The Oil You Don’t Realize You’re Sending Down Your Sink


We’re here to tell you more about why you shouldn’t put oil and grease down your drains.

Go ahead, get it out of your system…yell at us for once again telling you about the dangers to your drain and sewer system. We harp on it so much you’d think we were heath teachers telling middle-schoolers about the importance of deodorant. But we’re not going to stop, because we are very interested in keeping your pipes as clean as possible so that you don’t need emergency drain cleaning and sewer services.

Hey, maybe we’ve gotten through to a few of you. Maybe you used to send your bacon grease right down the drain instead of putting it into a can. Maybe you make beef hoagies in the crock pot and no longer pour the leftover oil and fat down the sink. And we’re guessing that both your drain and the entire public sewer system is a better place because of it (we’re going to go ahead and take full credit!)

But hey, garbage disposals and sinks are there for a reason. They’re there to pour water down, to grind the food we put in, right? So use them all you want, as long as you don’t send oil and grease down, right? Right?

Unfortunately, there are some diabolical foods out there, foods that you might be sending down your drain without a second thought because the oil is so well hidden. Who are these oil ninjas?

Pizza Crust: Mmmm, crispy and chewy at the same time. And if it is crispy, you have to know what that came from…oil! A lot of the oil stays in the pan at the pizza place (and that’s why we have pizza restaurant clients needing drain cleaning!) But there’s quite a bit of oil in your leftover pan pizza crust. And if there’s a bit of pepperoni left on it, it’s all the better to not grind it because of the grease. Toss it in the trash instead of gunking up your drains.

Margarine: If you’re a butter user, you can skip this part. But if you use margarine, you probably forget what margarine is, exactly…vegetable oil. If you’re making french toast and some drops on the stovetop, wipe it off instead of washing it down.

Mayo: Mayo, let’s see: eggs and…hey look, it’s oil again! Mayonnaise is essentially just oil with egg and a bit of flavoring. When you get some on the counter,don’t wash it off into the drain.

Salad dressings: The earliest salad dressings were basically just oil and vinegar. We’re here to tell you that not much has changed. If the first ingredient isn’t high fructose corn syrup (which is pretty common) it will probably be vegetable oil.

Peanut Butter: No, not peanut butter! We love peanut butter! While the oil in old-timey peanut butter is pretty obvious (the “stir before you use” kind), most inexpensive peanut butter hides its oily origins very well. The peanuts have their own oil, and palm oil is usually added for a richer flavor. Simply getting it onBrownies contain hidden oil, which might cause premature drain cleaning. your fingers and trying to rinse it off proves just how oily it is.

Brownies: Ghirardelli makes some of the yummiest brownies out there. And when you make them, you realize why…⅓ cup of vegetable oil. You can feel it in your mouth, but the pan you leave behind will probably have quite a bit oil. Give it a wipe before washing it.

So many tasty foods, so much hidden oil. Do you best to prevent premature sewer service by doing your best to not send oil down the drain in the first place. And when you do need drain cleaning, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!




Different Types of Pipes We Have To Know As A Drain Company


The pipes a drain company needs to deal with.When you were looking at buying a home, you probably spent a lot of time finding out about it and its condition; after all, that’s why you hired a home inspector. You want to know when the roof was put on, how old the furnace is, if the electricity is up to date. And we’re sure you didn’t buy until you knew exactly what type of sewer pipes came with the house.

We’re joking about that last bit, of course. There’s a good chance that you had (and still have) no idea what kind of material your lateral pipe is made from. It’s an important pipe that takes away all that stuff you have no use for and never want to see again and send it to the public sewer, and yet it’s largely ignored.

Here are Garvin’s it can be very important for us to know what type of pipes we’re dealing with so that we can use the right tools and not damage your sewer system. Here’s a quick rundown on the types of pipe that have been used over the decades.

Clay Pipe: Denver was founded in 1858, before Colorado was even a state and certainly predating modern plumbing. There aren’t many houses left from that era, but there are some houses that are still around from the era of the clay pipe, from around the 1900’s until the 1920’s. While clay might sound like a silly thing to use, it was baked and became very hard. Unfortunately, the water running inside of it and the groundwater hitting it from the outside caused it to disintegrate over the decades. Loose fittings also made it easy for tree roots to get inside.

Concrete Pipe: Concrete has an amazing history, but we don’t have the time to go into it here. Concrete was heavily used by the ancient Romans, but then the formula went all but unused for 1500 years. Today it’s the most used man-made material, and it makes sense that concrete would be used as sewer pipes. Unfortunately, like clay it also disintegrates over time and can be scraped away by sewage and rooter service. Concrete was mostly used from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

Orangeburg Pipe: Here’s one that we probably won’t run into, because it didn’t last very long (literally). Though it was low cost and easy to cut, Orangeburg pipe, made from wood pulp and tar, tended to give out within 20-30 years. It’s pretty much all been replaced since it was installed during the 1950’s.

Transite: Here’s an interesting one that can still be found underground in some places: transite pipe. You’ve heard of reinforced concrete, where iron bars are used to make the concrete stronger. What if you could add a much smaller material to concrete so that it touched even more of it, giving it a higher tensile strength. Great idea, right? Now imagine that the added material is asbestos. Oops!

Cast Iron Pipe: You can probably guess where this is going. Iron was better at adapting to shifting earth than concrete or clay pipe, but all that wasn’t going to save it from rust. Why use it in the first place? Cast iron is a cheap and can be easily poured into molds.

PVC And ABS Pipe: It’s good for most things to be biodegradable: paper cups, plastic utensils made from corn, that pizza box. But there are some things that you want to last right-next-to-forever, and PVC sewer pipes is one of them!

Most laterals made since the 1970’s have been made from PVC or ABS pipe. It gives a little, holding up to sinking ground, and stands up to waste and chemicals. It can also hold its own against tree roots creeping in, plus it’s slick enough to allow waste to slide through better than many previous types of pipe.

What type of pipe do you have? You probably don’t know, but when you have a problem with it be sure to give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call!




Do People Need A Drain Company More Or Less Than They Used To?


Here at Garvin’s we’ve been serving Denver and the front range with drain cleaning for over 75 years, and have seen business grow ever since. One big reasons for the growth is, of course, the growth of Denver. Another reason, the one we’re most proud of, is that we gain business by word of mouth as people use our services and then tell their friends and neighbors.

But we started wondering…when you account for those two things, do people need as much sewer cleaning as the used to? Or are they using less per household Here are some arguments both ways when you ask the question “do people need a drain company more than they used to?

No: Better Pipes — Maybe people don’t need sewer cleaning as much because of better pipes. Pipes used to be made of clay or concrete (which disintegrates over time), then moved on to cast iron (which rusts). Since the 1970’s most sewer pipes have been made from PVC plastic, which holds up to the sewage from within and the dirt and water from outside. It also holds up well to the scraping from rooter service, and fewer breaks mean fewer places for tree roots to get in.

Yes: People Eat More Grease — We often think of the people of the past eating less healthy. But before World War II people actually ate considerably less meat; they just couldn’t afford it and it wasn’t being produced on such a large scale. And when they did eat bacon, they saved the grease to use later to fry food because they didn’t have vegetable oil. Since they were reusing the grease, they weren’t letting any of that precious commodity go down the drain.

Today, people are eating oily and greasy foods constantly (we’re looking at you, pepperoni pizza). Meat is included with every meal and cheese (which has a whole lot of fat) is everywhere. At the same time…

No: We Have More Information — We’ve been telling people for years to not send grease down the drain, and it seems that the word is finally getting through. Environmental agencies and cities’ public works departments have been helping us get the word out, and it does seem to be reducing the amount of grease coming through each house, though the increase in population here in Denver can still cause a lot of grease problems.

Yes: More drains — Think about a house built in the 1920’s: one bathroom with a sink and a tub, and one kitchen sink. That’s a total of three drains.

Now take a look at the houses of today: Three and a half bathrooms, a kitchen sink with garbage disposal and dishwasher, and a washing machine. There might be a second kitchen or wet bar, there might be a sink in the garage. All to say that there are more drains than ever that might need a drain company to intervene.

No: We Have Better Machines: Rooter service has been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean that the technology has stopped. We have more powerful machines that are smaller than ever before. We have roto rooters and sewer jetters to clean the pipes cleaner, leading to less frequent visits from a sewer company.

So, what’s the final verdict? Well, not mathematicians, but we do know that that’s a whole lot of variables to account for. The fact is, it doesn’t matter…because all that matters is if you need sewer cleaning right now! When that happens, give Garvin’s a call and we’ll be there to provide the best sewer drain cleaning around.




What’s Going On With My Dishwasher Drain?


A drain company can fix your dishwasher problems.Electric dishwashers have been around for nearly a century, but most didn’t make it into home until sometime between the 1950’s and 1970’s. By the 1980’s just about every new home was build with a dedicated space for the dishwasher.

We can’t deny that dishwashers are amazing. After all, they’re dealing with every kind of stuck-on food under the sun, from barbeque sauce to spaghetti to cheese. And it’s this very combination of foods that can cause a dishwasher to stop draining properly. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your dishwasher continues to run.

Scrape off your food: It used to be common practice to rinse a dish off in the sink before loading it into the dishwasher. That’s not necessary anymore, but there’s nothing wrong with scraping off the solids into the garbage before putting your plate into the dishwasher. It’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t put t-bones in the dishwasher, but it’s also a good idea to get rid of strands of pasta…basically anything solid.

Find out if there’s a disposal: Some dishwashers come with a mini-disposal in them that will grind up the food before it heads out the drain, and this can be a great way of making sure your pipes are less likely to get clogged. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that every dishwasher has one of these disposals. If you move into a new home or apartment, make sure you know if your new dishwasher can handle larger bits of food.

Don’t Put In Pumpkin: We wrote an entire blog about it, but it bears repeating. Some gourds will wreak havoc on your drains and sewer systems. Vegetables like pumpkins have “goop” that dries like glue and can cause big problems with your drains.

Research dishwashing detergents: Not all dishwashing detergents are created equal. In fact, there’s a huge disparity in how well they work, and you don’t always have to spend the most to get the best. But some of them are going to be better at breaking down the bonds on the food particles, which is good for cleaning your dish and good at making sure they don’t stick to the inside of your dishwasher. Try this…if you’ve lived in your current location for a few years and have never cleaned your dishwasher, open it up and look at the seal behind the front door. Pretty disgusting, right? Food is getting stuck there and never washing away.

Don’t automatically blame the sink: Many people will us a dishwasher their entire lives and not really have any idea what’s going on under the sink. Most dishwashers will send their wastewater out not through their own drain but will connect with the sink drain first. If you’re having perpetual problems with your sink and just can’t figure out what’s happening, the problem might not be with our sink at all. When this happens feel free to give Garvin’s a call and we can figure out exactly where your problem lies.

Dishwasher can run trouble-free for a long time if treated right. But if your drains are giving you trouble and your dishwasher won’t drain, be sure to contact Garvin’s as soon as possible.



How Your Washing Machine Washing Can Lead To Premature Drain Cleaning

Washing machines can give you drain cleaning concernsFor most of our blogs, we write about the three main drains that contribute to the most common needs for drain cleaning: the sinks, the toilets, and the shower drains. Sinks because people send way too much grease down, toilets because people flush things they shouldn’t, and showers because people lose a lot of hair when they wash.

For decades after running water entered the home, these were the only three drains that people needed to worry about. When people were washing their clothes, they’d do it by hand and would wash clothes outside or over the sink, without adding another drain.

The first electric (automatic) washing machines started showing up around 1937. On the most basic level they were not too different from what we have today and wouldn’t have had dedicated freshwater lines. Instead they would have been placed close to a sink and a hose would be attached to the sink spout. When it was done, another hose would transfer the wastewater back to the sink’s drain. Once again, everything was retrofitted and no new plumbing would have to be installed. However, the threads and lint from the clothes (not to mention the mud from the largely agrarian society) would have caused fairly frequent drain cleaning.

After World War II, everything changed. During the war new washing machines weren’t being made because of conservation of materials. But when the GI’s came home it created a housing boom, which lead to attached garages, televisions, and connected plumbing for our friend the washing machine.

So there’s a bit of history about how people have washed their clothes, but how can washing machines create havoc with our sewer system?

Soap scum: If you don’t think soap can be a problem, then you’ve never cleaned a drain! Soap doesn’t always break down in the way we’d like, and it can cause problems in sinks, dishwashers, and, yes, washing machines. And if it doesn’t break down it just sits there and catches passing materials, such as…

Lint: If you read Parade in the Sunday paper, you’re probably familiar with Marilyn vos Savant. Marilyn responds to reader’s questions about every topic under the sun, but one caught our eye a decade back when a reader asked where all of the lint in the dryer’s lint trap comes from. After all, his clothes were years old, shouldn’t the extra material from the manufacturing process have been washed away long ago? Marilyn informed the reader that most lint doesn’t come from the manufacturing process, but by the constant disintegration of clothes…your clothes lose tiny pieces of themselves every time you wash and dry them. This is pretty evident whenever you clean out your lint trap, but you simply don’t see all of the lint that heads out your washing machine drain. It’s usually not a problem, but if you’re one who buys a lot of new clothes (which do shed more lint initially than old ones) and use too much soap in the washing machine, it could lead to the need for premature drain cleaning.

Mud: Some of us “mud” more than others. There are farmers, dirt bikers, and those of us who just like to get dirty in the garden. The dirt and dust get wet and actually get harder to deal with than when they were dry, and if they combine with the lint and the soap then you can have real drain cleaning problems.

If your washing machine drain in the culprit in your problem, give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call. We’ll be sure to get your drains cleaned in Denver or anywhere along the front range.



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!




Avoid The Grease Monster!

Avoid The Grease Monster!


There’s a cute series of books by Ursula Vernon called Dragonbreath. It’s very popular among young kids of grade school age, because it mixes regular prose with lots of graphic novel pictures. It’s a great bridge to chapter books without pictures.

The main character, Dragonbreath (who’s a dragon, not a sewer snake), is a young dragon who goes on all sorts of adventures, most of which are a short bus ride to locations all over the world (yep, you read that right). He’s featured in books with titles like Attack of the Ninja Frogs, Curse of the Were-Wiener, Revenge of the Horned Bunnies, and Nightmare of the Iguana. But the one we want to talk about is The Case of the Toxic Mutants, in which Dragonbreath heads toward that place we’re all familiar with, the sewer!

We’ll, you might be familiar with the sewer all that much, but we know it pretty well. And we like that particular book because of the grease monster that lives there (made up of a lot of potato shavings for some reason). Now, when most people hear “grease monster” they think about the huge clogs that city sanitation workers find deep in the sewers from years of people sending grease down their drains. But this grease monster is actually quite friendly, and for some reason has a symbiotic relationship with the rats of the sewer who continuously bring him pieces of food to sustain him.

So why are we telling you all of this? Well, it’s a good read if you have kids. But we also want to remind you that grease monsters are not friendly! Real grease monsters clog up public works and make it difficult for the stuff you get rid of to get as far away from your house as possible. Always put your grease in the trash, not the sink…doing this is the simplest way to prevent a premature need for drain cleaning. Avoid the grease monster and avoid drain cleaning service!

Famous Sewers From Hollywood


Have you ever been to the Internet Movie Database? ( It’s hard to describe it without using the word “depository.” It’s the website where you reference, cross-reference, and find out just about anything you want to about a particular movie.

So when we were thinking about sewers in movies (we think about sewers a lot), the first thing that comes to mind is one of the most well-regarded thrillers ever, 1949’s The Third Man. The movie stars Orson Welles and has a dramatic climax with a chase through Vienna’s brick-arched sewer system. An amazingly clean sewer system.

Internet movie database also has a section called “plot keywords” where it cross-references the movie with keywords that are relevant to every other movie. And look at that, there’s the keyword “sewer systems” that takes us to a list of other movies that have a scene taking place in a sewer system.

Well, we all use sewers every day (and we make sure to clean them out every day), so it’s not surprising that sewers would be showing up in a few movies. Here are some of our favorites that have big sewer troubles.


Batman Returns:

  • Plot: One of the most well-known movie with sewer connections is Batman Returns from 1992, the second Batman movie starring Michael Keatondreamstime_xxl_41494451 and directed by Tim Burton. Danny DeVito plays The Penguin, and as a baby his heartless parents toss him into the river, which runs to the sewers, which runs into an abandoned zoo waterway with some abandoned penguins. Later in the movie much of the action returns to the sewer where Penguin attempts to dispatch a corporate enemy, and Batman, via drowning.
  • Believability Grade — D+: Let’s take a look at that sentence again: “his heartless parents toss him into the river, which runs to the sewers, which runs into an abandoned zoo waterway with some abandoned penguins.” Did the screenwriters honestly believe that all of these water systems connected? Does the sewer flow directly into the river? And even if the those waterways were connected, how the heck did the baby float upstream from the sewer to reach the penguin habitat?

Finding Nemo:

  • Plot: I think most of you know the plot Finding Nemo, but here’s a quick refresher: Nemo is captured by an Australian dentist and put in the office’s fish tank, while Nemo’s father Marlin has to traverse the ocean in order to retrieve his son. At the end of the movie, Nemo plays dead so that he’s flushed down the dentist’s drains and then pops out of a nearby ocean pipe, where he’s soon found by his dad.
  • BelievabilityGrade — D-: If you’re enjoying the movie enough, you might not have noticed exactly what happens here. And you might ask “where’s the sewer you’re talking about, I don’t remember a sewer.” And our response is…exactly! All drains from homes and businesses do not go straight into the ocean, so there’s no way that Nemo is going to just “pop out” into the ocean. Sorry, everybody, but Nemo never would have made it.

Phew, that was exhausting railing on two movie that many people love. Oh well, it was fun. (If we’d been thinking about janitors and drain cleaning, we probably would have been talking about The Toxic Avenger all this time.) When we’re not watching movies, we’re cleaning your drains…so when you need sewer drain cleaning, 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!