How Our Lifelong Customers Use Our Sewer Service

 

dreamstime_l_8714890We’ve mentioned it many times before, and we’re happy to keep telling you: Garvin’s Sewer Service has been serving the Denver area for more than 75 years. We’re extra proud of that fact because we’ve seen so many other sewer companies come and go, so it’s pretty obvious that we’re doing something right!

We have many customers that are lifelong customers, and since we’ve been around for so long it’s obvious that when we say “lifelong” we mean it! Here are the many ways that we’ve helped our customers and why they keep coming back to use again and again at different parts of their lives.

The Child: We’re all shaped by our parents, as they influence the types of food we eat and the people we interact with. But they also have a bearing on how we view businesses and products. If your dad insisted on buying Chevy, there’s a really good chance you’ll be buying Chevy for most of your life. (You might start buying foreign cars, but you probably won’t ever buy Ford!)

Kids pay attention even when you think they don’t, and it’s likely that they’ll notice if a parent is happy with the service they got from their local sewer company. So while the child might not be our customer directly, we are ensuring a lifelong customer by providing excellent sewer drain service to their parents.

The Apartment Renter: Here’s another case where we’re securing our reputation even though we’re not directly working for the receiver of our services. If something happens with a renter’s sewer line, they’ll call the superintendent. And if it’s beyond the superintendent’s abilities, the super will call us. Once a renter’s drain cleaning is taken care of and their water starts flowing again, they’ll have a positive view of Garvin’s Sewer Service.

All that work and our lifelong customer isn’t even a paying customer yet! Let’s fix that…

The New Homeowner: So the renter leaves the house and becomes a homeowner. They know that Garvin’s Sewer Service worked hard for their parents or their superintendent (of both) and now they’re having trouble with their home and need sewer cleaning. It might be that they need a sewer inspection with our sewer scope before they sign the final paperwork, or it might be years down the road. Either way, whenever they need drain or sewer cleaning they know exactly who to call.

The Landlord: Have you noticed how many people around here will buy their second home and keep the first one to rent out? We have many customers who use us for their primary residence but also for the one for which they’re a landlord.

The Retiree: So our customer is 70 years old now and has been using Garvin’s for their sewer service for many years. We’ve truly made a lifelong customer that’s almost as old as we are!

Sure, this isn’t the way it happens every time, but we have customers who wouldn’t dream of calling anyone else because of the sewer and drain cleaning we’ve performed for them over the years. If you’d like to experience the amazing service of Garvin’s, give us a call!

 

 

 

The Advantages of Knowing Your Yard: Sewer, Water, Electrical, Cable, and Gas

 

Don't pave that space if you're going to need some sewer cleaning.There’s so much going on underneath the ground that we never even think about, and we’re not talking about the lives of worms, insects, and other animals. There are pipes and cables that are connecting your home to the rest of the world, and it’s important to keep those lines safe so that you’re not losing your connection. Here are the reasons to know where everything is before you dig.

What Plants To Plant: We wrote an entire blog about what trees you need to avoid if you don’t want your sewer pipes and water lines being inundated with the roots. But it’s also important to avoid plants that might wrap around shallow telephone and cable lines, pulling them out of the ground and exposing them to the blade of your lawnmower or weed eater.

Where Not To Dig: We often hear about “calling before you dig” because of electric and gas lines. But it’s also important to know where not to dig so that you’re not disrupting your neighbors connection to phone and cable, which are carrying their internet. You’ll become very unpopular in the neighborhood if you knock out half of everyone’s internet!

Where Not To Lay Concrete: Sometimes there’s a space next to the driveway that’s either grass or gravel, a nice place for people to park during a party. If you’re considering laying concrete there and making it a permanent parking space, it’s important to know if you’ll have to rip it up if there are pipes and electrical wires under that space that need replacing in the future.

So, how do you find out what’s going on under your yard? Call 811 or visit http://colorado811.org/ to get your utilities located. And when you need sewer cleaning, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!

 

 

 

The Worst Trees That Require You To Get Repeated Rooter Service

Some trees will require you to need rooter service.

“I’ll take the center square to block…my sewer pipes.”

In previous posts we told you about the problems of planting trees directly over your water and sewer lines, because eventually the roots are going to get in and you’re going to need repeated sewer service. But there are some trees that are going to cause you exponentially more problems because of the way their root systems work. You also need to be aware that the older your sewer system is, the more likely that the roots can get in.

If you’re considering planting some trees in your yard, be sure to avoid putting these particular varieties anywhere near pipes. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t plant these trees if they’re some of your favorites. But you do need to take extra precautions about placement to make sure that they’re not over any sort of water line.

Willows: Willows are perhaps the best-known of the sewer-destroying trees. Their roots are very aggressive and will do whatever they can to get into the joints of your water pipes or sewer lines. The worst offenders are the very popular weeping willow and the corkscrew willow, but just about anything in the Salix species of trees and shrubs will end up causing you problems.

Poplars: When you think of poplars, you probably think of the tall, fast-growing trees that are often planted in straight lines as windbreaks or to provide privacy While slow-growing trees will go deep in order to get to groundwater, trees like poplars have shallow root systems and would rather dig into a pipe than go any deeper. Interesting fact: cottonwoods are in the populus family.

Silver Maple: While they are fast-growing and turn a lovely shade of orange in fall, these trees can be big problems not only for your sewer lines but also for your sidewalks. On top of that, they aren’t very strong trees, so they’re more likely to topple during a storm or drop a branch onto your roof. If you really want a silver maple in your yard, plant it far away from your house and from all sewer and water lines.

American Elm: Along with the Siberian Elm, the American Elm is the most popular elm tree planted in Colorado. Like the trees mentioned above, the shallow roots don’t head much further down than a water-filled pipe, and once they dig into that there’s no reason to go any deeper.

We’re guessing that, after reading this article, you’ll be pretty careful about putting any of these anywhere near your sewer lines. But if you’ve moved into a house and you’re experiencing slow drains and toilets that drain cleaning just doesn’t seem to fix, you might want to look at the trees in the yard and see if they’re any of the offenders we talked about. It might not be your fault, but it is your problem. Regularly-scheduled rooter service might be a good idea in order to keep everything running smoothly and prevent sewer backups. Contact Garvin’s and we can make sure you continue to love the trees in your yard.

 

 

 

2 Questions To Ask When Your Sewer Cleaning Expert Is About To Leave

 

Whether we’re at your home for emergency sewer cleaning or just preventive rooter service, it’s always nice to see a technician go. As nice as we are, it’s great to have your service taken care of an off your list, and we understand if you’ve got no problems saying goodbye so that you can get on with everything else you have to do that day.

But before we go, make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions in the future. Here are 3 questions to ask your sewer drain cleaner before they go.

What Can Be Done To Prevent This Problem In The Future? Sometimes problems just happen. Even if you’re steadfast about preventing grease from going down the drain, 15 years of the tiny amounts of oil that are in vegetables might eventually build up and cause you to have a clogged kitchen sink. There’s not much that can be done about time-related problems.

But some problems can be avoided with just an ounce of prevention. Keep the bacon grease out of your drains, don’t flush paper towels, and have us back regularly because the roots have found your pipes.

Can I Have Your Card? — There’s a good chance that we’re going to leave you with a business card or a magnet for your fridge. If you’ve been pleased with our sewer cleaning service, there’s a good chance that you’re going to want to call us again the next time you have trouble. You don’t always remember the name of a business that performs well, but you will check your refrigerator to see who treated you well last time!

We’ll be there and get the job done as thoroughly as possible as quickly as possible. But before we leave make sure you get all your questions answered. Contact Garvin’s today!

 

 

 

What We Know That You Don’t: The Knowledge That Guides Our Sewer Drain Cleaning

 

Certain tree roots can lead to premature sewer drain cleaning.In the last blog we talked about everything that we need to learn from you when you’re in need of emergency sewer service, stuff like the history of the problem, if other sewer companies have tried to fix the problem, and if you’ve tried to fix the problem with chemical drain cleaners.

But what you might not know is what we already know when you walk up to your door. Here’s the information we’re coming to you with that you’re probably not even thinking about.

The Trees In Your Yard: If we see a willow tree in the middle of the front yard, we’d put money on what your problem is. Willow trees are notorious for getting into sewer pipes as they search for water, so seeing one in your front yard pretty much guarantees that you’re going to need rooter service. Other trees we watch out for are poplars and elms. Bushes aren’t usually a problem, but they might be hiding…

Where the external clean out line is: Many people like to hide their external clean out pipe behind a bush, and if it’s summer we’re not likely to see it. But we’ve dealt with enough PUD’s (Planned Urban Developments) to be able to close our eyes and point to exactly where it is. We’ve seen a lot of housing developments go up in Denver, and if the design of a home is the same then the plumbing and lateral sewer lines are usually in the same place as well. And speaking of neighborhoods we notice…

The Decade Your House Was Built In: When we walk up to your house, we’re scanning the area to gather as much information as possible. One thing we do is estimate when the house was built, which gives us a good idea of what kind of sewer pipe was used. If it’s a fairly new house, we’re obviously dealing with PVC or ABS. But if you’re house is from the 1950’s we’ll be dealing with something completely different. Of course, the year your house was built also tells us something about…

The Conditions Of The Sewer System In Your Neighborhood: Being so far west, Denver can’t really be considered an “old” city. We’re not exactly dealing with the ancient underground sewage systems that a city like Paris or London has to deal with. But the sewer systems have changed considerably over the years, and we know if the problems you’re having are due to your personal lines or if there have been problems with the public sewer system that might be causing you to give Garvin’s a call. We might also be able to deduce what your problem is if…

Your Neighbors Have Called: If we’ve been to three other houses on your block in the last month and they’ve all had the same problem, it might help us figure out exactly what’s going on with your sewer system. Did we have to perform rooter service because all of the trees in the neighborhood have reached the age where their roots are invading pipes? Or is it a 1950’s neighborhood where the pipes have started disintegrating?

That’s what we know before we even step one bootie-covered foot in your home! What we know can really help us deliver the best sewer cleaning available in Denver and along the front range. When you suspect problems or want to avoid them with preventive sewer cleaning, contact Garvin’s Sewer Service!

 

 

 

How To Talk To Your Sewer Drain Cleaning Expert

 

As you can imagine, we’ve gotten some pretty frantic calls over the years. People who have sewage blocking their toilet. People who have sewage flowing up out of their toilet. People who have sewage actively shooting out of their toilet. All of the people who called had a perfectly valid reason to be frantic!

When we get these calls, we suit up, grab our equipment, slide down the firepole (we don’t have a firepole, but DANG! we should get a firepole!) and race to your home as quickly as the law will allow. When we get there, we’ll dive right into the situation, but in order to help us find the cause of the problem it’s important that you tell both the person who takes your call and the technician we send as much as possible, no matter what problem you’re having. Basically, we need to know as much as you do. So we’d like to offer this advice.

Try To Be Calm: We understand that you’re in the middle of what is probably the worst experience of your year (we see a lot of people’s worst experiences). But the more calm you can be, the more information we can get out of you in a timely manner and the sooner we can get to the root of the problem.

Give Us The Background: Be sure to tell us exactly what’s been happening. Has the problem with your plumbing been going on for years, or is this the first time you’ve ever had an inkling of a problem? When was the last time you had sewer cleaning performed? Is Garvin’s the only company you’ve called to help with your sewer service, or have others had their go at it this year? Tell us everything you know, because even small details about how your sewer system has been acting can be important.

Tell Us Your Habits: It might be embarrassing, but it’s important for us to know exactly how you treat your drains and sewer lines. You might be embarrassed to tell us that you pour your bacon grease down the sink and flush your feminine hygiene products, but it’s important for us to know because it might alter the tools we use and the decisions we make. On a related note…

Be Honest: It’s important for us to know what you’ve already tried. If we’re there for drain cleaning, it’s critically important to let us know if you’ve already tried a chemical drain cleaner. We have had drain technicians scarred by drain cleaners that were sitting in the drain, even after the customer had insisted that no cleaners had been used. For our own safety and yours, please let us know about anything dangerous that might be in your drains.

Stand Back!: Once you’ve filled us in, stand back, ‘cause we’re gonna get to work! We’ll be protected from the situation with eye and face protection, rubber boots, and clothing that is specially disinfected once we leave. We don’t want you to have to deal with the stuff that can make you sick, so be sure to get some fresh air and find your insurance agent’s phone number.

When you call Garvin’s, you’ve called the sewer drain experts, so make sure that you give us all the information you can. We’ll make this terrible experience as easy as possible for you.

 

 

 

Roots In The Sewer Line? It’s Just The Beginning of Your Problem

 

What's happening when you have roots in the sewer line?

“I’m here to ruin your weekend!”

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a good review of exactly what’s happening when you have roots in the sewer line. Here are the steps that happen before you give Garvin’s a call for sewer cleaning.

The Cause: Why the heck are roots even in there in the first place? Well, they’re looking for water and nutrients. Trees send out roots underground in every direction, and they have absolutely no qualms of using your wastewater as a source of life. Think about it, even in a drought they will have constant water. In fact, a drought can make things even worse, as the tree will redouble its efforts of growing roots at the source of water. PVC pipe is usually pretty good at keeping tree roots out, but they will still get in at joints as glues weakens over time.

The Problem: Well, we all like trees and don’t mind if they’re stealing a little bit of water. Of course, the problem is that roots can start a clog. And often we’re not talking about big roots that our blackwater can get past; we’re talking about tiny roots that can get through tiny cracks and then turn into a mass that can resemble a spider web. And what’s the purpose of a spider web? To catch stuff. These roots will start to catch everything you send down, including grease and toilet paper and whatever else you send down the toilet.

The Solution: When you have roots in the sewer line, the solution is rooter service. We’ll send down spinning blades that will clear your pipes from edge to edge, chopping though not only the roots but also everything that the roots have collected. This sends it down into the much larger public sewer system.

The roots will eventually grow back, so now that you know your pipes are prone to root problems you might want to consider preventive drain cleaning to make sure everything keeps heading down at the right clip. Keep Garvin’s number close by so that you can call us at the first sign of trouble.

 

 

 

4 Signs That You Might Be Needing Sewer Cleaning Soon

 

Sewer cleaning might be on your calendar soon.Unless you’ve just moved in, you know your home pretty well even if you don’t realize it. You can’t consciously describe the normal blowing of your furnace in winter, but you certainly can tell when it starts making a different noise. You seldom notice the refrigerator cycling on, but when it goes off with a quirky noise you start wondering if you’re going to be heading to the appliance store soon.

It’s much the same with your drains. Since you use them every day, you get used to the way they work, and it’s not until something changes that you really notice it. It can be the subtlest of changes, but you notice because something is different. Here are four signs that you might be needing sewer cleaning soon, so keep an eye and an ear out for them.

The Sink Slows: A strange sound coming from your sink could be an early indication that something weird is going on. Do you hear a new gurgling sound as you let the water out? Do you hear a similar sound when you flush the nearest toilet? All of your sewer pipes are connected, so it’s important to notice these connections.

You know how fast your water goes down the drain, so when it’s even a little slow it’s very easy to notice. If you have two sides of the sink, test the water drainage on both sides. Run the garbage disposal to give both sides an equal footing. If it’s a problem with the garbage disposal, maybe it’s time for a new one. Or you can unplug it, unhook it from the sink, and check to see if there’s a clog between the garbage disposal and the pipes leading away from it. If, when you run the disposal, water sprays up through the other side of the sink, you have a drain clog. Work it with your “sinks only” plunger, and if that doesn’t work give Garvin’s a call and we’ll get them clean.

A slow sink doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re entire sewer line is clogged, but it might be the first sign. Are you also having problems with your…

Angry Toilet: Aside from being the great name of a rock bank for sewer workers, you’ve got to watch out for Angry Toilet. It might first start out as Placid Toilet, simply letting the water flow away a little slower than usual. This could simply be a clog, so give it a go with a plunger. But if you flush and you see water coming up through you shower drain, it’s pretty obvious you’re the victim of a sewer drain clog. The water you’ve flushed has nowhere to go, and it might just end up in the lowest drain in your home, which is often a shower drain.

Watch Your Washing Machine: Washing machines can eject their dirty water with some force, so when it’s at the end of its washing cycle the water is going to go somewhere. Usually that “somewhere” is down the drain and into the sewer system, but if there’s a sewer clog then that somewhere is usually up through the sinks, toilets, or showers.

Sniff For Smells: Sometimes a clog is just bad enough where it will let the toilet flush and the sink drain, but just barely. When that happens, each flush might back up enough to get around the trap but not enough for you to see the problem. If you smell something, don’t delay in calling a professional drain company.

Your senses will tell you when you’ll soon be in need of drain or sewer cleaning. Be aware of the changes in your home and you’ll be able to prevent a catastrophic backup. Before that happens, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!

 

 

 

Sewer Snake? No, Sewer Turtles!

 

The Sewer Snake, danger in the sewers!

Sewer Snake: Coming soon to a toy store near you!

In a recent blog we made reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who live in the New York sewers and fight crime in their Turtlemobile. And it got us thinking…how on earth did they never face an enemy named Sewer Snake?! That episode would write itself! And as Denver’s premier sewer service, we started thinking some more: we can believe the part about mutated turtles the size of men. We can believe that they would be smart enough to retrofit their van into a vehicle with means of dispatching hordes of bad ninjas. But living in the sewer? Sorry, but that just doesn’t work.

Why? Because sewers are terrible, terrible places. That’s why we get paid to deal with them instead of doing it as a hobby; it’s a disgusting job that very few people want to do. So what are the limitations to our friends the TMNT living in the sewers?

Sewer Gas –  Human waste releases a large amount of methane as it decomposes. This poses two problems for our turtle pals. First of all, you can’t breath methane, and if it displaces all of the oxygen it will asphyxiate you. Turtles can hold their breath for a long time, but they can’t live indefinitely without oxygen.

Second, the Turtles are always building something in the sewer, often using welding equipment (how do you think Donatello tricked out the Turtlemobile, anyway?) At the very least, the methane will catch fire, which is bad enough until you realize that burned methane causes carbon monoxide, another deadly asphyxiant. At worst methane can explode if there’s a high enough methane-oxygen combination.

Pathogens Most animals are averse to the smell of feces because it’s a concentrated harborer of pathogens, and it’s important to get away from it. Bodies get rid of it because it was something it didn’t need or something that would actively harm our body. Modern sanitation has saved hundreds of millions of lives by getting our waste far away from us quickly.

Now, forget that the Turtles would have to deal with the constant smell that’s in a sewer; maybe their mutated noses simply don’t mind. But (most) animals don’t just avoid their own waste, they also avoid the waste of other animals. Many parasites don’t care what animal they’re in, and some bacteria and viruses cross not only species but also class (think avian flu, which can infect birds and humans). Heck, even box turtles that people keep at home transmit salmonella.

The Turtles would have a hard…nay, impossible time staying healthy if they lived in the sewer. Even Sewer Snake would be at risk!

They’d Lose Friends Here’s something that most people don’t think about…in order for you to smell something, a particle of it has fly into your nose and latch onto one of your olfactory receptors. So when you’re in a sewer, you’re walking through those particles constantly, and it’s going to get into your clothes. And when you go to the surface you’re going to be taking that smell up with you. The Turtles would smell terrible when they reached the surface, and not even April O’Neil would want to hang out with them.

Their Shells – Their shells are just too big to fit through standard manhole covers. Just sayin’.

BUT…! – Despite what the shows and the comics and the movies say, maybe they don’t actually live in the sewer! Maybe instead they live in the storm drain, sometimes called storm sewers. Since storm drains don’t contain blackwater like a traditional sewer system, the TMNT could avoid the dangers mentioned above. Living in a storm drain, the only thing they have to worry about would be a flood, which could be avoided if they had the proper barriers in place. And even if they got trapped, they could probably hold their breath until the waters receded (the Turtlemobile would get soaked, though).

So there you have it: four reasons the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles couldn’t live in the sewer, and one reason why they might actually be living in the storm drains. And Hollywood, if you need any more information on Sewer Snake, give us a call

 

 

 

The Sewer Drain Cleaning That You’re Responsible For

 

video_ctaWe try to blog here at Garvin’s as much as possible, and sometimes we forget what we’ve covered and what we haven’t. Well, we just realized that we’ve never broken down the different parts of your sewer system, so here it is. We’ll also tell you exactly what parts of sewer drain cleaning are your responsibility.

But first, let’s talk about what the sewer isn’t. The pipes that bring fresh water into your house isn’t part of the sewer system. Neither are your sprinklers or your garden hoses. ”Sewer” is only about the stuff that’s leaving your home, so let’s break it down a little bit more.

Drains: Drains are the first part of your sewer system and the part with which you’re most familiar. These include sink drains, shower drains, washing machine drain, dishwasher drains, and toilets. In modern houses, most of these are made from plastic, no matter what the fixture itself is made out of. Drains use gravity to move water from the drain and to the sewer pipes.

Perhaps the most amazing part of a drain is the trap, also called U-traps, S-traps, J-traps, or P-traps. These bends in the drain trap a small amount of water in your pipe, and while at first that might seem like the opposite of what you’d like, it actually plays an important part in your drain system. The water acts as a non-permeable barrier for gas, preventing sewer gases from coming back up into your home. Hurray!

Upper house lateral: When the drains come together they form the first part of the sewer line. Since the sewer line that leaves your house is called the house lateral, this first part is called the upper house lateral (since it’s the portion most uphill). This is the part of the sewer line that you’re responsible for, and the part that you’ll have to hire sewer cleaning for when you have a house-wide clog. Common problems include pipe breakage and tree roots that get in as they search for nutrients.

Private cleanout: Most houses have a private cleanout outside of the house, and it’s likely you’ve never even noticed it before. It might be hiding in your front bushes, wait for the day you need sewer service!

Lower House Lateral: Once you reach the property line of your sewer line the problem is no longer yours (well, it’s not yours to have to clean…you might still have to deal with the effects of  a backed up sewer). If the problem is beyond your property line, the city will need to clean it out, usually via the…

Public Cleanout: The lower house lateral is still pretty small, so it’s not like the public workers can just climb in there and clean it out. And they don’t want to climb down into the sewer every time there’s a clog on their watch, so they have a cleanout where they can send down their own rooter service.

The Sewer: This is the public sewer system where everything people put down their drains eventually goes. It’s much less glamourous than it is on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So there you have it…the life of sewage! Having problems with a clog in your drains or the upper lateral? Give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call for the best in sewer drain cleaning!