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The Appliance Upgrades That Can Save You Water

appliances-upgradesIn our most recent blog we discussed some of the best ways to save water in the Denver area, changes that are so easy that you don’t even need to call your local plumber to make them happen. These included replacing your lawn with xeriscaping so that you don’t need to use water, replacing your thirsty grass with grass that does better in an arid climate, collecting rain in rain barrels and using it to water, and keeping an eye on your water bill to watch for spikes that could indicate a hidden leak.

This week we’re going to suggest a few changes that can save you even more water, and therefore more money. If the store you buy from doesn’t do installations, call for our plumbing services and Garvin’s will be there to help you install your new appliance.

Washing Machines

When it comes to appliances, the biggest change you can make to your water bill comes with the new clothes washing machine. Check out these stats from denverwater.org:

  • Older top loading washing machines can use 40 or 50 gallons per wash cycle.
  • Newer front loading washing machines can use as little as 10 gallons (reducing your water bill).
  • The high speed horizontal spinning forces more water out of clothes, thus requiring less drying time (reducing your energy bill)
  • No agitators in front loading machines and less time in the dryer means your clothes will last longer (reducing your clothing budget).
  • Less water used means less water needs to be treated at the water treatment plant.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip: stop washing clothes that aren’t dirty! Sure, you need to wash your underwear and your workout clothes every day. But jeans can be worn at least a couple of days before it’s time to wash them, as can that shirt that you only wore for two hours last night. Avoiding washing the clothes too much also means that you’ll put less wear and tear on your washing machine and the clothes.

Dishwashers

Some studies show that washing dishes by hand saves you water. Other studies show the opposite. Either way it’s unlikely you’ll spend an extra 20 minutes a day to give up your dishwasher!

If you have an old dishwasher, it might be costing you more than it’s worth on your water and power bills. Newer dishwashers are surprisingly energy and water efficiency, using less than four gallons of water per wash cycle. That old dishwasher could be an energy hog and be using upwards of six gallons of water per cycle, even more if it’s really old. And if it’s really old, you’re also more likely to have leaks. The next time you dishwasher goes on the fritz and you consider repairing it, think about the water savings you’ll experience by purchasing a new one.

Those two simple upgrades will end up saving you water, power, and will help the environment. It’s a win-win-win that shouldn’t be ignored. And if you need help with installation, contact Garvin’s!

 

 

3 Ways Your Local Plumber Wants To Help You Conserve Water

3-ways-to-conserve-waterHere at Garvin’s, we’re big believers in letting the experts do their jobs. When the furnace breaks down, we call our favorite HVAC company. If we need a transmission rebuilt on one of our plumbing trucks, we’re not heading out there ourselves with a screwdriver. So, even though we make our living as professional plumbers, we’d suggest calling the pros for major plumbing problems even if we weren’t in the business.

Still, it doesn’t take an expert to tell you that saving water is a good idea. Colorado might not be a desert, but much of it is arid despite our mountains being a major water supplier for many states. Saving water also saves you money, because the more you use the higher your water bill.

What steps can you take on your own to save money? Here are some things you can do without the help of a professional.

Rain Barrels!

Who would have thought this would have been such a big deal, but it took a law taking effect August 10, 2016 to make it legal for Coloradans to collect rainwater in rain barrels. You’re allowed to collect two 55-gallon barrels of rainwater; simply attach it to a gutter and let the barrels fill. This water is perfect for watering plants on your property, but you certainly shouldn’t drink it (shingle/gutter water doesn’t taste very good). Also, make sure to keep it covered so that the mosquitoes don’t use it as a breeding location.

Be Careful With That Lawn Watering

Watering the lawn is one of the biggest uses of water for many households, and there are many steps you can take to reduce the amount of water you use. First of all, you can eliminate your grass completely and replace it with xeriscaping materials. This will reduce your watering by 90%, and maybe even 100% when the plants become established.

If you can’t give up the grass, make sure you have the right variety. Some grasses are thirstier than others, requiring much more water to stay green. Find the right type of grass for Colorado and you’ll have a grass that lasts through the entire season while requiring less water.

Also, know when to water. Watering during the hottest part of the day is counterproductive, because much of the water evaporates before it even hits the ground. After that the hot sun will evaporate the droplets from the grass blades before the water can soak into the ground.

Finally, maybe it’s time to change the way you water. Drip irrigation can help make watering more efficient for your landscape by keeping the water closer to the ground, avoiding the wind and sun as much as possible.

Watch Your Water Bill and Water Meter

Most of us are aware of what we’re paying for our utilities. The internet bill stays the same, natural gas prices go up in winter, and as long as something isn’t completely out of the ordinary you simply pay bills and move on. But with so many of us utilizing autopay systems and electronic bill paying, it can be harder to notice when the water bill is spiking. Be sure to take a look at the actual bill, not just the payment amount on the bill.

Do you know how to read your water meter? Most people don’t. After all, you don’t actually own the water meter, and with most of them in out-of-the-way places at the side of the house it’s not something that most people think about that often. But if you suspect a leak due to your diligent water bill reviews, learning how to read the meter can help you verify the problem. You might have hidden leaks in your house that are costing you a ton.

Those are three great ways to save water here in Colorado, and you didn’t even have to call your local plumber! We have some more ideas you’ll want to check out in our next blog, so check back!

 

 

How To Fix a Frozen (But Not Broken) Pipe

 

Not every frozen pipe bursts. While gushing water is certainly the most obvious indication that you have a broken pipe, sometimes it’s considerably more subtle than that. If you return from vacation and you turn on the faucet only to discover that no water is coming out, you probably have a frozen pipe.

Frozen pipes are more likely to occur with pipes that are against exterior walls or where the pipe emerges from your foundation. Pipes can also become frozen if you went on vacation and didn’t leave you furnace high enough (around 55 degrees) or if something happened to cause your furnace to go out while you were gone.

If you suspect a frozen pipe, here are a few methods that can help it warm up. Not comfortable with doing any of these on your own, or you suspect it might be something far more sinister? Time to contact you local plumber to make sure everything turns out alright.

Turn On The Faucet

“But I turned it on and nothing happened!” you might say. Sure, you realized that there was no water coming out, but when you follow the steps below you’re going to want to know when it starts working.

Also, moving water melts frozen water. If you’ve even “drilled” a hole in an ice cube with a thin stream of water, you know it to be true. Even with a trickle, frozen water in the pipes is forced to mix with the relatively warm water that’s been underground all of this time, warming up the water that’s been uninsulated.

Warm It Up

First, feel free to turn up the heat in your home if your furnace is working. Next, choose the method to heat up your pipes that you’re most comfortable with:

  • Use an electric space heater (make sure the cord is away from all water)
  • Wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe (be careful of the cord and water)
  • Use an electric hair dryer (watch the cord…are you seeing a pattern?)
  • Wrap hot, wet towels around the frozen pipe and replace often (you’ll have to use a different sink!)

Even if you don’t notice water at first, keep an eye open. As the frozen pipe warms up, you might find that your pipe actually is broken. Contact your local plumber.

DO NOT USE A FLAME!

Some people will use any opportunity to pull out that blowtorch. Need the grill lit? Blowtorch. Having a celebratory cigar? Blowtorch. Birthday candles? Blowtorch blowtorch BLOWTORCH! Frozen pipes are one situation in which you should leave the blowtorch out in the garage. Avoid anything with an open flame, including a charcoal stove, propane heater, or kerosene heater. If your pipes froze because your furnace went out, you could have a gas leak (get out and and HVAC expert). And let’s be honest, flames are overkill when compared to the methods mentioned above. Why?

The key is to warm up your pipes slowly so that they’re not put under any undue stress. Warm them up too quickly and the structural integrity could be compromised, causing them to burst at an unexpected time and requiring the service of a professional emergency plumber.

If you have a frozen pipe, we hope that the above suggestions help get your water flowing again. If you’re not comfortable taking care of it, we’re more than happy to stop by and make sure everything is working perfectly. If this is the case, go ahead and give Garvin’s a call today!

 

 

Protecting Those Indoor Pipes this Winter

 

dreamstime_xxl_11871242In our last blog we told you about the most important outdoor pipes to protect now that winter is coming, including sprinkler systems, outdoor spigots, and swimming pools. Ignore prepping those pipes for winter and you’ll be calling an emergency plumber this spring.

Now it’s time to talk about those indoor pipes. In most circumstances you don’t have to worry about indoor pipes much. After all, your house is relatively warm, even if you keep the thermostat at 60-degrees and wear a bunch of sweaters. But there are times when it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze.

But first…Why Do Pipes Freeze? Freshwater pipes freeze because they’re constantly filled with water. If you think about it, when you turn on your kitchen sink it’s not sending the signal to your local water company to send you water; it’s using the water that’s already in your house and in your pipes. That water has a lot of pressure behind it. When water freezes, it expands. If that expansion has nowhere to go, it’s going to force it’s way out anyway it can and cause your pipes to break. Strangely, water is the only liquid on earth that expands when heated and when frozen. If it acted like everything else, we’d never have to deal with this problem!

Now, on to your local plumber’s advice…

Pipes in Cold Areas

If you look at the blueprints of most homes, the location of the water pipes is already helping you prevent frozen pipes. Pipes are often kept between interior walls instead of exterior walls. But not all homes designs allow for this trick, so it’s important to baby the pipes a little on the coldest days if you have pipes that are more exposed.

If you have pipes that run through your garage, makes sure to keep your garage door closed. Closing your garage door will not only help keep your pipes warm but will also help keep your entire house warm. Pipes that are in crawl spaces should be insulated.

Let It Drip

If your pipes are prone to freezing and the weatherman is predicting a record cold, you might want to leave your faucets dripping a little. While we usually don’t advocate wasting water, a pipe with any water flowing through it is less likely to freeze than one that has still water. This is because a drip will allow warmer water that been heated by the constant temperature underground to mix with the colder water that has been cooled by the uninsulated air. (And hey, if you put a pot under your faucet, you can save that water and have spaghetti the next day!)

Going On Vacation

plumber-3Most people will turn down the thermostat when they go on vacation. It really does make sense, because it will save you money on your heating bill. Still, you should keep it above 55 degrees to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze. You can also open open the cabinets that are under bathroom sinks and kitchen sinks in order to facilitate warm airflow around the pipes. (Because of the chemicals that are often kept under there, make sure that you wait until any little kids are already bundled up in the van before you do this, or remove any chemicals or cleaning agents from these areas completely.)

Winter in Denver is certainly a lot easier to survive than it was a hundred years ago, but we still have a few problems we have to deal with living in such a cold climate. We’d love to help you with our plumbing needs, but we certainly hope you’ll follow the above advice so that you don’t have to call and emergency plumber when spring comes around…or sooner! If that does happen, call us and we’ll take care of you.

 

 

 

Plumber and Sewer Cleaner: At The Movies

dreamstime_xl_4846173No, this isn’t a blog about plumbers who go to the movies. (Not to say that we don’t go to movies; we’re humans living in America, of course we go to movies.) This is a blog about plumbers who are in movies. It was inspired by a recent blog we wrote about the Mario brothers, those fictional characters made popular in more than 250 Nintendo games. As much as we wrote about them (over 500 words), we never got around to their biggest flop, the 1993 movie. It got us thinking about other movies out there containing plumbers and sewer cleaners

Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn is a movie set in 1951 about a young Irish woman who moves to the United States when her prospects in Ireland dry up. When she gets to Brooklyn she meets a young Italian plumber (woo hoo!), Tony Fiorello, and they fall in love before events conspire to draw her back to Ireland.

Can you imagine what plumbing was like in 1951 New York? Sure, it’s crazy now, but think about what it would have been in the years after World War II, having to accommodate for thousands more people flooding into the city instead of heading back to the family farm.

Brooklyn was nominated for three of last year’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The lead actress, Saoirse Ronan was also honored by the Golden Globes, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and SAG. Unfortunately, there’s no Oscar for “best plumber.” Still, if you’re looking for Denver’s best plumber of 2015, we’re pretty sure who you should call.

Joy (2015)

Wow, 2015 was a good year for movies with plumbers!

Jennifer Lawrence plays Joy Mangano, a real-life person and inventor of the Miracle Mop seen on QVC and Home Shopping Network. So, we’re off to a good start, because this is a story about getting water off the floor and down the drain, something that an emergency plumber knows well! But that’s not technically plumbing, so where does that come in? In the movie, Joy’s mom falls for a plumber named Toussaint, played by Jimmy Jean-Louis. Go plumbers!

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

We mentioned it up above, and now it’s time to talk about it. Video games have been big business since around 1975, but there wasn’t a movie made with video game characters until 1993’s Super Mario Bros. The movie had a fine pedigree of actors, including Bob Hoskins (Mario), John Leguizamo as (Luigi), and Dennis Hopper (King Koopa). Still, it was absolutely horrible and made back only half its budget.

plumbers-1Super Mario Bros. is about two New York City plumbers (natch) who are being driven out of business by the mafia, because…the mafia cares about plumbing? Anyway, they meet a woman named Daisy who’s digging for dinosaur bones at the Brooklyn Bridge (what is it about plumbers in Brooklyn that filmmakers love?) and the mafia is trying to destroy the bridge by leaving water pipes open, which allows the Mario brothers to heroically become the bridges emergency plumbing contractors. Oh, and did we mention that a meteor struck the Earth 65 million years ago and created a dimensional rift that split the world in dinosaur world and mammal world and that the dinosaurs of that world evolved into humanoids and want to take over our world and blau blau blau yep it’s a bad movie.

Remember, people, this movie came out the same year as Jurassic Park. Hard to believe.

So, three Hollywood movies where the plumbers are the heros, which we have absolutely no problem with. After all, if you have leaky pipes and you call an emergency plumber, they’re sure to be your hero too!

4 Most Common Reasons the Front Range is Calling Their Local Plumber

dreamstime_xxl_28259605When you think of drain cleaning and plumbing services, you probably associate sewer cleaners and plumbers with the last task that they performed for you. Did they replace a toilet for you? Were they plumbing contractors who installed all the pipes in your new home? Or was it 3:00 am and you needed an emergency plumber?

The fact is, as plumbers and sewer cleaning experts, the technicians at Garvin’s Sewer Service handles all of the above and more. Here are the most common reasons that we are called to homes and businesses all across the Front Range.

Plumbing

Drain Cleaning: Drain cleaning might be the most common reason that people in Northern Colorado contact Garvin’s. After all, everyone suffers from a clogged drain at some time or another, and when the “sinks only” plunger doesn’t work and the chemical drain cleaner fails (as they almost always do), people pick up the phone and call 303-571-5114.

The necessity for drain cleaning has many causes, depending on the fixture at hand. Kitchen sinks are the main culprit, as people try to wash down grease, and that starts to accumulate mere feet below the sink. Showers clog because of the all the hair that goes down the drain, as well as soaps and shampoos that don’t disintegrate as thoroughly as you might expect. Toilets are far too often thought of as an “immediate trashcan,” in that people want what’s in them out of their lives immediately. Unfortunately, sometimes those things come back! That’s when they call Garvin’s Sewer Service.garvins 1

Pipe Repair: Something is always going wrong with pipes. They might have been installed improperly, or unforeseen damage can cause them to break, sag, or come apart at the seams. When this happens, leaks can occur that can allow freshwater to ruin your flooring or sewer water to leak into your walls, neither of which is particularly appealing. At the first sign of trouble — yellow spots on the ceiling or walls, bad smells under the sink, or visual drips — contact Garvin’s and we’ll be there to get your pipes back in order.

Sewer Service

Sewer Cleaning: If it doesn’t have to do with freshwater pipes and plumbing problems, were usually involved in the cleaning of wastewater pipes. If drain cleaning doesn’t clear everything out, the problem might be in the house lateral line, where all of your wastewater heads after it leaves the sinks, showers, and toilets. That’s when it’s time to send down the sewer snake, which is also known as  rooter service.

Depending on the situation, sometimes we send down whirling blades that dig into clogs. Other times we might use a sewer jet, which sprays high-pressure water all along the pipe. Most often we’re fighting roots that have gotten into the sewer line looking for water, and other times it’s a grease clog that has grabbed “stuff” that people have flushed down the toilet. Either way, the clog is gone when we’re done, flushed away in the city sewer system.

Sewer Scope: Sometimes sending down the sewer scope, also called the sewer camera, is the best thing to do. This often occurs when rooter service has failed and a broken sewer pipe is suspected. Garvin’s performs this add-on service at the request of homeowners buying a pre-existing home or to offer a second opinion as to the state of the sewer line.

Whenever you’re looking for the best in plumbing services and sewer cleaning, contact your local plumber. Garvin’s will take care of your problems!

Putting Pumpkin Parts Down The Drain Will Have You Calling an Emergency Plumber

dreamstime_xxl_5994336We’ve written on this subject before, but now that we’re a month out from Halloween we figured it would be a good idea to revisit it. As you local plumber, we consider it a public service to help you take care of your drains and your sewer system. If we didn’t revisit this topic, there’s no doubt that some of you would have to call an emergency plumber.

So, what is this foul destroyer of pipes and garbage disposals that only arises when the moon looms high over the misty graveyard?

Pumpkins.

That’s right, pumpkins. That staple of Halloween and Thanksgiving that seems so innocent but can wreak havoc on both your sinks and garbage disposals. Let’s take a look at this fall fiend.

Protect Your Sink Pipes

You cut open the top of your pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern. You reach in and, if you’re like most people, kind of enjoy / are kind of grossed out by the slimy gooeyness of the pumpkin innards. So you pull them out and drop them onto the newspapers you’ve laid down to protect your table. They’re all so slick and drippy; they’re sure to just slide right down the sink, especially if you remove the seeds first, right?

Garvin 4Wrong! When they harden, pumpkin guts are some of the strongest naturals adhesives you’ll ever find in your kitchen. You’ll find that any part of the table not covered during the jack-o-lantern carving will have a hard-to-remove coating the next morning. Plates, knives, and anything else you used will be covered in hard pumpkin guts. It’s nature’s glue, and if you put a measurable amount down your sink it’s going to harden in the pipes and you’re going to have to call an emergency plumber before you know it.

Spare Your Garbage Disposal

When the pumpkin parts harden in your sink, you’ll probably need drain cleaning. But when they harden in the garbage disposal, you might just need a new one. Not only do you now have this natural glue in your disposal, but the stringy nature of the pumpkin guts also wraps around your disposal blades and can damage them. Think about it: when you’re pulling those guts out of the pumpkin it can be impossible to grab hold and pull them from the pumpkin wall, and once they’re out those strands are incredibly difficult to break. The same thing is happening in your disposal.

Seeds also become a problem for garbage disposals. While you might enjoy cooked seeds, try one straight out of the pumpkin and you’ll quickly realize that they’re too tough to chew. Your garbage disposal will have the same problem.

So What Are You Supposed to Do With All The Innards?

Here’s the good thing: everything you take out of a pumpkin is usable. The most obvious use is to cook the pumpkin seeds. They’re easy to make, tasty, and filled with vitamins and minerals. While many people will simply compost the rest of the guts, it’s much cooler to eat them, cook with them, and make them into soap and other useful household items. Here are 28 great uses for those pumpkin guts.

Pumpkins are great fun during Halloween and incredibly tasty around Thanksgiving. Just make sure you’re using the pumpkin to its full potential and not sending anything down the drain. If you do, you’ll be calling your local plumber to bring the sewer snake. Avoid that and you can have a great fall!

The Two Most Famous Plumbers of All Time Don’t Really Exist

Legally we can't show you a picture of a "Donkey Kong," so...

Legally we can’t show you a picture of a “Donkey Kong,” so…

Because of humanity’s interest in getting fresh drinking water and getting as far away from waste as quickly as possible, it’s not surprising that the idea of sewer cleaners and plumbing contractors are in the public consciousness.

When that happens, it’s not surprising that these characters will seep into the popular culture, or, to use a more pretentious word, the zeitgeist. And as much as people might not think of plumbers as being something aspire to, subconsciously they view them as heroes. Don’t believe us? There are two plumbers that are the heroes of a multi-billion dollar industry…and you probably have some incarnation of them in your house right now.

Mario and Luigi Arrive!

Mario and Luigi are two plumbing brothers who first appeared in a stand-up arcade game in 1983 called Mario Bros., created by Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto. In the game the plumbing brothers are trying to defeat creatures such as turtles and crabs in a sewer system by punching the ground underneath them, flipping the animals onto their backs and kicking them off the screen. Unlike nearly every subsequent Mario game, you’re not allowed to jump on top of the creatures.

(Some of you will be saying to yourselves, “wait a second, wasn’t that Mario in Donkey Kong?” While Mario originally appeared in Donkey Kong, there’s no mention of him being a plumber at all. Think of the situation: he’s climbing a building to defeat a huge gorilla, and the only thing he ever holds is a giant hammer. While that was certainly Mario, he didn’t exhibit any characteristics of a plumber or sewer worker.)

Then The Big One Hit

From there came Super Mario Bros., released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. This is the one that people remember most, because it came pre-packaged with most every NES system (and sometimes included Duck Hunt on the same cartridge.) If you played a single-player game, Mario was the only one you’d ever see. Luigi (in the green outfit) only appeared if you were the second player. This 31-year-old game is still being played today as people attempt “speed runs,” trying to beat the game in as short a time as possible. The current world record is 4:57 seconds. (The writer of this article could do it in 8 minutes back in the day, not bad for the time.)

Just How Popular Are They?

plumbing 1From there Mario and Luigi have gone on to appear in over 250 (!) video games since their first game together in 1983. They’ve appeared on consoles, stand-up machines, desktop computers, and handheld devices.

So you might not think of those who offer plumbing services as heroes, but a certain video game series has certainly made these two plumbers two of the most recognizable fictional characters ever. We’re pretty sure that when your pipes have burst and you you need emergency plumbers, the technicians at Garvin’s will look like heroes to you! Contact us at the first sign of trouble!

What Does Your Local Plumber Know About Low Flow Toilets?

You're not the only game in town, buddy...If you’re young — let’s say under the age of 25 — you might not remember a time before the low flow toilets. The way toilets in new homes work is the way they’ve always worked in your lifetime. Stuff has always gone down the drain in the same way, right?

But many of you remember a time when toilets were using considerably more water per flush. While this was worse for the environment, they were more beloved by homeowners who actually liked seeing their waste go away. So why did the regular-flow toilets go away, and where did the low-flow toilets come from? Let’s take a look at what your local plumber knows about low flow toilets.

What Makes a Low-Flow Toilet a Low-Flow Toilet?

Low-flow toilets, also called low-flush toilets or high-efficiency toilets, were created in an attempt to save water. Typically, low flush toilets use about one-third to one-half as much as their predecessors.

Where Did The Low-Flow Toilets Come From?

Customers weren’t exactly the ones who were calling out for low flow toilets, but water conservation was on everyone’s mind during the late 1980’s. Massachusetts was the first state to require low-flow toilets in new construction in 1988. Four years later President George Bush signed the Energy Policy Act which prevented toilets from using more than 1.6 gallons per flush. That 1992 law went into effect in 1994 for residential toilets and 1997 for commercial buildings.

It’s Not Just New Buildings That Require Them

Let’s say your house is from the 1960’s and still has the original toilets. Everything about your toilet is just falling apart, or it’s pink and you’re really not that into pink. So you call your local plumber and have them replace your current toilet…which has to be a low-flush toilet. Not only have water-hogging toilets been off the market for decades, but it would actually be illegal to install one that uses more than 1.6 gallons per flush! (If you want a funny representation of this, check out the May 2000 episode of the animated series King of the Hill called “Flush With Power.”)

They Started Off Pretty Bad


Garvin’s Sewer Service has been around for more than 75 years, so we were around when all of this started happening. Those early low flow toilets certainly used less water, but they had an incredibly poor design. While they had no problems with liquid waste, anything solid usually had a hiccup going down. You’d almost always have to flushGarvin's 1 solid waste twice, which, as you might guess, completely defeated the idea of the low flow toilet.

Customers hated them. After all, you usually stand up, hit the trip lever (aka flush handle), and head to the sink to wash your hands. What you don’t want to do is stick around to find out that nothing went down and have to flush again…and maybe again and again.

Plumbing Contactors Hated Them

Why did plumbing contractors hate low flow toilets? Imagine putting a toilet into a brand new home in 1992, only to have customers tell you that the toilets are broken. They had to explain to the unhappy customers that the toilets were working fine but there was nothing to be done about it. It’s the law!

They Can Actually Cause Huge Problems With Sewage

When you flush less water with less power, things don’t move along as well as they used to. Solid waste and sludge tends to build up in pipes and just sit there, where before it would have been washed down the pipes much more efficiently. San Francisco had a huge problem a few years back when this sludge was backing up in city sewer pipes. Newer houses today are being built with smaller sewer pipes so that there’s more pressure behind each flush to keep things moving.

Living in an arid climate like Colorado, we’re glad for the water saving we see with low-flow toilets. More than that, we truly do appreciate the fact that low-flow toilets have gotten much more efficient and flush so much better than the toilets of 1994. If you’ve got one of those early low-flush toilets and need it replaced — or any emergency plumbing or sewer problem — be sure to contact us and we’ll get things taken care of!

Toilet Paper Hanging Direction: Your Local Plumber Weighs In

 Two Rolls! There's the answer!

Two Rolls! There’s the answer!

When it comes to sewer cleaning, the only thing we deal with more than roots is toilet paper. In fact, as we deal more and more with newer homes that have PVC sewer pipes, we’re seeing fewer root problems and more toilet paper problems, because people keep buying stronger and stronger toilet paper that just doesn’t disintegrate. So yeah, your local plumbers at Garvin’s Sewer Service think about toilet paper a lot.

In a recent post, we went over the orientation of the toilet seat: what determines if it should be up or down? Boy, did we hear about it! Apparently we’re not the only ones who have strong opinions on toilet seats. So let’s tackle one of the other most contentious aspects of bathroom etiquette. Does the toilet paper go over or under?

First of all, a question. Do people really care about this subject all that much? Of course they do! After all, the toilet is one of the few things that all Americans have to deal with on a daily basis, so it’s no surprise that there would be some contention when it comes to etiquette. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page on the subject called Toilet Paper Orientation.

First, let’s take a look at a few reasons why people (and some plumbers) advocate for the over direction:

  • The over position allows for more easily finding the end of the toilet paper. When using under, the end of the roll is more likely to be hidden behind the roll.
  • In the hospitality industry, the overhand orientation is preferred because it highlights the folded point they make in the toilet paper to show that the room has been cleaned.
  • Toilet papers with quilting or text is always printed so that it looks better when in the overhand position. Apparently the manufacturers believe in the overhand orientation
  • From a germ standpoint, over is the winner. For one thing, the overhang is less likely to brush the wall than the underhang. Also, there’s less risk of your knuckles bumping against the bathroom wall when you grab for a few sheets.

But not everyone agrees (including a few plumbers). Here are some arguments for the under orientation.

  • In direct opposition to the first point above, some people don’t care about how easy it is to find the end of the roll as long as it looks tidy. It’s easier to hide the end of the roll with the under position.
  • Under works better in RVs, because it’s less likely to unravel as the big vehicle is moving.
  • Here’s the big one: cats. Cats can sit on the toilet and bat an over roll until the entire thing is unraveled. It’s much more difficult (and much less fun) to waste a roll when it’s in the under position.

So who’s right? We’ll, here’s one last argument. We mentioned earlier that the toilet paper manufacturers tend to favor the over orientation. Well, so did the inventor! The original patent for toilet paper, which is more than 100 years old, seems to have answered the question before it was even asked. You can see pictures and read more about it right here.

What toilet paper orientation will Garvin’s professional plumbers see when they come to your home? Either way, we promise not to change it, even if that particular plumber has strong feelings on the matter! We’re there to take care of your pre-planned sewer cleaning and emergency plumbing needs, not correct you on toilet paper etiquette. Give us a call and we’ll leave your toilet paper alone!

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