holidays. Or nights. Or weekends. While we understand they truly mean that it never happens when it’s convenient (not that it ever is wanted or easy), sewer back-ups happen 24/7/365. That is one of the reasons why Garvin’s is available all day every day without extra charges for “inconvenient” times for emergency sewer cleaning. It is also the reason why we encourage people to conduct an annual preventative sewer cleaning.

Don’t all sewer back-ups require emergency sewer cleaning?

Emergency sewer cleaning is absolutely the name of our game. Call us anytime and we have a technician out to you in a matter of hours. We know how important it is to get your sewer back in working order as soon as possible. Not being able to flush a toilet, run the washing machine, faucets or sinks can be extremely frustrating, and also unsanitary.

Allowing waste water to sit for long periods of time can cause damage that requires a restoration company to mitigate the damages. With homeowner’s insurance not covering sewer cleaning or a main line back-up, the responsibility is on you to handle it quickly, professionally, and cost-effectively.

Emergencies can happen when too much toilet paper is used, or when the wrong toilet paper is used over time and doesn’t break down in the line. Low flush toilets and appliances can fail to put waste through the line properly, leading to sewer back-ups. Lines that become offset or broken, can also create an emergency, as can construction or other types of debris that causes blockages that enter the line.

When can preventative sewer cleaning be done?

Preventative sewer cleaning isn’t a guarantee that a sewer back-ups won’t happen, but they reduce the chances. At Garvin’s we stand behind our work and offer up to 90 day guarantees that the line we clear won’t back up. Preventative maintenance makes sure the line is clear of debris. This debris, waste, and/or root growth can catch other debris, causing it to accumulate and not let water to pass, thus causing sewer back-ups.

Preventative mainline cleaning can be done as often as you want at a time that is convenient to your schedule. Most preventative sewer cleaning is done on an annual basis, or per the recommendation of your service technician once they determine the amount of root growth in the line. They may also recommend products that can be used or shouldn’t be used in order to keep the line clear until your next service.

Whether you are needing emergency sewer cleaning or would like to schedule preventative service, Garvin’s is here to answer your questions and your calls 24/7/365. Give us a call today at 303-571-5114.

7 Tips to Reduce Clogs in Your Low Flush Toilet

Recently, in our blog titled: Your Low Flush Toilet Isn’t Really Saving Water. Here’s why”, we talked about the scientific reasons why low flush toilets clog more often than their water-guzzling counterparts. Knowing this reason, however, doesn’t make those endless fights with your low flush toilet any less frustrating. So, we decided to offer up 7 tips to help you reduce clogs in your low flush toilet.7 Tips to Reduce Clogs in Your Low Flush Toilet

Say No to Ultra

While you may really enjoy the extra fluffy ultra-style toilet papers, they absorb more water than regular ones. This, combined with the limited water the low flush toilet is producing, means more likely clogs. Super absorbent tissue plus limited water means it is absorbing and sitting, rather than moving through as it should. Change your toilet paper, reduce clogs.

Run More Water

If your entire home is full of water saving devices, and your sewer line hasn’t been adjusted to deal with the appropriate float level, you will actually have to waste water sometimes in order to keep the system moving. I know, ironic. Run an empty load of laundry, or run the hose into a floor drain to allow more water into the system to get the “float level” back up to push debris through the drain lines.

Force a Flush

Another way to get more water into your drain system is to force a large flush. To do this, you can fill a large bucket with water and pour it into the toilet. This will cause the toilet to manually flush and push the water through the stub and trap under it to clear it of any resting debris. NOTE: DON’T do this if you suspect a clog, as it could cause the toilet to overflow. Use a plunger instead.

Flush More

Again, flushing more often seems like it defeats the point of a low flush toilet, but remember, it is a design flaw only in homes where the sewer line wasn’t set up to manage lower water levels. Because most homes were built to last a very long time, retrofitting new water saving devices onto older drain systems is a norm. New homes built with sustainability and water conservation in mind will likely have less issues. So, flush more frequently to reduce clogs.

Don’t Allow Extras

Anything extra absorbent, heavy, or that doesn’t break down easily, will become a culprit for causing clogs. Either they themselves will create a blockage, or they will collect debris and build into a clog. The most common problem items are: wipes, tampons, and paper towels. Don’t let your guests or your family flush these items if you have a low flush toilet. Use the trash can with a lid instead.

Conduct Preventative Cleanings

Scheduling a regular preventative maintenance sewer or drain cleaning can help reduce clogs by pushing additional debris through the line. Consider a cleaning every 6 months. Ask for discounts for regular service to keep your system from backing up due to clogs that keep building.

Keep a Plunger Handy

Whether you have a low flush toilet or not, we always recommend having a plunger in every bathroom. This will help prevent embarrassing guest issues, especially when they haven’t followed the above rules. A plunger should be designed to fit your toilet and create enough pressure to push through any clog.

Experiencing frequent toilet clogs? Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver area homeowner’s drain and sewer needs for over 75 years. Give us a call today and get unclogged.

Your Low Flush Toilet Isn’t Really Saving Water. Here’s why.

If you have a low flush toilet, whether at home or at work, you probably are frustrated by how often it seems to clog or cause back-ups. And there is actually a scientific reason why. I have two visual examples to help you understand. The first, I call The Drip.

The Drip

low flush toilet clog

Items needed: A straw with a wrapper and a glass of water.

Get a straw from a commercial establishment- the ones with a paper wrapper. Remove the paper wrapper and form it into a ball and set it on the table. Fill the straw with water, keeping your finger over one end to hold it in place. Hold the straw over the wrapper and let the water drip onto the wrapper. The paper wad will become wet, but likely won’t move.

Refill the straw with water and instead of letting it drip, let all the water go at once. The paper wad will likely move from the place it was sitting.

In this example, the wad of paper represents toilet paper in your sewer line. The dripping water represents a low flush toilet. The amount of water is just too low to move the paper. When the straw is fully emptied, then the paper is able to move. This brings us to metaphor two: The Ocean.

The Ocean

sewer float line

(c) National Geographic

Have you ever been to the ocean and watched the waves sneak up the shore? The water ebbs and flows. Have you noticed how the tide carries debris and deposits it on the sand? The items float in the water and then catch on the sand and are left behind. This is also true in your sewer line. When you flush your toilet, the debris rides the water down the drain and are deposited at the end of the tide.

Your sewer system is built somewhat like an ocean. It is made to allow water to flow out of your house using a “float level”. In a 2” pipe, the water carries out all the debris. It then opens into a 3” pipe and then a 4” pipe. This thins the water level, allowing debris to settle. Most residential sewer lines run from the house about 70-110’ out of your house to the main city sewer lines.

However, in a low flush toilet, this “tide” may only deposit the debris 20 feet out. This can cause serious problems because that deposit can now catch other debris and build up in the line, rather than being pushed through to the city sewer main. Sewer lines are designed for 5 gallon tanks, so with the new water conserving toilets and sinks, less water is going into the drain system. In most cases that means half the water is entering, but the outside sewer line wasn’t adjusted to allow for a proper float level. And, that is why your low flush toilet clogs or causes back-ups.

The great irony here is that in order to clear your line, you need a ton of water. But, we also have a few other tips you can implement to help you prevent your low flush toilet from clogging, in the blog titled: 7 Tips to Reduce Clogs in Your Low Flush Toilet.

 

Having a problem with toilet clogs? Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Greater Denver area homeowner’s drain and sewer needs for over 75 years. Give us a call today and get unclogged.

Time To Respond To Some More of Our Sewer Cleaning Reviews

 

Garvin's Sewer Service can use a sewer snake like no one else!Every so often we like to respond to some of our customer comments regarding our sewer cleaning, rooter service, drain cleaning, and sewer camera services. Today we have a few people from along the front range who told us about their experience with Garvin’s.

Garvin’s…came out because I had moved into a new home. There was a clogged tub. They got in there and got it unplugged. All was good. I had worked with Garvin’s Sewer Service before on a rental property. I thought they were reliable.

— Ted K.

Thanks for giving us the positive review, Ted. Nobody likes dealing with a clogged tub when they move into a new home, because it’s pretty obvious what’s down there: hair that is slowly degrading over years until it stops the free flow of water. When this happens, you’re suddenly sitting a tub that won’t let our your water and might just allow some of what’s disintegrating back up into your tub. Eww! It’s bad enough if it’s your own hair, but when it’s someone else’s it’s the worst. Call Garvin’s and we’ll get to your drain cleaning right away.

I called Garvin’s Sewer Service because there was a sewer back-up in one of my rental properties. They got out there as immediate as possible and took care of it. The tenant was ecstatic about that. That’s not the only time they’ve helped me out. I use them for my rentals but also personally. They are always prompt and courteous, and the communicate very well.”

— Steve S.

We deal with rental properties a lot, because landlords and managers realize that we’ll be there quickly. If your property becomes known as one with a lot of problems that aren’t solved right away, the word will get around and you won’t have as many tenants knocking on your door looking to rent. Steve, you mention that your client was ecstatic about us being there so fast, and it makes sense. After all, no tenant wants to see anything sticking around after they flush. We’re happy to get out there and perform sewer cleaning and rooter service for your tenant, because we know if your tenant is happy, you will be too.

We had contact with Brian, Matt and Eric who did the repair in a prompt professional and competent manner. We are very happy with the whole Garvin’s experience and will no doubt recommend your services just like we got our recommendation to your organization.”

— Tom, Denver

Thanks, Tom! You bring up an excellent point about “word of mouth.” Someone you knew had a good experience with us. Now it’s possible that it was a fellow business owner, or perhaps it was your mother. The fact is, small clients can lead to big clients, as it’s pretty obvious from the number of Garvin’s employees you encountered that your project was fairly large. And now you’ll pass our good name along and we’ll get even more business. It never hurts to be an honest business that does good work.

I spoke to my neighbor after I saw your van in front of their house. He said that he used you last year on my recommendation, but got a $40 coupon from your competitor and called them first. He asked about cleaning out the main line and some additional line, and tried to get a quote on the phone. The guy quoted above $200 for the main line and said he would need to examine the other lines before quoting them once he came out. He kept asking how much it would be and the guy kept changing the price and asking “how much are you looking to pay?” He got tired of it and called Garvin’s. The rep quoted the basic price for the main line and each additional line. He got them all done for less than the other guy quoted with the “coupon”. Great work!

— JD., Greenwood Village

Hey, look at that, more word of mouth from our sewer service clients! It’s like it’s important or something! We’re certainly glad that your neighbor was happy with the price and the sewer cleaning, and glad that you talked to him. People are happy with us, and that’s why it pays to be fair every time.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in. We’re happy to be approaching our eighth decade of serving the Denver area with premium sewer cleaning and rooter service. For those of you without our magnet on your refrigerator, you can contact us here.

 

 

 

Why Go With Gavin’s For 24/7 Sewer Drain Cleaning?

 

dreamstime_26568In today’s world, it’s pretty standard that companies that offer emergency services, such as urgent sewer cleaning, are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As soon as the first company offers it (which was probably Garvin’s, as long as we’ve been around in Denver), every company needs to jump on so that it’s not left behind in the 24/7 game.

So while 24/7 service is pretty common, Garvin’s offers something that isn’t as common: no surcharges for nights, weekends or holidays when you need drain and sewer cleaning. Why? We’ll, here’s the breakdown.

Nights

We know very well that many houses go unused for most of the day, as people are at work and at school. That means that the most likely time that people need emergency sewer drain cleaning is at night. Why charge our neighbors extra just because they’re home and actually use their plumbing?

Weekends

People are home quite a lot on weekends, so they’re using their plumbing more. That means it’s more likely a clog will happen on weekends. Plus, people who can’t be home to meet us for sewer cleaning during the week want a time on the weekends. There’s really no reason to charge them extra just because it’s convenient to them!

Holidays

Even if a company offers no surcharge on nights, and even if they offer no surcharge on weekends, you won’t find many that won’t charge you extra on holidays. And that’s odd to us, because helping someone on a holiday just makes sense. Garvin’s realizes that people often have people over during holidays, so why add an extra charge when they’re already under enough pressure?

We’re not interested in fleecing you for all of your money. We’re glad to have your business, because we know you’ll be back next time too. Give Garvin’s a call — day or night, weekend or holiday — and we’ll help you.